How to fix academia? 2015-08-20T00:50:56.109Z · score: 10 (12 votes)
Open Thread, November 23-30, 2013 2013-11-23T06:04:25.465Z · score: 4 (7 votes)
Research on unconscious visual processing 2013-11-15T22:54:55.781Z · score: 10 (9 votes)


Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Aug. 22 - 28, 2016 · 2016-08-23T01:17:38.045Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

And Lumifer's dismissal of it is probably the most low-effort way of responding. Students of rationality, take note.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Aug. 22 - 28, 2016 · 2016-08-23T00:03:18.445Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Anyone can easily deny that they are biased. That takes no effort. So, again, why is it a 'godawful clickbait piece-of-crap'?

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Aug. 22 - 28, 2016 · 2016-08-22T23:13:32.422Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

On the contrary, being able to identify your own biases and being able to express what kind of information would change your mind is at the heart of rationality.

You're a libertarian. We all know that. But regardless of whether you ideologically agree with the conclusions of the article or not, you should be able to give a more convincing counter-argument than 'godawful clickbait piece-of-crap.'

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-26T04:46:07.778Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What you're saying doesn't sound to me like a disagreement that there must be some higher authority. It just sounds like you're saying that the final authority gets decided at run-time, based on whoever happens to have the most financial power. So then the question becomes: Why do you think this is preferable to a system where authority is agreed upon beforehand by a majority of the people?

And just to make the discussion clearer, let's make it even more specific and talk about the issue of disputes over ownership of objects or property.

The comparison to religion makes no sense. Unlike biological organisms, human governments are designed. For example, in the case of the US, the structure and function of the court system is very explicitly laid out in the US constitution, and it was carefully designed in a committee via months/years of debate.

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-24T22:36:10.715Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In each possible situation, it's useful to have an authority available who has final say over disputes. But it's not necessarily for every process in society to depend on the same authority.

Then who gets to decide who that authority is for every particular situation?

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-17T00:58:24.164Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can you be more specific?

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-16T01:22:43.686Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know what "an unusually high preference for liberty/freedom" means. Every single political philosophy claims that it is pro-freedom. Even totalitarian regimes claim to be pro-freedom. Without reference to specific policy positions, claiming to be 'pro-freedom' seems meaningless to me.

So that reduces your definition of libertarianism to 'far-off-the-center position on the individualism vs collectivism axis'.

For a stable society to exist, at some level everyone has to agree upon some central authority with final say over disputes and superlative enforcement ability. Do you agree with this or not?

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-07T22:05:08.576Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've tried before to steelman it and failed because the arguments constantly shift around and are hard to pin down. Tailoring arguments to every single person's interpretation gets tiring after a while. But if you can provide an explanation or link to what you believe then I'd read and try to steelman it to see if I understand your position correctly.

Here, though, I'm arguing on a more meta level - even assuming that it comprised a coherent set of beliefs, and assuming you had a well-defined utility function you wanted to maximize, how would you possibly go about providing a truly rational justification that libertarianism applied to a large mass of complicated human beings would result in the desired outcome? This also applies to capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. Essentially anything other than pure utilitarianism, but even utilitarianism requires a lot of fleshing out before you get to anything resembling a working procedure for governing people.

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-07T12:55:42.061Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What surprises me is that you would even ask that question... what rational justification is there for libertarianism?

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-06-27T01:04:43.212Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Neoreaction, libertarianism, and related ideologies.

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-06-24T11:02:12.941Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see why I should fear retaliation as I've already left this site, for all intents and purposes.

The only issue is that I don't want to give the impression of having left over some petty argument and being bitter over it. The reality is the opposite. The reality is that there were never any heated disagreements. It was just me observing a very clear irrational, politically extremist bias in many people's comments, especially the ones most frequently in the 'top 30 contributors' panel (which shows that their beliefs in general match up with the overall beliefs in this community). In a few cases this bias went even to the extent of denying basic accepted science. In the end I realized that instead of trying to debate on LW rationally, it would be a better use of my time to go elsewhere.

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-06-24T02:04:54.030Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I somewhat agree. Sometimes communities dissolve through a publicized schism. Other times they just decay without any visible drama. It's not realistic to expect every single person who gets fed up and leaves to post a detailed criticism of the site and why they are leaving. A lot of people would rather just leave quietly and not waste their time with that kind of thing.

