Founder, The Roots of Progress (rootsofprogress.org)

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What if they gave an Industrial Revolution and nobody came?

I think what Allen probably added was a more quantitative investigation of this idea. He gathered the price data for fuel, labor, capital, etc. and did the analysis of rates of profit and return on investment.

What if they gave an Industrial Revolution and nobody came?

Added a little bit in the revised version to try to clarify this. Thanks again for the feedback

Progress Travel Guide

Not sure if this is quite what you are looking for, but I've been keeping a list of progress-related museums that I have visited or want to visit, large or small, including:

What if they gave an Industrial Revolution and nobody came?

Thanks! Yes, this is definitely part of Allen's argument (maybe I should make that more clear).

I've been meaning to read that Devereaux post/series for a while, thanks for reminding me of it.

However, I don't you think can argue from “the Industrial Revolution got started in this very specific way” to “that is the only way any kind of an IR could ever have gotten started.” If it hadn't been flooded coal mines in Britain, there would have been some other need for energy in some other application.

I see it more as: you develop mechanization and energy technology once you reach that frontier—once your economy hits the point where that is the best marginal investment in development. Britain was one of the most advanced economies, so it hit that frontier first.

Machines: Global Village Construction Set

Related: The Long Now Foundation's Manual for Civilization

“What books would you want to restart civilization from scratch?”

The Long Now Foundation has been involved in and inspired by projects centered on that question since launching in 01996. (See, for example, The Rosetta Project, Westinghouse Time Capsules, The Human Document Project, The Survivor Library, The Toaster Project, The Crypt of Civilization, and the Voyager Record.) For years, Executive Director Alexander Rose has been in discussions on how to create a record of humanity and technology for our descendants. In 02014, Long Now began building it.

The Manual For Civilization is working toward a living, crowd-curated library of 3,500 books put forward by the Long Now community and on display at The Interval.

See also Lewis Dartnell's book The Knowledge.

When will AutoGPT like software be able to write Enviromental Impact Assessments?

I bet GPT-4 could already do a lot of this work, perhaps with some fine-tuning and/or careful prompt engineering.

The problem with automating compliance documents is not just the time/effort to prepare them. It's also the time spent waiting to get a response, and in some cases, “user fees” paid to the government to review them. If everyone started using GPT to do compliance, I suspect that the various agencies would just start to build up an ever-growing backlog of un-reviewed applications, until they're all like immigration and they have decade-long wait times.

AMA: Bryan Bishop, Biohacker & Founder of Custodia Bank

Why do you think we don't have more people starting ambitious genetic engineering projects?

AMA: Bryan Bishop, Biohacker & Founder of Custodia Bank

What are the best near-term/foreseeable applications of genetic engineering? What is the low-hanging fruit here that we can see and define and should go after first?

Wizards and prophets of AI [draft for comment]


Rather than asking how fast or slow we should move, I think it's more useful to ask what preventative measures we can take, and then estimate which ones are worth the cost/delay. Merely pausing doesn't help if we aren't doing anything with that time. On the other hand, it could be worth a long pause and/or a high cost if there is some preventive measure we can take that would add significant safety.

I don't know offhand what would raise my p(doom), except for obvious things like smaller-scale misbehavior (financial fraud, a cyberattack) or dramatic technological acceleration from AI (genetic engineering, nanotech).

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