"Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning" - computer learns 49 different games 2015-02-26T06:21:33.036Z
Why AGI is extremely likely to come before FAI 2012-08-01T10:22:18.849Z


Comment by skeptical_lurker on I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should) · 2021-09-08T20:37:22.298Z · LW · GW

This tactic is called Kafkatrapping:

"A sophistical rhetorical device in which any denial by an accused person serves as evidence of guilt."

Its also an idea I consider far more absurd than creationism, and to be frank I am shocked to see it taken seriously here. 

1) If race is a social construct, then if we abandon this social construct, will a person who previously would have been conceptualised as Asian suddenly grow a few inches? If not, then this is an example of race having a physical meaning independent of mental states.

2) If differing outcomes are a matter of oppression, then shouldn't Holocaust survivors, the city of Hiroshima, the whole of China etc all be doing really badly? Shouldn't African Americans be doing worse than African Africans, as African Africans are distanced from White oppression? 

3) Since Jewish people have more power than non-Jews on average, any logically consistent claim of the need to fight Whiteness also justifies anti-Semitism (to make it abundantly clear, I am attempting a reducto ad Hiterium argument, I am not trying to justify anti-Semitism)

I am quite curious as to whether anything like this (a group of people deciding to hate themselves) has ever happened before in recorded history. Does anybody know?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should) · 2021-09-08T20:15:12.109Z · LW · GW

I can understand why a race realist would argue that beleiving the truth makes you racist, but why a vicious racist?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on A Small Vacation · 2021-08-30T21:20:12.004Z · LW · GW

This is just blue-tribe signalling. I apologise for being rude, but I don't know which is more absurd - the implication that only Europeans cared about gold/land/slaves (I think all non-tribal civilisation cared about the first two, and most cared about the third), or the idea that land has no value. I wonder what history would look like if the US had not expanded west? I think the most obvious change is that Germany and/or Japan would have won WWII. The US would have had little oil (as the Texan oil fields were not part of the initial colonies) no pacific naval bases, no empty land to test nuclear bombs on etc. Going further back in history, if no-one cared about land then we would all still be hunter-gathers.

Similarly the idea that Spain collapsed due to having too much gold sounds like nonsense - Spain traded with other countries, so any inflation caused wouldn't just affect Spain. 

The reason why immigrants often are beneficial to the host country is because barriers to immigration provide a very strong selective effect. But this does not apply to open borders or refugees, and also this brain drain is not sustainable.


Comment by skeptical_lurker on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-28T11:50:39.219Z · LW · GW

I haven't posted on LW for a while now, but after posting to LW2.0 I got banned (till 2021) very quickly. My posts were also deleted. I was not told why I was banned, although I assume it was because I entered a fake email (I was annoyed that the new site required an email and not just a username). I asked why I got banned, and received no response.

Well, I'm sorry for using a fake email. I wasn't trying to spam, or sockpuppet or anything, but I think a 3 year ban without any sort of warning or explanation seems a little excessive. I'm happy to provide an email that works if required. I also considered setting up a new account with a real email, but I don't want it to seem like I'm sockpuppetting.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Apr. 10 - Apr. 16, 2017 · 2017-04-12T20:28:40.127Z · LW · GW

Facebook is full of bullshit because it is far quicker to share something then to fact-check it, not that anyone cares about facts anyway. A viral alarmist meme with no basis in truth will be shared more then a boring, balanced view that doesn't go all out to fight the other tribe.

But Facebook has always been full of bullshit and no-one cared until after the US election when everyone decided to pin Trump's victory on fake news. So its pretty clear that good epistemology is not the genuine concern here.

Not that I'm saying that Facebook is worse then any other social media - the problem isn't Facebook, the problem is human nature.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Apr. 10 - Apr. 16, 2017 · 2017-04-12T20:21:47.669Z · LW · GW

I've just been skimming the wiki page on Russian involvement in the US election.

