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Comment author: gjm 20 February 2017 05:28:49PM 0 points [-]

And let's go one step further: who is the culprit? The devil who had an IDEA!

This is the point at which the proposal becomes obviously insane. Not coincidentally, it is also the point at which the proposal stops having anything to do with the thing Bill Gates said he was in favour of. (It is more like saying "we tax income people get from doing their jobs, so we should tax those people's parents for producing a person who did work that yielded taxable income".)

As username2 says, what gets taxed is acquisition of money; when I pay income tax it isn't a tax on me but on my receipt of that income. If anything like a "robot tax" happens, here's the right way to think of it: a company is doing the same work while employing fewer people, so it makes more profit, and it pays tax on that profit so more profit means more tax. We are generally happy[1] taxing corporate profits, and we are generally happy[2] taxing companies when their profitable activities impose nasty externalities on others, and some kinds of "robot tax" could fit happily into that framework.

[1] Perhaps you aren't. But most of us seem to be, since this is a thing that happens all over the world and I haven't seen much objection to it.

[2] This isn't so clear; I've not seen a lot of objection to taxes of this sort, but I also think they aren't used as much as maybe they should be, so maybe they are unpopular.

(For what it's worth, I am not myself in favour of a "robot tax" as such, but if we do find that robots or AI or other technological advances make some kinds of business hugely more profitable then I think it's reasonable for governments to look for ways to direct some of the benefit their way, to be used to help people whose lives become more difficult as machines get good at doing what used to be humans' jobs.)

Comment author: knb 21 February 2017 06:04:39AM 0 points [-]

Isn't a VAT already basically a Robot Tax?

Comment author: CronoDAS 14 February 2017 11:05:24PM 6 points [-]

This seems like a better metaphor for fossil fuel extraction and climate change than AI risk.

Comment author: knb 15 February 2017 05:41:27AM 1 point [-]

The same game theory would seem to apply equally well in both cases. In what way does it work better with climate change?

Comment author: gjm 24 January 2017 03:08:19AM 4 points [-]

Would you like to quantify that enough that we can look back in a few years and see whether you got it right?

Comment author: knb 26 January 2017 06:04:32AM 0 points [-]

I think it's a clear enough prediction, but putting some actual numbers on it would be useful. Personally, I would put the odds of a Trump landslide well under 50% even contingent on "supercharged" economic growth. Maybe 25%. Politics is too identity-oriented now to see anything like the Reagan landslides in the near future.

Comment author: James_Miller 24 January 2017 12:55:28AM 9 points [-]

Prediction: Government regulations greatly reduce economic growth. Trump, with the help of the Republican Congress, is going to significantly cut regulations and this is going to supercharge economic growth allowing Trump to win reelection in a true landslide.

Comment author: knb 26 January 2017 05:58:02AM 0 points [-]

Kudos for making a clear prediction.

I voted for Trump but I don't think there is any realistic possibility of a Trump landslide, even if the economy grows very well for the next 4 years. The country is just too bitterly divided along social lines for economic prosperity to deliver one candidate a landslide (assuming a landslide in the popular vote means at least 10% margin of victory.)

In terms of economic growth, I wonder what you mean by "supercharge". I think 4% is pretty unlikely. If the US manages an annual average of 3.0% for the next 4 years that would be a good improvement, but I don't think that could really be called "supercharged."

Trump job approval looks pretty good right now considering the unrelenting negative press, so right now I think Trump is likely to be re-elected if he chooses to run in 2020.

Comment author: elephantiskon 16 January 2017 09:17:17PM 2 points [-]

At what age do you all think people have the greatest moral status? I'm tempted to say that young children (maybe aged 2-10 or so) are more important than adolescents, adults, or infants, but don't have any particularly strong arguments for why that might be the case.

Comment author: knb 17 January 2017 01:46:11AM *  2 points [-]

I don't think children actually have greater moral status, but harming children or allowing children to be harmed carries more evidence of depraved/dangerous mental state because it goes against the ethic of care we are supposed to naturally feel toward children.

Comment author: ChristianKl 20 December 2016 07:06:28AM *  0 points [-]

As it happens, I doubt Chinese pay all that much attention to these kinds of diplomatic bugbears.

Why do you doubt it?

The fact that they took a US military drone in tit-for-tat, suggests that they do pay attention.

If the Chinese wanted it they could leak all those background checks for the US security clearances to Wikileaks or do any number of actions to retaliate more forcefully than just taking a drone as a symbolic action against the symbolic action of a phone call.

Comment author: knb 25 December 2016 03:40:12AM 0 points [-]

I meant the Chinese public. The actual public of most countries is not all that engaged in the ins and outs of these things.

Comment author: ChristianKl 18 December 2016 09:00:20AM 0 points [-]

The signal sent by Trump is that he will take a call from whomever he wants

That doesn't change anything about the fact that it creates strong internal pressure on Chinese decision makers to answer the action in a way that doesn't result in them losing face in front of their citizens.

Comment author: knb 20 December 2016 02:14:44AM *  0 points [-]

If true that's mainly an argument against making pointless precommitments you can't possibly enforce. As it happens, I doubt Chinese pay all that much attention to these kinds of diplomatic bugbears.

Comment author: ChristianKl 13 December 2016 08:03:03PM 3 points [-]

What's going to happen to Taiwan?

On the one hand Trump signaled less willingness to defend the interests of other countries with the US military. On the other hand he provokes the Chinese by speaking directly with Taiwanese leaders.

What are the probabilities that China will attempt to take over Taiwan during Trump's term?

Comment author: knb 16 December 2016 01:46:03AM 0 points [-]

The signal sent by Trump is that he will take a call from whomever he wants; the Chinese don't get to dictate with whom he speaks. The idea that it makes China more likely to attack Taiwan is ridiculous.

In response to Land war in Asia
Comment author: knb 09 December 2016 02:42:52AM 1 point [-]

Another aspect to consider is that Hitler had spent the decades leading up to the war declaring the Soviet Union to be an existential threat and noisily pre-committed to a massive seizure of Eastern European land. He dedicated an entire chapter to the topic in Mein Kampf. So Hitler had perhaps already tied his own hands before he even came to power.

Comment author: DataPacRat 01 December 2016 01:02:25AM 3 points [-]

If you could pick one music track that, if turned into a music video, could most exemplify the emotions resulting from LW-style rationality, what would that song be?

Comment author: knb 03 December 2016 08:26:43PM 0 points [-]

I immediately thought of this.

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