Comment by Consequentialist on Shut up and do the impossible! · 2008-10-09T05:34:59.000Z · LW · GW

Though it does take a mature understanding to appreciate this impossibility, so it's not surprising that people go around proposing clever shortcuts.

"Shut up and do the impossible" isn't the same as expecting to find a cheap way out.

The Wright Brothers obviously proposed a clever shortcut - more clever than the other, failed shortcuts - a cheap way out, that ended the "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible" era.

You need your fundamental breakthrough - the moment you can think, like the guys probably thought, "I'm pretty sure this will work." turning it from impossible to possible and from improbable to probable. After that final breakthrough, the anticipation leading up to the first flight must have been intense. And the feeling associated with finally being able to say "Yup, it worked." indescribable. Will there be such clearly-defined moments in AGI design?

These posts manage to convey the idea that this is really, really big and really, really difficult stuff. I sure hope that some wealthy people see that too - and realize that receiving commensurate funding would be more than justified.

Comment by Consequentialist on Make an Extraordinary Effort · 2008-10-07T19:09:04.000Z · LW · GW

By being maximally tuned to the problem, I mean that you have maximized your knowledge about the domain (you know the dead-ends) and your techniques and methods are sufficient in number and capability (your know all the tricks and have created some of your own); you lack nothing and can simply flow.

Comment by Consequentialist on Make an Extraordinary Effort · 2008-10-07T18:57:31.000Z · LW · GW

Extraordinary results require extraordinary effort? Not necessarily. You may achieve extraordinary results, effortlessly like water flowing around rocks. Don't consider the problem domain as outside of yourself. Become a part of the problem system, so that it effortlessly self-optimizes and develops as if by itself and you merely find yourself in the midst of it every day, feeling more like an observer than a participator. When it feels like an effort, you're not maximally tuned to the problem.

Comment by Consequentialist on Make an Extraordinary Effort · 2008-10-07T18:39:57.000Z · LW · GW

How long would it take for an AGI engineer from the (seemingly inevitable) future to explain it to you so you could build one? Is it humanly possible - is a single person capable of understanding and remembering all of it? It's been said there's not one person who understands a modern microcomputer in its totality - perhaps the last of the low hanging fruit was picked by people in the age of Steve Wozniak.

Comment by Consequentialist on On Doing the Impossible · 2008-10-06T20:41:18.000Z · LW · GW

Attempting the "impossible": like chewing, chewing, and chewing, unable to swallow; it's not soft and small enough yet. When you do get to swallow a small bit, you will often regurgitate it. But some of it may remain in your system, enough to subsist on, just barely, and you may know not to take another bite of the same part of "impossible".

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-06T16:17:00.000Z · LW · GW

Science. Live a life with a purpose.
Science. Live a life worth living.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-06T16:00:00.000Z · LW · GW

Science. Keepin' it real.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-06T15:57:00.000Z · LW · GW

On the unfairness of existence:

Those who (want to) understand and are able, joyously create things that have always existed as potentials.

Those who don't (want to) understand and can't do anything real, make stuff up that never was possible and never will be.

The former last forever in eternal glory, spanning geological timescales and civilizations, for the patterns they create are compatible with the structure of the universe and sustained by it, while oblivion is reserved for the latter.

Science. The real stuff. Be all you can be.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-06T14:48:00.000Z · LW · GW

Alice, can't tell crap from great? Don't worry, 90% of people share your inability. Why? Because 90% of everything is crap. (Sturgeon's law)

Lets fix the things that are obviously crap first. After that, well address the iffy things.

Towards less crappy greatness.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T17:16:00.000Z · LW · GW

"Frankly it reeks of cultism and dogma,"

Oh, I wouldn't worry about that too much; that's a cunning project underway to enbias Eliezer with delusions-of-grandeur bias, smarter-than-thou bias and whatnot.

Anything to harden our master. :D

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T12:25:00.000Z · LW · GW

This is a big do-it-yourself project. Don't complain about there not being enough opportunities to do meaningful things. If you don't find anything meaningful to do, that's your failure, not the failure of the universe. Searching for meaningful problems to solve is part of the project.

