Climate Change and y Malcolm Roberts

[ 13/September/22 Dirk posted a link to a speach by Malcolm Roberts]

This guy is either ignorant or is outright lying for purposes unknown.

Look at the data:
There is clearly a reduction in the increase in CO2 due to recession, but even during a recession, we still burn a lot of fossil fuels, and the CO2 keeps going up. The rate of increase slows, but it is still increasing CO2.
That does effect retention of heat. And so do lots of other things.
The subject is extremely complex, and attempts to over simplify it always lead to failure.
It does contain fundamental uncertainties, as weather is part of it, and weather is not predictable in detail, only in general approximation.

We need to manage it, and that is doable, but the technology to do so is so powerful, that deploying such technology without a level of global cooperation that respects freedom and diversity has far greater risks than climate change.

This topic is seriously complex.

Anyone who truly respects and desires freedom must understand that all systems have limits required for their existence, and any actions that break those limits destroy the systems; so there are absolute logical and physical limits that freedom must respect if it is to exist. Over simplifying freedom leads to destruction.

If freedom is to survive, and that is my strongest desire; then it must have appropriate levels of responsibility.

Freedom is at least as complex as biology, and that is deeply complex.

That guy is wrong. What he says is factually and demonstrably incorrect. Anyone who takes even a moderate amount of time to check for themselves will see that.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

We all need to check things, for ourselves, to the best of our limited and fallible abilities.

A failure to do so leads to the loss of freedom – as propogandists like the one above lead people to deny the reality in front of them, which logically and inevitably leads to systems failure.

[followed by]

Hi Dirk,
Can you be explicit about what you are asking?

Lots of different factors affect the temperature of the Earth, solar output, internal heat production within the earth, orbital dynamics, plate tectonics, large scale volcanism, biological factors, …..

We are burning fossil fuels faster than they are regenerating, so at some point in the not too distant future we need alternatives.

The CO2 going into the atmosphere is altering the heat balance of the Earth, and the pH of the ocean, sea level, etc – all of which have biological and physical impacts on things like rain distribution, current food production technologies etc. Currently the sea level is rising about 4mm per year, and increasing.

It is seriously complex.

Space based technologies can solve the heat balance, and can stabilize sea levels, but the ocean pH is a different issue. That fundamentally effects many forms of life, particularly the algae that are at the base of all marine food webs, and thus ultimately account for most of the oxygen production that sustains oxygen in the atmosphere. And sure, CO2 has varied in the past, and the speed of the current change is faster than most historical events, and could have significant biological impacts.

So – it really is, deep, deeply complex. And Roberts is not being even slightly helpful or useful, in any dimension.

[followed by]

Hi Dirk,

The science that burning fossil fuels is creating CO2 in the atmosphere, and that is having an effect on global temperature, was settled beyond any reasonable doubt over 30 years ago. There are no reasonable questions about that. Anyone who looks seriously, comes to that conclusion. The chemistry and physics are solid.

Certainly, many different groups have tried to use that fact for political purposes. That is also true.

I am very clear that one world government is a very bad idea – with very significant existential level risk – for a host of reasons I will not go into detail here and have elsewhere.

I am very definitely in the camp that wants to maximise individual freedom, and I acknowledge that doing so demands commensurate levels of individual responsibility.

The biological and social and technological systems that are actually required to sustain our existence are extremely complex – no shadow of reasonable doubt about that.

Fossil fuels regenerate at a rate that can support way less than 1 billion people using current technologies. Thus the fact is not helpful in any real sense, and is essentially irrelevant.

We either go beyond fossil fuels, or we perish – essentially – and of course it is more complex than that – and it is a useful first order approximation.

Politically, if freedom means anything to us, then we must accept political diversity, because it is the necessary result of freedom. There must be fundamental cooperation between those diverse systems if we are to survive. The logic and mathematics of that is again beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.

It seems clear to me that Elon Musk has done more to solve climate change than all political or environmental groups combined. And I have my share of arguments with Elon – and full kudos to him.

We need cheap efficient batteries for household and grid level storage, these do not have weight constraints, so can use chemistries not involving lithium, or any other rare earth elements. Sodium and Sulphur seem to be obvious candidates, and there have been some interesting chemistries reported in recent months.

The biggest issue is around the idea of markets, and the idea of requiring labor to make money. Those concepts both fail in the presence of advanced automation, and we need advanced automation to solve a large set of well characterized existential level risks.

