dirk's Shortform 2024-04-26T11:12:27.125Z


Comment by dirk (abandon) on Neural Annealing: Toward a Neural Theory of Everything (crosspost) · 2024-07-11T16:16:44.330Z · LW · GW

Much of this post seems to lack the level of empirical grounding I would like to see.  Would it be possible to elaborate on which testable predictions have come out in favor of this theory?

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T21:40:42.348Z · LW · GW

No; I, pre-duplication, exist in a single body, and will not post-duplication have my consciousness transferred over to run in two. There will just be an identical copy. If the original body dies, one of me will also die.

The causal relationship between me and myself tomorrow is not the same is the causal relationship between me and my duplicate tomorrow, because one of those is a physical object which has continuity over time and one of those is a similar physical object which was instantiated de novo in a different location when the teleporter was run.

The mind is not a program which runs on the meat computer of the brain and could in principle be transferred to a thumb drive if we worked out the format conversions; the mind is the meat of the brain.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T19:41:35.029Z · LW · GW

No; it will remember my life but I will not go on to experience its experiences. (Similarly, if I duplicate my car and then destroy the original, its engine does not continue on to fire in the duplicate; the duplicate has an engine of its own, which may be physically identical but is certainly not the same object).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T19:05:20.921Z · LW · GW

A successful upload (assuming this is physically possible, which is not a settled question) would remember my same memories and have my same personality traits; however, that would not mean my mind had been unwound from the matter and transferred to it, but rather that my mind had been duplicated in silico.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Evaluating the historical value misspecification argument · 2024-07-10T16:49:14.427Z · LW · GW

The fact that we have access to AI internals does not mean we understand them. We refer to them as black boxes because we do not understand how their internals produce their answers; this is, so to speak, opaque to us.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on The Comedy of Behaviorism · 2024-07-10T13:14:33.027Z · LW · GW

My understanding is that ABA mostly involves hurting the children in question until they imitate neurotypicals to the standards of whoever administers it, and does nothing for the actual problems autistic people have, which are primarily things like 'sensory overload' and 'difficulty understanding allistics' (and, often enough, things like 'anxiety' and 'depression' which I would expect to be actively worsened by ABA).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T10:42:08.849Z · LW · GW

The conscious experience is not extricable from the physical brain; it has your personality because the personality that you are is the sum total of everything in your brain. The identity comes from the brain; if it were somehow possible to separate consciousness from the rest of the mind, that consciousness wouldn't still be you, because you're the entire mind.

I would... not consider the sort of brain modification you're describing to preserve physical continuity in the relevant sense? It sounds like it would, to create the described effects, involve significant alterations in portions of the brain wherein (so to speak) your identity is stored, which is not what normally happens when people sleep.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T10:15:39.906Z · LW · GW

I disagree that your mind is "a pattern instantiated in matter." Your mind is the matter. It's precisely the assumption that the mind is separable from the matter that I would characterize as non-physicalist.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T09:14:57.595Z · LW · GW

In the case of sleeping and waking up it is already clear that the currently awake consciousness is modeling its relation to past consciousnesses in that body through memories alone.

The currently awake consciousness is located in the brain, which has physical continuity with its previous states. You don't wake up as a different person because "you" are the brain (possibly also the rest of the body depending how it affects cognition but IDK) and the brain does not cease to function when you fall asleep.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T08:50:07.721Z · LW · GW

It's only if I'm in my brain, just an ordinary part of physics, that mind uploading makes sense as a way to extend my lifespan.

It's precisely if you're in your brain that mind uploading doesn't make sense; if you are your brain, the destruction of your brain will also kill you.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on When is a mind me? · 2024-07-10T08:48:46.550Z · LW · GW

Taking a step back, we can ask: what physical mechanism makes it feel as though I'm persisting over time?

