Comment by lfghjkl on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-30T13:09:54.667Z · score: 34 (34 votes) · LW · GW

I have taken the survey.

Comment by lfghjkl on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-22T11:30:24.494Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

edit: But let's leave them aside, and talk about me, since I am actually here. I am not in the same league as Ed Witten, not even close. Do you (generic sense) have something sensible to communicate to me about how I go about my business?

When did you become a theoretical physicist?

Comment by lfghjkl on How could one (and should one) convert someone from pseudoscience? · 2015-10-06T10:06:30.828Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

LOL. Word inflation strikes again with a force of a million atomic bombs! X-)

Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People has already been linked in this thread here. It seems to be the steelman of tailcalled's position and I suggest you argue against it instead of trying to score cheap points by pointing out how tailcalled uses "wrong" words to express himself.

Comment by lfghjkl on Open Thread, Jul. 6 - Jul. 12, 2015 · 2015-07-07T06:04:41.684Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like it has been addressed in Conjunction Controversy (Or, How They Nail It Down):

A further experiment is also discussed in Tversky and Kahneman (1983) in which 93 subjects rated the probability that Bjorn Borg, a strong tennis player, would in the Wimbledon finals "win the match", "lose the first set", "lose the first set but win the match", and "win the first set but lose the match". The conjunction fallacy was expressed: "lose the first set but win the match" was ranked more probable than"lose the first set". Subjects were also asked to verify whether various strings of wins and losses would count as an extensional example of each case, and indeed, subjects were interpreting the cases as conjuncts which were satisfied iff both constituents were satisfied, and not interpreting them as material implications, conditional statements, or disjunctions; also, constituent B was not interpreted to exclude constituent A. The genius of this experiment was that researchers could directly test what subjects thought was the meaning of each proposition, ruling out a very large class of misunderstandings.

Comment by lfghjkl on In praise of gullibility? · 2015-06-18T19:36:08.059Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you equally lean towards two ideas, but like one more, that suggests you subconsciously find that less true.

And it could also mean that you just think the evidence for that proposition is better. Your argument looks more like post-hoc reasoning for a preferred conclusion rather than something that is empirically true.

Reversed stupidity is a different thing.

I'm sorry, but if you subconsciously like a false idea more often than chance then this quote still applies:

If you knew someone who was wrong 99.99% of the time on yes-or-no questions, you could obtain 99.99% accuracy just by reversing their answers. They would need to do all the work of obtaining good evidence entangled with reality, and processing that evidence coherently, just to anticorrelate that reliably. They would have to be superintelligent to be that stupid.

You cannot determine the truth of a proposition from whether you like it or not, you have to look at the evidence itself. There are no short-cuts here.

Comment by lfghjkl on In praise of gullibility? · 2015-06-18T10:16:15.608Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In such dilemmas, I think the best thing is to figure out what is it your "corrupted hardware" wants to do and do the opposite - do the opposite what your instincts i.e. evolved biases suggest.

Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence

Comment by lfghjkl on Open Thread, Jun. 1 - Jun. 7, 2015 · 2015-06-01T14:00:04.557Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Thus, using "Mort!" as an expletive contributes, in a very slight way, to my achieving NotDying.

I disagree. Using "mort" as a swear word would be extremely low status. You'd only come across as the angry weird guy who doesn't like death. Associating "being against death" with "being socially oblivious" will not further your goal, please don't do this.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T20:34:07.340Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He can't because the curse or unbreakable vow he took to not harm himself didn't have release conditions. There was no purpose in putting them in. You don't set up "I can't kill myself unless I try to kill myself", because the 2nd part is useless if the first part works.

Without the second part any clone of Voldemort exploiting a bug in magic to negate the first would have a huge advantage over all the others. Given the whimsical nature of magic in this story such a bug is highly likely to exist. Voldemort is smart enough to both realize that and know that at least one clone of his would eventually find it. His only correct move is then having to find the bug first, thus wasting his time and negating the point of the curse in the first place.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T03:35:42.244Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's not what reflective consistency means.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T06:10:24.574Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

but Riddle's adult memories are also stashed away for later use and the latter are the "dark side".

