[extropy-chat] Re: Nano-assembler feasibility - politics

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au
Thu Apr 1 02:49:14 UTC 2004

This post is about quantification (including time-management)
and about individual character.

All people (including the intelligent ones) alive in 2004 are
mortal and have to make decisions about where to spend
their limited resources. One's time is a limited resource.

It seems one only has to live in a society to see that often
"squeaky wheels" get more grease. It seems we are often
being 'put on' for our money and our time by others to
pursue their passions and their interests. Or perhaps to
read and to correct their homework.

True-believers and bullshit artists of many varieties are
constantly trying to steal our time and even to control the
political processes with their flunkies and disciples.
Sometimes the bullshit artists and true-believers may be
deluded by their own bullshit. Intelligence comes in
different forms and is not always enough to save people
from serious and time wasting error.

How long would Russell and Whitehead (not fools) have spent
pursuing apparently promising but ultimately barren lines of
inquiry if Kurt Gödel hadn't come along with the incompleteness
theorem I wonder.

Chris Phoenix<cphoenix at CRNano.org> wrote:

> Hal Finney <hal at finney.org> wrote:
> >
> > Chris writes:
> >>Would you take hundred-to-one odds that there's a problem
> >> in the theory?
> >>  If so, I'll put up $1,000 to your $100,000.  What odds or
> > > stakes would you be comfortable with?
> >
> > I'm confused.  You say you see a low probability of an error
> > in the theory, but then you require 100 to 1 odds in your
> > favor?  That means that you're only willing to bet that there's
> > a 1% chance that the theory will work!  How is a 99%
> > chance of error a low probabililty?
> I didn't say I would require those odds.  (Please read more
> carefully.)
>   I suggested that Brett might accept them.  Then I asked what
> he would accept.  This is my starting offer.
> I am challenging his assertions that we shouldn't do anything
> on MNT till we see it done.  If he wouldn't accept these
> odds, his position on MNT is probably irrational.  Asking
> him to put his money where his mouth is is a way of
> quantifying things.  He has asked for quantification...
> > Or is this a typo, did you mean to let the other guy put up
> > $1,000 and you will pay $100,000 if the theory doesn't
> > work?

> As I said, I've already given up $100,000, and will give up
> a lot more before I'm done.  Once Brett and I are done
> bargaining, I'll tell you (if anyone is interested) just what
> odds and stakes I'd be willing to bet.

> > For reference, the FX idea futures game predicts around
> > 2023-2025 for the date of awarding the Feynman Grand
> > Prize, which requires the construction of a couple of small
> > nanotech-type devices,
> > http://www.ideosphere.com/fx-bin/Claim?claim=FyGP .
> Those "couple of small nanotech-type devices" were carefully
> chosen to be significant milestones toward a molecular
> manufacturing system.

Chris, let's subsume all the previous stuff and focus in on the nub.

I am willing to stake and escrow (so there is no doubt of payment)
US$1000, in a relevant bet (with you personally) if we can get the
terms precise enough.

Are you willing to do the same?

If you are not then I am no longer interested in discussing
this with you. I can't further justify the time.

If you are, then I would propose proceeding to clarifying
the terms of the bet here, on the list as an illustrative
'hypothetical' exercise in risk management and quantification.

These are things that I think are important for individuals
to know how to do well if they want to put their theories
and visions into practice and to forge particular futures
from amidst the alternatives. Our dreams take up no real
estate but making things happen in practice also takes
judgement and character.

Keeping it 'hypothetical' until the terms are agreed in sufficient
detail on list, may also protect the list from legal exposure.

I WOULD want to make the bet real, to pursue the escrow
details etc off list with you if we can get the other terms right
in our on list hypothetical.

Please do follow your own advice with respect to reading
carefully and don't rush or presume too much. I am willing to
be accountable for what I say, but not for what you think I
have said or have mistakenly asserted that I have said.

Brett Paatsch

PS:  Hal, I like that futures market idea of Robin's a lot. It
seems like a good way of operationalising important things.
I must check it out further. Thanks for posting the link.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list