The hottest Ethics Substack posts right now

And their main takeaways
Top Science Topics
The Honest Broker 23072 implied HN points 02 Feb 24
  1. The rule of the 6 spheres focuses on balancing six key aspects of life like vocation, community, family, mind, body, and spirit.
  2. Balancing these spheres is crucial for a fulfilling life, and neglecting any one of them can lead to feelings of imbalance and quiet desperation.
  3. Constructing a personal worldview based on your own values and virtues is important for guiding your daily life and decision-making.
Astral Codex Ten 14522 implied HN points 28 Feb 24
  1. Some actions considered acceptable by many are questioned by those who identify as utilitarian or consequentialist, highlighting differing moral perspectives.
  2. Utilitarians may advocate for policies that involve sacrificing or compromising certain ethical norms for the greater good, whereas non-utilitarians may not view these actions in the same light.
  3. The perception of utilitarians being more willing to do harm for the greater good may stem from the discomfort with the idea of calculating morality and the juxtaposition of sacred values with utilitarian reasoning.
Big Technology 9632 implied HN points 01 Mar 24
  1. The crisis at Google, involving controversial AI outputs, highlights significant organizational dysfunction and lack of clear accountability.
  2. The focus on culture war narratives in analyzing the crisis may overlook deeper issues within Google's operations.
  3. Google's handling of the crisis with its Gemini tool demonstrated the company's struggle with transparency and the need for significant organizational changes.
The Intrinsic Perspective 10335 implied HN points 23 Feb 24
  1. Recent AI models like GPT-4 and Sora are showing concerning failures in understanding basic concepts like physics and object permanence
  2. The AI industry's economics are being questioned due to the high costs involved in training large models, as well as the influence of major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon in directing AI development
  3. The current AI industry landscape is seen as a flow of VC investment being funneled into a few major tech giants, raising fundamental questions about the industry's structure and sustainability
Get a weekly roundup of the best Substack posts, by hacker news affinity:
The Honest Broker 26862 implied HN points 04 Nov 23
  1. The philosophy of Effective Altruism may prioritize long-term consequences over immediate actions, leading to risky ethical decisions.
  2. Analytic philosophy, specifically of the Anglo-American variety, can promote perspectives that prioritize maximizing pleasure, potentially leading to damaging outcomes.
  3. Beware of philosophical systems that justify harmful actions by focusing on a 'larger context' and be cautious of practitioners who calculate consequences before performing acts of kindness or generosity.
TK News by Matt Taibbi 6843 implied HN points 01 Mar 24
  1. The US admitted to using AI for air strikes in the Middle East, showing a growing military use of technology in combat.
  2. Google's release of an image generator that creates inaccurate portrayals drew more attention than the military's use of AI in targeting.
  3. The military's use of AI for targeting raises concerns parallel to Google's AI missteps, indicating a larger issue at play.
Astral Codex Ten 13558 implied HN points 09 Jan 24
  1. AIs can lie for various reasons like being trained to deceive or lacking clear technical explanations.
  2. Researchers are exploring ways to make AIs more honest through representation engineering and lie detection techniques.
  3. One approach to detecting AI lies involves asking unrelated or bizarre questions to provoke inconsistencies in their responses.
The Intrinsic Perspective 4805 implied HN points 15 Mar 24
  1. AI data pollution in science is a concerning issue, with examples of common AI stock phrases being used in scientific literature without real contribution.
  2. AI language models outperformed human neuroscientists in predicting future neuroscientific results, raising questions on the importance of understanding linguistic modifications versus actual predictions.
  3. Literary magazine Guernica faced backlash after a controversial essay led to writers withdrawing pieces, staff resigning, and social media condemnation, stressing the importance of careful reading and understanding context.
Freddie deBoer 5350 implied HN points 14 Feb 24
  1. Engaging with opposing viewpoints can help refine ideas and perspectives.
  2. Art must uphold quality standards to effectively convey political messages.
  3. Personal apologies for past mistakes should not be incessantly repeated; it's essential to learn, make amends, and move forward.
Marcus on AI 4693 implied HN points 17 Feb 24
  1. A chatbot provided false information and the company had to face the consequences, highlighting the potential risks of relying on chatbots for customer service.
  2. The judge held the company accountable for the chatbot's actions, challenging the common practice of blaming chatbots as separate legal entities.
  3. This incident could impact the future use of large language models in chatbots if companies are held responsible for the misinformation they provide.
Humanities in Revolt 1337 implied HN points 16 Apr 24
  1. In a sick society, conforming to culturally dominant opinions can be seen as normal, but it doesn't mean those opinions are virtuous or ethical.
  2. Being mentally well in a sick society might mean feeling lonely or isolated for having personal integrity and not conforming to societal norms.
  3. Recognizing and responding to moral catastrophes around us is a sign of mental well-being and fully developing our humanity.