I agree with everything you said except that. Look at this line from chapter 17 after Harry picked up Neville's remembrall:

The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight.

It makes it pretty clear that the second spell Voldemort cast on baby-Harry was Obliviate. Since we know that obliviated memories can not be recovered only Riddle's thought-patterns are left in Harry, and that's his dark side.

Comment by lfghjkl on Compartmentalizing: Effective Altruism and Abortion · 2015-01-06T13:29:34.009Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It's not, and that is why QALY is a too simplistic point of view.

Comment by lfghjkl on Compartmentalizing: Effective Altruism and Abortion · 2015-01-05T05:01:38.952Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Choosing to not create a new person is not the same as killing an existing one.

Comment by lfghjkl on Open thread, Nov. 24 - Nov. 30, 2014 · 2014-11-27T22:54:14.599Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is that no matter your intentions the phrase reads as a complete dismissal of Viliam_Bur's argument. That is how these discussions turn ugly.

Comment by lfghjkl on Open thread, Nov. 24 - Nov. 30, 2014 · 2014-11-27T21:33:21.227Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I'd say motivated thinking.

Comments like these are not helpful. Especially not on a highly politicized topic such as the one the two of you are discussing.

Comment by lfghjkl on Open thread, Nov. 24 - Nov. 30, 2014 · 2014-11-24T20:06:26.443Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, you're right. Someone should probably fix that.

At least deleting your account will make it very hard to track down any of your old posts unless they already know which comments to look for, so if they aren't already aware of LW you'd probably be safe.

Comment by lfghjkl on Open thread, Nov. 24 - Nov. 30, 2014 · 2014-11-24T18:17:35.421Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The easiest solution is to just delete your current account and start a new one. None of your meatspace friends could then know which posts from [deleted] was from you or even that any of them came from you in the first place (unless they are an LW admin, but then I don't think you should be worried about them knowing you post here).

This solution also has the benefit of not removing valuable comments in old threads (which looking at your karma I assume there are many of).

Comment by lfghjkl on Open thread, Nov. 10 - Nov. 16, 2014 · 2014-11-11T00:19:30.810Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe he uses good as a synonym for friendly?

Comment by lfghjkl on November 2014 Media Thread · 2014-11-04T18:36:31.432Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

For those who aren't aware, Fate/stay night (the visual novel) has been mentioned/recommended here before in Eliezer's Three Worlds Collide short story:

I suspect the aliens will consider this one of their great historical works of literature, like Hamlet or Fate/stay night -

Reading the visual novel can take some time, so anyone who isn't interested in that should really consider watching this TV adaption instead. Personally, I found Unlimited Blade Works to be the best part of Fate/stay night (closely followed by Heaven's Feel, which they've also promised to make a TV adaption of), so you wouldn't be missing too much in my opinion.

Comment by lfghjkl on What false beliefs have you held and why were you wrong? · 2014-10-18T01:39:57.006Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Taking a quote from somewhere else as a reply always risks the possibility that it doesn't quite fit what it is being used as a reply to.

The quote might not fit perfectly, but the insight does.

I was pointing out that the described competence level implies that a competent programmer must be in the top 0.5% of the candidates for the job, not the top 0.5% of all programmers in the world.

And the point of the quote is that this really doesn't say as much as you think. Hence why "99.5% of candidates fail the FizzBuzz test" isn't as implausible as on first glance.

Comment by lfghjkl on What false beliefs have you held and why were you wrong? · 2014-10-18T00:28:53.746Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What you're missing is the following insight:

Let's simplify for the moment and assume that all software developers in the world could be ranked in absolute order of skill, and that you had a magical screening process that found the "best" person from any field.

Now, when you get those 200 resumes, and hire the best person from the top 200, does that mean you're hiring the top 0.5%?


No. You're not. Think about what happens to the other 199 that you didn't hire.

They go look for another job.

