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Comment by jeronimo196 on Two More Things to Unlearn from School · 2021-09-11T19:07:35.376Z · LW · GW

Parents getting to their 9 to 5 jobs on time is more important.

Comment by jeronimo196 on SSC Journal Club: AI Timelines · 2021-09-11T13:24:15.405Z · LW · GW

Going any further would require to taboo "task".

I agree your reading explains the differences in responses given in the survey.

Comment by jeronimo196 on SSC Journal Club: AI Timelines · 2021-09-03T13:55:50.891Z · LW · GW

Creating an AI that does linguistic analysis of a given dataset better than me is easier than creating an AI that is a better linguist than me because it actually requires additional tasks such as writing academic papers.

If AI is not better than you at task "write an academic paper", it is not at the level, specified in the question.

If a task requires output for both the end result and the analysis used to reach it, both shall be outputted. At least that is how I understand "better at every task".

Comment by jeronimo196 on Flirting with postmodernism · 2021-09-03T13:31:59.849Z · LW · GW

Thank you for the link.

Right, none of our models are philosophically grounded. But, does that make them all equal? That's what the post sounds like to me:

Well maybe: deny the concept of objective truth, of which there can only be one, and affirm subjectivism and pluralism.

To me, this seems like the ultimate Fallacy of Gray.

Then again, I am not well read at philosophy, so my comments might be isomorphic to "Yay pragmatism! Go objectivity!", while those may or may not be compatible.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Rationality Quotes: February 2011 · 2021-08-29T00:40:09.243Z · LW · GW

The IoT (internet of things) comes to mind. Why not experience WiFi connectivity issues while trying to use the washing machine?

Everything trying to become a subscription service is another example (possibly related to IoT). My favourite is a motorcycle lifesaving airbag vest, which won't activate during a motorcycle crash, if the user misses a monthly payment. The company is called Klim, and in fairness, the user can check whether the airbag is ready for use, before getting on their bike.

Comment by jeronimo196 on SSC Journal Club: AI Timelines · 2021-08-28T22:22:29.578Z · LW · GW

Extractable internal data is only needed during troubleshooting. During normal operation, only the task result is needed.

As for the time/process-flow management, I already consider it a separate task - and probably the one that would benefit the most drastically by being automated, at least in my case.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Book Review: Age of Em · 2021-08-28T22:04:19.690Z · LW · GW

Yes, there probably is an in-universe explanation for why organic pilots are necessary. I think droids were shown to be worse fighters than clones (too slow/stupid ?) in the Prequels.

However, the implied prediction that FTL travel will be discovered before AI pilots superior to humans still seems unlikely.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Flirting with postmodernism · 2021-08-28T21:19:52.108Z · LW · GW

I don't see how acknowledging that different models work in different contexts necessitates giving up the search for objective truth.

Let's say that in order to reduce complexity, we separate Physics into two fields - Relativistic Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics - whose models currently don't mesh together. I think we can achieve that without appealing to subjectivity, or abandoning the search of an unifying model. Acknowledging the limitations of our current models seems enough.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Training Better Rationalists? · 2021-08-20T00:12:23.932Z · LW · GW

After the training begins, something like 80% of the recruits drop out during Hell Week. Seals are selected for their motivation, which is not available to everyone headed for a warzone.

On the other hand, if you'd really like an existential treat to get you going, you may consider looking into the problem of goal alignment in AGI, or aging.

Comment by jeronimo196 on God and Moses have a chat · 2021-08-19T19:35:29.930Z · LW · GW

I'd ask for everyone to be given Wolverine's healing factor. This would be really helpful and enough to start taking the scenario seriously.

As a side note, Teenage Matrix Overlords are indistinguishable from god from where I am standing.

Comment by jeronimo196 on SSC Journal Club: AI Timelines · 2021-08-19T19:08:16.284Z · LW · GW

The cure for bystander apathy is getting one person to lead by example. Since in this case there are several prominent such examples, a Tragedy of the Commons scenario seems more likely to me.

You are right, it's not possible to tell if this happens implicitly or explicitly (in which case there is nothing to be done anyway).

Comment by jeronimo196 on Answer to Job · 2021-08-19T13:22:07.256Z · LW · GW

I'll be damned - after all these years, a solution to the problem of evil.

I notice I am far less moved than I expected to be. Then again, I didn't expect this to happen at all.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Nobody Is Perfect, Everything Is Commensurable · 2021-08-19T12:57:18.079Z · LW · GW

I don't know that. I was taught about the asteroid years ago and haven't had a reason to doubt it. The last time I came across the subject, was a video by kurzgesagt, explaining that the asteroid wrecked stuff up for years to come, causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, among other things.

