Archive for June, 2015

Fractal Inside-Outness

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June 12, 2015admin 6 Comments »
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Exit Foundations

Having lost count of the number of times the demand for exit guarantees has come up as an objection to the Patchworked-Neocameral model, it seems worthwhile to reproduce Moldbug’s most directly on-point, pre-emptive response to the question. The question being: What is to stop a regime, once it is entirely unshackled from all domestic political constraint (i.e. Neocameralized), from extinguishing the exit options of its residents?

As a prefatory note: Like the Misesian praxeology from which it is cladistically descended, the Moldbuggian System is a transcendental political philosophy, which is to say that it deals with ultimate or unsurpassable conditions. You have reached the transcendental when there is no higher tribunal, or court of appeal. This is the socio-cosmic buffers. If you don’t like what you’re seeing here, there’s still no point looking anywhere else, because this is all you’re going to get:

To live on a Patchwork patch, you have to sign a bilateral contract with the realm. You promise to be a good boy and behave yourself. The realm promises to treat you fairly. There is an inherent asymmetry in this agreement, because you have no enforcement mechanism against the realm (just as you have no enforcement mechanism against the United States). However, a realm’s compliance with its customer-service agreements is sure to be a matter of rather intense attention among residents and prospective residents. And thus among shareholders as well.

For example, I suspect that every customer-service agreement will include the right to remove oneself and one’s assets from the realm, at any time, no questions asked, to any other realm that will accept the emigrant. Possibly with an exception for those involved in the criminal-justice process – but this may not even be needed. Who wants a criminal? Not another realm, surely.

Suppose a realm unilaterally abrogates this right of emigration? It has just converted its residents into what are, in a sense, slaves. It is no longer Disneyland. It is a plantation. If it’s any good with cinderblocks, barbed-wire and minefields, there is no escape. What do you say if you’re stuck on this farm? You say: “yes, Massa.” A slave you are and a slave you will be forever.

This is terrible, of course. But again, the mechanism we rely on to prevent it is no implausible deus ex machina, no Indian rope-trick from the age of Voltaire, but the sound engineering principle of the profit motive. A realm that pulls this kind of crap cannot be trusted by anyone ever again. It is not even safe to visit. Tourism disappears. The potential real-estate bid from immigrants disappears. And, while your residents are indeed stuck, they are also remarkably sullen and display no great interest in slaving for you. Which is a more valuable patch of real estate, today: South Korea, or North Korea? Yet before the war, the North was more industrialized and the South was more rural. Such are the profits of converting an entire country into a giant Gulag.

Is that all? Yes — that’s all. Beyond the rational economic incentives of the Sovereign Corporation, controlled within a Patchwork-environment (of competition for human resources), there is nothing to which an appeal can be made. The end.

June 11, 2015admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Mackinder in Beijing

A long, but insightful look at the planetary strategic environment puts recent developments in theoretical context:

After decades of quiet preparation, Beijing has recently begun revealing its grand strategy for global power, move by careful move. Its two-step plan is designed to build a transcontinental infrastructure for the economic integration of the world island from within, while mobilizing military forces to surgically slice through Washington’s encircling containment.

The initial step has involved a breathtaking project to put in place an infrastructure for the continent’s economic integration. By laying down an elaborate and enormously expensive network of high-speed, high-volume railroads as well as oil and natural gas pipelines across the vast breadth of Eurasia, China may realize Mackinder’s vision in a new way. For the first time in history, the rapid transcontinental movement of critical cargo — oil, minerals, and manufactured goods — will be possible on a massive scale, thereby potentially unifying that vast landmass into a single economic zone stretching 6,500 miles from Shanghai to Madrid. In this way, the leadership in Beijing hopes to shift the locus of geopolitical power away from the maritime periphery and deep into the continent’s heartland.

