What jobs are safe in an automated future? 2012-01-11T20:48:53.950Z
The punishment dilemma 2011-11-18T22:34:21.633Z
Rational to distrust your own rationality? 2011-10-27T22:03:20.216Z
The self-fooling problem. 2011-10-10T22:26:48.947Z


Comment by PuyaSharif on Is this paper formally modeling human (ir)rational decision making worth understanding? · 2014-10-24T01:10:47.138Z · LW · GW

Even I have a chapter in a textbook, its not a measure of quality :) Conference proceedings sometimes are published as a book, with ISBN and all.

Comment by PuyaSharif on Please recommend some audiobooks · 2014-10-24T01:02:51.875Z · LW · GW

I guess the bottom line is that, when it comes to fields like philosophy and history, the literature will be heavily biased by the authors, and if one really wants to reduce this bias the one must consult multiple sources.

Comment by PuyaSharif on Please recommend some audiobooks · 2014-10-23T02:05:15.970Z · LW · GW

Wonderful recommendation. I am listening to 'A History of western philosophy' at the moment and I enjoy every single minute of it. Its my clean and cook book. Not only is it a literary masterpiece, it is a well researched account of exactly what the name says. As a bonus you get the whole story commented by one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.

Comment by PuyaSharif on ICONN 2012 nanotechnology conference in Perth · 2012-01-17T14:30:38.372Z · LW · GW

Academic conferences tends to be very technical, so don't expect to be able fully follow the talks. A review paper

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-13T14:11:06.848Z · LW · GW

By human-equivalent i'd guess you mean equivalent in if not all, but in many different aspects of human intelligence. I wouldn't dare to have an opinion at the moment.

Anyone else?

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-13T14:02:22.085Z · LW · GW

Yes I am, and I'll soon start looking for PhD-positions either in physics or some interdisciplinary field of interest. I know I seem a bit over-optimistic, and that such radical changes may take maybe at least 30-50 years, but I'd guess most of us will be alive by then so its still relevant. My main point is that step by step theoretical tasks will move to the space of computation and the job of the theoretician will evolve to something else. If one day our computers in our computer aided research starts to output suggestions for models, or links between sets of data we haven't thought about comparing wouldn't those results actually be a collaboration between us and that system? You maybe cant imagine automating everything you do, but I'm sure you can imagine parts of your research being automated. That would allow you to use more mental resources for the conceptual and creative part of the research and so on..

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-12T21:39:14.499Z · LW · GW

I agree that the conceptual (non-simply-symbol-processing) part of theoretical physics is the tricky part to automate, and even if I am willing to accept that that last 1% will be kept in the monopoly of human beings, but then that's it; theoretical physics will asymptotically reduce to that 1% and stay there until AGI arrives. Its not bound to change over night, but the change will be the product of many small changes where computers start to aid us not by just doing the calculations and simulations but more advanced tasks where we can input sets of equations from two different sub-field and letting the computers using evolutionary algorithms try different combinations, operate on them and so on and find links. The process could end where a joint theory in a common mathematical framework succeeds to derive the phenomena in both sub fields.

EDIT: Have to add that it feels a bit awkward to argue against the future necessity of my "profession"..

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-12T20:29:54.723Z · LW · GW

For example, music composition, writing fiction, and similar artistic endeavors require that the artist know what people enjoy. I think that that will be done by humans for the foreseeable future.

Regarding music composition; there are already algorithms being developed for predicting the potential of a song becoming a hit. Next step could be algorithms that creates the songs by themselves. Its all about optimization with positive feedback. Algorithm: Create a piece of art A such that A has a high probability of satisfying the ones experiencing it. Input statistics about human nature + reaction to previous generations + reactions to man made art of the same sort. Most people wouldn't care about how that piece of art was made. (But I guess this will take a while)

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-12T12:31:42.150Z · LW · GW

My goal was/is to start a discussion around: 1. Strategies today for maximizing probability of being needed in the future. 2 Even more interesting, what tasks are hard/easy to automate and why? 3 The consequences automation will have on global economy. So far, the comments covers a little bit of all.

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-11T23:05:26.791Z · LW · GW

1 Hindsight bias? Quite a diagnosis there. I never specified the level of those algorithms.

2 Which part of theoretical physics is not math? Experiments confirm or reject theoretical conclusions and points theoretical work in different directions. But that theoretical work is in the end symbol processing - something that computers are pretty good at. There could be a variety of ways for a computer to decide if a theorem is interesting just as for a human. Scope, generality and computability of the theorems could be factors. Input Newtonian mechanics and the mathematics of 1850 and output Hamiltonian mechanics just based on the generality of that framework.

