How did experiments with lucid dreaming pan out? 2016-11-12T20:40:09.613Z
Russian native speakers wanted as editors (translating "Smarter Than Us") 2014-04-24T22:40:50.175Z
Native Russian speakers wanted, for help with translation of LW texts 2014-02-11T17:37:31.270Z
What if Strong AI is just not possible? 2014-01-01T17:51:55.373Z
Please vote for a title for an upcoming book 2013-11-20T19:04:36.532Z
Native Russian speakers wanted (for proofreading LW texts, again) 2012-10-28T06:00:16.190Z
Native Russian speakers wanted (for proofreading LW texts) 2012-05-20T15:58:11.247Z
Food4Me - personalised nutrition initiative 2012-05-15T21:07:44.963Z
Music: Hatsune Miku 3D Live in Los Angeles on the 2nd July 2011 2011-06-26T23:09:22.526Z


Comment by listic on How did experiments with lucid dreaming pan out? · 2016-11-24T20:10:17.893Z · LW · GW

Did you do anything special to have lucid dreams?

Comment by listic on Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016 · 2016-01-07T14:49:27.668Z · LW · GW

How does one call a philosophical position that images have intrinsic meanining, rather than assigned one by the external observer?

What can be said about a person giving voice to such position? (with the purpose of understanding their position and how to best one could converse with them, if at all)

I am asking because I encountered such a person in a social network discussion about computer vision. They are saying that pattern recognition is not yet a knowledge of their meaning and yes, meaning is intrinsic to image.

All that comes to my mind is: I am not versed in philosophy, but it looks to me that science is based on the opposite premise and further discussion is meaningless.

Comment by listic on Open Thread, Jun. 15 - Jun. 21, 2015 · 2015-06-19T18:50:41.136Z · LW · GW

Way better for me; tango and soccer are practically dead to me; swimming is fun.

OTOH if you optimize for fitness benefits, I am almost sure swimming is not optimal: e.g. cardio training and weight lifting should be better.

You should really figure out what you wish to optimize for. If you want to optimize for 'everything' you should be fine doing 'anything' that looks like it helps it.

Comment by listic on Stupid Questions May 2015 · 2015-05-05T18:58:01.041Z · LW · GW

Haven't heard about such an accident. Why do you ask?

Can't figure how the second paragraph demonstrates that technological progress has ended (by the way, do you mean it stopped or it really reached its logical conclusion?). Rather, it illustrates its ever more rapid pace. And that might be a problem for science fiction: where formerly readers were excited to read fiction about strange new things that science could bring in the future, nowadays they are rather overwhelmed with the strange new things they already have, and afraid and unwilling to look into the future; it's not that the science fiction cannot show it. Charles Stross has written about it (don't have the exact link; sorry)

Comment by listic on Open Thread, May 4 - May 10, 2015 · 2015-05-05T00:58:22.885Z · LW · GW

Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Having an interest in visual novels, interactive fiction and generally all forms of experimenting with good ol' prose that just might end up advancing 'state of the art' of fiction (I suppose I should call that ambition 'upgrading the prose' - have you seen this or that?) I was immediately attracted by your term 'a story-like object': I am interested in exactly the kind of stuff that might be hard to put a label on.

I decided to take a peek, and read through it all. Didn't expect to enjoy it like I did. You know, something like this might lie at the beginning of a novel or game, but us common readers do not get to read it.

You know, there's a peculiar game studio from London called Failbetter Games, makers of Escapist's 2009 "Browser Game of the Year" called Fallen London. That's a kind of game studio that, when deciding to make an expansion to their game, starts with hiring writers; Fallen London is over 1.5 million words. When asked how they keep track of their established canon and avoid overwriting other plots, they say:

Q.: When it came to designing the plot lines for islands, how did you make sure to keep them from overwriting other plots or established canon? What methods did you use to keep it in check?

