Liron Shapira Profile picture
Nov 17, 2022 14 tweets 6 min read Read on X
Why do so many people in tech still worship @balajis?

The man is a charlatan, a mockery of tech discourse.

He has no etiquette in interviews, dodging every question with a rambling GPT-3 smokescreen.

Need proof? Just watch his latest interview 👇

.@balajis defines a supposedly key term, "Network State", and gives it four properties:

1. Aligned online community
2. Capacity for collective action
3. Crowdfunded territory
4. Diplomatic recognition

But, as you'll see, Balaji has no idea what his own term is supposed to mean.
Let's see if @balajis can answer a single easy question from @stephsmithio about what a Network State is.

Here's the question...

Q: Why does a Network State need to have the 4th property, diplomatic recognition?

Try to listen for a coherent answer from @balajis. Good luck.
Balaji rambles for 27 minutes.

Then, in a brief moment of lucidity, he suddenly says something coherently related to the topic at hand (diplomatic recognition):

He says you might want to create a sanctuary city where federal laws don’t get enforced.
So Steph asks a dead-simple followup: Is federal law not enforced in one plane, or are we replacing it from scratch?

Balaji begins: “It’s both… the unelected bureaucrats… no longer have power...”

Followed by a 12-minute ramble that once again doesn’t answer the question.
Keep listening to this ramble, and don’t forget how simple Steph’s question to Balaji is:

Q: Is the idea about replacing federal laws in one plane (e.g. vehicle regulation), or replacing federal laws entirely?
Why does everyone let Balaji get away with this behavior?

Publishing this kind of ramble degrades the quality of discourse. It’s impossible for listeners to follow the thread.

Either keep the guest on track during the interview, or edit in post so it makes some kind of sense.
Balaji goes on to describe communities that:
* Keep “digital sabbath”, go offline 12 hrs/day
* Keep a "keto-kosher" diet

But how do these fall under Balaji’s 4-point definition of Network State? Why do they need to crowdfund territory? Why do they need diplomatic recognition?
Here Balaji seems to be saying that The Network State has to do with the difficulty of innovating in atoms.

If we could coordinate people together virtually, then we could manipulate atoms better…?

Again, not supporting his claim with either logical reasoning or an example.
Steph asks *again*: Does Balaji envision a Network State that rewrites the entire legal framework, or just one area?

This time he rambles about fixing “one moral failing".

Still doesn’t address the question of whether a Network State in the US would obey any federal law or not!
Balaji gives one final example of a Network State:

A Christian community.

Wow, what a techno-optimistic concept! Only in the 21st century do we have the terminology to describe a concept like that.
Unlike some folks, I don't see Balaji’s performances as works of genius.

I think a guy who neglects to give coherent answers to questions during his 3 hours of freewheeling improv is crapping on standards of discourse.

I'm begging all podcasters to stop letting this crap slide.
@balajis I'm glad I helped some readers break the Balaji spell.

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More from @liron

Oct 7, 2023
Dario Amodei's P(doom) is 10–25%.

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From today's @loganbartshow, worth a watch:
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🧵 Here's the proof:…


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He accuses AI doomers of being “bootleggers”, which he explains means “self-interested opportunists who stand to financially profit” from claiming AI x-risk is a serious worry:

“If you are paid a salary or receive grants to foster AI panic… you are probably a Bootlegger.”
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Thread of @pmarca's logically-flimsy AGI survivability claims 🧵
Claim 1:

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Actually, an AI might overpower humanity, or it might not. Either outcome is logically coherent.
Claim 2:

Marc claims rogue unaligned superintelligent AI is unlikely because AIs can "engage in moral thinking".

But what happens when a superintelligent goal-optimizing AI is run with anything less than perfect morality?

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May 18, 2023
Incredibly high-stakes claim from OpenAI’s alignment team lead.

If he’s wrong, he’s a killer.
The former safety lead at OpenAI isn’t confident in the tractability of the problem.
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They act like burning the remaining time to superintelligence is an acceptable move.

Just because this assumption is normally not questioned, doesn't mean it's not fatal if wrong.
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