The Altman Technocracy 2024-02-16T13:27:36.883Z
How to develop a photographic memory 3/3 2024-02-08T09:22:07.918Z
Does LessWrong make a difference when it comes to AI alignment? 2024-01-03T12:21:32.587Z
How to develop a photographic memory 2/3 2023-12-30T20:18:14.255Z
How to develop a photographic memory 1/3 2023-12-28T13:26:36.669Z


Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on The Altman Technocracy · 2024-02-19T11:35:36.342Z · LW · GW

I used 'Altman' since he'll likely be known as the pioneer who started it. I highly doubt he'll be the Architect behind the dystopian future I prophesise. 

In respect of the second, I simply don't believe that to be the case.

The third is inevitable, yes.

I would hope that 'no repair' laws, and equal access to CPU chips will come about. I don't think that this will happen though. The demands of the monopoly/technocracy will outweigh the demands of the majority.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on The Altman Technocracy · 2024-02-17T06:32:38.274Z · LW · GW

Sure. I think in an Eliezer reality what we'll get is more of a ship pushed onto the ocean scenario. As in, Sam Altman or whoever is leading the AI front at the time, will launch an AI/LLM filled with some of what I've hinted at. Once it's out on the ocean though, the AI will do it's own thing. In the interim before it learns to do that though, I think there will be space for manipulation.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on The Altman Technocracy · 2024-02-16T15:07:10.847Z · LW · GW

The quote's from Plato, Phaedrus, page 275, for anyone wondering. 

Great quote.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on The Altman Technocracy · 2024-02-16T13:43:54.727Z · LW · GW

Amazing question.

I think common sense would suggest that these toddlers at least have a chance later in life to grow human connections; therapy, personal development etc. The negative effect on their social skills, empathy, and the reduction in grey matter can be repaired. 

This is different in the sense that the cause of the issues will be less obvious and far more prolonged. 

I imagine a dystopia in which the technocrats are puppets manoeuvring the influence AI has. From the buildings we see, to the things we hear; all by design and not voluntarily elected to.

In contrast, technocrats will nurture technocrats--the cycle goes on. This is comparable to the TikTok CEO commenting that he doesn't let his children use TikTok (among other reasons, I know).

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Masterpiece · 2024-02-16T09:36:13.057Z · LW · GW

MMASoul this competition is real. You've already undergone several instances of qualia splintering. I guess we'll have to start over sigh


This is test #42, new sample of MMAvocado. Alrighty, this is it.


MMASoul: has a unique form of schizosyn; a 2044 phenomenon in which synaesthesia and schizophrenia have combined in the subject due to intense exposure to gamma rays and an unhealthy amount of looped F.R.I.E.N.D.S episodes. In this particular iteration, MMASoul believes it is "reacting" to a made-up competition instead of a real one. Noticeably, MMASoul had their eyes closed the entire time, instead reading braille from the typed keys.

Some members of our STEM Club here at the University think this can generate entirely unique samples of MMAvocado, which will be shared freely among other contestants. Further, we shall put MMASoul to work in making submissions of what MMAvocado would have created if he had actually entered this competition. 

PS: MMASoul #40 clicked on the 'Lena' link and had to be reset and restrained due to mild psychosis.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Masterpiece · 2024-02-16T09:18:53.012Z · LW · GW

This was so meta and new to me I almost thought this was a legitimately real competition. I had to do some research before I realised 'qualia splintering' is a made up term.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 3/3 · 2024-02-16T08:54:09.845Z · LW · GW

At the moment, I just don't see the incentive of doing something like this. I was hoping to make it more efficient through community feedback; see if my technique gives only me a photographic memory etc. Mnemonics is just not something that interests LW at the moment, I guess. 

Additionally, my previous two (2) posts were stolen by a few AI Youtubers. I'd prefer the technique I revealed in this third post not to be stolen too. 

I'm pursuing sample data elsewhere in the meantime to test efficacy. 

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on I played the AI box game as the Gatekeeper — and lost · 2024-02-13T10:50:47.025Z · LW · GW

That last bit is particularly important methinks. 