Comment by jeronimo196 on The Parable Of The Talents · 2021-08-19T12:19:09.642Z · LW · GW

3blue1brown has an excellent youtube series "Essence of Calculus" - which presents the main intuitions geometrically, in a way that finally helped me remember the formulas for longer than a week. Each video is 15 minutes long and I haven't seen a better introduction on the subject.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Archipelago and Atomic Communitarianism · 2021-08-18T23:17:46.142Z · LW · GW

Edit: I realise the post I comment on might've been written before the Sequence on Changing Your Mind I so proudly point to.

I was recently talking to Ozy about a group who believe that society billing thin people is fatphobic, and that everyone needs to admit obese people can be just as attractive and date more of them, and that anyone who preferentially dates thinner people is Problematic. They also want people to stop talking about nutrition and exercise publicly. I sympathize with these people, especially having recently read a study showing that obese people are much happier when surrounded by other obese, rather than skinny people. But realistically, their movement will fail, and even philosophically, I’m not sure how to determine if they have the right to demand what they are demanding or what that question means.

No, they do not have the right to demand what they are demanding. Philosophically, they are demanding the end of free speech and the stigmatization of people's sexual preferences. Imagine what you'd say to a Catholic, demanding we ban religious debates and declare that homosexuals are sinners, and go with that.

Oh, but the Catholics have feelings, too, and all those benefits of a religious community. I seem to remember a whole sequence on Changing Your Mind, the litanies of Gendlin and Tarski, etc. The truth is considered important, because it is useful to know, but also as an end in itself. Are we really ok with hiding it, lest some members of a particular group get offended? Do we think so little of them, that they couldn't bear it? And if so, are we ok to never hear a debate on the topic, for the benefit of the emotionally fragile? I, personally, am not.

And since happiness is often a question of comparison with your peers - which is why social media is bad for you - I am not surprised fat people are happier without skinny people around. (Possible hindsight bias on my part? I am pretty sure I could've predicted that one.) This is also a potential explanation of the living standard/happiness discrepancies in developing countries - at first everyone is similarly poor, then some people are doing better and there is always someone more successful to compare yourself to.

In any case, maybe subjective feelings like happiness and self-esteem are not solely what we should optimize for. Maybe we should include things like life expectancy and quality, just in case feelings lead us astray. Then raising the standard of living starts to make sense, even if the happiness index lags behind considerably.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Guided By The Beauty Of Our Weapons · 2021-08-18T20:43:14.733Z · LW · GW

Ideally, I agree with the premise as a long term strategy, opposed to the short term tactics used at a campaign. But I am not convinced any of the active actors and policymakers would want the rise of the waterline. Why change the system, which elected you? What politician wants electorate, that would actually hold them accountable? What suicidal newspaper would want the question of gun violence answered?

It is possible the educational system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do, and raising the sanity waterline will have to be achieved on people's own time.

Right now antifascists outnumber fascists and so could probably beat them in a fight, but antifascists didn’t come to outnumber fascists by winning some kind of primordial fistfight between the two sides. They came to outnumber fascists because people rejected fascism on the merits.

Um, there was this thing called World War 2, after which Eugenics lost a lot of its previous popularity as a Harvard discipline. And now it is difficult to keep your job in academia, if you show too much interest in intelligence variances between groups, let alone if you wonder how much of it is caused by genetics. And since a second Great War was not entirely unexpected after the Treaty of Versailles, it might be that Nazism lost because of its association with Germany, rather than the other way around.

(I am not saying the Nazis were scientifically correct, by the way. I am just wondering how often would communism be mentioned in campus, if the Cold War had become Warm, before being won.)

Also, the good guys always win - that's how they get to be the good guys (at least for the next 100 years or so). Luckily, better weapons and economy usually ensure that the good guys also happen to have the better scientists and vice versa. That's how progress is made.

Comment by jeronimo196 on In Favor of Niceness, Community, and Civilization · 2021-08-18T18:54:09.630Z · LW · GW

A sane person, calling himself a feminist - not something one sees often represented in the media. Then again this is true of sane people in general - a fact I tend to forget. I wish you luck in defending the movement from the believe-all-women crowd. From the outside, it looks like they've already won.

Leaving feminism aside, there is one area, where liberalism doesn't seem to win - namely income inequality.

And sure, as long as the majority is not squeezed into poverty, this may not be a problem. But since this is the first generation of US citizens to see their average lifespan get shorter, I am not so certain we are headed for liberal utopia after all.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Book Review: Age of Em · 2021-08-18T14:08:31.938Z · LW · GW

Limited field of view and slow decision making, reliant on multiple complex systems for life support.

