Monthly Archives: February 2019

Natural Aristocrats hire lawyers with their UBI – then get murdered by Bolsheviks – The fifth Atlanta Slate Star Codex meeting notes

The fifth Atlanta SSC meetup was a success – there were two new faces for a total of five. We met at the usual place (Hodge Podge) and discussed:

  1. Industrialization – in a generic sense
  2. Technological unemployment (a lot)
  3. Inequalities in the criminal justice system
  4. Universal Basic Income (a lot)
  5. Gulag death rates – originally quoted as 5% – but that seems to be deceptive – see this link for more (short version – the numbers were juked – they would move the inmates about to die out of the camp when they were near death)
  6. Negative rights
  7. Humanism (I think described as socialism)

Thoughts that occurred to me after the meeting

  1. Is there any evidence that UBI creates something other than the negative social attributes attributed to welfare dependency – I think Native American tribes have something like this with gambling revenue, and Alaskans have something like this with oil – is there any evidence based on that?
  2. The government has a monopoly on the supply of law enforcement and criminal justice. Given how a person feels about that does that make you more or less inclined to give government a monopoly in health care, or anything else? Does that alter one’s opinion on extending government health care, or socialism in general?
  3. Is there a bias to being innocent in the courts? If so, then the point made about publicly funding criminal lawyers weakens.

There were many other topics – there was more ideological diversity at this meetup, but I’m too late in publishing this anyway. We shall begin the next meetup by creating useful definitions of socialism and communism before any other discussion.

John Boyd pegged the problem with technologists perfectly

I was listening to the sometimes great Hanselminutes podcast while working and sadly his “Algorithms of Oppression” interview came on. Put broadly it was about how how algorithmic bias can “shape the world”. It was terrible and it occurred to me that while every good technology podcast interview is good in a different way, every bad technology podcast interview is bad in the same way, namely the interviewee talks about their personal opinions on something, sometimes named as

  1. “their worldview”
  2. “the way the world really works”
  3. “the big picture

I’m reminded of John Boyd’s notion (paraphrased) “You must eventually choose to do something or to be someone, but not both”. To be notable in technology one has chosen to do something and when they talk about themselves (i.e. the way in which they “are someone”) their forced to talk about themselves (or worldview/paradigm/etc) and it comes up very lacking.