[ExI] Teaching kids was roboburgers to go

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Sep 28 05:43:37 UTC 2013

On 2013-09-27 16:42, Keith Henson wrote:
> Robert Heinlein was a major influence in my life. There is a list of 
> skills in _Time Enough for Love_ "A human being should be able to 
> change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design 
> a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a 
> bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act 
> alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a 
> computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. 
> Specialization is for insects." I can, and have, done most of those. 
> Those I have not, such as "plan an invasion" just have not come up in 
> my life. I have, however, done every single step in making bread. For 
> a few years I made virtually all the bread the family ate. (It was a 
> sink for the excess eggs from the chickens and ducks.)

That quote is one of the main inspirations for me to study nearly 
everything. Still not even close to doing all of that, but it is early 

Actually planning on having a long and eventful life leads to some 
interesting considerations. One is that you will likely find yourself in 
situations for which you are not trained, yet will need to adapt quickly 
- having a broad knowledge base and enough fluid intelligence (or some 
substitute, like chutzpah) is essential. You will outlive people, 
institutions and nations - make sure you are not devastated by that. 
Even if events like world wars or 1917 flu-style pandemics have a return 
time of once per century, you have a decent chance of experiencing them. 
There are going to be long tail events on both the plus and minus side, 
and being able to catch the plus events when they happen is important - 
they rarely come around again, whether they are a photo opportunity or a 
financial windfall. You will also miss plenty of opportunities and not 
have the time to ingest all relevant information, but it is better than 
the alternative (too few opportunities and little relevant stuff). Not 
figuring out what you want (and why) means that you are less likely to 
get it.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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