A.: Things we use: (i) a house style document (ii) a giant Google spreadsheet of info ranked in rows by subject and in columns from 'public' to 'unrevealable secret'

I presume you are not sure what it is you're writing? If you were to ask me, this story-like object of yours is not a story. Rather it has the trappings of just such a guideline for writing a novel or a series, maybe even written collaboratively by several authors. It has (i) and maybe (ii), too: these individual FAQ paragraphs could as well be made those spreadsheet cells, ranked from 'public' to 'unrevealable secret' and from that you would start picking and choosing details and making that into a story, game or whatever you call it; short story or novella won't even have place for all of the detail; whatever gets shown would be decided as much by the laws of narrative as by the inner logic you present here.

Comment by listic on The language of desire (post 2 of 3) · 2015-05-04T19:44:22.199Z · LW · GW

Let's hope part 3 will make sense of all of it.

Comment by listic on Effective effective altruism: Get $400 off your next charity donation · 2015-05-04T19:33:42.808Z · LW · GW

How do you get to know your credit score?

Comment by listic on Efficient Food · 2015-04-11T23:07:08.443Z · LW · GW

There's also SpoonRocket.

Though for some reason, this seems to only work just in some parts of the world: here in Russia even the grocery delivery seems to only be properly implemented in Moscow.

Comment by listic on [LINK] Terry Pratchett is dead · 2015-03-22T13:42:29.845Z · LW · GW

I believe it's probably only because of the woefully under-developed state of cryonics itself that the practice of voluntary death through cryopreservation (cryothanasia) haven't been seriously researched: rather counter-intuitively, cryonics companies are too few and mostly have enough trouble on their hands to bother disrupting the status quo.

Getting frozen before you die can well be problematic, but not necessarily impossible in all jurisdictions. I believe it's just not well researched. Cryonics has low demand as it is, and cryothanasia requires even greater mental effort to voluntarily choose death, before dying the 'natural' way, and make all the necessary research and preparations yourself, so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that noone bothered yet, or noone who made their efforts public, at the very least. Which doesn't mean that this is impossible. Suicide tourism is a thing, after all.

I would recommend directly contacting Danila Medvedev ( from Russian company CryoRus, if you are really practically interested in the prospect of cryothanasia - it is likely that it is possible, but noone is going to offer it as a product, so far, you will have to research it for yourself; they are at least entertaining the idea.

Comment by listic on 2015 Repository Reruns - Boring Advice Repository · 2015-01-22T17:49:55.418Z · LW · GW

Your claim is worthless without context. Please provide some evidence: why is smartphone the highest ROI purchase for you and why do you think it will be worth it for others.

With smartphones as ubiquitous as they are today, computer-literate people who don't have them should have their reasons. You don' t provide any.

My reasons for not having a smartphone are: I predict that benefits of smartphone ownership will not justify the cost of ownership for me. The cost of ownership consists of:


  • Researching and choosing a smartphone
  • Learning to use it and its many applications
  • Cost (smartphone must be bought)


  • One more thing to manage and obsess over
  • One more thing to charge and not lose
  • A distraction that's always with me. I cannot do any productive work on the phone, but I can use the internet, very slowly. Any time and energy spent on it would be better spent elsewhere.
  • Data plans cost money.

Of course, smartphone usage has its well-documented benefits, but for me they didn't yet outweigh the costs.

The reason I ultimately surrendered and bought a smartphone was that I hoped to implement Allen's GTD with it. Only later I came across his interview where he advices not to use brand new technologies for GTD, but tried and true ones, that you are already comfortable with. So true.

Comment by listic on Overpaying for happiness? · 2015-01-12T09:07:13.994Z · LW · GW

Yes, I do think while I eat. Do you think it hurts?

Comment by listic on Negative polyamory outcomes? · 2015-01-12T09:05:43.119Z · LW · GW

I think the onus is on you to explain where do you think I oversimplify.

Comment by listic on 2015 Repository Reruns - Boring Advice Repository · 2015-01-11T22:00:18.744Z · LW · GW

I know of Pareto principle, just haven't figured out that 'to 80/20' means 'to learn tax law 20%'. Makes sense in general; the only obvious problem I see here is: how do I know how much of the tax law is 20%? (seriously, at least a rough approximation?)

