6 Reasons to Pursue the Building of Hedonium

The relevant features of desirable conscious experience, in my opinion, are very likely to boil down to natural, discrete physics operations. In other words, evolution-derived brains are not the only possible sources of morally-relevant experience. Building experience-machines based on some combination of a manufactured machine and engineered biological life that are morally-relevant seems to be… Continue reading 6 Reasons to Pursue the Building of Hedonium

Narrowing in on Cause X

BLUF: Since we've unsuspectedly committed moral atrocities in the past and do not appear to have 100% solved ethics, our Bayesian prior should be that we are probably committing some sort of moral atrocity today. Since utilitarian axioms dictate that not doing a vast amount of net-good when it's possible to do so is a… Continue reading Narrowing in on Cause X

Designing an Ideal Utilitarian Welfare Scale

BLUF: I formalize my conception of an ideal utilitarian welfare scale here and state why I think total, non-negative, act, hedonic utilitarianism is right.Epistemic Status: This is in very philosophical territory, so I am still very uncertain this is true. Future qualia research could definitely upend this. However, I believe this scale is currently the… Continue reading Designing an Ideal Utilitarian Welfare Scale

Free Will Is But an Unspecified Feeling in the Brain

Does free will exist? Our answer will depend on our exact definition of it. My definition is from my conception of what I think most people mean when they talk about free will: a person in a past environmental state X with a mind state Y and the same 'random' quantum mechanical inputs Z, could… Continue reading Free Will Is But an Unspecified Feeling in the Brain

Oligarchical-Libertarian-Surveillance States

If you look at all the possible futures of humanity, I think many of the futures with civilizations still existing are going to be oligarchical-libertarian-surveillance states. This is a blend of intelligent leadership, maximal freedom (within limits), and maximum security (in order to reduce extinction risks from omnicidal agents). Oligarchical: rule by the elites. By… Continue reading Oligarchical-Libertarian-Surveillance States

An Entropic Decision Procedure for Many Worlds Living

Here I describe a plausible decision procedure I discovered for acting in the world if the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics is true. This idea might sound a bit crazy, but I feel the majority of the craziness comes from the Many Worlds Interpretation, which many physicists smarter than me think is plausibly… Continue reading An Entropic Decision Procedure for Many Worlds Living

Economic Policies that Optimize for Future People

BLUF: This isn't a profoundly deep postβ€”it just shows my current, general views on a variety of current economic issues. I do not believe future people are intrinsically less valuable than the people existing today. In fact, I think they might be more valuable because their lives will intrinsically be more worth living as their… Continue reading Economic Policies that Optimize for Future People

A Decision Procedure for Many-Worlds Living

Update: I consider this post to be out-dated and recommend reading a better description of the decision procedure here: https://www.evanward.org/an-entropic-decision-procedure-for-many-worlds-living/ Here, I describe a decision theory that I believe applies to Many-Worlds living that combines principles of quantum mechanical randomness, evolutionary theory, and choice-worthiness. Until someone comes up with a better term for it, I… Continue reading A Decision Procedure for Many-Worlds Living

My Secret Addiction: Project Euler Problems

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): This is a personal post how I become involved with programming and my continued interest in solving mathy programming problems. I always believed that programming was beyond my abilities. I thought only the hacker types that discovered programming books when they were 10 and had few other distractions could really… Continue reading My Secret Addiction: Project Euler Problems

Understanding the True Cost of Land-Use Projects

Update: My team's paper earned the coveted Outstanding rating! Further, our paper won the Rachel Carson award, which "is presented to a team selected by the Head Judge of ICM Problem E for excellence in using scientific theory and data in its modeling." Over 4,800 collegiate teams from around the world were competing in Problem… Continue reading Understanding the True Cost of Land-Use Projects

Piano Songs [Overt Signaling]

I started playing piano in 7th grade and played up through 10th grade. I've been able to play here and then since then, and this is what I've played recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_brPAfiKnU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGQnVRGTCqg I used to like to play classically difficult songs like Maple Leaf Rag, but now I only make time to improvise and maintain… Continue reading Piano Songs [Overt Signaling]

What Should You Do With Your Life? [Link List]

80,000 Hours-Perhaps the gold standard for high-impact career advice right now. "Make the right career choices, and you can help solve the world’s most pressing problems, as well as have a more rewarding, interesting life." Y Combinator's Requests for Startups- "Many of the best ideas we’ve funded were ones that surprised us, not ones we… Continue reading What Should You Do With Your Life? [Link List]

Counterfactual People Are Important

BLUF: The moral weight of future counterfactual people is a massive, yet neglected, variable in the abortion debate. In my opinion, accounting for this variable virtually solves the abortion debate at the societal, should-it-be-legal level. When looking at the morality or desirability of abortions, many people claim, "if my sibling with X-serious-disability were aborted, then… Continue reading Counterfactual People Are Important

The Exponential Impact of Socially-Contagious Philanthropy

If doing any significant amount of good was basically intractable, it would be more permissible for individuals to ignore the utilitarian imperative to do the most good. However, doing incredible amounts of good is in the reach of many of us. We don't necessarily have to research and contribute to Multiverse-wide Cooperation via Correlated Decision… Continue reading The Exponential Impact of Socially-Contagious Philanthropy

Making Total Utilitarianism More Intuitive

BLUF: If total utilitarianism's obligation to create new beings seems non-intuitive, think of increased numbers of beings as increased duration of subjective experience. We are allowed to redefine population as duration because subjective experience is fundamentally impersonal and based on physics, where there is no room for personhood. Utilitarianism usually states that maximizing the quality… Continue reading Making Total Utilitarianism More Intuitive

Suspend Moral Self-Judgement for Higher-Quality Reasoning

I think most people have an intense psychological need to feel they are 'good'. After all, if we are not 'good', we probably have extra work ahead of ourselves to set ourselves straight ethically and at the very least, preserve our social standing. Some of us do moral calculus all the time in order to… Continue reading Suspend Moral Self-Judgement for Higher-Quality Reasoning