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The CHIPS and Science Act, Moore's Law and other political acknowledgements of the importance of research for human progress

ygolo

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One of the things that has been an underlying force for a lot of the innovation we have seen for about the last 60 years is Moore's Law.

Again, this is not a physical law (nor is it a legal obligation, lol). There has been a multi-corporate organization that aims to keep the trends going for as long as possible.

The current iteration of this organization is the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems.

In the past it has been the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors and the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

Although semiconductor companies to still make progress, there are now only a handful of companies that are keeping up with the latest advances at scale. If you dig into the data, some are still struggling, especially Intel, the only company from the United States on the list. Of relevance to that fact, the US passed the CHIPS and Science Act last year.

This example is the most famous, but as I mentioned in the housing thread, if we as humanity coordinated so that every individual needed to spend less time working to meet their needs, they could spend their time to make other things happen, for instance assist in keeping Moore's Law going.

There are other examples of exponentials. One of the more famous is the Carlson Curve for the cost to sequence a human genome. This too has organizations that track it and encourage the exponential to keep happening. The Carlson Curve benefits from Moore's Law, but it is clear that there is an additional effect driving its exponential.
2022_Sequencing_cost_per_Human_Genome.jpg


Another trend of note is the number of parameters in Machine Learning systems. Of specific interest, is that, as hype increased, so did the rate of parameter growth. What is possible is certainly affected by Moore's Law, but clearly there is an additional effect in play as well.
0*E2rSPvScD3tOJXmq.png

There are more ambitions concepts that need to be considered, including:
1) Automation Utopia
2) The technological singularity and future studies more broadly. Although there are solid trends and concepts with good backing, a lot of future studies turns pseudo-scientific, so one has to be careful.

I want to understand, what drives an exponential improvement in things? What would it take to drive an exponential improvement in human needs (let's start with the undisputed physiological needs of air, water, food, shelter, etc.)?

My belief is the answers to these questions lie mainly in politics, and not in technology or science--in the political will to coordinate human activity towards certain ends, not the specific breaktrus that would come as a result of such a coordination.
 
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ygolo

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There's a lot of talk among lots of people about people becoming complacent and how you need be like the superstars of your fields as AI and technology takes your jobs or rather people utilizing AI takes your jobs.

Here's on thing though, we know that index funds beat managed fund pretty much hands down, but still there are entire industries focused explicitly on managing funds. There are many cases where throwing darts at a portfolio sheet does better, but because managers know the right people, they get more funds under allocation and get paid exorbitant nanagement fees.

The same thing with private funds and VCs. If we're working on "AI", we need to find a way to automate away these jobs. In a lot of cases, a trello board(an inanimate digital version of a kitchen whiteboard) can do the job of a manager. What the f does a producer or executive producer even do?

Let's see if we can automate away these BS jobs first-where the "AI" algorithm is easily. The steps of the algorithm are...there are no steps.

Let's look for "AI" to automate away the BS jobs of the bosses and the capital class.
 

ygolo

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A little more food for thought about "automating the bosses" (really it is mostly just eliminating them, but some automation may be required):


Why not have all these endowments, pension funds, etc. invest in automated lottery pickings of investments in new startups? Just like with the public markets, it seems like this is just a lot of investors are people playing status games at the expense of the prosperity of humanity as a whole. There are exceptions, and I believe I have met some. We now know pretty definitely that, in general, index funds beat actively managed funds long term. I suspect it is something in the private markets and business founding.
 

ygolo

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More thoughts I think about automating the bosses-- This time from the side of the customer instead of investors.

There are issues embedded even the ideas of "who get served" in the creation of new ventures (let alone how the current system of business serves the rich).

The following process skews to serve the rich: A person creating a venture thinks about who they will serve as a customer when they make a business. Who do people make business to serve? The people with money. Because they have money, they may be willing to pay $4k/month for what might otherwise be an inconvenience. Then the business creator just needs to find a way to make maybe 5 sales a month. The business then comes into being, possibly making the venture creator rich, and makes the richer person even more productive.

What would a person who wants to serve the poor, or disabled, or otherwise short on money, or other engines of prosperity do? The vast majority of the problems seen in the world are due to people struggling. Do you charge something exorbitant get it going? That seems horrible. Non-profits can work, but there aren't a lot that are that powerful.