SecureWorks stated that the actor group was operating from Russia on behalf of the Russian government with "moderate" confidence level

The other claims seem to just be that there was Russian propaganda. If propaganda and possible spying counts as "war" then we will always be at war, because there is always propaganda (as if the US doesn't do the same thing!). The parallels with 1984 go without saying, but I really think that the risk of totalitarianism isn't Trump, its people overreacting to Trump.

Also, there are similar allegations of corruption between Clinton and Saudi Arabia.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Against Belief-Labels · 2017-03-10T12:46:51.669Z · LW · GW

I generally agree, but...

George is a Perfect Bayesian Rationalist, and has recently come to the conclusion that everything Albert Camus says is correct with a probability of greater than 0.99999. Since his realization, George has called himself an absurdist.

One problem here could be that it might not the case that all beliefs and positions can be determined by Bayesian Rationalism. Does absurdism have an objective truth value? Perhaps not. Political positions, to give an example, seem to correlate more with personality traits than with intelligence: Einstein and Von Neumann are widely regarded as two of the smartest people in the 20th century, and yet Einstein campaigned for nuclear disarmament, while Von Neumann campaigned to preemptivly nuke the USSR.

“I’m a republican.” might not mean "I have rationally decided that republicanism is the best philosophy" it might mean "I have high enough 'aversion to danger' to want boarder controls and high military spending, low enough 'openess to experience' to be uncomfortable with unconventional lifestyles, and am rational enough to realise that free markets are more efficient"

Or it might mean something else. Either way, saying “I’m a republican.” gives object-level information quickly without going into the meta-level underpinnings to your beliefs.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-09T21:50:20.497Z · LW · GW

I said a few weeks back that I would publically precommit to going a week without politics. Well, I partially succeeded, in that I did start reading for example an SSC article on politics because it popped up in my RSS feed, but I stopped when I remembered that I was ignoring politics. The main thing is I managed to avoid any long timewasting sessions of reading about politics on the net. And I think this has partially broken some bad habits of compulsive web browsing I was developing.

So next I think I shall avoid all stupid politics for a month. No facebook or reddit, but perhaps one reasonably short and high-quality article on politics per day. Speaking of which, can anyone recommend any short, intelligent, rational writings on feminism for instance? My average exposure to anti-feminist thought is fairly intelligent, while my average exposure to pro-feminist thought is "How can anyone disagree with me? Don't they realise that their opinions are just wrong? Women can be firefighters and viking warriors! BTW, could you open this jar for me, I'm not strong enough." And this imbalance is not good from a rationalist POV. I am especially interested whether feminists have tackled the argument that if feminists have fewer children, then all the genes that predispose one to being feminist (and to anything else that corrlates) will be selected against. I mean, this isn't a concern for people who think that the singularity is near(tm) or who don't care what happens a few generations in the future, but I doubt either of these apply to many feminists, or people in general.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-23T00:25:25.871Z · LW · GW

The impression I have -- though of course I don't know what your friends have been saying -- is that the burn-their-houses-down brigade are much more upset about the kinda-fascist sort of right than the kinda-libertarian sort of right. Of course even if I'm right about that that doesn't necessarily reduce the sense of alienation; your aliefs needn't match your beliefs.

Except that I don't think libertarian is incompatible with boarder controls - indeed, libertarians are generally enthusiastic about property rights, and controlling immigration is no different to locking your front door and vetting potential housemates.

I'm not saying that the boarder controls should be based around skin colour, but the definition of 'Nazi' seems to have expanded to anyone who believes in any form of boarder control.

Agree about first half; not fully convinced about second half. As you pointed out yourself, it's not that long ago that we had actual Nazis and Stalinists in power in Europe, and bad though early-21st-century politics is it doesn't seem like it's got there just yet.

