馃審 A hack to solve all of humanity's major problems

post by Mathias Sundin 路 2022-08-11T09:42:54.571Z 路 EAGW3 comments

This is a link post for https://www.mathiassundin.org/a-hack-to-solve-all-of-humanitys-major-problems/

If all people lived in democracies most of humanity's major problems wouldn't exist or be dramatically smaller. The most effective way to get there is to support non-violent democracy movements and arm them with Democracy Tech.

My contribution to the Cause Exploration Prizes.

3 comments

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comment by Joseph Lemien (jlemien)2022-08-11T10:46:41.400ZEA(p) 路 GW(p)

I think this is making too strong of a claim based on fairly simplistic arguments. I'd find this whole argument more convincing if instead of the overarching and fairly "fuzzy" label of democracy, if there were more specific traits. I suppose that the more nuanced (and less pithy) version of your argument might be that "the higher a country rates on Freedom and Prosperity Indexes, the less likely it is to have problems A, B, and C."

I'm sorry for being the annoying pedant, but remember that correlation is not causation. Reality is messy and complicated, and while the narrative of "freedom causes wealth" is appealing in it's simplicity, there are many other factors that impact wealth, happiness, and lack of problems.

comment by Lukas Tr枚tzm眉ller (Lukas T)2022-08-11T09:58:54.346ZEA(p) 路 GW(p)

There is no extreme poverty or starvation in democratic countries

This seems like a strong claim to me. What's your source for that?

and access to education and health care is one hundred percent, at least in older democracies. Younger ones are getting there fast.

Where do you draw the line between older and younger democracies? Isn't the US pretty old compared to other democracies [1] - and does it provide "100% access to health care" to its citizens?

all countries and all people lived in democracies the major problems of humanity would be solved or be dramatically smaller.

Would you classify X-Risks like AI and pandemics as major problems? Do you think having more countries be democratic would reduce these risks - given that the existing democracies don't do enough on either?

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/08/countries-are-the-worlds-oldest-democracies

Replies from: Guy Raveh
comment by Guy Raveh2022-08-11T10:10:36.463ZEA(p) 路 GW(p)

I'm not endorsing OP (I think democracy is a good cause, but not enough), but:

Would you classify X-Risks like AI and pandemics as major problems? Do you think having more countries be democratic would reduce these risks - given that the existing democracies don't do enough on either?

I'm pretty sure it will. Democracies don't do enough about these at all, but the question is what this stands as an alternative for.

Autocracies have two important characteristics which make them very dangerous in terms of human-created X-risks and AI in particular:

  1. Leaders are much less accountable, and more prone to act violently or irresponsibly. Thus, they can drive existential risks higher using state-level resources.

  2. Leaders have an incentive to consolidate their power and take away citizens' autonomy - and AI gives excellent tools to do that. If a non-democratic government somehow manages to use its control to build an aligned, superintelligent AGI - it will be used to dominate the rest of the world and create an eternal totalitarian regime. This is as bad as extinction, or worse.