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Though it is Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan that have dominated the news these past two weeks, this month also saw a flare-up in separatist sentiment in Brazil. This region apparently has a have a fleeting historical experience of independence: They are the the whitest states:
There are three main reasons why the correlation between national IQ and GDP per capita is only around r=0.7, instead of r=0.9. Oil/resource windfalls: Saudi Arabia would otherwise be about as prosperous as Yemen. The legacy of Communism: Central planning and especially the lunacy that is Maoism are far less effective than free markets. The... Read More
I want to gather most of my arguments for skepticism (or, optimism) about a superintelligence apocalypse in one place. (1) I appreciate that the mindspace of unexplored superintelligences is both vast and something we have had absolutely zero experience with or access to. This argument is also the most speculative one. That said, here are... Read More
I'll be busy the next few days, there won't be many poasts, so I suppose now is as good as any for a big linkfest covering the past month. Adventures in Afrotriumphalism Russia Becoming *More* Russian Russians and Westerners (Mostly) Agree on the Most Influential Russian Writers I also published the notes and slides for... Read More
The population of the world's major regions according to the UN's World Population Prospects 2017 report. World Population Prospects (2017) 2015 2050 2100 WORLD 7,383,008,820 9,771,822,753 11,184,367,721 Sub-Saharan Africa 969,234,251 2,167,651,879 4,001,755,801 East Asia 1,635,150,365 1,586,491,284 1,198,264,520 South Asia 1,823,308,471 2,381,796,561 2,230,668,781 South-East Asia 634,609,846 797,648,622 771,527,666 MENA & C. Asia 551,964,576 850,895,914 1,045,856,658 Europe... Read More
Silicon Valley's tech oligarchs are becoming increasingly interested in brain-computer interfaces. The WSJ is now reporting that Elon Musk is entering the game with a new company, Neuralink. At the low end, they could improve function in patients suffering from diseases such as Parkinson's, which is the modest aim that the first such companies like... Read More
This blog post by Sarah Constantin has an impressively comprehensive tally of performance trends in AI across multiple domains. Three main things to do take away: In games performance, e.g. chess (see right, based on Swedish Chess Computer Association data) "exponential growth in data and computation power yields exponential improvements in raw performance." So the... Read More
manyukhin-tower-of-sin
Fundamentally solve the “intelligence problem,” and all other problems become trivial. The problem is that this problem is a very hard one, and our native wit is unlikely to suffice. Moreover, because problems tend to get harder, not easier, as you advance up the technological ladder (Karlin, 2015), in a “business as usual” scenario with... Read More
There is a new expert survey out which, amongst other things, queries the world's top psychometrics experts on the future of the FLynn effect (Flynn + Lynn - clever). James Thompson has a summary at his column. The two most important reasons for the end of the FLynn effect in the West are regarded to... Read More
  Online version with hyperlinks: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ea-and-intelligence-theory/ I am a blogger and independent researcher who is interested in the intersections of intelligence theory, futurism, economics, and geopolitics. Here is a summary of my ideas relevant to Effective Altruism: Intelligence is central to explaining the wealth and poverty of nations, so a good understanding of it is... Read More
Today I was at a talk with Robin Hanson to promote his book THE AGE OF EM hosted by the Bay Area Futurists. As an academic polymath with interests in physics, computer science, and economics, Hanson draws upon his extensive reading across these fields to try to piece together what such a society will look... Read More
Source - The Economist Not only has there been an increasing incidence of rampages in the US in the past thirty years but it seems that average kill scores have been ramping up. I think this trend will only intensify in the years ahead. A couple of years ago there was a lot of agitation... Read More
I have been extremely busy the past month, hence not a lot of blogging. Hopefully that will be resolved soon. For now, here is a recap of some of the things I've been up to. On May 6, Richard Spencer and the Bay Area Alt Right organized a "safe space" for Europeans at Sproul Plaza,... Read More
Organized by IEET and Brighter Brains (Hank Pellissier). I'll be participating in one or perhaps two of them. My positions, briefly: Immigration/Open Borders - Opposed, and not even just from an HBD/"waycist" perspective. See Immigration and Effective Altruism. UBI - For it, and not even just from an automation perspective. See The Ethnic Politics of... Read More
The latest data from Top 500, a website that tracks the world's most powerful supercomputers, has pretty much confirmed this with the release of their November 2015 list. The world's most powerful supercomputer, the Tianhe-2 - a Chinese supercomputer, though made on American technology - has now maintained its place for 2.5 years in a... Read More
Foreign Policy reports on a massive opinion poll of International Relations experts on immigration, the wisdom of leaving Iraq, and the likelihood of war between the US and China or Russia. Here is the PDF. In some cases, their answers are compared to those of the public at large. For the most part, it's all... Read More
