Comment by gdc3 on Changing Systems is Different than Running Controlled Experiments - Don’t Choose How to Run Your Country That Way! · 2013-06-15T06:04:36.678Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted without reading for the trigger warning. Maybe I'll read it later: I suppose if it hate the article I might change my vote, but probably not. Sometimes it's in one's best interests to be a single issue voter.

Comment by gdc3 on The Power of Pomodoros · 2013-05-19T08:43:44.656Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. I'm familiar with the "This taks is too nebulous-what am I even doing?" but it isn't a source of procrastination for me exactly. Usually it's a cause of spending well over 25 minutes stuck in thought loops trying to figure out what to do, and what I actually need to do is talk it through with somebody or at least think out loud.

"A few minutes of browsing won't matter" matches procrastination for me, but even your short comment suggests a different context for the quoted phrase than I experience. For me "A few minutes of browsing won't matter," isn't part of the problem, it's a symptom of it, or even an instinctive attempt to solve it. You are implying that thinking such things causes you to browse instead of starting the task. For me I say that in order to guilt myself into not starting a longer-more immersive fun activity, thus giving up on the task.

For me procrastination consists of cycles of (look at website-try to start task-attempt fails-stare at nothing until boredom requires me to seek a stimulus-seek stimulus in something like browsing where the attention chunks are smaller so I'll be able to try again sooner-look at website...)

Is this not the usual phenomenon? To clarify "attempt fails", what failing looks like is this, my mind seeks to give the command to do the first step of the task, but afterward I notice my muscles have not moved.

Comment by gdc3 on The Power of Pomodoros · 2013-05-15T07:37:49.997Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I feel like this comes close to the definite proof that I should stop paying attention to articles about procrastination on less wrong, because you are all talking about a completely different problem than I have. (Plausible because I'm definitely neurologically weird.)

But just in case: can somebody explain to me how this isn't completely circular? If I knew how to implement the instruction "Work on one thing for that 25 minutes, nothing else." as an atomic action, I wouldn't have a procrastination problem. I notice that I'm confused and I'm not sure that I know what the word "procrastination" commonly refers to anymore.

Comment by gdc3 on Pay other people to go vegetarian for you? · 2013-04-14T08:20:16.972Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm aware of the opposite problem and I try to avoid being desensitized too. But it seems to me that city people frequently actively lie to themselves and each other in order to be willing to eat meat. I'm willing to give examples if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Comment by gdc3 on Pay other people to go vegetarian for you? · 2013-04-12T18:08:29.769Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I avoid meat (not vegetarian, just eat as little as I conveniently can) because of what I and my friends call the Stuffed-Animal-Principle. The idea is that it's bad utility function maintenance to allow stuffed animals to be abused. (Stanford burned teddy bears in the pre big game rally.) The idea is that stuffed animals are basically a technological superstimulus for empathy and you risk damage to your actual utility function by desensitizing yourself to that. (I don't have actual studies on the specific fact, but it makes sense with things that are known.)

Actual animal suffering is far more upsetting to actually witness. Mostly our society avoids this problem by putting it out of mind and just enjoying the results. We also do this for many problems that affect humans allowing them to continue and I really don't want to train my own ability and willingness to ignore suffering I'm complicit in just because it happens to not actually matter as much as it looks.

I have various friends who do meat limitation for this reason; one is even a full vegetarian. I have no idea how common it is though.

Comment by gdc3 on The Need for Human Friendliness · 2013-03-10T08:53:16.707Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Related worry that I've been meaning to ask about for a while:

Given that is there is still plenty of controversy over which types of unusual human minds to consider "pathological" instead of just rare variants, how is MIRI planning to decide which ones are included in CEV? My skin in the game: I'm one of the Autistic Spectrum people who feel like "curing my autism" would make me into a different person who I don't care about. I'm still transhumanist; I still want intelligence enhancements, external boosts to my executive function and sensory processing on demand, and the ability to override the nastiest of my brain chemistry. But even with all of that I would still know myself as very different from neurotypicals. I naturally see the world in different categories that most, and I don't think in anything like words or a normal human language. Maybe more relevantly, I have a far higher tolerance---even a need---for sphexishness, than most people of comparable intelligence to me.

Fun theory for me would be a little different, and I think that there really are a lot of people who would consider what I did with eternity to be somewhat sad and pathetic, maybe even horrifying. I think it could be an empathic uncanny valley effect or just an actual basic drive people have, to make everybody be the same. I'm worried that this could be an actual terminal value for some people that would hold up under reflective equilibrium.

