AGI Ruin: A List of Lethalities

This situation you see when you look around you is not what a surviving world looks like.  The worlds of humanity that survive have plans.  They are not leaving to one tired guy with health problems the entire responsibility of pointing out real and lethal problems proactively.  Key people are taking internal and real responsibility for finding flaws in their own plans, instead of considering it their job to propose solutions and somebody else’s job to prove those solutions wrong.  That world started trying to solve their important lethal problems earlier than this.  Half the people going into string theory shifted into AI alignment instead and made real progress there.  When people suggest a planetarily-lethal problem that might materialize later – there’s a lot of people suggesting those, in the worlds destined to live, and they don’t have a special status in the field, it’s just what normal geniuses there do – they’re met with either solution plans or a reason why that shouldn’t happen, not an uncomfortable shrug and ‘How can you be sure that will happen’ / ‘There’s no way you could be sure of that now, we’ll have to wait on experimental evidence.’

A lot of those better worlds will die anyways.  It’s a genuinely difficult problem, to solve something like that on your first try.  But they’ll die with more dignity than this.

AGI Ruin: A List of Lethalities – LessWrong

On the Wildness of Children — Carol Black

We are engaged in a vast dystopian project of one-upping our creator, of treating the Kosmos as though it were a fixer-upper, and of imagining we can redesign ourselves as well as the world we are to live in.   The social engineers who shaped our world understood very well that no matter how far civilization “progresses,” each new human being is born wild –– in other words, human –– and they made it their overt goal to create an institution that would break the will, the “self-will” the “self-determination”–– that would subdue the wildness –– of our children.   It works.  But like any other radical intervention in the natural world, like dams, like pesticides, like genetically modified crops, the mass institutionalization of children alters our lives and our planet in ways that are both unanticipated and beyond our control.

Species die, our planet warms, and in the name of teaching our children to save the world, we go on destroying their wildness, “socializing” them away from nature and into the cage we have built around childhood.  Our nice teachers try to find ways to make it “fun,” to limit or at least soften the damage that is done; like zookeepers giving beach balls to captive polar bears, they try to find substitutes for what is lost.   But the world is too beautiful to substitute for, and the wildest of our children––the ones they have to put on Ritalin, the ones they have to put on Prozac–– know it.  These children are the canaries in the coal mine, the ones who will not obey our masters, who will not take their place as cogs in the machine that is destroying the earth.  They are not the ones who have a “disorder.”  They are the ones who still hold the perfect Kosmos in their hearts.

The revolution will not take place in a classroom.

In wildness is the preservation of the world. 

On the Wildness of Children — Carol Black

The Revolt of the Imagination, Part One: Notes on Belbury Syndrome

Imagination is thus one of the basic tools of human empathy. Under most circumstances, we don’t perceive the world through anyone else’s eyes and mind but our own.  There are ways around that limitation, but the most flexible and expansive of the lot is the imagination. When you were six and your mother told you, “How would you feel if he did that to you?”—if, in fact, she was so unfashionable as to do something so useful to your future mental health—she was trying to get you to use your imagination, to construct from your own memories a figuration of what you would have felt if you had been in the other child’s place. That use of the imagination becomes the basis for moral reflection, and ultimately for one kind of wisdom.

The Revolt of the Imagination, Part One: Notes on Belbury Syndrome | Ecosophia

The Rise of the End-State: Impending Signs of Collapse & the Engineering of a Technocratic Totalitarian “Reset”

The Privilege of Rights

Your human rights are being re-brand­ed as priv­i­leges grant­ed by gov­ern­ments, conditionally: In a sys­tem of exces­sive priv­i­leges, “free­dom” of indi­vid­ual rights (and indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­i­ty) is replaced by the per­ceived “safe­ty” of gov­ern­ment-pro­vid­ed priv­i­leges.

Cit­i­zens become slaves of gov­ern­ment in the form of exces­sive debt (and tax­es) to pay for the priv­i­leges, and by con­form­ing to the exces­sive require­ments of the privileges.

Modem-day total­i­tar­i­an sys­tems, such as the Nazi, Sovi­et and cur­rent world­wide “com­mu­ni­tar­i­an” sys­tem, are col­lec­tivist sys­tems of priv­i­leges with­out indi­vid­ual rights.

Every­thing, includ­ing all life, is con­sid­ered a “spe­cial priv­i­lege” owned by gov­ern­ment.

The cream of cor­rup­tion ris­es to the top, as the most self­ish indi­vid­u­als gain gov­ern­ment con­trol over the priv­i­leges of fel­low cit­i­zens for their own per­son­al agendas.

The Rise of the End-State: Impending Signs of Collapse & the Engineering of a Technocratic Totalitarian “Reset”

What Happened to the “Question Authority” Era?

