Comment by lalartu on Polling Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-11T02:08:07.744Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I got 44. Six faces is too much.

Comment by lalartu on Stupid Questions, December 2015 · 2015-12-08T12:05:24.726Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is hard to tell in advance what is important. Quite a few innovations that were promised to change everything turned out to have much more limited value.

Within a decade we should know a lot about the genetic basis of intelligence

I don't see any reason for it. So far, all knowledge in this area is just correlation between some genes and IQ, with no understanding how it works. Judging from history of other technologies, with such theoretical base any major improvements take centuries of trial and error.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Nov. 16 - Nov. 22, 2015 · 2015-11-18T12:33:32.975Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it is reasonable to portray Paleolithic tribe as dictatorship. When the best weapon is pointed stick, and every man is has skill to use it, minority simply can't rule by force.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Nov. 16 - Nov. 22, 2015 · 2015-11-17T08:51:33.706Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If we define "progress" as "less slavery, less torture, more freedom" as in top comment, then yes it went in reverse.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Nov. 16 - Nov. 22, 2015 · 2015-11-16T13:53:46.207Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Whether there is "universal progess" in described sense depends on which start and end points do we choose. If take say from Middle Ages to today, then there is. If from Paleolithic to the height of Roman Empire, then trends would be exactly opposite, a march from freedom to slavery. So growth of per capita wealth can coexist with different directions of moral change.

Comment by lalartu on LINK: An example of the Pink Flamingo, the obvious-yet-overlooked cousin of the Black Swan · 2015-11-09T09:34:23.205Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

First, it is not. Idea that this Cold War doctrine was suicidal (for the Europeans) madness is rather popular, I think more than the opposite.

Second, given that exactly zero states were attacked by US for trying to make nukes, I wouldn't call this the most important reason. As for third-world politicians, they adopt the first-word attitude to nukes as thing you can only threaten with but can't really use.

Comment by lalartu on LINK: An example of the Pink Flamingo, the obvious-yet-overlooked cousin of the Black Swan · 2015-11-06T09:01:09.001Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The article makes a good point: USA can lose very much in case of such war. If the world sees that nukes can destroy enemy army without turning whole country into a blasted radioctive wasteland like scaremongers say, then non-proliferation is a lost cause and US military might suddenly turns into a heap of useless expensive toys.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Aug. 17 - Aug. 23, 2015 · 2015-08-18T08:00:10.086Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If interstellar travel (and astroengeneering) is impossible, that is enough to explain Great Filter without additional assumptions.

Comment by lalartu on A map: Typology of human extinction risks · 2015-06-24T09:42:29.080Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

First, this map mixes two different things: human extinction and collapse of civilization. It has a lot of risks that cannot cause the former such as resource depletion, and has things like "disjunction" box that I would call not a risk but a desirable future.

Second, it mixes x-risks with things that sound bad. Facsism in not a x-risk.

Third, it lacks such category as voluntary extinction.

Comment by lalartu on SSC Discussion: No Time Like The Present For AI Safety Work · 2015-06-05T08:14:03.327Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think that so high estimate for first statement is reasonable.

Also, link now leads to bicameral reasoning article.

Comment by lalartu on Stupid Questions May 2015 · 2015-05-05T10:51:59.085Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think there will be, because sattelites themselves usually are much more expensive than their launch.

Comment by lalartu on Resolving the Fermi Paradox: New Directions · 2015-04-21T08:13:59.052Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I mean not collapse, but that there is an option that technologies necessary for interstellar flight and megascale engineering are either impossible in themselves or impossible to obtain for any civilization.

Comment by lalartu on Resolving the Fermi Paradox: New Directions · 2015-04-20T09:45:21.080Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

One of the most likely candidates for filter (and variant of our future) is not mentioned here. That is, technological progress will simply end much sooner than usually expected, without any catastrophic events. There is not a filter, but a solid wall on the way from current technology to dyson sphere and starship building.

Comment by lalartu on [Link] Hacking Technological Determinism for Fun and Profit · 2015-03-12T16:41:12.512Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think that is not true at all. That is, there is no significant dependency between availability of firearms and murder rate. Where aren't many guns, most common murder weapon is knife, it is the only difference.

Comment by lalartu on Can we decrease the risk of worse-than-death outcomes following brain preservation? · 2015-02-23T08:07:42.699Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

3) Can you enumerate some specific world-states that you think could lead to revival in a worse-than-death state?

