Comment by jdelta on What if Strong AI is just not possible? · 2014-01-05T03:20:28.634Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Short answer: strong AI is both possible and highly probable. That being the case we have to think about the best ways to deal, with a virtually impossible to avoid outcome of the internet. That is, at some point it basically starts to build itself. And when it does... what will it build?

Comment by jdelta on One Sided Policy Debate - The Science of Literature · 2014-01-01T11:24:39.442Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Upcoming writers should try to chase trends, then step themselves a foot forwards of that trend. Current trends: interconnection, futorology, threat of conflicts that often don't realize, surveillance, and of course new years day and selfies. : )

Comment by jdelta on Open thread for December 24-31, 2013 · 2014-01-01T11:05:58.251Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Very interesting, I default to the same behavior. I notice it working best when I 'play in game mode' in bar situations and other highly social events where high risk/reward behavior has multiple advantages.

Other than that I seem to default about 70% of the time to a non game mode way of thinking.

What are the primary other perspective/framings you have found to be beneficial?

Comment by jdelta on Open thread for December 24-31, 2013 · 2013-12-31T10:36:55.995Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

So recently I've been toying with a new idea. It seems that for many of us -- at least for my friends and I -- living a maximally efficient rational life is difficult as one's irrational emotions tend to get the best of us.

To overcome this I have been experimenting with living my life as if I were in a game.

Let me explain:

If I view my life as a (potentially) single shot 'spawn' in an open ended MMORPG, I seem to be able to do more high risk/high reward things with much less irrational restraint.

My first method is to set up a HUD in my head. By visualizing a simple HUD (compass of where I want to go, health meter, and symbols representing notes of goals) and then viewing day to day decisions as mere choices within a game world where I will always ultimately end up 'OK' (ie alive, able to influence the world in a small way, able to make an income to eat and sleep in comfort) I am able to force myself to increase the predicted value of high success variables (financial status, etc).

If making these high risk decisions, it seems paramount to stick to a personal policy of absolute honesty. This gives me less variables to keep in my head at any one time. By being transparent and honest with people, yet continually racking up my own pre set achievements (financial, social, etc.) I am able to move quickly through career positions, financial income levels, quality of social circle, and other variables that have a large degree of influence on one's day to day happiness scores.

By writing notes in this method I am able to make my mind process complex ideas much faster.

Has anyone experimented with similar ideas, and if so what are your outcomes?

PS I find very interesting for this way of thinking.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-12-20T13:59:25.571Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ultimately it's just a matter of choosing to feel a certain way. Find things you really like (for me, sex and cigarettes), then just do EVERYTHING to get that in every situation you're in. Most people chase money. Break the mould. Chase something else. Realize that you can get everything you want if you know how to play the situation right. If you'd like to PM me we can discuss a 'training' programme that matches your lifestyle perfectly. (Context: I used to be a NLP trainer/dating coach)

Thats an example of one method of switching your mindset completely. Ultimately many mindsets can be imagined then enjoyed by the invividual if so chosen. Its simply a matter of self will primarily.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T23:46:05.636Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's a very complicated question but I'll try to do my best to answer.

In many ancient cultures, they used two words for the mind, or for thinking, and it is still used figuratively today. "In my heart I know..."

In my opinion, in terms of expected impact on the course of life for a given subject, generally, more important than their understanding of Bayesian reasoning, is what they 'want' ... how they define themselves. Consciously, and unconsciously.

For "reasoning", no I doubt there is a better system. But since we must (or almost universally do) follow our instincts on a wide range of issues (is everyone else p-zombies? am I real? Is my chair conscious? Am I dreaming?), it is highly important, and often overlooked, that one's "presumptive model" of reality and of themselves (both strictly intertwined psychologically) should be perfected with just as much effort (if not more) as we spend perfecting our probabilistic reasoning.

Probabilities can't cover everything. Eventually you just have to make a choice as to which concept or view you believe more, and that choice changes your character, and your character changes your decisions, and your decisions are your life.

When one is confident, and subconsciously/instinctively aware that they are doing what they should be doing, thinking how they should be thinking, that their 'foundation' is solid (moral compass, goals, motivation, emotional baggage, openness to new ideas, etc.) they then can be a much more effective rationalist, and be more sure (albeit only instinctively) that they are doing the right thing when they act.

