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The Pebble and the Avalanche by Moshe Yudkowsky

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Chapter OneDisaggregation: The Driving Force of Revolution

3

One of the first safety rules I learned while hiking in the mountains was to never toss pebbles or stones down the side of a mountain. There’s the danger of hitting someone—a pebble that falls a thousand feet can do an impressive amount of damage. The other danger is starting an avalanche. It’s a tiny little pebble, true; a pebble that size can dislodge only another few pebbles, true; but if enough pebbles start to tumble, soon the large rocks start to move, and your one little pebble triggers a landslide.

An avalanche releases energy—a really impressive amount of energy. Shift a few pebbles, take apart the structure that’s holding the rock formations together, and suddenly you release ...

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