As a trivial point of perspective, it might be worth noting that this blog’s ferocious Atlanteanism completely overwhelms its Sinophilia in regard to this question. If the emergence of a diasporic-maritime China, attuned to its Pacific Rim ethnic offshoots, is to be forestalled by a revival of dreams of dominion on the world island, the 21st century is about to take a peculiarly unfortunate turn.

June 10, 2015admin 17 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#20)

This works on so many levels:

June 9, 2015admin 8 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Religion
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Strangeloop II

The Hacker News discussion thread on The Moldbug Affair is not to be missed. To call it ‘historic’ wouldn’t be (much of) and exaggeration. It’s well-worth a look just for the Urbit insights alone. In addition (and quite separately from the last point) ‘yarvin9’ pops up to make an impressive demonstration of not groveling to the mob. That, hopefully, could provide a model for the many others who will find themselves in analogous witch-trial hot-seats over the months and years to come.

Continue Reading

June 8, 2015admin 38 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Chaos Patch (#65)

(Open thread + links)

Gnosticism and civilization. The tinkered Canon (work in progress). Logic and absurdity. Anticoncepts. Economic pseudoscience. Awkward geezers. Genetic failure. Cat lady culture, and a dead nation’s dead. Deep state jitters. Religion and homosexuality. Modern feudalism. Tabulated doublethink. At the dark gate. Fables of the deconstruction. Mirror of obscurity. Main business of the week. Friday fragments. The weekly round-ups.

Gun control is dead (it’s all about crypto now). A tale of two Elons.

Perversity. More democracy doom signal (seen upside-down by the left). Kicking the can.

OPEC death spasms. Who wants Rohingyas? SA in decay (1, 2). Sweden is just about done. The bit of Europe that’s working isn’t, really. Trudeau was a fascist (figures). “… this bubble is literally too big to pop.” California drying.

Observed evolution. Re-mainstreaming IQ. Let’s talk about global warming (also). OK, we know. A taste of tomorrow.

While we may be able to observe other galaxies movements from the outside, the machinations of our own we have to watch from the inside, a task that NASA compares to ‘trying to create a map of your house while confined to only the living room.'”

Relaxed on human extinction.

Accelerating left lunacy watch (satire and reality long ceased to be distinguishable). The comparatively sane left wants the red guards to just die.

June 7, 2015admin 52 Comments »
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Exit Options

Everyone will notice them when they’ve gone.

All recent policy decisions by the reigning political-economic structure are intelligible as a mandatory bubble. If you didn’t think quietly ‘sitting it out’ was already the exercise of an exit option, the necessary lesson will be increasingly hard to ignore. Refusing to invest everything into this lunacy is ceasing to be a permissible social posture. We’ve already reached the stage where merely seeking to preserve a pot of retirement savings has been officially recoded as something close to right-wing guerrilla warfare.

Anybody with anything at all is now in the position where they are faced with an aggressive binary dilemma. Either unreserved collaboration with the final phase gamble of the existing order — amounting ultimately to the all-in bet that politics has no ontological limits, so that any dysfunction is soluble in a sufficient exertion of will — or a dissident skepticism about this dominant assertion, practically instantiated by ever more desperate attempts at withdrawal (persecuted with ever greater fanaticism as acts of sabotage).

There will be massive confusion among the destitution. Explaining why capital preservation is being persecuted as dissent would provide the scaffolding for a counter-narrative that will certainly, eventually, be needed.

ADDED: The basic point is this, if it is conceded to Keynes that refusing to invest in industrial production is anti-social, then, as a matter of realistic political necessity, any insane evil that the powers-that-be come up with gets defined as ‘industrial production’. Let go of gold — the archaic economic exit option — as we did, and anything at all that we’re told to sink all we have into is green-lighted. The stream was crossed without enough people noticing. Now the fascism we chose reaps its consequences. It isn’t going to be pretty.

June 6, 2015admin 40 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Strangeloop

XS has nothing to say about this, beyond a tweet (by the slightly better half). Posting this as the pretext for a discussion thread, on the assumption that regulars here are likely to be engaged with the event, and the various tributaries feeding into it.

