Comment by rolf_andreassen on Good Idealistic Books are Rare · 2009-02-17T19:45:51.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have a hard time seeing idealism in the Incredible Bread Machine; to me it seems rather to be very deeply cynical about government. Perhaps it is a difference of emphasis in reading, but I see its thesis as "Government is bad" rather than "Capitalism is good"; the inventor-as-hero only appears so that the badness of the government can be demonstrated.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on Three Worlds Decide (5/8) · 2009-02-03T19:32:00.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am not certain I understand the terms of the puzzle. Should the audience come up with a better ending, a more plausible ending, or an ending which works better as story? And if we fail at this task, will we still get to know the other ending you had in mind?

Comment by rolf_andreassen on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2009-02-02T22:42:02.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
This is actually a pretty complicated Weirdtopia premise with an awful lot of implications, none of which we get to see here.

Of course; that's what makes it fun to speculate. :D I would love to see your story where this is explored more fully, though.

Speculation: A sufficiently powerful, well-trained mind might have the ability, the superpower if you like, of being able to follow the old advice about enjoying the inevitable. Or to phrase it differently, might be able to genuinely flip its state of consent in some circumstances, very quickly. There are lots of hardwirings in the human body that enable us to enjoy sex; a powerful mind might be able to engage those circuits swiftly.

Another possibility: When I was a child, we played card games where the winner got to rap the loser over the knuckles with the deck; if you lost a lot, you developed quite large sores on the knuckles. The danger of pain was part of the fun of the game. Akon seems to be referring to a somewhat similar concept. Perhaps, if he is powerful enough to regard a rape as we regarded a rap over the knuckles, the game would be - the phrase has relevant origins - worth the candle, for him, even if the rape actually was quite unpleasant. Again, this relies on having a really stable, powerful mind that does not react to rape as contemporary humans do, with crippling feelings of invasion and shame.

Possible inconsistency: Akon is not troubled by the thought of nonconsensual sex, but in the previous installment he seemed rather bothered by being cyber-raped - nonconsensual sex by proxy, presumably. Maybe because he does not get the fun of being there himself?

Comment by rolf_andreassen on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2009-02-02T19:16:33.000Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Again, though, it does not seem to occur to Akon that he might be the one to initiate the sex. To me this indicates some heavy editing of the male psyche or sexual response.

A further point: The scenario Akon describes doesn't actually seem all that nonconsensual to me, and also very unrealistic for an un-edited male human. (This is by no means a criticism; rather I'm impressed at the ability to show someone who thinks almost like a contemporary human, but not quite.) Who flirts with a woman with absolutely no plan to sleep with her if the opportunity is offered? I don't think un-edited humans act this way. I take no position on whether the editing is cultural or biological, but I do think that the Babyeaters and Superhappies are not the only aliens in this story.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2009-02-02T18:39:07.000Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Akon seems to be assuming that a male cannot possibly initiate sex, in this sentence:

I can't imagine how boring your sex lives must have been up until then - flirting with a woman, teasing her, leading her on, knowing the whole time that you were perfectly safe because she couldn't take matters into her own hands if you went a little too far -

That suggests some sort of genetic editing. Perhaps they've left the male sex drive in place, so 'rape' is not actually going to be very unpleasant, but given the females a perfect defense, or a consciously-controlled pheromone that must be on for the male to get an erection, or something of this nature.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on The Super Happy People (3/8) · 2009-02-01T19:00:48.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is truly fascinating. I am grateful to receive for free what I would have paid good money for.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on True Sources of Disagreement · 2008-12-08T18:54:41.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW But it's worth remembering that if there were any smaller modification of a chimpanzee that spontaneously gave rise to a technological civilization, we would be having this conversation at that lower level of intelligence instead.

I do not think that follows. The human brain has some probability per unit time of spontaneously evolving high technology, if conditions are right for it. There could plausibly be less-intelligent brains with some lower probability per unit time; at the sme time they have some probability of mutating into the smarter human configuration. If you adjust the probabilities right, you could make it so that, starting with the less-intelligent brains, there are equal probabilities of getting human-level brains before technology, or vice-versa.

Not that this has anything to do with the point you were making, I just thought it was interesting.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on My Naturalistic Awakening · 2008-09-26T20:00:22.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And yet you were apparently impressed by a man getting the right answer to difficult problems in a book, where he had plenty of time to think about it. Had you read about someone performing such feats of mathematical rigour in mere minutes, would that not impress?

Comment by rolf_andreassen on My Naturalistic Awakening · 2008-09-26T17:01:49.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If I'm as smart as Larry Niven, I'm as smart as a Protector. Vinge's Law: No character can be realistically depicted as being qualitatively smarter than the author.

Ridiculous. Is it not written "Anyone can find the right answer in thirty years"? Well then, anyone can find the right answer in the time it takes to write a book, and then portray a smarter character finding it in two seconds, sufficiently fast to kill their enemies.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on My Naturalistic Awakening · 2008-09-25T15:37:32.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"I've been stupid".

Come now. It's fine to realise you've made a mistake. But in itself this does not make you as smart as a Protector.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on Points of Departure · 2008-09-09T22:38:50.000Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest that if the incentive existed, eventually the ability would also exist.

Comment by rolf_andreassen on Math is Subjunctively Objective · 2008-07-25T22:13:49.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is it useful to say that "2+3=5" is our shorthand for referring to the infinite number of statements of this form:

2 sheep and 3 sheep make 5 sheep 2 rocks and 3 rocks make 5 rocks 2 dinis and 3 dinis make 5 dinis

and so forth? And that the external truth of the statement depends in principle on all these various testable sub-statements?