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PG has several themes in his essays around this idea. Others have talked it about it as well. It isn't a hidden secret or unknown. Most people just choose to ignore it.


Get a new doctor.


Great advice. "I am going to doctor shop until I find someone who gives me the pills I want..."



It is good advice. You should be able to be honest with your doctor and they need to be honest with you.

If my dr said cannabis had adverse interactions with one of my meds I'd expect to see any one of NICE guidance[1], or a BNF (British National Formulary) or MIMS (Medical Information Monthly) or similar reference, or at least some study showing a link.

[1] see the errata on the front page of the NICE guidance for schizophrenia which talks about hydrocarbons from cigarretes. http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg178


Here is what OP said:

> After less than three minutes I was asked to leave his office. No discussion about my condition was allowed.

You have to be able to discuss anything about your health with your doctor. This is simply unacceptable behavior from the doctor and means s/he should find a new one.


When you structure your health system as a marketplace full of competing for-profit health care providers, don't be surprised when consumers start shopping.


(assuming) 10-20%, compounded over as long as you can sustain it. It can make a huge difference.

Also, they make most people feel fantastic and like they can conquer the world. Is it really any question why people would find that appealing?


Does labor compound? My understanding is that say a freelance carpenter who works 20% harder for 40 years ends up about 20% richer not 1.2 ^ 40 = 1469 times richer

>Also, they make most people feel fantastic and like they can conquer the world. Is it really any question why people would find that appealing?

Perhaps, but what is the delta increase in zeal for their project. Presumably they were tolerably enthusiastic before taking the pill. Is the difference significant?

Now if it makes the user feel better then that alone might be a good reason for taking it. But let's not suppose that a bad project or feckless employee is going to become the next google or Einstein because of a pill.


There are three areas I am aware of where labor can absolutely compound (in terms of output): business, software, and learning.

> Perhaps, but what is the delta increase in zeal for their project.

From my personal experience, it can increase dramatically. This is across the board. Whether it is something I am actually interested in doing or just drudgery.

> But let's not suppose that a bad project or feckless employee is going to become the next google or Einstein because of a pill.

Of course not, but it can really help. People can also become psychologically/physically dependent on them as well -- they aren't without risks.


>There are three areas I am aware of where labor can absolutely compound (in terms of output): business, software, and learning.

Well this would mean that every 10 times engineer ends up 10^20 richer than average at the end of his career. Since that far exceeds the planet's wealth, I am somewhat skeptical.

And if there are no 10 times engineer, even a five times engineer would end up roughly a hundred trillion times wealthier than average. So I humbly submit there's a flaw in the idea of literal compound labor value.


If you want to be (unnecessarily) pedantic, I never said what the frequency of the compounding was.

I didn't realize we were trying to come up with a realistic model of expected utility in these three fields.

If you don't want to believe that work put into these can compound over a person's life, thats fine. You're wrong, but that's ok. -- just don't pretend to pick it apart by applying math to an informal discussion.


Crystal meth and heroin make a user feel better.. Should we hand that out as well?


I have no opinion on the this decade's fashion concerning evil vs good drugs. But expecting life changing increase in productivity from any of those things would be an error.


There is a lot less of the unrestrained use of mutability in Clojure, but you can still have shared mutable references via atoms and refs.


As an example, here is the block-scanner in Clojure:

  (defn block-scanner [trig]
    (let [curr (atom trig)]
      (fn [data]
        (doseq [c data]
          (if (not (empty? @curr))
            (reset! curr
                    (if (= (first @curr) c)
                      (rest @curr)
        (empty? @curr))))


I don't get your point.

So, because software developers make a decent living means they should just be happy with that, even though it doesn't compare to the value that they actually create?


What are your thoughts on drug use among the entrepreneur/tech communities?

Specifically modafinil, amphetamines, psychedelics.


The only one of those (not counting caffeine) I've tried is modafinil. The side effects are weird, but man do you get a productivity boost.

Personally, I'm scared to screw with my brain chemistry too much and am supersensitive to psychoactive drugs of any sort.


How do you factor in possible technological advancements that could render a company's business model obsolete?

For example, if someone develops a distributed web-of-trust/payment platform, a lot of the value of Uber and Airbnb goes away.

The basic model behind some of these sharing companies can be factored out into (network effects + domain knowledge + web of trust) = profitable monopoly. You can adjust how valuable you consider each of these, but to me it seems like most of the value isn't in the domain knowledge area. What if someone figures out a way to not have all of the value captured by a monolithic entity?


What are your thoughts on advertising as _the_ way to make great services available for free (Google, reddit, Facebook, Stack Overflow)? What problems do you see with this model? When should this be preferred? Does it only work for massive sites?


It does indeed only work for big sites. It's not the only model, but it was one that is proven and easy to understand.


As a follow-up, do you think it is unethical to use AdBlock?


We're a non-intrusive advertising startup (giftgaming) -- I personally do not think it is unethical, as they provide no value, and if anything, detract from the website's value and sometimes are plain annoying.

I cannot believe that in 2015, we still have intrusive ads, such as banner ads, popups, interstitials, pre-roll videos -- all technologies from the 90s? There must be a better solution.


They provide value to the company providing the content. Many great sites are only possible thanks to advertising revenues. The world would be objectively worse-off if everyone used adblock.


But wouldn't it be great if the world didn't feel the need to use adblock?

Telling people not to use adblock is like telling people to not torrent, or to not bite their fingernails; it's too easy to do.

Instead, the core problem needs to be addressed: which is advertising seldom does anything except slowdown page/game loading times, cause privacy concerns or annoy/distract.

We're offering a solution which makes people want to opt-in more.


> How can we possibly prove that AI is not some kind of magical emergent property, "one simple algorithm away"? We can't.

I hope you aren't a researcher, because this is a ludicrous statement. We haven't studied it enough to know whether we can or not.


> I hope you aren't a researcher

Andrej is a brilliant researcher, currently doing his PhD. He has a bright career ahead.

Maybe you should actually read his comment instead of dismissing it crudely, and likewise for the thoughts of the likes of LeCun, Ng, Bengio, etc. These are the people I would listen to, not the Nostradamus pundits.


I admit, my first sentence was in poor taste. Apologies to Andrej.

At the same time, saying that something isn't possible to prove when we literally have no idea about its provability isn't a good stance for a researcher to take.

This is similar to my problem with the list of AI researchers you've provided. Saying that there is nothing to fear and waving your hands isn't exactly scientific.

Also, it isn't like these people (Sam, Musk, etc) literally think it could happen any day. The point is that we should be aware of the risk and prepare accordingly -- why is that unreasonable?


I don't think anybody would posit that it's unreasonable to entertain the idea as kind of far-fetched long-term possibility, much like encounters with alien life or faster-than-light travel.

It's the fear-mongering that's the issue. It's as if these same pundits were warning us about the dangers of space travel because it could hypothetically cause us (1000 years from now?) to draw the attention of a dangerous alien civilization (does that even exist?) that could destroy the Earth. It's the same level of ridiculous speculation. And that has no place in the scientific discourse.

Write sci-fi novels if you care about this issue, but don't pretend it's science, much less a pressing technological issue.


> Everyone who actually works in on AI and understands it thinks the fear surrounding it is absurd.

This isn't true. Please don't state falsehoods. Stuart Russell, Michael Jordan, Shane Legg. Those are just the ones mentioned elsewhere in this thread.



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