1. The Future of Humanity Institute asks me to advertise that they’re looking to fill two AI safety researcher positions. See their job descriptions for postdoctoral research scientist and research scientist, and see the application process at the link if you’re interested. Deadline is January 10th. FHI is affiliated with Oxford and I can vouch for them as a legitimate organization.
2. Comments of the week: Art Vandelay on how academic anthropology thinks about the rationality of pretechnological societies, tcheasdfjkl on reconciling power-based and cultural-evolution-based models, and CatCube on Bill Clinton’s creepy charisma. Also the subreddit team are highlighting the best comments on the culture war thread there.
3. David Friedman wants me to clarify that the version of his book I linked to earlier is out of date, and there’s a newer draft up online here. Some more of Friedman’s comments on my review of his book here and here.
4. Current Affairs wrote an article riffing off one of my links posts. I don’t think I can pad my response to the length of an entire blog post, but I want to address it here: I stand by my original sarcasm. I said it was silly to be angry at airlines offering a lower-fare standing option, since it’s just adding another choice to your list of choices. CA said I didn’t realize that actually some people are very poor and so couldn’t afford anything but standing room. I do realize that. My whole point was that if you are too poor to afford sitting fare, your only choice used to be “never fly”. Now it is “never fly” or “pay the affordable standing fare”. This is a gain for poor people, and in fact only for poor people (rich people will just sit regardless). This complaint reminds me of those people who put spikes on benches so that homeless people cannot sleep on them. It is true that in a perfect world nobody would have to sleep on benches. But you are not creating that world. You are just making sure homeless people can’t sleep anywhere. Likewise, in a perfect world nobody would have to stand up on flights. But you are not creating that world. You’re just making sure poor people can’t fly at all. If you want to help the poor, give them more money, not fewer options.
5. The Washington DC SSC meetup group is having a Thanksgiving potluck next Sunday. DM the organizer on Reddit or comment here if you need contact information.