Still, it seems like the decline definitely accelerated over the past couple of years.

Comment by passive_fist on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-06-24T00:04:28.364Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The LW community is in rapid decline and people have been leaving in large numbers for years. LW is probably in the terminal stage of decline now, not in the initial or even middle stage. If you think this isn't true you are in denial - all the poll data and post/comment data shows this to be true.

I used to be an active member of this group. This is my first comment in months. I don't know why other people left; I can only speculate and offer the reasons why I left. The reason I left was because I perceived (maybe incorrectly, I don't know) that discourse was being dominated by a handful of individuals who had very little interest in actual rational unbiased discussion and were more interested in forcing their views on everyone under the pretense of rationality.

I guess it's a lesson and a set of things to learn for the next LW-like site. It's a lesson in how quickly good intentions (rational discussion and questioning authority) can lead to the evaporative cooling effect and the adoption of extreme sociological/political views while pretending that this is not taking place.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016 · 2016-01-12T22:16:43.717Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It's not obvious that use of a pesticide would substantially harm bees, as pesticides have been in use for a very long time, and many organophosphate pesticides are fairly non-toxic to bees. Neonicotinoids, however, are extremely toxic to bees. The use of neonicotinoids is fairly recent; large-scale use only started in the late 90's, and very soon after that beekeepers started filing petitions to the EPA. They were ignored. I'd say this is more a case of systemic and deliberate ignorance/politics rather than a 'mistake'.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016 · 2016-01-12T22:08:46.642Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't put too much faith in the 1/2000 figure for chance of HIV transmission. There is no known way to calculate that with any reasonable confidence. Estimates vary from something like 1/500 to 1/2500 (this is for vaginal sex; anal sex has much higher transmission risk).

Comment by passive_fist on Are we failing the ideological Turing test in the case of ISIS? (a crazy ideas thread) · 2016-01-09T20:53:54.548Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well then if there is no information relevant to ISIS, then why make it a discussion about ISIS?

Comment by passive_fist on Are we failing the ideological Turing test in the case of ISIS? (a crazy ideas thread) · 2016-01-09T20:40:53.268Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It seems to me that a pre-requisite of talking about ISIS' motivations would be actually visiting the region and being involved with them first-hand, or else basing your opinion on information gathered from direct, reputable sources.

Right now most of the discussion on the internet - especially including this post - fail to meet this criterion. They are simply opinions based on opinions repeated by other uninformed persons which also repeat opinions from other uninformed persons. If I am wrong, then provide links to your sources.

In fact you could argue that the major factor in the West's seeming inability to deal with ISIS is the failure of intelligence gathering. The CIA and other agencies have admitted they have a hard time gathering intelligence about them (this may be misdirection on part of the CIA, however).

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016 · 2016-01-06T00:24:28.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Statistically, withdrawal is just as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy; STDs are a bigger concern but the risk can be minimized with a checkup. However, condoms are not effective at preventing transmission of many types of STDs either.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016 · 2016-01-06T00:09:01.065Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I feel that this is too complicated a solution for most people to follow. And it's not a very secure backup system anyway.

You can just get an external hard drive and use any of the commonly-available full-drive backup software. Duplicity is a free one and it has GUI frontends that are basically just click-to-backup. You can also set them up to give you weekly reminders, etc.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016 · 2016-01-02T08:37:30.840Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Then there are generally impressive things like having a Ph.D, a high-paying job, or being really skilled in some area which are high status in many groups.

For Ph.D., what kind of groups are you thinking about? (aside from university circles obviously)

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016 · 2015-12-28T20:19:30.303Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I might or might not be an example of someone who has done that. I learned to play guitar from scratch at 28 years old. However, I had previously learned to play the piano when I was a teenager, so that might have made it easier. However the two are very different instruments. YMMV.

A lot of the difficulty in picking up a new instrument may just be lack of time. When I was a teenager I was spending 5+ hours a day playing the piano. I am not exaggerating in the least. As an adult it is very hard to find 30 minutes a day of time. It took me about 3 years to become very good at the piano. Another few years would probably have made me even better. This is consistent with the 10,000 hour rule. A naive calculation would conclude that it would take 30 years of practice at 30 min/day to become equally good at the guitar.

