Q&A with Schmachtenberger: Daniel | NeuroHacker Collective
6:12PM May 27, 2020
Without further ado, I want to welcome Dennis Battenberg I think if there was one person where people were most people here were like we need Dennis back on, or we need a specific personnel and then it was with us. So I'm super, super happy that that that, that you're coming on and gracing us with your sense making ability. And today, I think there's a lot to cover. I'm not pretending that we can cover everything in an hour, but I'm hoping that we can at least question the surface and point people in the right directions if they want to follow up. And yeah, I am hoping that I think initially when we spoke, we were thinking of taking this kind of old metaphor and talking about the generator function of X rays and, and and I'm kind of like, what are the, I guess, like, more abstract and long term consequences from this, but I think in the interest of time, we have decided to kind of like you pick us up where we are right now. Now kind of like what are the threads that we should be unraveling more, and then we see kind of like how that affects much of the generator functions of existential risk. You're so worried about. So thank you so, so much for for coming on today. And it's such a pleasure to have you here. I think you can unmute yourself whenever you want to as a co host. And interrupt me, thank you so much for joining, I would love for you to maybe kind of like fill us in, by just kind of like taking us on a tour of you know, what our kind of current developments where we're not paying enough attention to and where the gen conversation maybe not paying enough attention to and that may have major implications down the line and that we shouldn't be missing right now.
Thank you, Alison, for inviting me here. This is my first of these to join even though a number of the people that you've had on before people I respect and our friends and colleagues. Actually just want to acknowledge first what an awesome thing you're doing here. I've looked at the list of people that you've had on in the last 10 weeks and only 10% of these people are here for the first time. It's really kind of an incredible online universe. And then good use of this time. So that's really neat. Because I haven't been in the previous ones and the poll said people were feeling generally better, many of them. And you were talking about existential hope and making opportunities. Can you just kind of clued me in briefly what some of the major themes of the COVID related make things better opportunities are that this group has been following?
Yes, for sure. Okay. So there's one I think that we may be pursuing a little bit after we close out the hive mind, which is kind of like the incredible opportunities that are currently popping up on for health extension, right, because suddenly, the whole world is worried about about their health and a lot of the kind of biotech sector money that was already kind of like available beforehand is really like being funneled into vaccines that could be some of the work could data be pivoted also to enter general more more health and education efforts. So that's on the one hand, we've all you know, a lot of people out of work and at an event that may slow innovation down at the moment, quite significantly, then I think on the other hand, what we talked about a few glimpses into the promises of the virtual world, right? We have everything from telemedicine in India to kind of like this, you know, really kind of like flourishing of global online universities, such that may can like actually make it much harder for the general monopolies of the kind of kind of broken educational systems that rely on like, you know, a lot of foreign for foreign student payments to survive, it may make it much much harder for them to kind of like still have this almost like predatory and predatory hinge on the system. So, it was a lot of like, what opportunities in the virtual space are possible right now, now that we are is almost becoming as good as a human as a brain computer interface. And then, you know, we also talked a little bit about to connect the different ways in which culture shifting and which People are stepping up and and really fantastic ways in which people are willing to tap into grey zones, where legal areas to save lives in which people are like stepping up proposing legal defense funds for those who are in those gray areas and saving lives. For those people who are blowing the whistle and then in the sense in which like decentralized communities are coming together, and a few technologies that may help us do that much, much better in the future and especially from from crypto commerce. And but then also how many of those technologies are currently being exploited by more utilitarian forms of government and and all the ways in which, like, you know, let's say more predatory states have like seeking the nooks and crannies in which to expand their power into right and so we we usually take a kind of like always the risk and opportunities in those area. And then we last week, we focus more on the kind of global scale and in the ways in which Currently, you know, we have a ton of people that are really, really good at sense making, we have a ton of people that are really good at modeling meticulous FHI, they all came out with fantastic modeling efforts. But it's just so happens that no one's really listening, right? We have really good prediction tools already. People are working on them. But it's still kind of feels bad, that they're not really kind of effectively informing action yet. But, you know, there are a few ways that, you know, we talked about data democracy, about future keys and so on. But but they're just not really entering the mainstream discourse. So like, my main fear is that there are actually a lot of opportunities available. And but a lot of those people like, I think, many of us that are thinking along those lines, I've just not been consulted. So I'm one one kind of choice that maybe you have is that either we build this kind of like parallel operating system, and hope that we can eventually be pharmacogenetic take over and take over the simpson system or stating the fact or we can try to try to reform but but it just doesn't really seem like there's much opportunity to get in right now. So those are, I guess a few things that we've been talking about. I could go on the laundry list, but then I think I would be running this alone. I definitely don't want to be doing that.
Get it? We can't meet in person, can we meet online? And are there unique opportunities to being able to meet online if healthcare is fucked up? Can we use it to reform healthcare writ large if education gets totally disrupted, rather than have you know, just a generation that has major gaps in their education? Can we reform education? I like a classic example right now is the food supply chain is we've basically by stopping travel to stop the movement of the virus. We also stopped the movement of fertilizers and pesticides and key supply chain dynamics that have led to this massive culling of animals and throwing dairy away and tilling food back into the soil. So we have basically Excessive supply that can't get where it needs. So it's getting ruin while the demand hasn't actually gone down. It's just we can't route it. And it properly and the perishability. And the thin margins are such that we're actually driving hunger at scale. So the food supply system for give or take 2 billion people just got fucked. And so then we're like, Okay, well having a supply chain that has that many steps of vulnerability, and that isn't a good idea. So if we have to fix it right now, and we do because otherwise 10s of millions or hundreds of millions of people don't go hungry peacefully. Right. So you start to get a movement from a virus to broken supply chains to hunger to violence to war escalation. So let's say we're looking at the fact that Nigeria has the largest food insecurity population and population density in the world 26 million give or take people without food security and that their food system just got completely damaged. And what happened here Plus their economy because they're they're based on the price of oil, right? Like almost their entire economy is based on the price of oil, which just had this massive Saudi Arabia, Russia oil shock kind of thing. And you look at what that starts to look like in terms of both. So, you know, Boko Haram is increasing and local gangs are increasing. And then insurgency movements. So do we start to see a massive Exodus Syria style from Nigeria? Well, after Syria and the damage that happened to the EU, where do those people go? Because you doesn't want to take them right. And it's under such massive fracture pressures already, after Brexit and after COVID that some places take them and others don't, what does that do kind of fracture pressure so so this is when you can start to see how like a cascade of events like this goes retake the damage to the food supply that's happened in India, India and Bangladesh are particularly interesting because of the population density multiplied by total population. That is now Food vulnerabilities. And so you start to get a damage to the food supply system there. And the total number of people that can be affected is just unprecedented, right? It's just astronomical. And we were looking at this before COVID from climate change. So remember the year started off with Australia burning, right? And while there were a number of factors, there was environmental mismanagement that led to too much down wood because they had been too small fires and not dealt with the forestry well, and because groundwater had been used up irresponsibly, and whatever. There were a number of factors but increased dryness and heat was one of the major factors. So then we started looking at climate change mediated not just do we have a climate that takes out the ability for people to live as a whole, which we're not going to get, which is why Caesar and FHI, whatever, don't look at climate change that much, but they should when they factor cascade effects, which is do you have Climate dynamic that leads to like, for instance, this upcoming summer and Indian Bangladesh are estimated to have 52 Celsius heat waves independent of COVID. Well, that is enough to actually destroy most of their staple crops. And so when you don't have food stores, singing meaningful enough food stores, you can destroy the staple crops and you have people that are right on the edge of basic needs being unmet. Then what happens? So then, do the people and like without groundwater, and without food and 52 Celsius heat, just die peacefully? Right? Or do they start to try to get access to the limited resources and then violence emerges over limited resources? So where do those violence lines cleave along? Well, they cleave along existing tension lines. Does that look like Hindu Muslim tension lines? Sure. And so then does that look like India Pakistan tension that starts to mount and you see you start to see the cascade that happens when you have systemic fragility of this kind
