Comment by kithpendragon on I would like to try double crux. · 2019-10-13T15:05:00.935Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd appreciate it if this was done publicly: I've never seen it done before.

Comment by kithpendragon on "Mild Hallucination" Test · 2019-10-12T19:04:40.474Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You're very welcome!

Compassion for the loss of the use of your eye. Out of curiosity, do you think the loss of vision in that eye affected your perception of these effects?

Comment by kithpendragon on "Mild Hallucination" Test · 2019-10-12T13:07:22.936Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The short answer is "not like that" and "depends on conditions".

Although I can perceive the snow simply by inclining my attention toward it, most of the time I have difficulty "watching" it because the eyes try to focus on and follow the lights. This doesn't work, I assume because visual snow is a fact of biology and not actually made of photons from the environment. In any case, the movement in the eyes seems to trigger some processing subroutine that renders the noise very briefly smooth and I cannot discern any patterns. I expect this effect is related to (saccadic masking)[], which renders us functionally blind for a few milliseconds every time the eye moves.

Under these conditions, and with eyes open, the snow overlay reminds me most of an old TV with the antenna just slightly out of alignment, or maybe a very slightly grainy photograph. If I were to try to simulate this mode on a graphic I would use HSV color space and add just a little random noise on the Value channel, perhaps with some very transparent noise "clouds" to imply local variations in density. (I'm at work now or I would just do so to make it more clear.)

With eyes closed, I see thousands of tiny blue-white blobs on a dark or red background, depending on ambient light levels.

If the mind is sufficiently concentrated that the eyes don't try to focus and follow, I often begin to experience (create?) patterns in the noise. When I was younger, the noise would produce random large blobs of higher density (still made of tiny blobs) that would continuously change position, shape, size, and to a small degree color. Since I began meditating, instead of the blobs I sometimes get a swirling blue pattern that reminds me of water going down a drain at the center of the field of vision.

As for any sort of patterned lines, I'm afraid I can only report strong afterimages from reading on lit screens for long stretches. Nothing like the diffraction-grating-looking awesomeness in that image.

Comment by kithpendragon on "Mild Hallucination" Test · 2019-10-11T19:05:13.110Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

On my neurotype

This question is a bit complicated.

I have no currently diagnosed irregularities, but I did have an ADHD (Primarily Inattentive) as a teen. I was on medication for a while, then stopped taking it in college when I noticed it wasn't really helping anymore. In hindsight, I wonder if the issue in highschool was really stress combined with chronic sleep deprivation. Make of that what you will.

I do get surprised looks from doctors all the time, tho. They seem frequently startled at how in tune I am with my body and senses, so I take that as a bit irregular.

I've never used any hallucinogens.

On my meditative practice

I've been practicing vipassana and shamatha meditation for about two years now. I tend to agree that especially vipassana meditation, which is all about noticing the bare reality of the senses, would make one more likely to notice visual snow and the like if the effects are, indeed, present in most/all experiences.

That said, I have been aware of all three effects (and more) since I was a child, long before I began meditating.

On visual snow

I've known about the staticky lights or colors visible in the darker places for as long as I can remember. At this moment, I can also detect the snow in my visual field in full daylight with eyes open. I recall asking about it as a child, but in the absence of the internet my research capacity was limited. At the time, the answer I got was "yeah, that's a thing". I came to assume that visual snow was somehow related to the lights I see when gently pressing on the eye. Later, I seem to remember hearing something about cosmic rays or some such. Giving it a quick think just now, I wonder if the phenomenon occurrs in the eye or the brain. Both are consistent with your low-level sensory processing theory.

On afterimages

Likewise, I've long been aware of the glowing outlines that can appear when the eyes rest on a place for some time. They are more likely to show up in high-contrast areas of the visual field, and I'm pretty sure they are afterimages revealed by the involuntary movements of the eye.

On breathing walls

I've noticed this one forever, too. Usually this happens when I'm staring at the ceiling for whatever reason and I notice a sort of rocking, drifting tendency in the image. Like the afterimage glow, I think this has to do with involuntary eye movements. I seem to recall an experiment where people are placed in a dark room with a bright dot projected on an otherwise reference-free visual plane. Those people will consistently report the dot drifting around despite its lack of actual motion.

