Optimism Resources

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daylen
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by daylen »

OP: Learn about and keep updated on AI, AR, VR, robotics, quantum computation, crypto contracts, materials science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, medicine, energy, and so forth. There are impactful innovations happening daily by small/large companies and research groups. X (twitter) is a good place to go for the bleeding edge of the public sphere.

zbigi
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by zbigi »

white belt wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2023 7:24 pm
Now we're talking my book. Top down organizations are terrible with innovation. Innovation almost always happens from the bottom up.
They may be terrible with innovation, but they're excellent at applying it. I.e. it may be some tinkerer who built a first working prototype of a steam engine, but it's big business (a mine owner) who eventually paid him to have the idea fleshed out and implemented in an actual mine.

Top-down "fascist" organisations (corporations, states) can focus large amounts of resources on a given subject - something that we've yet to see in bottom-up organizations. Even in the Linux world, arguably most effort is wasted, as people waste time building their own distros, even though there are hundreds if not thousands out there already [1], instead of building difficult things which (at least today) require large amount of top-down coordination.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_dis ... meline.svg

anticonsumerist
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by anticonsumerist »

daylen wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2023 11:01 pm
OP: Learn about and keep updated on AI, AR, VR, robotics, quantum computation, crypto contracts, materials science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, medicine, energy, and so forth. There are impactful innovations happening daily by small/large companies and research groups. X (twitter) is a good place to go for the bleeding edge of the public sphere.
I think it is one of the better ideas I have seen out there keep an optimistic mindset. Thank you @daylen. Would love to get any mention of the accounts you're following from the above fields, if you are.

daylen
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by daylen »

You can see who I follow @Daylenbonner

I sorta just follow whomever says interesting stuff or trigger interesting engagement regardless of whether I agree with them or not (great place to practice non-judgmentalism). Some mix of important people in important positions (e.g. @satyanadella @AndrewYNg @DalaiLama), people who are critical (e.g. @GaryMarcus @C_Kavanagh @MattPirkowski), people who are spiritual (e.g. @nat_sharpe_ @yogacid @chercher_ai), people who curate news (e.g. @rowancheung @PeterZeihan @IntuitMachine), people who imagine the future (e.g. @jgreenhall @bengoertzel @anderssandberg), scientists (e.g. @tipado @skdh @Sara_Imari), and so forth.

People are interesting af.

Also see https://phys.org/physics-news/ and https://techcrunch.com/

7Wannabe5
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@zbigi:

What Jacob says below, and also, Yes, it is generally much easier to pile up resources by Exploiting the environment such as it is, which is what a Dominant individual or top-down-organization will do (Se/Te.) Sometimes necessity is what drives humans who would prefer to Exploit to Exploration, but I think it is pretty clear that some of us have an innate drive towards new territory/ideas (Ne/Ni). However, sometimes that which is enlivening, towards the optimistic, is that which is bright, shiny new to the world of humans (such as the resources linked by daylen), but sometimes it is just that which is new to you or new to your environment, inclusive of ideas that may be very old to the world of humans, and information that is so micro-partitioned, you may be the only human who knows of it.

For example, here's an adventure for you. Research, and verify by walking to the nearest source of fresh water relative to your current domicile. Squat down and look for a form of life at a scale much smaller than human. Ask yourself how that form of life survives and reproduces. Is there something you can learn? Keep walking to the nearest library. Spin yourself around and pick 3 books at random. Is there something that intrigues, something you can learn from one of them? Continue your walk. Inititate a conversation with another human. "What are you guys building here? Would it be okay if I hauled away some of those used bricks in my bike-cart tomorrow?" Head back home. Open up your cookbook published in 1690 or one based on a new-to-you cuisine and see if any of the recipes (receipts) can be applied to the produce you also picked up on your walk. Etc, etc, etc, etc.

