I have recently had an epiphany, which has come with what feels like a real breakthrough in my understanding of the human condition (or at least myself). This epiphany has also been accompanied by a recovery from depression, i.e. massive improvements in my overall well-being, as well as a much better ability to see and understand the world around me. I think it explains a few key observations that I already, on some level, internally believed. In all seriousness, I feel like I have made major steps towards enlightenment (c.f. being a Dûnyain, and coming before).
Yet I know, at a deep and visceral level, the danger of hubris, self-deception, and ignorance. Thus I seek to verify my ideas in the most effective way I’ve learned in my short time on this Earth: to test those ideas against other intelligent, well-informed people, within the bounds of rational and intellectually honest discussion and argument.
Here’s some key thoughts I’ve been having recently:
- Game theory, decision theory, and Bayesian statistics are among the most important branches of mathematics right now.
- The most important fields of human endeavor right now are (likely in this order):
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and most importantly the problem of alignment [so that we do not destroy the world before it can be made better]
- Cognitive Science and Neuroscience [so that we can understand ourselves better at an individual level]
- Political Science, Social Science and History [so that we understand where human society came from and where it could go in the future]
- Economics [so that we have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to structuring society]
- Some of the most important anime right now are:
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica
- Shinsekai Yori
- Ghost in the Shell
- Some of the most important books right now are:
- The Prince of Nothing series
- Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Multiplayer games (e.g. tabletop role-playing games) are among the most important forms of human social entertainment right now, because they reflect the importance of cooperation and conflict between groups of agents (c.f. game theory)
- I seem to have developed a better understanding of exactly what some essential (and yet deeply confusing) human concepts, like “loving yourself” and “willpower” really, truly mean.
I’m sure there are some key examples of media that I am missing, either due to forgetfulness or ignorance. I would like nothing more than to have a serious, rational, empirically-driven discussion about these things.
From what I know of you and the media you seem to have high up on your lists, I think you probably have some thoughts along these lines as well.