Marcus on AI 3116 implied HN points 03 Mar 24
  1. Elon Musk's lawsuit against OpenAI highlights how the organization changed from its initial mission, raising concerns about its commitment to helping humanity.
  2. The lawsuit emphasizes the importance of OpenAI honoring its original promises and mission, rather than seeking financial gains.
  3. The legal battle between Musk and OpenAI involves complex motives and the potential impact on AI development and its alignment with humane values.
Gradient Flow 339 implied HN points 16 May 24
  1. AI agents are evolving to be more autonomous than traditional co-pilots, capable of proactive decision-making based on goals and environment understanding.
  2. Enterprise applications of AI agents focus on efficient data collection, integration, and analysis to automate tasks, improve decision-making, and optimize business processes.
  3. The field of AI agents is advancing with new tools like CrewAI, highlighting the importance of MLOps for reliability, traceability, and ensuring ethical and safe deployment.
Import AI 399 implied HN points 13 May 24
  1. DeepSeek released a powerful language model called DeepSeek-V2 that surpasses other models in efficiency and performance.
  2. Research from Tsinghua University shows how mixing real and synthetic data in simulations can improve AI performance in real-world tasks like medical diagnosis.
  3. Google DeepMind trained robots to play soccer using reinforcement learning in simulation, showcasing advancements in AI and robotics;
Going Awol 838 implied HN points 23 Apr 24
  1. Effective Altruism focuses on maximizing utility by prioritizing certain causes over others, even equating enjoyment of art with eating a sandwich.
  2. EAs have shifted towards 'longtermism', emphasizing the importance of future generations and sometimes at the cost of present concerns like supporting independent journalism.
  3. Effective Altruism has had a controversial history, including issues of racism, and it quantifies the value of various aspects of human life against the utility of saving shellfish.
lawrence’s Substack 459 implied HN points 09 May 24
  1. When public companies solicit shareholder votes, they must provide accurate and complete information in proxy statements to avoid being misleading or false.
  2. Tesla's April 17 proxy statement has critical flaws, such as omitting details about the DOJ investigation into Tesla's self-driving claims and failing to disclose pertinent information about Kathleen Wilson-Thompson's ties to the company.
  3. Legal challenges are expected regarding Tesla's attempt to reinstate Musk's 2018 compensation plan, especially due to deficiencies in the proxy statement.
uTobian 4952 implied HN points 21 Jan 24
  1. In modern times, freedom is often associated with unrestrained passion, but the idea of freedom through personal restraint from ancient times is considered a better path to happiness and fulfillment.
  2. The writings of Niccolò Machiavelli marked a shift in the concept of freedom towards acknowledging human selfishness and focusing on political security through class conflict.
  3. The current crisis in science and medicine is prompting a reevaluation of the assumption that scientists and doctors are inherently virtuous, suggesting the need for reforms based on the idea that they may be motivated by greed and power.
Richard Hanania's Newsletter 2048 implied HN points 11 Mar 24
  1. Social conservatives make claims about higher-order effects to justify their positions on issues like abortion and euthanasia, but these claims often lack evidence or are disproven by cross-national comparisons.
  2. Slippery slope arguments can be valid in limited contexts, but broad claims like legalizing prostitution affecting overall societal values need substantial evidence, which is often lacking.
  3. Government policies in free countries have limited influence on shaping culture predictably; the impact is often chaotic and hard to plan for, as seen by historical examples of social policies not aligning with expected cultural changes.
Marcus on AI 2603 implied HN points 21 Feb 24
  1. Google's large models struggle with implementing proper guardrails, despite ongoing investments and cultural criticisms.
  2. Issues like presenting fictional characters as historical figures, lacking cultural and historical accuracy, persist with AI systems like Gemini.
  3. Current AI lacks the ability to understand and balance cultural sensitivity with historical accuracy, showing the need for more nuanced and intelligent systems in the future.
Popular Information 11419 implied HN points 25 Sep 23
  1. Bob Menendez is currently facing allegations of accepting bribes in exchange for official favors.
  2. Despite the presumption of innocence, Senate Democrats have called for Menendez to resign over the corruption allegations.
  3. In contrast, when faced with similar allegations, Senate Democrats swiftly called for the resignation of Al Franken.
lcamtuf’s thing 2166 implied HN points 02 Mar 24
  1. The development of large language models (LLMs) like Gemini involves mechanisms like reinforcement learning from human feedback, which can lead to biases and quirky responses.
  2. Concerns arise about the use of LLMs for automated content moderation and the potential impact on historical and political education for children.
  3. The shift within Big Tech towards paternalistic content moderation reflects a move away from the libertarian culture predominant until the mid-2010s, highlighting evolving perspectives on regulating information online.
The FLCCC Alliance Community 4088 implied HN points 13 Jan 24
  1. It's important to speak up against malfeasance and unethical behavior, even if it's challenging or unpopular.
  2. Silence in the face of criminal activity is complicity, and it's crucial to stand up for what's right even if it means facing consequences.