Comment by PuyaSharif on What jobs are safe in an automated future? · 2012-01-11T22:09:39.551Z · LW · GW

1 Maybe I should clarify: Are the tasks previously done by bank tellers becoming automated? Yes. The fact that the number bank tellers has increased does not invalidate my statement. If there were no internet banking or ATMs then increase would be much larger right? So its trivial to see that the number of bank tellers can increase at the same time as bank teller jobs are lost to automated systems.

2 I'll give you an extreme one. I am a few steps away of earning a degree in theoretical physics specializing in quantum information theory. Theoretical quantum information theory is nothing but symbol manipulation in a framework on existing theorems of linear algebra. With enough resources pretty much all of the research could be done by computers alone. Algorithms could in principle put mathematical statements together, other algorithms testing the meaningfulness of the output and so on.. but that a discussion interesting enough to have its own thread. I just mean that theoretical work is not immune to automation.

Organize all the known mathematics and physics of 1915 in a computer running the right algorithms, the ask it: 'what is gravity?' Would it output General theory of relativity? I think so.

Comment by PuyaSharif on The punishment dilemma · 2011-11-19T00:22:05.014Z · LW · GW

There is nothing wrong with the consistency. At least not in principle. A crime could still be defined as a crime and the punishment could go towards zero asymptotically.

Comment by PuyaSharif on The punishment dilemma · 2011-11-18T23:05:50.751Z · LW · GW

Yes of course, you are free to do it yourself, but it is assumed on the large scale that that even including retaliations (which are crimes), crime rates would go down. And in a society with no punishments would it be rational to do that? (Given that the friends or relatives of that guy could come after you for coming after him for coming after you and so on..?

Comment by PuyaSharif on Review of Kahneman, 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' (2011) · 2011-10-29T15:49:05.690Z · LW · GW

Good! Now I have two recently published very interesting books to read! Khaneman and Michael Nielsen's Reinventing Discovery. (I'll submit a review M.N.'s this as soon as I've read it)

Comment by PuyaSharif on Rational to distrust your own rationality? · 2011-10-28T13:36:50.372Z · LW · GW

You see, the reason for why it is discussed as an "effect" or "paradox" is that even if your risk aversion ("oh no what if I lose") is taken into account, it is strange to take 1A together with 2B. A risk averse person might "correctly" chose 1A, but that for person to be consistent in its choices has to chose 2A. Not 1A and 2B together.

My suggestion is that the slight increase in complexity in 1A adds to your risk (external risk+internal risk) and therefore within your given risk profile makes 1A and 2B a consistent combination.

Comment by PuyaSharif on Rational to distrust your own rationality? · 2011-10-28T01:57:18.507Z · LW · GW

One way of testing: Have two questions just like in Allais experiment. Make the experiment in five different versions where choice 1B has increasing complexity but same expected utility. See if 1B-aversion correlates with increasing complexity.

Comment by PuyaSharif on Rational to distrust your own rationality? · 2011-10-28T01:13:11.033Z · LW · GW

'Rational' as in rational agent is a pretty well defined concept in rational choice theory/game theory/decision theory. That is what I refer to when I use the word.

Comment by PuyaSharif on Truth & social graces · 2011-10-22T17:14:48.544Z · LW · GW

Why interfering and not letting your kid develop his own ways? Answering "How are you?" in detail sounds to me as a fantastic trait of his personality.

When I was 7-years old I stopped calling my parents mom and dad and switched over to calling them by their names. I just couldn't understand the logic of other people call them one thing and me calling the something else. Happily nobody tried to "correct" me according to social rules, and still today it wouldn't cross my mind to call my mother 'mother'!

Comment by PuyaSharif on Satisficers want to become maximisers · 2011-10-22T13:39:17.961Z · LW · GW

Can you really assume the agent to have a utility function that is both linear in paperclips (which implies risk neutrality) and bounded + monotonic?

Comment by PuyaSharif on Rational toy buying · 2011-10-19T22:50:50.753Z · LW · GW

When I was eight or nine i got one of those electricity/magnetism experiment kits. Boy, did I love that kit! I did that motor, electric bell and electromagnet experiment over and over again for maybe a year and then moved on to building my own electronic stuff from components I found tearing old TV's and radios apart. I soon had a little club at home teaching my friends!

Some years ago when my cousin just had turned nine I got him a kit and hoped to see him become as interested in electronics as I was in his age. But he hardly opened the box, and when I came to visit a year later that kit was long gone and forgotten. It simply could not stand the competition against the video games and toy guns.

I don't want to demotivate you with this story. Just want to say that stimulating a kid towards some interest is much more than buying a set of object for them. The key is the time you spend and how you spend it. Make it a step by step project. Ask her; maybe there are things among your alternatives that are more interesting to her than other. Followup and communicate. Visit museums etc..