So fundamental change is required, and fast.

It really is complex.
It really is urgent.
It really is real.
All beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt in my mind, as someone who has been obsessed with the subject of long term risk and long term survival strategies for 60 years (since the Cuban missile crisis).

[Followed by]

Hi Dirk,

Like I said at the start, it is complex.

All other things being equal, increased CO2 means increased temp, and often all other things are not equal – that was most certainly true many times in the past.

Open systems always contain some degree of uncertainty – that is true, and the degrees matter.

Clouds are part of the complex system.

Volcanic aerosols are part of the complex system.

Lots of other things are part of the complex system.

And us burning fossil fuels is having measurable effects – no shadow of reasonable doubt about that.

That is no longer a useful question.

The big question is, what are we going to do about it?

Will we take sufficient action, soon enough, to avoid catastrophic failure cascading through complex systems???

Not with the attitudes exhibited by Roberts, Hanson and their ilk.

[followed by Michael – “One exception disproves the rule”]

Michael Ward
If we were talking about one simple rule, that would be true, but we are not.

What we are talking about is extremely complex multi-component systems, with multiple factors varying over different periods. Solar output, orbital variations, movement of land masses, changes in atmospheric chemistry, changes in ocean chemistry, changes in geochemistry, changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, large scale volcanism, etc are all separately varying components of the total system.

One needs to look at the details of how each of those systems has varied, to get a reasonable picture of what has happened over geological time.

It is not possible to get a reasonable understanding by over simplifying that which is in fact irreducibly complex.

[followed by]

I’m not saying all is lost.

I am reasonably optimistic of a great future.

My definition of a great future is all individuals having whatever degrees of freedom they are willing to be responsible for.

Any sort of long term security demands a lot of energy, and some serious technology.

There are a lot of serious risks out there that demand some serious technology to deliver reasonable sets of mitigation systems.

And I am clear that some degree of risk is eternally necessary.

Any sort of idea of absolute security is entirely mythical.

To a reasonable degree I support people having the freedom to assume whatever degree of risk that they want, provided that it does not impose undue risk on anyone else.

Nothing simple there!!!

[followed by]

Michael Ward

I don’t do hard forecasts – more like MCMC (Monte Carlo Markov Chain) probability distributions. I certainly see opportunities for things to go seriously bad, but also opportunities for desirable outcomes.

Certainly, some human lifestyles need to change. Those that currently dominate and/or exploit others in particular.

The fossil fuel sources that have essentially given us the physical power of about 200 slaves per person (and some vastly more than that) are limited and decreasing, rapidly. Automation increases the range of goods and services that can be delivered without the need of human intervention, but we need an energy source to do that. Solar is there – vast, relatively constant. But we need efficient battery technology to make it work.

And this is where the clash between the needs of humanity and the incentives of the market place and “capital” come into severe conflict. Capital seeks profit. Profit is the gap between cost of production and sale price. As the sale price goes down, so does profit. So there is no possible market/capital incentive to deliver universal abundance – because at universal abundance the price drops to zero by definition.

So we have deep structural issues in our economic and political systems.

There are no incentives for capitalists to switch from an easily monopolized energy source like fossil fuels to a universally distributed energy source like solar. There is no profit in it. They will, necessarily, resist it with every tool available, all levels. That is what we are seeing. Some of it very subtle, and deeply indirected.

When one understands evolution at sufficient depth, then it is clear that all new levels of complexity are based upon new levels of cooperation. Competition is part of the picture, but contrary to current dogma, it is secondary to cooperation. And it is deeply, multi level, complex. And the existence of that complexity needs to be generally accepted, even if only vaguely understood.

There is no survivable competitive solution to this problems space, of that I am certain beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt. And what it takes to make a cooperative solution work is deeply complex and eternally evolving (necessarily) – so nothing simple there either.

[followed by]

Michael Ward

I too observe that competition.

I was not talking about what is present now, but what is required for the continued existence of complexity (every level).

My explorations into the strategic/mathematical basis for the evolution of complexity leaves me no remaining shadow of reasonable doubt.

Competition is present – no doubt about that.

Unless there is an acknowledgement of the fundamental need for cooperation, then complexity at our level will self terminate. The logic of it is inescapable.

What is demanded for survival, is an awareness that all competition must be built on a cooperative base if it is to survive.