I'm not too freaked out because I think the consensus is that since Autistic people already exist and some are happy, we should have a right to continue to exist and even make more of ourselves. But I actually believe that if we didn't exist it would be right to create us, and I worry that most neurotypicals extrapolated volition would not create all the other variations on human minds that should exist but don't yet.

If it matters, up to $1000 for MIRI this year could be at stake in answering this concern. I say this in a blatant and open effort to incentivize Eliezer etc. to answering me. I hope that I'm not out of line for waving money around like this, because this really is a big part of my choice about whether FAI is good enough. I really want to give what I can to prevent existential threats, but I consider a singularity overly dominated by neurotypicals to be a shriek.

Comment by gdc3 on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-06T06:20:36.275Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I put sometimes.

I believe all kinds of crazy stuff and question everything when I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep, most commonly that death will be an active and specific nothing that I will exist to experience and be bored frightened and upset by forever. Something deep in my brain believes a very specific horrible cosmology as wacky and specific as any religion but not nearly as cheerful. When my faculties are weakened it feels as if I directly know it to be true and any attempt to rehearse my reasons for materialism feels like rationalizing.

I'm neither very mentally healthy nor very neurotypical, which may be part of why this happens.

Comment by gdc3 on Playing the student: attitudes to learning as social roles · 2012-12-01T02:00:03.979Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In my case the usual reason they're demotivating is that I usually know that they think I can do it; they're just spelling out their model of me. Usually the model of me is so bad that I'm led to further discount their opinion, but they're signaling that they care which makes them more likely to be painfully disappointed in me. Basically those motivation talks are more than one kind of legitimate bad news. I don't need a script to be upset by them, but sometimes scripts make me care more. Childhood is one big lesson that your purpose in life is to impress and entertain adults. It can be very hard to shake.

Comment by gdc3 on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-04T07:26:03.050Z · score: 37 (37 votes) · LW · GW

I took the survey and all the optional questions. I love answering multiple choice questions.

Comment by gdc3 on The Fabric of Real Things · 2012-10-13T17:33:46.846Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mechanism is beside the point. Mechanism is just causal nodes in between. Having no mechanism just means there is a direct connection.

Comment by gdc3 on The Fabric of Real Things · 2012-10-13T17:29:01.852Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It doesn't rule it out. Unless you're directly observing those epiphenominal nodes, Occam's razor heavily decreases the likelihood of such models though, because they make the same predictions with more nodes.

Comment by gdc3 on We won't be able to recognise the human Gödel sentence · 2012-10-07T20:41:31.123Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You shouldn't include things we know only by experience as part of our theoretical system, for the purpose of "the human Godel sentence." At best learning a theorem from experience would add an axiom, but then our Godel sentence changes. So if we knew our Godel sentence it would become something else.

Comment by gdc3 on Rationality: Appreciating Cognitive Algorithms · 2012-10-07T19:14:20.023Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

You're right. I think the lesson we should take from all this complexity is to remember that the wording of a sentence is relevant to more than just it's truth conditions. Language does a lot more than state facts and ask questions.

Comment by gdc3 on Rationality: Appreciating Cognitive Algorithms · 2012-10-07T19:11:34.800Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As I understand it, the sky does let red-yellow light through. It scatters blue light and lets red light through relatively unchanged. So it looks red-yellow near the light source and blue everywhere else.

Comment by gdc3 on Rationality: Appreciating Cognitive Algorithms · 2012-10-07T05:13:54.836Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

When the sky is white, it's not the sky; it's clouds blocking the sky. When the sky is black it's just too dark to see the sky. At least that was my intuition before I knew that the sky wasn't some conventionally blue object. I guess its a question of word usage whether the projective meaning of "blue" which is something like "looks blue under good lighting conditions" should still be applied when it's not caused by reflectance. Though it's not blue from all directions is it?

Comment by gdc3 on Rationality: Appreciating Cognitive Algorithms · 2012-10-06T18:52:28.881Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Specifically they're different because of the pragmatic conversation rule that direct statements should be something your conversation partner will accept, in most normal conversations. You say "X" when you expect your conversation partner to say something like "oh cool, I didn't know that." You say "I believe X" when they may disagree and your arguments will come later or not at all. "It's true that X" is more complicated; one example of use would be after the proposition X has already come up in conversation as a belief and you want to state it as a fact.