This conference is organized by brain health and IQ researcher Hank Pellissier, and its aim is to bring all kinds of quirky and visionary folks - "Biohackers, Neuro-Optimists, Extreme Futurists, Philosophers, Immortalist Artists, Steal-the-Singularitarians" - together in one place and have them give speeches and interact with each other and the interested public. One of... Read More
One of the standard memes about Russia's demographic trajectory was the "Russian Cross." While at the literal level it described the shape of the country's birth rate and death rate trajectories, a major reason why it entered the discourse was surely because it also evoked the foreboding of the grave. But this period now appears... Read More
I just remembered I'd made some in 2012. It's time to see how they went, plus make predictions for the coming year. Of course I failed to predict the biggest thing of them all: The hacking that made me throw in the towel on Sublime Oblivion (remember that?), but with the silver lining that I... Read More
Editorial note: This article was first published at Arctic Progress in February 2011. In the next few weeks I will be reposting the best material from there. The Arctic to become a pole of global economic growth? Image credit – Scenic Reflections. - Northward ho!: An account of the far North and its people. In... Read More
In the Japanese TV series Dennō Coil, people wear Internet-connected augmented reality glasses and interact with a world that is now split between the real and the virtual. Citizens and netizens become one. The story is set in 2026, some eleven years after the introduction of this technology. Considering that this series was first conceived... Read More
This guy Andrew Miller used to be The Economist's Moscow correspondent. This is his prediction from 2000. I also imagine he'd get on splendidly with K.F./Keif. No further comment is necessary. (h/t Patrick Armstrong) JRL 4331 #9 From: "andrew miller" Subject: The Gathering Storm Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 Topic: The Gathering Storm Title: The... Read More
Before the 2012 Russian Presidential elections, 23 particularly courageous (or foolhardy?) netizens and Russia watchers participated in a contest on this blog to predict its results for the chance of eternal glory and a free S/O T-Shirt. The winner is the person with the least aggregate error, i.e. the sum of the absolute discrepancies between... Read More
Inspired by Kireev's similar posts in Russian, I'm asking S/O readers to predict (1) The official results of the elections, and (2) The actual, i.e. non-falsified, results. Please give them to one decimal point, and include all the five candidates as well as the share of invalid votes. They will be displayed in the table... Read More
It is now increasingly evident that Russia's population has settled on a small but decidedly firm upwards growth trend. I have been vindicated. According to the latest data, in the first eight months of the year births fell by 1.4% (12.5/1000 to 12.3/1000) and deaths fell by 6.2% (from 14.6/1000 to 13.7/1000) relative to the... Read More
The river of time flows on, and empires crumble, leaving behind only legend that becomes myth, while new polities arise to take their place. This process of decay and creation is going to receive a boost from "peak energy" and, above all, climate change - which will redraw the maps of power to an extent... Read More
The response to the last global crisis only consisted of kicking the can further down the road, and the chickens are showing signs of coming home to roost. Of particular note: (1) the recent upwards spike on bond yields for Italy and Spain*; (2) The political paralysis in the US that may (conceivably, if unlikely)... Read More
Most projections of future trends in national power fail to appreciate the importance of three crucial factors: (1) the declining EROEI of energy resources (including, but not limited to, "peak oil"); (2) the importance of human capital to economic growth, especially in developing countries' attempts to "catch up" to the advanced world; and (3) the... Read More
Next in our line of Watching the Russia Watchers interviews is Mark Chapman, the fiery Canadian sailor who's been blazing a path of destruction through the fetid Russophobe ranks since July 2010. That was when he first set up The Kremlin Stooge, after being blocked from La Russophobe, who couldn't withstand his powerful arguments without... Read More
This is the first post in a series of three, in which I will analyze the major trends that will define the next ten years and their likely impacts on global regions. To put these forecasts into context, I must first describe the narrative through which I view the history of the post-WW2 era (the... Read More
I founded the Collapse Party one year ago after coming to the hard realization that industrial civilization is unsustainable and that - barring revolutionary socio-political (e.g. "ecotechnic dictatorship") or technological (e.g. geoengineering) transformation - it's catastrophic unraveling by the middle of this century is almost inevitable. As neither of development seems to be in the... Read More
Every so often there appear claims, not only in the Western press but the Russian one, that (rising but overpopulated) China is destined to fight an (ailing and creaking) Russia for possession of its resources in the Far East*. For reasons that should be obvious, this is almost completely implausible for the next few decades.... Read More
The Arctic is one of the most ignored regions in commentary about global trends. This is unsurprising. The vastnesses of Hyperborea, a semi-mythical world of curdled seas, boreal lights and eternal sunshine, have always been "outside" history. But the fast pace of global warming in recent years is kick-starting Arctic history, bringing with it the... Read More
