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LessWrong Curated Podcast

Jul 23, 2022

Related to: Slack gives you the ability to notice/reflect on subtle things

Epistemic status: A possibly annoying mixture of straightforward reasoning and hard-to-justify personal opinions.

It is often stated (with some justification, IMO) that AI risk is an “emergency.”  Various people have explained to me that they put various parts of their normal life’s functioning on hold on account of AI being an “emergency.”  In the interest of people doing this sanely and not confusedly, I’d like to take a step back and seek principles around what kinds of changes a person might want to make in an “emergency” of different sorts. 

Principle 1: It matters what time-scale the emergency is on

There are plenty of ways we can temporarily increase productivity on some narrow task or other, at the cost of our longer-term resources.  For example:

  • Skipping meals
  • Skipping sleep
  • Ceasing to clean the house or to exercise
  • Accumulating credit card debt
  • Calling in favors from friends
  • Skipping leisure time