Correction: headway - I meant to say headstart.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T12:18:00.000Z · LW · GW

So you don't think you could catch up? If you had been frozen somewhere between -10000 and -100 years and revived now, don't you think you could start learning what the heck it is people are doing and understand nowadays? Besides a lot of the pre-freeze life-experience would be fully applicable to present. Everyone starts learning from the point of birth. You'd have headway compared to those who just start out from nothing.
There are things we can meaningfully contribute to even in a Sysop universe, filled with Minds. We, after all, are minds, too, which have the inherent quality of creativity - creating new, evermore elegant and intricate patterns - at whatever our level is, and self-improvement; optimization.

Bored? Got nothing meaningful to do? Try science.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T07:31:00.000Z · LW · GW

"The weird obsequiousness towards Eliezer makes yet another appearance on OB."

Quite the contrary. I'd prefer it be so that Eliezer is a dime a dozen. It's the relative darkness around that keeps him in the spotlight. Is suspect there's nothing special - in the Von Neumann sense - about this chap, just that I haven't found anyone like him so far. Care to point some others like him?

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T06:28:00.000Z · LW · GW

"Important to whom?"
Important to the development of the universe. It's an open-ended project where we, its sentient part, decide what the rewards are, we decide what's important. I've come to the conclusion that optimizing, understanding, and controlling that which is (existence) asymptotically perfectly, is the most obvious goal. Until we have that figured out, we need to stick around.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T06:21:00.000Z · LW · GW

Even if you're only capable of becoming an average, main sequence star, and not a quasistellar object outshining billions of others, what you must do is to become that star and not remain unlit. Oftentimes those who appear to shine brightly do so only because there's relative darkness around.

What if Eliezers weren't so damn rare; what if there were 100,000 x "luminaries"; which Eliezer's blog would you read?

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T06:06:00.000Z · LW · GW

"what makes you so damn important that you need to live forever? Get over yourself. After you die, there will be others taking over your work, assuming it was worth doing. Leave some biological and intellectual offspring and shuffle off this mortal coil and give a new generation a chance"

I vehemently disagree. What makes me so damn important, huh? What makes you so damn unimportant that you're not even giving it a try? The answer to both of these: You, yourself; you make yourself dman important or don't. Importance and significance are self-made. No one can give them to you. You must earn them.

There are damn important people. Unfortunately most of them were. Think of the joy if you could revive the best minds who've ever walked the earth. If you aren't one of them, try to become one.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-05T05:50:00.000Z · LW · GW

"but on the other hand you're essentially saying that if a person is not a Chosen One, there's not much he can really contribute."

Do you think there aren't at least a few Neos whom Eliezer, and transhumanism in general, hasn't reached and influenced? I'm sure there are many, though I put the upper limit of number of people capable of doing anything worthwhile below 1M (whether they're doing anything is another matter). Perhaps the figure is much lower. But the "luminaries", boy, they are rare.

Millions of people are capable of hoovering money well in excess of their personal need. Projects aiming for post-humanity only need to target those people to secure unlimited funding.

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-04T20:40:50.000Z · LW · GW

What I don't understand is that we live on a planet, where we don't have all people with significant loose change

A) signing up for cryonics B) super-saturating the coffers of life-extensionists, extinction-risk-reducers, and AGI developers.

Instead we currently live on a planet, where their combined (probably) trillions of currency units are doing nothing but bloating as 1s and 0s on hard drives.

Can someone explain why?

Comment by Consequentialist on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-04T19:52:48.000Z · LW · GW

"The standard rebuttal is that evil is Man's own fault,"

There is no evil. There is neutrality. The universe isn't man's fault; it isn't anyone's fault.

I'm not at all saddened by these facts. My emotional state is unaltered. It's because I take them neutrally.

I've experienced severe pain enough to know that A) Torture works. Really. It does. If you don't believe it, try it. It'll be a short lesson. B) Pain is not such a big deal. It's just an avoid-this-at-all-cost -signal. Sure, I'm in agony, sure, I'd hate to remain in a situation where that signal doesn't go away, but it still is just a signal.

Perhaps as you look at some spot in the sky, they've already - neutrality allowing - tamed neutrality there; made it Friendly.

We've got a project to finish.