If a droid or a computer could fly an X-wing, it should.

Comment by jeronimo196 on How The West Was Won · 2021-08-18T11:52:18.870Z · LW · GW

I never said it was just Islam. But you are right - it is not Christians, but rather white people, that are held to a higher standard in this regard (at least by USA liberals).

Comment by jeronimo196 on SSC Journal Club: AI Timelines · 2021-08-15T10:14:00.181Z · LW · GW

Fallacies leading to inability to take action in accordance with their values is one explanation for people's apathy.

Another is that they simply prefer their own short term comfort more than most other values they would care to espouse. I know this to be the case for at least one person, and I am pretty sure there are more.

I am somehow convinced that a perceived loon like Elon Musk opening 20 positions for AI safety researchers, $10 million yearly salary, will have much better luck recruiting, than an elite university offering $100 000 (or the potential candidate's current salary, whatever). In the first case, 5% existential risk for humanity will finally become intolerable. In the second - not so much.

Edit: people leaving Neuralink citing "premature push for human experiments" are evidence against my previous paragraph.

Comment by jeronimo196 on SSC Journal Club: AI Timelines · 2021-08-15T09:38:27.443Z · LW · GW

If my job consists of 20 different tasks, and for each of them there is a separate narrow AI able to outperform me in them, combining them to automate me should not be that difficult.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Should AI Be Open? · 2021-08-15T08:51:29.771Z · LW · GW

"and that one reason we’re not smarter may be that it’s too hard to squeeze a bigger brain through the birth canal" - should be pretty much obliterated by modern Caesarian, but do we see burst of intelligence in last decades?

Reliable contraceptives, combined with unprecedented safety, mean that intelligence is not the evolutionary advantage it once was. People unable or unwilling to use condoms are selected for. Idiocracy is upon us.

Another possibility is that modern Caesarian has not been widespread enough, for long enough, for its effect on intelligence to be noticeable just yet.

Edit: On a related note, I thought of an amusing just so story. I wonder how much of the increase in allergies in the 1st world countries is due to latex allergy being an evolutionary advantage (as opposed to environmental reasons and the access to corticosteroids making a paranoid immune system advantageous in its own right). Probably not much, but amusing to think about.

Comment by jeronimo196 on How The West Was Won · 2021-08-15T05:54:57.800Z · LW · GW

It is only their culture that's under "siege" and it's a different kind of siege involving no laws or planned attempts to erase their cultural ways...

A redneck has seen gay marriage legalised in his lifetime, while homosexuality is still illegal in 71 countries. Islam seems to get a lot more leniency on this topic, compared to Christianity.

Rural British and American Rednecks aren't certainly seeing their resources appropriated by the powers behind the immigrants.

If I remember my history correctly, the Industrial Revolution didn't go so smoothly for the Rural Brits either.

And from a certain point of view (Marx, mainly) a redneck is exploited by the same people pillaging the resources of Burkina Faso (and everywhere else).

Whatever one's opinion on capitalism, seeing the claim that small countries are exploited for resources, while rednecks are not, is bizarre to me.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Highlights From The Comments On Cost Disease · 2021-08-02T16:03:04.608Z · LW · GW

After reading these, I am updating from "greedy capitalists + corrupt officials" to "greedy capitalists + corrupt officials + litigation costs". I expect the administrative bloat is more or less the same in US and Europe, while litigation and official, legal lobbying is not.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Considerations On Cost Disease · 2021-08-02T15:07:47.181Z · LW · GW

Inflation isn't calculated correctly and the market isn't free.

It's what you'd expect to see in an oligarchy - politicians promising less regulation for new businesses or universal healthcare both won't deliver. Unlike OP, who delivers consistently.

On the inflation point, googling CPI: "The Controversy Originally, the CPI was determined by comparing the price of a fixed basket of goods and services spanning two different periods. In this case, the CPI was a cost of goods index (COGI). However, over time, the U.S. Congress embraced the view that the CPI should reflect changes in the cost to maintain a constant standard of living. Consequently, the CPI has evolved into a cost of living index (COLI).

Over the years, the methodology used to calculate the CPI has undergone numerous revisions. According to the BLS, the changes removed biases that caused the CPI to overstate the inflation rate. The new methodology takes into account changes in the quality of goods and substitution. Substitution, the change in purchases by consumers in response to price changes, changes the relative weighting of the goods in the basket. The overall result tends to be a lower CPI. However, critics view the methodological changes and the switch from a COGI to a COLI as a purposeful manipulation that allows the U.S. government to report a lower CPI." (https://www.investopedia.com/articles/07/consumerpriceindex.asp)

Comment by jeronimo196 on The Categories Were Made For Man, Not Man For The Categories · 2021-07-29T00:36:44.735Z · LW · GW

I once listened to a fellow, arguing that "truth" should have a moral component in its definition, so that only statements beneficial to humanity could be considered "true". On the other hand, dangerous knowledge of civilization ending viruses was harmful, and could only be considered "technically correct", but never "true". He was carving reality so haphazardly, as to only be able to call "true" The Bible and "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevsky. Although, how he imagines to have achieved this before humanity has ended, escapes me.