Comment by listic on Negative polyamory outcomes? · 2015-01-11T21:57:31.360Z · LW · GW

poly is way too complicated

Exactly what do you find complicated in poly? The first time I heard about polyamory, I thought for a while, then thought, "hm, this makes sense". Monogamy, on the other hand, looks unnecessarily complicated to me.

Comment by listic on Negative polyamory outcomes? · 2015-01-11T21:41:03.849Z · LW · GW

polyamorous relationship with a "primary" would be a constant battle of sorts to ensure that I have a greater than or equal to number of dating prospects as my partner

Why would you want to do that? Don't you have anything more useful to do with your life?

I look at this hypothetical situation like this:

Situation: I have only one partner who in turn has multiple partners.


  • I get to spend time with my partner while not needing to fulfill all of their needs.


  • I don't get enough attention from my partner? But his can be discussed and negotiated. I may or may not pursue other partner(s) if I want to; no pressure on me here. Anyway, I'm better off having some of their attention rather than none or full attention of a grumpy partner and no possibility to pursue other partner(s) (the latter because my partner has other needs that I have trouble fulfilling; that's what I would get in case of monogamy)

I don't see any other problems here. Do you?

Comment by listic on Overpaying for happiness? · 2015-01-11T21:27:28.919Z · LW · GW

My metabolism is not necessarily that different, but my rate of eating is. For whatever reason, I eat slowly; probably in 10% slowest eating humans. At one point, having a lunch break on my job, I was choosing a lunch on the basis of which food I could eat the fastest, so that I can manage to eat my lunch on time (mostly porridge, which is healthy, I guess).

Comment by listic on 2015 Repository Reruns - Boring Advice Repository · 2015-01-11T21:02:30.785Z · LW · GW

Where would be a good place to discuss an old Boring Advice?

E.g. I have gave in and bought myself a smart phone last year, but the utility I derive from it is yet to turn positive. I should have been better off if I either allocated a significant portion of resources to learn using it properly, or not buy at all.

Comment by listic on 2015 Repository Reruns - Boring Advice Repository · 2015-01-11T20:57:39.208Z · LW · GW

80/20 tax law for your country

80/20 tax law.. what? Do you use '80/20' as a verb here?

Comment by listic on Overpaying for happiness? · 2015-01-03T11:31:00.515Z · LW · GW

Sounds nice, but I'm afraid I would be eating all day if I would eat like this. And maybe even starve, still.

If the point is to get more enjoyment cheaply, for me this will turn out too expensive. I'm looking for ways to spend less time on eating, as it is. I'm pondering whether Soylent/Joylent/Abbott Ensure or other synthetic food as replacement for some of the meals will make my diet both healthier and faster.

Comment by listic on December 2014 Media Thread · 2014-12-07T20:04:34.995Z · LW · GW

Here's an advent postcard I have received today in Fallen London:

"We've had our differences. But this is Christmas.

Best wishes, the Fallen London Probably Random Number Algorithm"

There was a pair of Devilbone Dice in the letter. I wonder what could they be good for?

Fallen London (formerly Echo Bazaar) is an alternative Victorian London with gothic and steampunk overtones", according to Wikipedia.

It won an Escapist Magazine's award for Browser-Based Game of 2009 (scroll to the end) and is, in fact, developed by the actual Londoners.

I am Listic in Fallen London.

I can send you an invite (listic.pony at gmail; not sure what an invite gets you, though) or you may register all by yourself, as it is a free-to-p(l)ay game.

Comment by listic on November 2014 Media Thread · 2014-11-05T00:23:12.832Z · LW · GW

Ice-Bound: A Novel of Reconfiguration is an upcoming indie game combining an iPad app and an augmented reality-enabled print book by Aaron A. Reed and Jason Garbe.

