Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Also, Give Us Billions So We Can Invent The Torment Nexus

The entirety of math (or philosophy) is not going to be in this post, but one issue with the whole Effective Altruism/Longtermism cult view is that they explicitly say it is morally incorrect to discount the future, that we should value future life as much as we do today.

(They're also obsessed with the welfare of shrimp, but that's for the suckers, like the kidney donations.)

If you know a bit of math, you know this is conceptually gibberish.

You can't actually solve (generally, again NotAllMath) a dynamic optimization problem such as "maximize the infinite horizon expected utility function subject to constraints" without a discount factor. 

Oh this is not about Math, Atrios, you say, but sometimes shoehorning concepts into math has value. Putting it simply, adding an infinite count of numbers gives you the same answer no matter what those numbers are. You need the discount factor so that eventually those numbers are effectively 0 and the sum converges.

But, putting it in non-math terms, if you don't discount the future, then "civilization continues to exist, reasonably well, with about 8 billion humans in perpetuity" is equivalent to "Elon Musk and 30 tech bros construct an underground bunker with 1000 women for breeding purposes, put themselves into stasis, nuke the planet, then revive and replenish the world with their seed in 50 million years."

Of course this is entirely nonsense unless you also imagine yourself to be Hari Seldon, which of course they all do.

Anyway this is a doomsday eugenics cult,  "we must destroy the inferiors  of the world to save it," and narcissistic rich guys will, as they age, increasingly want to destroy the world as that is preferable to it not existing without them.