I certainly agree that globally its not as bad as 1930-1990. Nevertheless, things seem to have got dramatically worse in the last decade - in my personal experience it used to be that people could agree to disagree, now most political opinions seem to be in lockstep, almost like a cult. More generally, I remember people criticising Bush, but now there are very intelligent people, even the head of CFAR, saying that Trump could be the end of democracy. Either they are correct, in which case that is obviously a cause for concern, or they are wrong and a lot of very smart people, inc rationalists, are utterly mindkilled.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T20:53:48.600Z · LW · GW

You see, its one thing to advocate violence against a literal Neo-Nazi, but advocating violence against anyone who advocates reducing immigration, well, that shows a lot more liberal tribe loyalty. So much holier than thou.

Additionally, this comment was made IRL, possibly within earshot a person they were advocating violence against.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T18:07:18.749Z · LW · GW

I think people cluster into left and right because those are the tribes. However, it can be oversimplistic and I agree that there are many potential directions left and right progress can take - indeed, if a few more Islamic terrorists shoot up gay bars there could be a lot of LBGTs defecting to right-nationalism.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T17:47:41.893Z · LW · GW

I think communist beliefs, violent or not, are on the rise largely due to young angry people being too young to remember the cold war. Some friends and acquaintances from multiple disconnected freindship groups are communists, and too many of these advocate violence, although I think that they are still a tiny minority overall. I think the situation is, as you put it, "this person is broken".

I'm not at all worried about actually being the victim of politically-motivated physical violence or of riots/revolutions etc in the near future. What worries me is general political polarisation leading to a situation where blue and red tribes hate each other and cannot interact, where politics is reduced to seeing who can shout 'racist' or 'cuck' loudest. My political beliefs have become increasingly right-wing, in a classically liberal sense as opposed to fascist, and it alienates me when friends advocate burning someone's house down because they hold beliefs which are actually similar, perhaps even left of, mine. I'm not worried about them actually burning my house down, it's just alienating on principle, and for fear of social exclusion.

WRT historical periods of political instability, I agree that such periods are infrequent, and given that we have seen the results of both Nazism and communism, I think it unlikely that those ideologies will gain power. But OTOH we are going to see certain events that are totally unprecedented in history, largely because of technology. We are already seeing levels of migration that I think exceeds anything in the past (due to better transport), which is leading to a rise in nationalism, and soon it is possible that we will see far more disruptive technologies such as human genetic engineering, large numbers of jobs being automated away, mass automated surveillance, and finally FAI. If safely navigating the problems these technologies pose requires a partially political solution, then we need sane politics. And yet political discourse has sunk to the point where political candidates are debating the size of their 'hands' and whether frogs are racist. Obama's advisor seemed to think that the danger of AGI is that it might be programmed by white male autists.

We do not have the level of political sanity necessary to deal with disruptive technologies and its getting worse. Nick Bostrom thinks that genetically engineered IQ boosts of 100 points+ in a single generation might be possible, and soon. Nazism and communism are unlikely now, but how would society react to human genetically engineering? Many would try to ban it. Some would try to tax it. Countries where it was illegal might suffer massively reduced economic growth compared to those where it was allowed. Inequality might skyrocket. I'm not trying to suggest that we will specifically end up with 'Gattaca' or 'Deux Ex: Mankind divided' or any of the other specific science fiction explorations of these possibilities, I'm saying that I don't know what will happen and political extremism/violence is certainly a possibility and it doesn't help if extremism is increasing anyway!

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T13:31:35.224Z · LW · GW

"The simplest explanation is probably correct" is true when we have a sufficient number of facts in front of us to make inference. In most things in life this is the case, but human behaviour is complex enough to make that not generally true.

However, I would say that even when dealing with high complexity and uncertainty, the simplest explanation is still usually the most probable hypothosis, even if it has <50% probability.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T13:28:26.291Z · LW · GW

The things I previously mentioned such as "Or that there is >50% probability that Brexit will literally lead to a neo nazi state in the UK within 10 years?" are mostly positions expressed by freinds. The group this person joined was advocating violent communist revolution and the murder of enemies of the people (as in it was an explicitly communist group, not a anti-Trump group that had been hijacked by communists), and so cannot be seen as a reaction to Trump or Brexit.