Similar effects

  • If I am still enough I can detect a light tingle in any arbitrary patch of skin. Did not notice this until I'd been meditating for a while.
  • In quiet environments, multiple changing tones become evident in each ear. I initially assumed this was tinnitus, but they don't quite fit with my reading on that affliction.
  • Long ago, I noticed that staring at a fixed point will eventually render the entire visual field gray as the retina seems to get fatigued and kind of just give up. The effect reduces a bit with each involuntary eye movement, but with curious care I can make the visual field almost completely smooth. In this state, I have not been able to perceive visual snow.
  • I've also become aware that if I look at a bright, clear sky (and in a few other situations) I can see what turns out to be the blood flowing through the retina. While looking for a graphic, I just learned that this is called blue-sky sprites and the linked Wikipedia article has a good animation of them.
Comment by kithpendragon on "Mild Hallucination" Test · 2019-10-11T15:17:22.623Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

After a quick look I actually remember reading Scott's article when it posted, but for whatever reason it didn't rise above the level of "momentarily interesting" at the time and I forgot about it. Must've been tired or something. In any case, I've made some time to gather my thoughts (which I found to be much more organized and detailed than I expected) and should have a few paragraphs for you, probably by the end of the day.

Comment by kithpendragon on "Mild Hallucination" Test · 2019-10-11T11:08:51.160Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Was my comment too casual? Sorry for that. My intent was to express surprise and I didn't have much time. I'll be happy to elaborate when I get a proper chance to sit down and write sometime in the next couple days.

Comment by kithpendragon on "Mild Hallucination" Test · 2019-10-11T00:25:24.438Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There are people who don't experience (or, perhaps, notice) these things? Huh.

Comment by kithpendragon on Double Tongue Whistling · 2019-10-02T12:28:43.102Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can get sharp and rapid changes in my whistle by changing the way air flows across the lateral part of my tongue. In my normal whistling posture, that part of my tongue does something like what it does during a particularly hard /ɹ/ sound: it basically presses into the top molars. During fast whistling (and arpeggios), one side moves to let air pass more like what that part does during an /l/ sound. The rest of the tongue seems to move a tiny bit forward and up to accomplish this change. The end result is a very fast "flipping" feeling between notes and a bit of adjustment needed to hit the pitch I'm going for. By going back and forth between the two tongue positions rapidly I can something like double my whistling speed compared to glottal air control, though at absolute top speed there is a reduction of pitch accuracy and I find it hard to keep a bit of an excessively airy tone out of the whistle. The point, though, is that what used to be top speed is very comfortable while "double-tonguing". (I don't know if there's a common term for this move. I just kind of figured it out back in high school after I heard somebody else do it and they couldn't explain it beyond "I don't know. I just do it.")

I hope this is an accurate and detailed enough description to get the idea from. I'm a bit unused to discussing tiny movements of mouth parts, I'm afraid. Best of luck learning!

Comment by kithpendragon on Do you have algorithms for passing time productively with only your own mind? · 2019-09-08T17:48:01.336Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

If I have nothing else to do, I tend to default to meditating. It requires no props, can be done anywhere at all, and is claimed by many to have some interesting and beneficial results if practiced routinely. On the short-term, it helps to calm and focus my mind and body so I can be closer to peak performance for the next thing I need to do.

The process I use for those interstitial moments is to try to identify all components of my current physical and cognitive experience for a given time span (set a timer... or don't) or until I get interrupted by the next thing. I was surprised to learn how useful it is to do "nothing" for a while.

Comment by kithpendragon on Weak foundation of determinism analysis · 2019-08-07T12:03:20.762Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A difference requires a reference point from which to differ. Even in a deterministic system, minds thinking about the future probabilistically can calculate counterfactuals that would suffice to fulfill this need.

Comment by kithpendragon on Weak foundation of determinism analysis · 2019-08-07T10:00:11.343Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The existence of determinism could very well be an undecidable problem.

In essence, in my opinion, it is impossible to determine whether a system is deterministic or not from within the system itself.