So now we still have that upcoming set of heat waves to deal with in India on top of the fact that we already just had a unanticipated crop failure ahead of that. Okay, so now we're talking about how do we rebuild things? Does anybody want to rebuild this food supply system the way that it is? Like, no, it's the most fucking terrible thing you can imagine, right? Because if you're gonna do factory farming, nobody wants that near them, because it's gruesome, right? It's environmentally gruesome, it's ethically gruesome. It's like nobody wants those jobs, they have to usually be the jobs are largely run by immigrants who have no other option. And so if you're going to do gruesome factory farms, and they have to be in the areas that will accept them, then you have to ship them too far distances. And you also have to have a very fragile supply chain that can break through something like COVID. So let's say we want to make our supply chains, less fragile. That also means you want to increase locality. If you want to increase locality. You have to have types of agriculture that people are KC, which is actually really good, right? Because the ability to ship the horror somewhere else, right? The open pit mining or the mountaintop removal mining or the factory farm or the landfill, that we can ship the horse somewhere else. Nobody has to see it depending on lots of shipping. And everybody thinks that life is pretty cool around here because we put all the ugly parts somewhere else. That is actually one of the things that drives systemic fragility. So if we start saying, Well, how do we increase food security? Well, one aspect is can we start increasing locality in food systems while doing that we'll also require making food systems that are better for soil better for animal welfare, better for the environment, better for human health, on and on, right? So and better for preventing future zoonotic pandemics that occur in places where you have a bunch of sick animals and a tight environment so it's important to remember that right before China had you know stars Cove to emerge, they had to kill it. A humungous percentage of all their pigs because of a swine flu that emerged because of terrible pork based factory farming and, and they had another major bird flu outbreak, India had a bird flu outbreak because factory farms are terrible, they shouldn't exist. So that's an example of something that just broke that we have to rebuild because the consequence of not rebuilding it is too destructive for the world. And we need to rebuild it differently. There's a bunch of other examples like this. So pretty much the way I see COVID is that it was a just a large enough global issue to set off the cascade effects of systemic fragilities that would have been set off by something. And so now the major issues that we're looking at are we, you know, like let's say we look at so we just talked about food supply. Let's say we look at the economy. We already had a situation where the a percentage of global GDP that went to debt servicing was so high that the economy was fundamentally dead and broken. Right. And we needed to restructure it in some deep way. Because you can't have that much of total GDP going to debt servicing. Well, as a result of COVID, GDP dropped everywhere. And that went way the fuck up. And we were already at an existential level of GDP to debt ratio. So it's like, Okay, so what are the economic effects of trying to keep propping that system up? And if you play them out, they're terrible. What does it take to fix it? Can we actually redo global financial monetary policy, central banking policy? What is the biggest type of step we could actually make in this place?
I think it's important to note you know, you were mentioning something that might be able to decrease predatory opportunism in in certain places. Like we've heard education, I would say since COVID, has been happening predatory opportunism has increased more than I have ever seen it in any other time, or that I can think of in history, because when the market gets more volatile, there's a lot more money to be made. If you know how to make it, there's a lot more money to be lost, there's also a lot more money to be made because there's more movement occurring. So if you're the one that is at the top of the power law, distribution of intelligence and ability to actuate, then you're going to do very well. And we saw that right we saw some people get stupidly rich during the Great Depression relative to everyone else and also get more total asymmetry of wealth as it most people are getting poor. So it's it, the volatility increases a cemeteries. So when you look at all the private intelligence companies that when people leave CIA and NSA and whatever, that's where they go to work with those capabilities, who contracts them who are their main customers. Well, it's financial institutions are the biggest customer there's plenty of other ones right but hedge funds And private equity funds, whatever. So in terms of who was getting briefings in December, and then early January, this is why you sell senator selling stock in January regarding Oh, this is actually a big fucking deal. And this is going to affect the world. If I run a hedge fund, and the market is near the top of what the market has ever been at, and can't keep going like that forever, and I see that there's about to be a major set of hits. Even if I hypothetically have a lot of money and a lot of power and a lot of access and I could try to use that to get the CDC and the wh o to do the right thing to save a lot of lives. That's not my job. And it's not what my incentive is my incentive is to say, fuck, this is the time to sell all my stocks at the top of the market. I'm going to get a rebuy them at the bottom of the market when they are radically decreased in price and consolidate the fuck out of the total power base. I'm also going to short the market on the entire way down. I'm going to start shorting airlines and whatever else It isn't because of asymmetric information, asymmetric intelligence, I'm going to know about oil shock issues and food shock issues and whatever to be able to know which commodities to short and which ones to put options on ahead of time. Then there were a lot of pools of capital, like sovereign wealth funds and family offices that have big pools of liquid capital that could not be well deployed recently. Because we had negative interest rates on bonds. And so it's like I can't just leave my money sitting somewhere and have it make money and negative interest rates are because the market was so broken because so much of the money was going to debt servicing and the global wealth inequality was so much that you had to basically just keep pumping free money, which is what negative interest is to keep the system from collapsing. And so and you didn't have very high volatility so now those huge pools of sovereign wealth and you know, liquid capital are like awesome, we get a buy up infrastructure for pennies on the dime, right and consolidate power lot. So The people who have most access to intelligence and actuation capacity have been busier than ever, during this time not relaxing, right? If you're, if you have less to do you know that you are not at the power law distribution at the top of the power law distribution, because those people are seeing this as a maximum opportunity space, but it's the opportunity to be able to say, Oh, you know, lots of volatility. And it's not just volatility in markets. It's also awesome. This is a great way to roll out the surveillance tech, we were wanting to roll out to get all of that data for surveillance capitalism or to increase the power of states if that's our particular thing to do. So that's, and now people will go for it right? Or we can at least force it through.
situations where people won't be able to tend to elections in the same way they would have previously been To because of health issues is a great time to try and manipulate elections. So, or if I'm China, and I'm trying to advance the Belt and Road initiative, and there were some sticky places that weren't moving through. And it happens to be that I'm really the only manufacturer of PGP at decent scale in the world, the places that wouldn't sign the Belton road initiative before. Well, now, if that's the only way that they get to not die of the plague is that we can help them out and also not die of poverty is their economy crashes. Or let's say that we're Russia wanting to get the eastern Alliance Baltic state back and kind of weaken NATO forces and EU or so just kind of you think about all the power players, they're all motivated to do the shit they were already doing. But were you during that equilibrium phase, it's much harder to change the total relative power during a time where you break up the equilibrium. You can have much more radical changes of power coming out the other side, like, you know, think about the US coming out clearly The world leader of World War Two, not going in that position and Britain coming out radically downregulated everyone who is sophisticated in the game of power is seeing this as that type of thing. And so I would say the fragility has set off like we have increased, meaningfully increased risk of violence in the US and in other developed areas at the social level of just how many people are are freaked out right. Like they have very partial sense making in a world dominated by narrative warfare and information warfare, so nobody feels like they can actually make real sense. So they just do tribalism stuff. And so they're and it's tricky, right? So they see I'm a right oriented person. I don't know particular people that have died, but I also live in a low population density area. And everything on the news is totally suspect as fake news and I'm afraid Have the idea that that corruption and conspiracy and whatever would be happening to control things actually go down and look at my local hospital. There's nobody fucking there and it's empty. And I see a few other things like empty hospitals, no, of course, if you actually have a pandemic going on, you will try to stop elective processes and so you will have doctors going out of business and empty hospitals while also having a real pandemic. But there's some sophistication and nuance to be able to make sense of that whole thing. And if I don't have it, the partial perspective is pretty compelling. Right? So then I'm like, Oh, fuck, they're trying to take our freedoms away. We founded this country based on the right to bear arms and you know, stand up against our government. So that thing starts to happen, right? And and then you see simultaneous to that black guy running get shot, protests happens. Bunch of bunch of black people doing a protest carrying guns, right. And so you see the like, oh, there's lots of sides that are at meaningful tension with each other, increasing the signaling of violence. Then we see the actual violence increasing in, in certain areas, riots that happened in London and whatever. And then very meaningful stuff in places like Nigeria, and
then we see bigger things like
I don't think most people pay enough attention. But when you look at
General McChrystal coming out a few weeks ago saying, I'm going to be using advanced DARPA technology to counter the fake news that Trump is putting out, people should pay attention when a four star general who ran covert ops for the US military whose job was to overthrow governments from the inside using tools of narrative warfare. He talks about using advanced AI semantic capability developed by DARPA to go against the standing president. Like that should be a signal if people are paying attention. Oh, what the fuck that is closer to civil war. I don't know what signals are closer, right. So you just started looking at all those types of things and you look at the increased tension and signaling regarding military In between US and China, and on and on. So if we could go by sector, whether we're talking about the financial sector, the economic sector movements towards violence, grid security, and say, the existing risks that were there just got accelerated by like a decade, in almost all areas.