Ice-Bound is a novel about an AI recreation of a struggling writer, brought to life to finish his now-legendary novel. The player looks at the printed compendium via their iPad to unlock the hidden reality between the lines; at the same time the pages that the player shows to AI writer that 'lives' in the iPad determine the story that he will write.

It is running a Kickstarter campaign that ends today; all the funds will go towards a print run of the print book. The list of backers includes all the usual suspects of the tiny world of interactive fiction, which is kinda sad at the same time, as I believe this kind of project deserves wider publicity.

Help spread the word by upvoting: r/kickstarter, r/indiegames, and especially r/writing (look for post on 'Upgrading prose')

Comment by listic on October 2014 Media Thread · 2014-10-07T02:02:17.156Z · LW · GW

Pathologic - called a pandemic simulator, a game about battling death itsealf, the most nonconventional game of 2005 made by Russian Studio Ice-Pick Lodge, is running a Kickstarter campaign for the remake.

For those who don't speak Russian, the hree-part article named 'Butchering Pathologic' by Quintin Smith on Rock, Paper, Shotgun (p. 2, p. 3) is recommended for acquaintance with the game. Yes, probably instead of playing the game itself, because the English translation it got was the one no game deserves, let alone this one. This time, with the remake, developers want to do it right.

LAST MOMENT NOTICE: Kickstarter campaign is ending today, 8 hours to go! (sorry)

Comment by listic on Open thread, Sept. 1-7, 2014 · 2014-09-03T10:39:18.980Z · LW · GW

There was an effort by some Less Wrong folks to experimentally prove the safety of lucid dreaming. Did this end with any conclusive results? Can I get in touch with you guys?

Comment by listic on Open Thread, May 26 - June 1, 2014 · 2014-06-06T22:03:35.938Z · LW · GW

I may have not stated what I wanted clearly. You seem to instruct me how to turn on the Bookmarks toolbar. That's not what I wanted. I don't use a Bookmarks toolbar in my browsers, as I don't feel like its benefits outweigh the space occupied by it and added visual clutter. I thought you were offering a way to put a bookmarklet elsewhere than the Bookmarks toolbar and I was asking you how could I do it. I'm pretty sure I did put a bookmarklet in a menu in Firefox once (that thing that goes "File Edit View History Tools Help"), but I forgot how. Or, I could use an advice re: how to add a bookmarklet at all, even let's say to a Bookmarks toolbar, as I never did it.


Comment by listic on Open Thread, May 26 - June 1, 2014 · 2014-05-30T00:01:30.903Z · LW · GW

Not for me.

Comment by listic on Open Thread, May 26 - June 1, 2014 · 2014-05-30T00:01:12.657Z · LW · GW

How do I put bookmark in a toolbar? I would like to, as I don't use Bookmarks Toolbar.

Comment by listic on The Cryonics Strategy Space · 2014-04-26T21:45:11.731Z · LW · GW

While some communities have enacted legislation allowing suicide with the assistance of a physician, any such case almost certainly would be followed by an autopsy which would include dissection of the brain.

I didn't think about this. Still, I would look more into that scenario. I am not sure Alcor has properly investigated all the options here: there are many countries in the world and maybe some would allow suicide cryonics.

You do know that cryonics is not just dropping a body or a brain in liquid nitrogen, don't you? Cellular damage in that scenario would be too high; while it's not completely out of the question that future science will be able to restore someone frozen that way, cryonics tries to preserve the patient in as good condition as possible, which includes, in optimal case:

  • Connect the patient to cardiopulmonary support as soon as possible, which realistically means as soon as legal death is proclaimed. (*)
  • Slowly cool the body
  • Replace blood with cryoprotectant
  • Continue to slowly cool the body At some point the cardiopulmonary support can be disconnected.

Now, (*) is the main point that could use further optimization. As the things stand today, cryonicists are not allowed to do their thing with the body before legal death is proclaimed. They are lucky if the medical staff is supportive, relatives do not interfere and legal death is proclaimed quickly. But even in this scenario they could in principle act quicker, if they were allowed to. I think it is quite possible that Alcor did not see a reason to investigate in necessary detail the legal situation in the world regarding whether there exists such a country where one can do suicide cryonics and avoid autopsy. If they are not flexible enough, I think KrioRus just might. And if a cryonics company will open in China... who knows, maybe they will be more relaxed about euthanasia?

