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Bugmaster comments on Politics is the Mind-Killer - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 February 2007 09:23PM

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Comment author: Bugmaster 25 January 2012 10:15:10PM 1 point [-]

It sounds like you've thought a lot about this topic. Would you consider writing a discussion post on it ? You could call it something like "Politics as an existential risk". As far as I understand, most people here believe that politics is basically not worth talking about; you obviously disagree, so your post should provoke some interesting discussion.

Comment author: steven0461 26 January 2012 12:06:42AM 7 points [-]

Would you consider writing a discussion post on it?

Just in case the uncle comment by thomblake hasn't driven home the point, please don't do this.

Comment author: Bugmaster 26 January 2012 12:28:45AM 4 points [-]

What shouldn't I do, and why ?

It looks to me like we have two conflicting opinions:

  • Most LW members: Politics is not worth talking about (at best).
  • Jake_Witmer: politics is important, and may constitute an x-risk.

I myself am on the fence about this, and I want to be persuaded one way or the other, because the fence is uncomfortable to sit on.

Comment author: steven0461 26 January 2012 12:31:25AM 3 points [-]

I meant Jake shouldn't write the post; sorry for the confusion. Note that the two positions you list could be compatible.

Comment author: Bugmaster 26 January 2012 12:52:09AM 4 points [-]

OIC, sorry for the misunderstanding.

Note that the two positions you list could be compatible.

True, but it could be a fine line to walk. If I believed that politics constitutes an x-risk, then, given the fact that most people do engage in politics in some way (even if merely by talking about it), I have a choice to make: do I engage in politics, or not ? If I engage, I might make matters worse; if I fail to engage, I might fail to make matters better and then it will be too late, because politics in its current state will destroy us all.

I can see parallels between this issue and AI research: engaging in AI research increases the probability of an unboxed UnFriendly AI converting us all into computronium (or paperclips); and yet, failing to engage decreases the probability that the AI will be Friendly (assuming that I'm good at AI and concerned about Friendliness).

Comment author: Jack 26 January 2012 01:10:50AM 4 points [-]

I think a discussion of what, if any, political involvement is optimal could be a productive one. But I don't think the post that begins such a discussion should be written by someone whose mind has already been snatched by political ideology.

Comment author: thomblake 26 January 2012 02:59:25PM 1 point [-]

I agree with steven0461. It does sound like a potentially-interesting post, ideally with a mind-killing disclaimer at the top, but it should be written by someone sane. But then, I'm pretty sure political problems were already addressed in Bostrom's x-risk work, though they were some of the less-exciting ones (not likely to completely wipe out humanity or even civilization).

Comment author: Larks 26 January 2012 11:00:52PM 5 points [-]

There's a chapter in Bostrom's Existential Risks by Caplan on the subject.

Comment author: Bugmaster 26 January 2012 11:34:57PM 0 points [-]

Sounds interesting, I'll put it on my to-read pile -- thanks !

Comment author: bio_logical 16 October 2013 04:55:25AM 0 points [-]

The Caplan work, The Totalitarian Threat, as a Word Document, is excellent, as is his book "Myth of the Rational Voter," (a brief speech summarizing the book's thesis), but neither work covers the primary dissenting points raised in this thread.