Links for 2021-09-04

  1. "Bio Anchors estimates a >10% chance of transformative AI by 2036, a ~50% chance by 2055, and an ~80% chance by 2100...Today's largest AI models, such as GPT-3, are a bit smaller than mouse brains, and are starting to get within range (if they were to grow another 100x-1000x) of human brains. So we might soon be getting close to AI systems that can be trained to do anything that humans can do with ~1 second of thought." https://www.cold-takes.com/forecasting-transformative-ai-the-biological-anchors-method-in-a-nutshell/

  2. Accelerometer data from smartphones etc. can reveal people's location, activities, height, weight, health, gender, age, emotional state, personality traits, driving style, level of intoxication – and even passwords. https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/3309074.3309076

  3. "To Learn More Quickly, Brain Cells Break Their DNA: New work shows that neurons and other brain cells use DNA double-strand breaks, often associated with cancer, neurodegeneration and aging, to quickly express genes related to learning and memory" https://www.quantamagazine.org/brain-cells-break-their-dna-to-learn-more-quickly-20210830/

  4. Facebook’s Time cards are an open-source (code and hardware) solution for accurate time keeping. The cards are PCIe bus cards (PC standard) and incorporate a satellite receiver and an atomic clock. https://engineering.fb.com/2021/08/11/open-source/time-appliance/

  5. How Estonia—Yes, Estonia—Became One of the Wealthiest Countries in Eastern Europe https://fee.org/articles/how-estonia-yes-estonia-became-one-of-the-wealthiest-countries-in-eastern-europe/

  6. “People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person.” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/09/pandemic-australia-still-liberal-democracy/619940/

  7. Scott Alexander defends Behavioral Economics astralcodexten.substack.com/p/on-hreha-on-behavioral-economics

  8. Bayesian probability theory as extended logic -- a new result https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/T7aQqNm6m8pTXZYnd/bayesian-probability-theory-as-extended-logic-a-new-result

  9. ‘Sissy Pants’ Celebrities Banned in China: "Beijing fears that feminine men would hurt the country’s ability to fight, experts say." https://www.vice.com/en/article/xgx3nn/china-masculinity-sissy-stars


Reposting some comments relevant to the Texas abortion ban:

I fully support the abortion-rights movement because it removes a major hurdle for future eugenics programs by making it socially acceptable to kill unborn humans.

If your parents would have had access to advance reproductive and gene-editing technologies then you and I might not exist. A smarter, more healthy person, with better opportunities, would exist in our place. This person isn't bothered by their nonexistence. Neither would we be.

The knee-jerk reaction to eugenics is to conjure the specter of fascism. Ironically, the same people want to take away your liberty to decide which traits your children should have and make you accept whatever fate the uncaring forces of nature have in store for them.

We need to wrest control of our genetic destiny from the uncaring claws of nature and shape our future according to our values.

You might also go a step further, as the following article argues, and support after-birth abortion: https://jme.bmj.com/content/39/5/261

But I'm concerned that this is a slippery slope.

I'm in favor of euthanasia in serious cases of suffering. I also agree that the brains of newborns do not feature some relevant attributes like self-awareness that we find important in judging someone's agency. And there would be no problem if the world was full of smart and rational people.

The problem is the average men in the street. The born vs. unborn and human vs. animal distinctions are easy for them to discern and thus guiding principles for their behavior. They won't be able to consistently apply the more subtle distinctions we apply without sliding into some very dangerous territory.

This is why I once wrote that utilitarianism, although vastly less wrong than most (any?) other ethical frameworks, is much scarier than Islam. Just imagine 1.6 billion Utilitarians choosing torture over dust specks.