A: "I hear that lots of people are saying the sky is blue." B: "The sky is blue."

The above sounds weird. (Unless you are imagining it with emphasis on "is" which is another way to put emphasis on the truth of the proposition.) "The sky is blue" is being stated without signaling its relationship to the previous conversation so it sounds like new information; A will expect some new proposition and be briefly confused; it sounds like echolalia rather than an answer.

B: "The sky really is blue.


B: "It's actually true that the sky is blue."

sounds better in this context.

Comment by gdc3 on Rationality Quotes September 2012 · 2012-10-02T06:08:27.550Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Relatedly, a mathematician friend said that he uses "obvious" to mean "there exists a very short proof of it." He has been sometimes known to say things like "I think this is obvious but I'm not sure why yet."

Comment by gdc3 on Decision Theories: A Semi-Formal Analysis, Part III · 2012-04-15T21:31:29.797Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There's a gap in the proof that X and Y cooperate. You may know how to close it, but if it's possible it's not obvious enough so the extra steps should be added to the article. More importantly, if it can't be closed the theorem might not be true.

The gap: We hypothesize that statement S is provable in (system of X). Therefore X will Cooperate. This guarantees that T is true, by definition, but not that Y will prove that T is true. Presumable Y can recreate the proof of S being true, but it cannot conclude that X will cooperate unless it also can prove that X will prove it.

I cannot see how to resolve this without stepping out of a specific formal system, which would make Lob's Theorem unusable.

Am I missing something?

Comment by gdc3 on Cryonics without freezers: resurrection possibilities in a Big World · 2012-04-10T17:38:26.564Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose you mean they have different positions. But if indistinguishable particles in quantum mechanics can freely switch places with each other whenever, and which is which has no meaning, then what argument do you have that the universe can even keep different versions of you apart itself?

Not very formal, but I'm trying to convey the idea that certain facts that seem important have no actual meaning in the ontology of quantum physics.

Comment by gdc3 on Cryonics without freezers: resurrection possibilities in a Big World · 2012-04-09T22:02:09.393Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think you're missing the part where "their points of view" are exactly the same. What would it mean to see more than one of them when they're exactly the same. Are you picturing them lined up next to each other in your field of view so you can count them?

Similarly there is no "I just definitely died" feeling that we know of. (How would we know?) You shouldn't picture "dying and then waking up in another universe." You should picture "I experience passing out knowing I may die, but that there is a least one of me that probably doesn't. So when I wake up it will turn out that I was one of them."

Does this make more sense? I think the barrier to intuition is in just how indistinguishable," indistinguishable" is. You can be a billion exact copies and you'll never notice, because they're exact.

Comment by gdc3 on 2011 Survey Results · 2012-03-31T02:19:28.126Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

1 and 2 together are pretty convincing to me. The intuition runs like this: it seems pretty hard to construct anything like an observer without probabilities, so there are only observers in as much as one is looking at the world according to the Born Rule view. So an easy anthropic argument says that we should not be surprised to find ourselves within that interpretation.

Comment by gdc3 on Confidence levels inside and outside an argument · 2012-03-31T00:29:47.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted for successfully correcting my confusion about this example and helping me get updating a little better.

Edit: wow, this was a really old comment reply. How did I just notice it...

Comment by gdc3 on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-03-25T02:33:29.768Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's important to try to convert the reason to a consequentialist reason every time actually; it's just that one isn't done at that point, you have to step back and decide if the reason is enough. Like the murder example one needs to avoid dismissing reasons for being in the wrong format.

"I don't want to tell my boyfriend because he should already know" translates to: in the universe in which I tell my boyfriend he learns to rely on me to tell him these things a little more and his chance of doing this sort of thing without my asking decreases in the future. You then have to ask if this supposed effect is really true and if the negative consequence is strong enough, which depends on things like the chances that he'll eventually figure it out. But converting the reason gets you answering the right questions.

Sunk cost fallacy could be a sign that you don't trust your present judgement compared to when you made the original decision to put the resources in. The right question is to ask why you changed your mind so strongly that the degree isn't worth it even at significantly less additional cost. It is because of new information, new values, new rationality skills or just being in a bad mood right now.

An advantage is that you feel just as clever for coming up with the right questions whatever you decide, which out to make this a bit easy to motivate yourself to implement.

