The Just World Hypothesis 2017-10-09T06:03:41.485Z · score: 32 (11 votes)
Clueless World vs. Loser World 2017-10-07T00:03:18.045Z · score: 23 (15 votes)


Comment by michael_vassar2 on What are your plans for the evening of the apocalypse? · 2018-08-04T18:38:16.091Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. Largely depends on how many 'fundamentals' investors there are in debt relative to 'speculative' investors.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Fixing science via a basic income · 2018-08-03T05:28:54.815Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In some disciplines, like working in an Amazon warehouse, intrinsic motivation is low and both cheating and legitimate but zero sum efforts are unlikely. There, ever greater competition for economic and social rewards generate ever better results. In other domains, like the creation of knowledge and especially the evaluation of knowledge, intrinsic motivation is relatively strong, cheating is easy or likely to succeed or zero sum situations are the default. In those domains, competition leads to the displacement of necessary activities by highly optimized forms of fraud. At the extreme, nobody argues that we need profit maximization by judges or by generals. Unfortunately, using pharmceutical companies to produce medical innovation isn't very much better and ever more commercialized and competitive academia isn't much better than that.

Nobody is confused about this. We don't have incentives this terrible by accident. Rather, there are constituencies in favor of accurate shared information and constituencies against. The latter, unfortunately have been working unopposed for a long time

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Anti-tribalism and positive mental health as high-value cause areas · 2018-08-03T03:39:01.681Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes tribalism leads to the loss of gains from trade, so reality will down-regulate it. At other times it leads to gains through coalitionally resource capture. When the latter is occurring, greater 'mental health', in a biological sense, will lead to increased tribalism. We can use 'mental health' as a euphemism for 'being autistic' but doing so won't change fitness gradients. If tribalism was actually unhealthy, it would be lost by evolution like any other complex adaptation.

If we want less tribalism, or simply more gains from trade, the thing to do is almost certainly to empower less tribal people to understand it better so as to better defend themselves from it via non-tribal patterns of affiliation, which is impossible by definition if you use tribalism as a synonym for coalitional politics. Can we do better?

Comment by michael_vassar2 on What are your plans for the evening of the apocalypse? · 2018-08-03T03:22:48.588Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The consensus would converge on it being fake news. No downside to being wrong, so prediction makes would agree with this consensus.

People with professional skills relevant to evaluating the claims who denied the data would rapidly rise to the top of their professions.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Toolbox-thinking and Law-thinking · 2018-06-13T19:36:47.973Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pretty certain that I can pass the ITT for both law and tool thinking, but it's complicated because undwrneath Tool Thinking is the belief that there are things about thinking that need to be concealed, which implies that it will generally oppose an accurate account of it's actual beliefs. In Law Thinking, every truth reveals every other truth and concealment is impossible in theory and impractical in the long term in practice. If things need to be concealed, it's important to oppose the possibility of inference.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Meta-Honesty: Firming Up Honesty Around Its Edge-Cases · 2018-05-31T16:45:20.310Z · score: 21 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Wasn't your old rule officially "don't lie to someone unless you would also feel good about slashing their tires given the opportunity?" Or something very close to that? That already solves the standard Kantean problems.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Weird question: could we see distant aliens? · 2018-04-20T17:30:07.422Z · score: 9 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why doesn't any monochromatic light not on the natural spectrum of an element do it? Or rather, any cluster of nearby frequencies to accommodate redshift.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Explicit and Implicit Communication · 2018-03-21T18:39:37.475Z · score: 26 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Also, NVC is more like passive aggressive communication than explicit communication.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Explicit and Implicit Communication · 2018-03-21T18:38:12.809Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · LW · GW

And then, you know, Phillip came and conquered the Spartans...

Comment by michael_vassar2 on A LessWrong Crypto Autopsy · 2018-01-29T19:51:15.159Z · score: 25 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I bought 200 BTC and lost them in a hack. Later bought 50 ether and kept them in a wallet, so I still have those. In light of that, I'd say security was pretty important!

