Torture vs Dust Specks Yet Again 2013-08-20T12:06:57.000Z · score: -1 (34 votes)
Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature 2013-08-07T06:29:56.266Z · score: 31 (36 votes)
Daily Schedules in Combating Akrasia 2013-07-22T19:41:29.931Z · score: 7 (8 votes)


Comment by sentientplatypus on Why people want to die · 2015-09-01T21:21:55.593Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The difference is that life, given an infinite amount of time also has an infinite amount of options for things one can do. There are enough things to do forever, the only question is whether the specific individual will keep thinking of things that they want to do. The crux of our disagreement seems to be that you think people would get bored with literally everything if they lived long enough and I think that most people would find something worthwhile in the infinite possibilities. But neither of us have lived very long (cosmically speaking) so it is difficult to really know how we will feel if we live to be 500, 5000, or 5 million years old.

There might be thousands of years of novelty in that. Maybe millions. But the returns are diminishing. Just think of all the amazing stuff we completely ignore and are bored with already.

Returns are diminishing for one activity, but there are infinite possibilities of activities one might do in infinite time. I don't think diminishing returns applies to everything you could do at once. But again, I don't know, maybe continued existence would eventually become unpleasant. That's a possibility I'm not ignoring, but just because its a possibility doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to have immortality be an option.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Why people want to die · 2015-09-01T03:36:29.805Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why wouldn't living forever be just like any other scenario where a good thing is multiplied by infinity? The novelty would wear off just like chocolate or sex. Things are "good" because they are scarce. Never-ending anything would become a burden.

If I get tired of eating chocolate or having sex it is because I want to do something else. I can't really 'do' anything besides living (death isn't me doing something because I no longer exist). We are also programmed to only want a certain amount of sex and chocolate, but we are for the most part programmed to want life as long as we can get it. Life also has a lot more options than more specific 'good' things. I always have too many things I want to do in a day. It is hard to conceive of waking up one day and thinking I was bored of life or just wanted to stop existing. I have to imagine pretty dire circumstances.

Then again, I haven't lived tens of thousands of years, I might very well get bored and decide I was done with life. But I still would like the option to live as long as I want, just in case I don't.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Why people want to die · 2015-08-30T16:01:27.453Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

More polite, but probably less accurate. I could be wrong, but it was a conscious decision to word it that way

Comment by sentientplatypus on Why people want to die · 2015-08-30T06:10:08.700Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Death is the occurrence of life being lost, the event has value insofar as the living being had value.

If one wants to continue to exist, getting rid of the state of nonexistence seems like a fairly reasonable goal for that person to pursue. I want to exist, regardless of the fact that nonexistence is itself painless.

I consider the loss of everything a person is to be 'bad' because I value the unique intricacies of each person. I attribute value there because I find that complexity mind-blowingly incredible. And I think it is sad when something so incredible and unique goes away forever.

Also I want to point out that you don't actually have a reason (at least not that you've stated) for why you think you don't want to live forever, you just say that you find the desire "odd" without explanation.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Why people want to die · 2015-08-27T06:36:34.954Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think I've ever seen anyone on here claim that biological immortality will fix all the problems of the world, just that reducing death is a good thing and that we should definitely do it if we can. Because the loss of the massive complexity that is a human being is really, really bad.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Why people want to die · 2015-08-26T21:58:36.676Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've asked quite a few people this question, even older people. I don't have wider statistics on it (maybe you do and if so I'd be interested in seeing them) but the people I ask very rarely say they would not like to live longer if they could stay young and be with their friends and families. I have even been told yes by some very religious people in their seventies.

Comment by sentientplatypus on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T01:51:42.641Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What are your main concerns?

Comment by sentientplatypus on Steelmaning AI risk critiques · 2015-07-24T03:28:50.204Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I hadn't seen this before. Hanson's conception of intelligence actually seems much simpler and more plausible than how I had previously imagined it. I think 'intelligence' can easily act as a Semantic Stopsign because it feels like a singular entity through the experience of consciousness, but actually may be quite modular as Hanson suggests.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-09T23:49:09.746Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wasn't the idea to not be sated until the end of the day and thus have a clearer head and be more productive? I'm not concerned about losing weight, which I have heard skipping dinner is pretty good for.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-09T23:00:55.776Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Same. I'm completely fine if I skip lunch though. I think I might try doing that regularly and see how it goes.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-09T22:52:20.003Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What if you put little electricity-generating windmills on top of an electric car. Could they produce enough electricity to help propel the car, or would the energy produced be counteracted by the drag added?

