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Comment by l2718 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-02-28T21:32:15.822Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is allowed to solve this problem any way YOU would solve it. If you can tell me exactly how to do something, Harry is allowed to think of it.

This is not quite phrased correctly. While I know less magic than the protagonist (having not attended Hogwarts for a year), I know far more physics and mathematics than he does. I am also privy to world-building knowledge that he isn't. For example, we know about major artefacts:

  • The Elder wand has been repeatedly featured in the fic, but neither Harry!Riddle not Voldemort!Riddle are aware of it yet.

We also know little trivia:

  • Tom Riddle's middle name in this AU is Morfin, not Marvolo. Knowing canon this tells us something about Merope Gaunt's relationship with her father and brother.

In conclusion: it's not enough for us to think of a solution, we also need to explain how Harry can think of it. There's no point in simulating Harry's smarts on my hardware, I can use my own smarts. But I do need to simulate Harry's knowledge.

Comment by l2718 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-26T04:41:38.047Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding Chekov's Elder Wand:

We have been repeatedly told about Dumbledore's "long dark wand" (Ch. 56,57,77,81,94,110), a "wand of dread power" (Ch. 77), which we know from Canon is the "terrible device" Grindelwald possessed (Ch. 77). In Azkaban (Ch. 57), Dumbledore confirmed this:

"Nonsense, my dear," the old wizard said cheerfully as he strode off yet again, waving as though in admonition his fifteen-inch wand of unidentifiable dark-grey wood, "I'm invincible."

Query: A key point in canon is the mastery of this wand. In this universe, Voldemort!Riddle has defeated Dumbledore before the latter threw the wand away. Does that make him the master of the wand?

Comment by l2718 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T04:25:21.661Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This.

You beat me to posting this quote.

Riddle Sr. doesn't care to rule magical Britain, and will use this to rid himself of his Voldemort persona. Eventually he can reap the fruit of whatever magical research Harry!Riddle Jr. does, as well as have interesting challenges with him. I'm highly confident he doesn't want to restart the wizarding war (which he couldn't make challenging for himself no matter how hard he tried).

Pure speculation: similar to cannon, Harry will survive Voldemort killing him by coming back from Limbo (possibly the Riddle Horcrux Network).

Comment by l2718 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T21:04:56.468Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

In Ch. 37, Quirrell explains how he found Harry:

"and no blood purist is likely to think of consulting a phone book"

Conditioned on Lord Voldmort being a blood purist, this is evidence for Quirrell not being Voldemort (probably the intended interpretation). In fact, this was evidence for Lord Voldemort not being a blood purist.

Comment by l2718 on Lawful Uncertainty · 2015-02-19T00:58:03.875Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Random search can be an effective strategy due to bounded rationality. As pointed elsewhere on this thread, the expected utility of a mixed strategy is not greater than the maximum utility of the pure strategies in its support. But determining the utility of the pure strategies may not be possible. For example, an ant cannot carry the neural machinery necessary to remember everything it has seen, or to use such information to determine with accuracy the most likely direction to food -- but it can carry sufficient neural machinery to perform a random walk.