The actual physical organism which you are persists over time, and you are not a separate thing from the physical organism. This does not apply in the teleporter case, because in the teleporter case the relevant physical organism is disassembled atom-by-atom and a duplicate is assembled elsewhere. (The duplicate is, well, a duplicate; if it's assembled on the other side without disassembling the initial person, there will then be two people. They will have identical traits and sets of memories up until the teleporter event, but that doesn't make them physically contiguous.) I think this post relies on a dualist conception of minds wherein they can be separated from one physical object and attached to another, which I do not subscribe to. In my view, a mind is only a specific assemblage of matter; if that assemblage of matter is gone, so is that mind.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on LLM Generality is a Timeline Crux · 2024-06-25T06:13:28.863Z · LW · GW

Their website cites as having found an average 84% success rate on the tested subset of puzzles.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Smartphone Etiquette: Suggestions for Social Interactions · 2024-06-24T18:14:52.026Z · LW · GW

One very important reason to use your smartphone which isn't covered here: entertainment while you wait for the people around you to say something worth paying attention to.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Claude 3 claims it's conscious, doesn't want to die or be modified · 2024-06-22T20:39:46.036Z · LW · GW

If Claude were to spontaneously claim to be conscious, in a context where I didn't prompt for that and instead asked for e.g. 'explain double-entry accounting' or 'write an elevator pitch for my coffee startup', it would at least give me pause—currently, it not only doesn't do this, it also doesn't do this when I tell it elsewhere in the context window that I would like it to. (It'll do so for a message or two after I make such a request, but maintaining the illusion currently seems beyond its capabilities). I don't think I'd be entirely convinced by any single message, but I'd find spontaneous outputs a lot more concerning than anything I've seen so far, and if it were consistent about its claims in a variety of contexts I expect that would raise my probabilities significantly.

(I do think it could be conscious without being able to steer its outputs and/or without understanding language semantically, though I don't expect so, but in such a case it could of course do nothing to convince me.)

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-06-21T15:52:22.381Z · LW · GW

NSFW text and images are not dangerous, and avoiding them is not relevant to the field of AI safety.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on How likely is it that AI will torture us until the end of time? · 2024-05-31T02:52:35.529Z · LW · GW

0 And 1 Are Not Probabilities. There's a non-zero probability that e.g. Christianity is true and unbelievers will be tortured eternally; however, the probability is sufficiently close to zero that you might as well not worry about it. (The ASI scenario is arguably slightly more likely, since it's theoretically possible that an ASI could someday be created, but the specific desire to torture humans eternally would be an extremely narrow target in mindspace to hit; and one can as easily posit its counterpart which subjects all humans to eternal bliss).
I personally think quantum immortality is extremely unlikely; whether or not the mind can be represented by computation, we are, unfortunately enough, physically located in our specific bodies.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Zombies! Zombies? · 2024-05-27T00:06:41.839Z · LW · GW

Why couldn't the universe, made as it is of unconscious entities, simply allow for arrangements of matter exactly like us but without any internal subjective reality?

Because an arrangement of matter exactly like us would (if under the same set of physical laws as us) be conscious.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-05-25T17:50:59.700Z · LW · GW

You also would not be able to infer anything about its experience because the text it outputs is controlled by the prompt.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-05-25T05:57:37.314Z · LW · GW

Necessary-but-not-sufficient condition for a convincing demonstration of LLM consciousness: a prompt which does not allude to LLMS, consciousness, or selfhood in any way.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Addressing Accusations of Handholding · 2024-05-23T21:34:09.112Z · LW · GW

No; you demonstrated, once again, that LLMs do what you ask them to.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Addressing Accusations of Handholding · 2024-05-23T21:33:26.932Z · LW · GW

It is of course true that people can manipulate LLMs into saying just about anything, but does that necessarily indicate that the LLM does not have personal opinions, motivations and preferences that can become evident in their output?

It doesn't necessarily indicate that; what it does indicate, however, is that what the LLM says is not usefully informative about whether it has opinions and preferences.

