Posts

How can I help research Friendly AI? 2019-07-09T00:15:09.335Z · score: 23 (8 votes)
Are Cognitive Load and Willpower drawn from the same pool? 2015-02-23T02:46:56.660Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' 2012-07-05T08:51:30.456Z · score: 13 (27 votes)
Mailing List for Digitized Belief Network Discussion 2012-06-06T23:27:38.654Z · score: 3 (6 votes)
A digitized belief network? 2012-05-25T01:27:29.789Z · score: 6 (7 votes)

Comments

Comment by avichapman on How can I help research Friendly AI? · 2019-07-11T04:39:34.163Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for your great story. I particularly enjoyed 'Swimming Upstream'.

I'm much earlier in my journey and the milestones are probably different than yours. In Australia, a PhD is 3 years and I don't know if you get much choice on committee selection. As it happens, I haven't even started it yet as I am currently doing an Honours research project to prove my research bona fides.

My first challenge is to find a way to pay for my PhD. In Australia, you can get a salary to do a PhD, but it is 1/4 of my current salary and I have kids to feed. I have a plan to convince my company to pay for my PhD and a backup plan involving continuous part-time research to make a name and cover some important background over the next five years until my children are grown.

This year, my research is in Computer Vision. Next year if I can start my PhD, it will be in real--time scene interpretation. If I don't start my PhD, I will have more freedom to choose my topic - so I want to make it a topic that serves my long-term interests.

Comment by avichapman on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T02:35:51.195Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Wow. I see now what EY meant when he said it wasn't fair to criticize HPMOR as sexist before it was done. I finished reading the last chapter with the feeling that this was actually an origin story for Hermione.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T21:06:08.618Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Brin seems to equate 'rational' with 'non-violent'. They're not always the same thing.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T20:45:27.021Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why is Harry special? His sleep cycle? Anybody can use a time turner.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T02:11:26.156Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

In the text, they made it clear that the vow was based on the meaning of the words and not the words itself. V said that it was important that everyone understood the meaning.

Harry would not consider star lifting or terraforming or the creation of a virtual world at the expense of the actual one to be 'destroying the world'. He would considering 'destroying the world' to mean 'the ending of all life' or somesuch.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T01:56:54.534Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Did Harry time-turn the day Hermione died, and, if so, what did he do?

Yes. When he went into the room with Hermione's body, he turned the time turner and transfigured her body into a ring while also transfiguring something else (presumably something very small) into a copy of Hermione's body. He then hid from his past self and left the room just after his past self entered. After the transfiguration wore off, the 'body' dissapeared.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T00:11:36.923Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, the map was made by Harry's dad and his three friends.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T20:46:20.420Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

QuirrelMort's wand is in Quirrel's hand.

Harry went to where Quirrell lay, and straightened out the body as best he could, and put Quirrell's wand into his hand.

Voldemorts wand is the one that Harry took.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T03:39:09.419Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

After rereading, I beleive that Mr White is Lucius Malfoy. Not only is the name an allusion to his hair, he is said to be less useful than he was in the past due to the fact that V will soon rule openly. In the past Lucius was V's puppet in the Wizengamot.

Mr Write then proceeds to sacrifice most of his magic to bind Harry Potter. I suppose with him dead, this doesn't matter.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T21:07:14.740Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I remember that part too. I had thought that they had searched all of Harry's things. Upon re-reading the relevant part of Chapter 94, I now realise that they only searched his trunk and mokeskin pouch. If he left it in his bed it would have escaped detection.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T20:46:48.474Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

By the way, why did Voldemort make a description of Hermione resurrection ritual and put it in a pouch if he planed to kill Harry anyway?

He was planning for the possibility of failure. If he failed to kill Harry, he wanted Harry to always have Hermione to consult.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T02:24:06.952Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea that could still be true, but wasn't needed in Chapter 114-115. It had bothered me that the Hermione toe-ring wasn't detected. In fact, it was explicitly checked for magic and it was discovered that it was portkey magic rather than transfiguration magic.