Any sort of Hansonian future, where your mind has positive economic value.

Comment by lalartu on Superintelligence 19: Post-transition formation of a singleton · 2015-01-20T08:27:59.927Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would want both copy and person who created it dead.

Comment by lalartu on The guardian article on longevity research [link] · 2015-01-12T09:27:59.636Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A century ago there were scientists who said the same. Just because somebody is working on a problem doesn't mean it will be solved.

Comment by lalartu on Exams and Overfitting · 2015-01-08T09:47:09.531Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You find what is going to be on exam, you memorize it, you pass the exam, you forget it.

Why?

Because you don't care for knowledge, you just want a diploma.

Why?

Because companies don't care for knowledge that university gives (and don't really need it), they just want to see your diploma. If you don't have it, good luck finding a decent job.

Why?

Because one who finished the university at least isn't completely dumb and lazy. If you have such a method to filter job applicants, why not use it?

That is how it worked for me. Is it different in countries where higher education is not state-funded?

Comment by lalartu on The decline of violence as a lens for understanding effective altruism · 2015-01-08T09:05:27.146Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

from 2012 to 2014, individual violence outweighed group violence by about 9 times. http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/conflict_assessment_-_hoeffler_and_fearon_0.pdf. I think it is safe to assume that historically it's at least similar.

I think it is completely different. Take German or Russian statistics over whole 20 century - it will be much closer to historical average.

Comment by lalartu on [Link] The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots · 2014-12-20T20:29:18.537Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Point is, most likely there aren't any advanced (that is, starfaring, dysonspherebuilding and so on) civilizations at all.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014 · 2014-12-02T16:16:04.027Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So what do you think about the conditions of human life over, say, the next 300 years?

By modern standarts it will be worse than present. This is how social change works.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-06T09:30:53.797Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nobody has plans (in business meaning of term) to mine helium-3 on Moon. This idea was first proposed by Gerald Kulcinski in 1989. He gave very optimistic predictions regarging D-He3 fusion, underestimated cost of lunar mining and ignored possibility of specialized reactors for producing He3. Since then idea is pushed by space advocates.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-05T11:28:49.488Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mining helium-3 on the Moon does not make slightest sense. It can be manufactured from lithium for a little fraction of that cost.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-05T11:16:06.861Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Strictly economic? There are none.

At least a tiny bit plausible? The same sort of legislation that made renewable energy profitable in some countries. That is, huge taxes on earthbound industry and big subsidies for spacebound.

Comment by lalartu on Recovery Manual for Civilization · 2014-11-02T02:02:53.656Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think a better question is why would people try to rebuild civilization. Industrial revolution was driven by economic factors which are certainly not applicable in this case, unless you mean waiting until population rises to 1800 - level again.

Comment by lalartu on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-27T14:43:53.439Z · score: 31 (31 votes) · LW · GW

Done, without finger question.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-07T14:57:08.673Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Historian David Wootton argues that until mid-19th century and the discovery of germ theory physicians did more >harm than good to their patients. Nowadays most people expect positive results when they go to the doctor.

This raises two questions:

1) Why, despite this, doctor was in general respected and well-paid profession?

2) What would have happened if use of statistics in medicine became widespread before germ theory. Could it lead to ban on medicine?

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-10-02T09:47:07.864Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That means you are looking at a cost of 20 trillion$.

So? Obviously this means war-time economy and devoting industry to making nukes. Point is that it can be done in principle. Also, major part of nuke's cost is plutonium, and it's production is strongly affected by economies of scale. 5 trillion$ would be more reasonable estimate.

Given that the amount of cheaply minable uranium isn't infinitive the cost is likely more.

Cost of mining uranium is really small compared to cost of building and maintaining reactors.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-10-01T08:40:07.136Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Having nuclear capability for self-sustenance does not equal having capability to build nuclear bombs.

That is wrong. Society able to build a reactor can build bombs, political limitations aside.

I see still less reason to think they could nuke Earth hard enough to cause anything like extinction.

How many nukes do you think is enough? Will 1 million be? Modern USA can build that in few years if they want so. Do you think colony (with some future technology) will definitely be unable?

distinctly right-wing

That is true, but I don't see why it is relevant.