But, in the more general case, there are a lot of people, a lot of centeralists, who are opposed to Trump/Brexit. So people do not need to join forces with extremists to fight them.

(It's not as if the rhetoric of the less-pleasant parts of the political right is any nicer or more sensible than that of the less-pleasant parts of the political left. Intelligent educated friendly right-leaning folk can find themselves with some regrettable -- dare I say deplorable? -- bedfellows too.)

I agree with that, but I think that there is a difference in behaviour due to the fact that the left has been winning in all areas with the possible exception of economics for the last 50 years or more, but suddenly there have been some unexpected rightist victories. Firstly, this means that the left expects to be pushing back the right, and there is a general assumption that, for instance, rightists must disavow and sever all ties with white nationalists but the left can freely associate with extremists.

Secondly, given that the right has suddenly managed to win some victories, might the previous constant leftward march of history change, at least in some areas? In the same way that feminism and gay rights has made constant progress for the last 50 years, might nationalism make constant progress for the next 50 years?

I don't know how much of the left are considering that as a possibility, but I can understand that they might be terrified and lashing out while they still have the ability to.

So yes, the right are not more sensible or nicer in general, its just that right now the left have a greater ability to justify violence. If that changes, then we might live in interesting times.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T13:00:28.247Z · LW · GW

Well, in one comment a friend was advocating violence against perhaps the most right wing 10-15% of the population.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T12:58:33.524Z · LW · GW

No, but I'm not under the illusion that I can currently make any significant contribution to changing politics - its certainly not my area of comparative advantage, but I could at least leave the country if things did start to get that bad. There would be fairly obvious warning signs that would not require a close watch on current events.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-21T03:26:16.581Z · LW · GW

'Overuse of Occam's Razor?'

Anyway, I know that psychology is complex and the explanations I come up with are only my best hypothesis, not one that I would necessarily have >50% confidence in - I should have made that clear. Still, I have trouble thinking of other explanations for why intelligent, educated, friendly people claim to believe that about 50% - 95% of the population are evil?

Or that most old people deliberately vote for bad things because why should they care if they are going to die soon anyway?

Or that there is >50% probability that Brexit will literally lead to a neo nazi state in the UK within 10 years?

Or that the best way to defend democracy in the USA is to assassinate Trump and Pence... despite the fact that they were democratically elected and that the sympathy vote would push the USA far more to the right?

Or that someone would attempt to prove to me that a political party are evil, by showing me a meme saying that they are evil, as if messing about with photoshop confers truth, and then be unable to provide a single non-meme-based argument to support this assertion?

I mean, these beliefs are so crazy that if only one person were expressing these opinions I might worry that they are showing the early warning signs of some form of clinical paranoia. But its widespread, among people who otherwise seem functional.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-21T01:54:16.522Z · LW · GW

All good points, in the general case - I myself frequently read about things I disagree with. However...

Even in cases that appear to be clear cut fear or violence mongering it may be that they joined the group to have its messages in their news feed for awareness, because they refuse to flinch from the problem.

That is more of a LW thing. Most normal people don't act like this, and the person I was thinking of certainly doesn't. Politics is about waving the flag for your tribe, and trying to actually understand the other tribe's point of view is like waving the enemy flag - treason! To show that they are loyal, many people seem to be adopting the maximally uncharitably point of view, or at least they are in the last few years.

Of course, its also possible that that is why some people are advocating violence - they wouldn't really want violence, and they certainly wouldn't personally assault someone, but they advocate violence because it shows more tribal loyalty then just advocating peaceful protest.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-20T22:08:35.674Z · LW · GW

I think about politics far too much. Its depressing, both in terms of outcomes and in terms of how bad the average political argument is. It makes me paranoid and alienated if people I know join facebook groups that advocate political violence/murder/killing all the kulaks, although to be fair its possible that those people have only read one or two posts and missed the violent ones. But most of all its fundamentally pretty pointless because I have no desire to get involved in politics and I'm sure that wrt any advantages in terms of helping me to better understand human nature, I've already picked all the low hanging fruit.

