Human Enhancement

A quick summary of Human Enhancement

Methods / Subtopics

Requires significant research / non-actionable today

  • Mental Prosthetics
    • Neural lace
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Systematic optimization of people's daily lives (Taking the 'very general' section and for every person, transform their habits and daily living into a more effective version systematically)
    • More than anything we need data on different interventions. What works, what doesn't? What common problems do people encounter in implementing them? What has a big impact and for who? We need to measure success for each problem.
    • Requires substantial hypothesizing, experimentation, and people willing to go along with it.
    • Research into effective interventions in productivity / health are.

Expensive

  • Nootropics
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Medical interventions
  • Smart Drugs
    • if one can avoid burnout, [caffeine, adderall, modifinil, what else?] are among the biggest, immediate, and general enhancements available for daily productivity.
    • If we limit our scope of 'activity that makes a lasting difference in the world' to the next 20 years, then it may make sense to sacrifice health 20+ years from now with drugs that enhance productivity. Especially if we take into consideration technological advancement. I am unaware of the productivity gain/loss timescales for things like adderall or modafinil.

Very general / requires mostly behavioral change

Most gains to be had aren't upgrading your brain or body vis a vis extropianism. They are a thousand domain specific improvements to your daily life that add up.

  • Ergonomics
    • Computer posture (Many of us sit at them 10+ hours a day!)
    • Posture in general
  • Lifestyle changes
    • Diet
      • (may require monetary gain in many cases? If someone could organize information on how to eat well and cheaply that would be absolutely incredible. Instructional booklet using best brain science as a foundation.)
      • Drinking enough water
    • Exercise
    • Bowel health (gross but applies to everyone and really important to not have problems with)
    • Sleep
      • A Very Long List Of Sleep Matainance Suggestions (I like this format and would greatly appreciate anyone that compiles similar lists)
      • Polyphasic sleep? (Is this actually a thing that works? I swear I saw a video of scientists having tried it on an artist and the report was that it does - I remember it being very legit looking. And I've heard some ancedotes - at least one person who directly told me they had achieved it. But then there are things like 'supermemo' which say it is impossible.)
    • Other Habits
      • General computer usage (This one is really important. We're interfacing with these all day, so we should reduce friction as much as possible. How does one master the usage of computers?)
        • (Switching to Linux helped me a lot.)
        • Two monitors
      • General Phone Usage
      • Social Media
        • (Facebook is designed by the world's best psychologists to capture as much of your time as possible)
      • Video games
        • (Became a lot more productive after I reduced game time after highschool. )
      • Smoking
  • Mental Health
    • Depression
    • Regularly entering a state of flow (Crucial!)
    • Daily environment / situation
      • Social interactions
        • Presence of harmful / toxic people in one's life
        • Absense of positive effective people that support good choices
      • High stress from...
        • Finances
        • Work/School
        • Certain people
        • Events - Repeating and One-off
      • Ineffective structure
        • (example: you need schedules but parents are impulsive/don't plan)
        • Lack of support for goals
    • (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? I've heard it is useful but haven't looked.)

Skill based

  • Learning Effectiveness
    • Study habits / techniques
    • Note taking techniques
  • Work-based skill improvement
  • Ability to set and reach goals or meet deadlines
  • Effective use of "Deep Work"

Common But Highly Specific Problems

(There are some things which happen regularly and generally enough that I think this section is warranted.)

Arguments about definitions

mindsets / mental models

(This section included because how we think about and engage with the world massively impacts our behavior)

  • Mental models found repeatedly useful
  • Regularly noticing and correcting problems
    • Jordan Peterson's clean-your-room youtube video (There is probably a better way to get across this mentality, but I don't know it. Some people react negatively to Peterson so an edited/paraphrased transcript would be welcome.)
    • (Little things like regularly tripping over your bag. So you make a habit of putting your bag where it won't get tripped on.)
    • (Really makes a difference in my daily life)
  • (How Not To Be Wrong The Power Of Mathematical Thinking has a bunch I want to include, but need to re-read it)
  • (The Sequences belong here - they provide a value to thinking that is difficult to communicate. Need people to work through it while recording their thoughts and positions. Record the change in how they think about things, then determine precisely what areas this actually improves. Unfortunately they're huge. )

Misc

https://causeprioritization.org/Quantified_self
https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-to-be-successful/
biohacking article on spending $200,000.

"Leveling up"

  • Good mentors are apparently the absolute fastest way to improve. Peak: The Science Of Expertise (if I recall correctly) talks about how teaching is a kind of technology that refines itself over time. That is to say, mentors hook you in to the mechanism by which we advance the forefront of any given skill. The high fidelity information is stored in people. More than that, they can correct you and teach you how to correct yourself.

Less common specific problems - (Unsure if this deserves its own section so it goes here for now)

  • Autism
  • ADD/ADHD
    • Adderall. Enables massive productivity boost
  • Transgender
    • HRT and surgery have almost exclusively positive effects (in every study I've found)