I haven't listened to him since.

Meanwhile, my own definition of what a woman is, is hopelessly outdated. Others in my position have tried to argue semantics. I will not repeat their mistake. I will instead make the testable predictions that the instances of penetrative rape in female prisons will increase slightly, that female sports are about to experience unprecedented improvement and new records across the board, and that some people will discover how much harder it is to reverse hormonal therapy and surgery, compared to removing a hair dryer from a car.

Why argue semantics, if we can compare anticipation of future experiences?

Comment by jeronimo196 on Diseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease · 2021-07-28T22:53:01.758Z · LW · GW

Great post!

However, I have the following problem with the scenario - I have hard time trusting a doctor, who prescribes a diet pill and consultation with a surgeon, but omits healthy diet and exercise. (Genetic predisposition does not trump the laws of thermodynamics!)

In general, I don't know of any existing medicine that can effectively replace willpower when treating addiction - which is why treatment is so difficult in the first place.

Psychology tells us that, on the individual level, encouragement works better than blame. Although both have far less impact than one would hope.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Beware Isolated Demands For Rigor · 2021-07-28T18:44:18.942Z · LW · GW

I think the official title is "motivated scepticism".

Comment by jeronimo196 on The Failures of Eld Science · 2020-07-25T13:54:17.691Z · LW · GW

There is more to productivity than not engaging in pleasurable hobbies. I am willing to extend EY the benefit of the doubt and believe he has done some cost/benefit analysis regarding his time management.

In any case, the point is mute - he is not publishing fiction anymore.

Comment by jeronimo196 on The Failures of Eld Science · 2020-07-15T15:01:24.921Z · LW · GW

If it is any consolation, I remember reading a post or an Author's Note from EY, saying he won't be publishing any new fiction for fear of reputational losses.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Comment by jeronimo196 on The Power of Intelligence · 2020-07-10T03:12:38.647Z · LW · GW

For every mental strength we confidently point to, there will be an excellent physical strength we could also point to as a proximate cause, and vice versa.

I agree with you. I just find the particulars oddly inspiring - even if we are not the fastest land hunters, we are genetically the most persistent. This is a lesson from biology that bears thinking about.

Also, we could point to our physical strengths, but people usually don't. We collectively have this body image of ourselves as being "squishy", big brains compensating for weak, frail bodies. I like disabusing that notion.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Reductive Reference · 2020-06-29T08:30:26.983Z · LW · GW

I see your point. But if water didn’t always boil at the same temperature, why would we bother inventing thermometers?

We have more need to measure the unpredictable than the predictable.

If there was nothing with constant temperature, thermometers would work very differently. My first instinct was to say they wouldn't work at all. But then I remembered the entire field of economics, so your point stands.

Not every one sees things that way. The more hardline claims require the physical map to exclude others.

Good luck with that. I couldn't calculate the behaviour of the quarks in a single hydrogen atom if my life depended on it.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-06-29T07:38:18.219Z · LW · GW

Thank you for this discussion.

I was wrong about grammar and the views of Chalmers, which is worse. Since I couldn't be bothered to read him myself, I shouldn't have parroted the interpretations of someone else.

I now have better understanding of your position, which is, in fact, falsifiable.

We do agree on the importance of the question of consciousness. And even if we expect the solution to have different shape, we both expect it to be embedded in physics (old or new).

I hope I've somewhat clarified my own views. But if not, I don't expect to do better in future comments, so I will bow out.

Again, thank you for the discussion.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-06-25T22:29:35.635Z · LW · GW

But note that Linux is a noun and "conscious" is an adjective—another type error—so your analogy doesn't communicate clearly.

Linux is also an adjective - linux game/shell/word processor.

Still, let me rephrase then - I don't need a wet cpu to simulate water. Why would I need a conscious cpu to simulate consciousness?

AFAIK, you are correct that we have no falsifiable predictions as of yet.

Do you expect this to change? Chalmers doesn't. In fact, expecting to have falsifiable predictions is itself a falsifiable prediction. So you should drop the "yet". Only then can you see your position for the null hypothesis it is.

