↑ comment by Pattern ·
2020-06-03T17:00:58.328Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Your piece argues that the good outweighs the bad. This seems reasonable (particularly in this case).
The "Dark Arts"* argument (applied to this context) is that beautiful means have distortionary effects. Can it be argued that everyone investing time into beauty and truth isn't sustainable? Yes. Selecting for a) produces good material, and b) makes it beautiful, seems individually easier than c) selecting for both.
Are there solutions? Perhaps:
- The argument itself is "beware goodharting".
- Collaboration can help ideas develop, reach a larger audience, be more beautiful..**
- Effort can be invested in beauty for it's own sake. (Embrace the Dark Arts!)
- At times both may be 'aligned' - if simple ideas are more likely to be true, then a simple illustration that summarizes effectively may be useful for both 'truth-seeking' and 'aesthetic appreciation', etc.
In sum, I felt your piece didn't address what it might look like if things 'went bad with Dark Arts'. I agree that 'beauty is bad' seems wrong. I thought 'Dark Arts' was more about stuff like rhetoric. 'Art as a Dark Art'*** wasn't taken seriously, but seems resolvable if it is.
Your early post you referenced - I don't think it's not bad that it's beautiful because of an abstract argument. It's more intuitive/a judgement. It looks good, and by conveying the idea effectively and simply, if anything it seems more open to use, testing, and even criticism - all of which seem to improve truth-seeking rather than harm it. If 'Bright Arts' end up being a problem, it probably won't be addressed by dismissing the issue, but by responding to a tangible instance of it that has arisen, and recognizing there is a tangible negative impact in play. Your earlier post is a bad example of that because it doesn't seem harmful (it seems beneficial).
*Bright arts might be more accurate in this context.
**A good grounding for being worried about something might be empirical. This is more difficult to produce though.
***Or 'Beauty as a Dark Art'.
Replies from: Bob Jacobs
↑ comment by Bob Jacobs ·
2020-06-04T16:24:46.912Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
In sum, I felt your piece didn't address what it might look like if things 'went bad with Dark Arts'.
Yeah I've always wondered if I should write about this. A sequence on 'defense against the dark arts' might sound like a good idea in theory but in practice you have write out a lot of dark arts techniques to point out how you can defend yourself against them and I'm afraid people will just start using those techniques. If you look at the karma-vote discrepancy of the posts with the 'dark arts' tag you will see how controversial this topic is. I don't blame people for downvoting me and the others because even talking about it brings risk, but I think that's sometimes worth it. But even if a 'defense against the dark arts' sequence ever gets written, I don't think it should be me but rather someone with more expertise in this field.