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knb comments on How to choose a country/city? - Less Wrong

11 Post author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 01:48AM

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Comment author: knb 02 November 2013 03:14:20AM 2 points [-]

3rd Stockholm (where everyone is born a transhumanist)

Why do you think this?

Comment author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 08:05:14AM 1 point [-]

Also, some argue the singularity will hit there first: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/7472030838/

Comment author: jkaufman 02 November 2013 02:41:30PM 0 points [-]

Why does Hanson argue that?

Comment author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 10:47:08PM 0 points [-]

It's a technology oriented country, one of the most developed and it is cold.

Comment author: Paulovsk 03 November 2013 12:28:14PM 1 point [-]

What does the cold have to do with it?

Comment author: joaolkf 03 November 2013 12:55:26PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 03:48:40AM 0 points [-]

I know at least 10 Swedes, all of them attest to this. If you go through their departments, it becomes obvious also. It seems to be part of their culture by now. It is a technological oriented country. The downside is that universities there aren't so good as in UK. Merely the fact I know 10 Swedes, all transhumanists, while living in Brazil, being antisocial, and never being there, it is an evidence.

Comment author: jkaufman 02 November 2013 04:48:13AM 1 point [-]

How did you meet these Swedes?

Comment author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 08:15:21AM *  0 points [-]

The fact they came from FHI-Oxford does weakens the evidence, since they are all transhumanists anyway. But the fact that most of FHI is Swedish is another evidence in itself. Also, I believe the stronger evidence is the opinion of those people about their own country. Some said they were really surprised when they left Sweden with the existence of non-consequentialist people.

Comment author: jkaufman 02 November 2013 02:40:06PM *  3 points [-]

most of FHI is Swedish is another evidence in itself

  • Nick Bostrom, Director: Swedish
  • Stuart Armstrong, James Martin Research Fellow: English, I think
  • Nick Beckstead, Research Fellow: American
  • Daniel Dewey, Alexander Tamas Research Fellow: American
  • Carl Frey, James Martin Research Fellow: not sure EDIT: Swedish
  • Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, James Martin Academic Project Manager: Irish, I think
  • Vincent Müller, James Martin Research Fellow: German
  • Toby Ord, James Martin Research Fellow: Australian
  • Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow: Swedish
  • Milan Cirkovic, Research Associate: Serbian
  • Robin Hanson, Research Associate: American
  • Guy Kahane, Research Associate: maybe Israeli?
  • Carl Shulman, Research Associate: American, I think EDIT: Canadian

I count two Swedes, though I'm not that solid on some of these people's nationalities; quick searches can be misleading.

Some said they were really surprised when they left Sweden with the existence of non-consequentialist people.

Most transhumanists are consequentialist, but so are lots of people. In fact the only people I've met who argue "as a society we should do X even though it has worse outcomes" are philosophers.

Comment author: Alicorn 02 November 2013 05:30:22PM 2 points [-]

Carl Shulman is from Canada.

Comment author: diegocaleiro 02 November 2013 09:50:49PM 2 points [-]

The obvious country that seems left away but is compatible with Joao's goals is Canada. Maybe a little more probability mass should be assigned to the other non-Sweden Scandinavian countries. I would probably swich the interest in Germany into Finland, Denmark, and even Reikjavic, the only sufficiently populated part of Iceland.

Comment author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 10:51:55PM 0 points [-]

Canada requires GRE, but they do have some Uehiro-analogues there. The problem with other non-Sweden Scandinavian countries is that I do not know many people there which could guide me through finding good Professors. Kaj already said he doesn't know anyone in Finland. But I ought to check that anyway, I will give it a run through their websites and ask around. If you know relevant people there, PM me.

Comment author: joaolkf 02 November 2013 10:43:56PM *  1 point [-]

I count two Swedes, though I'm not that solid on some of these people's nationalities; quick searches can be misleading

False. These are the Swedes currently on FHI: Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Carl Frey, and Kristian Rönn. I wouldn't count the Research Associates when making the proportion, since they are not there 95% of the time. Plus, your list is not up to date.

Most transhumanists are consequentialist, but so are lots of people. In fact the only people I've met who argue "as a society we should do X even though it has worse outcomes" are philosophers.