Comment by passive_fist on Global catastrophic risks connected with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy · 2015-12-28T11:52:51.327Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I realize that it's a map of risks, I'm just saying the possibilities don't even remotely fall into comparable levels of risk. "Death from nuclear ICBM" is quite imaginable and possible. Not only that, there was a time when it almost seemed imminent and inevitable. And it could easily become that way again. Whereas "death from cold fusion" is essentially of zero meaningful concern.

Maybe it would be useful if you could attach some kind of crude probabilities to your estimates. I can fill a pdf with items like "death from massive leprechaun attack" but it wouldn't be a very useful guide.

Comment by passive_fist on Global catastrophic risks connected with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy · 2015-12-28T02:30:17.817Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Strictly speaking, the only major barrier to development of fission weapons (once the possibility of prompt criticality was realized) was enrichment. Even a simple gun-type bomb design suffices if you want to build a fission weapon, but you have to get the nuclear material first, and that's where the bulk of the scientific and technological effort in the Manhattan project was focused. Even today, enrichment is still only the major barrier to aspiring nuclear states/groups. Once it was identified that this was the problem that needed to be solved, the scientists quickly came up with a plan on how to tackle it. But there is no plan or pathway to pure fusion weapons. As far as we know, they could be physically impossible. I'm not discounting the possibility of some incredibly secret pure fusion weapon, but if such a weapon existed it would be exceedingly silly to spend billions of dollars on facilities like NIF or the Z machine - and keep in mind that these projects were funded by and do research for the government agencies responsible for nuclear weapons development. What's the point? (Also, cold fusion does not exist.)

  2. Wrong. A country with a sizeable stockpile of nuclear ICBMs can target and kill anyone it wishes. It's not restricted to just bombing the other superpower.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016 · 2015-12-27T21:41:45.129Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Again, why does MrMind have that 'role'?

I think the fact that you say Clarity is 'farming for karma' - without any evidence for this claim - may give away what the real problem is.

Anyway, if the issue is just time zones, I'd be fine with, say, agreeing on UT 00:00 Monday for starting an open thread. Or maybe it would just be simpler to have a bot start the thread.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016 · 2015-12-27T21:28:28.203Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

As far as I remember, the only thing that seemed to be 'agreed on' was that the open threads should be weekly, starting on Mondays, and anyone could open one if it hadn't been opened by Monday. I don't see how Clarity has broken that norm. I don't see how this is anything other than an attack on Clarity for being a newcomer, and anyone who downvoted this thread should really take a step back and consider what kind of community their downvote is promoting.

Comment by passive_fist on Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016 · 2015-12-27T21:09:48.770Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

So only MrMind is allowed to create open threads? Who gave him this sole authority? When was this decided by the community?

Why does it even matter who creates an open thread?

Comment by passive_fist on Global catastrophic risks connected with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy · 2015-12-23T00:08:47.947Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
  1. I see what you are talking about now. Flux-compression driven fusion is most likely not going to work (which explains why there has been no serious effort to pursue it). It's useful to compare it to the Sandia capacitor-powered Z-machine. To achieve fusion you need (a) a lot of energy, delivered in (b) a short amount of time (preferably nanoseconds as the fuel will tear itself apart at timescales much longer than that), in (c) a very small space. The best EPFCG so far has achieved about 100 MJ and 256 MA, but the killer is the time scale, which is on the excruciatingly slow millisecond level. By contrast, the Sandia machine can deliver about 10 MJ and 27 MA on a nanosecond timescale, and is still far from achieving fusion ignition (currently at least two orders of magnitude away). A planned tripling of energy output via a future upgrade is not expected to produce any fusion ignition either. All of this is evidence against the feasibility of EPFCG fusion. To me, it's damning evidence. A quote in that same page you linked says, "the U.S. Is not known to have and is not developing a pure fusion weapon and no credible design for a pure fusion weapon resulted from the DOE investment".

  2. It's not true that ICBMs do not have U-238 blankets. Virtually all modern warhead designs use a U-238 pusher/tamper and some also use a U-238 hohlraum (some omit this in favor of other metals, but the U-238 tamper is still there). I see what you are saying about a 'blackmail weapon' but I don't see how this is any different from the existing MAD doctrine (via nuclear ICBMs, which are more dangerous and more cost-effective).

