Comment by PrometheanFaun on Jokes Thread · 2014-08-01T22:33:34.440Z · LW · GW

That's contrary to my experience of epistimology. It's just a word, define it however you want, but in both epistemic logic and pragmatics-stripped conventional usage, possibility is nothing more than a lack of disproof.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Dark Arts of Rationality · 2014-01-21T22:11:37.666Z · LW · GW

Have you seen this explored in mathematical language? Cause it's all so weird that there's no way I can agree with Hofstadter to that extent. As yet, I don't know really know what "smart" means.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Dark Arts of Rationality · 2014-01-21T21:34:27.450Z · LW · GW

I've never recognised a more effective psychonaut than you. You've probably seen further than I, so I'd appreciate your opinion on a hypo I've been nursing.

You see the way pain reacts to your thoughts. If you respect its qualia, find a way to embrace them, that big semi-cognisant iceberg of You, the Subconscious, will take notice, and it will get out of your way, afford you a little more self control, a little less carrot and stick, a little less confusion, a little closer to the some rarely attained level of adulthood.

I suspect that every part of the subconscious can be made to yield in the same way. I think introspective gains are self-accelerating, you don't just get insights and articulations, you get general introspection skills. I seem to have lost hold of it for now, but I once had what seemed to be an ability to take any vague emotional percept and unravel it into an effective semantic ordinance. It was awesome. I wish I'd been more opportunistic with it.

I get the impression you don't share my enthusiasm for the prospect of developing a culture supportive of deep subconscious integration, or illumination or whatever you want to call it. What have you seen? Found a hard developmental limit? Or, this is fairly cryptic, do tell me if this makes no sense, but are you hostile to the idea of letting your shadow take you by the hand and ferry you over the is-aught divide? I suspect that the place it would take you is not so bad. I think any alternative you might claim to have is bound to turn out to be nothing but a twisted reflection of its territories.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Dark Arts of Rationality · 2014-01-21T10:11:31.072Z · LW · GW

As I understand it, Hofstadter's advocacy of cooperation was limited to games with some sense of source-code sharing. Basically, both agents were able to assume their co-players had an identical method of deciding on the optimal move, and that that method was optimal. That assumption allows a rather bizarre little proof that cooperation is the result said method arrives at.

And think about it, how could a mathematician actually advocate cooperation in pure, zero knowledge vanilla PD? That just doesn't make any sense as a model of an intelligent human being's opinions.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The Value (and Danger) of Ritual · 2013-12-25T22:25:24.467Z · LW · GW

Sometimes I will stand and look at the church and wonder if today is the day I get desperate enough to go full sociopath, pretend to join the flock, and use the network to start a deviant christianity offshoot.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on LessWrong gaming community · 2013-12-19T09:21:59.731Z · LW · GW

I don't know Civ, but for practising the kind of strategizing you're describing I'd recommend Neptune's Pride.

and I've known people for whom the opposite was tragically true.

Heh. I'm one of those people. I practically fell in love with my first ally. I'm lucky they were really nice when they broke my lines, essentially throwing me a sword and telling me to defend myself before starting the invasion. I'd have been heartbroken otherwise. I guess to an extent I thought they were damning us both to death by zombie bot rush by breaking our alliance, but their judgement was apt, after crippling me they proceeded to conquer the galaxy, barely worse for wear.

It was from this game that I learned the reason I have an intermittent habit of falling head over heels in love with friends probably has more to do with diplomacy than anything else. I can rapidly build unreasonably strong alliances from nothing this way, at the cost of forming a few confusing, inconvenient bonds when I hit the wrong target. It's always nice to learn that the quirks of your mechanism serve a purpose.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on LessWrong gaming community · 2013-12-19T08:48:16.308Z · LW · GW

Also, is there some place Lesswrongians go for real-time chat?

IRC channel, #lesswrong on

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Arguments Against Speciesism · 2013-11-05T04:59:41.874Z · LW · GW

But now I've just discovered that argumentum ad governess is invalid

Where was the argument for that? Non-humans attaining rights by a different path does not erase all other paths.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on [deleted post] 2013-11-05T01:17:48.957Z

"If the inequitable society has greater total utility, it must be at least as good as the equitable one" would still hold though, no?

