Some questions I’ve been thinking about recently. Get in touch with any relevant links or thoughts!
Climate and nature
- What is the appropriate way for nations and corporations to prioritize cutting emissions across greenhouse gases with different lifetimes? Is there a single emission metric that I can get behind? (GWP-100 isn’t it!)
- Will nuclear energy (fission or fusion!) become prominent on a timeframe that is relevant to preventing runaway global warming and biosphere collapse?
- How many tonnes of annual carbon removal will actually be happening in 2030? Will available funding be captured by low-additionality but cheap approaches, or will integrity prevail?
- Assuming we manage to stop harming the biosphere, how long will it take natural ecosystems to recover? Which ones will be lost forever?
- Will unilateral geoengineering happen, when and by whom, and will we know? (Has it already?)
- Should Indonesia move its political capital to a new city in Kalimantan? (No.)
- Who will win Indonesia’s 2024 presidential election, and in what ways will it matter?
- What is holding Indonesia back from stronger economic growth and are those barriers solvable?
AI and industry
- How long will the current scaling paradigm for transformer-based LLMs continue to improve? How close can this get us to AGI?
- Is AI alignment solvable, if so will it be solved, and to what extent are we doomed?
- What’s the probability of a scenario where AI fundamentally changes the relationship between labor and capital, leading to locked-in economic inequality and UBI for the masses? If that happens, how bad would it be to be in the masses, and what’s the cutoff?
- Are we, as some claim, on the verge of a new industrial/atoms renaissance? If so, how should I react to that?
- What’s the future of higher education, and what should the relationship be between researchers and professors?
- How can we reform the vetocracy? Is this an inexorable symptom of American decline?
- Is there any hope for international bodies like the UN to be functional, efficient, non-corrupt, etc? There are bright spots but the overall picture is bleak.
Fertility, family, children
- Is the fertility crisis actually a problem, and if so is it solvable?
- How can I spend more time with the children of my family and friends, and be a positive presence in their lives?
- How can I raise my own (hypothetical future) children in a way that is consonant with my values and desires?
Nutrition and fitness
- What has caused the immense increase in obesity? To what extent is the Chemical Hunger hypothesis true? (see criticism here and here).
- Do various highly restrictive diets (potatos, exfat 150, carnivore, etc) actually work long-term for weight loss and overall health for most people?
- Why is there so much heterogeneity in which diets work well? Some theories: genetics, unobserved environmental variables (eg microbiome or chemical pollutant exposure), rampant lying or bad tracking…
- Will technology extend human lifespans substantially beyond 100 years? If so will this come from a single breakthough or a layering of many efforts? Will it happen in my lifetime?
- When will we send people back to the Moon? To Mars? When will there be permanent settlement outside of Earth’s orbit? Will humanity actually become a multiplanetary civilization?
Navel gazing, mundanity
- To what extent do I have an accurate sense of how I’m percieved by other people?
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