Comment by listic on Bostrom versus Transcendence · 2014-04-22T23:30:24.020Z · LW · GW

I keep wondering why, oh why can't more of the film production teams hire a decent screenwriter (that's the person who makes the story make sense, right)?

Comment by listic on Open thread, 21-27 April 2014 · 2014-04-21T12:42:27.101Z · LW · GW

I would like to learn drawing.

I would like to be able to have fun expressing myself via art. How long does it takes to learn to draw from zero to good enough not to be embarrassed of oneself?

What techniques are useful? Is there any sense in e.g. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain?

Comment by listic on Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014 · 2014-04-11T20:16:32.594Z · LW · GW

I often find myself underestimating the time it takes to accomplish certain tasks. E.g. I think "ok, I'll send a couple of emails in 0.5 hours and move on to the bulk of the work" and it turns out it takes more like 5 hours, and not because I'm procrastinating; it actually takes me that much time to do it.

What about time-management? As far as I understand, GTD, while often described as time-management system, actually doesn't help you manage time. As far as I understand Allen (I have one chapter left, and after that I plan to read the notes I downloaded in lieu of re-reading, because I still don't understand what my GTD should consist of) his position can be described as

When you will have an external system containing all your projects and next tasks, you will be able to make decisions so efficient, that you won't need to manage time"

  1. Do I understand it right?

  2. Do you feel you need a separate time management system in addition to GTD?

Comment by listic on Group Rationality Diary, April 1-15 · 2014-04-05T20:58:36.058Z · LW · GW

I want this one specifically, because it is as much of a computer as the one I currently do all my work on, plus a much more portable laptop, plus a tablet I can draw on.

I always wanted my computer to be as portable as possible, so that I could have no problem taking it with me anywhere. For me, that meant ThinkPad X series, which I happily own, and was thinking about getting a tablet version of. If you are not aware, research it: Lenovo, and IBM before that, was making all their ThinkPad X series computers available in tablet versions way before the recent tablet boom. I don't know about all of them, but the recent models have Wacom digitizer (pressure sensor that recognizes the level of pressure, not just on/off, like modern touch screens). As far as I understand, you usually want that if you're going to draw on your tablet , but it wouldn't hurt otherwise. Now, this is a kind of tablet that I think I might actually use. I don't own one because they are a bit heavier and bulkier, have a bit smaller battery life and narrower selection of batteries than their non-tablet counterparts. Also, they are very hard to find when used, and I bought my two previous laptops used.

I thought of switching to a X series tablet for a while, but this new Microsoft tablet represents a new level of portability: 0.9 kg without keyboard vs 1.6 for ThinkPad Yoga (The closest to X230t in current generation). It comes with the same Wacom digitizer and big stylus, has SmartCover-like detachable keyboard that you can really type on, dock station with all I/O and of course it, too, is an x86 computer to boot. I am going to run Ubuntu on it.

I imagine I could work on this machine connected to the docking station, wired network, monitor, external keyboard and mouse, as I do with my current notebook. In addition to this, I would have an option to detach it and take with me to continue doing the same stuff while away from home, connect it to a projector to give a presentation, show around my work-in-progress to friends in a cafe (did you try doing it with a laptop? I think a tablet might be much more convenient for showing stuff around), read something while standing on the bus or on the street, and finally draw on it. All while having access to my stuff and working setup simply by the fact that it is the same one computer that I use for everything.

Isn't it great? I believe Microsoft Surface Pro are very misunderstood and under-appreciated devices. Probably people will going to love (the likes of) them more, when Apple will be making them; I think they are going to present something like this and call it iPad Pro, and it will be able to run iPad apps as well as Mac ones. Maybe this fall or winter; next year tops. It will wow the masses and everyone will want it, but I don't live in the Apple ecosystem and I want one now already.