With a good night's sleep and a clear(er) morning head, I feel better able to think about this problem. Surface thoughts:

  • I think I agree at the moment that you probably cannot prove that you live in a non-deterministic system. There is always the lingering doubt that any randomness you find is, as credited to Hooft, an emergent effect of some underlying system you simply don't (can't?) understand yet.
  • If the system is deterministic, you may be able to unravel all of its mysteries. If your system of Physics is sufficient to describe predict everything that you can observe, then there is no reason left to doubt the system's determinism. Make no mistake, though: that is an extremely high bar.
Comment by kithpendragon on Weak foundation of determinism analysis · 2019-08-07T00:34:50.444Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If determinism is true, what's the point of X

To anybody seriously asking a question in this category, check your assumptions. The "point" is a symbol on the map that corresponds to a relationship between X and a particular mind. (Or, more precisely, it corresponds to an aspect of how the mind analyzes that relationship.) Indeed, if it has any causal bearing on X at all, I expect the "point" will turn out to be little more than part of a reflection in the mind of the proximate causes and conditions leading to X. Else, the "point" is probably caused in the mind by X. In any case, the universe doesn't need a "point" for anything: it just keeps unfolding regardless of how the minds it contains may or may not assign map symbols regarding (read: feel about) any particular event in the unfolding.

Comment by kithpendragon on Permissions in Governance · 2019-08-05T14:56:02.943Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

...rules with high cost of compliance are introduced to keep the fixed pool of resources from being divided between too many people. Is there an example of that?

I think tax codes fall under this category. You can keep the money you earned if you are already part of the economic elite -- you already have enough money to have things like offshore bank accounts (worth it only if you can afford to squirrel away large sums) and high-yield investments (which have a good deal of risk attached to them, so are a potentially very costly way of investing; if you can't afford to lose the cash you shouldn't buy these, but they can be very lucrative for those who can afford to lose on occasion), or to hire an expert who can help you manage large swaths of your cash flow. Without that initial capital, you are unable to take advantage of tax laws (and other economic systems) in the same way as those who have more to work with in the first place. This kind of system tends to encourage economic resources to accumulate with those few who already control a lot.

Another example may be found in business law. I don't own a business, so can't get get very specific I'm afraid, but I gather that licensing and payroll and (again) tax concerns (among other issues) are often legally tuned in such a way that larger corporations have an easier time achieving compliance than smaller businesses. Laws designed, for example, to protect the environment from the waste output of a large factory could easily be written to except the local shop engaging in a similar process but at many orders less magnitude. Instead, I routinely encounter news articles (publication bias alert) highlighting the plight of local businesses as they struggle to keep financially afloat and stay legal. This kind of system tends to encourage business resources to accumulate with those businesses that already control a lot.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Real Rules Have No Exceptions · 2019-07-23T10:37:11.304Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I like to formulate this as "I intend to be the kind of person who mostly X" or "I plan to X on a [TIME]ish basis". Using these formulations removes the friction and stress I experience from "I must X every day" or "I must never X". I've found this makes habits easier to assimilate since they are intentions and not hard rules.

Comment by kithpendragon on Is life worth living? · 2017-08-31T13:21:42.357Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And finally, everyone who answers (1), can you identify the point when your past turned from nonnegative to negative?

I just don't see a point in replaying the events with no possibility of changing them or using any understanding gained from the replay. It's not a past-is-negative situation so much as a nothing-gained situation.

Comment by kithpendragon on Is life worth living? · 2017-08-31T13:16:13.727Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

shrug Doesn't change my answer in any case.

Comment by kithpendragon on Is life worth living? · 2017-08-31T00:28:24.166Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

LOL I think you mean "prophet" ;)

Comment by kithpendragon on Is life worth living? · 2017-08-30T16:04:17.560Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

philosophytorres specified that you have the EXACT SAME EXPERIENCES on the second pass. This implies being offered the choice again.

