Does utilitarianism "require" extreme self sacrifice? If not why do people commonly say it does? 2014-12-09T08:32:35.121Z · score: 7 (12 votes)


Comment by princess_stargirl on Starting University Advice Repository · 2015-12-04T15:42:27.584Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

On the margin I think its usually better to take less and/or easier courses. It is better to do very well on an easier schedule than do "ok" on a hard schedule. If you apply for a job or grad school everyone will look at your gpa. If a semester is too easy this is not a serious problem. You can always read an extra textbook or do some coding projects in your spare time. Next semester you can up the difficulty. If a semester turns out to be too hard and you do badly the penalties are real (though survivable).

Comment by princess_stargirl on Probabilities Small Enough To Ignore: An attack on Pascal's Mugging · 2015-10-04T17:20:08.945Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What if one considers the following approach: Let e be a probability small enough that if I were to accept all bets offered to me with probability p<= e then the expected number of such bets that I win is less than one. The approach is to ignore any bet where p <=e.

This solve's Yvain's problem with wearing seatbelts or eating unhealthy for example. It also solves the problem that "sub-dividing" a risk no longer changes whether you ignore the risk.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Lesswrong, Effective Altruism Forum and Slate Star Codex: Harm Reduction · 2015-06-10T04:14:16.490Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe people should post here:

Comment by princess_stargirl on Lesswrong, Effective Altruism Forum and Slate Star Codex: Harm Reduction · 2015-06-10T04:12:41.004Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A possible dark explanation:

-The main reason people cared about lesswrong was that Scott and Elizier posted on lesswrong. Neither posts on lesswrong anymore. Unless some equally impressive thinkers can be recruited to post on LW the site will not recover.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-29T19:23:12.535Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Phill presumably believes in Divine Command theory. But its not really obvious why "Divine command theory" really solves the problem. For example consider the following passage: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." - Imagine Phill was an Amalekite. Then the murder of his whole family would be morally righteous?

Comment by princess_stargirl on Rationality: From AI to Zombies online reading group · 2015-03-21T17:16:16.633Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Just bought the book for 5 dollars via paypal!

I have already read most of the sequences but not in a structured way.

Comment by princess_stargirl on "Spiritual" techniques that actually work thread · 2015-03-14T12:02:39.017Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I tend to repeat the "Glory Be" over and over when someone I love dies. This is a very short Catholic prayer that goes:

"Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."

Imo saying "Glory be" to (Non-existent) God feels like a good way to accept the loss.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Tell Culture · 2015-02-19T10:20:58.788Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I really do not understand how "ruthless truth telling" is supposed to work. Lots of behavior is motivated by reasons that cannot be said aloud with hurting people. What if my reasons are things like "I think X person is pretty dull and I am not interested in what they have to say." There are alot of unpleasant feelings in most people's heads (including mine). I would strongl prefer these unpleasant feelings not be spoken aloud.

Comment by princess_stargirl on An alarming fact about the anti-aging community · 2015-02-16T19:59:13.006Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is the first time I have encountered the idea of freezing cells. Is this a viable options for people who are not rich?

Comment by princess_stargirl on [link] Speed is the New Intelligence · 2015-01-30T05:15:54.112Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Speed x 100 would almost certain make a normal intelligence person very smart. Speed x 100 means one week for you is 2 years for them. Maybe you couldn't beat Einstein. But imagine some common tests of intelligence such as the Putnam or a normal IQ test. People have 6 hours (in two blocks) to finish the Putnam, 600 hours is 25 days. And presumably you are not sleeping during those 25 days. If a normal person gets 3 minutes to finish a problem on a certain iq test you have 5 hours.

Comment by princess_stargirl on I tried my hardest to win in an AI box experiment, and I failed. Here are the logs. · 2015-01-28T02:30:39.538Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I am not going to comment on strategy as I have no idea what strategies for an AI player would actually work with decent probability.