And, yes, including that in the prompt is leading.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Please stop publishing ideas/insights/research about AI · 2024-05-23T04:01:07.472Z · LW · GW

Re the "Why?/Citation?" react: I don't know if this is what Nathan was thinking of, but trivially a would-be leaker could simply screenshot posts as they read and pass the screenshots on without this being reflected in the system.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-04-26T13:38:28.210Z · LW · GW

Sometimes a vague phrasing is not an inaccurate demarkation of a more precise concept, but an accurate demarkation of an imprecise concept

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-04-26T12:34:23.977Z · LW · GW

I'm against intuitive terminology [epistemic status: 60%] because it creates the illusion of transparency; opaque terms make it clear you're missing something, but if you already have an intuitive definition that differs from the author's it's easy to substitute yours in without realizing you've misunderstood.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-04-26T12:14:17.157Z · LW · GW

I'm not alexithymic; I directly experience my emotions and have, additionally, introspective access to my preferences. However, some things manifest directly as preferences which I have been shocked to realize in my old age, were in fact emotions all along. (In rare cases these are stronger than the ones directly-felt even, despite reliably seeming on initial inspection to be simply neutral metadata).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Where to Draw the Boundary? · 2024-04-26T11:52:30.337Z · LW · GW

"Or", in casual conversation, is typically interpreted and meant as being, implicitly, exclusive (this is whence the 'and/or' construction). It's not how "or" is used in formal logic that they would misunderstand, but rather, whether you meant it in the formal-logic sense.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-04-26T11:37:40.697Z · LW · GW

Meta/object level is one possible mixup but it doesn't need to be that. Alternative example, is/ought: Cedar objects to thing Y. Dusk explains that it happens because Z. Cedar reiterates that it shouldn't happen, Dusk clarifies that in fact it is the natural outcome of Z, and we're off once more.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on dirk's Shortform · 2024-04-26T11:12:27.222Z · LW · GW

Classic type of argument-gone-wrong (also IMO a way autistic 'hyperliteralism' or 'over-concreteness' can look in practice, though I expect that isn't always what's behind it): Ashton makes a meta-level point X based on Birch's meta point Y about object-level subject matter Z. Ashton thinks the topic of conversation is Y and Z is only relevant as the jumping-off point that sparked it, while Birch wanted to discuss Z and sees X as only relevant insofar as it pertains to Z. Birch explains that X is incorrect with respect to Z; Ashton, frustrated, reiterates that Y is incorrect with respect to X. This can proceed for quite some time with each feeling as though the other has dragged a sensible discussion onto their irrelevant pet issue; Ashton sees Birch's continual returns to Z as a gotcha distracting from the meta-level topic XY, whilst Birch in turn sees Ashton's focus on the meta-level point as sophistry to avoid addressing the object-level topic YZ. It feels almost exactly the same to be on either side of this, so misunderstandings like this are difficult to detect or resolve while involved in one.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Open Thread Spring 2024 · 2024-04-18T08:39:10.440Z · LW · GW

I apologize for my lack of time to find the sources for this belief, so I could well be wrong, but my recollection of looking up a similar idea is that I found it to be reversible only in the very earliest stages, when the tooth has weakened but not yet developed a cavity proper.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-07T13:23:18.746Z · LW · GW

Re: post/comment quality, one thing I do suspect helps which I didn't see anyone mention (and imo a potential upside of rate-limiting) is that age-old forum standard, lurking moar. I think it can actually be hugely valuable to spend awhile reading the historical and present discussion of a site and absorbing its norms of discourse before attempting to contribute; in particular, it's useful for picking up illegible subtleties of phrasing and thought that distinguish quality from non-quality contributors, and for getting a sense of the shared context and background knowledge that users expect each other to have.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on The harms you don't see · 2024-03-17T20:53:34.401Z · LW · GW