Comment by kithpendragon on Is life worth living? · 2017-08-30T11:31:54.970Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To be a little pedantic, I suspect an infinite loop in that specification. If the code looks something like...

if want_reboot() = TRUE {
  goto START_OF_LIFE }


...the last line would never execute either execute on the first pass or not at all. There is also the question of whether this is the first time through the loop. If it turns out the answer is no, then God is giving you a chance to live forever (though you'll never know it except for the last few seconds of each loop). edited for clarity

But in any case: since continued existence is an instrumental value whose worth is determined by our ability to pursue our terminal values, I don't see the point in taking the offer since it was stated that I would be unable to affect the universe in any way. Worse, if I were to retain my memories for the second pass I would be locked into a lifetime of torture (being fully aware of my impending doom but by definition unable to do anything to avert it). No, thanks.

Comment by kithpendragon on Fiction advice · 2017-05-27T00:37:06.985Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The Crystal Trilogy has that kind of plot.

Comment by kithpendragon on Am I Really an X? · 2017-03-07T12:00:56.116Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

simple theories are better

True, but only if they accurately model the data. If the data don't match with predictions made by the theory (hypothesis, actually), it's not reality that's flawed.

[not] obligated to model other people the way they want me to model them

In the absence of other evidence, you have no reason to do otherwise. You still have to match the data. Until you (or somebody else) find a way to get better data than self-reports, that's what you've got to use. If your claim is only for two specific cases, it only applies to those cases. But it is wrong to assert that there are only two cases just because that's all you understand.

Comment by kithpendragon on Am I Really an X? · 2017-03-06T17:17:31.034Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That explanation seems too simple to explain the broad range and variety of gender identities we see in the wild. Remember, gender is a performance with lots of nuanced moving parts, of which exponentially many possible combinations exist. It seems trivially fallacious to limit a discussion of gender identity to only people who express strong feelings of having mismatching biology.

Comment by kithpendragon on Can anyone be rational and not vegan? · 2016-11-24T23:16:59.680Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The very structure of the article suggests somebody wrote the bottom line first. I strongly doubt a rational agent examining the intersection of {ecology, economy, nutrition, morality} would arrive at veganism as the optimal solution.

Comment by kithpendragon on What do you actually do to replenish your willpower? · 2016-11-11T10:17:33.905Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You make a good point if we are accepting the premise, but from what I've seen it seems like there is still an open question as to whether willpower is a finite resource at all or if we just think it is and therefore act like it is. Certainly when we act like we have some kind of Will Points that we can spend, they seem to self-replenish over time spent doing non-WP-draining activities (to simplify by metaphor: my mana meter refills as long as I refrain from doing magic). But I would expect that to seem true even if the premise was false (I don't even have a mana meter, just some kind of self-imposed limit).

Comment by kithpendragon on What do you actually do to replenish your willpower? · 2016-11-06T13:29:34.537Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The fact that "there isn't much consensus in the field" is a red flag to me.

Comment by kithpendragon on There are 125 sheep and 5 dogs in a flock. How old is the shepherd? / Math Education · 2016-10-17T00:51:35.207Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder how my coworkers will do...

EDIT (2016.10.21): In case anybody is interested, the results with my coworkers are...

  • 6 variations of "I don't know" with one outright "You didn't give me any information about the shepherd... he could be any age"

  • 4 numeric answers ranging from 5 to 35

  • 1 got distracted and never answered the question

I've got a party to attend tomorrow, we'll see if they do better.

Comment by kithpendragon on Low hanging productivity - improving your workspace · 2016-08-09T15:04:14.522Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The most surprisingly useful thing I ever added to a workspace was actually a second screen. Even with a Virtual Desktop Manager, having a second (in this case, smaller) screen on one side allows for more modularity in my work environment. My workflow consists primarily of two different programs that give different access modes for the same database [1], and it is unutterably useful to be able to essentially fullscreen both of them.

Less surprising but far more useful: macros. I probably save myself 1-3 hours of tedium each workday by having automated many small, redundant tasks. I firmly assert that humans should never be forced to count anything that is presented on a computer screen. Data parsing isn't all that hard (even easier if the parser can access the database layer, not just a report), and there is simply no excuse for tech having never written these programs themselves!

[1] This is a terrible paradigm: I tend to think of them as "Look" and "Touch", and a fair number of my macros exist only to allow me to use the two in a more integrated way.

