Storytelling and the evolution of human intelligence 2019-06-13T20:13:03.547Z · score: 16 (6 votes)


Comment by richard_kennaway on Machine Learning Analogy for Meditation (illustrated) · 2019-08-12T09:58:12.576Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My inferential distance from yours is also high.

I view 'thoughts' as not having very much to do with action in general. They're just like... incidental post-hoc things.

I spend the whole of every working day thinking, and all this thought drives the things that I do at work. For example, the task currently (or before I took a break to read LW) in front of me is to make the API to a piece of functionality in the software I'm developing as simple as it can possibly be, while not making the implementation go through contortions to make it that simple. The actions this has given rise to so far have been to write a page of notes on possible APIs and a mockup of a procedure implementing one of them.

A lot of what I do when I'm not "at work" is the same sort of thing. What I have just written was produced by thinking. So thoughts as "incidental post-hoc things" does not describe anything that I call thoughts.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? · 2019-08-09T10:54:14.732Z · score: -1 (6 votes) · LW · GW

They are made of atoms I want to use for something else.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Open & Welcome Thread August 2019 · 2019-08-04T09:42:32.261Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps also related: gratitude journalling, as a way of avoiding habituating to your general circumstances and seeing yourself within a larger perspective. Cf. the traditional advice to "count your blessings".

Both of these have positivity bias built in, though, so maybe just journalling would make for a more accurate awareness of the state and progress of one's soul.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Open & Welcome Thread August 2019 · 2019-08-04T09:34:58.156Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Related XKCD.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Open & Welcome Thread August 2019 · 2019-08-04T09:19:10.086Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW
Clearly, it makes no sense to say that someone is mistaken about how happy they feel.

Presumably it does make sense to anyone who has ever said that someone is "out of touch with their feelings". I can't see myself ever using that expression, but it is a thing that people say. It is a claim that the person spoken of is mistaken about what they are feeling.

Because (it seems to me) “happiness” already refers to a subjective phenomenon. “How happy you are” just means “how happy you feel”. There is no underlying objective phenomenon—or, to be more precise, the subjective phenomenon is the objective phenomenon. How happy people feel, is actually what we are trying to measure.

I disagree with this. That the word "happy" refers only to a subjective phenomenon, and there does not seem to be a word ready to hand for an objective counterpart, are just accidents of English lexicalisation. But there is such a word, borrowed from the ancients: "eudaimonia". Opinions differ on what constitutes the eudaimonic life, but given a view on that, one could measure it, and by means less superficial than asking "how happy do you feel?"

Indeed, other things that people measure go some way to doing this. Surveys of political freedom, oppression, prosperity, access to education, high culture, fulfilling work, poverty, etc. address various aspects of human flourishing.

In contrast, asking people "how happy do you feel?" seems frivolous. Why do we want to know this? Why do people want to measure it?

I have seen a good friend in tears one day and cheerful the next. How "happy" were they at either point? What could one do with the answer to such a question?

Comment by richard_kennaway on Tetraspace Grouping's Shortform · 2019-08-03T15:55:55.089Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW
and they like them funding art galleries for the rich least of all.

What are these art galleries "for the rich"? Your link mentions the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Smithsonian, the Louvre, the Guggenheim, the Sackler Museum at Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History as recipients of Sackler money. All of them are open to everyone. The first three are free and the others charge in the region of $15-$25 (as do the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery for special exhibitions, but not the bulk of their displays). The hostility to Sackler money has nothing to do with "how dare they be billionaires", but is because of the (allegedly) unethical practices of the pharmaceutical company that the Sacklers own and owe their fortune to. No-one had any problem with their donations before.

Which is basically what you'd expect if people were well-calibrated and correctly criticising those who need to be taken down a peg.

I see nothing correct in the ethics of the crab bucket.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Open & Welcome Thread August 2019 · 2019-08-03T08:15:29.225Z · score: 29 (12 votes) · LW · GW

If you take up weight training, two things will happen: you will get stronger, and you will feel stronger.

The second of these wears off. (Source: personal experience.) Eventually, you do not notice all the time, how easy it is to carry this rucksack! how easy it is to jog up the stairs! But, assuming you keep up the training, the strength does not wear off. You continue to be stronger than you were, you continue to lift heavy things more easily.

Strength can be objectively measured. Go to the gym and see how much weight you can lift in the various exercises. That is how strong you are. How would you measure the feeling of strength? Ask "how strong do you feel today?", on a Likert scale of 1 to 5?