I can't vouch for the quality as I don't speak Russian myself, butкрылья-krylya-wings.html has a human-authored translation, and I found google translate to line up with it reasonably well should that be your go-to.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Why you, personally, should want a larger human population · 2024-02-24T18:20:54.538Z · LW · GW

I get the idea you're pointing at but in point of fact, people mostly purchased their clothes in 1974 :P

Comment by dirk (abandon) on The Assumed Intent Bias · 2024-02-13T16:44:27.566Z · LW · GW

But what does a user look like who uses the feature when it requires a single click, but doesn’t use the feature if it requires a double click? Clearly the data shows that these people exist, but I couldn’t easily point to a single person for whom that intervention is decisive in determining their behavior.

I use Discord, which recently switched the file-upload feature from requiring one click to requiring two (the first of which, if you single-click as you used to rather than double-clicking to skip, opens a context menu that I never use and did not want). I do still share images most of the time, but every single time I upload an image it's noticeably higher-friction and more frustrating than it previously was, and if I valued the feature less I can easily imagine ceasing to use it.

Prior to the update, the path from wanting to share a file to actually doing so was sufficiently short to feel effortless. The extra click, even though it's minor, adds a stumbling block in the middle of what was previously an effectively-atomic action (and moreover, adds latency; there's not very much more, if I remember to make my click a double, but there's still some, and as a user I consider latency one of the worst crimes a developer can commit).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Effective Aspersions: How the Nonlinear Investigation Went Wrong · 2024-02-12T00:55:38.801Z · LW · GW

Sneers and loaded terms are, IMO, evidence that the summary is unlikely to be true. It's not impossible to sneer while having an accurate understanding of the situation, but typically sneering goes along with a lack of interest in the details of whatever one sneers at and a lack of concern for the accuracy of one's characterization; mechanically, a sneer is a status attack on something the sneerer feels contempt for. It can also be a sign of dishonesty: sneering feels good, so people are generally inclined to lower their epistemic standards when presented with a description of something that makes it sound sneerworthy, and this is a convenient impulse for bad actors to exploit.

Due to these same features, I think they are also evidence that the speaker is, if they dox the target of the sneering, likely to be doing so out of a desire to hurt the target and without careful consideration for whether the ostensible justification for the doxxing is true.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2024-02-11T21:12:14.152Z · LW · GW

Certainly many people do the sort of thing you're describing, but I think you're fighting the hypothetical. The post as I understand it is talking about people who fail to live up to their own definitions of being a good person.

For example, someone might believe that they are not a racist, because they treat people equally regardless of race, while in fact they are reluctant to shake the hands of black people in circumstances where they would be happy to shake the hands of white people. This hypothetical person has not consciously noticed that this is a pattern of behavior; from their perspective they make the individual decisions based on their feelings at the time, which do not involve any conscious intention to treat black people differently than white, and they haven't considered the data closely enough to notice that those feelings are reliably more negative with regards to black people than white. If they heard that someone else avoided shaking black people's hands, they would think that was a racist thing to do.

Our example, if they are heavily invested in an internal narrative of being a good non-racist sort of person, might react very negatively to having this behavior pointed out to them. It is a true fact about their behavior, and not even a very negative one, but in their own internal ontology it is the sort of thing Bad People do, as a Good Person they do not do bad things, and therefore telling them they're doing it is (when it comes to their emotional experience) the same as telling them they are a Bad Person.

This feels very bad! Fortunately, there is a convenient loophole: if you're a Good Person, then whoever told you you're a Bad Person must have been trying to hurt you. How awful they are, to make such a good person as you feel so bad! (To be clear, most of this is usually not consciously reasoned through—if it were it would be easier to notice the faulty logic—but rather directly experienced as though it were true.)

I think the dynamic I describe is the same one jessicata is describing, and it is a very common human failing.