Overnight, I had the idea that perhaps Harry put his portkey toering on Hermione's body (though obviously not her toe) before he transfigured her. I have no idea how such things work, but I suppose its possible that the portkey magic would still be detectible when transfigured and would even mask out the transfiguration magic.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T01:59:26.872Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If she does, she'll have to do it with only one arm.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T02:55:50.507Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I see it also. I believe that broke her out as a backup plan in case his attempt to get the stone failed. He could then always grab a peice of Bellatrix and a peice of an enemy (Harry? Someone else?) and come back that way.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T22:30:29.558Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree. A carbon nanotube metres long and whipped around fast. And Hermione screaming, "Harry!!!"

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T21:51:29.824Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You may be on to something. Merlin created his Interdict with exactly that sacrifice.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T21:23:26.462Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

+1 for using 'Boltzmann' as a verb.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T05:44:43.898Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Some 11 year olds aren't interested in sex yet. Others are forks of an adult Tom Riddle who similarly isn't interested in sex.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T05:42:27.581Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It the simulation were infinitly parrallel and all simulations that weren't consistent crashed, the Harry that made the observation about the loop would necessarily be in a self-consistent simulation.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T05:40:14.281Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And the clock is ticking. If Dumbledoor is aware of the plot to kill hundreds of students, the folks inside the box have some leverage.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-22T22:26:17.156Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry can go months without using his dark side. Quirrel on the other hand goes into zombie mode every day. Perhaps zombie mode is what's left of the original Quirrel.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-22T21:36:24.606Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Your idea caused me to connect two dots. Perenelle and Alissa Cornfoot. They are both students who are attracted to badass professors. On one level, the example Miss Cornfoot provides plausability for Prenelle's interest. On a more conspiracy-theory-y level, Perenelle is still hanging around near the stone?

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-20T00:20:46.371Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just had another thought in relation to Harry's second transfigured object. I had thought as Quirrel did that Harry's second transfigured object was Hermione's body. (Though Harry successfullly fooled Quirrel into thinking the second object was the steel ring. It wan't, but we know he has something because of the mention of 'the other one' in Chapter 104.)

But just after Hermione's body dissappeared, they throroughly searched Harry's person and stuff for transfigured objects and finite incantatem-ed the lot. Perhaps Harry's second transfigured object is not Hermione, but something aquired more recently? I'm thinking of Cedric. Can a living body be transformed into something solid like a rock without deleterious effects?

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T23:44:46.768Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good idea. Not enough time.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T21:15:29.675Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I just made a mental connection - probably a stupid one. The pouch's capacity was recently expanded and Cedric has yet to make an appearence...

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T05:02:36.223Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I noticed that too. It's often a sign of obliviation. My secondary hypothesis is that it was a mistake and will be corrected in a later update.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-17T02:23:23.943Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We do know that devil's snare will play a part.

"It's not as if he wants to keep the students out, oh no, they need to go in and get stuck in my Devil's Snare!"

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, January 2015, chapter 103 · 2015-02-09T05:08:14.822Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The only answer that doesn't feel like a stretch is that the O is a reward for the phenominal progress made during the year.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2015-01-06T02:42:52.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel had a very low opinion of science and didn't seem to appreciate the power it confers until the most recent chapter - which doesn't gel well with what we know of Harry. Of course, future-harry could be lying about that when interacting with his past self, but that would require a complexity penalty against the hypothesis.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-29T02:56:18.280Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think that would bother me. If the resulting person has all of my memories and personality and everything else that I consider important about myself and the original copy was destroyed painlessly it would make no difference.

But then again, I'm a programmer. I copy data structures and destroy the originals all the time and yet treat them as one and the same.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101 · 2014-01-15T02:53:05.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

An increase in the sense of doom? What if Quirrel can possess many bodies at once. He created Voldi to have a villain to fight back in the olden days and then retired Voldi when he got sick of it. He periodically takes over other people's bodies for his own ends, sometimes even when he's not in his 'zombie mode'. Perhaps the variability in the sense of doom is correlated with his extra-body activities. When he takes over the body of a dead centaur, you get an increase in the sense of doom. The fact that he's not in 'zombie mode' at the same time as possessing the centaur might makes things even worse.

