Internet troll pascal mugges me?

post by efim · 2014-11-19T22:23:37.139Z · score: 3 (10 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 10 comments


[Edited on 26-11-2014]

In discussion opened by XiXiDu on what to call Pascal Mugging one of the top comments seem to successfully clarify to me that this particular situation should not be regarded as Pascal's Mugging. (Considering lack of entanglement between improbability and size of impact). 

Though question of what to do (technically, not common-sensically) with 'high impact low probability' claims is still not quite clear to me.



As I became a little less anonymous on a social network (by posting in rationality-related public page) I received a message from a person, who introduced himself as a 'self-taught AI researcher'.

From his words - he don't know english and isn't acquainted with any works from sequences (or other not-translated into russian sources - i.e textbooks), but that he has 'a firm understanding' of what he has to do in order to build a general AI from 'genetic algorithms'. 

Mostly he wrote that complexity of values is a bullshit article and that he 'knows the answer' to that question, and also 'all questions' of contemporary AI field. 

Chances of his words being true is infinitesimal.

I probably had a vague feeling that I am being 'pascal mugged' (threat of creating uFAI) in the start (but flinched from it), and definitely had this idea somewhere along the line, but didn't quite thought about it and didn't consciously choose any particular mode of communication. Just tried to understand his position with guiding questions and explain why uFAI is not a good thing.

As I write this I am aware that it is probably not the best quality material, but hopefully it will be good enough for 'discussion'. I probably seek advice on how to handle this stuff emotionally and practically (ignore / engage).

And maybe some encouragement\critique because I feel really bad for engaging in conversations with him since it brought about only insults from him (he is most likely a troll) and more close mindedness (in a rare chance that he is sincere). Also because if I think about it my motivations to talk to him were mostly comprised from thrill of engaging in a conversation with a hateful person (hello nineteen neighty-four) and then worries about chance that he is sincerely crazy.


[edit: added on 20.11.2014] Overnight he wrote that he is not 'interested' in creating friendly AI. As he understands it - as 'not harming people', because he wants to rule the world, and because ai would be 'more important' than people, since it so smart.

In really FAI would be one that can understand his commands and values as he understands them, and probably one that understands notion of life at all.

He is ignoring notion of evidence, since he posted screenshot of 'ai interface' with nothing but 10 lines of php code, that are barely functional as I understand them to support his claims.

Again chances that he really doing what he's claiming - diminishing with every his word, and chances that he is trolling or mentally ill - grow. But now he requests material help with creating full blown uFAI for a chance to get safety when it arrives.

I feel like I should ignore him now and block him on a social network, and that I should have done it before it spiraled out of control. Such small probabilities should not be allowed to reside in my mind - looks like I have unwillingly favored the hypothesis since despite it all - I am a little unhinged by his writing. Really, I feel that I should ignore the urge to mess with him and just block all communications whatsoever.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-11-20T11:03:16.639Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Really, I feel that I should ignore the urge to mess with him and just block all communications whatsoever.

He could be a great many things, where all but a vanishingly small number have any positive value for you. Move on.

You're like a guy from MiddleofNowhere, Midwest, going to the big city for the first time, who lacks the city slicker knack of avoiding the random street crazy in the first place, and then lacks the will of brushing him off once he's making your skin crawl.

The fact that this guy has got you all wound up about is only further evidence that he's not a suitable playmate for you until your skin has calloused over a few times.

Your spider sense is tingling. Trust it, and move on.

The world is full of people you don't talk to, and who don't talk to him. As far as he'll know, you may have just gone on vacation. Or been hit by a bus. He'll move on too.

comment by efim · 2014-11-20T11:51:42.161Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Great and well meant advice. I was inclined to do that before, but having support helps. I will stop responding to him regardless of anything.

But I am still really curious if this is a right answer to pascal's mugging and if it is - why. All this time lurking on LW and it doesn't look like there is a consensus.

comment by Punoxysm · 2014-11-20T16:46:17.044Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

There's good existing words for this: The internet troll trolled you. Don't sweat it.

comment by Lumifer · 2014-11-20T17:16:56.364Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The internet troll trolled you. Don't sweat it.

And don't feed it.

comment by artemium · 2014-11-25T08:29:21.486Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was actually planning to dress up as Pascal Mugger for Halloween. The plan was to go to bartender during Halloween party and ask him to give me expensive cocktail for free and tell him "If you give me that for free I will spend rest of my life trying to build AI which will put you in the Utopia simulation for eternity. I know that it sounds unlikely but the price of the cocktail is immensely smaller than the monstrous Utility you will potentially gain for counting on this small probability".

In the end I decided that the probability of being kicked out of the party was far greater than being successful Pascal Mugger, so I gave up :D.

comment by CronoDAS · 2014-11-20T04:14:51.549Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I hope it's not this guy...

comment by efim · 2014-11-20T08:15:12.516Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, it doesn't look like they are the same person, they are from different countries and there is no reason for 'ment.if.ex' to know russian. [edited to hide the name]

comment by Emile · 2014-11-20T09:36:40.550Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From here:

(Do not write his name in the comments without the dots. Writing his name online summons him. I'm not joking.)

(not that this policy has been applied much here; and indeed he has been summoned)

(I also wondered whether it was that person, but decided the russian thing made it unlikely)

comment by Stuart_Armstrong · 2014-11-20T15:41:42.748Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For this problem: it's not whether the guy has solved AI, it's whether the guy is more likely than other people to have solved AI (more exactly, of all the actions you could do to increase the chance of FAI, is interacting with this guy the most helpful?).

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-11-19T22:35:30.969Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds like the recipe for a dystopian short story where internet trolls jump the uFAI meme bandwagon and threaten AGI to gain attention thereby drowing out the few real AGI developers which unnoticed accidentally build UFAI thereby making it come true.