Comment by kithpendragon on AI as a resolution to the Fermi Paradox. · 2016-03-03T10:10:28.840Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

...any advancing civilization would likely begin developing AI. ... AI development is a natural step in the path of progress

This is a very strong claim to be making from a sample size of one.

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-23T21:14:04.047Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So your position is that reality is entirely deterministic, there is no "probability" at all in the territory?

I feel that is most likely, yes.

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-23T16:49:12.837Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is the forecast falsifiable, then? Can it be wrong? How would you know?

Same way you know if other probabilistic prediction systems are "wrong": keep track of accurate and inaccurate predictions, weighted by confidence levels, and develop model of the system's reliability. Unreliable systems are probably "wrong" in some way. Individual predictions that express extreme confidence in an outcome that is not observed are "wrong". But I cannot recall having reason to accuse any meteorologists of either error. (Full disclosure: I don't care enough to make detailed records.)

I would also point out that the audience adds another level down the predictive rabbit hole. Weather forecasts usually predict for a large area. I've observed that weather can be significantly different between Hershey and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. The two are less than a half-hour apart, and usually have identical forecast conditions. This further confounds the issue by adding the question of who is included in that 30% chance of rain. You could interpret it to mean a high degree of confidence that 30% of the forecast area will see rain. I have not seen an interview with a meteorologist that addressed that particular wrinkle.

So the probability exists purely in the map, but not in the territory? I am not sure quantum mechanics would agree.

Can't speak on quantum mechanics with much authority, but my suspicion is that there's something going on that we haven't yet learned to predict (or maybe don't have direct access to) on a quantum level. I seem to remember that quantum physics predicts more than [3 space + 1 time] dimensions. Since I don't appear to have access to these "extra" dimensions, it seems intuitive that I would be as ineffective at predicting events within them as Flatlanders would be at predicting a game of pool as seen from a single slice perpendicular to the table. They might be able to state a likelihood that (for example) the red circle would appear between times T1 and T2 and between points P1 and P2, but without a view of the plane parallel to the table and intersecting with the balls they would really only be making an educated guess. The uncertainty exists in my mind (as limited by my view), not in the game. I suspect something similar is likely true of Physics, though I'm aware that there are plenty of other theories competing with that one. The fact of multiple competing theories is, in itself, evidence that we are missing some important piece of information.

I expect time will tell.

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-23T15:19:05.984Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The status quo is certainly wrong when it comes to the presentation of weather related data. The report is badly oversimplified due to several effects including the (over)estimated gap in understanding of statistics between meteorologists and the general public.

A 30% chance of precipitation is not, however, "wrong" if it does in fact rain. It merely expresses a fairly high degree of uncertainty in the claim "it will/won't rain today". The claim that such a report means the meteorologist was wrong (or somehow lying) is the subject of my complaint, not the format of the report itself (which I agree is abysmally deficient).

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-23T15:05:32.581Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I could have better phrased the complaint; I wasn't attempting to dive into the philosophical. The point was that the meteorologist is not "wrong" if it rains on a 30% chance or if the high temperature is off by a couple of degrees. Meteorologists deal with a lot of uncertainty (that they don't always communicate to us effectively). People need to understand that a 30% chance of rain only means that it likely won't rain (roughly 2:1 against). Still wouldn't hurt to take an umbrella.

As for the philosophical, I'd have to claim that a Probability is a quantitative expression of predictive uncertainty that exists within an informational system such as the human brain or, yes, weather prediction models. Come to think of it, that might actually be helpful for people to understand the weather report. I just don't trust my coworkers to be able to parse most of those words.

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-23T01:22:10.016Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Certainly it is easier to say it was wrong. Meteorologists actually do see the error bars &c., then they dumb it down so most people can grasp what they're saying. I understand there is ongoing discussion as to what kind of balance is appropriate between being precise and being understandable. Unfortunately, status quo bias seems to be dictating the outcome of that discussion, and much of the information in meteorological models is never provided to the general public as a result.

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-23T01:13:16.506Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What precisely does "There is a 70% chance of rain tomorrow" mean?

It means that the proportion of meteorological models that predict rain to those that don't is 7:3. Take an umbrella. ;)

Comment by kithpendragon on If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be? · 2016-02-22T20:54:04.070Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to see people have a clue what a probability actually is. I'm tired of hearing how the weather forecast was "wrong".