Yeah. I mean,
now the question is to come out the other side, not way, way, way worse requires dealing with all that not just dealing with the virus, but dealing with the second and third order effects that have already kicked off. And if we don't deal with that, we will come out way, way worse. In order to deal with it, we have to do deep enough changes that we will say, Hey, we don't want to redo food supply this way, or monetary policy this way, and we could come out much better. But that requires that the people who are thinking about how to do it better have to be as effective at making should happen at a global scale, as the groups that are currently working on power consolidation.
Yeah, I think,
yeah, man, there's so many things. Like, I mean, one of the things, just like, you know, I think echoing mud, moving off a few of the things that, that you mentioned, one of the things was like being the Belt and Road initiative. I think in a previous podcast, you mentioned what what if China was actually tying that, you know, kind of like to the,
you know, to the,
to the condition of using their digital currency right then like many of the kind of like digital currencies and like all of the promises of freedom that we're excited about of them previously, would kind of like, fall to the wayside then. Right. And I think the same is true when when you look at like, I mean, if I look on, if I think back of how this all started, and how can I be optimistic I was that there's a ton of opportunities to do an incredible amount of good, and we've been thinking about this and I think really, really smart people are on it, and I think about it and are talking about it, but Neela it thanks If I actually look at what's happening in the world, in the meantime, it seems like things are just slowly getting worse and worse, a little bit, like on a very kind of like, personal level, like I was out in San Francisco a few days ago. And like, there were like, three car like car races on the street, right? Like people with motorcycles, with cars racing out, like multiple people peeing in the park, the police totally overwhelmed that police every every five meters wherever I went, like people just like totally wasted everywhere on the street. And I was like, wow, this is very different to like, the types of worlds that we're thinking about on a daily basis. And those are global salons. So you know, it's kind of like weird to see the delta between Meanwhile, like, it's kind of painful to see like, we're always thinking and in ways in which the system could be much better, but like, it just seems like we're not taking into account many of the kind of like, just very real physical, kind of like physical constraints that are like that are kind of currently and making people move, right. And if you like the same as Like on, you know, if we think about it on a global scale in terms of what what may happen with oil, like one of the things that we've been talking about today, on the one hand, it's, it's somewhat great that all features are negative because for once we may be able to make the move to like, when you will enter energy. But on the other hand, also totally fucking terrifying, right? Because that may mean much, much more likely that we enter into like violent conflict between different powers, and especially with the US currently realizing that it doesn't have a chip and order on it on a global scale, right. Like we've never seen kind of like nations conduct international order moving peacefully, like switching peacefully, right? So it's like, it seems like it's a total via cognitive dissonance by which you can dream up those really amazing changes that could be occurring. Meanwhile, things are moving really quickly in all sorts of directions and in really complicated ways with not only second order effects but like that's why I mentioned the currency like the you know, potentially Chinese contract Maybe you are ordering something like you know that digital currency if they have a kind of like, unfortunately like the development vote on many others, that's under second order. That's almost like a third order effect. So I my question. So it's a long winded way of saying there's it seems to be a ton of opportunity. This used to be a ton of risk. It seems like we're really smart people together often. And I'm also speaking about your circles that are thinking really well about this. And you just mentioned how intelligent people within the system are gaining could make a ton of money by gaming the system with information that they have. So what is kind of like the kinds of information that we could be using and the kinds of comparative advantage that we may have, and putting that to the table to create the better worlds or not the worst ones of those.
Something I was personally really impressed with.
And I don't mean impressed in a good way just impressed upon me when I first started in countering the halls of power in the world more so top of government and finance and like that is how few people there were actually really good thinkers. They were smart enough to understand how to execute certain types of things. Not particularly creative, not particularly systemic, not particularly critical, but like, just basically smart enough. They were mostly ambitious, like super fucking ambitious, and super hardworking and slanted heavily in the cluster B direction. cluster B, meaning DSM five, personality disorder, specifically the power seeking ones that are willing, because, like, if you don't have something psychologically wrong with you, for the most part, those are really miserable lives, to be continuously engaging with people that are trying to fuck you over and stab you in the back and lied to you so that you can just get more power that doesn't equate to meaningful quality of life and have no real relationships because the only people that are interacting with you want something from you. Like you there has to be something mostly psychologically wrong with you to want to gain a lot of power. So the psychological dispositions that are power seeking call it sociopathy. psychopathy, narcissism, tend to be willing to put up with the difficulties and do the fucked up things necessary to win a lot of win, lose games and get to the top of the power law distribution of power systems. And sometimes, you actually need to not have complex thoughts so that you can avoid looking at the externalities you're causing and that you can give plausible deniability even to yourself. And to be able to just execute on some simple things, which is usually where more power comes from. So then I see people who care more and have more complex thinking not want to do things that will cause lots of externalities and think about what the quality of life in their short period of time being alive is and not necessarily want to be engaged in those types of financial warfare and political warfare, whatever all the time. And so they just don't ever get much power, which also means they don't influence things very much. So basically, there's a disposition. There's a systemic disposition that makes sociopath and they're like, mostly around the world. And until we actually fix that, we are just on a movement towards self induced termination.
Well, I mean, there is this argument of like, you know, why the worst right to the top and all of like, all of those arguments that I think are usually really, you know, arguments against the consolidation of power, right. And I think that you in previous podcasts and on your writing pointed to a lot of complex systems that are not currently being built in the crypto commerce space in which at least You could have better sense making tools that would make that would make those kind of tendencies much harder. But, you know, I wonder whether, you know, you're proposing that, like, should we reform or should we exit and build new?
On the speaker orthogonal to that question?
