All of Donald Hobson's Comments + Replies

Small signs you live in a complacent society

Have you considered printing off a few sheets of paper, getting some glue, and just adding a few signs yourself? ;-)

Why slow progress is more dangerous than fast progress

Some tech, like seatbelts, are almost pure good. Some techs, like nukes are almost pure bad. Some, like cars, we might want to wait until we develop seatbelts and traffic lights for before we use widely. It depends on the technology. 

Philosophy in Space

Elon musk is very good at making himself the center of as many conversations about technology as possible. 

He should not be taken as a source of information of any reliability. 


Living on mars with tech not too far beyond current tech is like living in antarctica today. It's possible, but it isn't clear why you would want to. A few researchers on a base, not much else. 

Think ISS but with red dust out the windows. 

At some point, which might be soon or not so soon, tech is advanced enough that it becomes easy to get to mars. But at t... (read more)

Will Technology Keep Progressing? (A Happier World video)

I don't think the "aside from the internet, nothing much". Firstly comuter and internet tech have been fairly revolutionary across substantial chunks of industry and our daily lives. This is the "a smartphone is only 1 device so doesn't count as much progress" thinking. Without looking at the great pile of abacuses and slide rules and globes and calculators and alarm clocks and puzzle toys and landline phones and cameras and cassette tapes and ... that it replaced and improved on. 

Secondly, there are loads of random techs that were invented recently, ... (read more)

Against Altruism

If longtermists existed back when blacks were widely regarded as morally inferior to whites, would the moral calculus of the longtermists have included the prosperity of future blacks or not? It seems like it couldn't possibly have included that. More generally, longtermism can't take into account progress in moral knowledge, nor what future generations will choose to value. Longtermists impose their values onto future generations.

It is true that we can't predict future moral knowledge. However.

  1. An intervention by someone from that time period that helps mo
... (read more)