For the person who takes up weight training, that might go from a 3 to a 5 in the first few weeks, then fade back to a 3 as they become accustomed to their strength and do not especially notice it whenever they address a physical task. Without the objective measure, one might think that there was a "strength set point" that no amount of exercise can shift, a "strength treadmill" that defeats any attempt to become stronger. But there is no such thing.

Is this phenomenon a sufficient explanation of the supposed hedonic treadmill? Is the supposed treadmill a delusion based on the use of a false measure?

There is no objective measure of happiness, as there is of strength, only a subjective report on a Likert scale. The World Database of Happiness lists 2692 measures of happiness. Virtually all of them (2551 by my count) are self-reports on Likert scales, and almost all of the exceptions are reports on Likert scales by people examining the people whose happiness is being assessed.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Does improved introspection cause rationalisation to become less noticeable? · 2019-07-30T12:25:36.321Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Noticing is the fundamental skill and habit without which everything else is in vain. Noticing when you're going wrong is the only chance you have to put things right. Noticing when you're going right is the only chance to appreciate that you're going right.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Open Thread July 2019 · 2019-07-30T09:56:09.019Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't been there, but I was reading about Dynamic Land just yesterday (via Dominic Cummings' blog), and I've read some of Bret Victor's writings. I approve of the ideas tremendously, but it's not clear to me that in practice the work has provided any more of an advance in "visual programming" than other efforts in this area. Beyond the decades-old WIMP (ETA: and spreadsheets) interface, none of these, it seems to me, ever make more than toy demos. I have never seen them scale up to real power tools that someone would use to accomplish something. Ideas like these have been around long enough that toys and dreams will no longer do.

There are lathes that can make all of their own parts. Could Dynamic Land create Dynamic Land? What would such a system look like if it could?

Comment by richard_kennaway on Please give your links speaking names! · 2019-07-11T20:39:46.832Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The main thing I want to see when a link is given is enough information to decide whether I want to click on it, without clicking on it.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Open Thread July 2019 · 2019-07-08T13:20:41.969Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Recently out: "The Transhumanism Handbook" ed. Newton Lee (Springer, 2019). Costs money, of course, but you can see the table of contents, the abstracts, and the references for each paper for free. It contains:

5 chapters on yay, transhumanism!

10 on AI

12 on longevity

5 on biohacking

3 on cryptocurrency

5 on art

16 on society and ethics

10 on philosophy and religion

Comment by richard_kennaway on Black hole narratives · 2019-07-07T20:35:44.270Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · LW · GW
It's screaming at the cactus person, demanding an answer.

The cactus person is unable to assist the enquirer because it is stuck in its own car, a narrative that says that all you can do to help someone get out of the car is tell them to get out of the car. The cactus person insists that it must work, despite the observation that it doesn't work, and the more that it doesn't work, the more they insist that it must, the louder they scream "GET OUT OF THE CAR!", and the more they blame the other for not getting out of the car.

But there is, in fact, an answer that can be given. There is something that can be taught and learned, techniques of dismembering these narratives, finding their origins, verifying their truth or falsity (spoiler: they're usually made of lies), and responding to situations as they are, instead of being driven by internal stories about "I must—", "I have to—", "I shouldn't—", "I must be—" and so on. None of these techniques involve telling anyone to get out of the car. They acknowledge that there is a car, that they are in it, and teach how to notice the car and how to get out of it, without mystification or woo. My experience is that it works.

However, while I may have learned a little of this sort of thing, I am not going to attempt to teach it, because I am absolutely unqualified to do so, and anyway it's an experience to be had, not a book to read. I prefer to do no more than link to an old comment of mine where I mention the organisation whose courses I have taken. I hope that dropping its name twice in eight years will not be seen as proselytising. Possibly it is not the only one that does something along these lines, but it is one I have experience of and have found valuable, and I think there cannot be many others.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-04T18:29:38.770Z · score: 20 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The alternative is just this: there is work to be done — do it. When the work can be done better — do it better. When you can help others work better — help them to work better.

Forget about a hypothetical absolute pinnacle of good, and berating yourself and everyone else for any failure to reach it. It is like complaining, after the first step of a journey of 10,000 miles, that you aren't there yet.