First, just addressing that question, I would say there's, there's roughly three horizons of focus that I pay attention to. I pay attention to like immediate triage, which isn't trying to reform the current systems and it isn't trying to build new ones. It's just trying to keep some terrible shit from happening that we can't fix afterwards. And so, like, how do we prevent massive death in India right now, and massive escalation of violence. We're not even we're not going to fix capitalism or fix corruption or fix the current Indian government to do that. It's like can we can we do the right things with supply chains and Aiden shifts to be able to prevent, because there are some issues that you can prevent, but you can't fix them after they've happened. They are irreversibly disruptive. And so one of the things I'm very focused on is the kind of sense making that shows us the escalation pathways to various types of irreversible catastrophic risk so that we can identify the most targeted interventions to stop those things from happening. So that's actually neither fixing the current systems nor making better ones, right. That's just keep the patient from bleeding out. Then there is how do we work with the current institutions to make them better because we're not going to have post capitalist post nation state post democratic societies running the world in the next few years. We're just there's no fucking way that's going to happen. And it's not even going to happen in the generation their generational shift has to occur, for the up leveling of systemic sense making and for good systems that start to happen somewhere to get through the resistance necessary to be the primary operating system. So that means that the, you know, 50 to 100 trillion dollars that trades hands every day that is that much collective human incentive and human behavior is going to keep running through the systems, it's running through for a while. So we have to take those systems and make them less terrible, not even say more good, just less terrible. And that's kind of the second horizon of focus is institutional repair. How do we take and most of the institutions we currently have were better when they were created, and then they decay because predatory opportunism kind of decayed them. And that's actually if you, you know, Sam o probably spoke about that when he was on here, Michael Vassar might have the theory of institutional decay civilizational decay. So if we look at the way that the American Republic was initially intended it it's it's not a perfect form of governance and it of course doesn't address how to To deal with a decentralized exponential tech world and Facebook like it doesn't, they weren't thinking about those issues. So we need something better than that. But it's so many thousands of times better than the shit we have right now. That is basically like a maximally corrupt. kleptocracy, pretending to be a republic. And not even pretending all that much, because it doesn't matter what people think, because they don't do anything. Which was very clear in things like the Epstein case, or even COVID right now. But Epstein case was very interesting to me, because that marked the hallmark, in my witnessing in the US, were some people still believed in the news to where nobody actually believed in the news, if they're paying attention, because when Epstein died, all of the major publications whether they were believed to be right leaning or left leaning their major publications continuously and only said when Epstein commit suicide in prison and I just don't know anyone that actually thinks City commit suicide in prison.
And so what that meant was everyone said
What the fuck is that if the left and the right leaning and supposedly owned by different people and different organizations, and they're all saying something that nobody believes and then but still nobody does shit about it because nobody thinks they can do anything about it and they're all on benzos and opiates and porn and Facebook, so they're kind of too weakened and addicted to do anything anyways. Plus, if you think about trying to go do something about it, you're like, Okay, don't revolutions require violence. The SWAT team has tanks? Like what the fuck do we do against tanks? So how do you deal with these things when it seems like they're things are actually relatively comfortable and no matter how upset I get, by the time I've scrolled Facebook for five minutes, I forgot, right like the hyper normal stimulus is strong enough that I forgot, and the seeming chance of succeeding at something seems so hard that people just It doesn't really matter. So we don't even have to pretend that there is a republic that much anymore.
On the Epstein thing, it's important to just kind of say here.
People who paid attention there said, Okay, wait.
So Mueller said,
when he was trying him the first time, said publicly, I was told to shut this case down that he's a Epstein is a US intelligence asset that's above my paygrade.
And then we find out the things Epstein was involved in. And we and then we hear the names that would be part of the court investigation if it went the next day, which involves presidents on both the Republican and Democrat side let lots of other people say so this is the most important court case in the history of the US where multiple presidents on both sides and you know, people of all kinds of power are possibly going to be
indicted for like some of the worst crimes people can think about.
And the dude dies in jail on suicide watch and the cameras go off and everything the day before and we're like, Okay, wait, does that mean that there isn't really a justice system? And the there isn't really a police system as part of the justice system, there isn't really news. And the intelligence agencies are part of are involved in things that involve like child sex trafficking. Anyone who's paying attention, had all those thoughts, and then just started doing other shit again.
the topic that comes up for me here is what does it take to think about better systems and solutions, but then what does it take to go implement them and to be as effective at implementing as okay if I want to protect the rain forest and South America, I have to be more effective than the multinationals and the national interests behind trying to cut the rainforests down, which is the CCP, major Chinese multinationals, European multinationals, some Kremlin forces from Super corrupt politicians, doing all those types of things, where we lose the fucking Amazon, if it continues to be some very incompetent NGOs against those forces. So if you want to actually keep it, you actually have to be able to out influence them. And that's one of the things that I'm really wanting to see is typically people only start to engage in the game of influence, which is also the game of power if they are oriented towards power seeking in ways that makes them not good stewards of power. And the world is fucked from this. For people who are trustworthy, who could be good stewards of power of groups who could be they will not for their own intrinsic reasons, be oriented to want to do that, but the ones who could for the collective good be willing to step up into that shitty life of engaging in the game of power because it's actually good for the whole. That is one of the critical things that is needed for the world to make right now. And that's neither new systems. Oh, so I went off. That's neither, like there's triage work. There's fix the existing systems, there's make new, better systems, but all of them require being able to move stuff effectively at a global scale.
Yeah, I think one thing, you know, like one thing about the sense making a parrot is like, if you make an elephant in the brain, Robin Hanson kind of points out to why conduct his work and predictions why he thinks that it has never been picked up. And it's basically like, people don't want to know what's going to happen because that means that people could have predicted wrong which means you can hold people accountable for having predicted wrong and firing made wrong decisions. And people don't really want that. They just want to collectively treat themselves and signal to each other that they're trying to do the best. But meanwhile, no one actually really cares whether anything, kind of like with anything gets done and like and I do worry, you know that even if had really good sense making apparatus is like, you know, metabolism and a few other tools already out there that are really quite fantastic. But they seem to not be coupled to actuators, right? And you could say, well, either we kind of like wake up the establishment or that they you should be using something like too jokey of you Diggy physically dominant system or we try to kind of like, do better ourselves, which, you know, then again comes to the point of like, who's willing to step up within our communities to kind of like, take the game forward and do that, you know, and I think actually mean, well, I mean, you know, he just came out today or yesterday or something, right, like Twitter and Facebook, just like now cooperating with the CDC and with the wh o something to add to try to make sense of like, fake news posts, about about COVID-19, which then tricks people and having less and less trust in any type of sense making a purchase anymore. That's kind of like, vaguely in the mainstream, right, and people just getting more and more down the conspiracy alley, because you know, as you said, within the Epstein case, like it doesn't really seem like any When can be trusted anymore, but who and, and other, you know, organs are telling you like one day like don't wear masks The next day, totally wear masks and like, it's also confusing, it's really, really hard to kind of like, figure out who to trust. But I do actually think that this community has this intrinsic benefit of like being able to have have called the shots really, really early. And so, you know, I just want to kind of like maybe poke you in a bit more on that, you know, what would you already saying? Well, it is almost a property of those people who should step up to do something that they inherently don't want to and and and and that those who want to may not be the right people who should
who should do it.
So how do you incentivize those people if at all, like you know, what I specific kind of like projects that you think could require a leader right now, what do you think will be good people to take something on? And you know, we're talking quite locally and quite actionable like what what would you like people in this community to focus on more and then you know, maybe we can also say amongst ourselves and take them
I wouldn't be very unhardened just the rationalist community in a community
started to use words like sacred and devotion more and not as a kind of intellectually makes sense that there is a thing that we can define this way semantically and or it's a signaling kind of thing, but from having experiences of, and I don't mean to define them in some kind of pre rational, religious way, but sacred, what is most precious, what is most meaningful to me and what is meaningful to me more than my own experience in my own life? And why is my own experience in my own life? Given meaningful and what does that tell me about the value of life and experience as a whole? And then, in light of that, what am I? What is my devotion to, and to not just what has the best utility function?
They move in different parts of us, and then you have to do both.
If you read the Dow teaching as a book of leadership, it basically says, in many different ways, the person who really wants to lead everybody should run away from because there's something wrong with that guy. And they're probably basically psychologically a child. And the person who really, really doesn't want to lead and everyone pushes into the position because everyone trusts them from how they show up. As long as that person doesn't start to identify with the role too much they can probably do an RA job.