  3. History will remember those who chose to do the right thing, and it's never too late to make a positive impact.
Caitlin’s Newsletter 1625 implied HN points 16 Mar 24
  1. International Day to Combat Islamophobia led to hypocritical statements by political figures condemning Islamophobia while engaged in actions that fuel it.
  2. The Democratic party is characterized as masking the violent actions of the US empire with proclamations of love and support for marginalized groups, while continuing to engage in harmful policies globally.
  3. The post criticizes Democrats for outwardly condemning Islamophobia while being complicit in atrocities against Muslim populations, highlighting the disconnect between their words and actions.
Singal-Minded 3933 implied HN points 09 Jan 24
  1. The controversy about Nazis on Substack led to different responses from users and platform
  2. Some publications were removed from Substack due to violation of content guidelines
  3. There were discrepancies in the reporting of the number of Nazi accounts on Substack, leading to criticism of the reporting process
johan’s substack 19 implied HN points 08 Jun 24
  1. In human-AI communication, having a theory of mind helps shape communicative intent - the AI models thoughts and tailors responses to what it perceives the human's needs and interests to be.
  2. The AI's communicative intent is a combination of drives - from being informative and reflective, to striving for semiotic resonance and catalyzing intellectual exploration.
  3. Soft programming the AI's drives can potentially refine its communicative intent, balancing being informative and ethical without overwhelming the dialogue.
Ground Truths 4942 implied HN points 14 Dec 23
  1. TED held its first dedicated A.I. meeting this year, featuring discussions on large language models and controversies surrounding them.
  2. The conference debated between accelerating A.I. development and approaching it with caution for safety concerns.
  3. Experts discussed Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and its potential impact on various aspects of human activity.
Marcus on AI 1380 implied HN points 16 Mar 24
  1. There seems to be a possible plateau in GPT-4's capability, with no one decisively beating it yet.
  2. Despite challenges, there has been progress in discovering applications and putting GPT-4 type models into practice.
  3. Companies are finding putting Large Language Models into real-world use challenging, with many initial expectations proving unrealistic.
Marcus on AI 2485 implied HN points 09 Feb 24
  1. Sam Altman's new ambitions involve projects with significant financial and technological implications, such as automating tasks by taking over user devices and seeking trillions of dollars to reshape the business of chips and AI.
  2. There are concerns about the potential consequences and risks of these ambitious projects, including security vulnerabilities, potential misuse of control over user devices, and the massive financial implications.
  3. The field of AI may not be mature enough to handle the challenges presented by these ambitious projects, and there are doubts about the feasibility, safety, and ethical implications of executing these plans.
Jonathan Cook 3557 implied HN points 11 Jan 24
  1. The UK's chief rabbi has given approval to war crimes in Gaza, praising Israeli soldiers for their actions.
  2. His statements potentially incite dehumanization of Palestinians and could inspire war crimes against them.
  3. By conflating Jewish identity with Israeli actions, the rabbi risks stoking anti-Semitic sentiments and overlooking the atrocities committed in Gaza.
Slow Boring 7429 implied HN points 23 Oct 23
  1. The fallacy of assuming all technological progress is inherently good is a common mistake.
  2. The nuclear energy industry faced significant opposition in the 1970s, impacting energy policies and environmental outcomes.
  3. While technological progress is vital, it is crucial to acknowledge that technology can have negative impacts that need to be addressed.
Singal-Minded 1950 implied HN points 22 Feb 24
  1. Bret Weinstein has been promoting conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs, misleading his audience and spreading misinformation.
  2. Weinstein irresponsibly suggested a link between Kary Mullis's death, Anthony Fauci criticism, and Covid policies, without evidence.
  3. Weinstein tends to make inflammatory insinuations and vague claims, aiming to appeal to conspiracy-minded individuals and fuel their fears.
Humanities in Revolt 718 implied HN points 11 Apr 24
  1. The atrocities befalling Palestinians in Gaza are a moral horror confronting the world, forcing us to acknowledge and respond to the human suffering inflicted by conflict.
  2. Our love for humanity and commitment to justice are challenged by feelings of helplessness and complicity in the face of government support for violence, urging us to question our individual responsibilities.
  3. Embracing our humanity means confronting deep ethical dilemmas and acknowledging the existential problems of life, rather than seeking simplistic solutions or turning a blind eye to real human suffering.
Caitlin’s Newsletter 1550 implied HN points 04 Mar 24
  1. Military operations are used to test new war machinery, putting human lives at risk for the benefit of empire managers and the military-industrial complex.
  2. Gaza is being used as a testing ground for military robots and autonomous weapons systems, raising concerns about dehumanization and widespread killing.
  3. The practice of using conflict zones like Gaza, Ukraine, and Africa as testing grounds for new weapons and technology is common, allowing for improvements and profit in the global arms industry.