Jun 4, 2022Liked by Étienne Fortier-Dubois

Great post! The links in the charter cities section helped me understand what they are a little better. The links in the Dao section helped me understand what the “crypto will change everything” people are talking about. All tied together in a fun article.

Any thoughts about how to get these ideas out to a wider audience? All these communities seem rather insular.

That’s what sticks out to me as a working class guy from the south east US. None of my coworkers are on Substack or twitter, and I don’t think even my upper middle class friends know about effective altruism.

Once again, love the post!

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You ask a really good question. I was struck by how easy it was to write this post: it seems like I deal with all these ideas and movements all the time as a blogger and Twitter user, but taking a step back it's true that none of them are mainstream at all. They don't really exist in a university, but they exist in an environment that is insulated from the rest of society like universities are/were.

One answer might be that it's okay: idea machines aren't necessarily meant to be widely discussed outside of some specific circles.

But if the people in a movement want to spread their ideas beyond readers of blogs and substacks, then I suppose there's no magic recipe: go to mainstream media, make youtube videos, etc.

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Jun 6, 2022Liked by Étienne Fortier-Dubois

Thanks for taking my question seriously. I agree YouTube is probably a good way for ideas on blogs to become more popular.

A little pushback on “idea machines aren't necessarily meant to be widely discussed outside of some specific circles”

Maybe some of the more esoteric ones shouldn’t be(crypto) But it seems to me like the ones that I’m more familiar with, like the rationalists and effective altruists should be.

For instance, the company I work for tries to get the employees to donate to a specific charity. They boast that all of the money will benefit local causes. Since I live in one of the most wealthy nations, this seems problematic from an EA point of view.

Also reading rationalist material has helped me a little with statistical thinking. My public education offered nothing of the sort. Maybe this is another example of something that should be discussed in wider circles.

Thanks for engaging, I hope you had a good weekend

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Jun 6, 2022·edited Jun 6, 2022Author

Yes, I think in general it's true that becoming mainstream would be mostly good, but I've seen some people argue otherwise. For example, there is such a thing as growing too fast. There may be some value in having a movement remain "elite," in the sense of consisting mostly of smart people who are deeply involved, without having to deal with the disadvantages of fame. I would say that it's up to the members of any movement to decide what they aim for.

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