Merwane Drai

I genuinely believe that we’re living inside a simulation (think of it as a virtual machine), but that it’ll be very hard (or impossible?) to hack our way out of it, because we only have a shared state in common (memory addresses?), and the hypervisor is way too strict to let us play with the register. So in the meantime, I build things (often with the purpose of destroying other things), and work on what I think is interesting, challenging and potentially impactful on a civilizational level.

I also believe that we’re witnessing an unprecedented western decadence, and that we need to do all we can to preserve American/western supremacy and dominance (mostly in terms of talent and technology). All cultures are not equal, and some are better than others. We can’t afford to let rogue states steer the future. The best way to do this is to create a generation of independent thinkers and to revive the American dynamism of the 60s. I am a card carrying member of the “mission-focused” club, but I am making a meteor sized exception for this.

Some good reads:
  • Masters of Doom
  • The Dream Machine (Where it all started)
  • Zero to One
  • Paul Graham’s essays
  • Snow Crash

If you’re 16-29 you should:
  • Think about building something (anything!)
  • Learn to hack (it’s a superpower and will help you think)
  • If you already write code, try implementing things you take for granted from scratch.
  • Drop out of university if you already know what you want and feel like you’re wasting your 20s.
  • Instead, you can start a company and apply to YC where you’ll meet way more unconventional people.
  • Alternatively you can join a team and work on something interesting.
  • Read as much as you can.

If you’re 30+:
  • I’m 23 so I don’t really know, but contributing to technology in any way doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Work on problems that can eventually help solve:
  • AGI (now you have to)
  • Energy too cheap to meter (This probably means nuclear power)
  • High bandwidth brain-computer interfaces (Save my day tech, then eventually I know kung-fu type of tech)
  • Extend life beyond earth
  • Extend lifespan
  • Compression implies intelligence, and is the universal problem of the information age. Crack compression and everything else in this list will probably follow.

Some things I believe:
  • Thinking from first principles rather than by analogy is a good way to come up with fresh ideas. Just boil things down to a simple truth, and reason up from there in your own way.
  • If hacking teaches us anything, it's that we shouldn't take systems for what people say they are. (e.g: Is Google Colab a hosted Jupyter notebook, or is it a giant botnet?)
  • Go deep on things. Intimate knowledge of any topic can turn out to be incredibly valuable.
  • Aim high, be bold. it’s often easier to succeed with a hard startup than an easy one.
  • Move fast.
  • Peace often means having a bigger stick than the other guy.
  • It’s probably good if HN says it’s not.
  • Don’t let cheap dopamine ruin your productivity and motivation. Transcend your addiction to attention-seeking things.
  • Developing some sort of knowledge gluttony is an amazing way to find problems worth solving.
  • The endgame of technology is to gain control over nature and bend it to our will.

Reach out over email (my first name @ or DM me on Twitter if you want to talk about computers, or if you want to work with me on a product at the intersection of AI and video. You can also click on my picture for a surprise.