Comment by listic on Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014 · 2014-04-03T22:53:59.391Z · LW · GW

The latter half of your question doesn't require the former. Why do people help each other on forums? That's why, I think.

Comment by listic on Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014 · 2014-04-03T20:17:51.233Z · LW · GW

I believe it's called 'lockscreen' on any modern smartphone. HTC One mini is an Android phone. What smartphone do you have?

Actually, one of the reasons I chose Android over iOS is because it has widgets and one can put a Google Calendar widget on the home screen, which I was told is very helpful. I've saved links to articles describing "Top 10 Android apps that do amazing things the iPhone can’t". I actually like the second one better: the first on the list is Event Flow Calendar Widget which looks like what you and the other guy was telling me about. Is this the widget you had in mind?

Comment by listic on Group Rationality Diary, April 1-15 · 2014-04-03T13:20:22.359Z · LW · GW

I realized that when the number of projects in my life exceeds 2 (1 work and 1 hobby) the other things in my life are hardly ever done. I have decided to embrace GTD to stop being stressed about it and get more done.

I'm 70% through the book, bought myself a smartphone and going to buy a tablet as my new computer (actually, I could use your help with delivering the lartter). Never owned any of those, because I believed that they are only good for distractions. Please share your GTD setup and experience: what works for you and what doesn't?

If you have implemented GTD, please share your advice here in the Open Thread: what worked for you and what didn't? Which software do you find useful?

Comment by listic on Group Rationality Diary, March 1-15 · 2014-04-03T13:18:44.600Z · LW · GW
Comment by listic on Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014 · 2014-04-03T12:51:32.354Z · LW · GW

Please share your GTD setup and experience: what works for you and what doesn't?

What software do you use and how?

I never owned a smartphone or a tablet, because I believed that they are mostly good for wasting time and effort on distractions (I have a Nokia 1202), but recently I gave in and bought an HTC One mini, because I believe it will help my productivity. Still getting used to the fact what goes for 'mini' these days, but that's the best phone I could find that looks well-made and not overly huge, short of the iPhone.

For my main computer I am running Ubuntu on a ThinkPad X series and I plan to upgrade to Microsoft Surface Pro 2; I think that it might finally be a tablet that I would use (because, if nothing else, it's a very portable PC). Yes, I want to buy a Microsoft hardware to wipe Windows and use with Linux, I believe it's that good.

So, I'm looking for your positive experience with GTD and related productivity software on Android, or maybe even native Linux platforms. I should be able to run Web-based, Java or even Windows apps via Wine, if really needed: in the best case scenario I just double-click exe-file and it works; I even used to play Hearthstone, when I had the time.

Do you find the use in a smartphone as a separate productivity device, even if you are near a computer?

Comment by listic on Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014 · 2014-04-03T03:23:29.245Z · LW · GW
  1. He has a lot of things to do. Offloading some of them is kind of the whole point of having assistants.
  2. Buying me a computer as employee benefit is difficult for the MIRI's accounting.

Did I answer your question?

Comment by listic on Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014 · 2014-04-01T19:16:34.384Z · LW · GW

If you live in the USA, I could use your help to buy a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 computer for myself. I live in Russia and Microsoft doesn't sell those here and refuses to ship; I have already tried using a US proxy and reshipping service, but the order doesn't go through: maybe it detects that I'm not in the US, or my debit card is not issued by US bank, or something else. Either way, I need someone's help in this.

Also, if you are a student, you should be eligible for 10% discount. But I'm not sure whether Microsoft actually checks this: I could click a certain link, and after that the prices of Surface and accessories that I saw just went down 10%. It's just that I couldn't place my order, neither with the discount, nor without it.

We could do it like this: I transfer you the funds, you buy the computer and order it to a certain U.S.-based P.O. Box. The reshipping company will do the rest.

I am working as lukeprog's assistant, I guess he can vouch that I'm not pulling any tricks on you. Links to my identity are in my LW profile.

Update: I think we have a case of bystander apathy here. What should I do: plead and appeal personally?