False. Most people and philosophers are deontological. But consequentialists are overrepresented among philosophers and even more among transhumanists. I will not give you the evidence for this, it is your responsibility to find out if you find it important, search for trolley problems studies.

Are you trying to get in anywhere useful with this whole Swedish discussion? I'm pretty sure about my facts here, and unless there would be extreme utility in finding out that actually Nick lied about his birthplace or whatnot, I will not be discussing this issue any further.

Comment author: jkaufman 04 November 2013 05:44:39AM 4 points [-]

False.

You're being excessively confrontational. I'm curious about how transhumanist Sweden is, and how Swedish the FHI is.

Plus, your list is not up to date.

This is the list from their website.

False. Most people and philosophers are deontological. ... I will not give you the evidence for this.

If other people have pointers to evidence on this I would be curious.

My impression is that most people are a mixture of consequentialist and deontological, but everyone who I've gotten into a thorough discussion with about this has come down to claiming that the deontological parts of their morality are there because they lead to better outcomes.

Comment author: joaolkf 04 November 2013 09:01:41AM *  2 points [-]

You're being excessively confrontational.

You are right. I'm very sorry about that. I mildly panicked seeing that the first comments of an extremely personally relevant post were concentrated on the Swedish issue, which wasn't the core of my question.

This is the list from their website.

Yes, I know. It's missing Kristian, and I believe some research associates are not collaborating with FHI anymore.

If other people have pointers to evidence on this I would be curious.

Any trolley problem study will give you the proportion on the normal population. It's about 80% deontological, 20% utilitarian. Eric Schwitzgebel studies will give you the proportion among philosophers and among ethicists. The evidence for transhumanists is anecdotal. Although I've been one for 6 years, have directed a transhumanist NGO and have met many old timers, I've never met a deontological transhumanist in my life.

Comment author: jkaufman 04 November 2013 02:33:14PM 2 points [-]

I mildly panicked seeing that the first comments of an extremely personally relevant post were concentrated on the Swedish issue, which wasn't the core of my question.

Sorry about that. I'm interested in this tangent, but if you're not I'm fine dropping it.

Any trolley problem study will give you the proportion on the normal population.

I don't think trolley problems are a good measure of how consequentialist random people are. They're designed to push us far past our intuitions, to figure out if we still say consequentialist things when it means actively deciding who lives and dies, as well as overriding our generally very strong "don't kill people" heuristic.

A similar test, in the opposite direction, would be something like "would it be ok for someone to steal food if they would otherwise starve to death?" This pushes people away from "stealing is wrong" towards evaluating outcomes. They may or may not think the societally corrosive effects of stealing outweigh a starvation death postponed, but my experience is they'll generally consider it in terms of consequences.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 04 November 2013 03:01:57PM 0 points [-]

Yes, I know. It's missing Kristian

Kristian is no longer working for FHI.

Comment author: Sean_o_h 10 November 2013 11:33:29AM 1 point [-]

Kristian has returned to Sweden, but is still working remotely part-time for FHI.

Comment author: vallinder 06 November 2013 11:19:45AM 1 point [-]

I don't think Sweden is significantly more transhumanist than several other western European countries. The fact that two influential transhumanists (Bostrom and Sandberg) are Swedish could be due to chance. Once they became known, they may have attracted a disproportionate number of Swedes to adopt similar views, but that number is still trivial compared to the population as a whole. In fact, it could be that the general egalitarian sentiment makes Swedes less likely to accept certain transhumanist positions (even though that sentiment is arguably weaker today than it was a few decades ago).

Comment author: joaolkf 10 November 2013 05:42:32PM *  0 points [-]

I would have thought the there were a Bostrom-Sandberg effect, specially since Sweden doesn't have such a big population. However, by looking at the WVS graphic it's hard to say rational self-expressing values wouldn't be expected to correlate with transhuman values. But, yes, probably the egalitarian sentiment would be a factor against transhumanism, I've heard transhumanists there complaining about that.

Thank you for your input, you were the first to present a counterevidence to my assumption. Those things might be more valuable than you think in this case.