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🦍 Never Mind, Hamming
Richard Hamming is best known as a researcher from Bell Labs. His talk You and Your Research definitely ranks among the best pieces of life advice humanity has produced and is well worth anyone's time.
Less known, however, is Hamming's involvement in the Manhattan Project. Here's an anecdote he recounts from that time:
Such is the nature of our moral intuitions. Hamming could weigh two considerations:
What are the apes up in the tribal hierarchy going to think?
Am I going to destroy all life on Earth?
Hamming was one of the best people you would hope to put in that position: clearly a deeply moral being who did do the arithmetic. But you can see which of the two considerations was stronger.
In Moral Tribes, Josh Greene argues that making moral progress requires (a) the structure of the moral problems that our brains evolved to solve, and (b) how modern moral problems differ from them. Well, for one thing, unlike our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we have nuclear bombs. And worse things may come.