Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Austrians and the Swan: Birds of a Different Feather by Mark Spitznagel

From The Austrians and the Swan: Birds of a Different Feather by Mark Spitznagel:

To the Austrians, the [economic] process is decidedly non-random, but operates (though in a non-deterministic way, of course) under the incentives of entrepreneurial “error-correction” in the economy. In a never ending series of steps, entrepreneurs homeostatically correct natural market “maladjustments” (as well as distinctly unnatural ones) back to what the Austrians call the evenly rotating economy.

Spitznagel is making the case that the Austrian economists treat the economy as a dynamical system. Rather than a wild beast to be mechanically broken and tamed, it is a quasicyclical system like an ecosystem. This system has attractor states, one of which is runaway inflation. Continue reading

From Aceso Under Glass:

When I was a kid, my dad told me the parable of the first physician to realize you should maybe mothers would not suffer quite so many horrifying deaths if doctors washed their hands between autopsies and childbirth. Unfortunately this doctor was an asshole, so everyone ignored him. He eventually went crazy from the stress of knowing so many women were being killed by their doctors, and died in a mental hospital. And that is why we don’t dismiss ideas just because they come from crazy assholes, no matter how much we want to.

[…]

But there was another part of the story I knew but hadn’t considered; the autopsies that were contaminating doctors were being done in pursuit of curing childbed fever. The infection was spread by examinations meant to teach students. The very things doctors were doing to cure women were hurting them. Over the medium term, everyone would have been better of if they’d stopped trying. I find this terrifying.

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The Merge by Sam Altman

The incorrect assumption here is that humans and technology were ever separate to begin with. Tech is an extension of human cognition and intelligence, not some external reality that is independent of humans. The only thing changing is the mode in which we interface with the tech.