Also:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30BieCz5NKc

(Note what happens when the Grouchy Old Man obsessed with order and hierarchy walks into the room in the above clip.)
Last edited by 7Wannabe5 on Wed Dec 06, 2023 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by jacob »

zbigi wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2023 2:24 am
Top-down "fascist" organisations (corporations, states) can focus large amounts of resources on a given subject - something that we've yet to see in bottom-up organizations.
... and something we'll likely never see. The different generations of warfare is a good framework for understanding how "forces" can be applied very differently. The fascist method of "one person commanding the masses from the top" corresponds to GW1 and 2. The command structure of passing messages all the way down and intel all the way up is too slow for dynamic situations. German Blitzkrieg was the first example of GW3. The US-led invasion of Iraq during GulfWar1 is another example. To make it work, local tactical commanders would be informed about the overall strategy AND be sufficiently educated to understand this information. This allowed them to improvise based on how their "local actions" would further the "global strategy" w/o having to wait for new orders from above. GW1/2 -> GW3 was a strong break with the traditional "one man can solve it all" to having educated commanders. (Recall that not so long before that, any idiot with enough money could buy a commission as an officer ... really not much different than how politics still works today :-P )

A bottom-up "non-organization" is closer to GW5. Take the FIRE movement as an example. There is no central leadership. There's not even a central goal. Yet there's one central idea that everybody tries to follow, and by following that, the movement as a whole accomplishes goals. We can estimate the impact of the FIRE movement in the US. Feel free to substitute your own numbers. The FIRE movement is followed by 0.5% of the population. That's 1.6 million people. If the average person in the movement makes $80,000 and saves 40%, then the amount of money directed away from consumption and into raising the price on assets is 80k*0.4*1.6M = 51B. A good-sized government program.

Linux is actually also a good example. Yes, a lot of effort is "wasted" on making a veritable zoo of distros, but the "movement" did manage to create a very robust and powerful OS that is at least comparable if not better than what MSFT (market cap $2750B) and AAPL (market cap $3000B) came up with. However, in the case of linux, the value generation does not occur or flow from a centralized point. It flows everywhere.

FWIW, by standard metrics, if the FIRE movement was an investment company charging 1% of assets, it would have a market cap of about 130B using typical valuation numbers (~50 largest US company). But instead it's more linux like in that "everybody is working on their own distro" with a decentralized value flow.

An idea can be a very powerful thing if it makes it possible for people to do certain things of their own initiative w/o needing someone ordering them to do it.

ETA: Screwed up a decimal point.

zbigi
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by zbigi »

I don't see how success of something like FIRE movement, which is just a widespread application of a couple of simple principles, is related to the problem of achieving complex (not just large) things without the top-down approach. My quote you used in your post mentioned large amounts of resources, but only because of my implied assumption that large amounts of resources necessary to solve complex problems.

For example, Intel has 130 thousand people working for them. What's more, there are specialized, often small, companies across the world which make a specific gizmo for a specific step in the chip making process. There are hundreds of these steps and hundreds of those high-tech gizmos. I just don't see how you can coordinate all those people and resources without some form of corecion (without it, people will do what they feel like doing, what is interesting for them etc. and not what is necessary to progress towards the bigger goal - see the thousand Linux distros example). If you think it might be possible, then I guess it's just the matter of pessimism vs optimism.

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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by jacob »

So, just for clarification, you mean/are asking about "complicated", not "complex"?

See, e.g. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the ... mplicated/

These are very different kinds of problems. Corporate thinking is very good as solving complicated problems, but its failure to solve complex problems, as demonstrated by the 20th and late 19th century, is pretty much why we are where we are now in the 21st century.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by Western Red Cedar »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2023 10:59 am
Kevin Kelly actually seems to be all over the place in his thinking. If the future is so super-fantastic, why does he also suggest (in Long Now article)compiling a complete library of utility like a seed bank and burying it in a snow bank for whatever humans remain after the collapse? Actually, I get it. He’s probably an ENTP, like me,and he’s experiencing bi-polar symptoms under the stress of the meta-crisis. Like how I would love to see the episode of Primitive Technology where he creates a functional radio from raw nature, even though infinite regress of Pandora’s box results.
I don't think this indicates a mental illness, I think it reflects someone who is looking at probabilities rather than binaries when they assess the future. If there is even a 1% chance of a massive disruption to the food supply, it is worth the effort to maintain a seed bank to protect against that risk. This is similar to the underlying philosophy in ERE.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Western Red Cedar:

Don't misunderstand. When I suggest that somebody is vibing a tiny bit bi-polar, I say that with love. I have long-declared HighIQ-Cuckoo-Bananas to be my core tribe. That said, I agree with your probabilities vs. binaries argument vis-a-vis Kevin Kelly. At the moment I am currently typing, subject to update at any moment future, I would set the probability for either Complete Anihilation of the Human Species by 2035 or Everybody Happily Retired on UBI Thanks to AI by 2035 at approximately 1/1000th the probability that Jacob Is Secretly Addicted To The Home Shopping Network.

The following quote from "Scale" by Geoffrey West pretty much sums up my bottom-line rational take:
The battle to combat entropy by continually having to supply more energy for growth, innovation, maintenance, and repair, which becomes increasingly more challenging as the system ages, underlies any serious discussion of aging, mortality, resilience, and sustainability, whether for organisms, companies, or societies.
You are a bit younger than me, but I'm sure you've rode some S-Curves in your day, where does it feel in your gut like we're at, if you kind of 3-D landscape all the curves with which you are most familiar? Maybe I've been camped out too long now in an environment filled with buildings constructed in the era of my childhood and left behind to rust and rot, but in my gut I feel the gears slowing down, and I hear the faint beginning of the metallic squeal as the cars on the roller-coaster summit the final peak just as the sun goes down on the last night of carnival.

daylen
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by daylen »

It is not entirely clear how well such reasoning extends to a more convergently centralized planetary system. Never been tried before by a global network of superintelligences. We're generalizing a bit out of distribution here, but such a system could reach a more controllable part of the global state space that can age more gracefully. Though, eventually, entropy always wins.

Hince turquoise?

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by Western Red Cedar »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2023 10:54 pm
You are a bit younger than me, but I'm sure you've rode some S-Curves in your day, where does it feel in your gut like we're at, if you kind of 3-D landscape all the curves with which you are most familiar? Maybe I've been camped out too long now in an environment filled with buildings constructed in the era of my childhood and left behind to rust and rot, but in my gut I feel the gears slowing down, and I hear the faint beginning of the metallic squeal as the cars on the roller-coaster summit the final peak just as the sun goes down on the last night of carnival.
I'm familiar with the decline in the midwest, and it is feasible it is a harbinger for things to come for the nation. But, that wouldn't necessarily be my bet. I suspect we'll continue to see winners and losers at the individual, neighborhood, municipal and regional level. If that pattern persists, the winners will have to deal with the fallout.

By many measures things don't look or feel great. But, I've felt like that since I was a teenager and that is probably the inclination that led me here. I often try to remind myself to get outside, take a walk and look at the local community. That often changes my perspective a bit. I try to remind myself that adversity can have long-lasting benefits.

I am a bit concerned that the forum has a bit of a doomer echo chamber dynamic though. When this thread popped up I thought it might be a nice reprieve from many of the other threads focused on collapse, social decline, and other ills. No such luck.

Sometimes it feels like the forum is the figurative version of the grouchy old men that you like to talk about :lol: .

zbigi
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by zbigi »

jacob wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2023 5:29 pm
So, just for clarification, you mean/are asking about "complicated", not "complex"?