Comment by sentientplatypus on Self-verification · 2015-04-23T19:45:19.419Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A video seemed like the obvious solution to me as well, but with no memories I don't think you would know what to do with the blood or even understand why that would identify you. For that matter would someone with no memories be able to even understand the message? I guess we have to assume some procedural memory is kept, but even with that it could be a stretch to understand the message even if the words were remembered.

Comment by sentientplatypus on [link] The surprising downsides of being clever · 2015-04-22T22:15:11.776Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Trouble finding people smart enough that they could talk to and/or have a real relationship with (could refer to friend or romantic).

If I'm sad, this is probably why.

Comment by sentientplatypus on LessWrong experience on Alcohol · 2015-04-22T18:37:57.576Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not saying you should start drinking but almost no one likes the taste of alcohol the first time they try it.

Comment by sentientplatypus on LessWrong experience on Alcohol · 2015-04-22T18:35:52.389Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I drink fairly regularly. It makes social gatherings more fun. I have some rules for drinking: only drink at social gatherings and only drink an amount that does not impair my ability to operate the next day.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Defeating the Villain · 2015-04-04T00:43:46.137Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think a good example of defeating the villain and not actually making things better can be seen in many of the Arab Spring revolutions, especially Egypt. It was the most stable country in the Middle East for decades, though it was ruled by a dictator. Egypt got rid of Mubarak, but the movement that did it had no kind of coherent plan for how they were going to create a stable democracy afterward. And now Egypt is a decidedly worse place to live than when Mubarak was in charge.

Comment by sentientplatypus on What subjects are important to rationality, but not covered in Less Wrong? · 2015-03-03T02:25:30.478Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Could you elaborate on these or point to some place they are discussed? I'd like to learn more on those subjects, but aside from LW I don't see people using the phrase 'instrumental rationality' or even using the word rational to mean what it means here.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Human Memory: Problem Set · 2013-11-08T06:01:17.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1) check that its locked, then write a reminder, note, etc in your phone that you locked it 2) If you say "That sounds really interesting, let me write that down so I remember to look it up later" that's not rude at all, its showing you're actually interested in what he's saying. 3)Put a giant yellow sign on the front that says 'check that I'm closed!' 4)If possible put it down on paper or in your phone. If not then make up a ridiculous story using the street names and turns, such that the non-sequitur helps you remember. 5) write up an outline of key points and memorize those, helping yourself remember them by creating an acronym from the letters that begin each point, so you'll be able to check whether you're about to skip one. 6) splitting it into three number chunks before memorizing it would help a lot, I think 7) I just get up, I've given up on this one. 8) Random associations, between firms and names and names and people would be my suggestion. 9)Read the book. Anki. Take a class on the same material while reading a different book on the same material. It worked for learning huge amounts about molecular biology in a short time for me.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Please share your reading habits/techniques/strategies · 2013-09-13T23:47:12.678Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This post of mine might be helpful to you.

Comment by sentientplatypus on I attempted the AI Box Experiment again! (And won - Twice!) · 2013-09-06T02:51:58.928Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I may be missing something obvious, but what is the huge problem with releasing the logs?

Comment by sentientplatypus on Torture vs Dust Specks Yet Again · 2013-08-21T06:12:55.399Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am basing my reasoning on the probable preferences of those involved, so my answer would depend on the feelings of the people to being dust specked/tortured.

I'm not entirely clear what exactly you are asking with number 1: are you just asking 1.6 seconds of torture vs. 3^^^3/ 1 billion dust specks? If so, I'm essentially indifferent, it seems like both are fairly inconsequential as long as the torture only causes pain for the 1.6 seconds.

For number 2, a billion dust specks would probably get to be fairly noticeable in succession, so I'd prefer to get 1.6 seconds of torture over with, because that isn't really enough time for it actually to really be torturous (depending on what exactly that torture was) rather than deal with a constant annoyance.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Torture vs Dust Specks Yet Again · 2013-08-20T23:13:13.269Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I just want to say thanks to everyone for your comments and I now realize the obvious flaw of incorporating any extremely personal connection into a mathematical morality calculation. Because, as BlueSun pointed out that causes problems on whatever scale of pain involved.

if you were faced with your Option 1: Save 400 Lives or Option 2: Save 500 Lives with 90% probability, would you seriously take option 2 if your loved ones were included in the 400? I wouldn't. Faced with statistical people I'd take option 2 every time. But make Option 1: Save 3 lives and those three lives are your kids or option 2: Save 500 statistical lives with 90% probability I don't think I'd hesitate to pick my kids.

I also learned not to grandstand on morality questions. Sorry, about the "would you do it? really?" argument, I won't do that again.