I feel like in addition to labor unions, there need to be "Consumer Unions", where consumers who share a common problem can band together and demand that something be made to serve their needs, rather than exploit their needs(which happens in the "free with advertising" models) in a way in which the people supplying the solution to the problems can sustain themselves as well.
 

ygolo

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Just another thought on "automating the bosses", especially considering the discussion that we had in the other thread with @The Cat around marketing.

I believe that it should be inexpensive (price/cost/time-value/labour-value/energy--maybe even free) for people to learn what problems others want or need to be solved.

Again, so that people doing work can serve people's needs instead of exploiting them.
 

ygolo

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It still strikes me as a huge failing and missed opportunity. We have those incredible and inspiring displays of human ingenuity in Moore's Law, Carson's Curve, ML parameter growth, etc., and instead of making progress, we have increasing costs just to be alive (this is the opposite of progress).

I simply cannot find a good reason for that other than that people are misdirecting human ingenuity. We are getting the most motivated and creative people working on the wrong problems somehow.

Why is human effort misdirected so badly? My mind still goes to marketing. It has been a psy-ops program meant to bilk, scam, a extract the life energy from humanity.

But we do need to know what people actually need.

Is an example of the alternative:

or is the ultimate psy-op in making it seem anti psy-op?

Edit: I actually think this is the ultimate existential threat for humanity. It'll get us long before time traveling robots or paperclip maximizers --and it is almost at that point. We are already getting less healthy and intelligent at the population level due to the forces in play (chemicals, and general extraction of human energy to feed...let's call it Moloch). Once population momentum collapses, we may not know for 25 to 50 years after it happens. By then it'll be too late to change it.
 
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ygolo

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Andreesen-Horowitz puts out a manifesto:

As with any manifesto of reasonably sane people of such length, there are going to be things people agree with and things people disagree with.

I believe I would consider myself a techno-optimist, but I can't sign on to all the things in this manifesto.

I'm anti-monopoly, anti-comunist, anti-central planning, and anti-regulatory capture as well.

He put scare quotes around "sustainability", and "stakeholder capitalism", and a few other things.

Putting this in quotes makes sense because calling something a particular word doesn't make it so.

I would agree that there is a lot of waste in programs with these things in the name due to bureaucratic waste.

But you can put scare quotes around "merit" and "strength" also. Just calling something a thing doesn't make it so.

The data shows that even amongst the people in their own industry, on average, they are worse than useless. As far as returns for investment, the vast majority of investors would do much better with automated indeces. Amongst founders(who I presume he considers builders, and I guess he was one long long long ago), investment firms get an A- from the likes of YC founders if the just give money and leave. When they do the other stuff, even their B+ work is worse than useless.

So 68% of them are worse than useless, and they talk about "merit".
 

ygolo

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I re-read the manifesto, and had essentially the same experience.

I agree with almost everything said, albeit with something uncomfortable about agreeing with the statements at the pit of my stomach.

I posted something a long time ago about the ills and impracticality of central planning as a central organizing principle. I still largely hold that view. (There are more mathematical reasons that I can elaborate on more, if people want.)

But the part of the manifesto that largely gets me uncomfortable is when Andreesen names enemies.

That's the part of the manifesto that had me wondering if he is secretly naming himself and others like him the Supermen, while secretly naming others the Last Men. It had me wondering if he's actually advocating techno-fascism and not purely techno-optimist.

Part of what primed my mind to head towards that is that my reading of history is that late-stage capitalism (oligopolies, monopolies) creates a large amount of support for Communism, which then in reaction to that creates a lot of support for Fascism. It's kind of a Three Card Monty of cronyism, and obviously someone of Andersen's means is now a crony, whether he likes it or not.

After watching this, my fear about this was largely assuaged:

But others may find the reaction different.
 

ygolo

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I read Barack Obama's Medium post:

It is just a reading list, and omnivorous readers ought to read things they don't agree with fully to learn, grow, and be challenged.

I am a bit worried about the reading list, because the list of articles, in particular, are rather one sided.

I would love to say the articles are anti-big tech, but they are anti-progress actually. In name, they talk about being anti-big tech, but when you look at the policies, they seem to be anti-experimentation, anti-learning, anti-growth, anti-find-things-out. This ultimately means pro-big-tech.

The books however are little more varied.
 

ygolo

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There has been a lot of talk about rich people not wanting to donate money to a lot universities of the world because they claim the education is poor.

I claim, the agents need the roles reversed. These university endowments need to stop trusting their money to these incompetent assholes.

