A Prayer for Sanity

Don’t respond, don’t engage, don’t reply, and don’t react.This is not communication, it’s performance, it’s an act. Don’t get angry, don’t get mad, don’t get bothered, don’t get sad.Today you’ll be more present and tomorrow you’ll feel glad. Don’t feed it any energy, and it will go away.The more that you respond to it, the […]

Are you hosting a memetic Parasite?

Do all of your thinking patterns serve you? Is it possible that a lot of your thoughts are actually harming you, and doing so in a sneaky way?  One perhaps non-obvious consequence of seeing memes as organisms is the concept of a memetic parasite.   Our brains are hosts for memes, and it may be […]

A List of Endings for Modern Fairy Tails

“… And there were no unintended consequences.” “… And they never forgot their lesson.” “… And from then on, people used evidence to guide their thinking, even when it made them uncomfortable.” “… And the problem was fixed, once and for all.” “… And they never abused their newfound power.” “… And, remembering how awful […]

The Singularity Happened 10,000 Years Ago

You may have heard this idea that some people are worried a machine would gain the capacity to understand intelligence, and in doing so, make itself more and more intelligent. This machine would rapidly augment its own capacities, until it became so powerful that humans had no way of stopping it.  If this machine didn’t […]

The Hypnotoad Pill

Please watch while I butcher this sacred cow. After I’ve cooked up one of its steaks, and you’ve tasted its juicy flesh, you will realize – more to your amusement than your horror, that you’ve been eating it all along, and enjoying it, too. Here goes: The only rational reason to believe anything is because […]

Are we living through an Urban / Rural Phase Shift?

Historically, cities were places of knowledge, learning, and information. From a computational perspective, this makes perfect sense. Historically, computation and communication were very expensive. It made sense to do as much of those as possible in small, dense areas. For most of the last 10,000 years, if you wanted to be exposed to the latest […]

The Halting Problem

The world is a sea of energyAnd I, a current through which it flows.The world is a tree of knowledge And I, a branch through which it grows. I am not a thing which walks about the world on two legs.I am a song which sings itself. Everyday I write one page. I am not an […]

Rationalists are Neoalchemists

It isn’t too hard to imagine someone writing something like this, in the distant future: “The rationalists were often popularly lampooned for their concerns about the dangers of artificial intelligence. Many of them did sincerely worry about this outcome. And yet modern scholars generally agree that the idea of a rapidly self-improving artificial intelligence was […]