Posts

Comments

Comment by pete6 on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-16T19:21:00.000Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That is NOT what that word is generally used to refer to.

Why, because it's a meaningful definition - and people are generally referring to something utterly meaningless? If you want me to define what people, in general, are talking about then of course I can't give a meaningful definition.

But I contend that this is meaningful, and it is what people are referring to - even if they don't know how to properly talk about it.

Imagine person A says that negative numbers are not even conceptually possible, or that arithmetic or whatever can't be performed with them. Person B contends otherwise. Person A asks how one could possibly add negative numbers, and B responds with a lecture about algebraic structures. A objects, "But people aren't generally referring to algebraic structures when they talk about maths, etc. I wasn't talking about that, I was talking about (4-7) and (-2*14) and how these things make no sense."

Well I contend that even if people don't know what they're talking about when they say "qualia this" or "qualia that" - and, in general, they're using gibberish definitions and speech - they're actually trying to talk about something close to the definition I've given.

you're using the word incorrectly

Again, if the only "correct" way to use the word is in the same manner as it is generally thought of, then of course you will never find a sensible definition because none of the sensible definitions are in common use - so you've ruled them out a priori, and are touting a tautology. But I'm not going to define what other people think they mean by a word - I'm going to define the ontology of the situation. If that's at odds with what people think they're talking about, then so what? People talk about God and think they're referring to this guy in the sky who is actually real - doesn't mean it's what's really going on, or that that's a really accurate definition of God (which would lead to the ontological argument being sound).

Comment by pete6 on Beyond the Reach of God · 2008-10-15T04:56:00.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So you don't think you could catch up? If you had been frozen somewhere between -10000 and -100 years and revived now, don't you think you could start learning what the heck it is people are doing and understand nowadays? Besides a lot of the pre-freeze life-experience would be fully applicable to present. Everyone starts learning from the point of birth. You'd have headway compared to those who just start out from nothing.
There are things we can meaningfully contribute to even in a Sysop universe, filled with Minds. We, after all, are minds, too, which have the inherent quality of creativity - creating new, evermore elegant and intricate patterns - at whatever our level is, and self-improvement; optimization.

No, you couldn't. Someone from 8,000BC would not stand a chance if they were revived now. The compassionate thing to do, really, would be to thaw them out and bury them.

Yes, they would be worse off than children. Don't underestimate the importance of development when it comes to the brain.

Minds don't have the "inherent quality of creativity". Autistics are the obvious counterexample.

if I could create a VPOP that did not have subjective experience (or the confusion we name subjective experience)

The confusion we name subjective experience? TBH Eli, that sounds like neomystical crap. See below.

I have never come across anyone who could present a coherent and intelligible definition for the word that didn't automatically render the referent non-existent.

Qualia are neural representations of certain data. They can induce other neurological states, creating what we know as the first-person. So what? I don't see why so called reductionists quibble over this so much. They exist, just get over it and study it if you really want to.

Comment by pete6 on The Magnitude of His Own Folly · 2008-10-01T06:06:00.000Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"You can't enslave something by creating it with a certain set of desires which you then allow it to follow.

So if Africans were engineered to believe that they existed in order to be servants to Europeans, Europeans wouldn't actually be enslaving them in the process? And the daughter whose father treated her in such a way as for her to actually want to have sex with him, what about her? These things aren't so far off from reality. You're saying there is no real moral significance to either event. It's not slavery, black people just know their place - and it's not abuse, she's just been raised to have a genuine sexual desire for her father. What Eliezer is proposing might, in fact, be worse. Imagine black people and children actually being engineered for these purposes - without even the possibility of a revelation along the lines of "Maybe my conditioning was unfair."

"Accidents happen.
CFAI 3.2.6: The Riemann Hypothesis Catastrophe
CFAI 3.4: Why structure matters

These (fictional) accidents happen in scenarios where the AI actually has enough power to turn the solar system into "computronium" (i.e. unlimited access to physical resources), which is unreasonable. Evidently nobody thinks to try to stop it, either - cutting power to it, blowing it up. I guess the thought is that AGI's will be immune to bombs and hardware disruptions, by means of shear intelligence (similar to our being immune to bullets), so once one starts trying to destroy the solar system there's literally nothing you can do.

It would take a few weeks, possibly months or years, to destroy even just the planet earth, given that you already had done all the planning.

The level of "intelligence" (if you can call it that) you're talking about with an AI whose able to draw up plans to destroy Earth (or the solar system), evade detection or convince humans to help it, actually enact its plans and survive the whole thing, is beyond the scope of realistic dreams for the first AI. It amounts to belief in a trickster deity, one which only FAI, the benevolent god, can save you from.

"Comment by Michael Vassar"

More of the same. Of course bad things can happen when you give something unlimited power, but that's not what we should be talking about.

"Not if aliens are extremely rare."

That's true. But how rare is extremely rare? Are you grasping the astronomical spacial and historical scales involved in a statement such as "... takes over the entire lightcone preventing any interesting life from ever arising anywhere"?