Innovations in the dark is rising sequence essay

A daguerreotype uses a silver or silver-coated-copper plate to develop an image in a camera obscura.

Innovations in the dark is rising sequence essay

Posted on November 30, by Scott Alexander I. If the world was created by the Invisible Hand, who is good, how did it come to contain so much that is evil?

Innovations in the dark is rising sequence essay

Can he expect to get rich? No — if Google stock was underpriced ie you could easily get rich by buying Google stockthen everyone smart enough to notice would buy it. As everyone tried to buy it, the price would go up until it was no longer underpriced. Big Wall Street banks have people who are at least as smart as your uncle, and who will notice before he does whether stocks are underpriced.

The city has lots of skilled Thai chefs and good access to low-priced Thai ingredients. With the certainty of physical law, we can know that city will have a Thai restaurant.

Maybe the city government banned Thai restaurants for some reason? We can take this beyond money-making into any competitive or potentially-competitive field. There are thousands of research biologists who would like a Nobel Prize.

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But go too far with this kind of logic, and you start accidentally proving that nothing can be bad anywhere. Suppose you thought that modern science was brokenwith scientists and grantmakers doing a bad job of focusing their discoveries on truly interesting and important things.

But if this were true, then you or anyone else with a little money could set up a non-broken science, make many more discoveries than everyone else, get more Nobel Prizes, earn more money from all your patents and inventions, and eventually become so prestigious and rich that everyone else admits you were right and switches to doing science your way.

There are dozens of government bodies, private institutions, and universities that could do this kind of thing if they wanted. But none of them have. All the sick people would go to them, they would make lots of money, investors would trip over each other to fund their expansion into new markets, and eventually they would take over health care and be super rich.

But if lots of people want better mass transit and are willing to pay for it, this is a great money-making opportunity.

George Orwell

Entrepreneurs are pretty smart, so they would notice this money-making opportunity, raise some funds from equally-observant venture capitalists, make a better mass transit system, and get really rich off of all the tickets.

But nobody has done this. No doctor had any good ideas about what to do at this point.

Innovations in the dark is rising sequence essay

Eliezer did some digging, found that existing light boxes were still way less bright than the sun, and jury-rigged a much brighter version. A friend told Eliezer that the professionals at the Bank surely knew more than he did.

But after a few years, the Bank of Japan switched policies, the Japanese economy instantly improved, and now the consensus position is that the original policies were deeply flawed in exactly the way Eliezer and others thought they were. You would expect it to just not work at all. In previous years, I would use the case of central-line infections as my go-to example of medical inadequacy.

Some babies have malformed digestive systems and need to have nutrient fluid pumped directly into their veins. The nutrient fluid formula used in the US has the wrong kinds of lipids in it, and about a third of babies who get it die of brain or liver damage.

But the only FDA-approved nutrient fluid formula is the one with the wrong lipids, so we just keep giving it to babies, and they just keep dying. Eliezer draws on the economics literature to propose three main categories of solution: I shall, somewhat arbitrarily, sort these concepts into three larger categories: Cases where the decision lies in the hands of people who would gain little personally, or lose out personally, if they did what was necessary to help someone else; 2.

Systems that are broken in multiple places so that no one actor can make them better, even though, in principle, some magically coordinated action could move to a new stable state.

The first way evil enters the world is when there is no way for people who notice a mistake to benefit from correcting it. For example, Eliezer and his friends sometimes joke about how really stupid Uber-for-puppies style startups are overvalued.


The people investing in these startups are making a mistake big enough for ordinary people like Eliezer to notice. All you need is one stupid investor who thinks Uber-for-puppies is going to be the next big thing, and the startup will get overfunded.

The same is true, more tragically, for housing prices. This is why there are so many housing bubbles, and why ordinary people without PhDs in finance can notice housing bubbles and yet those bubbles remain uncorrected.

A more complicated version: Most of the smart people with skin in the game had come to the same realization Eliezer had. But central bankers are mostly interested in prestige, and for various reasons low money supply the wrong policy in this case is generally considered a virtuous and reasonable thing for a central banker to do, while high money supply the right policy in this case is generally considered a sort of irresponsible thing to do that makes all the other central bankers laugh at you.

Their payoff matrix with totally made-up utility points looked sort of like this: You made a bold gamble and it paid off, nice job.The cars and architecture of Gotham City in the Batman franchise seem to be perpetually stuck in the s. One of the city's mottos is actually "The Dark Deco City".

This is very notable in the movie and in Batman: The Animated , much of Gotham City was damaged in an earthquake during the Cataclysm/No Man's Land event.

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Wolfgang Streeck: How Will Capitalism End?. New Left Review 87, May-June