About

I’m an autodidact who’s had an unusual amount of free time over the past decade and is currently trying to learn everything which may be important to the future of sentient life at once. Unsurprisingly, there’s much more than even I have spare time/brainspace to absorb, but it’s a fun journey and has put me in contact with a lot of interesting people&projects.

This blog is meant as a place I can dump concepts, links, and half-baked ideas, both for personal reference and so it’s easier to bring people up to speed on topics I’d like to have conversations about.

Some of the things I’m curious about:

Hard Sciences & Physical Technology

Biology/Biotechnology – Breakthroughs in medical technology, genetics (esp. CRISPR and gene drives), cognitive enhancement (IES, nootropics, transcranial magnetic/electric stimulation*)

Materials/Manufacturing Technology – 3D Printing (esp. durable+lightweight materials, embedding smart parts, and housing/construction), High Temperature Superconductors**, Atomically Precise Manufacturing

Energy – Thermoelectrics, Battery technology and other possibilities for grid scale storage* (e.g. compressed air), LENR (+), Floating-Platform power stations, Nuclear Fusion

Resources – Desalination, Vertical farming, rare-earth metals, space (arcologies, seasteading, underground)

Humans

Group Dynamics – Tribal/political tendencies, norms&social conformity,  shared language/reference points, leadership dynamics (e.g. prestige&dominance), interactions and misunderstandings between groups, ‘guessing the group’s password’ and other failure modes of ideologies, mapping existing coherent bodies of thought/in-groups/memeplexes/ideologies and translating/absorbing their insights*

Neuroscience – Brain regions, ‘specialized wetware’**, Universal Learning Machine model (++), Competitive Neuron Hypothesis (++++)

Evolutionary Psychology (with much concern about the ease of evo-psych just-so stories) – Emotions (+),

Education – Alternative education, failure modes (+++), recent developments

Health – Nutrition (Carbohydrates vs fat, salt), neurodegenerative diseases*

Civilization

History – Sense of perspective on current civilization, archeology, how past civilizations rose and fell, the effects of technology, change in organizational structures over time

Economics – General understanding, markets, effects of automation (+), macroeconomic policy (e.g. NGDP targeting), supply&demand, market failures, pros and cons of monopolies

Influential groups – National (core politicians, parties, military, intelligence, judiciary, assorted governmental organizations), corporations (tech, resource, financial, physical products, influence, etc), religions, media, international organizations (e.g. NATO, UN), NGOs, academia, organized crime

Influential ideologies – Red/Blue tribes (differences in moral intuitions), Libertarianism, Green/ecological <hilariously incomplete>

Inadequacies/unfilled niches –

Effectiveness

Epistemics – Learning & counteracting biases,

Concepts – Cooperating with future/past selves, Internal Family Systems model, many others

Practices for healthy mental states – Self Compassion

Value Systems

Grounding morality in reality – Evolved moral intuitions, messy preferences, game theoretic universals/co-operation, ‘cosmic law’ formulations are ignorable when it conflicts with what we want.

Extracting insights from many moral systems – Negative Utilitarianism (suffering is really bad), Deontology (humans are better at morality+less manipulable if we use bright lines), Consequentialism (every system is mappable to results)

How different moral systems break at edge cases – NU

Information Technology

Trends – Moore’s law&related ‘laws’ (+)

Blockchains – DAOs, alternate economies and system responses,

The Internet – Infrastructure (routing, ISPs, cables), vulnerabilities, encryption, surveillance

Narrow AI – Automation/unemployment (+), defense/offense balance in computer security,

General AI – Explaining (++++), major factors in timelines, expected decision theory,

Important Patterns & Misc

Evolution – Evolution as a blind but powerful optimizer, as a historical-statistical macrofact

Physics – QM*, Cosmology, honing intuitions on scale (+), attempts to make non-incremental progress on hard problems (e.g. Foundational Questions Institute, Wolfram)

Life – Life as systems chemistry

Anthropics & decision theory – Simulation argument, Anthropics, Doomsday argument, Fermi Paradox (+)

Moloch – The lens of incentive structures, which helps see most of earth’s problems more clearly. (+)

Consciousness – Being a brain, Strange Loop of awareness, machinery for modeling others repurposed for self-modeling

Identity – Fuzzy pattern theory

Mathematics

Reductionism –

Epistemology –

 

Key
* Recent focus
** Interested in, but have only very basic understanding of currently
+ Interesting related link