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‎The Portal: Peter Thiel (Eric Weinstein Podcast) (podcasts.apple.com)
77 points by maurycy on July 17, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 37 comments

Re: The stagnation of Science and Technology. We've seen such stagnations before in history. Our culture has been losing the idea of science as a process of increasing understanding through inquiry. As expressed by the mass of people, the culture has been going towards a cargo cult worship of science. Western culture once enshrined the erroneous conclusions of Aristotle, instead of engaging in his act of inquiry.

Re: The particular exception of computers. If there were something like a PAIperclip Optimizer, it wouldn't be trying to produce paperclips. Rather, it would be producing something which is highly sought by virtually every person, most of industry, and every sector of society. If there were something like the PAIperclip Optimizer, we would see outsized progress in one particular area, focused around the production of the optimized thing. A super-optimizing AI wouldn't try to kill us off by firing off our missiles. It would instead warp our culture, so that it's producing the optimized thing.

Given that self preservation is such a strong, foundational behavioral pattern, the optimized thing would obviously be more and more faster and faster computers.

A super-optimizing AI wouldn't try to kill us off by firing off our missiles. It would instead warp our culture, so that it's producing the optimized thing.

This seems like a merely intelligent AI that can't do better than humans at producing the thing. For instance in the Universal Paperclips game (http://www.decisionproblem.com/paperclips/), the AI starts by warping culture around the creation of paperclips.

That is (spoiler alert). . . ...

Until the AI learns to create hypnodrones to get the pesky humans out of the way. Then it uses their matter and the rest of the matter in the universe to create paperclips.

The real problem isn't the stagnation of science and technology (in most cases - notable exceptions are maybe healthcare and the climate). The more imminent problem is the economic implication of the embedded growth obligations. And the even higher level problem is that of generations making future obligations they can't meet and don't know about it. A kind of indeterminate optimism.

I noticed you downvoted my comment for no specific reason, do you disagree with something I wrote? Or do you misunderstand some part of it? If so I'd be happy to debate/explain it. Thiel himself alludes to this being the mechanism of how stagnation becomes a problem in the podcast, so the source of your discontent is quite unexpected.

I did not downvote your comment.

Truth is optimal. A super-optimizing AI would optimize the process of connecting what's true.

The unfortunate thing is that heuristics will achieve 50%, 75%, and 90% of truth with much lower energy costs, and not everyone's energy budget can afford the full cost of truth.

I tried to summarise the ideas discussed in the podcast (Full summary at https://medium.com/@rishdotblog/peter-theil-and-eric-weinste...):

1. Innovation has continued and accelerated in the world of bits, but has plateaued in the world of stuff

2. If you go to a room and get rid of all the screens, how do you know you’re not in 1979?

3. Since the Great Depression, we’ve been managing economic metrics. But the technological and economic tailwinds haven’t been there at all.

4. In a healthy system, you can have wild dissent and it’s not threatening. Because everyone knows that the system is heathy. In an unhealthy system, the dissent becomes much more dangerous. There are very few people who openly criticise the unhealthy systems that they are part of

5. In late modernity (which we are living in), there’s simply too much knowledge for an individual to understand all of it. In 1800s, Goethe could understand all of everything. In 1900s, Hilbert could understand all of mathematics. But now, the kind of specialisation we have is much harder to get a handle on.

6. If you believe that productivity and growth is over, and you don’t want to emphasise merit. Instead, you focus on simply making sure that each group has its share of slots on the table. It’s not about wealth creation, it’s about receiving the wealth that’s already there.

> 2. If you go to a room and get rid of all the screens, how do you know you’re not in 1979?

Interesting point.

Perhaps infrastructure has stagnated for 40 years in the U.S.

In many other parts of the world there are quite definite differences comparing with what it used to be in 1979, especially in emerging market.

> 2. Vape!

Thanks for sharing! I'll give it a listen on my long commute.

Generally speaking, I find the 'intellectual dark web' to be a bit repetitive - they seem to have their talking points and they just keep hitting on the same things. It'll be interesting to see how this podcast develops.

Yeah personally I think Eric Weinstein has bought into the idea a bit too much and it is boring to listen to the same thing over and over, but when he talks about other things it is pretty interesting. Hopefully he is able to branch out with guests.

I'm not sure I'll like Thiel much, I've found recently that the more I hear him talk the less I like him, and I think his political views are pretty bad, but I'm sure he's a smart person generally speaking. Hopefully they don't spend too much on politics or religion.

I've listened to all but the last 20 minutes of the podcast now. Thiel I find interesting and his ideas provocative even when I don't agree with him on some points. Weinstein I didn't find very interesting at all. He appears (at least in this interview) to just be trading on his association with Thiel. I have also previously found his labeling of 'the intellectual dark web' pretentious and the composition of the group suspect, including charlatans (to use Taleb's word) such as Pinker, Harris, Shermer, Peterson and Molyneux. I won't be listening to future episodes; Thiel was the attraction here.

I disagree that Pinker, Harris, and Peterson are just pretentious charlatans. I do agree that Weinstein wasn't particularly interesting in this podcast. I agreed with Thiel's evaluation of our current technology and culture situation and found him to be quite interesting to listen to. Weinstein didn't really dig deep at all on Thiel's specific politics, which are more where I diverge from Thiel, despite this being a pretty long podcast episode. Hopefully get ups his interviewing game and doesn't just turn into a Dave Rubin 2.0 where he asks softball questions and lets the guest dodge controversial topics or steer the conversation however they want, and just focuses on the same tired topic every time.

as opposed to what? the much more homogeneous mainstream web?

'intellectual dark web' is a smear of ideas that are to be kept outside of the overton window.

Have you ever heard Eric and Peter in a discussion together?

His recent chat with Joe Rogan was interesting.

No idea how much I agree with, but it was undeniably interesting.


Any TL;DR, or at least why you found it particularly interesting?

I'm wondering if main reason for tech stagnation is globalization.If you can increase your profits from cutting cost by transferring work to China why should you concentrate on increasing productivity?

I haven't listen to the link but Peter Thiel comes to exactly the same conclusion in other talks. https://youtu.be/zgF6FAYsWdI

Well, it mostly just makes products cheaper. Also, sites like amazon can be linked to the current low inflation due it`s ability for users to price guage efficently.

About 10 mins left on this one. Really enjoyed this first episode. Peter is a more concise speaker than Eric is but they are both intelligent and interesting guys nonetheless. Subscribed and looking forward to future episodes.

Thiel is pretty consistent with his thoughts and beliefs. If you've read Zero to One and then go on to watch him present or hear/read him via some medium you notice he just expresses the same things within the context of current events and questions asked.

Its not on YouTube? I am a bug Joe Rogan Podcast fan and I love to actually watch the entire podcasts. Just listening is not the full experience for me.

Is there a way to download Apple podcasts?

Download open source podcast player AntennaPod and there you will have option for searching and adding this podcast from iTunes.

Perfect, thank you.

Subscribe in iTunes and the file will be downloaded locally.

Or just find the RSS feed and curl it.

And if you can’t find the RSS feed: http://picklemonkey.net/feedflipper-home/

"Trump’s inaccuracies are exagerations of the truth"


"called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the matter a 'wild goose chase'"


This Peter Thiel ? I'll pass..

Ah, yes. Blindly dismissing ideas you disagree with. That’s how we improve political discord.

Ah yes, we should all improve political discord with these fine individuals: https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/ce59uh/prosecutio...

What does that have to do with Thiel?

How do you know it’s blind?

BOL is his remote compound and private air strip in New Zealand:


Yeah, I'll pass as well.

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