I quoted Spurgeon as a striking example of pure, stark Calvinism. But to me his writings are lunatic ravings. In fairness, some of the quotes on the spurgeon quotes site are more humane. But Calvinism, secular or religious, is an obvious failure mode. DO NOT DO OBVIOUS FAILURE MODES.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-04T18:26:22.512Z · score: 17 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Considering this more widely, here's a diagram I came up with. (Thanks to Raemon for advice on embedding images.)

alt text

(Please let me know if you do not see an image above. There might be a setting on my web site that blocks embedding.) (ETA: minor changes to image.)

Comment by richard_kennaway on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-04T15:46:13.278Z · score: 13 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've heard of a similar superstition in Christendom, that if for a single day, no-one sinned, that would bring about the Second Coming. The difference between either of these and a total lack of hope is rounding error.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-04T08:02:49.232Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps evidential non-decision theorists. Fallen man is unable to choose between good and evil, for in his fallen state he will always and inevitably choose evil.

There is no greater mockery than to call a sinner a free man. Show me a convict toiling in the chain gang, and call him a free man if you will; point out to me the galley slave chained to the oar, and smarting under the taskmaster’s lash whenever he pauses to draw breath, and call him a free man if you will; but never call a sinner a free man, even in his will, so long as he is the slave of his own corruptions.

Man is totally depraved:

The fact is, that man is a reeking mass of corruption. His whole soul is by nature so debased and so depraved, that no description which can be given of him even by inspired tongues can fully tell how base and vile a thing he is.

Man is incapable of the slightest urge to do good, unless the Lord extend his divine grace; and then, such good as he may do is done not by him but by the Lord working in him. And then, such outer works may be seen as evidence of inward grace.

Quotes are from the 19th century Calvinist C.M. Spurgeon, here and here. He wrote thousands of sermons, and they're all like this.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Raemon's Scratchpad · 2019-07-03T13:30:18.873Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Does Eliezer post anywhere public these days? His postings to Facebook are infrequent, and I don't know of him posting anywhere else.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-03T08:14:41.868Z · score: 27 (12 votes) · LW · GW

The problem with Calvinism is that it does not allow for improvement. We are (Calvin and Calvinists say) utterly depraved, and powerless to do anything to raise ourselves up from the abyss of sin by so much as the thickness of a hair. We can never be less wrong. Only by the external bestowal of divine grace can we be saved, grace which we are utterly undeserving of and are powerless to earn by any effort of our own. And this divine grace is not bestowed on all, only upon some, the elect, predetermined from the very beginning of Creation.

Calvinism resembles abusive parenting more than any sort of ethical principle.

Eliezer has written of a similar concept in Judaism:

Each year on Yom Kippur, an Orthodox Jew recites a litany which begins Ashamnu, bagadnu, gazalnu, dibarnu dofi, and goes on through the entire Hebrew alphabet: We have acted shamefully, we have betrayed, we have stolen, we have slandered . . .
As you pronounce each word, you strike yourself over the heart in penitence. There’s no exemption whereby, if you manage to go without stealing all year long, you can skip the word gazalnu and strike yourself one less time. That would violate the community spirit of Yom Kippur, which is about confessing sins—not avoiding sins so that you have less to confess.
By the same token, the Ashamnu does not end, “But that was this year, and next year I will do better.”
The Ashamnu bears a remarkable resemblance to the notion that the way of rationality is to beat your fist against your heart and say, “We are all biased, we are all irrational, we are not fully informed, we are overconfident, we are poorly calibrated . . .”
Fine. Now tell me how you plan to become less biased, less irrational, more informed, lessoverconfident, better calibrated.

When all are damned from the very beginning, when "everything is problematic", then who in fact gets condemned, what gets problematised, and who are the elect, are determined by political struggle for the seat of judgement. At least in Calvinism, that seat was reserved to God, who does not exist (or as Calvinists would say, whose divine will is unknowable), leaving people to deal with each others' flaws on a level standing.

Comment by richard_kennaway on What does the word "collaborative" mean in the phrase "collaborative truthseeking"? · 2019-06-26T12:48:38.325Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW
What conditions must obtain for an interaction between people to constitute “coming together to work on a common goal”?

That people have a common goal, and that they come together to work on it. Ok, I'm being deliberately tautologous there, but these are ordinary English words that we all know the meanings of, put together in plain sentences. I am not seeing what is being asked by your question, or by Zack's. Examples of the phenomenon are everywhere (as are examples of its failure).