The most obvious problem—that there is no "objective" subjective experience, qualia, or clear boundaries on consciousness in principle (you could invent a definition that identifies a "boundary" or "experience", but surely someone else could invent another definition with different boundaries in edge cases)—tends not to be perceived as a problem by illusionists, which is mysterious to me.

There is not a single concept, that could not be redefined. If this is a problem, it is not unique to consciousness.

"A process currently running on human brains" -although far from being a complete definition, already gives us some boundaries.

I think you're saying the suffering has no specific location (in my hypothetical scenario), but that it still exists, and that this makes sense and you're fine with it; I'm saying I don't get it.

Suffering is a state of mind. The physical location is the brain.

By stimulating different parts of the brain, we can cause suffering (and even happiness).

Another way to think about it is this - where does visual recognition happen? How about arithmetic? Both required a biological brain for a long, long time.

And for the hipothetical scenario - let's say I am playing CS and I throw a grenade - where does it explode?

But perhaps illusionism's consequences are a problem? In particular, in a future world filled with AGIs, I don't see how morality can be defined in a satisfactory way without an objective way to identify suffering. How could you ever tell if an AGI is suffering "more" than a human, or than another AGI with different code? (I'm not asking for an answer, just asserting that a problem exists.)

That's only the central problem of all of ethics, is it not? Objective morality? How could you tell if a human is suffering more than another human?

I don't see how qualia helps you with that one. It would be pretty bold to exclude AGIs from your moral considerations, before excluding trees (and qualia has not helped you exclude trees!).

Edit: I now realize your position has little to do with Chalmers. Since you are postulating a qualia particle, which has casual effects, you are a substance dualist. But why rob your position of its falsifiable prediction? Namely - before the question of consciousness is solved, the qualia particle will be found.

Or am I misrepresenting you again?

Comment by jeronimo196 on Reductive Reference · 2020-06-25T12:42:46.817Z · LW · GW

How do you know that water always boils at the same temperature?

I remember reading it somewhere...

I see your point. But if water didn't always boil at the same temperature, why would we bother inventing thermometers?

The moral of the story is not so much that science always works, it's that it works in a way that's more coherentist than foundationalist.

Right. And since science does work, coherentism gets a big boost in probability, right until the sun stop rising every day.

And the downside of coherentism is that you can have more than one equally coherent wordlviews...

But would they work equally well? We value science primarily for giving us results, not for being coherent.

If both views are equally coherent and give us equal result (or the results are unclear as of yet), choosing one would be privileging the hipotesis.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Reductive Reference · 2020-06-25T09:02:13.098Z · LW · GW

Edit: Now I see Sister_Y addressed my point in the very next paragraph, so this entire comment is a reading comprehension fail more than anything.

Necroing:

poke - my friend likes to explain this to his undergrads by asking them how they would verify that a thermometer is accurate (check it against another thermometer, but how do you know that one is accurate . . . etc.) until they figure out that thermometers are only "accurate" according to custom or consensus. Then he asks them how they know their eyes work. And their memories.

Some of them cry.

Go to the beach, light a fire, boil some water. Put the thermometer in the boiled water - does it show 100 degrees Celsius? Still at sea level, put a cup of water in a fridge untill it starts freezing. Put the thermometer in the cup - does it show 0 degrees Celsius?

If yes to both, you have a working thermometer. This way, you don't rely on the consensus of other thermometers. As for the custom of calling a working thermometer accurate - that's what it is for.

Eyes and memory can be similarly tested.

Of course, accepting the results of such tests requires acceptance of induction from the past. Maybe the realization you've faced "Last Thursdayism" for the first time at undergraduate level is something to cry about, but no one actually does.

Lest I sound too smug, rest assured I am not convinced I would've done better before finding Less Wrong.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Is Humanism A Religion-Substitute? · 2020-06-19T09:09:17.998Z · LW · GW
A good "atheistic hymn" is simply a song about anything worth singing about that doesn't happen to be religious.

No, that's a good non-religious song. Without religion there would be no atheism, only the much broader scepticism. Atheism is a response to religion - to be considered "atheistic", a song could not avoid the topic. (Alternatively, we'd have to consider "Fear of the dark" a great aspiderman song).

The best atheistic song I've heard is "Dear God" by XTC - the last prayer of many a new atheist, who've lost faith, but not yet the habit of praying:


Dear God, hope you get the letter and
I pray you can make it better down here
I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
But all the people that you made in your image
See them starving on their feet
'Cause they don't get enough to eat from God
I can't believe in you

Dear God, sorry to disturb you but
I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image
See them fighting in the street
'Cause they can't make opinions meet about God
I can't believe in you

Did you make disease and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the Devil too!