So anyway, I'm starting by committing to ignore all politics for a week (unless something really earth-shattering happens). I'll post again in a week to say whether I stuck to it, and if I didn't, please downvote me to oblivion.

Oh, and replying to replies to this post are excepted from this rule.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Traditions and Rationality. · 2016-12-15T02:53:53.578Z · LW · GW

Except some people do sleep with strangers without charging money.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T13:04:57.788Z · LW · GW

I too would like a more pacifist president, but realistically neither the libertarians or the greens were going to win. But this is more because of the huge amount of money spent on the military. A conventional war would be bad, but I don't see that it would be disastrous. NATO would easily beat Russia, and I'm not sure who would win in a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, but it would be over quickly - the decisive factor is largely naval, and naval battles are over quickly. Neither country can deploy a large fraction of their army against the other as they are constrained by the number of troop ships and the distance involved.

As for bombing middle eastern countries, well that's been going on since 2001 and will probably continue for the foreseeable future, regardless of who wins in 2020.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Traditions and Rationality. · 2016-12-13T23:08:15.382Z · LW · GW

For the rest of us, it's a bit more complicated. It could be politically difficult to discuss, because male sexuality is nowadays usually shamed or dismissed as "patriarchy", but the short version is that many men have a preference for things that in the ancient evolutionary environment would be evidence that the child is biologically theirs... and let's just say that a history of sex with strangers for money feels like an evidence in the opposite direction.

But, if some men have a politically incorrect preference for virgins, how is a history of whoreing any different from a history of casual sex?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-13T22:39:50.441Z · LW · GW

There's been a lot of discussion about Trump. But I think the actual most important aspect is one that I havn't seen discussed in any depth anywhere - there seems to be speculation that Peter Theil will be advise Trump on tech issues.

The president's (unofficial?) technology advisor will be someone who has donated to miri/open ai/life extension. This is great news, and I would argue far more important than any other factor except nuclear war. This comes at a time when AI risk seems to be starting go mainstream, when Obama has had discussions on AI risk (that he did not seem to understand).

So, I'd like to see discussion on what this could lead to, whether there is a possibility that the US government might start funding life extension/AI risk research. One factor that does seem a little worrying is that, with any other president, I might be wondering whether MIRI might be able to apply for government funding or receive official recognition or be incorporated into a government body in some way. (does the US government do that sort of thing?) But given the horrific things that EY has said about Trump and the Borderer-descended people who voted for him, I doubt that's possible anymore.

Oh well. I suppose there are other people who can be pointed to as experts on AI risk - Bostrom for instance - although he isn't a US citizen.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Land war in Asia · 2016-12-13T21:47:31.586Z · LW · GW

Stalingrad was an important strategical objective in that theater, but the Germans focused on it to the exclusion of all else, which is why they got encircled.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Land war in Asia · 2016-12-08T02:39:15.835Z · LW · GW

Tolstoy makes the argument that attributing Russia's defeat of Napoléon as due to some grand strategic brilliance is nonsensical,

Choosing to abandon and burn Moscow, while perhaps not strategic brilliance, seems like an impressive willingness to make sacrifices.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Land war in Asia · 2016-12-08T02:35:14.626Z · LW · GW

I don't think invading Russia was a bad decision per se, the problem is invading Russia during the winter which is what should have been learnt from Napoleon, who's army was destroyed by the winter, not by the Russian army. There was a long distance to cover to Moscow, and Germany should have attacked around the start of spring, not 22 June (Napoleon attacked on 24 June). If that was not possible during 1941, they should have waited till 1942.

More irrational was Hitler's decision to order troops at Stalingrad not to retreat, saying roughly "Too many German lives have been lost to retreat now" which is very much sunk cost bias. For that matter, the decision to prioritise Stalingrad was made because of the name. True, capturing the city named after the Russian leader would have damaged morale, but this is a political argument, which Hitler may have overestimated because his expertise was in politics. Perhaps actually trying to capture the oil fields, while more mundane, would have been a better objective?