Comment by gdc3 on Describe the ways you can hear/see/feel yourself think. · 2012-03-09T09:08:57.360Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have the same 5, except in place of 1 I have something linguistic but not auditory. I can break it down into a stream of "words" in an order but there isn't sound (nor visible words). The stream follows English grammar basically, and the "words" have English parts of speech but do not always correspond easily to English (or any other language I know) words. Sometimes there's a translation but it's not obvious to me, nor do my thoughts slow down thinking of it.

I can usually convert most of these thoughts into words by a paraphrase or translation, but I remember when I was a kid having many thoughts that I could memorize and repeat to myself but not successfully express in external language. A few of the most important ones I can remember now and translate.

Comment by gdc3 on Is Humanism A Religion-Substitute? · 2012-03-08T00:24:51.536Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What if I have a strong emotional response to the existence of a creature that would make up such a thing as a religion? I suppose it feels more poignant than transcendant, but I've always had strong tender feelings about other peoples religious beliefs.

If the original mistake was never made it would not be referenced as a meme in fiction, but given that it is mightn't I just as well enjoy God as a fictional character or a cultural tradition to reference but not believe?

I agree that hymns to the nonexistence of God are bad, but that's indeed because they're imitative and not genuinely expressive. But there are genuine emotional expressions to the very real existence of the idea of God. And I think they prove that the "would not exist without the underlying mistake" is too broad.

Comment by gdc3 on A Proposed Litany · 2010-12-29T21:46:04.434Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think that there is a use of the negative emotion of disillusionment that you are missing. When you switch to a more negative belief about a person based on new information for example, simply thinking about them differently in the future is not enough to adjust your emotional relationship to what you now think is appropriate. The time you spent believing the positive lie still counts in their favor instinctually. The pain of disillusion corrects for that.

If Santa isn't real I want to retroactively cancel all of my fondness for him so that my history of believing in him can no longer influence me. That happening all at once hurts a lot. The motivating to face this pain is not just the desire for more knowledge. It has to be balanced by feeling an appropriate amount of fuzzies if my belief in Santa is confirmed by the experiment of pointing a hidden web cam at the fireplace. If we weren't loss averse they would cancel for the same reason you can only try to test hypotheses rather than to confirm them.

You can't try to be legitimately disillusioned or the opposite. You can only try to gain knowledge. So satisfied curiosity breaks the tie rather than replaces disillusionment.

Comment by gdc3 on Confidence levels inside and outside an argument · 2010-12-29T21:29:31.153Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't the problem more like: they are ignoring the huge number of bits of evidence that say that cells in fact exist. They aren't comparing between hypotheses that say cells exist. They are comparing the uniform prior for cells existing to a the prior for only random proteins existing. They sound more like they are trying to argue that all our experiences cannot be enough evidence that there are cells, which seems weird.

Comment by gdc3 on Welcome to Less Wrong! · 2010-12-29T09:22:37.533Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

HI, I'm GDC3. Those are my initials. I'm a little nervous about giving my full name on the internet, especially because my dad is googlible and I'm named after him. (Actually we're both named after my grandfather, hence the 3) But I go by G.D. in real life anyway so its not exactly not my name. I'm primarily working on learning math in advance of returning to college right now.

Sorry if this is TMI but you asked: I became an aspiring rationalist because I was molested as a kid and I knew that something was wrong, but not what it was or how to stop it, and I figure that if I didn't learn how the world really worked instead of what people told me, stuff like that might keep happening to me. So I guess my something to protect was me.

My something to protect is still mostly me, because most of my life is still dealing with the consequences of that. My limbic system learned all sorts of distorted and crazy things about how the world works that my neocortex has to spend all of its time trying to compensate for. Trying to be a functional human being is sort of hard enough goal for now. I also value and care about eventually using this information to help other people who've had similar stuff happen to them. I value this primarily because I've pre-committed to valuing that so that the narrative would motivate me emotionally when I hate myself too much to motivate myself selfishly.

So I guess I self-modified my utility function. I actually was pretty willing to hurt other people to protect myself as a kid. I've made myself more altruistic not to feel less guilty (which would mean that I wasn't really as selfish as I thought I was), but to feel less alone. Which is plausible I guess, because I wasn't exactly a standard moral specimen as a kid.

I hope that was more interesting than upsetting. I think I can learn a lot from you guys if I can speak freely. I hope that I can contribute or at least constitute good outreach.