See, e.g. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the ... mplicated/

These are very different kinds of problems. Corporate thinking is very good as solving complicated problems, but its failure to solve complex problems, as demonstrated by the 20th and late 19th century, is pretty much why we are where we are now in the 21st century.
Yep, I meant "complicated". Top-down approach seems uniquely well fitted to work on such problems, and incidentally getting our standards of living to acceptable levels requires solving a lot of complicated problems (or at least historically have, I'm not completely ruling out possibility that there's some yet undiscovered way to approach things differently and not be poor and miserable at the same time).

jacob
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by jacob »

zbigi wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2023 2:36 am
Yep, I meant "complicated". Top-down approach seems uniquely well fitted to work on such problems, and incidentally getting our standards of living to acceptable levels requires solving a lot of complicated problems (or at least historically have, I'm not completely ruling out possibility that there's some yet undiscovered way to approach things differently and not be poor and miserable at the same time).
I agree that a top-down hierarchy is better or best for "complicated" solutions. However, I also think that we (individuals, groups, communities, nations, humanity) use complicated solutions too much, because "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, when complex solutions are better.

The reason 20-21st century humans don't use complexity very much is because we've frankly gone stupid that way. Specialization makes a person very smart in within one very narrow field, but outside the field, such a professional is rarely much smarter than a child---the proverbial 5th grader.

Returning to the "generations of warfare" framework, much industrial thinking still happens as GW1 and GW2, that is, throwing money and resources at the problem from a central command that is out of touch with the ground. A giant heavy army that goes "diddle, diddle, straight down the middle" for every problem. This is very inefficient and in many cases defeated by what looks like ragtag insurgents but which are really a complex organization that is "everywhere" (In terms of the classical elements, it's "air" wearing down "rock"). Recent examples include navy cruisers taken out by sea drones. (This is not a new idea, btw, the destroyer class was introduced to defeat [fast] motor torpedo boat attacks---IIRC, the full class was called "MTB destroyers" with the MTB part later dropped. The sea drones do the same thing, they're just unmanned.)

In my not so humble opinion, ERE1 is a great example of solving individual level problems with complexity instead of buying expensive "complications" in the form out specialist services or products from a centralized shopping center.

However, just as we can't solve everything with complications, we can't solve everything with complexity either. However, it's possible to get pretty far without centralized high tech. See e.g. https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... ts-garage/ These chips are not going to run the internet as we know it(*), but they could possibly run something that replicates the useful parts of the internet.

(*) Which is turning more and more into on demand cable television from central movie servers, an old invention.

zbigi
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by zbigi »

jacob wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2023 7:13 am

However, just as we can't solve everything with complications, we can't solve everything with complexity either. However, it's possible to get pretty far without centralized high tech. See e.g. https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... ts-garage/ These chips are not going to run the internet as we know it(*), but they could possibly run something that replicates the useful parts of the internet.
His achievement required a ton of advanced equipment, including an electron microscope. Barring the fact that a bottom-up society would have trouble even developing such microscope, the sheer amount of equipment required to make a simplest chip means that, in an anarchist society, the manufacturing of chips would still be capital-intensive (not nearly as much as it is today, but still enough for being out of reach of most people or small communities) and thus probably centralized - i.e. limited to a couple of workshops/factories per region.

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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by jacob »

jacob wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2023 7:13 am
In my not so humble opinion, ERE1 is a great example of solving individual level problems with complexity instead of buying expensive "complications" in the form out specialist services or products from a centralized shopping center.
An example of a "complex" solution would be completely dropping meat&dairy from the human diet. It quickly lowers the risk of the major lifestyle diseases (heart attack, stroke, and diabetes) thus reducing the need for complicated treatments. Not circling the abundant amount of calories that humans grow into animals before consuming them would solve any global problem with starvation due to CC-induced breadbasket failures. Agricultural production could even be reduced by half freeing up much needed land. Associated emissions would go down. And so on ...

This is possible. I'm pessimistic that it'll happen though :lol: It requires changing a lot of hearts, minds, traditions, jobs, and identities. This is a complex problem and complex solutions are harder to implement.