Towards the end of the war, Britain had a plan to assassinate Hitler, but chose not to put it into action partially because Hitler was acting irrationally and whoever succeeded him would perhaps have been a better military leader.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-12-01T19:27:49.760Z · LW · GW

If you're working for $x an hour, do you think you would take fewer that 100/x times as long as someone who is experienced at web dev?

Fair pay would be $x an hour given that it takes me 100/x times as long as someone who is experienced at web dev. However in reality estimates of how long the work will take seem to vary wildly - for instance you and Viliam disagree by an order of magnitude.

The more efficient system might be for me to work with someone who does have some web dev experience, if there is someone else working on this.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-12-01T00:23:05.968Z · LW · GW

What's hilariously ironic is that our problem immigrants are Eugine's sockpuppets, when Eugine is NRx and anti-immigrant.

That Eugine is so much of a problem is actually evidence in favour of some of his politics.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-12-01T00:17:39.774Z · LW · GW

I can code in python, but I have no web dev experience - I could work out what algorithms are needed, but I'm not sure I would know how to implement them, at least not off the bat.

Still, I'd be willing to work on it for less then $100 per hour.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Nov. 14 - Nov. 20, 2016 · 2016-11-15T19:26:27.531Z · LW · GW

I'm assuming that the reason these people are pushing the idea that at least 50% of the US population are racist is because they want to normalise racism. Otherwise, they'rd be shooting themselves in the foot, normalising the very idea they are trying to stop, and no-one could be that stupid ... right?


Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Nov. 14 - Nov. 20, 2016 · 2016-11-15T14:22:21.148Z · LW · GW

I think there are three main uses of which I am aware:

1) General sense of wonder and awe at real things: pantheistic 'the universe is god'; sacred geometry; nature worship.

2) Rituals, yoga, meditation without religious or paranormal baggage.

3) Paranormal beliefs that do not fit into an existing religious framework, possibly because you don't want to cause conflict between different religions so you believe in a non-denominational 'supreme being'.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Nov. 14 - Nov. 20, 2016 · 2016-11-15T14:12:49.179Z · LW · GW

Does anyone worry that (rot13 as possible memetic hazard for highly paranoid people)

Nyy bhe vagrearg npgvivgl vf orvat fgberq naq va gur shgher ragvgvrf' qrpvfvbaf ba jurgure gb gehfg hf (be cbfguhzna irefvbaf bs hf) jvyy or cnegvnyyl onfrq hcba jurgure be abg jr fgnoorq rnpu bgure va tnzrf bs bayvar qvcybznpl?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-14T21:10:52.527Z · LW · GW

It's not good for the Yen when the US wants to introduce trade tariffs. It's also not good for the Euro.

With the stock market it's also not clear to interpret the message. Normally risky times mean that traders sell stocks and buy treasury bonds. Given that Trump suggested he might partly default on US debt, that's not a safe move.

Good point - I had not considered this. Still, I would assume that even if the dollar does not go down, there would still be some sort of sign of danger in the markets if there were possible economic problems. Maybe US stocks going down as money flows into overseas assets?

But the role of the US president shouldn't be to beat other people but to create win-win situations.

Ideally, yes, but the world is not some perfect utopia, and there are external threats that do need to be beaten.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-14T21:05:14.839Z · LW · GW

I wouldn't bet my money on such outcome, though. Would you?

Not soon. Maybe later, as solar takes over from oil. But maybe we can move in that direction.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-13T09:32:14.806Z · LW · GW

To veer off topic: is there an analogous historical case to "uncontrolled third-world immigration" and if so what happened?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-12T17:31:07.809Z · LW · GW

Well, its possible that e.g.

