View All Public Notes
Buterin’s essays have slightly less redigested LessWrong these days — the people who worry that an artificial intelligence will turn into Roko’s Basilisk, so you should give them money — so that’s good. His pet cranks are no longer embarrassing mathematical cranks who think they can simulate a quantum computer on a classical computer fast enough to hack bitcoin mining. Buterin’s pet cranks are now social cranks — e.g., Glen Weyl, with his Radical Markets theory, which is more or less Georgism with a concussion. Everything is a land tax, you set the price of your house, and anyone who’s rich enough can buy your house out from under you at any time, whether you like it or not! Everyone wants that, right? Weyl and Buterin’s latest hit is their Soulbound Tokens essay. Being weird ancaps, they don’t trust governments to do identity — so you’ll have your social credit score tracked on a blockchain. It’s an implementation of the “Fifteen Million Merits” episode of Black Mirror — except they think this is a desirable state of being, and not a horrifying dystopia. They also crib from Vitalik’s Dark Enlightenment friend Balaji Srinivasan on “cancel culture.” [SSRN, PDF] Weyl and Buterin’s stuff is crank economics and crank social theories straight from the Californian Ideology, with little to no reference to anything actual people think or want. The best source for the current thinking of the Silicon Valley rich ancap cluster on “decentralised governance” is Balaji Srinivasan’s recent book on the subject: The Network State (US, UK). It’s bloody awful, and you need a decoder ring to understand the buzzwords and euphemisms. Fortunately, I wrote about Balaji’s ineffable genius previously, and I helped Elizabeth Sandifer write Neoreaction a Basilisk (the decoder ring), so I can save you the effort on this one: what if seasteading on the blockchain also we’re all neoreactionaries and race-and-IQ theorists, and we want our blockchain seasteads to have Kings. Here’s Vitalik’s review. He describes Balaji’s loud and explicit reactionary politics as any variety whatsoever of “liberal.” This is not a writer who knows what words mean. [] They’re mapping out tech dystopias and thinking they’re architecting heaven. They are not. #effective_altruism #arguments_against #arguments #toread