Create some sort of index tracking instrument for private investment as well.

As plenty of data bears out, these money managers and capital allocaters are worse than useless, and generally lack merit.
 

ygolo

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It's interesting. I know people don't like Palihapitiya. But if Social Capital, does in the VC market what Vanguard did in the public market, it seems like a game changer. I believe it'll be ultimately positive for all parties.

What are people's thoughts?
 

ygolo

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I liked the phrase, "We need to plant trees whose shade we'll never know." Also, it's a cliche, but true, the problems of today are opportunities of the future.
 

DiscoBiscuit

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I like a lot of what you've written here but think any vision of a technological future needs to be cognizant of human nature.

We will never be post scarcity b/c people will always want to own and profit from things.

Any vision of the future needs to understand that organize its founding documents such that those things happen within reason and in concordance with human flourishing.
 

ygolo

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I like a lot of what you've written here but think any vision of a technological future needs to be cognizant of human nature.

We will never be post scarcity b/c people will always want to own and profit from things.

Any vision of the future needs to understand that organize its founding documents such that those things happen within reason and in concordance with human flourishing.
Indeed technology ought to be made for human flourishing, not the other way around.

But in many ways, it does seem to be the other way around. That's what's disconcerting. The difference between the potential and the reality.

I am ultimately optimistic, but we don't collectively envision protopia (as opposed to utopia, which is naive) development as much anymore. Instead people imaginations are generally pulled towards dystopian futures. We can only bring about what we can imagine. So can we imagine something better?
 

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Indeed technology ought to be made for human flourishing, not the other way around.

But in many ways, it does seem to be the other way around. That's what's disconcerting. The difference between the potential and the reality.

I am ultimately optimistic, but we don't collectively envision protopia (as opposed to utopia, which is naive) development as much anymore. Instead people imaginations are generally pulled towards dystopian futures. We can only bring about what we can imagine. So can we imagine something better?
There are few phrases the right wing love more than "human nature". It's their blanket dismissal for any kind of deviation from the prescribed behavior and social hierarchy people adhere to - no chance for change or growth or development or, god forbid, decision making that benefit the majority, not the minority, of people.
 
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Virtual ghost

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There are few phrases the right wing love more than "human nature". It's their blanket dismissal for any kind of deviation from the prescribed behavior and social hierarchy people adhere to - no chance of change or growth or development or, god forbid, decision making that benefit the majority, not the minority, of people.

Yeah, human nature is kinda odd term when you take a look at the wider picture. I never lived in what is considered free market capitalism by US standards and thus if you push such capitalism as human nature you will come into the zone of problems. Since in that case I am not human, as well as people around me. Which are deliberately voting in fashion that the mentioned order isn't established. Even the local church is saying that raw and unregulated Capitalism is insult to God and perversion of society. Therefore debate around what is human nature is actually much wider than some people would like it to be. In other words there is a huge number of cultures across the world, which are making this debate quite complicated. Since finding traits that they all have is work with quite a scope.
 

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Yeah, human nature is kinda odd term when you take a look at the wider picture. I never lived in what is considered free market capitalism by US standards and thus if you push such capitalism as human nature you will come into the zone of problems. Since in that case I am not human, as well as people around me. Which are deliberately voting in fashion that the mentioned order isn't established. Even the local church is saying that raw and unregulated Capitalism is insult to God and perversion of society. Therefore debate around what is human nature is actually much wider than some people would like it to be. In other words there is a huge number of cultures across the world, which are making this debate quite complicated. Since finding traits that they all have is work with quite a scope.
Human nature is definitely a thing though. And to deny it's existence and underlying influence on human behavior is foolhardy. Although I would add what we call human nature is probably more of an evolutionary behavioral programming kind of thing. It can certainly be overcome, but it is not easy and many people will fail to even notice (or deny) it is even influencing their behavior.

Take religion for example. Religion is a part of EVERY human culture and has been for every culture that has ever existed throughout history (at least as far as I know). Why is that? There is no actual evidence for any supernatural beings influencing human behavior or events in any way, but every single culture has thoroughly believed in some god or pantheon of gods playing an active role in human affairs. Why? Human nature. There are many reasons humans invent gods, but they are almost all related to a need for psychological comfort. That underlying need is human nature.
 

ygolo

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I would say there is such a thing as human nature. But it's much more complex and diverse than what any individual human conceives.

 
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