Comment by passive_fist on Global catastrophic risks connected with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy · 2015-12-22T21:02:49.590Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Fission weapons with arbitrarily small yields are possible, it's just that you have to sacrifice efficiency. Before the CTBT, tests of < 1 ton yield were routinely carried out as part of hydrodynamic bomb testing. The smallest critical mass for plutonium (assuming an advanced weapon design) seems to be about 2-3 kg, giving a minimum yield of 5-6 kt without losing efficiency (and thus provides a minimum cost bound for a fission weapon). The 10 MJ figure I gave was assuming the smallest possible primary, and a staged design. I think at this point we have a very clear idea of what it would take to make pure fusion weapons work (after all, it is in the highest national security interest to do so) and as I said, all the approaches seem infeasible for now and the foreseeable future.

  2. I'm aware of that study. I wouldn't worry about it; the calculations are extremely optimistic and we don't even know if a segregated deuterium layer exists in Jupiter at all.

  3. I think you are missing the point. The point isn't whether you could build a SSB (although, as I said, I doubt it would be of much use in a nuclear ICBM era). The point is whether 'salting' by cobalt would produce a more dangerous device than you could make with just uranium-238. The answer is: No, in fact a cobalt bomb would be safer than a U-238 device.

Comment by passive_fist on Global catastrophic risks connected with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy · 2015-12-22T18:20:15.614Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I understood your justifications and that's what I was responding to.

  1. There are significant technological barriers to pure fusion weapons and fission implosion triggers would always probably be the cheaper option. Laser-initiated fusion is known to be unworkable; experiments have indicated that at least 10 MJ of laser energy - and probably 2 or 3 times that - is required for reliable fusion ignition; this is far beyond the capabilities of current laser technology to produce in a compact way (the NIF is a huge installation and only produces 1.8 MJ of laser energy). Antimatter-triggered fusion might be possible but we are still far from producing the amount of antimatter required (at least a billion atoms; we've currently only been able to produce about 100 atoms confined for a few minutes).

  2. You mention "Deuterium in lakes and ice has higher concentration" and "Lithium in dry lakes", referring to Earth. As for Jupiter, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

  3. The Russians are known to put out a lot of misleading information; I would take those reports with a grain of salt (ahem). Fact is, most current bombs have a secondary pusher/tamper made of Uranium-238 and this produces nuclear isotopes that are more dangerous and far more plentiful than a cobalt blanket ever would. I fail to see the point of a 'stationary doomsday device' as nuclear ICBMs are far more dangerous (and they already exist).

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-22T09:26:04.351Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A major weakness of the standard Bayesian inference method is that it assumes a problem only has two possible solutions.

This is not true at all.

Comment by passive_fist on Global catastrophic risks connected with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy · 2015-12-22T00:46:33.926Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say that the possibility of 'home made nukes' is essentially zero unless fissile isotopes become widely available and cheap, and even if all current controls on nuclear materials and technology were lifted, that would still be far from plausible. The US government pays about $1mil to $10mil worth of plutonium-238 for a single nuclear weapon; this is even though the current industrial process for producing plutonium is highly optimized and efficient (the first nuclear test required $1bn worth of fissile material).

'Home made nuke' is in the same category of plausibility as 'home made fighter jet'.

EDIT: There are some other misconceptions in your document as well. Natural fusion ignition (in materials at densities and pressures you could find anywhere on or in the Earth) is physically impossible to trigger via a nuclear explosion; a thermonuclear weapon only works by imploding some quantity of fuel contained inside the device, and this implosion requires very precise and special conditions to carry out.

'Salted' bombs are largely a myth; ordinary bombs made out of Uranium-238 (most of the current arsenal) produce far more dangerous radioactive isotopes than a hypothetical cobalt bomb. Most nuclear weapons are already 'salted.'

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T23:43:20.702Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You could just have a two-dishwasher system where the dishwasher takes the place of the cupboard.

It seems like a robot that automated the task of moving clean dishes into a cupboard would be an idea where the potential benefits, if any, are too small to currently justify the major development effort that would be required. Maybe in the future when AI becomes far more widespread and 'easy' to develop.

