Hi, I’m Florian. I am enthusiastic about working on large scale problems that require me to learn new skills and extend my knowledge into new fields and subtopics. My main interests are climate change, existential risks, feminism, history, hydrology and food security.


Tangentially related: Effektiv Spenden created a donation fund for interventions that strengthen democracy. However, so far it only focuses on Germany. 


I do think that things like voting are dominated in their impact not by direct, but by indirect effects, which cannot really be captured in simple numbers. For example, if I vote I set a good example for my friends, which in turn makes them more likely to vote, which in turn makes their friends more likely to vote. Repeat this enough times and you have more stable democracy. I get that you could also model this in a relatively simple way, but my point is that there are a lot of interacting factors like this.

Making a only numbers based argument in such and similar cases gives the illusion of certainty, while actually you likely have not considered many important factors, which makes the number kinda random and not something that you can base solid decisions on. However, I think having such a number anchors you strongly, which makes it harder to change your opinion in the future, especially if the arguments are non-number based. 

Just out of curiosity, how much time did you spend on modelling and writing this? 

I am asking, because you are saying that you probably need 0.75 hours to vote. Let's say your remaining life expectancy is 40 years. If we have a 4 year election cycle, this means 10 elections. So, in total you would need 7.5 hours in your remaining life to go vote. 

And I wondered if convincing yourself to not go vote took more time than to just go vote?

In general I see this post as part of work around civilizational resilience (similar to ALLFED) and in particular this post is part of a blog series which is meant to help us understand societal collapse better: https://existentialcrunch.substack.com/p/introducing-a-living-literature-review

As hinted on in the other comment I made to your separate question, I think it makes more sense to stay in one reasonably good place and try to keep societal structures there intact as much as possible. Staying mobile only makes more sense if everything has broken down and you are just a scavenger. However, you will want to avoid this kind of outcome as much as possible, as everything will be so much harder. 

I think the kinds of famine that would happen in the scenarios that I describe would be quite different to the ones of the past when it comes to the scale. If there is just no food locally where you are, it does not really matter how resourceful you are. Also, I think that cooperation is quite important in such events. My own research, as well as the conclusions I took from reading a lot on this is that when cooperation breaks down, things will get much much worse. Therefore, I think the main thing you should be concerned about is not trying to get as many resources as possible, but work on maintaining cooperation. If you fail at that, the overall food security will drop so hard, it just become unlikely that you will be one of the few "lucky" people who still find something. 

That's the big question of contemporary history. I discussed this a bit more here: https://existentialcrunch.substack.com/p/lessons-from-the-past-for-our-global

But in general I think that while our societies have changed a lot, many things have stayed the same. Especially, the food system and its importance for societies is still very similar. Also, if you read a lot of history, you come to realize that humans often tend to follow the same trajectories, in the sense of "history does not repeat, but it rhymes". 

Views like the one from Lenton that I discussed in the post are also independent of the industrial revolution shift and if we could validate them, I think this would make a stronger case for the validity of historical comparisons. 

Having such a accuracy in your prediction is still pretty impressive when it comes to history. There is no super clear cut on how you define the start and end of things like "crisis of the middle ages", so I think the prediction is actually quite good. 

Thanks David. I think the paper you are referring to might be the one I cited. At least Herrington also looked at the rate of change as well (Table 2). There you can see that the current trajectory and rate of change is most similar to the CT and the BAU2 scenario. CT being a scenario like you described (we innovated ourselves out of limits to growth), while BAU2 being a scenario where we are still on a collapse trajectory, but the resources of Earth are 2x of the default limits to growth scenario. Therefore, I would argue that we still can't tell if we just had more resources on Earth than originally estimated or if we solved our problem with innovation. But if you have another paper that discusses this as well, I'd be happy to read it. 

Just out of curiosity: Where is the word "schlep" originating from in the context of AI? Don't think I ever came across it before reading this post. 

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