That means, in this horribly simplified universe, that the entire world could consist of 1,000,000 programmers, of whom the worst 199 keep applying for every job and never getting them, but the best 999,801 always get jobs as soon as they apply for one. So every time a job is listed the 199 losers apply, as usual, and one guy from the pool of 999,801 applies, and he gets the job, of course, because he's the best, and now, in this contrived example, every employer thinks they're getting the top 0.5% when they're actually getting the top 99.9801%.

Taken from here.

Comment by lfghjkl on Goal retention discussion with Eliezer · 2014-09-05T19:01:03.786Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Very relevant article from the sequences: Detached Lever Fallacy.

Not saying you're committing this fallacy, but it does explain some of the bigger problems with "raising an AI like a child" that you might not have thought of.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-07-26T22:13:10.284Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've also been thinking along these lines, anyone remember this part from the opening ceremony?

The young, thin, nervous man who Harry had first met in the Leaky Cauldron slowly made his way up to the podium, glancing fearfully around in all directions. Harry caught a glimpse of the back of his head, and it looked like Professor Quirrell might already be going bald, despite his seeming youth.

"Wonder what's wrong with him," whispered the older-looking student sitting next to Harry. Similar hushed comments were being exchanged elsewhere along the table.

Professor Quirrell made his way up to the podium and stood there, blinking. "Ah..." he said. "Ah..." Then his courage seemed to fail him utterly, and he stood there in silence, occasionally twitching.

"Oh, great," whispered the older student, "looks like another long year in Defence class -"

"Salutations, my young apprentices," Professor Quirrell said in a dry, confident tone.

It seems to imply that becoming the second victim of a Horcrux might not necessarily create a mishmash of personalities, but instead have them competing as separate (maybe "partially mixed"?) identities. This would also explain why Harry consider his "dark side" different from himself.

Comment by lfghjkl on [LINK] Another "LessWrongers are crazy" article - this time on Slate · 2014-07-18T16:43:28.211Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. To build on that here's something I thought of when trying (but most likely not succeeding) to model/steelman Eliezer's thoughts at the time of his decision:

This basilisk is clearly bullshit, but there's a small (and maybe not vanishingly small) chance that with enough discussion people can come up with a sequence of "improved" basilisks that suffer from less and less obvious flaws until we end up with one worth taking seriously. It's probably better to just nip this one in the bud. Also, creating and debunking all these basilisks would be a huge waste of time.

At least Eliezer's move has focused all attention on the current (and easily debunked) basilisk, and it has made it sufficiently low-status to try and think of a better one. So in this sense it could even be called a success.

Comment by lfghjkl on What resources have increasing marginal utility? · 2014-06-15T00:25:29.870Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Going from 2 things to 1 gives 100% more attention to the remaining single.

The effect will be much higher than that:

Because the brain cannot fully focus when multitasking, people take longer to complete tasks and are predisposed to error. When people attempt to complete many tasks at one time, “or [alternate] rapidly between them, errors go way up and it takes far longer—often double the time or more—to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially,” states Meyer.[9] This is largely because “the brain is compelled to restart and refocus”.[10] A study by Meyer and David Kieras found that in the interim between each exchange, the brain makes no progress whatsoever. Therefore, multitasking people not only perform each task less suitably, but lose time in the process.


So, by focusing your attention on a single task instead of trying to do two at the same time you'll be done with that task in less than a quarter of the time (and not half as one would expect).

Comment by lfghjkl on Should I take an academic class on rationality? · 2014-04-29T10:54:09.256Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When we forget about these things, we end up with billions being spent in incredibly complicated experiments on supposedly 'foundational' particle physics at the LHC - raising existential risks, such as the possibility of creating a black hole, or a 'strangelet'.

This is a common misconception, from Safety of high-energy particle collision experiments on wikipedia:

Claims escalated as commissioning of the LHC drew closer, around 2008–2010. The claimed dangers included the production of stable micro black holes and the creation of hypothetical particles called strangelets,[1] and these questions were explored in the media, on the Internet and at times through the courts.