If a game is began with the notion that it'll be posted online, one of two things, or both will happen. Either (a) the AI is constrained by the techniques they can implore, unwilling to embarrass themselves or the gatekeeper to a public audience (especially when it comes down to personal details.), or (b) the Gatekeeper now has a HUGE incentive not to let the AI out; to avoid being known as the sucker who let the AI out...

Even if you could solve this by changing details and anonymising, it seems to me that the techniques are so personal and specific that changing them in any way would make the entire dialogue make even less sense.

The only other solution is to have a third-party monitor the game and post it without consent (which is obviously unethical, but probably the only real way you could get a truly authentic transcript.)

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on I played the AI box game as the Gatekeeper — and lost · 2024-02-13T06:50:11.067Z · LW · GW

I found this post meaningful, thank you for posting. 


I don't think it's productive to comment on whether the game is rational, or whether it's a good mechanism for AI safety until I myself have tried it with an equally intelligent counterpart. 


Thank you.

Edit: I suspect that the reason why the AI Box experiment tends to have many of the AI players winning is exactly because of the ego of the Gatekeeper in always thinking that there's no way I could be convinced.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Tort Law Can Play an Important Role in Mitigating AI Risk · 2024-02-13T06:39:33.163Z · LW · GW

Unfortunately, there are two significant barriers to using tort liability to internalize AI risk. First, under existing doctrine, plaintiffs harmed by AI systems would have to prove that the companies that trained or deployed the system failed to exercise reasonable care. This is likely to be extremely difficult to prove since it would require the plaintiff to identify some reasonable course of action that would have prevented the injury. Importantly, under current law, simply not building or deploying the AI systems does not qualify as such a reasonable precaution. 

Not only this, but it will require extremely expensive discovery procedures which the average citizen cannot afford. This is assuming you can overcome the technical barrier of; but what specifically in our files are you looking for? what about our privacy

Second, under plausible assumptions, most of the expected harm caused by AI systems is likely to come in scenarios where enforcing a damages award is not practically feasible. Obviously, no lawsuit can be brought after human extinction or enslavement by misaligned AI. But even in much less extreme catastrophes where humans remain alive and in control with a functioning legal system, the harm may simply be so large in financial terms that it would bankrupt the companies responsible and no plausible insurance policy could cover the damages.

I think joint & several liability regimes will resolve this. In the sense that, it's not 100% the companies fault; it'll be shared by the programmers, the operator, and the company.

Courts could, if they are persuaded of the dangers associated with advanced AI systems, treat training and deploying AI systems with unpredictable and uncontrollable properties as an abnormally dangerous activity that falls under this doctrine.

Unfortunately, in practice, what will really happen is that 'expert AI professional' will be hired to advise old legal professionals what's considered 'foreseeable'. This is susceptible to the same corruption, favouritism and ignorance we see in usual crimes. I think ultimately, we'll need lawyers to specialise in both AI and law to really solve this.

The second problem of practically non-compensable harms is a bit more difficult to overcome. But tort law does have a tool that can be repurposed to handle it: punitive damages. Punitive damages impose liability on top of the compensatory damages the plaintiffs in successful lawsuits get to compensate them for the harm the defendant caused them.

Yes. Here I ask: what about legal systems that use delictual law instead of tort law? The names, requirements and such are different. In other words, you'll get completely different legal treatment for international AI's. This creates a whole new can of worms that defeats legal certainty and the rule of law.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Win Friends and Influence People Ch. 2: The Bombshell · 2024-02-09T05:07:22.991Z · LW · GW

I'm sceptical that the appreciation needs to be sincere. In a world full of fakes, social media, etc. I think people don't really deep whether something is fake. They're happy to 'win' with accepting a statement or compliment as real, even if it's just polite or part of corporate speak.


Even more concerning, is that if you don't meet this insanely high threshold now of: 'Compliment everyone, or stay quiet.' you're interpreted as cold, harsh or critical. In reality, you're just being truthful and realistic with how you hand out appreciation.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Chapter 1 of How to Win Friends and Influence People · 2024-02-09T05:03:03.510Z · LW · GW

So they rationalize, they explain. They can tell you why they had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining that they should never have been imprisoned at all." 


