Open Thread

This is our monthly place to discuss related topics that have no appeared in recent posts.

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  • http://sebastianmarshall.com Sebastian Marshall

    Hi Robin, I have a semi-personal/semi-professional question if you don’t mind.

    You talk on some really controversial subjects and you don’t bow down to prevailing thought, yet somehow you’ve been able to exist in the mainstream space. Any thoughts or reflections on how you’ve been able to this? It’s a very cool thing. It means you can influence mainstream society even when your views are new, opposed to the mainstream, or otherwise not the same-old comfortable stuff people see in the New York Times.

    • maybe not the real Robin Hanson

      Great question, Sabastian! No doubt those econ journal execs are right and my articles could’ve gone platinum had I pandered to the NYT, verse-chorus-verse, crowd. But it’s about the truth. And readers like you who “get it” make it easy to keep it real.

  • Alexey Turchin

    What do you think?
    If terrorsi or nations in was blow up all underwater oil wells: which produces about 20 mln barel/day, would it be existential risk?

  • http://liveatthewitchtrials.blogspot.com/ davidc

    There as been a resurgence recently in prizes for science. Including the netflix prize and kaggle http://kaggle.com/
    What do you think will/should happen to prizes in science in the next few years?

  • A


    You talk on some really controversial subjects and you don’t bow down to prevailing thought, yet somehow you’ve been able to exist in the mainstream space. Any thoughts or reflections on how you’ve been able to this?

    Robin is the Master of Signaling. He just knows how to send the right compensating signals. This allows him to do and say whatever he wants. If ordinary people had tried to say the same things, they would be dead by now.

  • OhioStater

    Maybe I don’t understand “near” and “far” as used in this forum, but for the purpose of this post “near” are people you personally interact with whereas “far” are people you don’t interact with. Shaking the president’s hand at a rope line is far whereas shaking the presidents hand before a meeting in the Oval Office is near.

    It seems status distinctions are far and they disappear when a person is near. This is especially true with respect to dating and beauty where a girl can seem like the most beautiful girl in the world in passing but appear normal or average after I’ve gotten a chance to meet her.

    Is this because my standard’s rose, or is this because I know perceive myself as worthy, or is it because I’m disappointed the reality didn’t meet my expectations?

  • http://www.slothjockey.com/blog/vinnie_bergl/ Vinnie

    Robin,

    I’ve been reading a lot of Bryan Caplan’s recent discussion on the signaling value of education, and it’s led me to wonder. If, as you and Bryan tend to argue, signaling is the primary function of education, why is it that we typically (almost exclusively) use GPA–a subjective and indirect reflection the relevant signals–as an indicator of future job performance when more objective measures–e.g. class attendance, total credits earned, changes in major (what else?)–are available?

  • http://www.modeledbehavior.com Adam Ozimek

    Robin,

    How do you know what the utility of never existing is?

    • Aron

      and what’s the color of greed? Did you know that I once ran down the market to fashion a net of cola? I ended up square down on the lance wondering who’s mind was twisted past sunday.

  • http://www.linwoodengineering.com Adam Forni

    Can the “conspicuous waste” signal remain attractive in this new green-centric world? That traditional signal seems quite contrary to the new “conspicuous green/organic/efficiency” signal which is already attractive and gaining momentum.

    • http://kazart.blogspot.com mwengler

      For every Natural and Organic shoeless beach blond at Santa Cruz impressed by your worm box, there will be a stiletto-heeled bleach blond at Club Whatever drinking your Cristal and ready to risk her long-term continence for you on your Gulfstream. There isn’t even close to just one group of people reading signals or sending them for that matter.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    I already linked to it before, but I felt this quote from Daniel Ellsberg was worth linking again.

    • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

      Doh! I meant to link here.

  • Matt Simpson

    I asked in a last month’s open thread how many viewquakes you’ve had and what caused them. I’m still curious – I’m addicted to them too and I need my fix!

    btw, I’m the “amazing person” that someone mentioned to you on facebook

    • Aron

      Problem is that it doesn’t go viewquake 1,2,3… and then a memory of them equitably recalled. It goes, bip bop shebop, shallaboom and then some sentence about viewquakes appears poetic and gets released upon the bog like lapping hungry tidal wolves.

  • Catfish

    An issue that I have been thinking recently which has earlier appeared in this blog, but now cannot find that exact blog post is in reference to a study where it found that investors would be better off it they invested in financial companies which have now failed in lieu of lower growth rate of the sector as a whole. Can somebody please link the exact blog post which Robin Hanson commented about

  • http://www.typier.com winter boots

    The reality is always some people are difficult to measure things

  • mjgeddes

    I see all my attempts to shock folks out of the Bayesian dogma have failed. Unfortunately, never again will you folks have the benefits of such blunt speaking, since I am actually learning some social skills Indeed, it will soon be unlikely that I will ever be making unsolicited comments on other people’s blogs again.

    This is likely to be my final plea. Transhuman glory (Singularity) is still within reach, but is rapidly slipping away now. The old-guard of transhumanism is aging (I believe professor Hanson recently turned 50, Bostrom is in his 40s, Yudkowsky is in his 30s), the window of opportunely is closing down fast. The position is still recoverable now, but ony just I think. In another 5-10 years we will be a non-recoverable position (too late to correct for major mistakes or over-sights) and the lives of this generation will be lost.

    Listen to me very very carefully. The post ‘The prior of a hypothesis does not depend on its complexity’ that appeared on LW is wrong. Dead wrong. Absolutely and utterly wrong. All attention and intellectual firepower needs to directed at complexity measures and priors. I repeat: throw everything you’ve got at researching complexity measures and priors!

    Last call!

  • chakira

    Dear Robin

    I was wondering if you think the economy is more about creating social differentiation or social cohesion, or distributing resources? Am I setting up a false dichotomy here?