However upvoted for posting logs. Was interesting to read. In my opinion a summary of the events (your strategy, why it may have failed, unexpected events etc) would be great.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Guardians of Ayn Rand · 2015-01-26T23:48:14.883Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

That was a really low quality and demeaning article. The author seems to enjoy taking cheap shots. For example zie also makes fun of people who cosplay Harry Potter. The majority of the article was basically name calling. Though the article did at least make a real argument about objectivist philosophy and taxation a (though it didn't engage with Rand's counter arguments).

I am not an objectivist but I found this article terrible and question why someone would enjoy it.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-26T17:27:51.187Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Bryan Caplan's "Myth of the Rational Voter" and "Mises, Bastiat, Public Choice and Public Policy."

Comment by princess_stargirl on Review: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids · 2015-01-15T17:04:12.372Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sadly this book basically convinced me I cannot have children with my current partner. We would need to adopt and my partner is very smart (singnifigantly more inteelgent than myself and I have 1570/1600 SAT and a PHD in pure math). Even if you adopt from mainland China the IQ of an adopted child is unlikely to be unusually high.

I personally would not care about the IQ of my children. I personally have a very strong aversion to nudging or pushing anyone (unless they are a violent criminal). I am fairly certain a lack of educational success would not other me at all. I have taught low level University math courses. My "gut feeling" was the material was suitable for HS sophomores. But the students lack of math ability/interest/education never annoyed me, despite it annoying many of colleagues. I just wanted to help them get through the annoying math requirement.

My partner on the other hand comes from a family very focused on education. She pays lip service to the idea that intelligence is largely genetic but I know she doesn't alieve it. I am sure she would push any children to be "successful." And given her extremely high intelligence her expectations will be totally unreasonable.

Luckily she is pretty ambivalent about children. She prefers to not have them but I am pretty sure if I was very pro having children she would not be hard to convince. But given her attitude toward parenting I think us having children would be an extremely poor idea.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Programming-like activities? · 2015-01-08T14:28:53.998Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Having done a math PHD and now working as a programmer I find math proofs and programming semi-similar. Though I think programming is less "relaxing." In mathematics if you have an argument that works and isn't insanely complicated you can call yourself victorious. You can look for a simpler method if you want but there is really no imperative to do so. In programming there is almost always a better way to solve a given problem and the differences in speed matter alot.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Open thread, Dec. 29, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015 · 2015-01-04T07:03:19.900Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Unless you two live VERY close I would prefer to just ship it to you individually. I don't want you to have to drive around or anything.

So yeah Leonhart and philh just send me your addresses via pm.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Open thread, Dec. 29, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015 · 2015-01-03T02:29:02.633Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone want some free meal Squares?

This obviously requires me sending me your address. But I will ship 3 pakcs (18 total) meal squares to your house free of charge to (up to) the first 4 people who want them. I ordered more meal squares then I really want for myself and I think some people on this site would like to try meal squares?


Seems I have four takers. So offer is prolly closed as enough people already said yes.

Comment by princess_stargirl on You Only Live Twice · 2014-12-21T18:59:36.565Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The value of immortality does not seem infinite to me. Merely very large. The odds that magic or religion will save you seem vastly tiny. Sufficiently tiny that they are bad uses of time and energy even if the benefits are potentially very large.

Comment by princess_stargirl on You Only Live Twice · 2014-12-21T18:56:31.307Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is more than slightly odd. I am considering cryonics but I would never take that cancer treatment. It seems like a horrible deal .

Comment by princess_stargirl on Beware Trivial Inconveniences · 2014-12-21T17:19:22.206Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds awesome to me. Some people get organs they need. Others get money. Even the "nightmare" scenarios only really occur when there was a pre-existing and serious problem. Usually the organ sale doesn't make things much worse.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Has LessWrong Ever Backfired On You? · 2014-12-20T17:07:08.845Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It is suicidal to admit an actual serious weakness. For multiple reasons. One is that admitting a serious weakness will leave a very bad impressions that is hard to overcome. See the research that people will frequently pay more for a single intact set of objects then two sets of the same objects where one set is damaged.