Those instinctive presumptions, and life-defining self image do have a strong quantifiable impact on the life of any human, and even a nominal understanding of rationality would allow one to realize that.

Maximise your own effectiveness. Perfect how your mind works, how you think of yourselves and others (again, instinctive opinions, gut feelings, more than conscious thought, although conscious thought is extremely important). Then when you start teaching it and filling it with data you'll make a lot less mistakes.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T23:25:51.702Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In a highly chaotic system like our society, small differences (e.g. a reputation in some circles as cultish) can decrease the odds of something gaining influence or acceptance incredibly.

People spend their whole lives researching sales, and any time someone is spreading an idea, sales comes into it. If you think any marketing department of a major company would accept the idea that some website likely visited by many, many, potential members discusses their organization in such a negative light, you are very mistaken. When even the regular members are discussing openly, are we getting a reputation as a cult, that is a terrible 'branding' failure.

For LW to achieve the potential most of it's members (I would assume) hope it will... yes there are consequences.

Any time a large group of potential members or future 'rationalists' (not to confuse LW with rationalism) is skeptical or inclined to disinterest in LW because they heard it had some sort of 'cultish' reputation, is a massive potential loss of people who could contribute and learn for the betterment of themselves and society as a whole.

Don't underestimate the impact of small differences when you are dealing with something as complex, and unpredictable as society and the spread of ideas.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T23:14:38.631Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Complete is a strong word that I should have qualified. Mastery is a better word. Control over it. Where your emotions bend to the will of your rational mind, not vice versa.

Don't limit yourself without reason. As humans we are agents of change in an incredibly complex, chaotic system (society). Mastering emotional control allows us to become much more effective agents. Someone half as smart but with twice the self control in every area can easily beat the more intelligent opponent. Not every time, but it is a massive advantage.

I didn't say that it's predictable, or that it is super easy, but it's not particularly difficult and only takes a few months of commitment of a few hours a week, to bring a lifetime of reward.

I'm surprised that as a "rationalist" you suggest mastery of the emotions may not be desirable. Awareness of one's emotions, sure. But letting them dictate your actions in any way, why? Be rational.

And one without mastery of their emotional state (that is, the experiential drag of depression, or impulsive actions of rage, or hurtful actions of uncontrolled lust, etc), one is at a disadvantage in almost any situation,

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T14:20:15.057Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I assume an educated reader will infer the massive negative social connotations of any movement or organization that has a reputation, no matter how small at this point, as being 'cultish' -- such a reputation inevitably makes achieving goals, recruiting members, etc., more difficult.

Thus being careful not to create that image is very important (or should be) to the membership of the site.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T13:57:57.232Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The biggest weakness, in my opinion, with purely (or almost purely) probabilistic reasoning is the fact that it cannot ultimately do away with us relying on a number of (ultimately faith/belief based) choices as to how we understand our reality.

The existence of the past and future (and within most people's reasoning systems, the understanding of these as linear) are both ultimately postulations that are generally accepted at face value, as well as the idea that consciousness/awareness arises from matter/quantum phenomena not vice versa.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T13:41:20.302Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would love to see this as well

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T13:38:08.746Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

You don't need a pill. It's in your head. Mind over matter. Meditate. Learn complete emotional control. It's not hard.

And when you can choose to be happy whenever you want, life is very good ;)

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T13:33:37.885Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I never stated LW is a cult. It clearly isn't. It does however have at least several, possibly many, members who appear to think about LW in the way many cult members think of their cult.

Comment by jdelta on Open Thread, October 27 - 31, 2013 · 2013-10-29T13:14:41.699Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I get definite cultist vibes from some members. A cult is basically an organization of a small number of members who hold that their beliefs make them superior (in one or more ways) to others, with an added implication of social tightness, shared activities, internal slang, difficult for outsiders to understand. Many LW people often appear to behave like this.

Comment by jdelta on Social incentives affecting beliefs · 2013-10-29T13:11:31.104Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In my experience the 'social cost' tends to be paid by people trying to push (hard) concepts and ideas that are, often at least, very true and useful, but when it is not necessarily relevant to the conversation or the person isn't interested.

