First, let me invite readers, especially longtime/frequent readers, to suggest topics for me to blog on. I try to pick topics that are important, neglected, and where I can find something original and insightful to say. But I also like to please readers, and maybe I’m forgetting/missing topics that you could point out.
Among ingroup bloggers, I've noticed Scott Sumner is particularly strong on engagement, replying to almost all comments made on his posts, even the dumb ones.
I'd probably write more comments here on OB (and put more effort in to them) if I knew you were going to read and respond.
You might be surprised by how little effort it would take to increase engagement. For example, you could make a point of upvoting every comment on a post of yours that you feel adds to the discussion. As it is, leaving comments on this blog feels like a shot in the dark. Obviously I think my own comments are great, but I don't trust my own opinion, so I don't have a good sense of whether I'm adding value.
Robin, here's a request for a subject to blog about that I think you might like. A lot of futurism revolves around megastructures, and this seems to me intimately linked with Kardashev's theories about measuring signatures of advanced civilizations in terms of their energy usage. In a discussion elsewhere, someone challenged this premise. My counterargument was that there may be a very deep sense in which thermodynamics makes this the right way to measure things. But I haven't fleshed this argument out very much. I think this is a topic uniquely suited to your own background and expertise, so I'm curious what you think.
(Won't use medium for this again, and I guess further discussion can be in comments if needed, but for reference here are the invisible posts)
Your reply: https://medium.com/@RobinDa...
My first reply to your reply: https://medium.com/@paulfch...
My other reply to your reply:https://medium.com/@paulfch...
A criticism made in Gerard de Valence's blog and a few times here (not by me, incidentally):
"Exactly what and why they [ems] are producing anything is not clear."
I'd like to take up your invitation. As an offer I have this idea:http://gerard-de-valence.bl...
I am really wondering whether prediction markets for outcomes of major construction projects might be interesting.
To be fair, you should know The Age of Em featured in a more recent post:http://gerard-de-valence.bl...
I'd like to know if your thoughts on empire time have evolved.
Can you write your thoughts on when one should apologize for one's mistakes? Is apologizing just signaling or does it serve any purpose? Who should apologize more---high status person or low status one? Do Japanese people apologize too much? Do Americans apologize too little?
Sounds sensible economically. But does it send the right signal? Even if we, your readers, think it is sensible, do we feel compelled to a mere deal? Don't we aspire to more idealistic goals of advancing economics? I wonder what you think the transaction on that level might be?
See also e.g. the Economics of Pricelessnesshttp://www.ribbonfarm.com/2...
Could you perhaps link to a piece (preferably written by you or about your work) demonstrating a high level of engagement with another intellectual?
i think this is because the story is marked "unlisted", and so the replies are similarly unlisted?
Robin, this reminds me that there's a good argument against mangled worlds that you never responded to.
My experience with engaging your ideas is that I've sometimes spent hours thinking about some critique and trying to express it as clearly as I can, only to have you totally ignore it. Here is another example I was able to find. I've also seen you give one-liner responses to other people's detailed comments, which surely discourages engagement in a similar way.
Maybe you value engagement more in the form of books and academic papers instead of back-and-forth discussions in the comments section? Even if you do, I think the latter is a good way to build up enough interest in your ideas for people to engage you more formally.
Alas, apparently medium is not a workable format for this, I guess I'll try a google doc in the future. I received your reply and replied to it, you should be able to see my reply in your notifications on medium, but apparently the conversation is not visible even with the initial link.
I still think there's scope for you to get more engagement via the usual route of convincing people that your ideas are plausible enough to be worth exploring! :)
It's very interesting that your comments on Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence book included the following point:
Bostrom’s book has much thoughtful analysis of AI foom consequences and policy responses. But aside from mentioning a few factors that might increase or decrease foom chances, Bostrom simply doesn’t given an argument that we should expect foom. Instead, Bostrom just assumes that the reader thinks foom likely enough to be worth his detailed analysis.
Seems to me that this is the main obstacle to further engagement with your ems scenario. Your arguments rest on particular claims regarding the nature of intelligence and its role in human capability that you largely take for granted. For people who don't agree with those claims, the book is largely irrelevant. There are obviously great opportunities in exploring what-if scenarios, but people who don't think the 'if' part is remotely likely just aren't going to care. In fact I think this is more of an issue for you than Bostrom, as the intelligence explosion idea is quite intuitive - whether or not it's correct.
I tried to write a rely there twice. Each time it seemed to accept the reply, but then later didn't show the reply on your post.
It occurs to me that 'trade' is the wrong metaphor here. The iterated transaction of 'engagement' does not normally take place under understood and negotiated 'terms of trade', but rather under a tâtonnement process in a kind of iterated prisoner's dilemma.
In fact, it is unclear that engaging is an altruistic action, even in the short term. Most people engage with other people's ideas because they enjoy engaging with ideas. And even if they are doing so primarily to promote their own reputation, they frequently expect to 'cash out' that reputation gain by way of receipt of return engagement from third parties.