Conservative judges -> ban abortion -> increased crime -> government spends more energy trying to stop crime and less on FAI reserch -> paperclips

But we're into the realm of tiny minute one-in-a-million probabilities here. Altering Supreme Court appointments is not exactly the most effective way to fight x-risk by any stretch of the imagination.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-12T17:24:07.292Z · LW · GW

I think c/c is likely to kill several billion people overall before we stop it, and might also lead to extinction.

Scientific consensus is that warming under 2 degrees c could be good, warming over that is bad. Worst case scenario is that we will hit that around 2060. Many forecast the singularity as most likely to happen in the 2040s, but even if that is over optimistic, solar panels are halving in cost per watt each decade. Naively extrapolating, by 2060 solar power should be 20x cheaper, so even if the singularity is delayed we should still be able to move most of the economy onto clean energy even without subsidies long before we reach dangerous levels of warming.

I certainly think that global warming is a risk we should monitor, and keep funding research into solar panels, but I really don't think it needs to be a priority.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-12T17:15:37.545Z · LW · GW

I'm not denying that Trump does not seem like the best choice (out of the entire US population) for geopolitics. I'll concede that point. But look at Hillary - doesn't she want to impose a no-fly zone over Syria? Threaten to shoot down Russian planes? Why? This isn't the cold war, where maybe we had to draw a line in the sand. If the Russians want to have greater influence over Syria, let them.

Maybe there is another level to this that I don't understand because I am not an expert in geopolitics, but I would have thought it wiser to not restart the cold war, let Russia have influence over some nearby countries, and present a united front against radical Islam.

As for the economics arguments, to be frank I attach little weight to what the media says given how biased they've been. Lets look at the markets, where people actually put their money on the line. The USD is up against the Euro and the Yen. The sp500 is up 1%. I see no reason for the US to worry about economics.

Finally, Trump will have advisers. And even if he does appear a little unstable, well, there are some games (like chicken) where someone that appears to be a little crazy will beat a calm rational person running causal decision theory every time.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-12T08:35:40.854Z · LW · GW

Elaborate? Even with just a link?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-12T08:35:18.293Z · LW · GW

Re Climate change, I agree with Kawoomba, with the caviat that GW could provoke conflict which causes an indirect X-risk.

Interestingly, the Green party candidate said Clinton is worse for nuclear war. Maybe she's wrong, but I don't think the issue is as obvious as you think it is.

Moreover, the Supreme Court nominees probably have indirect consequences on c/c aswell.

I though the Supreme Court dealt more with civil rights stuff. How will they affect CC?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-11T20:10:46.342Z · LW · GW

That's not the only argument. The fact that Trump suggested that it's fine that the Saudi's (and others) get nukes. That statement gave him no electoral advantage but he still made it.

That is pretty disturbing. I wish people would lead with 'Trump is ok with nuclear proliferation' rather than 'Trump is basically Hitler'.

I don't think that's the case. I doubt EY would have made the same arguments against Ron Paul.

Back to the problem that 'right/left' is too simplistic. Perhaps I should have said libertarians/progressives vs authoritarians/conservatives, but since neither candidate is libertarian I was not thinking in those terms.

Trump got rich because he frequently didn't pay people what he owned them. The the campaign he suggested that he wants to do the same with US debt.

I recall that there is an (as yet unresolved?) court case about him failing to pay people, but to say that this is the main cause of his wealth sounds like a stretch. Increasing the national debt is also worrying, but (a) Hillary's economic policies she would presumably raise the debt too albeit to a lesser extent, and (b) we've now moved off talking about nuclear war, at least directly

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-11T19:33:58.180Z · LW · GW

Well, I agree with it. Yudkowksy and S/A both seem to view the world through the lense of "let's do everything possible to a) reach singularity and b) get singularity right" which I think is the only rational perspective based on their beliefs about singularity (and utilitarianism). The amount of value associated with the singularity makes everything else insignificant in comparison.