The other problem is that admitting an actual error is going off the social script. It either paints you as clueless or a "weirdo." This is also a very serious problem.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Has LessWrong Ever Backfired On You? · 2014-12-20T17:03:29.642Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think this strategy works well for individuals. Though maybe we are thinking of different reference sets. To me the way to understand social interactions is to look at what politicians do. Or if one only cares about a more intelligent set of humans executives at companies. People may hate politicians/executives but they are provably good at succeeding socially.

Are politicians/executives big on admitting weakness? I don't think so. They seem much more fond of either blatantly lying (and betting their supporters will defend them) or making only the weakest possible admissions of weakness/guilt ("mistakes were made").

Of course acting like a politician is usually pretty terrible for all sorts of reasons. But its probably the "playing to win" action socially.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Does utilitarianism "require" extreme self sacrifice? If not why do people commonly say it does? · 2014-12-13T12:46:32.554Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't say it was "the right thing" to do. I said it was was moral then what I am actually planning to do. You seem to just be assuming people are required to act in the way they find most moral. I don't think this is a reasonable thing to ask of people.

Utilitarian conclusions clearly contain more info than "yay X." Since they typically allow one to compare different positive options as to which is more positive. In addition in many contexts utilitarianism gives you a framework for debating what to do. Many people will agree the primary goal of laws in the USA should be to maximize utility for US citizens/residents as long as the law won't dramatically harm non-residents (some libertarians disagree but I am just making a claim on what people think). Under these conditions utilitarianism tells you what to do.

Utilitarianism does not tell you how to act in daily life. Since its unclear how much you should weigh the morality of an action against other concerns.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Does utilitarianism "require" extreme self sacrifice? If not why do people commonly say it does? · 2014-12-13T04:59:05.195Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Utilitarianism talks about which actions are more moral. It doesn't talk about which actions a person actually "prefers." I think its more moral to donate 300 dollars to charity than to take myself and two friends out for a Holiday diner. Yet I have reservations for Dec 28th. The fact I am actually spending the money on my friends and myself doesn't mean I think this is the most moral things I could be doing.

I have never claimed people are required to optimize their actions in the pursuit of improving the world. So why would it be hypocritical for me not to try to maximize world utility.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Open thread, Dec. 8 - Dec. 15, 2014 · 2014-12-13T04:12:21.451Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't really like these questions. "What exactly is a number?" doesn't really have an answer. I can give the standard answer about representing integers as certain sets. And I give the details of constructing the real numbers either as cuts or Cauchy sequences of rationals. But neither answer is very satisfying imo. Saying that integers "are" certain kinds of sets seems wrong to me (as it does to Tim Gowers). My feeling is I don't know what numbers exactly are.

I understand you probably are going to attack someone's expertise if they blank and can't say anything. But people react to things differently. I could imagine a version of myself who was didn't realize she needed to spout information even if she couldn't answer the question fully.

The other problem is my best friend studied computer science not mathematics. She is however much more intelligent than myself. Her knowledge of math is really quite good. She can give the "standard answer" to "what is an integer" but cannot give the details of a construction of the real numbers (I just asked her).

So I really think we should be careful about these gotcha questions.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Does utilitarianism "require" extreme self sacrifice? If not why do people commonly say it does? · 2014-12-09T09:24:14.720Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I know of many people who endorse claims 1 and 3. But I know of no one who claims to believe 2. Am I just misinformed about people's beliefs? Lesswrong is well known for being connected to utilitarianism. Do any prominent lesswrongers explicitly endorse 2?


My point was I know many people who endorse something like the view in this comment:

2') One decision is morally better than another if it yields greater expected total utility.

Comment by princess_stargirl on The Atheist's Tithe · 2014-12-09T05:42:43.673Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Looking at the list of nations by "World Giving index" there does seem to be a decently strong relation between economic freedom and giving. The top countries include the USA, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Denamrk and the Netherlands all of which have rather free economies by world standards. But the relationship seems cannot be that strong. The list also includes Myanmar, Triniad and Tobago, Bhutan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka which are not very free.

I cannot however see too much of a relation between government spending and giving. For some reason Norway was removed from the 2014 ranking but it was high on the 2013 ranking. And it along with many other nations with high amounts of spending are ranked highly.