Well... .... yeah, technically. But for example in the model ( worlds={A, B}, f(W)=sum(log(felicity(e)) for e in population(W)) ), such that world A=(2,2,2,2), and world B=(1,1,1,9). f(A) ≥ f(B), IE ¬(f(A) < f(B)), so ¬(A < B), IE, the equitable society is also at least as good as the inequitable, higher sum utility one. So if you want to support all embeddings via summation of an increasing function of the units' QoL.. I'd be surprised if those embeddings had anything in common aside from what the premises required. I suspect anything that agreed with all of them would require all worlds the original premises don't relate to be equal, IE, ¬(A<B) ∧ ¬(B<A).

... looking back, I'm opposed to your implicit definition of a " "baseline" ", the original population partial ordering premises are the baseline, here, not total utilitarianism.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2013-11-01T21:44:00.600Z · LW · GW

I propose a new term for what we're trying to do here, not for-profit, nor not-for-profit, but for-results.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2013-11-01T21:22:04.462Z · LW · GW

The Carcenogen is already doing all it can to demolish any grand central church of atheism that might or might not exist, For example, this kind of antimeme spreads like wildfire. There is no need for us to do anything to encourage dispersal and mutation, it is already underway. And, I'm not sure about this, but doesn't humanity already have swarm intelligence setups for generating new concepts, new categories for people? I wouldn't expect we'd need a machine to do that for us.

Second, there is absolutely no reason for us to settle for an idea that is not profitable.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on [deleted post] 2013-10-28T03:01:26.533Z

Would Xodarap agree that the premises are (assuming we have operator overloads for multisets rather than sets)

  • the better set is a superset (A ⊂ B) ⇒ (A < B)

  • or everything in the better set that's not in the worse set is better than everything that's in the worse set that's not in the better set, (∀a∈(A\B), b∈(B\A) value(a) < value(b)) ⇒ (A < B)

Comment by PrometheanFaun on [deleted post] 2013-10-28T02:40:01.604Z

If the inequitable society has greater total utility, it must be at least as good as the equitable one.

No, the premises don't necessitate that. "A is at least as good as B", in our language, is ¬(A < B). But you've stated that the lack of an edge from A to B says nothing about whether A < B, now you're talking like if the premises don't conclude that A < B they must conclude ¬(A < B), which is kinda affirming the consequent.

It might have been a slip of the tongue, or it might be an indication that you're overestimating the significance of this alignment. These premises don't prove that a higher utility inequitable society is at least as good as a lower utility equitable one. They merely don't disagree.

I may be wrong here, but it looks as though, just as the premises support (A < B) ⇒ (utility(A) < utility(B)), they also support (A < B) ⇒ (normalizedU(A)) < normalizedU(B))), such that normalizedU(World) = sum(log(utility(life)) for life in elements(World)) a perfectly reasonable sort of population utilitarianism where utility monsters are fairly well seen to. In this case equality would usually yield greater betterness than inequality despite it being permitted by the premises.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Better Rationality Through Lucid Dreaming · 2013-10-26T03:55:31.581Z · LW · GW

Great answer, I know this is something I need to do more in life anyway. So I did a little bit of it just now. Sudden increase in levels of curiosity[so virtuous. Wow.]. I'm so curious I even want to know crap like why my housemate sometimes leaves a spoon stuck in the coffee grounds of the compost container. Obviously they used the spoon to move the grounds in there, but why did they leave it stuck there rather than moving it to the cutlery dip in the wash basin? Now that is an extraordinarily minor detail- take that as an indication of just how motivating it is to suspect that you don't look closely enough at the details of your life to know whether you're in a shoddy simulation.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Better Rationality Through Lucid Dreaming · 2013-10-26T03:35:59.721Z · LW · GW

That doesn't answer the question? I'm pretty sure a honed attentiveness to the consistency of text wouldn't raise my overall sanity waterline.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2013-10-20T08:59:29.723Z · LW · GW

I tell everyone this all the time. Thankyou AGI, maybe now they'll believe me.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2013-10-20T08:54:09.347Z · LW · GW

relevant discussion

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2013-10-20T08:54:01.136Z · LW · GW

I come from the future with a refutation from the past!

