Comment by danlowlite on Does Your Morality Care What You Think? · 2011-07-11T21:36:33.973Z · LW · GW

Just a typo alert:

"But if my taste in pizza changes, that changes the consequneces of eating, which changes the moral justification, and so the moral judgment changes as well."


Comment by danlowlite on Lonely Dissent · 2011-06-23T13:46:58.183Z · LW · GW

OK. I'll follow up. They might want to, but what events would that trigger? The benefits might be clear, but for what costs?

Firstly, you would add another person to the population pool. That addition, in and of itself, is probably a negligible effect. Humans do this with some regularity. It is unlikely that the addition of one specific historical figure would push us over some theoretical tipping point.

What would be a greater cost would be one of rights: does the resurrected "owe" anything for being plucked from history, financially or metaphorically? What psychological toll might be exacted on an 200's era Roman slave when he shows up in Chicago in 2023? Assuming he could even grasp what had happened and learn a modern language, how is he to provide for himself? If he cannot, who? The historian, perhaps. What a decidedly high-risk research proposal: what if your resurrection is a boring fool?

Sure, I think it'd be neat to interview Hannibal or Twain or any number of folks from the past, I just think it might be a bad idea.

Probably reading into the idea a bit much at this point...

Comment by danlowlite on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-07T14:59:01.951Z · LW · GW

It would be a miracle.

Comment by danlowlite on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-04T15:06:00.053Z · LW · GW

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: What's that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

Comment by danlowlite on Evaluability (And Cheap Holiday Shopping) · 2011-02-24T17:17:42.973Z · LW · GW

Depending on the mass of the former, it might have been a better deal in material costs.

Comment by danlowlite on The Hidden Complexity of Wishes · 2011-02-15T15:04:21.488Z · LW · GW

Material sciences can give us an estimate on the shattering of a given material given certain criteria.

Just because you do not know specific things about it doesn't make it a black box. Of course, that doesn't make the problems with complex systems disappear, it just exposes our ignorance. Which is not a new point here.

Comment by danlowlite on Say Not "Complexity" · 2011-01-31T14:27:52.564Z · LW · GW

It could be built in. I agree. But the child is curious about it's texture and taste than how the pieces fit together. I had to show my child a puzzle and solve it in front of her to get her to understand it.

Then she took off with it. YMMV.

Good point, though.

Comment by danlowlite on Fake Morality · 2011-01-28T16:58:49.719Z · LW · GW

If your neighbor uses the bathroom more often, they use more water (not only by flushing, which may be considered inevitable), but by washing their hands perhaps more than necessary (going to the bathroom twice instead of once) and using anti-bacterial soap, which could lead to stronger, resistant bacteria. Of course, the use of said soap might result a long-term difficulty and the results would not be immediately apparent. So not only must an act have consequences, but those consequences must be reasonably immediate and apparent (and, as stated in Eliezer's main post, necessarily negative). A current human morality system could not track the actions and the consequences.

An omniscient god (or being) would be able to measure the harm. Further it would be able to track the consequences of ones actions. My use of anti-bacterial soap could cause a MRSA infection in someone else and kill them.

I do not think anyone (except aforementioned omniscient being) would be able to say I caused that infection on purpose. And yet, that person is still dead. A key here is intention. But unfortunately, we can harm and even kill others without intending to and yet we are held responsible. I would rarely think, say, a drunk driver would intend to get into an accident, but we punish them anyway because they intentionally increased the risk we all experience on the road.

But that risk (one that includes drunk drivers) is something we all assume, anyway. So wouldn't an accident victim also be culpable. That seems distasteful.

So, an immoral action must have a negative consequence that is reasonably immediate and apparent and must have been done intentionally, or at least without an undue amount of risk outside normally applicable ranges.

But that's probably not right. Does it exclude god? No, because that belief isn't necessary. It doesn't exclude unicorns, either.

I guess the gist of what I'm saying is that you need to be careful with your soap.

Comment by danlowlite on Configurations and Amplitude · 2010-12-17T22:08:17.844Z · LW · GW

This is very cool. I know that's just in my head, but now I just want a half-silvered mirror to test this with my kids.

Comment by danlowlite on Feeling Rational · 2010-12-09T22:38:03.323Z · LW · GW

"It is not thought wise to have anyone 'emotional' in any position of importance."

By whom? People who would like to "be able to have a beer" with a President?

I think Vassar is a little more accurate here, but that people only apply the lack of emotion within a narrow field that relates to their specialty at work. It would not be beyond the pale to see someone cheering enthusiastically for a sports team, for example.

Comment by danlowlite on Epistemic Luck · 2010-12-08T14:28:49.112Z · LW · GW

But that means that people cannot change their mind and realize when they are wrong.

Comment by danlowlite on Perpetual Motion Beliefs · 2010-12-02T22:39:01.448Z · LW · GW

I suspect the people who suspect a real problem with the lottery have never played it.

I don't play regularly, or at all anymore. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I have, but in all those occasions the primary joy from that was not the possibility that I might become more wealthy. It was because it was fun to engage with my peers in a group discussion of "What If."

From what I have witnessed, this seemed to be a popular activity: the discussion of fantasy. This didn't mean that anyone had any illusions about the possibility of winning. I can do that math.

Simply viewing it as a probability game ignores a motivation: it's fun to dream. And it's fun to do so together. "What would you get?" "Who would you give money to?" "Would you quit right away or give two-weeks' notice?" and so on.

Of course, because I only bought lottery tickets with people who bought lottery tickets with me means that my sample is biased towards those who bought them with me. And that I bought lottery tickets.

