Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes Thread February 2016 · 2016-02-26T18:49:50.212Z · LW · GW

I'm vaguely worried by the way 'elementalistic' structure and 'non-elementalistic' structure are separated in part A. It seems to have the connotation (I'm not sure if it was intended or not) that the elementalistic structures are better and the non-elementalistic structures are arbitrary. However, there's a reason why science - especially physics - have increasingly moved over towarda mathematical points of view and the sorts of language you've included under non-elementalistic. They really are better at describing the natural world: e.g. you lose out on key concepts if you insist on completely dividing 'space' and 'time' rather than appreciating the way they interact. This sort of feeds into part (B). He describes languages as being similar or non-similar to the world and our nervous system, but the truth is that once you move beyond the ancestral environment the world is very different to our nervous system. To choose in favour of the languages similar to the nervous system over those similar to the world is ultimately to choose in favour of our own biases.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes Thread November 2015 · 2015-11-15T15:30:20.209Z · LW · GW

John Green on human inability to instinctively appreciate large numbers and broad events:

My current number one goal in life is to someday be as excited about something as Cheez Doodles Guy is about Cheez Doodles. But its a weird facet of human brains that some thins cause that joyful excitement and others don't. Like today, the World Health Organisation announced that maternal death over the last twenty-five years has fallen 44% worldwide. This is amazing news (arguably even better news than discovering Cheez Doodles in Antarctica) and yet while I am encouraged by this news I am not Cheez-Doodles-Guy-excited about it, which is so weird; humans are so weird!

Comment by Nomad on Complex Novelty · 2015-11-15T10:10:12.448Z · LW · GW

There are people who really do enjoy woodworking. I can't picture a utopia where no one ever whittles.

That really expresses something I've been mulling over to myself for a while: that failed utopias in fiction, or at least a large class of such, only appear to work because they lack certain types of people. The Culture, ironically, has no transhumanists, people who look at the Minds and say, "I want to be one of those." Certain agrarian return-to-nature fantasies lack people like me, who couldn't psychologically survive outside of a city and who derive literally no pleasure from so-called 'beautiful dioramas'. And of course, any utopia I would try to write probably would fall into the same trap, most likely because I wouldn't include people who want to whittle.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes Thread October 2015 · 2015-10-20T08:47:42.777Z · LW · GW

So I guess the real lesson is "figuring out which ideas are true is hard."

The alt-text of this xkcd comic.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes Thread October 2015 · 2015-10-18T09:49:19.778Z · LW · GW

To me, that sounds suspiciously like "The obligation of subjects to the sovereign is understood to last as long and no longer than the power by which he is able to compel that obligation." It's gilded up so it sounds better, but that's how it was in practice.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes Thread October 2015 · 2015-10-06T16:37:03.211Z · LW · GW

That quote reminds me of this, so much.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes Thread June 2015 · 2015-06-09T13:20:54.897Z · LW · GW

And just to be clear, the narrative being put forth above -- that everyone claiming to be poor is secretly rich -- is once more not something that anyone actually believes. Offer anyone saying it the chance to live in the public housing projects or trailer parks where these secretly rich welfare queens dwell and all you'll see is a cloud of dust and a tiny silhouette sprinting off into the horizon. But you don't need the majority to actually believe it, only to "believe" it.

Cracked pointing out the danger of belief in belief.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes January 2015 · 2015-01-10T19:05:28.641Z · LW · GW

Any context? (e.g. what the suggestion is)

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes December 2014 · 2014-12-14T02:15:33.854Z · LW · GW

Summary: The superheroes of Worm regularly fight against existential threats called Endbringers, and have to work together with villains (some of whom are neo-nazis) to do it. They've been able to set up rules to ensure the villains can co-operate (no arrests, no using villains as bait, everyone gets medical attention afterwards), without which the Endbringers would win. However, the linked chapter explains that they've failed to extend this to post-fight celebrations, since the public won't accept any form of moral equivalence. Since the public will protest if villains are honoured for their sacrifices, and the villains riot if heroes are honoured but villains are not, no-one gets honoured.

Comment by Nomad on Simulate and Defer To More Rational Selves · 2014-09-09T22:55:18.727Z · LW · GW

I've now got this horrifying idea that this has been Quirrell's plan all along: to escape from HPMOR to the real world by tempting you to simulate him until he takes over your mind.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes July 2014 · 2014-07-06T11:34:26.224Z · LW · GW

I dunno. If the bet is for less money than a can of cider costs and you have a glass ready it might be worth it.