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T23:37:15.500Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

During the 80's and 90's a number of firms sprouted up around buying and selling penny stocks via strategies like cold calling.

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T21:28:08.031Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You are correct in that surveys of IQ and other intelligence scores consistently show physicists having some of the highest. But mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering are the same, and most studies I've seen generally see very little, if any, significant difference in intelligence scores between these fields.

'Rationalist' isn't a field or specialization, it's defined more along the lines of refining and improving rational thinking. Based on the lesswrong survey, fields like mathematics and computer science are heavily represented here. There are actually more physicists (4.3%) than philosophers (2.4%). If this is inconsistent with your perception of the community, update your prior.

From all of this it is safe to assume that the average LW'er is 'very smart', and that LW contains a mini-community of rationalist scientists. One data point: Me. I have a PhD in engineering and I'm a practising scientist. Maybe I should have phrased my initial comment as: "It might be better if the intersection of rationalists and scientists were larger."

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T21:08:31.208Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It could be that the attitude/belief that theoretical physicists are far smarter than anyone else (and therefore, by implication, do not need to listen to anyone else) is part of the problem I'm outlining.

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T20:01:45.707Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Last week was a gathering of physicists in Oxford to discuss string theory and the philosophy of science.

From the article:

Nowadays, as several philosophers at the workshop said, Popperian falsificationism has been supplanted by Bayesian confirmation theory, or Bayesianism...

Gross concurred, saying that, upon learning about Bayesian confirmation theory from Dawid’s book, he felt “somewhat like the Molière character who said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been talking prose all my life!’”

That the Bayesian view is news to so many physicists is itself news to me, and it's very unsettling news. You could say that modern theoretical physics has failed to be in-touch with other areas of science, but you could also make the argument that the rationalist community has failed to properly reach out and communicate with scientists.

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-21T03:28:17.040Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Did they provide their own food

Indeed they did. This is mentioned in the report.

In fact cash-grant villages were more likely to grow their own food than control villages. A large part of the cash grants were spent on procuring better seeds and upgrading their livestock. Cash-grant villages were also more likely to undertake productive economic activity like starting businesses.

They did undertake trade with other villages, if they wanted to.

However all this is, basically, injection of a bit of capital into a very very poor village and it does not tell us much about what would happen in a more advanced society with the basic income that is, presumably, sufficient to live on.

I think the fact that you say this hints at what may be the crux of the problem. Sure, cultural and socioeconomic differences are a huge factor, but believe it or not, 'advanced societies' do have poor people, and lots of them, and experiments like these hint that a universal basic income cannot simply be dismissed as 'eliminating incentives and leading to mass starvation.'

UBI is obviously not going to do much for rich people.

Comment by passive_fist on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-21T03:07:37.760Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

At some point, yes. Kindergarten is actually a great metaphor. If you're five, and you run out of the kindergarten, you hit a bus and die.

You can either talk about politics in the way people currently do it - a way completely removed from any sort of disciplined, rational type of thinking - or not talk about it at all. It seems that a community dedicated to refining the art of human rationality should strive not to jump head-first into the current but to refine rationality to the point where our brains are capable of discussing politics rationally.

We are far from that point.

Comment by passive_fist on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-21T00:43:59.608Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

which is usually argued about in much more sophisticated terms than "Yay magenta, boo teal".

It's not the sophistication of the arguments that is the problem. The problem is making arguments objective, rigorous, and grounded in experimental observation. I would not mind 'yay magenta, boo teal' as long as it were followed by a rational and rigorous justification. Unfortunately, making rational arguments in politics is extremely difficult. However, because of the mind-killing effect, the people making such arguments usually don't see it that way - they perceive their arguments as extremely rational and common-sense, unable to see why others view the arguments as nonsense. They are unable or unwilling to follow their arguments through with the enormous level of evidence that's required.

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-21T00:27:09.612Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sigh. Let me quote myself from upthread:

It works for small communities which mooch off larger societies

Not at all. It's clear that you didn't even look at the examples. A lot of those examples were largely self-contained. For instance, the one in Madhya Pradesh was done on a set of villages that provided their own food and necessities.

Comment by passive_fist on Modal Chicken · 2015-12-21T00:22:36.635Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I had never heard of the 'chicken' game before. It seems the punishment of 'losing social status' would apply to real-world prisoner's dilemma-like games as well: The cheater gets called a 'rat' and suffers from loss of social status.