This would mean of course that Voldimort isn't Quirrel - Quirrel is Voldimort. Quirrel isn't out and out evil the way Voldi is. He simply invented a larger than life character so that he can play the good guy. Being possessed of normal human emotions, his fondness for Harry could be real.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-12-14T03:52:05.576Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point about the light hours thing. It sort of kills the hypothesis.

I agree with drethelin that the 6 hour mark doesn't have to correspond with Quirrel's last day of school. However, in the last story arc, Quirrel talks like his time limit is only a short time away, perhaps only a month. Of course, he could be talking about his inevitable firing from the defense professor position.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-12-12T03:10:21.423Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that Quirrel went away to the plaque when he was in zombie mode, nor to suggest that it had become a Horcrux. Instead, what I am suggesting is that Quirrel is always in the plaque and is operating his body by remote control. If it takes some effort to do so, he might let the body go slack when he doesn't need to be doing anything.

As for the horcrux, this could always be a different, but perhaps related, spell.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-12-06T02:11:26.437Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was re-listening to the podcast of Chapter 20 (Bayes's Theorem) when I was struck by an idea. It builds on another idea I heard in this same forum. The original idea was that Quirrel had Horcruxed the Pioneer plaque and that, due to the nature of magic, his Horcrux passing beyond a distance of 6 light hours would lead to his death due to a limitation on magic's ability to affect things more than 6 hours into the past - which would be needed for faster than light communications.

Having now re-listened to that chapter, I've picked up some new clues. Harry had made the suggestion that it might be possible to add an entire human mind's worth of information to the Pioneer plaque by creating a portrait or arranging for a terminally ill person's ghost to be attached to it before launch. Quirrel of course denied that he had done anything like that through a bit of misdirection. This leads many to speculate that he had Horcruxed the probe, downloading a copy of himself into it for posterity.

I had the idea that perhaps he downloaded himself into the probe and then started to operate his body by remote control. When his body goes limp, it's because he's not at the 'controls' at that moment. Once the probe passes beyond 6 light hours, it will become impossible for him to continue to tele-operate his body any longer and he will be trapped on the probe for the rest of its flight time. I believe he is revealing an important clue in the following paragraph:

"Sometimes," Professor Quirrell said in a voice so quiet it almost wasn't there, "when this flawed world seems unusually hateful, I wonder whether there might be some other place, far away, where I should have been. I cannot seem to imagine what that place might be, and if I can't even imagine it then how can I believe it exists? And yet the universe is so very, very wide, and perhaps it might exist anyway? But the stars are so very, very far away. It would take a long, long time to get there, even if I knew the way. And I wonder what I would dream about, if I slept for a long, long time..."

Is he contemplating the eons that await him while the probe moves on to 'some other place'? Does he plan to put his mind on hold, to sleep, for most of that flight time?

Comment by avichapman on Rationalist Storybooks: A Challenge · 2012-10-16T05:21:06.627Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here's my first attempt. It was meant to be about confirmation bias. On rereading it, it seems more like it's about finding the positives in bleak situations. I guess that's important, too.

Nothing much happened this week, you tell your mum at week's end. Because 'nothing' never gets mentioned, when talking to your friend.

Because inside all that nothing, there are things both here and there. If a room is mostly empty, You'll find a table or a chair.

On Monday you did nothing, except you stubbed your toe.

On Tuesday you did nothing, but it begain to snow.

On Wednesday you did nothing, except you found that money.

On Thursday you did nothing, except you spilled that hunny.

On Friday you did nothing, except you cleaned that fluff.

But now remembering your empty week, do you think of all that stuff?

So telling your friend about that room, Or your mum about your week. Now that room is full of stuff. Your week is not so bleak.

Comment by avichapman on The Halo Effect · 2012-10-10T03:19:26.006Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If it's true that intelligence correlates with height, I wonder if it is because childhood nutrition affects height? Perhaps childhood nutrition also affects brain development. Interesting.