Comment by kithpendragon on Is Spirituality Irrational? · 2016-02-09T20:10:33.680Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The experience of God may be real [like that of color is] even if God isn't.

The difference here is that there is something in the environment that causes the experience of color to appear consistently in many, many human minds. We can measure the waves that could enter the eye and trigger the "color" experience. The same cannot be said of God. "Spiritual" seems likely to be the best word to name the experience you have described. Religion need not be involved at any level. More simply, I'm sure these experiences exist. But there is good reason not to name the experience God. That word, and the set of words it often stands for, is far too laden with other meanings and contexts to be a helpful label in this context.

...the information content of sheet music is different from the actual music...

The information on sheet music is compressed, but an individual trained to read it can, with practice, decompress all of it into an experience of the composition. Ask any orchestra conductor of sufficient experience what that is like. Some conductors even prefer to experience the music that way; they find that the orchestra can get in the way of experiencing what the composer intended. That is, in fact, the job of a conductor. The phonograph record, on the other hand, is a representation of a single performance of a composition, interpreted by the conductor and the orchestra. And the point stands that a phonograph record cannot be read by (nearly all) humans. It is not analogous to the text of a book, it is analogous to the medium (tape, CD, MP3, &c.) on which the audiobook is recorded.

For that matter, the audiobook holds the same "additional information" as the recorded symphony: that added by the performer(s) translating the text/music into sound.

Comment by kithpendragon on Is Spirituality Irrational? · 2016-02-09T13:25:24.613Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

...let's start with a little thought experiment...

The two cases are non-analogous. Grooves in a phonograph record are not designed to be read by a human. Perhaps a better analogy would be reading sheet music, but most people are not trained to do that either. The reason people show such a strong preference in the latter case is that most people will get nothing at all from the record (or sheet music, for that matter).

just because some people can't see colors doesn't mean that colors aren't real. The same is true for spiritual experiences.

This is a truism. Moreover, it is often argued that colors, flavors, &c. are of the map, not of the territory. If this is the case, colors may not be "real", even if the experience of colors is. cannot render into words the subjective experience...

The attempt to losslessly transmit a complete subjective experience would be futile, although I've read some poets who took a good stab at it. Experience is one of the media that make up the map. Two people, given exactly the same stimulus, would have two different subjective experiences. It would certainly be easier to compare similar experiences with a similar reference frame but it is far from impossible to transmit one, even if some of the nuance is necessarily lost.

Finally, religiosity and spirituality are neither identical concepts nor even close synonyms, though they are treated as synonymous in the post. If you could define the two as you intend for us to read them it might be less confusing.

Comment by kithpendragon on What's wrong with this picture? · 2016-01-31T17:13:24.063Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is the explanation closest to what I was thinking beforehand. The problem seems like one of the difference between {the difficulty of predicting an event} and {the likelihood of correctly reporting an observed event}. I think Dagon's argument about Map vs. Territory is a good one too.

Question for you, though... please define "ghost"? I have a feeling your definition is different than mine because I find events such as

certain environmental factors like (low-level poisoning from radon, carbon monoxide, et al; certain acoustic effects; certain architectural events such as uneven expansion due to temperature changes; &c.) cause minor hallucinations or illusions resulting in supersocial minds like those in humans perceiving "people" where there are none

very much more likely than

something of a person that exists independent of the usual corporeal form and (typically) despite the loss of that form is detectable by an uninformed and objective observer.

EDIT: formatted for better readability

Comment by kithpendragon on Could a digital intelligence be bad at math? · 2016-01-20T14:10:06.046Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I honestly assumed that most AI would probably have hardware access to a math co-processor of some kind. After all, humans are pretty awesome at arithmetic if you interpret calculator use as an analog to that kind of setup. No need for the mind to even understand what is going on at the hardware level. As long as it understands what the output represents, it can just depend on the module provided to it.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-14T20:32:32.639Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That sounds like it will be much easier to read. Thank you for following up!

Comment by kithpendragon on Consciousness and Sleep · 2016-01-08T10:16:48.518Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are you the same person as before?

