- Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh (FHI & CSER) gave a 13-minute introduction to existential risk.
- The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2014 report provides a snapshot of what a certain set of thought leaders think is worth worrying about.
- Another snapshot comes from the responses to Edge.org’s 2013 annual question.
- The Onion: World’s Supercomputers Release Study Confirming They Are Not Powerful Enough.
- Frustrated scholar creates new way to fund, publish and peer-review academic work. Dogecoin accepted.
- James Hamblin in The Atlantic: But what would the end of humanity mean for me?
- Nick Beckstead’s suggestions for effective altruism research topics.
- Schwitzgebel, A Theory of Jerks.
- A Type House Divided: inside the split of the Hoefler/Frere-Jones typography team.
- UsefulScience.org: Life-relevant scientific results explained in one sentence, in many categories, with links to the original publication and also news coverage. (This link, like many of my links, is borrowed from Rockstar Research Magazine.)
- MIRI wants to fund your independently-organized Friendly AI workshop.
- New DoD report on their plans for autonomous robots, 2013-2038.
- Watch a computer try to learn how to walk (video).
- What a Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC) might have been like in Medieval times.
- Eliezer Yudkowsky takes another shot (Nov. 2013) at explaining what he was trying to get across in his metaethics sequence.
- The ontological argument for God’s existence, formalized and proved with PVS.
- Ants acting as both a solid and a liquid (video).
- Wikiquote: incorrect predictions.
- Average length of PhD dissertations by major.
Nano (1996), by Ed Regis, tells the story of nanotechnology up to 1995, and serves as a cautionary tale for others trying to promote the development of a novel science from outside the establishment. Recommended.
The Visioneers (2012), by W. Patrick McCray, tells the story of both Gerard O’Neill — who advocated space colonization in the 1970s — and Eric Drexler, pioneer of nanotechnology. It’s less detailed than Nano, but also recommended.
Soldiers of Reason (2009), by Alex Abella, is a history of RAND Corporation. Most of it is pretty interesting, especially if you happen to run a nonprofit research institute, though I disagree with the author about the purpose and value of rational choice theory.
David and Goliath (2013), by Malcolm Gladwell, includes some great stories as usual but is also Gladwell’s most annoying, disingenuous book yet.
Think Like a Freak (2014), by Levitt & Dubner, also includes some great stories, and is less annoying than David and Goliath, but is basically a repackaging of posts from their blog.
A Troublesome Inheritance (2014), by Nicholas Wade, is about race, genes, and IQ, a touchy subject!
The Knowledge (2014), by Lewis Dartnell, is about what we’d need to know, and what knowledge we’d need to preserve, to reboot human civilization as quickly as possible after some kind of apocalypse. I wish there was more available on this subject. Recommended.
The Up Side of Down (2014), by Megan McArdle, is about how failing well is the key to success. I’ll echo Robin Hanson: “Overall I found it very hard to disagree with anything that McArdle said in her book. If you know me, that is quite some praise.”
- MIRI’s first technical report on the value-loading problem in FAI in a long time.
- Wilson Center & MIT, “Creating a Research Agenda for the Ecological Implications of Synthetic Biology.”
- Wars & Metternich argue in Foreign Policy that “predicting the future is easier than it looks.”
- GiveWell lays out their reasoning on why some U.S. policy areas look more promising for philanthropic intervention than others.
- More evidence that disagreement is less resolvable when people are thinking about their positions in far mode.
- On the unusual effectiveness of logic in computer science.
- Mandiant’s 2014 cybsecurity trends report.
Immediately before launching this new site I was posting regular assorted links to Facebook. I’ve collected those links below.
May 31st links
- Scott Aaronson’s reply to Giulio Tononi’s reply to Scott Aaronson on the integrated information theory of consciousness.
- Equity market guru accuracy ratings, based on 6500+ forecasts from 68 gurus.
- Machines vs. lawyers.
- Robin Goldstein pranks Wine Spectator with a fake restaurant.
- Steven Pinker’s next book is available for pre-order.
May 29th links
- FLI’s inaugural talks and panel: “The future of technology, benefits and risks” (video).
- How much do Y Combinator founders earn?
- Megaprojects (> $1B budget) almost never finish on time, on budget, and with the promised benefits.
- Google has a working prototype of a fully self-driving car with no steering wheel (video).
- SIGGRAPH 2014 technical papers preview (video).
May 27th links
- Sandberg, “Smarter policymaking through improved collective cognition.”
- Johann Schumann on high-assurance systems.
- “Communicating values to autonomous agents.”
- Robotic arm catches everything tossed in its direction (video).