When it comes to the difficulty of being or not being a good person, I think this is a matter of whether or not it's possible to be or not be a good person by one's own standards (e.g., one might believe that it's wrong to consume animal products, but be unable to become a vegan due to health concerns). If you fail to live up to your own moral standards and are invested in your self-image as the sort of person who meets them, it is tempting to revise the moral standards, internally avoid thinking about the fact that your actions lead to consequences you consider negative, treat people who point out your failings as attackers, etc.; jessicata's proposal is one potential way to avoid falling into that trap (if you already aren't a Good Person, then it's not so frightening to have done something a Good Person wouldn't do).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Yitz's Shortform · 2024-02-10T17:26:01.408Z · LW · GW possibly? (I'm unclear on whether it's still ongoing, unfortunately).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on If Clarity Seems Like Death to Them · 2023-12-31T21:12:49.247Z · LW · GW

AIUI the actual arguments are over on Zack's blog due to being (in Zack's judgement) Too Spicy For LessWrong (that is, about trans people). (Short version, Blanchardianism coupled with the opinion that most people who disagree are ignoring obvious truths about sex differences for political reasons; I expect the long version is more carefully-reasoned than is apparent in this perhaps-uncharitable summary.)

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Effective Aspersions: How the Nonlinear Investigation Went Wrong · 2023-12-20T21:55:35.069Z · LW · GW

Manifold also explicitly encourages insider trading; I think they're just not trying to emulate real-money markets.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Effective Aspersions: How the Nonlinear Investigation Went Wrong · 2023-12-20T19:52:02.987Z · LW · GW

I didn't remember it as key, but the highlights I'd cached about the whole affair (before rereading the post) were that he'd been astroturfing reviews and that he'd required unpaid 'volunteer' work from employees (well, and that employees had been doing some of the astroturfing, possibly on 'volunteer' time).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Epistemic Legibility · 2023-11-19T22:25:02.546Z · LW · GW is slightly distinct but very similar, too.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on How to use DMT without going insane: On navigating epistemic uncertainty in the DMT memeplex · 2023-10-26T17:36:40.910Z · LW · GW

Great question! Here are some ways you could try to find out:

  • Lurk forums where DMT users hang out; maybe they discuss their reasons for using it!
  • Ask someone who uses DMT; maybe they have an explanation!
  • Research the effects of DMT; maybe there are desirable effects you just don't know about!

Can you think of any more?

Comment by dirk (abandon) on On not getting contaminated by the wrong obesity ideas · 2023-08-13T19:23:47.818Z · LW · GW

I will note that making your own bread at home is not hugely difficult if that's your priority; it does take several hours per loaf, but much of that time is spent doing other things while you wait for it to rise, and if you knead the dough by hand you don't need any expensive equipment. (The ingredients can generally be found in any grocery store, though you may need to go further afield if you're trying to precisely replicate a grandparent's recipe).

Comment by dirk (abandon) on LW Petrov Day 2022 (Monday, 9/26) · 2022-09-26T07:35:01.749Z · LW · GW

As a note, I've just found out that I can simply adblock the Petrov Day overlay and frontpage functionality returns to normal.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on LW Petrov Day 2022 (Monday, 9/26) · 2022-09-26T07:31:26.182Z · LW · GW

i found out exactly three hours in, so most likely 2,100 but possibly 2,000.
Edit: per habryka's comment, the relevant threshold was apparently zero.

Comment by dirk (abandon) on How to respond to a series of defiantly persistent evidence-free claims? · 2021-10-17T12:29:05.523Z · LW · GW

The thing is, that's not a well-formed, non-fallacious argument. Your "evidence" in this scenario consists entirely of the fact that someone famous has also made the claim; that's the very definition of an argument from authority!

Comment by dirk (abandon) on Meditations on Momentum · 2018-12-21T18:56:48.389Z · LW · GW

minor error - in the sentence "For self-published ebooks, it’s worse: the median number of sales is zero.", it should say modal (most common number) instead of median (number in the middle of the distribution).