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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by jacob »

zbigi wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2023 8:00 am
His achievement required a ton of advanced equipment, including an electron microscope.
Yes, but such could be built too. I think what's interesting here is the garage-scale of his operation compared to a billion dollar chip factory. What is the ROI of his operation in terms of resource inputs to chip capability compared to chip factory? I think it's rather high. His garage tech reached the early 1970s. I'm not familiar with computers back then, but I do have some experience with early 1980s computers. For example, the Commodore64 was based on the MOS6502 which had 3500 transistors. So the garage operation is almost there. The C64 can pretty much already do what most people use their computers for 40 years later. Text editing, databases, getting online, playing games, ... Indeed, other than better speed, better sound, and better resolution, computing hasn't really changed much for many years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transisto ... 0-2020.png

A crucial difference is that we already know what's possible. This makes finding solutions much easier (a matter of engineering) than having to try a bunch of different things to find what works. For example, the idea of antibiotics or the importance of a sterile environment is likely much more important in a medical setting than a complicated gizmo. Imagine what it would do infectious diseases if the transmission mechanisms were widely known. (In contrast, many humans don't grok that their nose and mouth are connected to the same airway.)

Add: A similar problem. Are resistors something you have to buy from the resistor-factory? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zngYEsDzbsY

My "optimism of the will" is that it's often possible via complex means to find a solution that will get you 80-90% there for less than a quarter of the cost [in resources or complications]. This is why I'm not so worried about not being able to buy something from the "corporate machine". OTOH, many humans would be helpless w/o the ability to buy finished solutions. (See e.g. lockdowns). But this is fixable. Complex thinking is not hard to learn. The hard part is unlearning "complicated thinking". It requires a paradigm shift. As such, the "dinosaurs" might need to die off.

guitarplayer
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by guitarplayer »

Back to the OP, I practice stoicism for some tranquility and a sort of positive realism. Where the world is going is largely not up to me in principle. I know enough game theory to know that my individual action will not move the needle either (unless in some rare circumstances it could, but not my circumstances at the moment). I still for the most part act within the framework of what you would describe as a concerned world citizen. I act like that more because it makes sense than because I think it will make a difference.

Whatever future brings, life is going to prevail and I am a big fan of life.

Also, I admire the skill of many to verbalize ideas when I can make it as far as vague statements like above. But if you take anything from this, read some stoics. @Chenda says Plutonius is also good, and then you also have Cognitive Behavioural Psychology that has links to ancient street philosophers and is more sciency, some stats are weaved into the story.

zbigi
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by zbigi »

jacob wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2023 8:05 am
(on benefits of going vegan)
Interestingly, there was research done on cardiovascular health of premodern people. The scientists studied arteries of whatever preserved human bodies they could find from pre-modern (sometimes even ancient) era, and they found that, depending on the culture, around 25-45% (IIRC) of studied bodies had arteriosclerosis. Maybe it's selection bias, as the rich were more likely to be preserved (mummified etc.) and were also more likely to eat meat. But, I think it's probably also because widespread use of indoor fires, thus leading to breathing a lot of smoke, which is a major factor in developing plaque in arteries. Even today, indoor smoke (mostly from cooking in poor regions in Africa and Asia) is estimated to kill 20 million people a year IIRC.
In other words, you can live a "simple" lifestyle and still very much develop a nasty chronic disease (or just get a heart attack/stroke out of nowhere), which is (incorrectly) mostly associated with our modern lifestyle and diet.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Optimism Resources

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

="Western Red Cedar" wrote:Sometimes it feels like the forum is the figurative version of the grouchy old men that you like to talk about :lol: .
The forum does have more masculine energy than feminine energy and also somewhat more old/adult/conservative masculine energy than young/juvenile/punk-anarchist masculine energy (which is kind of odd given all the talk of "freedom", although likely this is due to the subconscious stress being placed on the syllable of "dom"*), but what I like about it is the low level of reactivity compared to the median**. So, I am very sorry that I was a bit reactive to the idea-scape/article that you lobbed up thread.

*What eventually happens when you respect property rights and you accumulate a lot of property. You become the silverback baboon. YaWooooooh!

**For better or worse, it's pretty clear at this point that my masculine energy is never going to make it past puberty. Tom Sawyer to the finish. Yippeee!

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