The next installment of our Watching the Russia Watchers series at S/O features an interview with Peter Lavelle, the main political analyst at the Russia Today TV network, host of its CrossTalk debate show and Untimely Thoughts blogger. (He also has a Wikipedia page!) Peter is opposed to Western media hegemony, considering it neither fair... Read More
This post is a meta-commentary on media coverage of Russia's drought and wildfires. Now make no mistake, I admire the yeoman work of some journalists in covering Russia burning: no doubt a few will even make their way into the classical cannon such as The Saga of the Burned Foot (Miriam Elder) or The Tale... Read More
Kicking off the Watching the Russia Watchers interview series at S/O is the promising new blogger A Good Treaty. He is a DC-based foreign policy analyst who prefers a "good treaty with Russia" to only treating with a good Russia: as a foreign policy realist, he is averse to neocon (and neoliberal / liberal interventionist)... Read More
Though it's not quite true that Russia has "no roads, only directions", the old saying isn't far off the mark. The World Bank's recent report on Russia's economy notes that the Eurasian giant's road network is primitive and crumbling, coming in 111th in a global ranking (the railway system does much better at 33rd); more... Read More
How will the global South fare in our likely future of energy shortages, climate change and resource nationalism (and wars)? India has China's population mass, but lacks its industrial dynamism and human capital. Africa has Russia's energy and mineral wealth, but not the military power or social coherence to defend it. South America's prospects appear... Read More
There is a wide divergence of views on Russia's economic future. The pessimists project near zero growth (e.g. SWP, Guriev & Zhuravskaya), or even a renewed collapse if Europe goes haywire. The inventor of the BRIC's concept (and Russia bull) Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs believes it will manage to eke out growth of 7%,... Read More
When denier ideologues make the transition to accepting the reality of anthropogenic global warming, one of the arguments they start to use tends to go something along the following lines: "Sure, the polar bears might get screwed over, but otherwise things will be just great. Crop yields will increase and northerners will get to have... Read More
In this installment of my series on future war, I'll be taking a holistic view of ground combat. Unlike the case for naval warfare, which is going to be revolutionized by new weapons platforms - railguns, battle lasers, and submersible arsenal ships - developments on the ground are slated to be more low-key, albeit no... Read More
A few days ago, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates fired a warning shot across the bow of the US Navy, questioning its "need" to maintain 11 carrier strike groups. He justified this on the basis of 1) "the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys", 2) "the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries", and 3) the huge... Read More
This post is about the future of military technology and war strategy in a world of informatization, resource scarcity, and renewed ideological turbulence. Be forewarned: while some of what I write here corresponds to the conventional wisdom, some is well off the beaten tracks, and some will sound like it's straight out of a sci-fi... Read More
If I could recommend just one book to someone with a business-as-usual outlook, someone who believes human ingenuity and free markets will always bail us out of any resource scarcity or environmental problem, it would be Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (henceforth LTG). After reading it, you may never look at the world in... Read More
The reaction to my article on the "ecotechnic dictatorship" garnered a vigorous response on this blog, and more of a vitriolic one elsewhere (see below for a summary). So let's ask the question outright. Suppose that all your observations and models indicated that business-as-usual would doom the global industrial system to collapse, causing the premature... Read More
As a follow-up to my article on the historical necessity of Green Communism, I would like to 1) refute some common myths and misconceptions about limits to growth-induced collapse, 2) clarify the concept of Green Communism, and 3) elucidate why the only realistic way to prevent collapse now is to force through a "sustainable retreat"... Read More
Smil, Vaclav – Global Catastrophes and Trends (2008) Category: futurism, climate change, geopolitics, catastrophes; Rating: 5/5 Summary: Google Books Vaclav Smil, an energy theorist and language connoisseur, brings his talents to bear on this idiosyncratic, incisive and balanced book on the global future. From the outset, he outlines his skepticism in universal theories of history... Read More
After its long pre-modern stint as Europe's most populated nation, France started transitioning to lower birth rates from the Napoleonic era, about a century in advance of the rest of Europe. On the eve of the First World War, its stagnant population made a stark contrast to German youth and virility. Considering the disparity in... Read More
The Next 100 Years by George Friedman, published in 2010. Rating: 3/5 George Friedman at Stratfor is one of my favorite analysts on world geopolitics. This is because he tries to look at the world as it is, without the pointless moralizing, neoliberal ideologizing and end-of-history triumphalism that clouds too much American geopolitical thinking. Hence... Read More
I developed a model on Russia's future demographic development in Matlab. First, I will describe (non-mathematically) the essentials of how it works; then I will present a range of different possible scenarios. Our data is sourced from Rosstat and the Human Mortality Database. Demography is a social science, and as such it is impossible to... Read More
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.