about mako

A stray philosopher-designer based in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

what I'm up to

Tasteweb (working title)

A civically robust information sharing and discussion system.

A social tool that uses webs of trust to select the curators of content tags in a way that is easy to grow, easy to moderate, and when it needs to be, subjective. I believe this would make content tags vastly more useful than they previously have been, giving rise to an extremely robust, unprecedentedly human-centric way of discovering information and having productive conversations about it. I can also see no other way to save the global online discourse. Further explanation is on the other side of that there link.

The Peacewager Genre

A type of multiplayer game in which peace is possible, but difficult. Games that teach negotiation. The core mechanism tends to be, players are trying to optimize their individual scores rather than strictly trying to outscore other players, this is a subtle distinction, but it has great consequences: It means the game doesn't have to be zero sum, one person's gain is not always another person's loss, beneficial trade is possible, peace is possible, honest negotiation is possible.

The scoring rules, in peacewagers, correspond to the decision theory concept of the utility function, an expression of a character's desires. A character's utility function assigns values to each possible final board state according to how desirable that character considers those states to be, it describes how that character's desires work.

Peacewagers are a bit more difficult to design and teach than most games, but we anticipate they will contact depths of balance and many interesting topics that ordinary games cannot.

Crycog (working title): A puzzle game about drawing glyphs and developing correct theories through experimentation. A story about two futures.

dream shrine media: A space for developing beneficial media together.

works released

Safe Path

A future-history told through short stories, a timeline of events, and an interview. A finalist in the FLI's 2022 worldbuilding competition.

Its main contention is that it becomes a lot easier to establish the levels of global coordination needed to solve the alignment problem, if you can clearly demonstrate the immanent risk of misalignment. I appear to have thought of a relatively safe way of creating such demonstrations of danger.

I then told the story of how that coordination comes about, and the good world that arises from it after the danger has been finally been laid to rest.

Mirror Chamber

A short story/thought experiment/speculative scifi about why we need to have a concept of anthropic measure that is related but conceptually distinct to the agency behaviors of consciousness. It wasn't totally clear to me that there existed a hard problem of consciousness until I found this thing. I think it clarifies a lot.

Being Patient with a Challenging Reading: A short story set in an era of long reflection, where things have mostly turned out alright. Written as a part of Issue 1 of the sleep-advocacy project; Zs (it got in Zs because it depicts a time and place where it's very much alright to relax, extols the virtues of napping) https://somnotica.com/issue-1/being-patient-with-challenging-reading.html

Mutation and Agency: A vaguely interactive abstract frustration about memetic evolution and agency. (android app)

The Praises of Nayru: Link's Awakening: It's canon that Link met the goddess of wisdom, prior to Link's Awakening. What might have happened if he had lingered longer in her company and become an unbearable consequentialist goth with strong feelings about simulation ethics, before arriving at grim Koholint? Do not read this, it's awful. Epub version

The Transparent Society: A radical transformation we should probably undergo: An overview of all foreseeable advantages and disadvantages of (successfully implemented) society-wide radical transparency. Desperately needs a followup discussing a strategy for implementing radical transparency in government and industry.

things I would like to do but don't believe I can do without additional support

build a propinquity city.

This is a software/legal schema for a fluid type of city where land is allocated in whatever suggested arrangement minimizes unnecessary moves while maximizing propinquity (good adjacency) according ticketholders' (residents) desire expressions and the city's aggregation law, obviating rent, restructuring the city to optimize the needs of its communities (occasionally forming new communities), enabling much better standards of living.

Anyone with insight into numerical modeling, voting theory, policy communication, construction or urban economics please get in touch and help me to either refute or implement it.

No city that exists now is good. Not really. Not in an absolute sense. I'm not sure it's possible for any city built under our laws to be good. In all of our cities there is an economic ratchet that lowers service quality while increasing the cost of living exactly until it reaches the point where our networks and investments in the city are only just barely worth the pain of staying. Proq offers an alternative.

exercycle VR game

Fantastical enormous environments are awesome and also only really fit well into games where the movement over flat spaces is interesting in some way, and exercycling games would be the only thing in that set, as far as I can discern. So we know how to direct the environment design, and it would end up being really special.

We can design a vehicle that is more fun and more gratifying to ride than a real bike (summary: drifting, boosting, gliding).

The strongest motivation to really push ourselves hard in exercise comes from being involved in races, pursuit, or escape, most people don't have easy access to sports that have that in their daily life, a game can offer a more intense, more naturally motivating workout.

To do this I'd need help with physical product design. I really don't know how we'd produce an exercycle that could function as a game peripheral, as far as I'm aware there isn't a way to get prices low enough for it to be appealing, nor do I know if there's a way of integrating with existing exercycles.

technical output

termpose: A pretty format for expressing tree-shaped information (this page generates from a piece of termpose, btw c:)

jostletree: A data structure for modeling tightly packed objects in a long line, or, for weighted sampling without replacement. I'm going to be shocked if it turns out that I'm the first person to name and chart the applications of this considering how simple it is and how often people need weighted sampling without replacement, but it seems like this really might be novel. I haven't looked into it yet.

web of trust cluster approximation: Principles for making large webs of trust more efficient to query.

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