Comment by princess_stargirl on A My Little Pony fanfic allegedly but not mainly about immortality · 2014-12-09T01:43:36.297Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This story made me cry. It was very beautiful. Thank you for writing it.

I don't really understand how people misunderstood your story.

Comment by princess_stargirl on I'm in a really dark place right now, I think I need help. · 2014-12-01T00:02:37.152Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Posting to say I wish you the best.

Comment by princess_stargirl on When should an Effective Altruist be vegetarian? · 2014-11-23T15:12:32.500Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I found attempts to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet dramatically reduced my quality of life. Especially veganism was almost unbearable. I couldn't even have a slice of pizza or an ice cream cone! given my experience unless I was 100% convinced I was absolutely obligated to become a vegetarian/vegan I would not do so.

I do however donate 10% of my pre-tax income to developing nations. Which works out to a very large (imo) percentage of my take home pay. I also find this rather unpleasant and distressing but arguments on lesswrong convinced me I was basically obligated to do it. And losing 10% of my pre-tax income is far less painful then giving up meat and vastly less painful than giving up meat + dairy.

It is interesting people have such different internal reactions.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Open Thread: What are your important insights or aha! moments? · 2014-11-10T19:19:47.358Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I try to be skeptical of "ah ha moments" I have. However in one case I think it is logicsal for me to accept the "ah ha."

For many years I have done Zazen at a Temple (two hour drive ....) and at home. Being involved in budhism one hears alot about "the self is an illusion" or "ego-death." I personally kind of alieved they were just making things up. However one day me and some friends took a rather large dose of LSD in a park on a chilly fall day.

At one point I remember hearing this repetitive thumping noise for an hour or two and not being able to figure out what it was. When it finally occured to I burst out in hysterical laughter. The noise was my foot violently shaking and hititng what I was sitting on. I was of course shaking because I had been outside for about 6 hours at this point and was freezing cold, but it hadn't even occured to me that I was uncomfortable. My mental state after realizing I wa scold is hard to explain. I honestly conceptualized things as "there is a person outside who is very cold" but the fact that this person was me did not seem relevant at all. In general that there was one specific person associated to "me" stopped making sense.

Of course I am not claiming that this experience proves anything about budhism. But my previous "alief" was that it was impossible to lose one's sense of self, even short term. But since I had personally experienced this it must in fact be possible.

Comment by princess_stargirl on The Best Textbooks on Every Subject · 2014-11-04T01:22:35.099Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In my opinion the "good stuff" in evans is in chapters 5-12. Evans is a pretty good into book on the modern "theory" of Linear and Non-linear PDEs. Strauss by comparison is a much less demanding book that is concerned with concrete examples and applications to physics. (less demanding is a good thing if the material covered is similar, but in this case its not).

Possibly Strass is overall the better book. And I really dislike Evan's chapter 1-4 (he does not use Fourier theory when it helps, his discussion of the underlying physics of some equations is very lacking, etc). But directly comparing Strauss and Evans seems odd to me. The books have very different goals and target audiences.

If the comparison is evans 1-4 vs strauss then I too would recommend Strauss. And this restricted comparison makes a ton of sense imo.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Academic papers · 2014-11-04T01:13:50.788Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I personally find lecture notes superior to textbooks. Text authors frequently fail to edit their work down to the essentially material. When I am first learning a subject I want the key results. Once I understand the core ideas I can look up more details when I need them. Textbooks can be great for reference but as an introduction I like notes.

I am mostly familiar with studying math, economics and computer science. So I am not sure how my experience compares with people studying other subjects.

Comment by princess_stargirl on LW Supplement use survey · 2014-10-28T22:37:54.089Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Cool survey!

I wish you could have answered the "how often" question for each supplement.

Comment by princess_stargirl on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-27T01:28:38.642Z · score: 35 (35 votes) · LW · GW

I too have done the survey!

And am extremely excited to see the results.

Comment by princess_stargirl on question: the 40 hour work week vs Silicon Valley? · 2014-10-25T19:33:06.061Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry if I was unclear. I am not claiming I understand why that article was written. But the quote is very funny.