And that is not naive cooperation, it is something far deeper with the deepest possible demands upon us for responsibility.

[followed by]

Michael Ward

Nothing wrong with competition, provided the base is cooperative.
Think golf.
A very competitive game, yet if you actually damage another competitor you are out of the game. The base of the game is cooperative. You must ensure the welfare of others. Once that is done, get the lowest score you can.

Similarly in communities. If the base is, everyone gets to live with reasonable degrees of resources and freedom, then competition on that base is perfectly sustainable (and fun).

If everyone has to worry about some warlord in the neighboring village raiding, then not much of any complexity can be built.

It is entirely arguable that the USA has its dominant position largely because neither of the two world wars were fought on its soil, so its productive base was unaffected. That gave it a “captive market” in the British empire, that had to buy its production or cease to exist. Perhaps the biggest wealth transfer in the history of civilization.

Factions within the USA have been happily encouraging groups around the planet to kill each other, or be killed by American technologies, in the interests of various groups within America ever since – and most of the rest of the world are not very happy about that. Far greater responsibility is required if there is to be survival.

[followed by]

Michael Ward

I am yet to be shot.
67 years and counting.

Reasonable evidence of fundamental cooperation.

We tend to see what we look for!

[followed by]

Hi Michael & Dirk,

A lot to respond to here, and the Free will conversation could take years and fill libraries, and I will attempt a condensed “first order approximation” of recursive complexity.

In respect of killing, calculating cost can certainly be a component in some minds, and it seems to be far deeper than that.

The statistics from WW2 are that only one soldier in 5 would actually shoot to kill – 4 out of 5 would not. No amount of training significantly altered that statistic. They had to select the killers for the elite squads.

So far as I am aware, that is generally still the case, though the Germans did discover the utility of “Meth” in altering that, but it had other side effects that didn’t help them long term.

In respect of free will.

In the simplest sense, if there is hard causality, then free will is an illusion, of logical necessity.

Quantum Mechanics seems to be suggesting that the universe we live in is not fundamentally hard causality, but a mix of the lawful and the random; where the truly random is constrained by probability functions. In large collections such systems can very closely approximate classical causality (as the probability distributions become so well populated they approximate “solid forms”). We seem to exist at such a scale.

In such a mixed world it is possible to have both complex systems and novelty.

That does seem to be the sort of universe we exist in (an uncomfortable one for those addicted to the childish notion of certainty – {which includes more than a few holders of PhDs that I have met}).

The sort of freedom we have, seems to be one most available at the “margins”, at the boundaries, in particular contexts.

Complex systems demand a high degree of causality to maintain their form. Too much randomness is destructive of structure, all levels, all dimensions, all domains. The degree of randomness one is able to tolerate is usually a function of experience. It usually pays to start small, and build tolerance. This applies to every level of structure, subpersonal (organs, cells, microbiome, biochemical systems, etc), personal (at every level of awareness we are capable of generating and maintaining), and at every level of group we exist in (family, community, ….. species, sapience).

Evolution seems to work at such boundaries (all domains), and in a very real sense can be thought of as “search” through the space of the possible for the survivable. In open complex systems search is necessarily eternal. What we call “freedom” seems to be the highest instantiation of “search” we are individually capable of conceiving.

And freedom without responsibility is necessarily destructive of whatever level of structure gave it being.

The human tendency to over simplify the truly complex leads to very difficult issues in this respect of determining the actual levels of responsibility demanded by any particular set of contexts.

It is deeply, recursively complex.

Part of getting some sort of reasonable handle on it is being able to go beyond the simplest possible set of “truth values” which is {TRUE, FALSE}. The next simplest set is a trinary {TRUE, FALSE, UNDECIDED}.

Reality seems to be infinitely probabilistic, with TRUE and FALSE as asymptotes that may be approximated in some contexts but rarely, if ever, achieved. That conceptual domain space is simply not available to most minds. Their multiple levels of subconscious biases for simplicity and certainty cause the notion to be rejected whenever it is encountered. It cannot occur.

That causes large sets of issues in multiple domains (libraries worth).

Enough for one post I think.

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A sliver of reality

AEON – A sliver of reality

[ 8/September/22 Science and mathematics may never fully capture the physical universe. Are there hard limits to human intelligence?]

David H Wolpert writes:
“What can I ever know about that which lies beyond the limits of what I can even imagine?”
Good question?
Are there any such limits???

