Comment by bruno-mailly on Surprised by Brains · 2018-10-28T09:12:39.240Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Anyways, if the 1st goal of an AI is to improve, why would it not happily give away it's hardware to implement a new, better AI ?

Even if there are competing AIs, if they are good enough they probably would agree on what is worth trying next, so there would be no or minimal conflict.

They would focus on transmitting what they want to be, not what they currently are.

...come to think of it, once genetic engineering has advanced enough, why would humans not do the same ?

Comment by bruno-mailly on The Psychological Unity of Humankind · 2018-10-13T16:43:50.328Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · LW · GW
In fact the winged males look far more like females than they look like wingless males.

All the "3rd sex" I can think of are this : males in female form, for direct reproduction advantage.

Not a big departure from 2 sexes.

Eusocial insects might be more interesting.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Cultish Countercultishness · 2018-10-12T19:16:59.533Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

N Rays deserve an honorable mention.

Blondlot was very scientific (in appearance), and followed by some scientists (of the same nationality).

Other good candidates today would be : Nanotech, space elevator, anything too much futurist-sounding.

Yes it's going to happen some day, no it won't be like we imagine.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Initiation Ceremony · 2018-10-12T09:44:59.829Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

EY uses Bayes to frame reality ever closer, not just to answer abstract homework on paper and call it a day.

If you solve a given problem without spotting it is ill-formed, your answer is correct but not practical.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Initiation Ceremony · 2018-10-12T09:34:38.908Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would guess thinking "frequency" implies it happens, while "probability" might trigger the But there is still a chance, right ? rationalization.

Comment by bruno-mailly on The Failures of Eld Science · 2018-10-11T07:08:14.277Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Others :

  • Almost no tracking of mistakes, failures, or even negative results for that matter.

We know it's bad, yet we keep sweeping valuable knowledge under the rug just because it's embarrassing. Confirmation bias anyone ?

  • No clear valuation of the work's utility.

One consequence is that researchers are kind of expected to know what they will find before they even begin, a form of weak insurance on productivity. This discourages to venture in the unknown.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Righting a Wrong Question · 2018-10-08T11:33:21.751Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW
This is a design-stance explanation...

I worded poorly, but evolution does produce such apparent result.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness

Is way out my league, I did not pretend to solve it : "It's a far cry from a proper explanation".

But pondering it led to another find : "Feeling conscious" looks like an incentive to better model oneself, by thinking oneself special, as having something to preserve... which looks a lot like the soul.

A simple, plausible explanation that dissolves a mystery, works for me ! (until better is offered)

That line of thinking goes places, but here is not the place to develop it.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Detached Lever Fallacy · 2018-10-07T17:28:45.250Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW
It would be stupid and dangerous to deliberately build a "naughty AI" that tests, by actions, its social boundaries, and has to be spanked. Just have the AI ask!

Pitfall : We tend to tell embellished, disguised, misguided, or sometimes plain wrong versions of reality.

An AI would have to see through that to make sense.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Reductionism · 2018-10-07T08:08:50.444Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From the inside we can't judge the relative speed or power, but we can judge the efficiency.

And it's abysmal : the jumps from quarks to particles to atoms to molecules to cells to animals to stars to galaxies each throw orders of magnitude around like it's nothing.

What could this possibly tell us ?

  • Reality just has that much resource.
  • The result of our reality was not designed.
  • The lords of the matrix are not very bright.
Comment by bruno-mailly on Where Experience Confuses Physicists · 2018-10-03T20:33:16.287Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW
Otherwise there could be an abstract mathematical object structurally identical to this world, but with no experiences in it, because it doesn't exist. And papers that philosophers wrote about subjectivity wouldn't prove they were conscious, because the papers would also 'not exist'.

didn't you just solve the mystery of the First Cause?

My take :

A universe is not just math, it also needs processing to run.

Existence is not in the software or the processor, but in the processing.

So long as that universe is not run/simulated, it's philosophers do not exist, and what they would write is unknown.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Righting a Wrong Question · 2018-10-02T11:50:46.921Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Okay. Q: Why do I think I am conscious ?