Comment by princess_stargirl on question: the 40 hour work week vs Silicon Valley? · 2014-10-25T18:21:52.662Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was about to post that quote too. Surely IQ has nothing to do with "ability to process on the fly" or "pull together disparate bits of information."

Comment by princess_stargirl on What supplements do you take, if any? · 2014-10-23T17:57:42.302Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The only one thing that really helps is modafinil daily. 200 mg about 3 hours after I wake up.

I also take alpha lipoic acid as I think it "might" make me feel better but I am really not sure.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Power and difficulty · 2014-10-22T17:01:16.048Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I don't nescessarily agree this happens in most media. Most superheros for example just have their powers for no reason (some "earn" them but most don't). In many stories if you are not born part-demon or a wizard you can never be something other than canonfodder. Even in stories where training is sueful people often get OP powers for no reason.

I actually think fiction overall presents being powerful as a two factor model. Hard work and unchangeable luck. In some domains the hard work dominates and in others the "genetic" stuff does. People randomly get very OP powers all the time in many anime (if you happen to eat a strong Logia or Lengendary Zoan fruit you are automatically very strong in One piece). the details might not match up but the two factor model is basically how skill works in the real world two. With the relative importance of the two factors differing per domain.


In harry Potter you cannot be "Strong" unless you are born a wizard. There is no getting around this. In the real world you cannot be a good mathematician with an IQ of 80. This is no way around this either.

Comment by princess_stargirl on An EPub of Eliezer's blog posts · 2014-10-21T21:26:01.632Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

One million! That is alot of words.

The following link has the word counts for a bunch of well known Novels and Series. No single book mentioned in the article is even close to a million words.

Notably "Les Miserable" and "War and Peace" are at approx 531,000 and 563,000 (the lengths of these works vary significantly by translation. W&P can be up to around 590K).

Comment by princess_stargirl on What false beliefs have you held and why were you wrong? · 2014-10-16T20:12:09.462Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW · GW

I used to think Narwhals were fictional animals. And people telling me they were real were just joking. It wasn't until HS that I was convinced they actually existed. My mental process was like "No way are there aqua unicorns."

Semi-political: I used to believe the correlation between economic freedom and economic growth was much stronger than it is. (I know there is no canonical choice of measurement for either variable). This realization had pretty important consequences for me.

My estimates of public opinion surveys were totally wrong. On almost every issue (sexuality, morality, politics, etc) I was completely wrong about the distribution of beliefs. Given my history of failure in this domain I no longer really on my own "intuitive" estimates of the distribution of group beliefs. Instead I seek explicit surveys.

Comment by princess_stargirl on How to write an academic paper, according to me · 2014-10-15T16:39:23.691Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

When reading social science/economics papers I always makes sure to understand the details of the method used and the exact definitions the authors are using. Also important to check is the magnitude of any affect found and the sample size (though this should be in the abstract). I have found that too many times the abstracts are extremely misleading. The author's choice of metrics matters. And many common words have no obvious precise definition (examples: "inequality" "economic growth"). In many cases I still skip alot the paper but after seeing so many social science authors use extremely misleading defintions/methods I am afraid of spreading misniformation to myself or others.

I personally wish authors made it super easy to find exactly what they did and made the exact defintiions they are using instantly visible. So I would recomend people do this in their own writing. This ordering:

Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion )

Is great if the methods and results sections are clearly labeled and well written. But sadlt many papers do not follow this model very closely :(

Comment by princess_stargirl on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-13T03:01:29.935Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I am an atheist. However I have personally had an experience that surely seemed like my prayers being directly answered. When I was young, from about 6 to 9, I would see these weird bright lights in my field of vision. Very often when I closed my eyes and frequently in normal daylight. Think greenish orbs superimposed over my field of vision (I could still see fine).

I was very freaked out about these lights. At 9 I prayed to god something similar to "I am not sure if you are real or not. But if you are real please makes these lights go away. If you answer my prayers I will know you are real and no longer doubt. Please help me."