Hello. Yes, I mean you, who is reading this now. Wouldn't you please help me buy a computer? Please contact me in the comments, via PM or email:

Comment by listic on Open Thread for February 11 - 17 · 2014-02-13T00:39:08.802Z · LW · GW

I am going to organize a coaching course to learn Javascript + Node.js.

My particular technology of choice is node.js because:

  • If starting from scratch, having to learn just one language for both frontend and backend makes sense. Javascript is the only language you can use in a browser and you will have to learn it anyway. They say it's kind of Lisp or Scheme in disguise and a pretty cool language by itself.
  • Node.js is a modern asynchronous web framework, made by running Javascript code server-side on Google's open-source V8 JavaScript Engine It seems to be well suited for building highly-loaded backend servers, and works for regular websites, too.
  • Hack Reactor teaches it to make 98% of graduates earn $110k/year, on average, after 3 months of study. But their tuition is $17,780. We will do much cheaper.

I wanted to learn modern web technologies for a while, but haven't gotten myself to actually do it. When I tried to start learning, I was overwhelmed by the number of things I still have to learn to get anything done. Here's the bare minimum:

  • html
  • css
  • javascript
  • node.js
  • git

I believe the optimum course of action is to hire a guru to do coaching for me and several other students and split the cost. The benefits compared to learning by yourself are:

  • personal communication (via Skype or similar) and doing tasks along with the others provides an additional drive to complete your studies
  • guru can choose an optimum path for me to reach the desired capabilities in shortest time.

The capabilities that I want to achieve are:

i. To be able to add functionality to my Tumblr blog (where I run a writing prompt) by either using custom theme + Tumblr API or extracting posts via API and using them to render my blog on a separate website. node.js is definitely not needed here, rather than this is the simplest case of doing something useful that I need to with web technologies and node.js is my web technology of choice.

ii. To hack on Undum, a client-side hypertext interactive fiction framework. My thoughts on why I think Undum and IF are cool are here.

  • To port features from one version of Undum to another and create a version of Undum that is able to run all existing games (about 5 of them)
  • To abstract away Undum's internal game representation and state so that they can be loaded and saved externally, over a network
  • To create a server part for Undum that controls the version of the book you're allowed to read (allows to read one new chapter a day, remembers the branch you're reading, up to the end, if you've read to the end, etc.)
  • To create a website that works as a YouTube and an editor for Undum games

iii. To create new experiments that utilize modern web technologies to interesting and novel effect. I know that this sounds really vague, but the point is that sometimes you never know what can be done until you learn the relevant skills. One example of the kind of thing that I think about is what this paper is talking about:

Lee et al. - Real-Time Disease Surveillance Using Twitter Data, Demonstration on Flu and Cancer

Friend's advice: Skype Premium + Dropbox + Piratepad + Slideshare + Doodle should be enough. What do you think?

Want to join? Questions? Suggestions for better videoconferencing software than Skype?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-09T02:25:06.006Z · LW · GW

the thing that tulpas contribute is something 99% of people have in overabundance

And that is..?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-08T23:17:16.701Z · LW · GW

I believe that tulpas expend host's attention, unless proven otherwise.

Why do you think that attention is a central part of human thinking?

Here's what I am thinking: Attention seems to be a crucial and finite resource. I could certainly become more productive if I become more attentive, and vice versa. If creating a tulpa expends my attention, it is a negative-sum game for me; if it makes me training attention as a side effect, that's good, but not better than just training attention.

Have you never had the experience that you searched for a piece of information in your mind and can't find it, then two hours later it pops into your mind?

Sure! Sometimes I try hard to remember a piece of information, but can't. Then later, when I don't try, it just pops. Interesting, but usually unhelpful.

From what I read of the field there nobody even making a business out of the topic

Shouldn't the fact that nobody ever made a business out of the topic be counted as evidence towards impossibility to make a business out of the topic? If tulpas were monetizable in any way, why wouldn't there be people monetizing them?