Comment by PuyaSharif on The Need for Universal Experience Classes · 2011-10-19T16:27:56.015Z · LW · GW

It depends on how you define 'use'. People are trying to make sense of reality all the time. Different scenarios needs different tools and different ways of thinking. Basic high school science helps you understand parts of the news flow, some aspects of the mechanisms of your household appliances, transportation related concepts like time, velocity, acceleration, your body and so on.

Comment by PuyaSharif on The Need for Universal Experience Classes · 2011-10-19T15:58:06.722Z · LW · GW

shend, shimux. I am not questioning the overall thesis of the post. Just reacting to:

"I think the problem here is that people can’t understand what is really important. Calculus, mechanical physics, chemistry, microiology, etc. are interesting to learn, perhaps. But, they are relatively advanced topics. People don’t use them in daily life unless they are professionals. Why not learn things that we think about every day instead of those that will frankly be useless to most? "

Comment by PuyaSharif on The Need for Universal Experience Classes · 2011-10-19T13:54:13.235Z · LW · GW

Calculus, mechanical physics, chemistry, microbiology etc are areas describing objective reality. They explain how the world we live in works on a fundamental level, i.e the very fabric of reality. Not only do they give answers to basic questions of human life, they also activate the students toward systematic analytical thinking and questioning.

Do you really mean that people would be better off never being exposed to ("interesting but useless") natural science? Would you prefer a society where most people doesn't have a clue about how things around them came to be or how they work? How would a potential engineer or a researcher build up its interest towards science if never exposed to it systematically?

Learning about music and art is good, but not at expense of science!

Comment by PuyaSharif on The self-unfooling problem · 2011-10-12T23:02:09.891Z · LW · GW

This problem reminds me of the movie Memento. The lead character was unable to make any new memories and his mind was reset every two or three minutes. Nevertheless was he trying to find his wifes killer, and kept record of new leads by taking pictures with a Polaroid camera, keeping notes and tattooing pieces of information to his body. Great movie!

Comment by PuyaSharif on [SEQ RERUN] Torture vs. Dust Specks · 2011-10-11T15:26:43.079Z · LW · GW

An interesting related question would be: What would people in a big population Q choose if given alternatives: extreme pain with probability p=1/Q or tiny pain with probability p=1. In the framework of expected utility theory you'd have to include not only the sizes of the pains and size of populations but also the risk aversion of the person asked. So its not only about adding up small utilities.

Comment by PuyaSharif on [SEQ RERUN] Torture vs. Dust Specks · 2011-10-11T13:04:21.491Z · LW · GW

By putting a single speck of dust in somebody's eye, you increase the probability of that person getting injured or die in an accident. Lots of these people will be driving cars, crossing roads etc at that moment. Given the size of the number (3^^^3), that action would kill @#¤%¤&-illions of people. I would rather torture one.

Comment by PuyaSharif on The self-fooling problem. · 2011-10-11T00:40:03.515Z · LW · GW

I see your point. A reduction of easily searched places will indeed make it more difficult for B to find the coin, even though B will have a smaller space to search. The question that remains is: given a mathematical description of the search/hide-space what probability distribution over locations (randomization process) will minimize the probability of B finding the coin.

Comment by PuyaSharif on The self-fooling problem. · 2011-10-10T23:41:24.548Z · LW · GW

As some comments has pointed out there are some loopholes in the original formulation, and I will do my best to close these or accept the fact that they're not closeable (which would be interesting in its own right).

Lets try a simpler formulation.. Basically what is being asked here is that given two intelligences A and B, where A and B are identical (perfect copies), can A have a strategy that minimizes the probability of B finding the coin?

Further: Any chain of reasoning leading to a constrained set of available locations followed by randomization could be used by B to constrain the set of locations to search. Is it therefore possible to beat complete randomization?

Comment by PuyaSharif on What are you working on? · 2011-10-06T23:25:49.666Z · LW · GW

Since ten years back a sub-field of quantum information theory has emerged, quantum game theory. Regard it as the intersection of quantum mechanics and game theory. It deals with game theoretical situations where the participants use entangled quantum states, quantum superposition and unitary operations as resources to gain advantages compared to classical counterparts.

I am designing and (trying) solving a quantum game using three level quantum states, qutrits (compared to the usual qubits, two level systems).

Comment by PuyaSharif on Meetup : Stockholm meetup · 2011-10-06T22:50:54.693Z · LW · GW

This is fantastic! I came across this site a while back and promised myself that I would submit something as soon as I could find the time. Then it slipped my occupied mind and I forgot about the very existence of LW! I happened to take a look inside tonight and the first thing I see is that there is a meetup here in Stockholm 36 hours and 15 minutes from now. What a nice coincidence! I'll be very happy to join. I'm a sucker for all kinds of discussions. Game theory, economy, politics, decision theory, technology, artificial intelligence, fundamental questions in philosophy, physics, you name it. See you guys!