Soon thereafter the lights went away. And until I was much older I considered this very convincing proof for the existence of God. However I have since been convinced the prior of God existing is so low that I should not believe despite my personal experiences. Seeing does not always justify belief. Maybe I was hallucinating the lights or a medical condition improved by itself. But to this day I am still not sure what to make of my experience and whether I should believe in God.

Despite feeling belief in God is reasonable (even if I do not believe) I am very confused by people who are confident in a specific theory of God (say Catholicism).

Comment by princess_stargirl on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey - Call For Critiques/Questions · 2014-10-11T21:43:42.733Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Idk how long of a question Scott Wants this to be. If Scott is ok with a very long list than I too would prefer that. You list looks reasonably good.

Though I would include testosterone. People take this for reasons other than muscle growth.

Comment by princess_stargirl on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey - Call For Critiques/Questions · 2014-10-11T18:06:15.000Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I would personally be interested in more detailed drug use questions. Examplae. In the Past year have you taken:


-Amphetamine (of any sort including Adderall)

-Heroine/Other Opiates (not prescribed by a doctor as a painkiller) -Marijuanna

-Hallucinogens (LSD/DMT/Psychobillin)

-Testosterone/HGH (if you took testosterone because you are transexual do not click yes)

Maybe there is a better list of drugs?

Comment by princess_stargirl on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey - Call For Critiques/Questions · 2014-10-11T18:00:06.522Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Agree. Here is the Heritage foundation ranking of countries by economic freedom. The Heritage foundation's libertarian perspective views Scandanavia reasonably favorably. And they include tax rates in their analysis:

Comment by princess_stargirl on The Future of Humanity Institute could make use of your money · 2014-10-02T20:58:20.822Z · score: 1 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Before dismissing blog posts keep in mind the Sequences were blog posts. And they are probably much more useful and important than all but the best academic papers. If current donations happened to lead to blog posts of that caliber the donations would be money well spent.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Why Does Power Corrupt? · 2014-09-21T20:22:13.334Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If washington takes the crown he is helping set up a monarchy. And the next fellow may not be as good as him. Even very wise men/women tend to be pretty bad at picking sucessors. Marcus Aurelias is generally considered a deep thinker and a very able ruler. But all his years of good decisions were probably dwarfed by his mistake to leave the empite to comodus.

If Marcus Aurelias cannot be trusted to choose a sucessor idk who can. Even if Elizier can, can his sucessor?

(I am assuming here it will be a awhile until the singularity, if Elizier can be king until the singularity hits making him king is a very good idea).

Comment by princess_stargirl on What are your contrarian views? · 2014-09-19T01:28:19.050Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I do not think most people consider this a problem on the par of the Soviet Gulag. Though possibly I am wrong.

Comment by princess_stargirl on Friendliness in Natural Intelligences · 2014-09-18T22:52:27.670Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW


As far as I can tell Socrates was guilty of "failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges" though I am not a scholar on these issues. Unless I am badly misunderstanding the situation socrates actions don't make a ton of sense to me. He was unwilling to flee Athens, which most accounts suggest he was somewhat expected to do. Yet he was willing to break the laws about "impeity." I don't quite understand his mindset, unless he didn't mind breaking laws but was opposed to resisting enforcement? Some modern people suggest this ethic, for example viewing killing someone who is abusing your mother/daughter as ok if you then turn yourself in.

This does not seem like a suffient degree of friendliness for an AI. Even if the AI wasn't going to resist when we tried to turn it off it could have done tremendous damage before anyone tries to shut it down. Metaphorically we want the AI to obey all our laws (so no "impeity") not just consent to punishments.

An alternative viewing is that Socrates is friendly to the extent his actions actually helped Athens. Maybe he felt breaking the laws on impeity was helping the city but fleeing would be hurting the city. In this case his actions were friendly. For some defintions of friendly. At least he would be friendly in the sense a genie who can ask "I wish for what I should wish for" is friendly. Though this is problematic. Socrates has human values but its not clear his values are close enough to those of the Athenian population that his actions improve their wellbeing by their values.