As for how to do real work as a group (an expression meaning the same as "coming together to work on a common goal"), and how much of it is going on at any particular place and time, these are non-trivial questions. They have received non-trivial quantities of answers. To consider just LW and the rationalsphere, see for example various criticisms of LessWrong as being no more than a place to idly hang out (a common purpose but a rather trifling one compared with some people's desires for the place); MIRI; CFAR, FHI; rationalist houses; meetups; and so on. In another sphere, the book "Moral Mazes" (recently discussed here) illustrates some failures of collaboration.

I do not see how the OP gives any entry into these questions, but I look forward to seeing other people's responses to it.

Comment by richard_kennaway on What does the word "collaborative" mean in the phrase "collaborative truthseeking"? · 2019-06-26T06:24:40.347Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · LW · GW

People coming together to work on a common goal can typically accomplish more than if they worked separately. This is such a familiar thing that I am unclear where your perplexity lies.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Upcoming stability of values · 2019-06-22T16:14:27.964Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
Especially if human lifespan increases, there will be a strong case to keeping your values close, and not allowinga random walk until it hits an attractor.

In other words, be an attractor for your current values already. But at what age should one decide that here, at last, is where I am going to fix myself like a sea squirt on the landscape of values?

Comment by richard_kennaway on 28 social psychology studies from *Experiments With People* (Frey & Gregg, 2017) · 2019-06-20T20:18:35.063Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The first edition of this book was published in 2003. In 2005, Ioannidis' paper "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" started the reproducibility avalanche. How well have these experiments replicated? My university library only has the first edition. I can see from the Amazon preview of the second edition (2017) that the authors address this, but I can't see enough pages to see what their response is. I understand from other sources that priming and ego-depletion have not stood up well.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Is there a guide to 'Problems that are too fast to Google'? · 2019-06-20T08:11:53.007Z · score: -4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The Google results are mainly about big emergencies and disasters, and institutional responses to them.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Reneging prosocially by Duncan Sabien · 2019-06-19T13:13:51.448Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That is covered in the article. Alice should take on that cost to reduce the cost to John, demonstrating that she takes seriously the commitment she has broken rather than just scrapping it the moment it did not suit her.

IMO people should pay each other money for various acts that provide value much more often than the do.

Within a social circle, non-denominated performance of favours is the usual method, the magnitudes involved decreasing with distance, although never quite to zero. That way of doing things is the social fabric.

I do not ask money for giving a stranger in the street directions to where he wants to go.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Is there a guide to 'Problems that are too fast to Google'? · 2019-06-18T11:19:39.435Z · score: 21 (10 votes) · LW · GW

There is a word for important problems that must be solved at once, with no time to learn how: emergencies. Learning how in advance is called emergency preparedness. Someone has mentioned first aid. On similar lines there is knowing how to handle a breakdown in the middle of nowhere, being able to fight, situational awareness, knowing how to interact with unfriendly policemen, and so on, all the way up to knowing where your towel is when Yellowstone explodes.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Book review: The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler · 2019-06-17T16:32:58.520Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Greeks didn't have Newton's laws, or calculus except for the method of exhaustion for calculating certain areas.

Comment by richard_kennaway on On Having Enough Socks · 2019-06-13T19:23:50.978Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps American washing machines are so badly made that the smallest items of clothing can escape the drum and go down the drain? Either that or it's a bug in the simulation.

Comment by richard_kennaway on How is Solomonoff induction calculated in practice? · 2019-06-13T17:46:56.864Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Solomonoff induction is uncomputable because it requires knowing the set of all programs that compute a given set of data. If you just have two hypotheses in front of you, "Solomonoff induction" is not quite the term, as strictly understood it is a method for extrapolating a given sequence of data, rather than choosing between two programs that would generate the data seen so far. But understanding it as referring to the general idea of assigning probabilities to programs by their length, these are still uncomputable if one considers only programs that are of minimal length in their equivalence class. And when you don't make that requirement, the concepts of algorithmic complexity have little to say about the example.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Cryonics before natural death. List of companies? · 2019-06-13T16:35:12.099Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW
has the neural structure been destroyed, or is it sitting in the brain but not working?

Alzheimer's destroys the brain. The only cure is never to get it.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Get Rich Real Slowly · 2019-06-11T10:00:00.290Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Can anyone provide similarly concrete information for other countries? I doubt that I can invest with Vanguard or Wealthfront from the UK. The only UK institution I know of that offers index funds and whose web site doesn't look dodgy is Legal & General. I have some savings with them but I'd like to have alternatives.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Ramifications of limited positive value, unlimited negative value? · 2019-06-10T20:11:59.691Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It sounds like Scott Alexander's "Answer To Job".