A: Because I feel conscious.

Q: Why ?

A: Like all feelings, it was selected by evolution to signal an important situation and trigger appropriate behavior.

Q: What situation ? What behavior ?

A: Modeling oneself. Paying extra attention.

Q: And how ?

A: I expect a kluge fitting of the blind idiot god, like detecting when proprioception matches and/or drives agent modeling, probably with feedback loops. This would lower environment perception, inhibit attention zapping etc., leading to how consciousness feels.

It's a far cry from a proper explanation, yet it already makes so much sense.

Asking the right questions did dispel much of the mystery.

Comment by bruno-mailly on GAZP vs. GLUT · 2018-10-01T14:03:56.746Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It can do what the mind it is made from can. No more, no less.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Pascal's Mugging: Tiny Probabilities of Vast Utilities · 2018-09-26T20:16:59.567Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How about : The logic of a system applies only within that system ?

Variants of this are common in all sorts of logical proofs, and it stands to reason that elements outside a system do not follow the rules of that system.

A construct assuming something out-of-universe acting in-universe just can't be consistent.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Pascal's Mugging: Tiny Probabilities of Vast Utilities · 2018-09-17T23:21:21.162Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW
I assume that I have an error per each inference step


The further a reasoning reaches, the more likely to be wrong.

Any step could be not accurate enough, or not account for unknown effects in unusual situations, or rely on things we have no mean of knowing.

Typical signs that it is drifting too much from reality :

  • Numbers way outside usual ranges.

Errors or imagination produce these easily, reality not.

  • Making one pivotal to the known world.

One is central to one's map, not to reality.

  • Extremely small cause having catastrophic effect.

If so, then why has it not already happened ? Also: pandering to our taste for stories.

  • Vastly changing some portions seems just as valid.

The reasoning is rooted in itself, not reality.

Pascal's mugging lights them all, and it certainly reaches far.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Anthropomorphic Optimism · 2018-09-15T21:55:32.103Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · LW · GW
How on earth can humans overcome this problem?

Why, eugenics of course ! The only way to change our nature.

First, selective breeding. Then genetic engineering.

Yes, there is a risk of botching it. No, we don't have a better solution.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Righting a Wrong Question · 2018-08-13T08:36:07.206Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW
why is there something instead of nothing

Don't forget the third alternative : why is there something instead of something else ?

One idea is that there are unlimited potential universes, each running on different fundamental laws, most being poor and sterile. But because of survivor (existence ?) bias, intelligent forms can only observe a universe rich enough to hold them.

Scientist went this way and imagined other laws in order to prove that ours are the only possible. Instead, they found that some alternative algebras, geometries etc do make sense.

This neither answers nor dissolves the question, but it does hint to look elsewhere.

what's the nature of consciousness

Children undergo a fundamental mind-building step when they realize they are not the universe. That there are things out there that don't follow their thoughts, and (the horror !) don't even know about them. That the self is separate from everything else. Thus, becoming aware of themselves, and their place in the world.

Feeling conscious seems the way we do that.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Blues, Greens and abortion · 2018-08-04T14:09:32.673Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
abortion should be mandatory if the baby is the product of rape.

The more humane version : The rapist should be forced to pay for the child's upbringing, while deprived of usual father rights.

Extremely hard to argue against, and puts a limit on the bad action.

Still, it might not be enough...

Comment by bruno-mailly on Akrasia, hyperbolic discounting, and picoeconomics · 2018-08-02T20:18:45.557Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Basically : In the ancestral environment, future gains were THAT unsure.

BTW, I would not be surprised if evolution led to populations enduring bad seasons to become better at planning, especially long-term, and if this played a role in the enlightenment and industrial revolution.

Edit : Cold climates demand more intertemporal self-control than warm climates

Comment by bruno-mailly on I've had it with those dark rumours about our culture rigorously suppressing opinions · 2018-08-02T13:20:22.238Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  • Slavery has not been abolished, just sub-contracted to cheap labor countries.

  • Many people are unfit to handle freedom, and would be better off constrained.