In some cases, maybe. What about Ted Kaczynski? Still fallacious? What about Edward Snowden? 

I think this post points out a more underlying issue, maybe several. 'Criminals' believe what they believe because of their genetics, their worldview, their upbringing and so forth. To them, they cannot conceive of our realities. And so yes, it makes sense that to them they are the heroes. Perhaps, they even have good reasons for it. 

How can we with our own parameters judge criminals if we haven't experienced the life that made them believe so? How does a criminal explain himself if his world is compared by the physics of another world he's never lived in? Is a criminal simply as Camus describes in "The Outsider" he who does not conform with status quo?

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Epistemic Hell · 2024-02-08T13:59:30.434Z · LW · GW

Scavenger's Reign comes to mind for this post.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to deal with the sense of demotivation that comes from thinking about determinism? · 2024-02-08T13:37:58.520Z · LW · GW

'How do you motivate yourself?' 

What do you mean? This would imply that I decide to do something that requires motivation. In my worldview, everything follows after the other so quickly, so sequentially, that there isn't time to stop and go: 'How do I feel about this?' 

I go to the gym, yes. It's incredibly painful, yes. In my worldview, this would be a symptom of masochistic tendencies; either from stoic philosophy I've inherited, or figures I aspired to during childhood. Not sure? Might be useful to draw a mind map at some point and calculate exactly what is deciding things for me. EDIT: notice, even now; I'd only draw this mindmap because I've read your post, and I only found this post because it popped up randomly on my feed, and so on and so on.

As to whether I 'do things I don't want to do'. Again, I don't know what you mean by this. Some things might be imposed on me that set off some kind of unhappiness. I might be pushed into other things that happen to make me happy. I don't distinguish or preempt these events with how I feel about starting them only how I feel during them.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to deal with the sense of demotivation that comes from thinking about determinism? · 2024-02-08T11:59:28.476Z · LW · GW

Why is it demotivating? 

I've never believed in the concept of free will, ever. So when I matured and started seeing that everyone takes it for granted, I was more shocked than anything. We can just like... decide to do things for ourselves? That sounds utterly ridiculous to me. Everything is a dominoe effect from something that happened prior. Everything is influenced by your parents, upbringing, genetics etc. Nothing is ever decided by you, and the belief that it is, is a symptom of human egoism. 


Again I ask, why is that demotivating? Perhaps it's my world view, and that I genuinely can't conceive of what it feels like to decide something for yourself. To me, this is freeing, if I do something - it's not my fault. It's the natural consequence of something that came before. Everything that happens is like wind hitting the sails of the boat. There's no need to stress because no matter what I do, it's all accounted for --- all predetermined. 


Does that make life meaningless? Why? You still feel dopamine going off in your brain don't you? What difference does it make that you weren't the one to make it happen?

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Brute Force Manufactured Consensus is Hiding the Crime of the Century · 2024-02-06T10:57:59.041Z · LW · GW

I would be very interested to see a broader version of this post that incorporates what I think to be the solution to this sort of hivemind thinking (Modern Heresies by @rogersbacon) and the way in which this is engineered generally (covered by AI Safety is dropping the ball on clown attacks by @trevor). Let me know if that's not your interest; I'd be happy to write it.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 1/3 · 2024-02-04T18:10:07.875Z · LW · GW

Will do, thanks for the advice.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 1/3 · 2024-02-04T18:09:30.996Z · LW · GW

Good points. I'll try cover some of this in my final post. I unfortunately haven't tested this outside of my field, so it'll be difficult. But I assure you, I will try.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 2/3 · 2024-02-03T11:46:52.809Z · LW · GW


Thanks for picking that up, I was in a rush when footnoting. Heinlein's Gulf is what I intended to place there.

Thanks for those links, I hadn't even heard of Renshaw. I'll be editing it into the above.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 2/3 · 2024-02-03T07:26:19.619Z · LW · GW

True! Hence why I'm creating this guide; and I don't critique people for doubting it's outcome.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 2/3 · 2024-02-02T11:26:36.310Z · LW · GW

I'd say that's because they aren't specifically asked. High performers tend to naturally have photographic memories, and so it's unnatural to conceive of anything else. 

