A unit of measurement. Let me explain…
Happiness, joy, felicity. These words all essentially mean the same thing: conscious states that feel good from the inside. When economists and philosophers talk about the amount of “goodness” in various conscious states, they usually use the word “utility”, which has SI units of “utils”.
Thinking Of Utils considers topics relevant to the total amount of utility in existence, and explores ways to increase this amount. In practice, posts typically relate to science, technology, economics, and politics.
And who the hell are you?
My name is Daniel Eth, and I’m a scientist. (Follow me on Twitter!) I’m currently pursuing a PhD, and my research involves trying to find materials that would allow for building a very robust form of quantum computer. I’m also an aspiring effective altruist.
Why do you think you’re qualified to write this blog?
Technology has the potential to enrich or hinder the human condition far beyond most people’s wildest imaginations. Certain hypothetical future technologies – including nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, and AI – have particularly large potential impact. I’ve studied, researched, and published on many of these technologies.
Compared to other scientists, I’m also much more aware of/focussed on the societal impact that technology may have. And I think my writing is much more engaging and clear than most scientists.
Okay… but I still don’t really get this blog. What’s with all the cursing and the childish stick figures?
Here’s how to think of it: If South Park and Nova had a baby, and that baby grew up and became a blog, and that blog decided to dedicate itself to doing the most good for the most people, then that blog would be this blog.
If you like reading long-form blog posts that combine scientific expertise with stupid drawings created in Apple preview, all geared around maximizing the long-term flourishing of civilization from a utilitarian perspective, then this is easily the single best blog on the entire Internet for you. You can check out posts here or subscribe below to get future posts emailed directly to you! I guarantee that subscribing to Thinking of Utils is the single best thing you can do to maximize your own utility!