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-20T22:58:25.518Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The assertion that an AI would make everything hunky-dory is not falsifiable.

Huh? Of course it's falsifiable. The entire premise of MIRI and CFAR is that this assertion is going to be falsified unless we take action.

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-20T22:56:06.320Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Basically, without money you'd get too many DJs and too few plumbers. Money fixes that balance problem.

Money itself doesn't fix that balance problem. It's the allocation of money. I don't disagree with the idea that some type of work is unpleasant and necessary for society so there has to be some system of incentives to make people do that type of work. I disagree with the notion that the 'communist paradise' necessarily reduces such incentives to the point that society starves and dies.

As I said, I think Xyrik's scenario (evenly dividing wealth among everyone) is too radical. But you could definitely engineer systems where people are freed from basic survival needs yet still have incentives to work for the benefit of society. I see no contradiction here.

Of course, so what? Small-scale agriculture is remarkably inefficient. Specifically, it cannot feed the current population.

Again, I already mentioned this.

Do tell me about that experience. I'm curious.

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-20T22:40:27.758Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

aspired =/= achieved.

Your comment seemed to be equating Xyrik's scenario with the Soviet system, implying that for that reason it's not desirable. I'm pointing out that the two systems cannot be equated.

Comment by passive_fist on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-20T22:37:54.931Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd prefer not for politics to spill into LW, no matter if it's left-wing or right-wing politics.

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-20T07:56:12.513Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The problem with that viewpoint is that you assume that the only reason - or, even, the most important reason - that people work is to make money.

But our understanding of human behavior tells us that other factors like status games, feelings of personal achievement or 'having a purpose in life', and so on are equally as important, if not more important, than the money-making aspect of work. Further, something that someone considers 'work' could be considered enjoyment by someone else.

Believe it or not, many people farm or tend gardens or animals simply because they enjoy doing so. They may even give away their produce for free. I currently have several trees and I pick and give away their fruit for free. I used to have chickens and I gave away their eggs for free. Both of these I did because I enjoyed doing them, and the hard aspects of the work averaged out. Of course I am not saying that a system based on everyone doing this would be sustainable. It wouldn't. It would probably lead to food shortages. However, it offers a counterpoint to the idea that humans will always choose meditation or video games or somesuch over 'mucking in the dirt' if given the choice.

I think Xyrik's scenario is too radical but a system of universal basic income where everyone gets a minimal amount of money sufficient for survival is quite tenable and sustainable. In such a system, you don't have to work to survive, but working produces a better, more satisfactory form of survival. Experience shows that systems like these do not run into problems of food shortages (in fact quite the contrary).

Comment by passive_fist on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-20T07:44:45.403Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I had no idea that the communist party was a flawless AGI...

Comment by passive_fist on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-20T02:06:34.904Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Disclaimer: politics is the mind-killer.

LW used to be politically neutral; I'm not sure it is so anymore. A large part of the user base is American, and the current presidential election season is spilling into LW far more than previous seasons ever did. And the current wave of populist, nationalistic, libertarian/individualist ideology which seems to be very popular in the USA is being represented in the general atmosphere of LW.

It would be great if a temporary ban on political subjects could be set and enforced until at least the current election season is over.

Comment by passive_fist on The Art of Lawfare and Litigation strategy · 2015-12-18T06:34:34.647Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I was shocked by what appeared to be gross violations of cultural norms around the blaming of victims.

What? How is it a violation of 'cultural norms' to say that smoking or other factors contribute to cancer?

Comment by passive_fist on Open thread, December 7-13, 2015 · 2015-12-13T03:03:02.020Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Investigative journalism costs money.

We aren't talking about journalism here. We are explicitly talking about propaganda. Or counter-propaganda, if you prefer.

The Young Turks aren't doing genuine news. They comment on what various other people report and do little research into the subjects they cover.

Much like the rest of the media. And, again, geniune news is off-topic. Although they do tend to bring into focus some subjects that the rest of the media is hesitant to cover.

Pay local bloggers with regime critical views to write stories

No use if they get blocked, thrown in prison, etc. And even if not, it would most likely turn out to be very counter-productive if it emerged that anti-government bloggers were paid off.