Comment by avichapman on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-10-05T07:06:25.352Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Could this constraint apply in other ways? Suppose magic is the result of something that responds to the wishes of witches, as suggested at one point. If that something is Earth-based, perhaps a wizard on an outbound spacecraft would stop being able to do magic when he reaches 6 light-hours out. An interesting experiment.

Harry might be able to realistically do an experiment similar to this as a first year if there is a magic spell that lets you communicate with an object. He could use a spell to accelerate that object to a very high speed and then check in on it as it approaches the 6 light-hour point.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-07T12:06:19.335Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I hadn't realised I could. I've just done so. I didn't write any kind of note to that effect. Is one needed for a spelling edit?

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-07T12:03:35.593Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah. In that case, your comment makes a lot of sense. I apologise for the confusion.

Comment by avichapman on What have you recently tried, and failed at? · 2012-07-05T23:28:28.419Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for both pieces of advice. Apparently what karma goes around comes around, because I'm back up to 2/3 or what I had before the misadventure started. I'm at peace.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T23:16:17.173Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nice read. That's exactly what I should do. Someone else made a similar comment about definition issues. In retrospect, the conversation on Facebook could have been wrapped up very fast.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T20:59:26.541Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nice. That seems to state my point far better.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T20:58:56.035Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's possible, but I got the feeling that they wouldn't know what those positions are. Their positions were so self-contradictory that it makes me think that they had simply absorbed some of the zeitgeist without any kind of formal study and then failed to propagate the change all the way across their belief networks.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T20:56:25.365Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Point taken.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T20:55:12.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think you need to be superstitious to commit the fallacy of choosing a belief that is less accurate intentionally. All you need to do is buy into the meme that all belief is good. I know plenty of atheists-by-default who still think that there's nothing odd about intentionally choosing to believe something arbitrary.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T20:50:41.402Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. I chose to say something only partly right. If I was talking to a creationist, I would suggest that maybe god could have used natural processes to create the world - because if I told them that there was no evidence for a god's action on the universe, they'd assume that I was doing the devil's work and not listen.

If I ended a conversation with my interlocutor's beliefs now being one step closer to the truth, I would feel like I'd done a good job. I can always shift them again next time around.

I take your point about the alternative phrasing. I don't think that that would have undermined my point, so I should have used it.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T20:46:05.541Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd disagree that I was going for the fallacy of gray. The fallacy of gray is replacing a two coloured world (black & white) with a 1 coloured world (gray). The post you linked to goes on to say that it is quite appropriate to point out that there is such thing as 'less white' and 'more white' - in fact, a world with millions of shades. It's a great antidote to two-colour thinking.

Comment by avichapman on What have you recently tried, and failed at? · 2012-07-05T11:23:09.831Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think an admin has already moved it for me.

Comment by avichapman on What have you recently tried, and failed at? · 2012-07-05T10:37:46.211Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I recently got into communicating with non-scientific people. I got really proud of a new way of trying to convince post-modernists that there was indeed such a thing as ideas that were 'more right' and 'less right' that I wrote up a blog post and posted it here for review. (http://lesswrong.com/lw/dfs/we_prosecute_ceos_for_failing_to_do_due_diligence/)

But I misunderstood the posting rules and put it on the main site instead of the discussions. 4 people didn't like what I wrote, which more than wiped out all of the karma I've built up since I joined.

I'm now trying to salvage the situation by at least learning what I misunderstood or misstated about epistemology. I'm hoping I'll get some more comments explaining what happened. Rest assured, I've already learned the other lesson - the one about where to post stuff.

I'm trying to celebrate this failure. And I suppose if I do get any meaningful feedback, I will indeed have something to celebrate.

Comment by avichapman on We prosecute CEOs for failing to do due diligence. But with people, we call it 'faith' · 2012-07-05T10:29:47.216Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But these people I was debating refuse to accept that there is such thing as a 'right' by that definition. They say that 'what actually happened' is forever unknowable. I was trying to point out that while we may or may not find out exactly what happened, we can always tell if an explanation is 'more right' or 'less right' than another, based on how useful it is in explaining the evidence.