The high performers I've spoken to didn't realise they had photographic memories until I pointed it out. One trick to test it, is talk to them and ask them something from long ago. Sometimes, their eyes will move right to left because they're reading a picture in their mind.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Deep atheism and AI risk · 2024-01-06T12:12:45.196Z · LW · GW

I think (and you wouldn't be the first to do it, so this isn't personal) you have a very primitive understanding of theism. Dawkin's arguments against God were blissful child-like ignorance at best, and wilful egoism at worst. They could each be easily rebutted and set aside on rational grounds. I struggle to follow alongside this essay when its launching pad is built upon sand.

The suffering and evil present in the world has no bearing on God's existence. I've always failed to buy into that idea. Sure, it sucks. But it has no bearing on the metaphysical reality of a God. If God does not save children--yikes I guess? What difference does it make? A creator as powerful as has been hypothesised can do whatever he wants; any arguments from rationalism be damned. 

I also find that this essay drips with a sort of condescension. Like, it's almost as if you're telling a coming-of-age story in which people emerge as perfect rationalists once they 'overcome' the 'big bad belief' that is the gauntlet of religion. I find that notion to be utterly ridiculous. 

I'm not trying to get into a religious debate here; your tone seems to be that your mind is made up about that. I am good faith curious though on the reasons for your belief. Without that, I can't read past the Yin and Yang bit in detail.


In respect to the rest of your post, I'll reference Open Source AI Spirits, Rituals, and Practices ( which covers a lot of what you talk about already. Bodymind Operating Systems | HackerNoon led by a guy named Dmitry Paranyushkin explores a lot of your talking points quite extensively.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Does LessWrong make a difference when it comes to AI alignment? · 2024-01-04T06:51:34.963Z · LW · GW

Do you think these disagreements stem from a sort of egoistic desire to be known as the 'owner' of that concept? Or to be a forerunner for that vein of research should it become popular? 

Or is it a genuinely good faith disagreement on the future of AI and what the best approach is? (Perhaps these questions are outlined in the articles you've linked, which I'll begin reading now. Though I do think it's still useful to perhaps include a summary here too.) Thanks for your help.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Does LessWrong make a difference when it comes to AI alignment? · 2024-01-04T06:48:54.748Z · LW · GW

Ah okay, thanks. I wasn't aware of the Alignment Forum, I'll check it out.

I don't disagree that informal forums are valuable. I take Jacque Ellul's belief in Technological Society that science firms held by monopolies tend to have their growth stunted for exactly the reasons you pointed out.

I think it's more that places like LessWrong are susceptible to having the narrative around them warped (referencing the article about Scott Alexander). Though this is slightly off-topic now. 

Lastly, I am interested in AI; I'm just feeling around for what the best way to get into it is. So thanks.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Does LessWrong make a difference when it comes to AI alignment? · 2024-01-03T18:33:14.095Z · LW · GW

Thanks for that. 

Out of curiosity then, do people use the articles here as part of bigger articles on other academic journals? Is this place sort of the 'launching pad' for ideas and raw data? 

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on AI Safety is Dropping the Ball on Clown Attacks · 2024-01-02T10:16:25.432Z · LW · GW

This is probably one of the most important articles in the modern era. Unbelievable how little engagement it's gotten.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on If Clarity Seems Like Death to Them · 2023-12-31T16:20:05.052Z · LW · GW

Thank you so much for this explanation. Through this lens, this post makes a lot more sense; a meaningful aesthetic death then.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on If Clarity Seems Like Death to Them · 2023-12-31T07:28:10.942Z · LW · GW

"—but if one hundred thousand [normies] can turn up, to show their support for the [rationalist] community, why can't you?"

I said wearily, "Because every time I hear the word community, I know I'm being manipulated. If there is such a thing as the [rationalist] community, I'm certainly not a part of it. As it happens, I don't want to spend my life watching [rationalist and effective altruist] television channels, using [rationalist and effective altruist] news systems ... or going to [rationalist and effective altruist] street parades. It's all so ... proprietary. You'd think there was a multinational corporation who had the franchise rights on [truth and goodness]. And if you don't market the product their way, you're some kind of second-class, inferior, bootleg, unauthorized [nerd]."

