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Erase button 2021-11-09T09:39:39.439Z

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Comment by Astor on Stop arbitrarily limiting yourself · 2021-12-09T05:50:27.559Z · LW · GW

This could also be a labeling issue because you cannot identify the function of your habits. For example, limiting yourself in different areas could be a way of keeping your mind from being stressed too much. Trying to overcome this could be beneficial in general, but it could also be detrimental to your health. Of course, you could argue that my point leads to some kind of self-preservational self-deception because every questionable behavior could be considered as "helping in another way". But I just want to make sure that not every comfort zone has to be labeled as problematic, but merely those which have negative impacts on your primary goals. You should ask yourself: Is "growing"  my most important goal? Or is "growing" a means to an end?

Comment by Astor on Morality is Scary · 2021-12-04T11:13:43.677Z · LW · GW

I thought a solved alignment problem would implicate a constant process of changing the values of the AI in regard to the most recent human values. So if something does not lead to the expected terminal goals of the human (such as enjoyable emotions), then the human can indicate that outcome to the AI and the AI would adjust its own goals accordingly.

Comment by Astor on Why do you need the story? · 2021-11-25T20:42:46.126Z · LW · GW

Thank you for explaining it. I really like this concept for stories because it focuses on the psychological aspect of stories as understanding something which sometimes is missing in literary perspectives. How would you differentiate between a personal understanding of a definition and a story? Would you?

My main approach to stories is to define them more abstractly as a rhetorical device for representing change. This allows me to differentiatie between a story (changes), a description (states) and an argument (logical connections of assertions). I suppose, in your understanding, all of them would be some kind of story? This differentiation could also be helpful in understanding the process of telling a story versus giving a description.

Unfortunately, you did not explain how your answer relates to "stories have the minimum level of internal complexity to explain the complex phenomena we experience". In your answer you do not compare stories to other ways of encoding information in the brain. Are there any others, in your opinion?

Comment by Astor on Why do you need the story? · 2021-11-25T08:57:50.475Z · LW · GW

I am eager to explore your answer. Why do you think that "stories have the minimum level of internal complexity to explain the complex phenomena we experience"? Is it only because you suppose we internalize phenomena as stories? Do you have any data or studies on that? What's your understanding of a story? Isn't a straightforward description not even less complex because you do not need a full-blown plot to depict something like a chair?

Comment by Astor on Erase button · 2021-11-11T10:27:18.137Z · LW · GW

This is the same conclusion and argument I arrived after reading tivelen's comment. But my objection would be that a "momentary fluctuation" generally is not a good moral argument. You could doubt every decision because the time you took to not be considered a fluctuation is arbitrary.

Comment by Astor on Erase button · 2021-11-11T08:21:55.726Z · LW · GW

I thought about that and also agree with you. But I wanted this room to be thought about as an investigation of personal choice rather than a choice made by others for you. So I opted for the inclusion of this concept. It would be appropriate not to overemphasize this aspect. But it is of course an understandable rejection. Thank you for bringing it to the foreground.

Comment by Astor on Erase button · 2021-11-10T19:17:21.587Z · LW · GW

This is a thoughtful analysis of possible effects. Thank you for this. I do not want to have such rooms because I do not want to lose anybody ever. But sometimes there is a tendency in humans for quick decisions which would be supported by such an invention. I suppose this thought experiment shows me that blocking access to easy decision making has potential value.

Comment by Astor on What is the link between altruism and intelligence? · 2021-11-05T09:57:21.520Z · LW · GW

Pain can also be defined for non-biological beings. For me it is just a word indicating something undesirable hardwired into your being. And maybe there is something undesirable for everything in the universe. One rather metaphysical concept could be a virtue of inertia (described as the resistance of any physical object to any change in its velocity). So you could argue, if you understand the movement of an entity (more concretely its goals), you could find a way to harm it (with another movement) which would result in "pain" for the entity. This concept is still very anthropozentric, so I am not sure, if the change in the movement could lead to or already be understood as a positive outcome for humanity. Or maybe it is not registered at all.

Comment by Astor on What is the link between altruism and intelligence? · 2021-11-04T22:29:09.000Z · LW · GW

One concept in my moral system relies on the question of how you would respond to permanent retaliation, if you would go rogue. Could you stop an endless attack on your wellbeing because you do things that other people hate? In a world with many extremely intelligent beings this could be very difficult, and even in a world with only you as the bad Super-Einstein it would at least be tiresome (or resource-inefficient), so one super intelligent individual would possibly prefer a situation where they do not need to defend themselves indefinitely. This is kind of similar to the outcome of Wait-But-Why's concept of the cudgel (browser search for "cudgel"). Ultimately this concept relies heavily on having at least some possibility of giving a Super-Einstein a small but ineradicable pain. So in my opinion, it is not really applicable to a singularity event. But it could be useful for slower developments.