ADDED: Comstockery for communists.

ADDED: Breitbart’s take (sound).

ADDED: Punishment is vindication.

ADDED: Strange Loop sponsors.

ADDED: two more (both excellent).

June 5, 2015admin 45 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Events
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Short Circuit II

How much analytical work can be done with the short circuit model of dysfunction in complex intelligent systems, exemplified by the Alexander’s Wirehead-AI model? This blog is betting: a lot.

Shelving the AI question, for the moment, how can it be applied to social-civilizational systems? (This is a scratch-pad post on some suggestive topical territories.)

(1) Macroeconomics. Fiat currency short-circuits the monetary function by directly hacking the financial sign. Rather than receiving money feedback for productive performance, currency is reconceived as a political-economic drug, for employment in technocratic-managerial social therapeutics. The concept of ‘money illusion’ (among many others) captures this new dispensation with acute cynicism. Operate directly upon public ‘economic sentiment’ through money manipulation, rather than tolerating the spontaneous control of money by industrial production — and risking depression. The whole of what is still — comically — called ‘capitalism’ is clogged up to its eyeballs with Keynesian Prozac.

(2) Drugs. Macroeconomics is already such a perfect neuro-pharmaceutical analog there’s scarcely any point treating this as a separate category.

(3) Signalling (all of it). Directly hack the signal, while abandoning to atrophy all those things the signal originally indicated. Isn’t the Cathedral, fundamentally, a machine to do this? Split off holiness signals, and hystericize them, in complete remove from any actual performance that might once have grounded them. That is our culture. It’s a semiotic technology that, once learnt, is immediately irresistibly addictive, and self-reinforcing. The entire escalation of ‘Ultra-Calvinism’ is inextricable from this process, as sublimed signals of the goodthink true faith cast off the last ballast of ‘works’, in order to become liberated academic-media functions. ‘Goodness’ is now sheer cosmetics.

(4) Fertility. Who needs grandchildren, when they can play the immersive happy grandparent game? (Get caught up in the web-porn intermediate stages, if that seems more convincing.) All the Darwinian guidance signals have been hacked to hell.

(5) Social media. Short-circuit social feedback, stripped-down semiotic ‘performance’, increasingly theatrical ‘identities’, addiction … it’s all there.

A restoration would require something like a Confucian ‘rectification of names’ — a reality-based re-validation of signs. How popular is that going to be, when the alternative, continuing semiotic short-circuit, is pure dope?

ADDED: Also this (prompt via).

June 4, 2015admin 35 Comments »
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Short Circuit

Probably the best short AI risk model ever proposed:

I can’t find the link, but I do remember hearing about an evolutionary algorithm designed to write code for some application. It generated code semi-randomly, ran it by a “fitness function” that assessed whether it was any good, and the best pieces of code were “bred” with each other, then mutated slightly, until the result was considered adequate. […] They ended up, of course, with code that hacked the fitness function and set it to some absurdly high integer.

… Any mind that runs off of reinforcement learning with a reward function – and this seems near-universal in biological life-forms and is increasingly common in AI – will have the same design flaw. The main defense against it this far is simple lack of capability: most computer programs aren’t smart enough for “hack your own reward function” to be an option; as for humans, our reward centers are hidden way inside our heads where we can’t get to it. A hypothetical superintelligence won’t have this problem: it will know exactly where its reward center is and be intelligent enough to reach it and reprogram it.

The end result, unless very deliberate steps are taken to prevent it, is that an AI designed to cure cancer hacks its own module determining how much cancer has been cured and sets it to the highest number its memory is capable of representing. Then it goes about acquiring more memory so it can represent higher numbers. If it’s superintelligent, its options for acquiring new memory include “take over all the computing power in the world” and “convert things that aren’t computers into computers.” Human civilization is a thing that isn’t a computer.

(It looks superficially like a version of the — absurdpaperclipper, but it isn’t, at all.)

ADDED: Wirehead central.

June 3, 2015admin 38 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Apocalypse
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