But you asked how do we kind of put People there, I would say if people meditate on what is actually sacred to you, what do you want your life to be in service to? What do you really understand is going on in the world right now. And let that be more of what has your attention than your to do list or your Facebook feed, then there will start to be a sense of what you can't not do. And it's not just for, you know, personal disposition, but what the greater collective need and what's meaningful calls you to
Yeah, I mean, I think you know, the rationalist and I've never been there but have the secular sources for example, right. And, and I do think that, that kind of like feeling is something that I want to tap into with existential hope. Like, see, I created this website with like, positive visions for humanity and like, it's more like a philosophy. Kind of like, blog really that I think because if you if you talk to many people that have done incredible things, they have done them because they've read very early Very inspiring stuff that never that they could never forget about. Right? Like it came from this like, total, kind of like, internal admiration for this incredible future that that they could see or for this, you know, really like an incredible kind of almost like aesthetic flow state or something that that came from an intrinsically positive place. And I think that's an incredibly kind of, like, stable motivator. Right? It doesn't, you know, it doesn't make you it doesn't make you stop very, very, very quickly. Right. And so I think having that and having that community, I think is, is really motivating for us. I would kind of like, I worry a little about, you know, like electing like the the global leader, I think, you know, one thing that we also often tend to talk about in this communities is like, well, it took us a really long time in history to kind of like stop asking who should be in power but to start asking more like, you know, what kinds of architect decision architectures can we create, kind of like which empower more people Right. So even there, I think, you know, this kind of like, tendency of electing, you know, the right person, you know, maybe we can, we can do a little better than that if we get the right architectures in place. And I'm curious whether, you know, you could point to a few specific, kind of like, I guess, like, cooperation architectures or ways in which you think people are already cooperating well, that we could model off.
It seems to me, that you, Alison, are personally
working your ass off to make these videos available to everyone. You're personally taking a bunch of Leadership Initiative during this time to make a more beautiful future that you feel inspired to do and that you care about, and everybody's wouldn't be here if you weren't doing that. And everyone is appreciating and they're not all taking equal leadership and making it happen. Don't get confused. Decision architectures to come about still don't take people taking leadership action to make them happen. Like who the fuck figures out the decision architectures, who implements them who gets people involved? That's always in, like, inspiration on the behalf of some people that makes those things happen. So don't underweight that. That is that can be a bridge to people saying I'm going to take leadership not to hold leadership forever. I'm going to try and take some leadership to create things that help everyone be able to participate in leadership and more democratized and better ways. And that is the healthy right kind of leadership, the right kind of leadership is I will use some asymmetric influence or power in a way that tries to increase everyone else's access to be able to do that as well, rather than to continue to increase my own asymmetry of power over everyone else. That's the what I would call legitimate versus illegitimate power. And so what I'm proposing is that legitimate power has a necessary function in moving up to a post illegitimate power dynamic world.
All right, taking that and kind of acting on it by unmuting, a participant who has a question. Max, you had a question? I'm not.
Hello. Are you going to relaunch the Americans project? And if so, please, or if not, please, could you present the main thesis thesis slash aims for men's OF THE Hi there, I'm familiar with it.
Emerging emergence project was a name of some kind of research and aspirations I was engaged in like a decade ago, which is just part of this ongoing thread for me of how to understand the nature of the problems in a way that gives rise to better solutions and implement them. That was a that was a particular point in time with a particular set of collaborators and The work, the insights advanced a lot since then. So I wouldn't say relaunch that. I would say that was a step in a lot of steps for me. They were, you know, like I started with activism young. And there were certain problems I really cared about. And then I saw that the projects working on solving those problems just moved the problems and caused other problems. And like, I very personally saw that like, we worked to get fences around a preserve for elephants in Africa, but it didn't address the underlying poverty and basis of why they were poachers are the poachers started moving to hunter mountain gorilla and the white rhino, both of which were more endangered. I'm like, Fuck, we just worked super hard to make the world worse. Because we just had more endangered animals get poached, and I started looking at all the places where that happens. I'm like, it's pretty much everything because we, we define the problems too narrowly. And so our solution to a narrowly defined problem ends up externalizing harm in other areas. So I started looking at more and more of the problems, how are they interconnected? And then are there underlying generators that give rise to them? And then also, how are they are there things that are getting worse, which got me in the catastrophic and existential risk. And then I'm like, man, there's so many fucking catastrophic risks. If we solve the top 10, we'd only buy like 10 years. Because there's thousands of them. They're all driven by the same generator function. So we can't just deal with them all kind of as instances we have to deal with the whole class. So that led me to thinking about why do humans use white? What is it about human architecture, human behavioral architectures that has us keep developing more power and using it badly? And what would it take to be able to not have us be bad stewards of power, technological power? Using it badly on purpose, warfare and rivalry and whatever or using it badly? Not only Purpose meaning just externalities, but you know the cumulative effects and at scale. So that gave rise to this kind of generator functions of existential risk work. And then thinking about, are there categorical solutions to those generator functions that make a new civilization model? The kernel of a new civilization knows a bunch of years of work to kind of figure out what are there? And can we define a necessary and sufficient set of design criteria for a civilization that can have exponential tech and not self terminate? We came up in that research, the answer is yes, there is actually architectures that are possible. That doesn't mean we'll get there. They're hard, but they're possible things. So then there was how do we work on building that? And then also, the next step was well, that's going to take generations and we don't get there. Currently, if we don't do a whole bunch of the, you know, triage work and working to change the current institution. So what kind of both intelligence and influence needs to happen. So that's kind of the progression of interests and projects and emergence project was one kind of step in that inquiry.
I just shared civilization emerging, which I got these quite a word from you from moving that is one of the big another, let's say data stage and that your projection, and maybe I mean, it's now 7pm. So what we usually do is like people, whoever wants to stay on, stay on, but now I always want to give like panelists like an easy way to go out and be mindful of your time. And maybe having you super welcome to stay on I'm sure that there's a ton of questions. But, you know, maybe as the final words or his words to lead on to the next discussion, like what kind of like things that are currently on your mind. What are the next things that you will be focusing your attention on tomorrow and the days after
Just for context, if people go there civilization emerging as a blog I put up a few years ago, put a few articles on, and then haven't put anything on it in several years. And there's like a new economic series, Part 1234. It was supposed to be an eight part series. So I described several parts of what's wrong with economics and then never get around to finishing explaining what to do with it because there was other stuff that became a higher priority. There's maybe still some value in some of it. Most of the stuff that I've been focused on doesn't have a particular public face because not all projects benefit from a lot of attention.
But there is a project that I'm working to
get over the line that will have a public face and that I would be very interested in this community's feedback on and participation with, which is a basically a site that will be trying to help correct Information ecology in the epidemic comments by doing both being able to vet the information space for the information that has highest confidence intervals and most significance and being able to share that in the right form. So kind of not news, but meta news, but then also being able to show the epistemic process by which we come to that. So people don't just get better information to do sense making but better information processing capabilities. So sometime in the next month or so, a beta version of that should be up and I look forward to hear people's thoughts on it.
Very cool. Yesterday, we had two models out here, one on infinity project, which is like a big way in which we could model the whole economy. And then the other one by Jamie Jarvis was on here on COVID-19 argument chains from Cobra convert in a few of you guys have connected but maybe that would be useful to touch base on as well. Okay, I want to get recently Yeah. Oh, great. Okay. Super Well, I want to give you the chance to kind of like to gracefully bow out here. And meanwhile, you're also very, very welcome to stay on.
absolutely happy to. I'm happy to hop off. People like to talk about things when the speaker leaves, but I'm also happy to stay and answer questions. If that's desired.