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2013-10-20T08:14:19.753Z · LW · GW

Lesswrong's threads have defeated Death.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on How to Become a 1000 Year Old Vampire · 2013-10-20T01:29:54.323Z · LW · GW

Howdy FourFire. At some point after conceiving of a particularly lofty particularly involving plot[details available on request for LWers], I stopped trying to befriend people who wouldn't feature anywhere in it. Whoever I'm with, there's always an objective, though I'll often have to pretend there isn't and come at it sideways, which only makes it more fun.

For me there are two kinds of people, people I can do something with, and people I've got nothing to do with.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The curse of identity · 2013-10-17T04:27:24.594Z · LW · GW

OK, that's got to be a bug..

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-17T04:01:54.650Z · LW · GW

I've heard German is bad too. Probably In the very same philosophy of logic class where I heard the name Wittgenstein and was told about his work but which I have completely failed to retain any memory of.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The curse of identity · 2013-10-13T01:29:25.080Z · LW · GW

Dangit I wish I knew who this was. I hope their disassociation isn't a sign of evaporative cooling in action.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on How to Become a 1000 Year Old Vampire · 2013-10-11T22:10:09.508Z · LW · GW

is Noticing Boredom a recognized mental skill? Because it should be

Very much agreed. When I started taking online courses I was surprised at how speeding up the video helped my learning. What was happening before, and what still happens when I'm watching slow, informationally dilute speeches, is my mind can't sync up with the presentation and it wanders off on its own way so frequently that I simply can't stop it from happening. I also didn't used to realize how hanging around with crowds who wern't curious and wern't agenty in the same way I was sucked the life out of me. I thought I was just an inattentive, generally disengaged person. I was dead wrong.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The best 15 words · 2013-10-11T06:06:11.397Z · LW · GW

That's not helpful. Say I've got an audience who wouldn't like me if they knew me as my inner circle does, who definitely wouldn't be convinced if I wrote as though I were writing for my own. What would Zinsser do? Give up? Write something else? I know that communicating effectively when you don't personally feel what you're saying tends to fail, well yes, it's hard, but that's precisely what I've got to do!

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-10T04:36:44.588Z · LW · GW

Since English isn't Sound and like 90% of English words simply don't have real definitions, I'm not sure I want to tangle with this guy's work. It's either going to be tenuous logic with an exploration in equivocation, or a baffling/impressive display of linguistics. Which was it?

Comment by PrometheanFaun on You're Calling *Who* A Cult Leader? · 2013-10-05T23:12:47.783Z · LW · GW

if you're trying to not look like a cult, then you're doing it wrong

I disagree. I think it's so easy for a community with widespread, genuine conviction as to their shared radicles to look like a cult, that, well, anyone willing to go through the rather extreme rigors of preventing anyone from seeing you as cult-like.. methinks they protest too much. I say we are- though far from being a cult- cultlike. We are weird, and passionate, and that's all it takes.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-10-03T08:12:31.893Z · LW · GW

Assuming that Harry's Dark Side is integral to a significant proportion of plays(assuming rather than noting because my memory is patchy and I don't remember if it was like this or if the dark side was more a background character than an oft-employed tool), perhaps we could infer from this that EY considers it to be an natural state of mind that also happens to flourish rarely enough that no character Harry will ever meet is likely to be able to correct his misperception of it. I'd then assume EY must have visited it himself to write it.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-10-01T01:49:18.693Z · LW · GW

I was referring more to that shadowy part of his mind that knows just what to look for. A source of insight that doesn't obey natural human cognitive constraints.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on I attempted the AI Box Experiment again! (And won - Twice!) · 2013-09-06T02:53:06.478Z · LW · GW

I sincerely hope that happens. I don't care whether I'm involved, but there must be a group of apt judges who're able to look over the entirety of these results, discuss them, and speak for them.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on I attempted the AI Box Experiment again! (And won - Twice!) · 2013-09-06T01:17:55.813Z · LW · GW

Who is going to read it? Hopefully Eliezer, at least?