Now, I fantasize that maybe our minds just need some tiny little upgrade for tulpas to become a clear advantage? Can you help me imagine what would that be?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-08T22:02:25.195Z · LW · GW

I've thought at your reply for a while and I still can't understand it. Care to explain?

Why would one want to "turn duplicates of the same person into new unique persons rapidly" and how? How would that help and why would one otherwise have to simulate an entire childhood?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-04T17:15:38.442Z · LW · GW

One of the documented features of Tulpa is already waking up people from sleep.

That's interesting. Do you have a link for this?

I believe that tulpas expend host's attention, unless proven otherwise. Tulpamancers haven't proven that they can be more effective than other people by any metric, and I suspect that having a tulpa is a zero-sum game in absence of some brain upgrade that would expand some bottleneck in our mind.

Comment by listic on What if Strong AI is just not possible? · 2014-01-02T20:31:03.845Z · LW · GW

Then, what would that make homo sapiens who can hunt wild beasts in savannah and design semiconductor chips if not generally intelligent?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-02T20:25:53.143Z · LW · GW

Here's a science-fiction/futurism kind of question:

What minimal, realistic upgrade to our brain could we introduce for tulpas to gain an evident increase in utility? What I have in mind here is make your tulpa do extra work or maybe sort and filter your memories while you sleep; I'm thinking of a scenario where Strong AI and wholesale body/brain upgrades are not available, yet some minor upgrade makes having a tulpa an unambiguous advantage.

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-02T17:55:55.184Z · LW · GW

It would be nice if you found its name. Doesn't one's body need rest?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-02T17:30:22.674Z · LW · GW

Think about the impact on the whole society; anyone you meet anywhere could be a virtual personality.

That doesn't seem to imply much. It's still some distinct personality. What should have an impact is the fact that now there are two personalities inhabiting a single body at different times: when you meet me at daytime, it's really me, but when you meet me at night - that's a different person. Unless I've borked my "sleep" schedule and that's still me; then I might be not-me at some time during the day. That should... take some getting used to.

Also, doesn't the body need sleep, only a (part of the) brain?

What does it think it do during 16 hours of your uptime?

False memories. Your choice. You have an equivalent of full hypnotic power over them. To avoid too much work with programming them every day, a reasonable default choice would be to make them remember everything but think that they did it.

I see. It doesn't make sense to make those memories too false, though, or the reality will take increasingly more effort to cover up. Suppose, I decide to start going to gym and conceal it from my alter-ego. Suddenly they will notice that their body started to bulk up for no apparent reason.

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-02T15:44:02.190Z · LW · GW

My ideas of sci-fi story may be similar to yours; though they require some fleshing out.

In your story idea, does the second personality ever take physical control of your body? Can it physically go to work or should it be limited to working online, say via brain implant, while your body is sleeping? If the latter, how does it perceive its 8 hours of work? What happens if you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night?

What does it think it do during 16 hours of your uptime?

Can you directly communicate to your second personality? I guess, you can (like you're supposed to do with a tulpa), but you don't have to: you are the master personality and you can directly control their experience (this would be somewhat like servitor, I believe), right?

Comment by listic on Tulpa References/Discussion · 2014-01-02T15:27:20.405Z · LW · GW

If you explain things away with magical technology you aren't really writing sci-fi but you are writing fantasy.

What is your problem with a story where it is possible to create a second personality in your brain using technology? (let's discuss just this story idea here, but not Inception, for clarity). As far as my understanding of the issue goes, tulpas are likely using their host's mental resources in a way, so to create a second personality that is capable of independent work during host's downtime, some kind of hardware upgrade for a host's mind should be necessary.

I imagine the necessary mind upgrade should be similar to upgrading single-core CPU to single-core CPU with hyper-threading.

Comment by listic on What if Strong AI is just not possible? · 2014-01-02T15:09:16.554Z · LW · GW

That's another possibility I didn't think of.

I guess I was really interested in a question "Why could Strong AI turn out to be impossible to build by human civilization in a century or ten?"