Comment by hydkyll on Open Thread, Jun. 22 - Jun. 28, 2015 · 2015-06-23T21:11:16.041Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I want to do a PhD in Artificial General Intelligence in Europe (not machine learning or neuroscience or anything with neural nets). Anyone know a place where I could do that? (Just thought I'd ask...)

Comment by hydkyll on Open Thread, Jun. 22 - Jun. 28, 2015 · 2015-06-23T21:08:47.376Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think this sums up the problem. If you want to build a safe AI you can't use neural nets because you have no clue what the system is actually doing.

Comment by hydkyll on Rationality: From AI to Zombies · 2015-04-12T15:09:54.709Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How is that translation coming along? I could help with German.

Comment by hydkyll on Open thread, Mar. 9 - Mar. 15, 2015 · 2015-03-10T16:40:35.860Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

OK, when I said "easy" I exaggerated quite a bit (I edited in the original post). More accurate would be: "in the last three years at least one new party became popular enough to enter parliament" (the country is Germany and the party would be the AfD, before that, there was the German Pirate Party). Actually, to form a new party the signatures from at least 0.1% of all eligible voters are needed.

but it sounds like a difficult thing to sell to the public in sufficient numbers to get enough influence to change anything.

I also see that problem, my idea was to try to recruit some people on German internet fora and if there is not enough interest drop the idea.

Comment by hydkyll on Open thread, Mar. 9 - Mar. 15, 2015 · 2015-03-10T11:00:49.031Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm thinking about starting a new political party (in my country getting into parliament as a new party is e̶a̶s̶y̶ not virtually impossible, so it's not necessarily a waste of time). The motivation for this is that the current political process seems inefficient.

Mostly I'm wondering if this idea has come up before on lesswrong and if there are good sources for something like this.

The most important thing is that no explicit policies are part of the party's platform (i.e. no "we want a higher minimum wage"). I don't really have a party program yet, but the basic idea is as follows: There are two parts to this party; the first part is about Terminal Values and Ethical Injunctions. What do we want to achieve and what do we avoid doing even if it seems to get us closer to our goal. The Terminal Values could just be Frankena's list of intrinsic values. The first requirement for people to vote for this party is that they agree with those values.

The second part is about the process of finding good policies. How to design a process that generates policies that help to satisfy our values. Some ideas:

  • complete and utter transparency to fight the inevitable corruption; publish everything the government does
  • instruct experts to find good policies and then listen to them (how would professional politicians know better than them)
    • let the experts give probabilities on explicit predictions how well the policies will work
    • have a public score board that shows how well individual experts did in the past with their predictions
  • when implementing a new policy, set a date at which to evaluate the efficacy and say in advance what you expect
  • if a policy is found to be harmful, get rid of it; don't be afraid to change your mind (but don't make it unnecessarily hard for businesses to plan for the future by changing policies to frequently)
  • react to feedback from the population; don't wait until the next election

The idea is that the party won't really be judged based on the policies it produces but rather on how well it keeps to the specified process. The values and the process is what identifies the party. Of course there should be some room for changing the process if it doesn't work...

The evaluation of policies in terms of how well they satisfy values seems to be a difficult problem. The problem is that Utilitarianism is difficult in practice.

So, there are quite a few open questions.

Comment by hydkyll on Request: Sequences book reading group · 2015-02-22T14:39:21.084Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That would be a lot of posts. If we're talking about making a new post in Discussion everyday, that would likely drown-out most other threads. It would be even worse in Main.

One could start a new subreddit for this reading group. Something like But that would defeat the purpose of reviving

Comment by hydkyll on I played as AI in AI Box, and it was generally frustrating all around. · 2015-02-01T20:05:30.441Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

However Mr. Eliezer's basic rules say it doesn't count.

Ah, I see. Didn't know the rules were so strict. (Btw shouldn't it be "Mr. Yudkowsky"?)

Comment by hydkyll on I played as AI in AI Box, and it was generally frustrating all around. · 2015-02-01T19:38:25.559Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

nanobots released into the atmosphere

Wait, were you allowed to design them yourself? (The timestamp is in UTC iirc.)