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Clueless World vs. Loser World · 2017-10-13T19:43:19.607Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Benquo's comment is correct.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Distinctions in Types of Thought · 2017-10-12T20:02:21.734Z · score: 14 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It seems casually obvious that raccoons and crows engage in deliberate thought. Possibly hunting spiders and octopods do. Also obvious at this point that we have more processing power available than hunting spiders.
Everything biology does has an explanation as concise as the algorithmic complexity of the genome, which isn't obviously intractable for understanding at all of the relevant levels of description.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Distinctions in Types of Thought · 2017-10-12T19:51:24.304Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I really wish you would give his argument for the claim that we (even plausibly) have all the pieces, Lahwran. I would also love to see an abridged transcript of a discourse wherein the two of you reached a double-crux. My best guess is that Lahwran is thinking of 'only integrating existing systems' as a triviality which can be automated by the market rather than what it actually is, a higher-level instance of the design problem.

That said, the idea that thinking has been tried seems so insane to me that I may be failing to steelman it accurately.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Distinctions in Types of Thought · 2017-10-12T19:48:18.815Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not influenced by him, but his (and Gary Marcus') approach seems like common sense to me. It seems likely that Sarah's ability to track ideology to its philosophical roots can contribute to Tenenbaum's and Marcus' abilities to present their perspectives compellingly to people with more philosophical and less technical bent who have the relatively high trust in consensus which tends to accompany technical ability but which is the opposite of Thiel's effective investment strategies.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Distinctions in Types of Thought · 2017-10-12T19:45:06.709Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

FWIW, is the best actual argument I have seen for deep learning being a qualitative new capability, but it looks like the capability "analogy/metaphor" not the capability 'awareness' or 'deliberate thought'.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Nobody does the thing that they are supposedly doing · 2017-10-09T20:05:17.113Z · score: 15 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It seems to me that Kaj is saying that he didn't know this after reading the Sequences. In light of that, it's not repetition. It's very possible that this post still didn't convey the content that he was trying to convey to you, the tacit knowledge drawn from books and life outside of LW. To me, the post seems novel, but also vulnerable to not being taken literally. I feel that if it was taken literally and then exceptions were enumerated, elucidating patterns would appear. In light of that, I'll start in a new post.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on The Just World Hypothesis · 2017-10-09T17:44:31.742Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Please spell this one out.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Catalonia and the Overton Window · 2017-10-08T16:55:22.251Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Just a reminder that police haven't always been a part of 'government', and that 'law' has a history of existence independent of 'government'. During historic times, most of the population of the world has usually been owned and farmed, but most of the people who have ever lived have not lived that way. Also, most of the actual history of the world, as measured by what gets recorded, has not been the history of owned and farmed populations, but rather, the history of free populations, in frontier territories like the US, in city states and 'free cities', and of course, among aristocratic or international elites. In America and Europe, the modern state is fairly new. Passports arose during WWI. So did large amounts of the economy passing through federal bureaucracies. I think that one can plausibly argue that in America, proper law Ended at that time and was replaced by 'the interpretation of the Common Law' as articulated by Pragmatist philosopher Oliver Wendal Holmes.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Curriculum suggestions for someone looking to teach themselves contemporary philosophy · 2017-10-08T16:39:00.296Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Philosophy does a lot of different things. Good and Real is trying to correct some confusions which people tend to have early in their lives, as is someone like Hume or Descartes. Something like Nietzsche or Aristotle is aiming at somewhat older people in a lower trust context. Not smarter or wiser, but in more adult situations. Kant is partially trying to support and influence a political order. Deleuze is trying to take one down. Foucault is essential reading for understanding how contemporary institutions violate the principles that justify them and originated through the evolution of institutions we would today consider abhorrent via the modification of superficial features. He's the author I would expect a recent "Sequences" grad to get the most benefit from.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Ideas to make saving the world easier? · 2017-10-08T16:21:41.662Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Possibly stop trying to save the world *in cities where 'save the world TM' is an established 'personal narrative' and where terminal PoMo makes it impossible to express propositions as anything but your 'personal narrative'*.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Sabbath Commentary · 2017-10-08T15:59:30.078Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW

WRT screens, I'm inspired to suggest, that there may be a difference between using software produced commercially and software produced non-commercially. If there was an open-source version of the Kindle, I'd be much more confidently on-board for it. One thing about books is that traditional publishing really was a different thing from other industries, and to was a great extent a public trust, done for reasons other than profit. I LOVE Amazon, and before it, Borders and Barnes and Nobel, in terms of their short-term effects, but in the long term, the world really needs publishing that's not profit driven. Blogs used to be that too, for that matter. It's possible that the ban on social media ought really to be a ban on 'advertising' or even broader, on 'communications' as the topic would be understood in a college classroom, that is, on messages produced with the intention to create a specific outcome.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Clueless World vs. Loser World · 2017-10-08T06:09:19.820Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to try to figure out together what could make it and subsequent posts clearer.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on [deleted post] 2017-10-07T16:25:42.367Z

The end of the USSR was sort-of this situation in reverse, with government employees continuing to do their jobs for years after there was anyone to pay them and eventually stopping when they were no longer in a position to continue.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Clueless World vs. Loser World · 2017-10-07T16:23:45.515Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Part of the issue is a bias toward skepticism, part is a bias toward seeing the role of language as discursive rather than active. In the idealized situation, one can cleanly separate the discursive speech of the trial from the active speech of the judge's or jury's final decision, but there are also times when one simply takes a vocal action without any prior discourse, for instance, shouting 'Stop' based on one's own type two error laden perception. Doing this is a form of aggression, an attempt to control the group's behavior personally rather than only doing so through the medium of discourse, but all politics is aggression and a HUGE fraction of what people do is politics.

As a general rule, when you are participating in a political conflict, you are taking sides whether you want to or not, and if you consistently take the side of the powerful, of those who have more authority and more live options, others are correct to notice you doing so and to incentivize you to do otherwise.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Slack · 2017-10-06T22:08:32.265Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My guess is that 'Slack' reads differently in social and material reality. Maya is, in a sense, signaling infinite slack, but in a manner which actually consumes any possible reserve of slack. I think a careful reading of Rao shows that sacrificing the thing for the representation of the thing is what he refers to as 'creating social capital'.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on The Problematic Third Person Perspective · 2017-10-06T16:39:19.162Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In this case, I think it's worth being very VERY curious as to how that judge got in there in the first place. It's also probably worth eventually doing psychological research in order to classify types of judge, in case they aren't all the same. Do mathematicians above a certain caliber all possess internal judges with a common standard for proof? How does this phenomenon relate to actual judges?

In general, I would expect a person following this advice to, in the average case, diverge from the process of creating a map in correspondence with the territory, towards the replacement of the map with a feedback system conditioning model-free harmony. I would expect that their mind would gradually transition from asking 'is this true' to asking 'is this what power wants me to say', and eventually to come to see truth as a dreadful constraint on safety rather than as a support with which to achieve safety. I would expect them to grow in their ability to lead and to sell, but to loose the ability to manage, or otherwise constrain the actions of a group in order to direct them towards some goal other than politics.

That doesn't at all mean that the ideal mode of cognition involves such a judge. Just that collaborative cognition requires a common set of protocols and this seems to be the default such set of protocols for constructive collaboration, while other protocols seem favored by predatory collaboration and seem likely to emerge if not suppressed.

Comment by michael_vassar2 on Chronophone Motivations · 2007-03-25T15:06:29.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Build a seed AI seems like something that would translate into a religious proposal to me. Discover God perhaps? Might it work better if proposed by someone who didn't understand the implications of AGI? Would discussion of MNT translate ad the suggestion of miniaturizing Hiero's engine and the Antikythera mechanism, or scaling them up? The rules of this game really don't seem clear enough. We need to get feedback from Archimedes on what he's hearing. Personally, I strongly suspect that when it comes to ethical and political ideas the Ancient Greeks will understand us fairly well without much need for metaphorical translation, so long as we keep the discussion abstract. Women's suffrage = wise dictator? For people who's ancestors were inventing democracies of a sort and writing Lysistrata centuries earlier? Make the machine reversible and if you suggest women's suffrage and he responds about Hiero II, you will hear a sensible to modern ears argument for moving to Singapore.