Well, we'll happily take you. Okay, next, we have Diego de veau. I'm gonna unmute you get a bunch of questions. And I think the last one that you posted, look quite good. I'm gonna unmute you now.
All right, so first of all, I want to say that I'm a big fan of all the stuff that you've done and I've been amazed by your videos and thoughts and so on. Then the second question is historically the entities that became civilization like and became super organisms, their religions, and I'm curious if you have any ideas of how to create anti rivalries or again v ish religion like structures, and what advantages and disadvantages there are in kind of CO opting or Are hijacking the religious aspect of the brain in order to, you know, steer a burgeoning civilization that way. Yeah.
It's actually really worth studying the religions that had an some meaningful endurance and or less directly violent. So studying the Quakers studying the Jews, like there's some very interesting things regarding how those collective intelligence systems worked. Jews specifically being a diaspora not having a physical location to defend or to be able to rest upon had to create this kind of decentralized collective intelligence system to have synchrony well being in embedding cultures
So there's Yeah, there's a bunch of interesting things to study there.
And of course, we can look at the Jains and the Buddhists and groups that historically had non violence is higher principles. And you see that, like Tibet can stay safe for pretty long time until it actually becomes a risk. And then it gets taken over by a militaristic force pretty easily, right? And so one of the tricky things has been, and this is like, when you look at one of the things that blows my mind is looking at the history of Christianity, and saying, okay, so when we look at the Inquisition, or the witch trials, or the crusades, or any of the things that said they were in Jesus's name, and then you look at the Gospels of Jesus saying that he who has no sin cast the first stone like how the fuck did people figure out that piece of mental gymnastics to do that thing, right? So you start to see an evolution. And you can see like the seniors went Jain direction with Christian kind of ideas and then the Crusades went a different direction. So it's almost like you the religion is like a mimetic complex, and it can undergo mutation. And some of those will have it propagate more and defend itself against external forces more. Typically, those are the ones that move it in the direction of effective violence, not always often. So one of the big questions becomes how does a peaceful culture stay peaceful while not being overtaken by warring cultures, medically, economically or militarily. Because if the warring culture is willing to initiate that thing, and the peaceful culture loses by default, then that doesn't work. But if the peaceful culture to be able to defend itself against a militarized culture has to reallocate all of its attention to being better at warfare than the military is culture, it's not a piece Culture anymore. So there is that's a question I spent a lot of time with. And there are some very interesting insights on that. But that's like a whole that would take another conversation.
Right? Just to mention one thing.
I mean, the example just cited, they're somewhat isolated by geographically. So I'm curious if you know, are there less violent, militaristic examples, or at least an idea of how to structure a system that isn't that isolated and still doesn't involve the militaristic ethos.
And so I mentioned the Jews. And
then also, even the Quakers when they were say, embedded within dominant Protestant and other religions here in the US, so you have ones that were not, which is different than the Amish who stayed isolated. Ones that stay isolated is one thing but ones that will be in bed Within a dominant culture and interact with that dominant culture and even get positions in the halls of power while being able to maintain fealty to their relationships, is that's actually a very interesting study. And I will say that none of them I believe, are quite adequate. You could take the Masons As another example, right? Which are quite interesting. Similarly, and I mean, the Masons, mostly after the US was formed. So, geographic isolation is obviously one factor. So what religion we could create on the Mars base is one whole kind of question, but the ones that geographic proximity is one question which is, what types of rituals require physical embodiment and the people to be able to share in that way, versus physical isolation, which is which ones require not being infiltrated by other means and other people? Yeah. All right, obviously doesn't really answer the question. It just expanded on the question and it's a really interesting topic and we would need some more time.
Yeah, I also I quite like Brett Weinstein's thoughts on
on the evolution of religions. And I think I remember
I was telling him and when we talked about how can we create a renaissance from from the current from from COVID-19. You know, we're kind of going through a few of the kind of like factors that make religions great and we're trying to innovate, see whether you can kind of like, almost, like, modulate movement according to those but the problem is that, you know, like, they're really, really hard to kind of, like fake, you know, like many of the things that make them work are kind of like, because we we intrinsically, intrinsically buy into them. It's really hard to engineer a movement that has the same properties as a working religion, I think,
like even the phrasing of can we utilize or hijack that said, of dispositions in the brain for some useful purpose isn't what gives rise to the experience that people have devotion to. Right like there is an actual experience of belonging and experience of aspiration to ethics and numinous experience that is an actual trends and mental operator as opposed to simply an omniscient operator thinking about a transcendental operator. So it's a it's a different thing. Someone doesn't have to have sloppy metaphysics to be able to understand phenomenology.
But you can also design it right like Mohammed probably was less Muslim than whoever came four generations later because they were raised in it from where they are and so their phenomenology is more entangled with the system than whoever designed the system and wrote the so we couldn't be the designers, if not the faithful
I think it's very interesting
to explore religions that emerged from authentic depth of insight and experience that weren't seeking to be religions. And yet the depths of experience and insight about the human condition was meaningful enough and compelling enough that it had some organic growth versus ones that were intended to gain power, oftentimes for political purposes, and that we're thinking about how to hijack different kinds of groupthink and belonging and superstition, and the different dispositions that those things will take, I think is also another very interesting inquiry.
All right, thank you. We're gonna give a few and like the chance for a few other participants to ask a question. So I've had another question. unmute you.
Hi. Can you hear me okay?
Yeah. So I was just wondering. So Daniel talks a lot about how you should Think about the problem in depth to make sure that you don't bias implements in solution, you don't cause other externalities.
Is there is there like a, like a balance to be had between between how much time you spend thinking about a problem versus implementing? Because, for example, you can spend your whole life thinking about something to try to implement perfect solution to it. But then and then you won't be as effective as if you maybe implements partial partial solution, then kind of figure things out along the way.
sometimes, the only way to actually figure out what the externalities are, is to start to experiment, or to figure out how it works is to start to experiment and but the key is, do I need to do safe to fail probes and safe to fail type experimental environments. And it's gonna depend upon the degree of consequential reality, so it's like what is the extra Now the consequence of this thing and what type of I'll tell you how I think about it. It's what is the complexity in terms of like, total number order of magnitude of interactions of the situation we're trying to interact with. So let's say I'm looking at doing some biotech thing in humans, there's going to be a lot more total complexity of biological interactions that can occur than if I'm trying to change something in the computer chip. And so I think about how many, how many orders of magnitude of interactions are here and what how many orders of magnitude have I considered. So that's one thing I'll think about is that the phase space of likely interactions relative to what I thought about. And if that's even within rough powers of 10, I'm at least thinking about it. Then I think about as best I can, what are the consequences, at least that are in the second order and maybe some bit of the third order set that I can think about, and the most More consequential. Those are also, the better we want to have thought about it. And the more we want to roll it out in a progressive process. So if I'm thinking about, Oh, I just created some self replicating synthetic biology, Let's release it in the backyard and see what happens. That's a dumb idea, right? Because the I I don't know what the externalities are going to be. It could be that I just released Greg green goo and it kills everything. Do I release it in a certain kind of a BSL four laboratory environment to be able to witness what's happening, right, like that would be the let's actually find out what it does, because we can't just think about it, we have to experiment and get into the medium itself. Now, if I'm looking at a hybridized crop, where I just bred a couple crops together, the total amount of genetic change on that compared to a genetically modified crop versus synthetic biology are going to have me want to do different things. of Safety Analysis. So like when I think about with COVID, and drugs that could help. If we take a drug that's been around for a really long time, like hydroxychloroquine or methylene, blue or ivermectin, or whatever drugs that we've had for 50 or 70 years, and used in millions of people and have a huge amount of long term safety data on, and now I'm just looking at, are they effective? I'm doing efficacy studies, I might be willing to expedite to speed up that research, more than a new drug that we don't have long term safety data on because I might say, Oh, well, it didn't cause any major consequences. In the two months I did the trial, but it's because it's, but it might be causing consequences that have delayed biological reactions to show up a year two years later. So if I already have long term data on safety, I can do faster stuff on efficacy. So I'm much more willing as from a policy perspective to expedite FDA office. ization on long term existing drugs than new ones. And I'm also more willing to expedite drugs and vaccines because the like a small molecule drug isn't intended to have an enduring effect. Whereas the vaccine is actually intended to modulate the th one th two systems for years or decades or permanently. And so long term safety studies are actually more important, and something that I'm anticipating will have a longer term effect. So that's an example of like, based on how much we already know, that's adjacent and what basis for concern about risk is there, what degree of appropriate research would need to come in place?