Edit: Just a note that the "What If" game need not be a social activity. Obviously.

Comment by danlowlite on Don't Believe You'll Self-Deceive · 2010-11-30T14:49:50.827Z · LW · GW

Truth has a beauty all its own.

Not that false things can't have beauty, but we usually call those things art.

Comment by danlowlite on On Expressing Your Concerns · 2010-10-29T14:18:53.311Z · LW · GW

I've been in a meeting where this was done and an openly designated "contrarian" was appointed. The specific instance where this was performed was a "diversity" training, so YMMV.

He didn't do anything. He was too new and high in the organization to be effective. His position, when he did speak up, made it unlikely that someone would contradict his contradictions. While eventually he became effective at his job (replacing a much-loved person, no easy task), it was still simply not like him to do this; we all saw it and he didn't work out in this contrarian role.

See also: Good Cop/Bad Cop.

Comment by danlowlite on Hold Off On Proposing Solutions · 2010-10-29T13:58:30.753Z · LW · GW

Yes, but while those two topics may be interesting to me, other "easy" problems (home and car maintenance, farming) are not so much even though I recognize their importance. I'm not going to learn how to do everything basic before I am going to learn something complicated. Am I?

Is an AI?

And these problems aren't even easy, really. Like the person who knows how to make an AI, one imagines they "know" how to play guitar. There's a competence level and there is a deeper mastery/creation level. I know three chords; I am not .

Unless that was your point.

Comment by danlowlite on The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence · 2010-10-28T14:07:32.849Z · LW · GW

What about marrying one? or having children with it (or should I type "her")?

Depends. What does the robot identify as?

Comment by danlowlite on Priming and Contamination · 2010-10-27T14:30:38.676Z · LW · GW

Same here. I had to look at the HTML source for the color code: #ff3300. But I figured that it wasn't green before I looked, because I guess I had been primed to expect it not to be the case. At least I think I did.

Comment by danlowlite on Lonely Dissent · 2010-10-26T14:01:40.428Z · LW · GW

I would imagine (and, I see poke below has mentioned this off-hand) that people are...not that interesting.

Oh, I am sure you are. Like, personally. But, really, would you want to resurrect a random 1850s person? Aside from kitsch or perhaps historical interests (if they were an interesting or influential personality), there are certainly better ways to spend your time.

It's not going to be like Encino Man, I am pretty sure.

Edit: I don't think I agree...but I'm not sure yet.

Comment by danlowlite on Guardians of the Gene Pool · 2010-10-25T21:46:35.431Z · LW · GW

Were/Are you joking? Seriously. I don't understand how one can own a word. Did I miss something?

I'm not disagreeing that it might involve activism (though I would define activism quite broadly), but how can one "own" a word?

Comment by danlowlite on Reductive Reference · 2010-10-08T20:49:54.404Z · LW · GW

"Anyways, I still hold that you can only define reductionism up to point after which you are just wasting time."

I agree that we might be wasting time. But what do you mean "up to a point"?

The flaw isn't in the idea, but rather in the way we express it. It appears like we're looking for the right analogy. I don't know if that's going to work. But I guess I could try anyway.

I think it might be more like a computer. We don't function at a "machine code" or even an "assembly language" level; rather, it's more like we're a scripting language on the operating system.

Of course, that's imperfect, too.

Comment by danlowlite on Initiation Ceremony · 2010-10-06T14:29:51.546Z · LW · GW

Because, as my daughter learned the other day, that still hurts. Also, the person could have been a non- or pre-op transsexual woman (leaving out other variants merely for brevity).

Maybe a different experimental method...

Edit: See also: Tim_Tayler's comment above re: hidden prior.

Comment by danlowlite on Where to Draw the Boundary? · 2010-09-03T15:25:18.425Z · LW · GW

Sharks are considered fish of a certain type, in that they have a "full cartilaginous skeleton," at least per Wikipedia. Contrast with bony fish (e.g., tuna, catfish). Also considered fish are stingrays and such.

This is more of a tangent than a response:

I would suppose that because we are more specific about the shark subset, we can safely make more assumptions on it. I've been told always that sharks were cold-blooded. According to that Wikipedia article, that is a false belief; most sharks are but some are not.

I would agree that it is a translation issue, because that's what language lets people do when they talk/write/etc. But what about internally? What does it say now that I know some sharks (and therefore fish) are warm-blooded? I mean, besides getting pedantic and correct my daughter's teacher when that comes up.

I would appear my previous definition of fish is wrong.

Edit: Removed so many supposes.

Comment by danlowlite on Chaotic Inversion · 2010-08-20T19:38:18.494Z · LW · GW

[Citation Needed]

Knowing I am but one data point, I do not see myself as anything like an ADD personality, though I do see myself as creative (though not necessarily interesting). I can sit and work at a story for hours. This, unfortunately, is not the most efficient way to do things because I rarely have those kind of blocks of time.

I have no suggestions for anyone; for some reason I have the ability to clear my mind and work. I must confess that I have not bothered to find out why.

Comment by danlowlite on Say Not "Complexity" · 2010-08-20T14:24:29.845Z · LW · GW

Wouldn't the AI have to discover that it is something to be solved, first? Give a kid such a puzzle and she's likelier to put it in her mouth then even try.

Unless I'm being obtuse.

Comment by danlowlite on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T21:36:30.124Z · LW · GW

Just registered to say hi. So, "Hi."

I'm a technical writer/ultra-part-time grad student at Northern Illinois University in Rhetoric & Professional Writing (working on my thesis so slowly). I also write stories and other such things.

Followed the wave from Overcoming Bias.