—"Cocoon" by Greg Egan (paraphrased)[1]

I don't think this applies to rationalism. it's not an ideology, or an ethical theory. Rationalism (at least to me as an outside party to all this drama) is exigent to people's beliefs, and this community is just refining how to describe, and use better objective principles of reality. Edit: I agree with the general idea that psychospheres and the words related to them can act as meaningful keys of meaning, even in rationalist circles. Respect to Zack in this case.

Aside, I also think you've suffered what I call the aesthetic death. Too much to explain in a comment section. However, I'll briefly say; it's getting yourself wound up in a narrative psychosphere in which you serve archetypes like 'hero' and 'martyr'. I think this serves a purpose when it comes to achieving some greater goal, and helping you with morale. I do not think this post serves some greater goal (if it does, like many others in this comment section, I am confused.) this bit's been retracted after reading the below comment.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on Techniques to fix incorrect memorization? · 2023-12-31T04:11:59.597Z · LW · GW

It sounds like your brain is enduring what's called the source-monitoring error. This is quite common among most people; stress, anxiety, information overload among other causes. 

I'd suggest two (2) things. First, put a good amount of cards (at least six (6) - seven (7)) between these two (2) birthdays (or whatever they're standing in for as examples). This reduces the chances of your brain grouping them together, and then encoding the memory incorrectly. Second, there's been some work done on LessWrong regarding reconsolidation, you might be able to find some interesting help there in 'resetting' your mind when it comes to their two (2) birthdays. 

If it really is as simple as birthdays though, I'd suggest just practicing the cards at different intervals instead of at the same time a week later. Your brain is associating the time of revision with these numbers, instead of associating July 5 with Friend B and June 5 with Friend A because you've told it this: 'Agh, it's these damn similar birthdays again, I have to remember it this time!'

If it's more complicated than that, and simple isn't better, use the first two (2) methods I outlined. 

Hope this helps.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How to develop a photographic memory 1/3 · 2023-12-30T03:38:50.818Z · LW · GW

Got it, will do. Thanks. 

And yes, I am building up to it haha. The Solakios technique is my own contribution to the discourse and will come about in [Part V]. I'm trying to explain how I got there before just giving the answer away. I think if people see my thought process, and the research behind it, they'll be more convinced by the conclusion. 

I think when dealing with something like 'photographic memory' which is a highly sought after skill, but has not actually been taught (those 'self-help guru's' have poisoned the idea of it) you have to be systematic. People are more than justified in being critical of these posts until I've justified how I got there.

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on A Crisper Explanation of Simulacrum Levels · 2023-12-29T07:52:52.925Z · LW · GW

Could we say then that the Second Foundation in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series is a good example of Level 4? And an example of Level 5 might be Paul Atreides and the ability of precognition?

Comment by PhilosophicalSoul (LiamLaw) on How do you feel about LessWrong these days? [Open feedback thread] · 2023-12-19T21:49:01.065Z · LW · GW

Hi there. 

> (High confidence) I feel like the project of thinking more clearly has largely fallen by the wayside, and that we never did that great of a job at it anyways. 

I'm new to this community. I've skimmed quite a few articles, and this sentence resonates with me for several reasons. 

1) It's very difficult in general to find websites like LessWrong these days. And among the few that exist, I've found that the intellectuals on them are so incredibly doubtful of their own intellect. This creates a sort of Ouroboros phenomenon where intellects just eat themselves into oblivion. Like, maybe I'm wrong but this site's popularity seems to be going down? 

2) At least from what I've noticed, when I compare articles in the last 2 months, to ones from about a decade ago,  there is an alarming truth in your sentence. A decade ago, there were questions left in the articles for commenters to answer, there was a willingness to change one's mind and to add/enhance ideas in a good faith manner. Now, it seems that many have confused this website for LinkedIn, posting their own personal paper trails (which is largely in a tone that isn't unique anyways.) 

It's really unfortunate, since I was excited upon being greeted with much older articles. And then realising "Oh... that was from... holy! 10 years ago!?" To then be disappointed by our articles from today.