Information hazards

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Information hazards akin to memetic hazards


infohazard — A term used to refer to objects that are dangerous to know about. Differs from cognitohazards in that cognitohazards require direct contact whereas infohazards may spread simply through people telling each other about them.


This page will to begin with use Nick Bostroms work as a boiler plate and will transform into memetic and abstraction theory.

As per Nick Bostrom : "Information hazard: A risk that arises from the dissemination or the potential dissemination of (true) information that may cause harm or enable some agent to cause harm."[1]

Data Hazard Data hazard: Specific data, such as the genetic sequence of a lethal pathogen or a blueprint for making a thermonuclear weapon, if disseminated, create risk

Idea Hazard Idea hazard: A general idea, if disseminated, creates a risk, even without a data-rich detailed specification


Attention Hazard Attention hazard: The mere drawing of attention to some particularly potent or relevant ideas or data increases risk, even when these ideas or data are already “known”.

I would personally add that attention is a abstraction process, and itself can exist as a resource of applied time.

Template Hazard. Template hazard: The presentation of a template enables distinctive modes of information transfer and thereby creates risk.

I would add that memetics is a template.


Signalling Hazard In the aesthetics and the creation of signals through action and thus mimesis, this is particularly harmful, the meme can spread more virulently when a certain act is shown, think of the ice bucket challenge, or suicide which is also a memetic contagion

Signaling hazard: Verbal and non-verbal actions can indirectly transmit information about some hidden quality of the sender, and such social signaling creates risk.

Non verbal actions, signals, can thus be considered a meme : they are interpreted or abstracted by the nodes as information.


Evocation Hazard Evocation hazard: There can be a risk that the particular mode of presentation used to convey some content can activate undesirable mental states and processes

Each of these information transfer modes—data, idea, attention, template, signaling, and evocation—can play a role in creating various kinds of risk. The latter four, especially, are easily overlooked.


To add on my own : memetic system hazard, more akin to system design flaws in the structure of information. How information is transmitted within a system is vital.

  • symmetry would matter, information symmetry so nodes can make more informed decisions, as all decisions are a form of abstraction, bias via shaping of the underlying mechanics is then ineviatable, only way is to abstract into truth.

post script : he does add this in the form of :

Information asymmetry hazard: When one party to a transaction has the potential to gain information that the others lack, a market failure can result.

He also mentions Information Cascading. Pareto principles and power laws and such. This can be turned to math and measured


Norm Hazard Norm hazard: Some social norms depend on a coordination of beliefs or expectations among many subjects; and a risk is posed by information that could disrupt these expectations for the worse.


Unveiling hazard: The functioning of some markets, and the support for some social policies, depends on the existence of a shared “veil of ignorance”; and the lifting of which veil can undermine those markets and policies.

Caveat, i would think this is akin to exposure hazards. Then once the hazard has been abstracted and recognised, it and of itself is a hazard, think of eco-fascists who become radicalised due to exposure and then internalisation of propaganda memes.

I would that there is a faulty abstraction hazard risk : mostly where something is misunderstood, or is though of in a way that was unintended.

one could argue there abstraction difference hazard

mimetic => subset of signalling theory



https://nickbostrom.com/information-hazards.pdf