To address these concerns in the context of the LHC, CERN mandated a group of independent scientists to review these scenarios. In a report issued in 2003, they concluded that, like current particle experiments such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the LHC particle collisions pose no conceivable threat.[2] A second review of the evidence commissioned by CERN was released in 2008. The report, prepared by a group of physicists affiliated to CERN but not involved in the LHC experiments, reaffirmed the safety of the LHC collisions in light of further research conducted since the 2003 assessment.[3][4] It was reviewed and endorsed by a CERN committee of 20 external scientists and by the Executive Committee of the Division of Particles & Fields of the American Physical Society,[5][6] and was later published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Physics G by the UK Institute of Physics, which also endorsed its conclusions.[3][7]

The report ruled out any doomsday scenario at the LHC, noting that the physical conditions and collision events which exist in the LHC, RHIC and other experiments occur naturally and routinely in the universe without hazardous consequences,[3] including ultra-high-energy cosmic rays observed to impact Earth with energies far higher than those in any man-made collider.

Comment by lfghjkl on Should I take an academic class on rationality? · 2014-04-29T07:31:30.580Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And Einstein famously regretted his career as a physicist upon learning of these fateful possibilities, stating that if he had known earlier, he would have chosen to be a watchmaker.

This is a common misattribution:

Scroll down to "If only I had known, I should have become a watch-maker."

Comment by lfghjkl on What are some science mistakes you made in college? · 2014-03-23T08:03:37.214Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

Comment by lfghjkl on AALWA: Ask any LessWronger anything · 2014-01-15T00:15:55.865Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's his job.

Comment by lfghjkl on What do we already have right? · 2013-11-25T14:05:30.905Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, misread your comment and thought you referred to the law of excluded middle. The problem with reading while I should be sleeping.

Comment by lfghjkl on What do we already have right? · 2013-11-25T12:07:56.770Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unless you're dealing with Intuitionistic logic:

Semantically, intuitionistic logic is a restriction of classical logic in which the law of excluded middle and double negation elimination are not admitted as axioms.

Comment by lfghjkl on Less Wrong’s political bias · 2013-10-25T21:37:00.688Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Not if you consider it the "least crazy" alternative, and with only two parties in your country there doesn't seem to be much choice.

Comment by lfghjkl on Superintelligence fiction - "Understand", by Ted Chiang · 2013-10-10T22:46:54.553Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, just read that story before checking your spoiler and it was interesting, even despite the author's poor grasp of the physics he tried to explain. A light ray going from point A to point B is not taking the shortest path (measured in time) because it wants to reach B, the point B is merely a point on the geodesic curve the light ray is currently travelling along.

In other words, these light rays are taking the least time to reach the points they pass without intending to reach them, the points are just in the way.

That said, thanks for the recommendation! This story was still pretty good.

V qvfnterr gung gurfr nyvraf ner sbyybjvat GQG (be nal bgure qrpvfvba gurbel sbe gung znggre), fvapr gurl ner nyjnlf npgvat va n cerqrgrezvarq znaare naq arire npghnyyl znxr nal qrpvfvbaf. Gur jubyr pbaprcg bs n qrpvfvba gurbel jbhyq zrnavatyrff gb gurz.

What are your philosophical quibbles with TDT, if I may ask?

Comment by lfghjkl on Superintelligence fiction - "Understand", by Ted Chiang · 2013-10-07T14:36:43.103Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It is clear that the ending would have been very different had the author heard about TDT.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-09T18:08:21.563Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That would require him to stay up all night, since he cannot know in advance the exact time Flitwick will arrive. It is much more likely that the Harry we saw was the first one, and that he's now going to go back in time to pick up the body.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-08T18:48:35.155Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

"I very much need to visit the washroom, and I would also like to change out of these pyjamas."

This is where he's going to be using the time-turner to pick up Hermione's transfigured body before Flitwick arrives.

The reason this works this time, is that he has already precommitted to doing so when he spent all those hours thinking until dinner the day before. The ring is a red herring.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-06T13:03:49.746Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, that would depend entirely on whether or not time travel beyond 6 hours into the past is possible. So, in other words, it's time travel arbitrarily far back in time that would make this term nonsensical.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-06T01:18:36.333Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

By definition, however, an information-theoretic death means that such an error-correction scheme would be impossible; such a machine would require knowledge that, by the Uncertainty Principle, cannot be attained.