Um, I think that brings you back to like one question that I think we almost knew at the beginning of this, which is, you know, given the kind of bag like incredible, really failure of response that we've seen, I think, you know, the In the US, and you know, can be how do you best make sense of that? Do you think that is just feigning competence? Or do you think that there's kind of like some, something more under the hood that many of us, you know, like, maybe don't don't like to see it?
Do I think that
everyone who is in a position of influence has maximally good motives, and that any lack of effectiveness is simply a result of incompetence? I think that's just silly when you frame it that way. Right? Do I think that every major politician and different countries that are warring over power grabs and everyone working in who would benefit from surveillance tech and who would benefit from a collapse of the economy Do I think that all the people who have major influence and could influence institutional response really just want to save all the lives, they can make everything as good as they can keep the market from crashing and, you know, keep all the jobs intact. And the only reason we didn't do a better job is just incompetence. I think that's just silly. I think that we have people who are in positions, supposedly, on behalf of some larger thing, but there is a conflict of interest where it's actually on behalf of whatever their personal interests are, and they're advancing those agendas. Now, does that mean there is one coordinated cabal conspiracy at the top? No, it means that there is a decentralized set of opportunistic power grab incentives, combined with having to do enough towards the thing they're supposed to do that they don't get kicked out of their position. And do I think that there's an even distribution on how sociopathic everyone is? No, there's this Gaussian distribution on that. But no, I think saying that, you know, obviously very few people needed to die from COVID. Had we been paying attention in December and early January and doing effective responses and we didn't need to fuck the whole economy and the food supply chains need to get damaged. Did all those things happen just because all of the nation states are super bureaucratic and and the decision making processes are slow? No, that's not the only reason.
All right, thanks. I don't know whether you read by Robin Hanson came out with this post a while ago on a in goobie alliances globally and basically making the point that after this, the economic world order will be largely defined by those people that are by those countries that have got shipped together and can trade Those come in. And then you can see that between houses so currently
We didn't hear
Wi Fi spent. Okay, that's fine. Well, I was just gonna say there's a really interesting article by Robin Hanson He's basically talking about Group A and Group B alliances, and they currently like on a geopolitical scale. This is kind of shifting in the sense where many countries that were previously m airlines, or countries that were kind of like more high up in the, like geopolitical order are kind of like moving down because they're not really not getting their act together. And the US may also move into, into B Alliance for which it may not be safe enough to be in, let's say, the group A Alliance, which can have flow of labor and flow of goods amongst themselves. And if that so happen, and I see that kind of like on a, on a local level, where, you know, if you have different parts of people that all have different safety standards, and some of them are keeping their shoe together, and it's working really well. And you know, that trans isn't transitive and in the sense that, you know, you, you, you, there, there are certain performing and they're not all kind of like interacting well together. And I'm wondering on on a global level, If the same holds true in the sense that there will be kind of like, you know, we'll trade more with each other and in which perhaps like a lot of employers will move in, and we can like entice their employees to move into. And that won't be the same parts in which they have previously been living. Right, what that may mean on a geopolitical level.
I mean, we see a lot of Alliance shifting already. Right, we see.
The Italy's curve finally starting to flatten was when China came in and gave it a bunch of aid which included surveillance drones and other things. So and you see, eu and EU adjacent countries thinking that you would support them and didn't and then getting Chinese supporter. few cases, some other types of support. So massive Alliance shifting. We see even within the US the groups of states that are clustering so the the California, Oregon, Washington complex and the seven state complex around New York and I really feel that the US getting it shit together and being able to help lead Alliance efforts is pretty critical and will make a big difference to the way the world plays out. And because even though I can't say the US is actually a republic, it at least, it at least has that vague idea of having some values or ideals around a republic around democracy. Where as when we look at China, and we look at Russia, and we look at Saudi Arabia, and we look at Iran and most of the other power players, they don't even that's like a talk cracy is really fully embraced and I don't think exponential tech and power to talk cracy is a world we want to go towards. And I think that if those are the players that are offering aid to the rest of the world, and the US isn't because the US is so internally fighting over its own power because it has And this is how big empires die, right? And democracies make it two to 300 years, and we're almost at 250 years. There's so much power here that you have so much internal infighting to see who gets that power, that you just kind of lose awareness on what's actually happening in the world and that you're losing relative position to it. And it's not that I want the US position relative to the world to be something in particular, but I think that its ability to help participate with Alliance efforts for the values of roughly democratic type Western civilization values. Having a place I think is super important. And it's one of the things that I most want to see people engaged in is efforts that decrease internal bipartisan warfare and create more, more effective national governance that can then do international Alliance building better
U. K, we have two more questions from Luke nozick. And from Yasha you come and meet you.
So Daniel, you had a good said, I'm not sure if I misheard you, I think it's become a little more difficult comments, something about empowering people or, or distributing power. And, and then you recently alluded to Republic or democracy and these things being good. Um, can you be more specific about what the problem is with power? And who should? Who should actually organize it so that we can do things effectively, like do international treaties because it doesn't seem like, you know, warring parties in a democracy is somebody who's doing it that's very obvious, but what do you specifically believe about? How to Organize power, we should have habits and so that good effectively Wonder Woman have good things happen.
Wow, big question could go in a bunch of directions. Do you mean like, do I think moving towards a positive global single 10 is what we should aim for? Or is there some kind of future of democracy that we should aim for? Or like how do we make America better currently? Um, and obviously, when we talk about power, there's power in the markets which is achieved a certain way power in the state power and religion and culture.
Yeah, I would like to be able to address where the question what you're interested in better.
Can't hear you currently. I think Allison, you have to unmute him. Um, you're
muted for half a second I
muted there we go, there you go. Okay, I'd like you to be as idealistic as possible. So none of this triage, you know, or incremental ism stuff. Just what do you think is possible for, for humans, in an ideal state, I'm gonna try to get a sense of what your what your ideal, you know, political social organization is,
and got it.
And actually think all of those different realms are quite important because they, they're, they're sort of
orthogonal ways of looking at, at the whole thing some, some governments can be structures that it's, there's there's one that's autocratic over the other ones, but many times we've had them overlapping in in in power up as we lose power concurrent with your the Catholic Trying out all the kinks in the in the Middle Ages concurrently forget that with this
I think the distribution of power between those different types of institutions was actually problematic and important and usually became progressively more problematic.