I look at COVID a little bit like that. We will agree to destroy our society for you, China… Our greatest product at the moment, this vaccine, our most expensive and profitable export, is the result of our suffering. And it isn’t seeming to cure it either, frankly, from my perspective, since every single person I know who’s gotten the booster in LA is now asking me for recommendations on zinc and other vitamins to take. There’s the famous saying, that the capitalist will sell the revolutionary the rope he will use to hang himself. Well, that’s kind of the situation I see us in. It’s as though there’s only one corporation in charge right now, and that is one Pharma/gov/tech conglomerate. Maybe it’s called BlackRock, or Vanguard.

It’s literally making a great profit opportunity out of the suffering of society. Oh, you can’t go out? We’ll sell you virtual zoom technology. Oh, you’re sick? We’ll sell you yet another booster, but you’ve gotta wait to get better from the current variant you’re suffering from, you can take the next booster, which is actually happening to friends of mine.

What Happened to the “Question Authority” Era? Discussion with Author Walter Kirn

Review: ‘The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity’ – The Atlantic

A pyramid balances on its point, upside down, in the desert with blue sky and small figures including a caravan of camels

“How did we get stuck?” the authors ask—stuck, that is, in a world of “war, greed, exploitation [and] systematic indifference to others’ suffering”? It’s a pretty good question. “If something did go terribly wrong in human history,” they write, “then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence.” It isn’t clear to me how many possibilities are left us now, in a world of polities whose populations number in the tens or hundreds of millions. But stuck we certainly are.

Review: ‘The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity’ – The Atlantic

Anthropocene Hubris

Here we might note, in America at least, the growing normalization of once-outlier activities amongst growing numbers of working-class individuals and families. Examples of this include learning survival skills, building local infrastructures (wireless mesh networks, food production, whether farming or engineering protein bars, etc.), and taking up physical fitness regimes.33 Such activities are representative of an increasingly widespread desire to decrease dependency and take back some degree of power over one’s life and abilities—to reappropriate one’s means of existence, even if the only time to do so is found during lunch breaks. Yet placed alongside the scale, vision, and material means of delinking activities of the world’s very wealthy and the force they mobilize, these scattered efforts too often seem to reflect a powerlessness—an inability to build real power or autonomy—rather than the opposite.

Life exigencies and lack of resources often mean that, at best, such practices result in an increased preparedness to survive the next Coronavirus or hurricane (no minor feat itself of course), in a time where the definition and horizon of life has become “normalizing survival.”34 Still, even prepping is often animated by important questions such as how to help oneself and others and how to not be hostage to relief agencies, FEMA camps, or governments that disdain whole populations. How to save your family from sleeping on a gym floor, like the Kims in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite? How not to allow oneself to be reduced to scrounging for the last can of beans at the panic-ravaged grocery store? How to take care of oneself and one’s own communities—the things and beings you love? Such questions are a pragmatic and existential matter of refusing to be dependent on corporations and algorithms. Addressing them also opens up much broader horizons.

Anthropocene Hubris – Architecture – e-flux

No future! Cybernetics and the Genealogy of Time Governance

It is for this reason that we must abandon the idea of the apocalypse. Our resistance must interrupt the flow of events conjugated by the utopias of those in power. We must pierce through the state of emergency and expose the apocalypse as the perpetual reproduction of the existing order that it is. The fact is, these discourses—crisis, the state of emergency, and our unending apocalypse—are part of the same strategy: we are not governed in crisis, we are governed by means of crisis. Only when it is declared as such does a crisis properly become a crisis; and only once a problem is understood as omnipresent and pervasive does it truly become a crisis. Not only does the repetitive cry of “emergency” desensitize people, it also obscures which of all the various ongoing catastrophes might require changes that run against the grain of existing global power structures. The situation in Syria, for example, has become a perpetuum mobile of destruction for the preservation of power, a perpetual recurrence of chaos. We must ask: who profits from crisis? Why do we live in the never-ending state of emergency? And how does this influence our perception of the future?

No future! Cybernetics and the Genealogy of Time Governance | Ill Will Editions

On the Far Side of Silence

It’s always a troubling experience to realize that your life sucks, but it’s also a helpful one, because that realization makes it possible to change. If the things that make your life suck are a matter of personal choices, once you grasp this, you can make different choices.  If the things that make your life suck are a matter of social, cultural, or political factors—for example, the dismal quality of US public schooling or the problematic nature of the mandatory two-income family—you have two ways of taking action: you can change your own relationship to those factors (by considering the possibility of homeschooling your kids, for example, and assessing whether your family will benefit if one of its adult members leaves paid employment for the household economy) and you can also help bring about change on the larger scale (by lobbying your state legislators to support homeschooling as an option, for example, and being encouraging to other people who choose to move into the household economy and defending them against bullies who think they ought to tell everyone else what to do).

via On the Far Side of Silence – Ecosophia