“brains are extraordinarily expensive metabolically”

“Evolutionarily speaking, it is stupid to be smart”
It is smart to be smart only in contexts (Niches) where the benefits of being smart outweigh the considerable costs.
We do seem to exist in such a universe.

“We do not have a good understanding of exactly how our neural hardware grants us abstract intelligence. We do not understand how ‘brain makes mind’.”
Speak for yourself, not me.
Having been fascinated in that subject for 50 years, I think I have a reasonably good handle on it, but it would take me years to explain it to someone else.

“the entire biosphere has never lost the ability to engage in certain kinds of cognitive capability.”
Not true.
There have been multiple massive extinction events, and it seems very probable that substantial cognitive capability was lost in each of them, but it re-emerge over time.

“Up until around 50,000 years ago, the collective intelligence on Earth was increasing gradually and smoothly.”
It was clearly on an exponential.
All exponential curves look flat looking back, and like walls looking ahead.

“that our kinds of intelligence far exceed those of our hominin ancestors.”
Not at all sure that is true.
We have certainly developed language and mechanisms of passing on complex learnings, and that has been on an exponential curve also, with books, printing presses, modern digital communications, etc.
The more concepts we have, the more tools we can make, leading to more concepts ……

Simulation hypotheses lead to infinite recursion – invoke Ockham’s Razor. Until you have hard evidence of simulation, ignore it.

“It also seems likely that these cognitively superior ‘children’ of ours will be here within the next century. Presumably we will go extinct soon after their arrival (like all good parents making way for their children).”

Archea did not go extinct as cyanobateria created our oxygen atmosphere, but the niches within which they flourish are more restricted.
Similarly with most of the stages of organisms that have led to us.
There is no reason to posit our extinction from the next emergent set of entities in the evolutionary process we are participating in.
I do not plan on dying, haven’t since realising in 1974 that indefinite life extension was more than science fiction, that it was possible, if difficult.

Far too many unexamined and dangerous assumptions in that piece.
Some good stuff, but far too many errors.

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Mandates question

[ 21/August/22 Question from Sharon on Mandates. Kia ora, over the last 3 year period, many community men and women lost their jobs, businesses affected, were shut out of the Council building, shops, suffered ridicule, were discriminated against, treated as outcasts, and received absolutely no support from KKDC on their personal choice of being vaccine free. If ye were to become Mayor of Kaikoura, what are your views on mandates? Do ye support freedom of choice?]

I support freedom of choice, but not freedom from consequence. Pandemics are real threats, this one was bad enough, but the next could be far worse.
Freedom without responsibility is always and necessarily destructive.

[followed by]

I am all for life and liberty, and cooperation is fundamental to both.
And life comes before liberty.
If someone’s actions pose a risk to others, then there need to be consequences.

And it was a very complex and difficult situation.

Science is not about right and wrong.
Science acknowledges that it seems very probable that reality is far more complex than any of us can deal with in detail, so we must all make simplifying assumptions to do anything.
Science, at its best, is an eternal process of testing ideas against reality and becoming “less wrong” with time and experience.
I studied biochemistry at university, and was quite good at it.

Covid was definitely a threat to life in several different ways.
There was the direct threat of dying from it.
There was the indirect threat of so overloading the health system with covid patients that many people would die from other things that would not normally be an issue.

Given the regime I am on that cured me from terminal cancer, I estimated the risk to me was minimal, but supported the vaccine program, and have had the 4 shots, simply as an act of social responsibility.

It is much like seat belts in cars. We know from the statistics that seat belts on average save significant numbers of lives and in some accidents, wearing a seatbelt leads to death – but it is about 10:1 in favour of seatbelts, so seat belts are compulsory. Exactly the same with the vaccination.

Yes, you had the freedom not to participate, and by doing that, you were actually increasing the risk to others in the population (as well as yourself).

So for me, everything is a balance of probabilities.

If we are all going to have the greatest probability of living a long time with reasonable degrees of freedom, then we need to be fundamentally cooperative.

I have been, to the best of my limited and fallible abilities.

I had my shots, not because I thought they were significantly reducing the risks for me personally, but because doing so seemed to be the socially responsible thing to do, as it produced the least risk overall for everyone.

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Greatest human at present

Who is the most superior human being on Earth right now? Why do you think so? What makes him/her so special from others in your opinion?

[ 22/August/22 ]

Elon Musk.

He has made electric vehicles at scale a reality.

