Epistemic incentives and sluggish updating

Summary: We can get better estimates of epistemic virtue by considering changes in people’s beliefs, rather than only comparing their predictions to reality. But if we use this information, people who want to appear virtuous are motivated to lie about their beliefs, resulting in “sluggish” updating in a predictable direction (or a failure to update … More Epistemic incentives and sluggish updating

Eight unusual science fiction plots

Post-apocalyptic 1. Hundreds of millions of years after civilization destroys itself and all complex life on Earth, human-level intelligence emerges again and sophisticated civilizations begin to form. Told as alternate history in which humans actually evolved in the shadow of a much more ancient alien civilization. The protagonist is an archaeologist and intellectual living in the … More Eight unusual science fiction plots


Previously I’ve assumed that the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) is irrelevant to altruists. On further reflection I think that’s probably right, but it’s not obvious as I’d assumed. In this post I’ll argue: If SETI rules out 50% of the possible places aliens could be, you shouldn’t conclude that searching the other 50% is a … More On SETI

Takeoff speeds

Futurists have argued for years about whether the development of AGI will look more like a breakthrough within a small group (“fast takeoff”), or a continuous acceleration distributed across the broader economy or a large firm (“slow takeoff”). I currently think a slow takeoff is significantly more likely. This post explains some of my reasoning … More Takeoff speeds