No price is due -- if anything, the opposite -- as long as you follow a few basic rules, and are able to explain your ideas eloquently and succinctly (and if you can't -- should you be talking about it at all?)

A curse of intelligent people seems to be to want to try to 'show' everyone just how smart they are by talking about subjects they don't totally understand, or else subjects that are irrelevant to whatever situation they are in.

A discussion on Bayesian Reasoning may be very appropriate in certain college or high school academic situations, but repeatedly bringing it up in all sorts of casual conversations will cause social harm to the individual refusing to follow social expectations in this are

Comment by jdelta on As an upload, would you join the society of full telepaths/empaths? · 2013-10-23T00:06:42.546Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

True, I was referring more, I suppose, to the 'romantic' or 'chase' element of a sexual relationship which a lot of people find exciting.

And, yes, in a simulation environment, one can reasonably assume most desired realities would be implemented, as well as a massive degree of crossover allowable to the player, IE the ability to interact in a (sometimes limited) fashion with players who have chosen different environments. The possibilities are endless.

Comment by jdelta on Creating an Optimal Future · 2013-10-23T00:04:13.458Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You don't seem to provide a USP (unique selling point) that would give a random interested individual much reason to join it over the 100s of other larger blogs, forums, etc., discussing such topics.

Creating some sort of portal that allowed access to a wide range of topics related to futorology, rationality, solutions toward a better future, strong AI, philosophy, etc., would be a huge boon and if you could put that together, I believe it would be a massive step forward.

Incidentally, I am a web developer and if anyone is interested in helping out with the project (it's just a concept at this stage, although very practical), I'd love to hear from you :)

Comment by jdelta on As an upload, would you join the society of full telepaths/empaths? · 2013-10-17T14:12:58.605Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A lot of the discussion in both the original post and the comments seems to be stuck in '21st century' (present day social) mindsets.

Firstly, the idea of there being only one or two societies for people to participate in seems highly unlikely in a simulation environment. Computation of the mind is much more complex than computation of the environment, meaning it's difficult to foresee a reason why engineers in charge of the 'sim' would limit the number of environments to anything less than whatever the individuals decide to dream up.

Of course it's likely that over time certain environments (IE 'planets' or 'spaceships' or whatever scenery/location/laws of physics) will be appealing to a large number of people, leading them to become much more popular and almost like a 'real life' for members who spend much of their life there.

Assuming that two of the most popular of these environments were 'telepath' and 'non-telepath' mirrored versions of reality, then it's true that many members would spend time deciding which of these societies to spend time with.

This decision is much less finalistic than earth decisions, however. If a person get's sick of one of these, they could, presumably switch into the other environment with very little effort.

I believe you would see a bit of a split between those who enjoy the more 'primitive' enjoyments in life, who would choose to go with non-telepath, and those with a more spiritual/philosophical interest who would be more likely to start on the telepath route.

Sports, competition, games, sex, many other recreational activities are, one would imagine, more fun in a non-telepath environment. However, I couldn't imagine the incredible rush of knowledge, wisdom and compassion that would come with being able to hear everyone's thoughts.

To a degree, one could assume a telepath society to be calm, happy, esoteric, and relatively laid back. Since everyone has dark secrets and nasty character flaws, only those with enough courage to lay bare their darkest secrets, and enough wisdom not to judge others would be able to enjoy a true uncensored mental link with someone else.

There is a middle ground, however, that I believe is most likely.

In a simulation environment:

  1. instant travel is trivial
  2. there is virtually unlimited resources
  3. any idea or concept, whether social or political, etc., will ultimately stand or fall on the merits of how many fellow players want to experience a reality where your idea is implemented in some way. I'm sure some Neo-Nazi player might try to create a fourth reich, and no doubt it would be a beautiful imitation of 1930s Germany, but it's hard to imagine that many players excited to join him in his new Nazi Germany locale, as free as he is to create and promote it.

One could easily imagine a scenario where the most popular 'reality' would be something like:

Clone of real earth except:

  1. positive thoughts are broadcast, negative or embarrassing ones are not. (presumably trivial to a computer that can simulate a planet and billions of minds)
  2. there are numerous large land masses where people can build their own cities and businesses instantly accessible by anyone.
  3. due to unlimited resources, lots of different venues exist, each with different 'rules' (ie program state) in regards to telepathy.