He has reduced the cost of launch to space by 10x.

Either one of those is significant to our long term future – both is amazing.

He has enabled global internet connectivity – anywhere. The impact of that will also be profound.

[And like all people, he is limited and fallible, and makes mistakes. I am confident that his focus on Mars is a mistake, but his rockets are essential to the long term future of humanity.]

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Great Transition Initiative (GTI) forum

Response to Opening essay for GTI Forum The Population Debate Revisited – Ian Lowe

[ 17/August/22 ]

I have been seriously exploring the space of survivable strategic/economic/political/technological environments since the early 70s.
Some of my recent writings are collected at
I am searching for ways in which intelligent entities have a reasonable probability of living a very long time with reasonable degrees of freedom. It is deeply complex.
I have been on your mailing list for a long time under

The email today and link to the below initiated this response:

Opening essay for GTI Forum The Population Debate Revisited
Ian Lowe
August 2022

Ian makes some very good points, but also a large set of claims that are commonly accepted but do not seem to be realistic if one actually looks at what is happening in the worlds of technology, evolutionary theory and strategy.

Some of those claims are:
1/ This intractability will continue unless we address a significant, yet underacknowledged, driver of environmental degradation, namely, the size and growth of the human population;
2/ I = PAT, with human impact I the product of P population, A affluence, and T technology;
3/ Stopping climate change tomorrow would not avoid deepening food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa; that can only happen long-term through efforts to curb population growth and foster forms of economic development that benefit poor people;
4/ In the absence of significant changes in lifestyle, energy demand is directly proportional to the number of people using the energy;
5/ it is not feasible to limit global warming to less than 2 °C if population increases in line with the mid-range UN population projections;

1/ – Size and growth of the human population will hit real limits on this planet, but right now we are not at them. So yes – we need to think seriously about them, and they are not the core issue right now.

2/ I = PAT – A very simple formula that hides vast complexity in the A (Affluence) & T (Technology) terms (Impact & Population other terms), and completely ignores the key drivers of behaviour – which is currently the paradigm of money and market based economics. The fact that lighting manufacturers have an agreement to not make long lasting lightbulbs is one example of the perverse incentive sets present. The incentive is to make profit, not to achieve affluence with long lasting low impact technologies. Yes, technology is a key factor, and at the boundaries technology is changing exponentially, and is now capable of delivering reasonable abundance to all, but there is no possible way of doing that within the existing economic structure – where we have debt based money creation and no real incentive to close all the material loops (recycle everything). It is deeply more complex than Affluence and Technology – and putting that simple equation there cements in far more issues than it solves – it is a “problem multiplier”, not a “Solution multiplier”.

3/ food insecurity, is not solvable within the current economic paradigm that most accept as reality. That does not mean that it is not solvable, it just demands that we go beyond the accepted paradigms.

4/ Energy demand. Of course changes are required, but what is actually reasonable. 20KW continuous power per person allows for the equivalent in mechanisation of 100 slaves working continuously in antiquity. That allows for what most would consider a reasonable lifestyle. That is entirely achievable, and could actually be done with solar energy gathered in either the desert of the Sahara or the desert of Australia, but would be more sensibly done distributed around many locations. It is not the reasonable needs of people that is the issue, it is the unreasonable demands of an economic system based in debt, driven by profit, promoting consumption at any cost. Focus on the real issue – do not get distracted. Oversimplifying that which is actually deeply complex is the core driver of most of our current issues.

5/ Global warming. The technology to solve global warming is in a sense trivially easy, but, it is also extremely powerful. To deploy such power in a competitive environment, is a guarantee of destruction. It is a solution worse than the problem. We need to solve global warming, and all the other climate variation threats of ice ages, supervolcanos etc, but deploying technologies of sufficient power to do so demands that we have economic and political systems that acknowledge the need for fundamental cooperation and acceptance of diversity underlying all competitive systems we may build upon that base. The notion of freedom, without the acceptance of the diversity that must logically result from any real expression of freedom, is neither logical nor survivable. Freedom, without responsibility for the necessary sets of constraints required to support the systems that make that level of freedom possible, is not possible either. Any and all levels of freedom come with necessary and deeply complex sets of responsibilities, if they are to survive long term.

This approach as currently framed is actually driving the fascist movement, as the levels of awareness and logic used are not capable of generating survivable outcomes. Sorry, but that is as close to factual as it gets (for someone like me with fundamentally probabilistic views on all non-trivial subjects).