Comment by Nomad on Just for fun: Computer game to illustrate AI takeover concepts? · 2014-07-04T10:32:53.757Z · LW · GW

One thing that might be worth changing/clarifying in the victory conditions is how a Friendly AI wins alongside its creator. At the moment, in order for a Creator/FAI team to win (assuming you're sticking with Diplomacy mechanics) they first have to collect 18 supply centres between them and then have the AI transfer all its control back to the human; I don't think even the friendliest of AIs would willingly rebox itself like that. Even worse, a friendly AI which has been given a lot of control might accidentally "win" by itself even though it doesn't want to. If this corresponds to the FAI taking control of everything and then building a utopia in its creator's image (since it's Friendly this is what it would do if it took control), this should be an acceptable winning condition for the creator.

I think a better victory condition would be that if a creator and FAI collect 18 supply centres between them, then they win the game together and both get 50 points.

This method does have one disadvantage in that a human can prove that an AI is not friendly if the game should have ended if it was, but I don't expect this to affect much because by the time this comes into effect either the unfriendly AI is sufficiently strong that they should have backstabbed their creator already, or they are sufficiently weak (And thus of the 18 centres held by human and AI almost all are held by the human) that the creator should soon win.

Comment by Nomad on Three Parables of Microeconomics · 2014-05-11T19:55:06.070Z · LW · GW

I suppose the cycle of increasing prices could be broken in one of two ways in a purely economic way: 1) The increasing profits either increases the benefit for the the gas stations to break the truce and slightly lower prices again (or for a new competitor to do the same). 2) The vast majority of cars entering the town are not desperate for fuel (or at least not so desperate as to be extorted) but are merely considering getting fuel here. Without knowing it, the gas stations are actually in competition with the gas stations of neighbouring towns.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes April 2014 · 2014-04-04T15:46:08.313Z · LW · GW

Teenage stupidity is magical. At that age, you're so dumb that you may think you know you're dumb, but you're actually so ignorant (and arrogant) that you think you're smart and wise for knowing you're dumb. In reality, you're just dumb. Take away the recursive loop of delusion and any sense of how wise you are even though you're so young, and the truth is all that remains: You Are Dumb.


Comment by Nomad on Ask and Guess · 2014-01-19T19:44:05.696Z · LW · GW

It's probably worth mentioning that Guessers also have negative utility from refusing others requests, coming from a culture where requests are generally accepted. If the actors are ethical, then this gives a preference towards guessing. In particular, you can imagine strategy where an unethical Asker is skilled at pitching requests such that the cost to a Guesser is greater than the gain for the Asker, but less than the Guessers penalty for refusing. By doing this the Asker "coerces" Guessers into agreeing. Recognising this, an ethical agent in a society of mostly Guessers will likely also take a Guessing strategy.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes January 2014 · 2014-01-14T08:35:06.714Z · LW · GW

For that matter, "being in the same worldview" does not mean consistent. Compartmentalisation is a wonderful thing.

Comment by Nomad on A Voting Puzzle, Some Political Science, and a Nerd Failure Mode · 2013-10-10T17:25:58.991Z · LW · GW

Gotta agree with that. I live about 5 minutes away from 3 different supermarkets within metres of each other.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-09T12:28:26.035Z · LW · GW

At first James thought they were joking because, "You know, Hidden Object Games". But then, after a moment, James realised they were absolutely right. Why hadn't we done a show on Hidden Object Games?

Extra Credits react to their surprise.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-05T16:22:44.148Z · LW · GW

From the same article:

I do it because it's good for the brain. To do good work you need a brain that can go anywhere. And you especially need a brain that's in the habit of going where it's not supposed to.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-05T16:20:03.442Z · LW · GW

We often like to think of World War II as a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. We conveniently forget that the Soviet Union was also one of the winners.

Paul Graham

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-05T16:14:50.093Z · LW · GW

I'm not convinced the whole thing is a decent rationality quote, as part of it seems to be Menelaus surrendering to the idea that "because Darwin discovered Natural Selection, he endorsed it".

On the other hand, "Some of his friends said you had to prick your finger with a pin to make the oath valid; and boys of particular boldness used a rusty pin, as if daring the Jihad plague to strike. Menelaus knew that was all nonsense: it was the willpower that decided oaths, nothing else. No pin would be as sharp as what he felt beating in his angry young heart." is brilliant: both understanding the inclination to irrationality, and also emphasising that rationality can be strengthened by emotion.

Comment by Nomad on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-03T17:28:00.573Z · LW · GW

The “I blundered and lost, but the refutation was lovely!” scenario is something lovers of truth and beauty can appreciate.

Jeremy Silman