Saturday, March 30, 2024

Nick Bostrum vs. the 300-Ton Hydraulic Press: Take That!

Bostrum ranks high on my list of over-rated intellectual annoyances but, alas, I feel that I have to deal with some of the glittering baubles he has released into the world. I have a number of posts dealing with that pesky simulation hypothesis he foisted on the world shortly after the turn of the millennium and some of my other posts on various topics no doubt mention him as well. For someone with my interests he's unavoidable.

Anyhow, he’s got a new book out: Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World. Here’s a podcast in which he discusses it:

I decided to take a look because, as I said, he’s all over the place so I might as well see what he’s up to. It seems he’s imagining what life would be like when all possible technologies have been invented, and they are benevolent. What would we do? How would we find meaning? I listened to as much as I could take, a half hour or so, and then decided to take a nap.

Fifteen minutes later I decided to watch the most recent video from the Hydraulic Press Channel. As you may know, the Hydraulic Press Channel is one of my favorite YouTube channels. I’ve been watching it for years. What could be more fun than watching a big machine crush things? In their most recent video they use their big new 300-ton press (which I’ve recently posted about) to crush hammers. What fun!

One problem with Bostrom is that he seems to live in a world in which no one has the type of imagination that takes pleasure in such an utterly useless activity, much less expends time and effort developing the facilities needed to do it more effectively. Come to think of it, one of the things they like to do is crush paper and books. I wonder how many hardback copies of Bostrom’s book their press could crush in a single pass? Is that an activity that would be popular in a solved world?

1 comment: