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Comment by rationalash on Two More Things to Unlearn from School · 2013-06-30T13:32:31.696Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I sort of unintentionally had this happen to me. When I was 13 I moved to a new school which was a little less competent than my previous school. In my previous school all the information was packaged and delivered to us to memorize. In this new school the teachers would just roughly go over the topic and it required a lot of independent effort on my part to understand the subject matter.

This led to this mini explosion of clarity in my head. While in my previous school I was bored of learning and depended almost exclusively on rote memorization, this new school forced me to think about why I know what I know. This transformed me into an incredible math/science nut. Just taking the information into your own hands and thinking about it turned me into someone who constantly raved about the beauty of mathematics.

Comment by rationalash on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-04-07T08:32:03.251Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well... I'm an engineering student who intends to graduate in electronics. I became interested in AI when I started learning programming at the age of 12. I became fascinated with what I could make the computer do. And rather naively I tried for months and months to program something that was "intelligent" (and failed horribly of course). I set that project aside temporarily but never stopped thinking about it. Years later I discovered HPMoR and through it LessWrong and suddenly found a whole community of people interested in AI and similar things. That was also about the same time I became a full blown atheist. So while exploring this website, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Once I graduate I really hope I can do some research in AI.

Comment by rationalash on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2013-04-07T08:15:40.651Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh Whoops! I mean protons and electrons! Silly mistake!

Comment by rationalash on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-12T11:19:39.260Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, in the case of answers to questions like that in the humanities what does the word 'right' actually mean? If we say a particular author is 'post utopian' what does it actually mean for the answer to that question to be 'yes' or 'no'? It's just a classification that we invented. And like all classification groups there is a set of rules characteristics that mean that the author is either post utopian or not. I imagine it as a checklist of features which gets ticked off as a person reads the book. If all the items in the checklist are ticked then the author is post utopian. If not then the author is not.

The problem with this is that different people have different items in their checklist and differ in their opinion on how many items in the list need to be checked for the author to be classified as post utopian. You can pick any literary classification and this will be the case. There will never be a consensus on all the items in the checklist. There will always be a few points that everybody does not agree on. This makes me think that objectively speaking there is not 'absolutely right' or 'absolutely wrong' answer to a question like that.

In hard science on the other hand. There is always an absolutely right answer. If we say: "Protons and neutrons are oppositely charged." There is an answer that is right because no matter what my beliefs, experiment is the final arbiter. Nobody who follows through the logical steps can deny that they are oppositely charged without making an illogical leap.

In the literary classification, you or your neural network can go through logical steps and still arrive at an answer that is not the same for everybody.

EDIT: I meant "protons and electrons are oppositely charged" not "protons and neutrons". Sorry!