Comment by hydkyll on Open thread, Nov. 10 - Nov. 16, 2014 · 2014-11-10T12:43:13.230Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Is there actually good AI research somewhere in Europe? (Apart from what the FHI is doing.) Or: can the mission for FAI benefit at all from me doing my PhD at the AI lab of some university? (Which is my plan currently.)

Comment by hydkyll on European Community Weekend 2015 · 2014-11-09T22:44:49.205Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What language will proceedings generally be conducted in?

English, of course.

Comment by hydkyll on First(?) Rationalist elected to state government · 2014-11-08T22:37:43.895Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

but there exists a not-too-horrible more-mainstream party whose members have led me to understand that they'd be glad to have me if I was up for it

What did they see in you? If I may ask. You would disagree with your fellow party members on quite a lot of things, I'd imagine.

Comment by hydkyll on What false beliefs have you held and why were you wrong? · 2014-10-16T22:33:21.232Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, because I spend more time researching the issue than I had before? That should count for something, shouldn't it?

Also, I can actually explain things like decoherence without hand-waving now. Looking back there were some gaps in my understanding that I just brushed over. You could say it was a failure of rationality to give as much credence to the Copenhagen interpretation in the first place.

Comment by hydkyll on What false beliefs have you held and why were you wrong? · 2014-10-16T20:16:44.008Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Probably not too interesting, but after studying physics at university I was pretty sure that the Many-Worlds interpretation of QM was crazy-talk (nobody even really mentioned it at uni). Of course I didn't read Eliezer's sequence on QM (although I read the others). I mean I had a degree in physics and Eliezer didn't.

Then after seeing it over and over again on LW, I actually read this paper to see what it was all about. And I was enlightened. Well, I had a short crisis of faith first, then I was enlightened.

This all could have been avoided if I had read that paper earlier. The lesson is that I can't even trust my fellow physicists :(

Comment by hydkyll on Cryonics in Europe? · 2014-10-12T14:32:51.337Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm also in the process of signing up. I already submitted the application for life insurance and filled out the membership application form by Alcor. The next step then is to meet up with a notary and transfer ownership of the insurance policy to Alcor. After that, Alcor has to check the documents and then I will hopefully be a full member.

I've also heard rumors that Alcor is considering opening a new facility in Switzerland. But even if that's true it will take years and will probably not be cheaper than storage in the US. Though maybe easier to sign up for.

Concerning your second question, from my understanding adequate cooling is really easy, keeping the body in ice water should be enough. That's also how they preserve donated organs, I think.

Comment by hydkyll on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-09T00:58:20.461Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, substitute 'miracle' with 'supernatural phenomenon', then.

("supernatural" still in this sense: A "supernatural" explanation appeals to ontologically basic mental things, mental entities that cannot be reduced to nonmental entities.)

So the question of whether lightning is a supernatural phenomenon or not is now about an empirical fact, not about my own ignorance. If the lightning is due to electrically charged regions in clouds, it's natural. If it's due to Thor's rage and only a god can produce it, it's supernatural.

And of course even if we think that lightning is a supernatural phenomenon it could still be Zeus and not Thor ;)

Comment by hydkyll on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-08T22:49:29.004Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There is no logical argument against miracles. They could exist.

But there really is no reliable evidence for them. If there was, I would also think this is a supernatural universe. But as it stands I'm pretty sure this is a natural universe, without souls and without praying superpowers.

I mean have you heard about the beatification of Pope John Paul II? A nun with symptoms similar to Parkinson's was healed after she prayed to John Paul. She even had a relapse but they went with it anyway.

Comment by hydkyll on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-03T13:30:59.364Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know it's a German Army War College publication? Reasons for my doubt:

  • "Ellis Bata" doesn't sound at all like a German name.

  • There was no War College in Germany in 1923. There were some remains of the Prussian Military Academy, but the Treaty of Versailles forbid work being done there. The academy wasn't reactivated until 1935.

  • The academy in Prussia isn't usually called "Army War College". However, there are such academies in Japan, India and the US.

Comment by hydkyll on Open thread, 14-20 July 2014 · 2014-07-21T16:04:17.644Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(I think what we call Bio in German is called "organic" in English.)

Comment by hydkyll on Open thread, 7-14 July 2014 · 2014-07-09T14:09:45.365Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe it's just me but I also feel silly writing a gmail-address on a CV. May I suggest MyKolab instead? It's a professional (not too expensive) secure open-source e-mail service. Your address could be

Comment by hydkyll on Open thread, 7-14 July 2014 · 2014-07-09T13:55:25.521Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is a great idea. I assume it's 16 and a half because of print limitations? The first 21 chapters would make more sense.

Comment by hydkyll on Consider giving an explanation for your deletion this time around. "Harry Yudkowsky and the Methods of Postrationality: Chapter One: Em Dashes Colons and Ellipses, Littérateurs Go Wild" · 2014-07-09T13:15:00.426Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For what it's worth I would love if LessWrong stuck to only decision theory, microeconomics, cognitive science, ...

So, now that you know the reason why your post was removed, do you agree with the decision? It seems that you're generally in favor of removing "stupid shit that gets upvoted". (And your post wouldn't even have been needed to be removed if you had hosted it at and posted the link in an open thread.)

Comment by hydkyll on Rationality Quotes April 2014 · 2014-04-26T00:39:55.505Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is the paper worth reading in that it offers solutions to this problem?

Comment by hydkyll on Rationality Quotes April 2014 · 2014-04-02T01:04:20.460Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Me: But sir, can you explain why it gets the right answer?

So you wanted to know not how to derive the solution but how to derive the derivation?

I wouldn't blame the teacher for not going there. There's not enough time in class to do something like that. Bringing the students to understand the presented math is hard enough. Describing the process of how this math was found, would take too long. Because especially for harder problems there were probably dozens of mathematicians who studied the problem for centuries in order to find those derivations that your teacher presents to you.

Comment by hydkyll on Rationality Quotes January 2014 · 2014-01-06T02:08:24.983Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That was my first book on quantum mechanics and I remember reading this. Accordingly, the Stern-Gerlach experiment is usually the first thing I explain to someone who is interested in QM, not these things about cats. Apart from that, I found the book to be a bit too terse and I had to read other books to really master the notation and so on.

Comment by hydkyll on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-11-28T21:57:38.487Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW


I can't seem to find a discussion of free will in the Quantum Physics sequence. I only know this: (which demonstrates the method I was talking about).

Comment by hydkyll on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-11-21T00:10:14.987Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'm Thomas, 23 years old, from Germany. I study physics but starting this semester I have shifted my focus on Machine Learning, mostly due to the influence of lesswrong.

Here are a few things about my philosophical and scientific journey if anyone's interested.

I grew up with mildly religious parents, never being really religious myself. At about 12 I came into contact with the concept of atheism and immediately realized that's what I was. Before, I hadn't really thought about it but it was clear to me then. For a long time I felt a bit ashamed of not believing in god. I never mentioned it to anyone, probably fearing the reaction I would get. I would have called myself agnostic then. Only recently did I realize the extent to which religion can be dangerous and how deeply irrational it is. I consider it completely useless these days and I'm get actually confused whenever I find out that someone I thought of as rather intelligent turns out to believe in god.

Apart from that I had a minor existential crisis when I realized the implications of a deterministic world on free will. I was in the equivalent of high school when I read an article about the topic. Afterwards I felt strange for days, always thinking that nothing really mattered. But then I was actually able to (crudely) 'dissolve the question' and found peace with this issue.

After that, I spent very little time on philosophic topics for a long time. I thought I knew roughly what there was to know. I was wrong there.

Regarding my scientific education, I did always very well in math and consequently began studying physics (and as seems to be the case with some other physicists here I'm very skeptical towards the Many-World Interpretation). I always wanted to do something to advance our society and I thought physics was the right way. My original plan was to work on fusion reactors to solve the energy crisis this world is facing. Though, now, after spending some time on this site, I don't think anymore that the energy problem is our most urgent problem.

Discovering lesswrong was not that easy for me. Until 19 I spent my time in the German-speaking part of the Internet. Then someday I stumbled upon reddit (was that a pun?). Incidentally that really improved my English. And somewhere on reddit I clicked on a link which led me to HPMoR (thank you who ever posted that). Then I found lesswrong and now I'm here.

I'm about halfway through the sequences and I hope I can contribute once I finish. Learning about biases has already helped me a lot. For the future I think I'm most interested in learning about reasoning and decision theory.