I expect I will do the same things for the same reasons as before. Or, to put it another way, I do not expect a brief interruption in my input/output patterns to significantly affect my input/output patterns in the future. Even less so than if they had not been interrupted and I had been allowed to have an experience of the same duration, now that I think about it.

I choose not to comment on the concept of "sameness" as it applies to "person", however, without some rigorous definitions. Ship of Theseus and all that.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T12:49:43.535Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Might be. Maybe that agent's utility function is actually bounded at 1 (it's not trying to maximize, after all). Perhaps it wants 100 utility, but already has firm plans to get the other 99. Maybe it chose a value at random from the range of all positive real numbers (distributed such that the probability of choosing X grows proportional to X) and pre-committed to the results, thus guaranteeing a stopping condition with unbounded expected return. Since it was missing out on unbounded utility in any case, getting literally any is better than none, but the difference between x and y is not really interesting.

(humorously) Maybe it just has better things to do than measuring its *ahem* stopping function against the other agents.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T12:19:05.126Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If the PRA isn't trying to "maximize" an unbounded function, it can't very well get "beaten" by another agent who chooses x+n because they didn't have the same goal. I reject, therefore, that an agent that obeys its stopping function in an unbounded scenario may be called any more or less "rational" based on that reason only than any other agent that does the same, regardless of the utility it may not have collected.

By removing all constraints, you have made comparing results meaningless.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T11:51:28.826Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In this context, I do not accept that definition: you cannot maximize an unbounded function. A Perfectly Rational Agent would know that.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T11:42:05.778Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I certainly make no claims about the perfect quality of my memory. ;)

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T11:38:04.385Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is no need to re-read the changes to the article...

I have been operating under my memory of the original premise. I re-read the article to refresh that memory and found the changes. I would simply have been happier if there was an ETA section or something. No big deal, really.

As long as the scenario does not explicitly punish rationality, it is perfectly valid to expect a perfectly rational agent to outperform any other agent.

Not so: you have generated infinite options such that there is no selection that can fulfill that expectation. Any agent that tries to do so cannot be perfectly rational since the goal as defined is impossible.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T11:28:31.261Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

reviews VNM Theorem

Noted, and thanks for the update. :)

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T11:11:22.910Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Not realistic" isn't my objection here so much as "moving the goalpost". The original post (as I recall it from before the edit), made no claim that there was zero cost in specifying arbitrarily large/specific numbers, nor in participating in arbitrarily large numbers of swaps.

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T10:48:42.131Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You don't get tired at all... there is no cost at all...

So you have deliberately constructed a scenario, then defined "winning" as something forbidden by the scenario. Unhelpful.

That's multiple solutions.

You have specified multiple games. I have defined a finite set of solutions for each Actor that can all be stated as "use the stopping function". If your Actor has no such function, it is not rational because it can get stuck by problems with the potential to become unbounded. Remember, the Traveling Salesman must eventually sell something or all that route planning is meaningless. This sort of thing is exactly what a stopping function is for, but you seem to have written them out of the hypothetical universe for some (as yet unspecified) reason.

A reader can't go to the author and demand volume 2...

Incorrect. People do it all the time, and it is now easier than ever. Moreover, I object to the comparison of your essay with a book. This context is more like a conversation than a publication. Please get to the point.

My objective is to convince people of this abstract theoretical point...

You have done nothing but remove criteria for stopping functions from unbounded scenarios. I don't believe that is convincing anybody of anything. I suspect the statement "not every conceivable game in every conceivable universe allows for a stopping function that does not permit somebody else to do better" would be given a non-negligible probability by most of us already. That statement seems to be what you have been arguing, and seems to coincide with your title.

Friendly Style Note: I (just now) noticed that you have made some major changes to the article. It might be helpful to isolate those changes structurally to make them more visually obvious. Remember, we may not be rereading the full text very often, so a timestamp might be nice too. :)

Comment by kithpendragon on The Number Choosing Game: Against the existence of perfect theoretical rationality · 2016-01-06T01:53:36.820Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not if your current universe ends before you are able to finish specifying the number. Remember: you receive no utility before you complete your input.