However, I still fall on the side of the dust specks after rethinking the issue, but due to the reasoning that the 3^^^3 individuals would probably be willing to suffer the dust specks to save someone from torture, while the tortured person wouldn't likely be willing to be tortured to save others from dust specks.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature · 2013-08-08T01:58:22.343Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Whoops, I didn't notice the typo because I expected the misspell line.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature · 2013-08-08T01:57:04.440Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've got Anki downloaded, but I haven't used it yet - I'll definitely give it a shot now. Not having to make cards before I can start studying makes getting myself to try a lot easier, thanks.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature · 2013-08-07T14:54:54.119Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This definitely sounds like something that would help me feel more active with my research, I'll have to try it, thanks!

Comment by sentientplatypus on Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature · 2013-08-07T14:53:09.364Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

About a month now

Comment by sentientplatypus on Daily Schedules in Combating Akrasia · 2013-07-23T03:52:09.182Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I haven't had a holiday or illness yet so I can't say in regards to that. I plan the tasks for a particular day from lists of longer term goals, such as goals for the summer currently, of course adding in other tasks as they come up. I try to decide how much to do by comparing how much I accomplish on a really good day and planning on doing about that much work, which has been effective so far.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Akrasia Tactics Review 2: The Akrasia Strikes Back · 2013-07-22T22:46:42.904Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I understand what you mean, and I'd suggest trying to keep different lists of time frames on which to accomplish your goals for free-time productivity so you know when you've done enough for a day. I'm usually able to guess reasonably accurately as to what I can accomplish in a given time frame though, as long as I stay motivated on a daily basis, which may be harder for others than it is for me.

On a daily level I try to think of about how productive I am on what I consider good days and try to equate that with what I'm working on any given day and plan to have a good day. Since I've been doing my daily schedule thing I haven't had a day of poor motivation yet, which is tremendous as my motivation is usually temperamental as hell.

Not sure if that'll help you at all, but I figured I'd throw it out there.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Akrasia Tactics Review 2: The Akrasia Strikes Back · 2013-07-22T21:17:06.767Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For two weeks I've been writing out a schedule for what I want to accomplish the next day before I go to bed, noting the time at which I intend to do something.

I'd give the technique a +9 so far as it has actually worked incredibly well for me in helping with my motivation problems, in fact in a couple days I felt more motivated to work than I can ever remember being before. I'm trying to change up my schedule and leave time for spontaneity to avoid having the plan become monotonous and it doesn't feel that way so far. And the results I'm getting are great: I find I get about 95% of what I plan done when I have a specific time written down for when I'm supposed to do it as opposed to what I'd roughly estimate at 60% completion when I just have some general idea in my head of what to work on over the course of the day.

My theory for why this is working is that when I have a specific time to do something I feel as though I have to do it now or I've failed some test of willpower. If I just have general work to be done, it's far too easy for me to defer to later, so that a lot of what was planned for doesn't get done. I also feel like if I expect to brace my mind for dense technical learning I have a much easier time finishing the material instead of giving up and procrastinating on it halfway through.

I feel like this solution will work mainly for people who have more flexible schedules (as I do at the moment) but could still serve a purpose for anyone with a more rigid schedule who wants to be more productive in their free time.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Daily Schedules in Combating Akrasia · 2013-07-22T21:12:44.409Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I hadn't seen that thread, I'll post there as well.

Comment by sentientplatypus on [Link] Eliezer, PZ, Brin, and me on Immortality · 2013-07-22T06:57:36.287Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I thought the part right after Eliezer finds his notes was the best reply to the topic, and I particularly liked the smallpox comparison. Could have been better focused in general, as there was a lot of things that were a bit off track, but I feel it was worth watching on the whole.

Also the random flashes to Eliezer's facial expression while PZ is talking sent me into hysterics for some reason.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T08:04:54.517Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking it would work as effectively because of the fire weakness thing and Harry shouldn't be magically depleted yet. Also it would be a lot safer than transfiguring sulfuric acid. Although it's possible the troll was enchanted to make it fire resistant and that Harry frankly didn't care whether he was violating the rules of transfiguration, and merely was worried about speed, but I'm inclined to think incendio would be faster.

Comment by sentientplatypus on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T06:35:27.669Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious why he didn't just use incendio

Comment by sentientplatypus on Against Devil's Advocacy · 2013-06-15T06:24:50.467Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In the way I view Devil’s advocacy it is not at all about coming up with any argument against a proposition, but coming up with a legitimate one against a belief. “What if a time traveler threw a cake into the asteroid belt?” is not an argument anyone would use in a legitimate debate and likewise is one I would avoid if I was attempting to argue against my own beliefs. Arguing merely for the sake of arguing is indeed useless and irrational, but arguing to try to expose your belief’s weak points is rather extremely helpful.