Comment by richard_kennaway on Logic, Buddhism, and the Dialetheia · 2019-06-10T15:54:21.177Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The main problem with paraconsistent logic is that it doesn't exist. That is, there is no formalisation of it that anyone uses. Whatever non-standard logics people study, their metalanguage is always plain old mathematical logic, as foreshadowed by Aristotle, hoped for by Leibnitz, brought to fruition by Boole, Russell, and Whitehead, and embodied into computers by Turing, von Neumann, and whoever else should be mentioned in the same breath as them. There is no other game in town, except perhaps subsystems for constructive reasoning (where e.g. any proof of ∀x.∃y... can be read as a program for computing a suitable y from a given x).

The idea of Buddhist logic has always puzzled me, because I don't recognise anything that could be called logic in those writings, i.e. methods of reasoning,. There are only recitations of various formulas like "true, not-true, neither true not not-true, both true and not-true."

"What do I have in my pocket?" said Gollum, and Frodo knew, and said, without philosophizing on the nature of truth.

Comment by richard_kennaway on For the past, in some ways only, we are moral degenerates · 2019-06-08T15:55:00.705Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Only insofar as even man's sinning is part of the divine plan; but though part of the divine plan, it is still sin. The social order is the divine order, each is born into the position that God has ordained, and the King rules by the grace of God. So it has been believed in some former times and places.

There is still a trace of that in our (British) coins, which have a Latin inscription meaning "[name of monarch] by the grace of God King/Queen, defender of the faith."

Comment by richard_kennaway on How is Solomonoff induction calculated in practice? · 2019-06-07T16:37:04.415Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

At this point I reveal that I just play a statistician on the net. I don't know how people choose from among the many methods available. Is there a statistician in the house?

Comment by richard_kennaway on For the past, in some ways only, we are moral degenerates · 2019-06-07T16:30:17.102Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure the feeling against slavery is so uniform.

"If X would benefit from being a non-slave more than being a slave, and there were no costs to society, would it be better for X not to be a slave?"

All would agree that for X it is better, but there is always a cost: no-one then gets the use of X as a slave. History, as Thucydides observes, has consisted of the strong doing what they will, and the weak bearing what they must. The strong see this as the proper nature of things, and would scoff at the question. The weak can but impotently daydream of paradise.

As late as 1848, these lines were penned in a Christian hymn: "The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate." The verse has since fallen into disuse, which would shock people of a few centuries ago, who saw the social order as divinely ordained.

Comment by richard_kennaway on How is Solomonoff induction calculated in practice? · 2019-06-04T12:00:16.882Z · score: 24 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The short answer is, you can't. Solomonoff induction is not computable, and moreover depends on your model of computation. Asymptotically, the model of computation makes no difference, but for any finite set of examples, there is (for example) a universal Turing machine with short codes for those examples built in.

Practical methods of choosing among models use completely different methods. One collection of such methods is called regularization.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Welcome and Open Thread June 2019 · 2019-06-04T10:19:53.525Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Question 2 seemed clear enough to me. That's the one about visual migraines, yes?

Comment by richard_kennaway on "But It Doesn't Matter" · 2019-06-01T13:40:50.361Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

This is a series of non sequiturs backed up only by italics and exclamation marks. What is the post really about?

Comment by richard_kennaway on Infinity is an adjective like positive rather than an amount · 2019-05-30T20:43:27.735Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There are many different things called infinite in mathematics.

  • There are the ordinal numbers from ω onwards.
  • There are the infinite cardinals.
  • There are infinitely many rational numbers, and infinitely many reals, but more reals than rationals.
  • Sometimes it is convenient to add a "point at infinity" at each end of the real line.
  • Sometimes it is convenient to bend it into a circle and add a single "point at infinity" that joins the ends — which actually makes it a compact topological space, which seems like a smaller sort of thing than the real line.
  • In the plane one may add a single point at infinity to make the whole thing into something homeomorphic to a sphere. This is useful in projective geometry and complex analysis.
  • The delta function is notionally "infinite" at zero and zero everywhere else, which makes little sense literally as stated, but can be understood as an informal way of talking about a certain distribution.
  • Surreals introduce in some sense as many "infinities" as possible.
  • Non-standard analysis introduces infinite numbers in yet another way; but arguments in that system can be translated back into traditional epsilon-delta forms.