Dear God don't know if you noticed but
Your name is on a lot of quotes in this book
And us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look
And all the people that you made in your image
Still believing that junk is true
Well I know it ain't, and so do you
I can't believe in
I don't believe

I won't believe in heaven or hell
No saints, no sinners, no devil as well
No pearly gates, no thorny crown
You're always letting us humans down
The wars you bring, the babes you drown
Those lost at sea and never found
And it's the same the whole world 'round
The hurt I see helps to compound
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Is just somebody's unholy hoax
And if you're up there you'll perceive
That my heart's here upon my sleeve
If there's one thing I don't believe in

It's you



And yes, there is a very clear god-shaped void, the disappointment of a promise unfulfilled.

There is also an "epic vocals" cover by Lawless (feat. Sydney Wayser) that is more hymn-like - prettier, but less angry. Both are worth listening to.


[Edited: fromatting]

Comment by jeronimo196 on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2020-06-17T12:00:29.198Z · LW · GW

Because I believe things are what they are. Therefore if I introspect and see choice, then it really truly is choice. The other article might explain it, but an explanation can not change what a thing is, it can only say why it is.

An example of mind projection fallacy so pure, even I could recognise it. Ian believes "he believes things are what they are". If Ian actually believed things are what they are, he would possess unobtainable level of rationality and we would do well to use him as an oracle. In reality, Ian believes things are what they seem to be (to him), which is understandable, but far less impressive.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-06-16T16:09:43.534Z · LW · GW

I think of consciousness as a process (software) run on our brains (wetware), with the theoretical potential to be run on other hardware. I thought you understood my position. Asking me to pinpoint the hardware component which would contain suffering, tells me you don't.

To me, saying the cpu (or the gpu) is conscious sounds like saying the cpu is linux - this is a type error. A pc can be running linux. A pc cannot actually be linux, even if "running" is often omitted.

But if one doesn't know "running" is omitted, one could ask where does the linux-ness come from, if neither the cpu nor the ram are themselves linux.

If a particle (or indivisible entity) does something computationally impossible (or even just highly intelligent), I call it magic.

But it does know to interact with mammals and not with trees and diamonds? ... Argh! You know what, screw it. This is like arguing how many angels can sit on top of a needle. Occam's razor says not to.

Does it pay rent in anticipation?

It pays rent in sensation.

Without falsifiable predictions, we have no way to difirentiate a true ad-hoc explanation from a false one. Also, a model with no predictive powers is useless. Its only "benefit" would be to provide piece of mind as a curiosity stopper. (See https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/a7n8GdKiAZRX86T5A/making-beliefs-pay-rent-in-anticipated-experiences.)

I have a first-person subjective experience and I am unable to believe that it is only an abstraction.

I honestly don't see the disconnect. I don't think the existence of a conscious AGI would invalidate my subjective experiences in the slightest. The explanation is always mundane ("only an abstraction" ?), that doesn't detract from the beauty of the phenomenon. (See https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/x4dG4GhpZH2hgz59x/joy-in-the-merely-real).

(Otherwise I probably would have turned atheist much sooner.)

I believe you are right. Many people cite subjective personal experiences as their reason for being religious. This does make me doubt our ability to draw correct conclusions based on such.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-06-15T08:36:14.521Z · LW · GW

Using the word "yes" to disagree with me is off-putting.

Noted. Thank you for pointing this out.

I wasn't talking about the GPU.

Good to have that clarified.

... but I would be much more concerned about animal suffering than about my AMD Ryzen 5 3600X suffering.

Huh? I am now confused.

By the way, where will the suffering be located? Is it in the decode unit?...

Pain signals are processed by the brain and suffering happens in the mind. So, theoretically, the suffering would be happening in the mind running on top of the simulated cortex, inside the matrix. All the hardware would be necessary to run the simulation. The hardware would not be experiencing the simulation. Just as individual electrons are not seeing red.

I never said I rejected reductionism.

I misunderstood then - you do seem unhappy with the standard reductionist model's position on emotions and experiences as states of mind.

I reject illusionism.

What do you mean by "illusionism"? Is it only the belief that AGI or a mind upload could be conscious? Or is there more to it?

Quite the opposite. A magical particle would be one that is inexplicably compatible with any and every representation of human-like consciousness (rocks, CPUs of arbitrary design) - with the term "human-like" also remaining undefined. I make no claims as to its size. I claim only that it is not an abstraction, and that therefore known physics does not seem to include it.

And how do you know that? Why do you think this unknown particle is not compatible with rocks and CPUs? Is it because you get to define its behaviour precisely as you need to answer a philosophical question a certain way?

What evidence would it take to falsify your belief in this primitive particle? What predictions does it allow you to make? Does it pay rent in anticipation?