But like when you think about
in the US the separation of the state and the market why we didn't just have a pure libertarian model, we had the idea of a kind of liberal democracy but also the separation of a state and a church. Then we say liberal democracy and kind of leave the role of the church out and mostly focus on market and and state and yet interestingly read all of the founding father comments about the need for people to have some kind of moral education as well as a you know, formal civic education for Anything like democratic process to work? The way I think about that, and I'll mention the longer term one. But the way I think about that briefly is the reason that a state was put in place in this in the kind of us experiment was it was seen that markets could solve most problems or solve a lot of the problems in terms of innovation and efficiency, but that they also would lead to organized crime. And they would lead to tragedy of the commons and different types of places where it was incentivized to do things that really created a shitty quality of life for everyone. So there was an idea that there was to be a state that had some kind of ability to regulate the most predatory aspects of markets. And so there was this idea of law and a monopoly of violence to be able to institute law that was based on jurisprudence, which is based on ethics, and we Why the founding documents are kind of existential ethical documents. And that's actually where the role of the church came in, which was we didn't want a single church having dominion over that. But the idea that there was philosophic, the church and the Academy, right that there were deep considerations of what is a good life that is informing ethics, it's informing jurisprudence, it's informing law, to be able to bind the predatory aspects of markets will facilitate the helpful aspects of markets simultaneously. And kind of the way I see it is that the markets the predatory aspects were designed to be bound by the state but the state was designed to be bound by a educated and engaged populace and where the state was formed by the people. And otherwise you get the watchdog issue where you have maximum incentive for the market forces to capture the regulatory forces and then just get crony capitalism, but in order for and then the people are out Actually bound by the market, which means accounting that they can't ask for rights they aren't willing to take responsibilities for and they can't, you know, implement shit where the where the accounting doesn't work out. And if you kind of think of that there's a really nice balance in it. But it's easy to see how asymmetries of power emerge where even though there's aggregate symmetry between supply side and demand side, there's more coordination on supply side than there is on demand side. So you start getting asymmetric information or fairs that lead to a less educated and plus just natural human weakness at scale that lead to the population not checking the government and then the state force the market forces capturing it. So I think there's some stuff that can be done to actually reverse this institutional decay and make a better version of this thing. And I'm actually very interested in that. I don't think it meets the sufficiency criteria long term. And so then the question of what is a more visionary long term distribution of power and choice making like I can say that I don't know, because we haven't implemented it and the ideas that I have about I don't know if will work. But I, I have thoughts on this topic that have to do with
one of the ways that I frame it up, if you think about
if you think about kind of Geoffrey West's analysis and scale, and the correspondence of that with kind of Dunbar society limits, and the idea that in general intended groups of people, whether they're companies or countries get diminishing collective intelligence and productive capacity at scale beyond give or take in evolutionary tribal size, then that ends up creating a basis for smaller groups to be more intelligent relative to the larger group and You both have an incentive for defection and the capacity to defect and get away with it because the larger group becomes stupider and can't do the appropriate accounting, so you end up getting knishes for sociopathic predatory behavior on the system. Whereas if you had linear development or superlinear development of collective intelligence as a function of scale as you go above Dunbar's number, you could have the group be smart enough to actually notice and bind the sociopathic defections, where everyone would do better by being by participating with the collective intelligence system and defecting against it. Now, exactly how do we instantiate that? Again, I think that goes it's conversation. I would love to have a conversation I'd love to have with you. That takes a much longer chunk of time.
Okay, wow. And I realized that like the line of questions is just starting to ramp up
Man, okay, how do we do this best? And
then it wouldn't be able to stay on for one more question then we've had it out.
Yeah. Okay. Yasha maybe you do one more question and then maybe Luke and Daniel, I can convince both of you to come on and talk it out on the next one together.
Okay. Yes, I'll search for you. Yes.
Okay. I'm unmuting you now.
Thank you. Good evening. Good evening.
Thank you, Danielle. This was amazing. It was very right range. I think that the how to find the best system question seems to come down to something that might be eventually contradictory. Like, how can we combine the benefits of competent totalitarianism with the robustness and self actualization and non violence of a well entrenched democracy? And it's on top of a very diverse and pluralist population and society and cultural traditions. That so that is a super difficult question and probably won't be able to solve it tonight. So a very simple question. Maybe in the end, what would happen if you take the present situation where the FDA is blocking, testing and together with the CDC and some other institutions, more or less directly responsible for the deaths of something like most of 90,000 Americans died? And how can we solve that? In this situation? Before the FDA, what would happen if California for instance, proxy FDA,
the federal agencies will look very quickly at us but at the moment, the situation seems to be a weakness of the federal government that would allow to renegotiate the distribution between federal and local power and create a better future
I will also say I don't know the answer to this would need to look in more depth but a few thoughts that come to mind. I think states can do totally fucked up stuff and have people who are very power signal level states, even at the level of cities, but they don't have, like states don't have nukes. Even their nukes might live in a state the federal government does. They don't states have a National Guard, but they don't have weapons of mass destruction and they don't have the same types of massive power consolidation. So I think the 10th amendment is very important. And I think the movements to an increase Tim's like when we talk about things that could get worse or better right now in the US, the idea that states become more relevant is actually a possibly very good idea with while having the factor for right and left states moving in further apart direction. And increase tension between them. So we have to factor for that. But that's mostly engineered. That's mostly narrative warfare engineered and could be addressed. But I do think taking it beyond the state down to the city level is better, because cities are real things and states are fictions just like nation states are fictions like where the boundary is, is what was determined in a war or a trade or whatever, but cities are based on the actual goods and services and transportation dynamics that need to be within a particular space of each other. So I think, and this is what Geoffrey West was showing in scale was that cities actually do have productive capacity that can be linear or super linear as a function of population. So I think having more governance at the level of cities is very interesting. And then having Coalition's of cities network network dynamics between cities, cities and the surrounding metropolitan areas, pretty much defined by transportation dynamics and There are obviously also tricky things where like, let's say we're dealing with a pandemic, where, let's say an area closes off its border, and figures out how to become a green zone. But the other areas adjacent to it don't Well, it doesn't actually get to reopen its border and re issue life without the other areas doing that, or, you know, one person can cause the infections again. So this is a place where the rights of individual places and their responsibility to each other are just so profoundly connected, which is why this is such a big deal. I think one, I think there's some stuff that's fucked up about the way tests have been blocked and rolled out. I think. I think there's a lot about it. But I also think that there's a lot that's really bad about the tests like, I don't think the amino acids are useful for testing trace, or really diagnosis for suppression at all there. It takes too many days from the time you were exposed in our infection. For the antibodies to show up, and the even, even if you have one that had very low false negatives at that point, and then there's too much that isn't known about what the antibodies actually mean yet or how long they last or the decay rate on them or any of those things. So I think we would need high sensitivity PCR that could be very, very widely utilized to be able to have testing really become very meaningful as a suppression strategy. And so we're not waiting for antibody response in the blood, we're being able to detect presence of the virus in the mucosa. So you know, nasal and oral swabs. And I think, I think we could roll out specific areas could roll out those types of diagnostics and be able to show the effectiveness of it mostly commercially and with local governments participation, and I think if it showed enough effectiveness, so like We're talking with some people in Las Vegas because Las Vegas is very focused on reopening because they're losing like a billion dollars a week per casino or whatever staying closed. So they really want to reopen.
Vegas by itself reopening could cause the infection to never go away in the world because people come from all over touch everything together in a closed air environment, circulated air and then fly back to the rest of the world. But they also have all the money to actually do the thing properly and the local government gets enough money from them, they want to really participate. So they could roll out heppa filters and pecho filters and then attack surface treatments and detection mechanisms and get the security on them right and and points of contact rapid turnaround PCR diagnostics, and actually be able to invest the capital to show the effectiveness to then be able to lower the economies of scale and the questions of if it's true or not to then get them implemented other places. So I'm interested in some of those approaches.
Thank you so, so much for joining today. I mean, even though you stayed on for 45 minutes longer almost than intended, I think we get just like that is better service. So thank you so much for actually joining the Bye Bye everyone. See you tomorrow. Thank you, Danielle.