Ok, now we're just talking past each other. Just googled the term "information-theoretic death" and got the following definition from wikipedia:

Information-theoretic death is the destruction of the information within a human brain (or any cognitive structure capable of constituting a person) to such an extent that recovery of the original person is theoretically impossible by any physical means.

This is obviously the situation that Harry has to avoid. If his plan was:

  1. Allow Hermione's brain to decay so much that it becomes theoretically impossible to restore it.
  2. Do something theoretically impossible.

Then his plan is just wrong.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T22:47:32.378Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This problem is fundamentally equivalent to time travel

I agree that if you solve time travel you can also solve death, but the other implication does not hold. A possible way for Harry to "resurrect" Hermione is to scan her brain, run it through an error-correcting algorithm (to reduce/remove errors introduced from decay and it being transfigured) and then "print out" a brain that is arbitrarily similar to Hermione's brain at the moment of her death. This will of course depend on the amount of computing power available to Harry, but since he is already "destined" to tear apart the stars, that will probably not be a problem. It'll also require some "minor" scientific breakthroughs.

Now, I am not at all saying that this is Harry's plan to resurrect her (In fact I suspect his plan to be very different from this), I am merely providing an example for how you can "restore" someone who is dead without being capable of time travel.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T17:30:53.739Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Though any trick that can overcome information-theoretic death has a decent chance of allowing arbitrary time travel anyway.

I do not see how that would follow at all, could you please explain?

The latter, however, is easily dealt with: show up under the Invisibility Cloak, hit his past self with some variant of the Confundus Charm.

Dumbledore has already told Harry that he tried a variant of this once and that it didn't work. "Time" didn't like that. See this quote from chapter 90:

I asked the Headmaster to go back and save Hermione and then fake everything, fake the dead body, edit everyone's memories, but Dumbledore said that he tried something like that once and it didn't work and he lost another friend instead.

This should at the very least be considered weak evidence to not "mess with time" in the way you're suggesting, and Harry will not go for a plan when he only has evidence against it being the best solution (this + time travel is constrained to 6 hours + not preserving her brain will make "easier" plans to save her impossible).

Since he's watched the entire 6 hours, he can be certain this will be sufficient.

This is not how time-travel works in this story, he doesn't need to watch her to do it. The less he knows about the situation the more he can "change" it, so the absolute smartest thing he could do if he planned this is to stay as far away from her body as possible.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T03:11:59.223Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I highly doubt he would do that as well, given that there is no known method to travel further than 6 hours back in time. He would not base his entire "save Hermione" plan on a hope that he could somehow find a way around this constraint.

What he does at this very moment should exclude as few plans to save her as possible, and not preserving her brain would exclude almost all of them.

Alternatively, he could have simply entered the room and watched the room for six hours, perhaps while random-walking. By doing so, he ensures that the only observer he needs to worry about himself, so that far-future Harry can plan a time travel trip in security.

Also, given how time travel works in this story, the only thing he would achieve with this is making it impossible for future Harry to do any changes at all to Hermione's body in these 6 hours (since he can only "change" what he doesn't know).

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T01:48:37.493Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This was a bad idea in canon and will be an even worse idea here where obliviations are permanent.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T01:24:28.592Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I highly doubt that he would mess around with her body more than necessary. He knows that he doesn't yet have the knowledge or power to resurrect her, and any experimenting will have to be done when there isn't a limited time-frame to stop her body from deteriorating further.

My current best guess as to what happened in that room is that Harry spent a good deal of time transfiguring her body into an element so stable, that the atoms won't move around "too much" in the days/weeks/months/years he would need before being able to resurrect her. He then transfigured a replacement body from some dirt lying around.

It's also possible that he just transfigured her brain into this element and just left the rest of her body as it is.