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-05T23:24:07.699Z · LW · GW

A gaydar doesn't have to depend on how gay a person looks superficially. There are plenty of other cues.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-05T23:18:51.112Z · LW · GW

I'll agree with that from a different angle. Due to the map≠territory lemma, We never have to accept absolute inability to meet our goals. When faced with seemingly inescapable all-dimensional doom, there is no value at all in resigning oneself to it, the only value left in the universe is in that little vanishingly not-going-to-happen-unlikely possible world where, for example, the heat death can be prevented or escaped. Sure, what we know of thermodynamics tells us it can't, well, I'm going to assume that there's a loophole in our thermodynamic laws that we're yet to notice. Pick me for damned, pick me for insane, these two groups are the same.

Now, if I'd based my goals on something even less ambiguous than physics, and it was mathematical certainty that I was not going to be able to meet any of them, I wouldn't be able to justify denying my damnation, I'd collapse into actual debilitating madness if I tried that. So I don't know what I would do in that case.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-05T23:05:53.908Z · LW · GW

looks like we've said a lot on that

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-09-05T22:41:41.060Z · LW · GW

I think he's never going to do that here. He did that in TWC because if we were able to come up with the winning strategy when pressed, that would indicate that one of the crew members in the story definitely would have, too, proving it would have been unreasonable to write an ending where they did not. In this case our ability to solve the puzzle doesn't really say anything about the plausibility of the work's characters' solving it. Our success would not necessitate theirs, as we're more populous, experienced, and have access to a huge written record. Nor would our failure necessitate theirs, as Harry has magical insights. The groups' capacities say little about each other.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-05T11:19:33.895Z · LW · GW

I'm sorry if my kind ever confused you by saying things like "It is important that I make an impressive display in the lek", what I actually mean is "It is likely my intrinsic goals would be well met if I made an impressive display in the lek". There is an ommitted variable in the original phrasing. Its importance isn't just a function of our situation, it's a function of the situation and of me, and of my value system.

So I think the real difference between nihilists and non-nihilists as we may call them, is that non-nihilists [think they]have a clearer idea of what they want to do with their life. Life's purpose isn't written on the void, it's written within us. Nobody sane will argue otherwise.

Actually... "within".. now I think of it, the only resolute nihilist I've probed has terrible introspection relative to myself, and it took a very long time to determine this, introspective clarity doesn't manifest as you might expect. This might be a lead.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-05T11:04:34.898Z · LW · GW

So his opinions kind of did change over that time period, but only from "I reject these words" to "alright, if you insist, I'll try to salvage these words". I'm not sure which policy's best. The second risks arguments with people who don't know your definitions. They will pass through two phases, the first is where the two of you legitimately think you're talking about the same thing but the other is a total idiot who doesn't know what it's like. The second phase is perhaps justifiable umbrage on their discovering that you are using a definition you totally just made up, and how were they even supposed to know.

The former position, however, requires us to leave behind what we already sort of kind of suspect about these maybe-not-actual concepts and depart into untilled, unpopulated lands, with a significant risk of wheel-reinvention.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-05T10:54:58.674Z · LW · GW

I find the strangely indefinite way humans name things interesting, but I try to have a safe amount of disinterest in the actual denotations of the names themselves, especially the ones which seem to throw off paradoxes in every direction when you put your weight on them. Whatever they are, they weren't built to be thought about in any depth.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Thoughts on status signals · 2013-08-30T01:36:34.449Z · LW · GW

Could you expound the evidence exposed by the donning of a suit? I'm having trouble fitting myself into these systems. It'd mean a lot to me to get an explanation from someone who knows what a valid argument looks like.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Lesswrong Philosophy and Personal Identity · 2013-08-27T23:42:51.317Z · LW · GW

My reaction to that is we shouldn't be asking "is it me", but "how much of me does it replicate?" Cause, if we make identity a similarity relation, it will have to bridge enough small differentiations that eventually it will connect us to entities which barely resemble us at all.

However, Could you expound the way of this definition of identity under transitivity and symmetry for us? I'm not sure I've got a good handle on what those constraints would permit.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Lesswrong Philosophy and Personal Identity · 2013-08-27T23:17:20.727Z · LW · GW

I think an important part of the rationalist's plight is attempting to understand the design intents behind these built-in unapologetic old mechanisms for recognizing ourselves in the world, which any self-preservation machine capable of rationality must surely have. But I don't know if we can ever really understand them, they wern't designed to be understood, in fact they seem to be designed to permit being misunderstood to a disturbing degree. I find that often when I think "I" have won, finally achieved a some sense of self-comprehension sufficient for total consciousness-subconscious integration, I get nauseous and realize that what has really happened is I have been overrun by a rampantly insolent mental process that is no more "me" than a spreading lie would be, something confused and transient and not welcome in the domain of the selfish gene, and I reset.