Comment by Astor on Book Review Review (end of the bounty program) · 2021-10-19T15:42:20.411Z · LW · GW

Thank you for organizing this program. I really enjoyed the book reviews. Even though I am still a bit shy in commenting and using votes, these posts encouraged me to consider writing something myself in the future.

Comment by Astor on Book Review: How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen · 2021-10-17T07:54:51.162Z · LW · GW

Thank you for your work. I really liked the review for your summary of Problem Solving and your general easy-to-read approach. But I also want to have more studies on this kind of education style so I can ground my understanding on independent observations instead of just ideals. I would definitively read a follow-up on the research regarding the books.

Comment by Astor on Book Review: Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein · 2021-10-14T15:19:14.880Z · LW · GW

I see, thank you for that and thank you for the conversation.

Comment by Astor on Book Review: Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein · 2021-10-14T14:50:42.237Z · LW · GW

Possibly. Is this your interpretation of the paragraphs 304 and 307? But which arguments can he use to assert that, if he argued previously for not knowing definitively? I really enjoy your takes on this. I hope this is also kind of fruitful for your endeavors.

Comment by Astor on Book Review: Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein · 2021-10-14T11:27:59.051Z · LW · GW

It is a shame that the book about Sprachdynamik is not translated into other languages. It is also an introduction to the modern Regionalsprachenforschung (science of regional and minority languages). But it is mostly about the concept that there is a synchronization effort between the competency of performing utterances (not just words, but grammar and speech patterns too) on different layers. The micro layer focuses on individual adjustments to the utterances you are hearing and reading each day. The meso layer is about recurring events like work or peer groups. And the macro layer focuses on culture defining moments like the publication of the bible. Here is a research paper (unfortunately in German, but you could translate it via Google Translate, if you want to go deeper) that uses Sprachdynamik to analyze the German minority language in Hungary by the Goethe institute. Unfortunately, I am not so well read on the international discourse. But for me it is a sufficient theory of language change and development.

I thought the analysis is the part about finding out the limitations of concepts. Of course, it can be useful to be careful with your definitions and expect that you do not find anything. But I am not so sure, if this contrasts all of analytical philosophy because you have philosophers like Popper or Russel who try to be very careful in applying their concepts. And many philosophers are very self-critical in their efforts.

I understand him as claiming that we can't set up an reliable, intersubjective system of discussing these internal experiences as other people can't perform the error checking function that they can in normal language.

I really like this description, this is a possible stepping stone for the introduction of the mind-body problem. But there is also the possibility of him denying these sensations in their entirety because they cannot be translated and do not have a function. For me, this is the part of having a box with no beetle at all: "it cancels out, whatever it is" (which would be a linguistic interpretation of monism). Is this a possible or an accurate interpretation of his thought experiment? I do not know because for him linguistic definitions seem to be unreachable. This is the unsatifying part for me. I am not sure, if I am getting it and I do not want to imply that I am. So I do not try to challenge these concepts. I can only say that I do not like them because they do not offer me more insights with the interpretation I have of them.

Comment by Astor on Book Review: Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein · 2021-10-13T18:06:39.164Z · LW · GW

I don't know if Wittgenstein was the originator of this concept, but he seems to have made it more prominent.

I suppose the pragmatic maxim is also related to this. I always wondered, if Wittgenstein read Peirce's argument in regard to metaphysics.

I really like your review, but I have to admit that I do not like Wittgenstein's concepts. I am simply not sure how to use them in any meaningful way. Unfortunately this has not changed after reading your text.

For example, for me, J. L. Austin explained the whole "language as use" philosophy way better in "How To Do Things With Words" and in most cases I refer to the concept of Sprachdynamik as the principle theory of language change and development, rather than mentioning "language-games". Language-games reinforce the elusiveness of concepts, words and language as a whole. But if you want to use language to do something you have to hold onto at least some meanings.

This contrasts your last section and I do not know how you arrived at your conclusions. Your arguments seem to refer to the elusiveness as a possible building block for ones own definitions. But this seems to be exactly what analytical philosophers try to achieve, or not? They try to find the best possible definition which can be applied to hopefully all but practically most situations. The mentioned difference between conceptual engineering and analysis does not convince me.

Family resemblances also seem to be only useful in denying problems: I cannot find a simple definition for some widely used word therefore it must be a family resemblance and not further be investigated. I am not so sure.

In his argument against private languages I cannot even understand what he means by the word language. His example for a private language is something that is fully untranslatable like the sensations of emotions. But what exactly does it mean to speak of sensations as a private language? What?

This is really unsatisfying. So for me, Wittgenstein is just one of the lesser concept manufacturers, who had luck in getting referenced over and over again. But don't take my word on this! Maybe other people have more luck with these concepts!

Comment by Astor on The LessWrong Team is now Lightcone Infrastructure, come work with us! · 2021-10-05T11:25:27.297Z · LW · GW

I really appreciate the work the team is doing and I hope that you will grow to a successful organization. Although I would consider myself a software engineer, I am not seeing myself in the offered roles. Best luck in your endeavors!