Comment by lfghjkl on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T00:25:50.005Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

He needs 6 hours of uninterrupted time with Hermione's body. His present self guards the door while his future self does whatever he plans on doing to prepare her body for long term preservation.

See this quote from chapter 91 set right after Harry exits the room where her body is stored:

When the door opened again, Harry seemed to have changed, as though that minute and a half had passed over the course of lifetimes.

That "lifetime" is more specifically 6 hours.

Comment by lfghjkl on The Unselfish Trolley Problem · 2013-05-17T21:07:27.658Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No I was pointing out that in all realistic ways of constructing the hypothetical there are going to be quite major risks and costs to oneself in pushing the fat man

I'm guessing wedrifid isn't taking that into account because we were explicitly asked not to do that here:

Try not to Kobayashi Maru this question, at least not yet. I know you can criticize the scenario and find it unrealistic.

Comment by lfghjkl on Pascal's Muggle (short version) · 2013-05-07T23:05:28.089Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, I might have formulated myself badly. My argument is that any agent of bounded computational power is forced to use two utility functions. The one they wish they had (i.e. the unbounded linear version) and the one they are forced to use in their calculations because of their limitations (i.e. an asymptotically bounded approximation).

For those agents capable of self-modification, just add a clause to increase their computational power (and thereby increasing the bound of their approximation) whenever the utilities of the "scales they're working on" differ by more than some small specified number.

So, my answer to this person would be "stick around until I can safely modify myself into dealing with your request", or alternatively, if he wants an answer right now after seeing his evidence, "here's 5 dollars".

Comment by lfghjkl on Pascal's Muggle (short version) · 2013-05-06T02:26:11.245Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Since a human mind really can't naturally conceive of the difference between huge numbers like these, wouldn't it follow that our utility functions are bounded by an horizontal asymptote? And shouldn't that solve this problem?

I mean, if the amount of utility gained from saving x amount of people is no longer allowed to increase boundlessly, you don't need such improbable leverage penalties. You'd still of course have the property that it's better to save more people, just not linearly better.

Comment by lfghjkl on Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt: apparently a transhumanist · 2013-04-27T21:09:36.887Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is certainly true that if we know A implies B, then knowledge of B will also confer knowledge of A. However, this is not enough to call it a logical implication, and given that the original saying used the terms modus ponens and modus tollens, a logical implication is obviously what is meant in this setting.

Comment by lfghjkl on Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt: apparently a transhumanist · 2013-04-26T15:52:26.116Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, that saying only makes sense if it has the exact same implication in both terms (and then their respective conclusions has to be about different propositions), otherwise one is just claiming the equivalent of:

"One guy thinks A implies B, another thinks B implies A."

And that is not a very good saying. It just sounds like something a post-modernist would say.

Comment by lfghjkl on Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt: apparently a transhumanist · 2013-04-26T14:39:45.960Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's a perfectly reasonable conclusion.

While this may be true, it does not follow from your saying. Chaosmage is concluding p (google is more trustworthy), while CellBioGuy is concluding not-p (google is less trustworthy). If you look at the actual definitions of modus ponens and modus tollens you'll find the following:

Modus ponens: A -> B and A, therefore B

Modus tollens: A -> B and not-B, therefore not-A

In other words, CellBioGuy would've had to conclude the negation of chaosmage's premise (and not his conclusion) for your saying to be relevant in this situation.

Comment by lfghjkl on LW Women Entries- LW Meetups · 2013-04-24T11:53:15.653Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is what we'd expect to see if people who reply early were overwhelmingly more likely to give the first answer. It's also what we would see if someone did not like the way the poll was going and decided to rig it.

There is also the third alternative of a great comment defending option two showing up (or having been up-voted enough) at the time you mentioned, to sway "public opinion" in its direction. It seems highly likely that people would read the most visible comments (and be persuaded by them) before voting.

Now, I don't know which comment was the most visible at (or right after) 2013-04-20T20:00, but it looks like PhilipL's and buybuydandavis' comments are the most probably candidates given their current karma scores. They are also a defense of the second option (or at least closer to the second than to the first).