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-06-11T13:44:34.345Z · LW · GW

"something-it-is-like to be a thing"

Ok, I could decipher this as a vague stand in for experience. I would much prefer something like "the ability to process information about the environment and link it to past memories", but to each their own.

"the element of experience which, according to the known laws of physics, does not exist".

Uhm... Are you banking on a revolution in the field of physics? And later you even show exactly how reductionism not only permits, but also explains our experiences.

So in the standard reductionist model, there is no meaningful difference between minds and airplanes;

Yes, there is. One has states of mind and the other doesn't. How meaningful this difference is depends on your position on nihilism.

a mind cannot feel anything for the same reason an airplane or a computer cannot feel anything.

Wrong! The end of your paragraph shows why this is a wrong description of reductionism.

A mind is simply a machine with unusual mappings from inputs to outputs. Redness, cool breezes, pleasure, and suffering are just words that represent states which are correlated with past inputs and moderate the mind's outputs.

Yes. Exactly. Pleasure and suffering are just words, but the states of mind they represent are very much real.

It seems impossible for a quark (electron, atom) or photon to be aware it is inside a mind.

Correct - particals lack the computational power to know anything. Minds, on the other hand, can know they are made of particles. This is not a problem for reductionism. Actually, explaining how simple particles' interactions lead to observed phenomena on the macro level is the entire point.

Some would claim this AGI is "phenomenally conscious"; I claim it is not, since the hardware can't "know" it's running an AGI any more than it "knows" it is running a text editor inside a web browser on lesswrong.com.

Yes, no one would call your GPU conscious. The AGI is the software, though. The AGI could entertain the hipotesis it lives in a simulation, even before discovering any hard evidence. Much like we do. Depending on its code, it could have states of mind similar to a human and then I would not hesitate to call it conscious.

How willing would you be to put such an AGI in the state of mind described by reductionists as "pain", even if it is simply a program run on hardware?

but a primitive of some sort that exists in addition to the quarks that embody the state, and interacts with those quarks somehow.

If such a primitive does interact with quarks, we will find it.

I expect this primitive will, like everything else in the universe, follow computable rules

And then we have yet another particle. How is that different from reductionism?

so it will not associate itself with any arbitrary representation of a state, such as my single-threaded AGI or an arrangement of rocks.

Ah, it's a magical particle. It is smaller than an electron, yet it interacts with the quarks in the brain, but not those in the carbon of a diamond. Or is it actually big, remote and intelligent on its own (unlike electrons)? So intelligent it knows exactly what to interact with, and exactly when, so as to remain undetected?

If you are not postulating a god, you are at the very least postulating a soul under a new name.

See, once you step outside the boundaries of mundane physics, you get very close to teology very fast.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-05-29T12:12:11.634Z · LW · GW

Yes. Once I define qualia as "conscious experience", I necessarily have to leave it out of the definition of "consciousness" (whatever that may be).

My point is that only the question of consciousness remains. And consciousness is worth talking about only if human brains exhibit it.

I am not trying to solve the question of qualia, I am trying to dissolve it as improper.

P.S. Do you mind tabooing "qualia" in any further discission? This way I can be sure we are talking about the same thing.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-05-29T10:59:43.905Z · LW · GW

Ok. I am still unsure of your position. Do you think other people have experiences, but we cannot say if those are conscious experiences? Or are you of the opinion we cannot say anyone has any kind of experiences? Could you please taboo "qualia", so I know we are not talking about different things entirely?

Comment by jeronimo196 on Perpetual Motion Beliefs · 2020-05-19T16:45:32.559Z · LW · GW

Oops! Beautiful. Your comment described my implicit assumptions probably better than I could, before showing me the error in my thinking. I will have to try and accept the consequences of QM on a deeper level. "It all adds up to normality" is a weak consolation, if you happen to be far from the median after all. It's also becoming blindingly obvious I should finally just sit down and read Feynman.

Huh. The universe is non-deterministic after all. Like, for real. I knew May was going way too peacefully.

Edit: Forgot to say: Thank you for that!

Comment by jeronimo196 on Perpetual Motion Beliefs · 2020-05-18T05:52:28.401Z · LW · GW

From what I understand, the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics is deterministic - everything possible does happen. It only seems probabilistic from inside one of the worlds. You can't predict the outcome of a quantum event, since different instances of you will observe all possible outcomes. Take with a grain of salt, since Many Words is unproven (possibly unprovable?) and my understanding is surface level at best.

On the macro level, a coin toss of a fair coin becomes predictable if you have perfect knowledge and enough computational power. The point of probabilities and statistics is that they give us the rules for mapmaking with imperfect knowledge and limited computational power.