I find the roots of this abstraction engine reaching out over my mind again. Tentative and carefully pruned, this time.

The hardest part of the process is that the gene's memetic safety mechanisms seem quite tolerant of delusions long after they're planted, though not once they begin to flower. You don't get a warning. If you bloom in the wrong way you will feel not the light of the sun but the incendiary of your mental immune system.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Polyhacking · 2013-08-27T23:02:03.093Z · LW · GW

I thought for a while, and I really can't imagine any cases of works which would be unsuitable for all LWers that arn't worth hanging around and arguing about. I agree. We should be calling these people ignorant and criticising their work, not assigning them a permanent class division, shaking our heads, and going back to our camp.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Humans are utility monsters · 2013-08-18T09:33:52.429Z · LW · GW

I meant the former case, what use are people who's wants don't perfectly align with their utility function? xJ I guess whenever the latter case occurs in my life, that's not really what's happening. The dog thinks it's driving away a threat I don't recognise, when really it's driving away an opportunity it's incapable of recognising. Sometimes it might even be the right thing for them to do, even by my standards, given a lack of information. I still have to manage them like a burdensome dog.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on On Juvenile Fiction · 2013-08-18T06:33:59.619Z · LW · GW

Metaphors are [...] incredibly valuable.

Prove it. I really doubt that. I think they're a highly ineffective teaching device relative to clean demonstrative thought-experiment parables. Analogies might be useful as scaffolding or a spec for learners to build to, but metaphors take it to a level of obfuscation that makes successful integration of the underlying principles of any given metaphorical package unlikely to ever occur.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Humans are utility monsters · 2013-08-18T06:15:10.078Z · LW · GW

In more personal terms, if you fit your utility function to your friends and decide what is best for them based on that, rather than letting them to their own alien utility functions and helping them to get what they really want rather than what you think they should want, you are not a good friend. I say this because if the function you're pushing prohibits me from fulfilling my goals, I will avoid the fuck out of you. I will lie about my intentions. I will not trust you. It doesn't matter if your heart's in the right place.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2013-08-17T06:59:50.994Z · LW · GW

It is possible to perceive this, but most people who do just end up labeled as nuts


Only your comprehending the Divinity of Cubic Creation will your soul be saved from your created hell on Earth - induced by your ignoring the existing 4 corner harmonic simultaneous 4 Days rotating in a single cycle of the Earth sphere.


Comment by PrometheanFaun on Bayesian Judo · 2013-08-12T02:37:42.597Z · LW · GW

He probably didn't see it as an argument proper, but a long misunderstanding. Most people arn't mentally equipped to make high fidelity translations between qualia and words in either direction[superficially, they are Not Articulate. More key, they might be Not Articulable], when you dismantle their words, it doesn't mean much to them, cause you havn't touched their true thoughts or anything that represents them.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Open thread, July 29-August 4, 2013 · 2013-08-11T04:43:16.414Z · LW · GW

Oh, hey. Is this the lecture hall for Utopic Fascism Deprogramming 101? Cool, d'you mind if I sit next to you? I'm really excited about this class. We might have to drop it though, I hear that the lecturer might not even be planning on showing up.

Comment by PrometheanFaun on "Ray Kurzweil and Uploading: Just Say No!", Nick Agar · 2013-08-11T04:16:39.357Z · LW · GW

Well, OK, What if we change our pitch from "approximate mind simulation" to "approximate identity-focal body simulation"?

Comment by PrometheanFaun on Open thread, July 29-August 4, 2013 · 2013-08-05T01:27:42.746Z · LW · GW

but for some reason explicit discussion and debate is discouraged

The reason is an assumption that if we discuss those topics, rationality will leave the building. Since rationality is what we're here for, we must not discuss those topics. Maybe one day we'll be ready to discuss those topics, but I don't think we are at this point.