Less Is More
Contribution to GTI Forum The Population Debate Revisited
Eileen Crist
August 2022

I was going along well with everything written right up to the point of this sentence:
“Growing food is not an engineering problem for technocrats to solve with efficiency schemes and micromanagement. Growing food is the art of farmers in dialogue with Earth’s bounteous fertility.” Sorry, but we past the point where that could solve the food issue in about 1960. Technology is the only way forward, but technology needs to decouple from current economic practice. There is some very good work being done in some economic circles, but few have yet come to the realisation that using markets to measure value fails in the presence of advanced automation. Market values are no longer a reasonable indicator or proxy for survivable options.

And we need technology to solve for a very large class of well characterised existential level threats. Low tech is not a long term survivable option.

We need to look at the system as a whole.
We need to understand the depths of biology, both at the biochemical levels and at the levels of evolutionary strategy.
We need to understand the necessarily fundamental role of cooperation in the emergence and survival of all levels of complexity, and the self terminating nature of any level of competition that is not fundamentally based in cooperation.

We need to accept that the systems that got us to this point, cannot get us past this point. New levels of cooperation and responsibility are demanded of us, if any of us wish to retain reasonable levels of either security or freedom (and there is a necessary and eternal tension and balance required between those two concepts – over simplifying understandings of systems leads to overly constraining rules, eliminating freedom, and that leads to systems failure due to exogenous shocks).

The statement “To this point, the modern lifestyle is spreading, which underscores the argument: There must be far fewer of us, if humanity also desires to inhabit a biologically vibrant planet” is simply wrong.
It is true, assuming currently dominant technology and conceptual paradigms.
How many of those reading this foresaw the technology of today when they were at secondary school – including not just cell phones, but CRISPR, fibre optics, AlphaFold, … ? How many understand what technologies like molecular manufacturing can make available?
The problem is not technology. The issue is trying to solve deeply complex issues using simplistic economic metrics. That is not possible.
We can have a future that is better than most imagine possible, but not by continuing market based economics and “business as usual”, nor by using the ways of thinking and acting that got us to this point.
We must have reasonable levels of individual freedom, and that demands reasonable levels of technology and empowerment, but those also demand levels of responsibility commensurate with the levels of freedom claimed. There are no competitive solutions to that problems space that are survivable long term. Long term survival demands fundamental cooperation – all levels. And accepting any level of freedom demands that we accept and respect any and all diversity that must result from it, provided only that it is not an unreasonable threat to life or liberty – and that gets deeply complex with multiple levels of agents present simultaneously.

We need some significant fraction of the planet to return to rich biological diversity; and that can only happen if we have very advanced technology, and total restructuring of economic and political systems to deliver both diversity and cooperation between all levels and classes of diversity. That is doable, and it is as far from simple or trivial as it gets!

We need a living planet and a colonised one – it is not an “either or” sort of a question; it is a “both and” sort of deeply complex and eternally uncertain becoming, in creativity and responsibility.

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Treasury Guest seminar – Anita Chandra

Treasury Guest Lecture: Building Resilience and Advancing Well-Being at the Community Level

[ 10/August/22 In this seminar, Anita Chandra describes some of the key issues in measuring and investing in well-being, with particular attention to the intersection of resilience and well-being and community-level actions.

Toward an Initial Conceptual Framework to Assess Community Allostatic Load

Measuring Community Stress allostatic load.


37:00 What If Progress Meant Well-Being for All?

38:57 Resilience Dividend Valuation Model

46:14 How Are The Kids Doing? The Well-Being Of Children And The Nation’s Potential

46:55 Agency GDP2 Gross Developmental Potential (GDP2)

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Lex and Ryan Graves – UFOs Aliens

Ryan Graves: UFOs, Fighter Jets, and Aliens | Lex Fridman Podcast #308

[ 3/August/22 ]

Very interesting – as usual. Two errors present.

The idea that there will always be war, is not survivable. The idea of resource competition leading to war is a failure of imagination.

The idea that death is an essential part of evolution is not true. Certainly, evolution requires a mechanism to select between the frequencies of the units being selected; and in genetic systems that has usually involved the death of individuals carrying or expressing those genes.