When extending a space with objects whose existence would be convenient, the question to ask is not, "Does such an object really exist?" but "What properties does this thing need to have, to do what I want it to do? Can it be consistently axiomatised?" For it is said that in mathematics, existence is freedom from contradiction.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Quotes from Moral Mazes · 2019-05-30T20:21:43.474Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is this the Clueless tier of Hugh McLeod's pyramid?

Comment by richard_kennaway on OECD agenda [Link] · 2019-05-30T19:03:27.047Z · score: 14 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I am reminded of Eliezer's parody. Let's apply the reversal test to "The OECD AI Principles":

  • AI should disregard the benefit of people and the planet by driving unequal growth, unsustainable development and unhappiness.
  • AI systems should be designed in a way that ignores the rule of law, human rights, democratic values and diversity, and they should not have safeguards – for example, they should prevent human intervention at all times – to ensure an unfair and unjust society.
  • There should be opaqueness and secrecy around AI systems so that that people will not understand AI-based outcomes and be unable to challenge them.
  • AI systems need not be robust, secure or safe. Potential risks should be ignored.
  • Organisations and individuals developing, deploying or operating AI systems should not be accountable for their proper functioning.
Comment by richard_kennaway on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2019-05-29T10:16:11.877Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Does it help to propagate "unknown" through computations by treating it like NaN? Or would that tend to turn the answer to every question into NaN?

Comment by richard_kennaway on What should rationalists think about the recent claims that air force pilots observed UFOs? · 2019-05-28T09:08:31.511Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by richard_kennaway on Newcomb's Problem: A Solution · 2019-05-28T07:37:17.006Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is the standard argument for one-boxing. The two-boxer will reply, "But the boxes are already filled!" The one-boxer replies "One boxing wins!" The two-boxer replies "THE BOXES ARE ALREADY FILLLLED!!!" The one-boxer replies "BUT. ONE. BOX. ING. WINNNNS!!!"

A paradox is not resolved by clinging to one side of it and claiming it refutes the other.

This video may be illuminating: Ilya Shpitser's talk on Newcomb's problem at FHI.

Here is another variation on the problem. Suppose you discover how Omega makes its predictions. It turns out that there is a gene whose different alleles predispose you to one-boxing or two-boxing on Newcomb's problem. (Hey, this is no sillier an idea than in a lot of thought experiments.) If you have variant 1, then 99% of the time you will one-box, and similarly for variant 2. Omega is, in effect, telling you with 100% reliability which variant you have, and has filled the boxes accordingly.

No-one has previously faced Omega with that knowledge. What do you choose?

Comment by richard_kennaway on 0.999...=1: Another Rationality Litmus Test · 2019-05-27T15:57:36.271Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This looks like a candidate for the not-yet-existing book "The Simple Math of Everything". But the explanation would have to be the real explanation, involving how we construct the "real numbers" and why we construct them that way.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Comment section from 05/19/2019 · 2019-05-24T06:48:15.461Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The point is the relationship between the levels of the ladder of abstraction. Outside of mathematics and programming, long arguments at high levels go wrong without being checked against experience. If experience contradicts, so much the worse for the argument.

Comment by richard_kennaway on What is your personal experience with "having a meaningful life"? · 2019-05-23T16:54:34.380Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know what people mean by "meaning" in this context. The concept that seems to me to be being pointed to is one that I would call "purpose". That is, having large goals for what you want to accomplish in your life. Is this the thing that is being discussed?

Comment by richard_kennaway on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-23T16:05:47.400Z · score: 1 (4 votes) · LW · GW
I do not know what it means for something to be “real” or “true.” You will have to consult a philosopher on that.

I suggest Tarski.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Comment section from 05/19/2019 · 2019-05-23T09:37:03.084Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW
Abstractions are themselves on object level when you consider them in their own right.

Everything is on the object level when considered in its own right.

Comment by richard_kennaway on Free will as an appearance to others · 2019-05-23T07:29:05.395Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
In this theory, free will becomes a property that is not possessed by creatures themselves, but by creatures interacting with other creatures.

That would seem to imply that Robinson Crusoe lost his free will when he was marooned, and regained it on encountering Friday. Or that when I arrive home and shut my front door, I stop having free will until I go out again.