I don't see why we should expect any colony's existence to be miserable

Because Mars, Moon, rotating space habitats and so on are just terrible places to live.

Spanish colonies did fight a war against the Spanish Empire

I don't think it is a meaningful comparison. Inhabitants of Cayenna penal colony will go better.

I don't see any good reason to expect that the colony -- especially if it's struggling to survive -- would >want to nuke Earth

Because Earth is responsible for their miserable lives (assuming that primary offenders, first-generation colonists are mostly (or completely) dead at that point).

The risk of pushing our colonies to nuke us out of spite vs. the risk of destroying ourselves at home >before we've even reached the stars weighs strongly in favor of launching as many rockets as we >physically can.

That is a sure way to extinction.

Comment by lalartu on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-09-30T08:27:24.802Z · score: -3 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Why there aren't any serious proposals to ban space colonization?

That is, successful attempt to establish a colony will most likely create society that blames Earth for their misery, and "self-sufficient" colony probably requires nuclear technology (Zubrin's plan states this explicitly). They will have both motive and means to nuke Earth for good. Colonization greatly increases extinction risk, contrary to what space advocates say.

If the reason is like "that is far-future problem", why it does not work for things like nanotechnology (there are organizations that want ban it right now)?

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-21T16:04:38.570Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What are you building the diving bell out of

For example, out of animal skins. This construction is supported by internal pressure, it does not need strength.

More to the point, why would they want to? What would drive them to do so?

Want exactly what? If "smelt metal", then probably the same as humans, accidentally placing copper or tin ore in furnace. If "having underwater furnace" - it is easier to operate than one placed on raft. If "why use fire at all" - to make watertight pottery.

Comment by lalartu on What are your contrarian views? · 2014-09-20T14:58:44.185Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I will predict this

would happen if we uploaded Von Neumann's brain onto an extremely fast, planet-sized supercomputer

Very bored Von Neumann.

if we selectively bred humans for intelligence for a couple million years

People that are very good at solving tests which you use to measure intelligence.

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-20T14:14:57.024Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

a major showstopper: Iron smelting.

It is not a major problem at all. Given that creatures have hands and can keep them out of water, they can build a bloomery inside a diving bell.

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-13T18:36:23.443Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

First, hunting with stone age weapons is far fom easy. Second, most engineers and scientists are not hunters, noone of them know how to hunt with spear and almost noone with bow. Third, they have no food supplies and so no time to learn. They will survive olny in very favourable conditions, like on tropical island with plenty of shellfish and tortoises (I think most people can hunt those).

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-12T11:12:33.015Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Meanwhile, a planet populated with those same scientists and engineers in human bodies - hell, dog bodies, cat >bodies, elephant bodies - would've had it all sorted out in no time.

Taken literally, no. There will not be any civilization above hunter-gatherers without domesticated plants and animals, and that cannot be done in one generation. Remember that ox and wheat also are human artefacts. Well, realistically (in human variant) most of them will be dead very soon, survivors become nomadic hunters.

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-12T09:34:31.657Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

No they cant. For example to make copper you need copper mine workers, smeltery workers, woodcutters, charcoal burners, wagon drivers to transport wood, ore and coal, carpenters to make wagons, builders to build mine and smeltery and farmers to feed them. That is impossible for population less then few thousands at least. Industry nesessary to make a generator requires population in millions.

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-11T08:54:18.909Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Meanwhile, a planet populated with those same scientists and engineers in human bodies - hell, dog bodies, cat >bodies, elephant bodies - would've had it all sorted out in no time. They'd have steel, electricity, running water, >radio, and so on, in less than a generation - hell even 10 people can do that.

You greatly underestimate population size nesessary for civilization.

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-09T09:12:15.155Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Ridley suggested in Rational Optimist that other apes lack the instinct to trade even when we teach them language

He is just plain wrong

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3933343/Orangutans-learn-to-trade-favours-at-a-price.html

http://www.eva.mpg.de/psycho/pdf/Publications_2009_PDF/Pele_Call_2009.pdf

Comment by lalartu on The Octopus, the Dolphin and Us: a Great Filter tale · 2014-09-08T10:08:29.739Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Consider the following possibilities for how long it will take for humans to develop AI (friendly or otherwise) if we don't >kill ourselves via viruses, nuclear catastrophe etc.

There are other possibilities. One is simply "never", other is that AI is much less powerful than current predictions tell, third that interstellar travel is impossible, fourth that AI singletons don't reproduce and therefore don't colonize.

Stable totalitarianism has been suggested.

But does not exist.

Another would be a zero privacy world, where anyone could spy on anyone else. And would be able to press an >alarm button if they see anyone doing something dangerous (then everyone democratically votes to lynch them?).

There are lots of problems with this concept. But first, to reduce global risks that requires world goverment, and it almost certainly will stop progress.

And within thirty years, there's even a chance of a small colony on Mars

Chance to have sustainable colony in foreseeble future (~20 years) are close to zero.

Comment by lalartu on The Great Filter is early, or AI is hard · 2014-09-02T15:34:55.100Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You are missing at least two options.

First, our knowledge of physics is far from complete, and there can be some reasons that make interstellar colonization just impossible.

Second, consider this: our building technology is vastly better than it was few thousands years ago, and our economic capabilities are much greater. Yet, noone among last century rulers was buried in tomb comparable to Egyptian pyramids. The common reply is that it takes only one expansionist civilization to take over the universe. But number of civilizations is finite, and colonization can be so unattractive that number of expansionists is zero.

Comment by lalartu on An example of deadly non-general AI · 2014-08-21T22:20:52.156Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think there can be a specialized AI that predicts human behaviour using just statistical methods, without modelling individual minds at all.

Comment by Lalartu on [deleted post] 2014-08-14T08:49:22.628Z

Have people made estimates of how cost-effective these are?

Yes, they did. In real world, "Plus" option means "one more person born in a middle-income country, in a poor and uneducated family". And even that is expensive.

Comment by lalartu on Claim: Scenario planning is preferable to quantitative forecasting for understanding and coping with AI progress · 2014-07-25T08:45:01.954Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Futurists learn nothing from their mistakes. Predicting "human-level AI" from scratch makes just as much sense as predicting humanoid robot servants before PC. To get somewhat more grounded forecast, ask more specific question - namely, when computers will become better AI developers than humans.

Comment by lalartu on Wealth from Self-Replicating Robots · 2014-07-16T13:45:17.518Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

deleted

Comment by lalartu on [QUESTION]: Driverless car forecasts · 2014-07-11T08:21:53.173Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What probability will you give to statement that self-driving cars will never reach that 10% portion?

Comment by lalartu on [QUESTION]: What are your views on climate change, and how did you form them? · 2014-07-09T10:18:05.930Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What are your current beliefs on climate change? Specifically, would you defer to the view that greenhouse gas forcing is >the main source of long-term climate change? How long-term?

I have no particular opinion about that. I think any specific predictions are more likely wrong then true, especially predictions about climate change economic effects, and catastrophic predictions are almost certainly wrong. I strongly oppose emissions cut policies.

What were your beliefs on climate change when you first came across the subject, and how did your views evolve (if at >all) on further reading (if you did any)?

I thought that climate change is an obvious scam (that is default position in my country). No I don't.

What are some surprising things you learned when reading up about climate change that led you to question your beliefs >(regardless of whether you changed them)?

The most suprising thing is that there is any science involved at all, not just political propaganda.

Comment by lalartu on Quickly passing through the great filter · 2014-07-09T09:41:10.870Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Very high probability" of this kind in practice means "always". So either technological progress brings some dangers that just cannot be avoided before building starships is possible, or starships thenselves are not viable.

Comment by lalartu on Quickly passing through the great filter · 2014-07-08T09:01:27.691Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If "late filter" variant is true, it means interstellar colonization is just impossible, for reasons that can be outside the limits of modern scientific knowledge.

Comment by lalartu on Quickly passing through the great filter · 2014-07-07T08:47:54.575Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think "filter" itself is a bad metaphor. It implies that 1) some barrier really exists 2) it can be passed. One of this assumptions is likely wrong.

Comment by lalartu on A Parable of Elites and Takeoffs · 2014-07-04T09:08:30.213Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Encirclement operation works on much bigger scale, "small hole" here is tens of kilometers wide, through a defence line that is also tens of kilometers in depth. Using nukes against tanks makes no sense unless numbers of nukes and tanks are comparable.

Poor accuracy of strategic bombing was because of high altitude. On low altitude these bombers are very easy targets for anti-aircraft artillery (Soviet divisions had lots of it), and dropping nuke is a suicide mission.