  • Technological progress calls for authoritarianism.

    As it gives ever easier access to more power, it raises the risk of misuse and worsens the consequences, so government has to step in and regulate not matter how strongly, else disaster happens.
    (already mentioned in this comment)

    It is already done for nuclear, explosives, "big" weapons and some chemicals.
    Next on the line is driving.
    Then it will be genetic engineering.

    This will eventually lead to a universal unremovable totalitarian government, this being the GOOD outcome.

    And lets hope we never stumble on some discovery that turns out fatally dangerous before we realize it.

Hey, I notice almost no "unthinkable" is explained.

As if the audience here already know what we are talking about...

Comment by bruno-mailly on Fake Utility Functions · 2018-08-01T05:36:24.414Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
When I wrote "language", I meant

When I use a word… it means just what I choose it to mean

(Alice in Wonderland)

Comment by bruno-mailly on Uncritical Supercriticality · 2018-07-31T21:30:44.389Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We are not fooled : Moon landing hoaxers do not "present arguments", they hammer and they monologue.

Nothing, absolutely NOTHING Buzz could have answered or done would have worked, because they are so deep down the spiral that absolutely EVERYTHING is taken as confirmation.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Lost Purposes · 2018-07-30T13:08:28.864Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yup, every culture has it own education numbering system (that makes no sense) and seems blind to it not being universal. Just like language, numbering, date/hour format etc. except it seems particularly worse for reasons unclear.

I expected better from this author...

Comment by bruno-mailly on The Apologist and the Revolutionary · 2018-07-27T07:33:42.631Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Being in water can get one dead really fast. Especially cold one, especially if immersed up to the head. So it makes sense that in that case evolution would select for turning off optimism and on realism, and add a jolt on top.

The question is more "why do we have excessive optimism ?" I think it paid off to make one grab opportunities before one dies anyway of bad luck in a world where so many thing can kill.

Anyways, all mammals have the Diving reflex, that alters respiration (as a whole). Evidence that evolution can and did lead to detect immersion and have strong responses to it.

Comment by bruno-mailly on Why Our Kind Can't Cooperate · 2018-07-27T07:08:06.145Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
Carefully examining the justifications for actions is also important. If there are compelling reasons to do X, the fact that we've been "ordered" to do X is irrelevant, just as being ordered NOT to do X is.

Unfortunately, "doing what they say" tend to make people believe they are the top dog.

And a bit too many people are prompt to get this idea, reluctant to abandon it, and abuse it to no end.

So, pragmatically, sometimes it's better to find another way to get the desired result, or at least delay action to diminish that bad association.

Comment by bruno-mailly on The Least Convenient Possible World · 2018-07-23T19:59:46.571Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To me the logical answer is that it depends on how much value is attributed to "a" life vs respect of individual freedom/integrity.

It is fairly reasonable : do no evil, do not instrumentalize people, especially if not involved ; because this is a very slippery slope.

But it is unworkable to enter such a game of value accounting : Whose value system should be used ? Apple-and-orange value ?

My practical answer meets yours : If one is ready to kill the stranger, one should have anticipated this and done something along those lines long ago, like kill a criminal or comatose.

Comment by bruno-mailly on The Apologist and the Revolutionary · 2018-07-23T12:07:46.821Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wait... indoctrination/fanatization techniques rely on making the person miserable, right ?

...this is getting really uncomfortable.

Comment by bruno-mailly on What Evidence Filtered Evidence? · 2018-07-13T21:30:05.485Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Realistically, we often don't have the means to check the theory ourselves.

And in a modern world where any and everything is marketed to death, we distrust the pro-speech.

But pragmatically, I find that quickly checking the con-speech is very effective.

If it has a point, it will make it clear.

If it is flaky, that was probably the best it could do.

(this does require resistance to fallacies and bullshit)

Comment by bruno-mailly on The Modesty Argument · 2018-07-10T19:24:11.798Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If people updated their belief towards those around them, then people with agendas would hammer loudly their forged belief at any opportunit... wait, isn't this EXACTLY what they are doing ?