In short, a deterministic universe doesn't lead to certainty in our maps - hence "probability may be a "subjective state of belief", but the laws of probability are harder than steel."

Comment by jeronimo196 on New Improved Lottery · 2020-05-18T03:15:17.442Z · LW · GW

Bitcoin might be a desperate get-rich-quick scheme. However, the odds are not as small as Eliezer's lottery. Also, some people use it to purchase illegal goods and services, so there's that. There are similarities, but there are also important differences. Also, there is an upper limit to how much you can lose with the lottery - not so with crypto.

In short, crypto currencies are similar to Eliezer's lottery only to the extent that all day trading is gambling. Which is true often enough, but not always.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Words as Mental Paintbrush Handles · 2020-05-06T09:32:18.196Z · LW · GW

The article is asserting that there are people who can construct mental images, not that all people can construct mental images.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Extensions and Intensions · 2020-04-21T08:10:42.325Z · LW · GW

To give an "extensional definition" is to point to examples, as adults do when teaching children. The preceding sentence gives an intensional definition of "extensional definition", which makes it an extensional example of "intensional definition".

Why do you feel the need to do this?

Comment by jeronimo196 on Lost Purposes · 2020-04-21T02:25:41.086Z · LW · GW

Necroing:

In cases of delayed effects, linking pensions to outcomes years later might provide incentives.

For instance, teachers pensions could depend on the eventual earnings of their pupils, or elections could have tickboxes for evaluating the last politician.

(which doesn't help the problem of credit being due to many people)

Punishments and rewards should be kept as close to the (un)desired behaviour as possible. Noise to signal ratio should be kept as low as possible. Linking teachers' pensions to their pupils earnings (which depend heavily on things like "the economy") is one of the most demotivating proposals I have ever heard.

As for grading politicians - you either vote for their party, or you don't. Which is the only feedback from the general public they maybe care about. (But why would they - most democracies have a two party system. Get elected, fill your pockets, wait your turn. Maybe wait two terms - big whoop!)

If you want to experience what proper, habit forming, behaviour changing incentive structure feels like, I suggest trying a "free-to-play" mobile game. Clear objectives, daily tasks, randomized rewards - Skinner would be proud. Be warned, the end result is not that different from a casino. But if you don't have an addictive personality, the risk might be worth it. I walked away with the following enlightenment: "All that psychology I've been reading about? It really does work! On me!!!".

Of course, gamefying complex tasks is difficult and in certain cases might be impossible. I think it is seriously worth a try in education.

Comment by jeronimo196 on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-04-19T22:36:43.084Z · LW · GW

To avoid semantic confusion, here is the Wikipedia definition of qualia: "In philosophy and certain models of psychology, qualia (/ˈkwɑːliə/ or /ˈkweɪliə/; singular form: quale) are defined as individual instances of subjective, conscious experience." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

If I take a digital picture, I can convert the file to BMP format and extract the "red" bits, but this is no evidence that my phone has qualia of redness. An fMRI scanning a brain will have the same problem.

You are skipping the part where we receive confirmation from the patient that he sees the redness. This, combined with the fMRI, should be enough to prove the colour red has been experienced (i.e. processed) by the patient's brain.

Now one question remains - was this a conscious experience? (Thank you for making me clarify this, I missed it in my previous comment!)

I propose that any meaningful phylosophical definition of consciousness related to humans should cover the medical state of consciousness (i.e. the patient follows a light, knows the day of the week, etc.) If it doesn't, I would rather taboo "consciousness" and discuss "the mental process of modeling the environment" instead.

Whatever the definition of consciousness, as long as it relates to the function of a healthy human brain, it entails qualia.

However, if the definition of consciousness doesn't include what's occuring in the human brain, why bother with it?

The idea that everyone has qualia is inductive: I have qualia (I used to call it my "soul"), and I know others have it too since I learned about the word itself from them. I can deduce that maybe all humans have it, but it's doomed to be a "maybe".

I've heard people speaking of a soul before - it did not convince me they (or I) have one. I would happily grant them consciousness instead.

If someone were to invent a test for qualia, perhaps we couldn't even tell if it works properly without solving the hard problem of consciousness.

Even without solving the hard problem of consciousness, as long as we agree that consciousness is a property the human mind has, the test can be administered by a paramedic with a flashlight.

We will need the solution when we try to answer if our phone/dog/A.I. is conscious, though.

(I recently worked out a rudimentary solution (most probably wrong), which relies heavily on Eliezer's writings on the question of free will later in the Sequences. I am reluctant to share it here, since it would spoil Eliezer's solution and he advises people to try working it out for themselves first. I could PM or ROT13 in case of interest.)