Comment by Astor on How do you keep track of your own learning? · 2021-06-13T19:16:36.565Z · LW · GW

You are right. Thank you for replying. The results of measurements are objective. I think I conflated objectivity with universal value. What I tried to say was that I am not convinced that tracking your learning progress for a topic in one specific way is always more valuable than in another way because it relies on the goal you want to achieve.

Comment by Astor on How do you keep track of your own learning? · 2021-06-11T07:58:54.702Z · LW · GW

My personal way of measuring my knowledge gain is rather simple, but I am not sure how obvious it is. I write down definitions, arguments and examples of everything I know. Then I change them if I encounter something related (I track these changes with a diff program). And if a concept has grown from a small list of properties to lots of examples with elaborate descriptions, then my knowledge has grown too. Some problems include categorization issues, finding the best way for referencing sources and permanent media management.

For me, skill progress is more difficult to track because the metrics for each skill seem to be so different for every new task and I am not sure, if some skills are related or not. For example: If I can program a loop for changing a list of strings, am I able to use this skill to program a loop for changing a list of other data types? I would say no, because I have to know how I can change the different data types first. I don't like this, so I mostly do not bother to track my skill progress.

I am not convinced that learning progress can be measured objectively because knowledge and skills are only useful in regards to a specific lifestyle. Another aspect of this: If a group has a specific lifestyle, using the metrics of that lifestyle to determine your progress would be beneficial for you to fit in. Anyway, it is still nice to share different approaches in tracking your progress towards your own goals.

Comment by Astor on What to optimize for in life? · 2021-06-07T04:40:59.842Z · LW · GW

Maybe it is a little unpopular and a bit blunt, but I think one candidate for having the most positive side effects on your life when you do not have it already is money. If you prioritize money without overdoing it, then you can take time off and focus on all the different areas which were previously locked. You cannot afford a nice home? Just buy it now! You do not have good relationships, because you did not have the time or the abilities? Just take your time now or hire someone who helps you! You have bad health? Take a plane and get help from the best doctors in the world!

Of course, this only applies to a world in which money is a universal trading unit and where you can deal with the negative side effects (like people trying to be friends with you, solely to get some of the money; not knowing when to stop prioritizing money, because your life cannot get better with more; or supporting an exploitative system in general). But I think money is a straightforward goal for most situations to increase your happiness.

Comment by Astor on Don't feel bad about not knowing basic things · 2021-05-24T05:51:58.737Z · LW · GW

It's always puzzling me why this is so hard to accept for me. Maybe one aspect could be that work relationships force you to present yourself as best as possible to your employer. And this leads to situations in which you try to signal competence instead of uncertainty, even to yourself.

Comment by Astor on Fight Akrasia and Decision Fatigue with DIY Productivity Software · 2021-01-31T13:49:38.733Z · LW · GW

Trying to build your own productivity tools is also very helpful in understanding why you have difficulties in the first place because you reflect upon them while designing your feature set. I really appreciate this post for reminding me of the joy of programming your own solutions.

Comment by Astor on LW Team Updates - December 2019 · 2019-12-06T00:50:22.310Z · LW · GW

The team is great. Thank you very much!

Comment by Astor on LW Team Updates - December 2019 · 2019-12-06T00:32:39.759Z · LW · GW

Thus far I really like the stuff you included and I hope that you will continue to improve the site. You did an amazing job. I think the only criticism I have is the loading speed. I used a performance testing site to look into this and nearly 9 seconds for the frontpage seem to be very high, especially if you compare it to GreaterWrong. I understand the feature focus and I support it, but I just wanted to say that I would really appreciate the effort of a performance optimization in the future. I am aware of the complexity of such a request, and I am sure that you already have thought about this, but I wanted to give you some feedback anyway. Don't feel obligated to do anything.

Comment by Astor on What makes a good life? This is my map. · 2019-11-23T16:49:52.947Z · LW · GW

Maybe. But I am not sure. I think defining it like this is more truthful to your reasoning, so that you can better analyze your actions, if something goes wrong. For example, if you are feeling unhappy, but you do not understand why (maybe because you are doing something due to social norms to improve your life through prestige), then references to your feelings can help you to find a better outcome, while "doing the optimal thing" could lead you to believe in self-sacrifice, even if you suffer from it. Maybe it diverges at this point of individualism vs. communitarianism.

Comment by Astor on What makes a good life? This is my map. · 2019-11-23T15:27:17.148Z · LW · GW

I see. I am skeptical, if you can justify something not refering back to your own happiness or some kind of satisfying feeling. Why do you want to worry, if not for benefiting you in an extended way (worrying helps you to feel something for others, so that they can feel for you, so that you can feel happy)? But these are just some questions to think about. Do not feel obligated to change anything!

Comment by Astor on What makes a good life? This is my map. · 2019-11-23T13:58:56.334Z · LW · GW

In my life happiness stands above all, because well-being and happiness seem to be the same. How do you distinguish between them? Or: Why are maximum energy and maximum meaning not leading to maximum happiness?