In the mimetic realm, all that is required is the frequency of memes can alter; the individuals expressing those memes do not need to die for that to happen (even if there is some truth in the idea that science progresses one funeral at a time; it doesn’t need to be that way). So provided we are individually capable of replacing paradigms with new ones, then there is no need for death, for evolution to happen.

If we, as a species, are to survive long term, are to have access to the sorts of energies and technologies we need to survive long term, then we have to accept that we need to have fundamental cooperation, and that warfare is not a survivable strategy, not with the sorts of technology we need to mitigate a large class of existential risks. We cooperate in diversity, or we perish.

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Camus and the dangers of Truth

[ 3/August/22 ]

Some truth in that – and in the context of the evolution of strategic systems that survive; there is a place for simplification of contexts under stress.

If there really are agents willing to kill you, then killing them first is a survival mechanism that will be strongly selected for.

There really have been many episodic contexts where that was/is a reality.

Evolution has not previously had to deal with the vast increase in sources of stress; it only had to deal previously with immediate stress from immediate threat.

The crossover effects of stress, from any source, to both the discrimination/distinction systems, and the more strategic levels of threat response systems; of our brains can be both subtle and profound.

So yeah – Camus saw something real, but I don’t think he really had any idea of what was actually creating the things he saw. It seems to be a sort of meta cognitive bias – a meta confirmation bias – that we are all subjectively, recursively, vulnerable to.

We are all necessarily more ignorant than we are informed, however informed we are. That is the great danger of notions like Truth.

There is so much power in the idea behind science, of eternal uncertainty, of eternally asking questions, testing, becoming less wrong over time, without ever expecting to become right – but so few actually engaged in science realise that is what they are supposed to be doing. Most go after some level of “Truth”, and get lost in the process – blinded.

It is really hard to retain uncertainty. REALLY HARD when stressed.

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Bridging Real-Time Artificial Collective Superintelligence and Human Mediation

Bridging Real-Time Artificial Collective Superintelligence and Human Mediation, The Sparse-Update Model

[ 31/July/22 ]

Great paper.

One quibble is on the role of cooperation in evolution. One needs to be able to see the context dependencies of that.

It is accurate to say that all new levels of complexity in evolved systems require new levels of cooperation for survival long term, and that such cooperation demands evolving ecosystems of cheat detection and mitigation systems if it is to survive.

This becomes a deeply recursive and exponentially more complex and dimensional set of structures as levels of complexity increase.

Any level of unrestrained competition that is not firmly based in cooperation now poses existential level threat to our level of complexity. I have no shadow of remaining reasonable doubt around that conclusion, and I have been testing it for over 40 years.

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Comment’s on the Uplift/Norn discord channel

Comment’s on the Uplift/Norn discord channel

[ 31/July/22 ]

As I see human intelligence operating, every function, every element of logic or emotion or whatever, has some degree of random search instantiated within it, as well as some set of correlating functions of the search results with existing structures (graphs??? – it is a kind of useful representation, but perhaps no instantiated system is sufficiently dimensional).

It also seems clear that much of human intelligence is about pattern over time, rather than relationship between entities.

Jeff Hawkins’ Thousand Brain model has a lot going for it, and Seth Grant’s work on on the protein makeup of the post excitatory synapse seems to be an integral part of the search capacity and thereby the decision making capacity, of the human mind.

Current AI models approximate but do not mimic these systems. I think it is many orders of magnitude more computationally complex than any of Ray Kurzweil’s published models.

[followed by]

I kind of like all of the logos, probably the last one best, but I have reservations about them all. Rather than providing any sort of singular arrow or guide, I would much prefer the notion of generating a map – a multidimensional set of probabilities across a range of dimensions, with cascading probabilities though time – obviously diminishing towards random at some time horizon in most instances (complex systems necessarily have that aspect).

The idea of a map maker, a cartographer, seems to be much more like what I would like Norn to be. We could then still be free agents to choose our path through the terrain – some might prefer valleys, others to travel via ridges, others to scale cliffs simply because they can. And having some sort of reasonably reliable map of what we are likely to encounter would be very useful. (The logo of Escher’s hands drawing each other comes to mind).

[followed by]

Rule 12 – why is the word ” bipartisan” in there. Isn’t that pointing towards dangerous oversimplification of a structure that is so deeply more dimensional than a 2 sided entity? Totally align with the need for cooperation in diversity, and the domains (dimensions/levels) of diversity seem to be exponentially increasing, as do the size of the instantiated populations within any specific dimension/domain.

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