Well, I agree with that. The question is, does Trump as president increase the probability of human extinction, and why? Bear in mind that Peter Theil, who has donated a lot of money to MIRI, supports Trump, so its not as clear-cut as all the smart people being on the same side of this issue.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-11T18:23:08.933Z · LW · GW

I would like this to be a comment on methodology, about if their arguments were sound given what they knew and believed. I most definitely do not want this to decay in a lamentation about the results

So... any comments on methodology?

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Yudkowsky vs Trump: the nuclear showdown. · 2016-11-11T17:02:02.624Z · LW · GW

EY's central argument for level B incompetence was that Trump is creating ambiguity around which countries the US will defend against Russia, which could lead to war. Now, I agree that it would be wrong for a sitting president to create that ambiguity, but a presidential candidate has to ask those questions, otherwise the foreign policy can never change. As long as Trump arrives at a concrete policy over which countries the US will defend when he becomes president, I don't see that there is a problem.

I also don't see that the status quo is keeping the world all that safe, with a proxy war between the US and Russia in Syria.

Most substantial variations from the equilibrium are disasters, and if you put a high-variance candidate, someone whose main point is to subvert the status quo, in charge, then with overwhelming probability you're headed off to a cliff.

This is exactly the same as the argument for radical conservatism that the neoreactionaries make. Can you really believe that when the right challenges the status quo, priors are that they almost certainly wrong, but when progressives challenge the status quo they are almost certainly correct? This is extremely motivated reasoning and totally inconsistent.

And EY is all about finding the 'correct contrarians' and subverting the status quo on every other issue.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-15T13:35:03.118Z · LW · GW

Indeed, but I was wondering whether modern social and technological changes will accelerate this.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Barack Obama's opinions on near-future AI [Fixed] · 2016-10-15T13:20:04.935Z · LW · GW

Then there could be an algorithm that said, “Go penetrate the nuclear codes and figure out how to launch some missiles.” If that’s its only job, if it’s self-teaching and it’s just a really effective algorithm, then you’ve got problems. I think my directive to my national security team is, don’t worry as much yet about machines taking over the world. Worry about the capacity of either nonstate actors or hostile actors to penetrate systems, and in that sense it is not conceptually different than a lot of the cybersecurity work we’re doing.

Please tell me this isn't an actual possibility. Surely nuclear launch must rely on multi-factor authentication with one-time-pads and code phrases in sealed, physical envelopes. A brain the size of a planet could not break a one-time pad. I know a superhuman AI could probably hack the net, but please tell me that nuclear missiles are not connected to the internet.

But... Obama must know the capacity of America's nuclear security. The best reason I can think for him to raise this possibility is to confuse America's enemies into thinking that the nuclear weapons are not properly secured, so that they will attack the nuclear launch codes which are actually secure, rather than attempting a more low-tech attack like another September 11.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Barack Obama's opinions on near-future AI [Fixed] · 2016-10-15T13:08:49.689Z · LW · GW

Time to Godwin myself:

1930's Germany: The problem with relativity is that it's developed by Jews. We need an ethnically pure physics.

2010's USA : The problem with AI is that it's developed by white men. We need an ethnically diverse compsci.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-10T18:26:46.741Z · LW · GW

Ignore all the stuff about provably friendly AI, because AFAIK its fairly stuck at the fundamental level of theoretical impossibility due to lob's theorem and its prob going to take a lot more than five years. Instead, work on cruder methods which have less chance of working but far more chance of actually being developed in time. Specifically, if Google are developing it in 5 years, then its probably going to be deepmind with DNNs and RL, so work on methods that can fit in with that approach.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-10T18:21:41.026Z · LW · GW

That doesn't mean that there is nothing to do - if you don't know what FAI is, then you try to work out what it is.

Comment by skeptical_lurker on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-10T18:14:36.152Z · LW · GW

We live in an increasingly globalised world, where moving between countries is both easier in terms of transport costs and more socially acceptable. Once translation reaches near-human levels, language barriers will be far less of a problem. I'm wondering to what extent evaporative cooling might happen to countries, both in terms of values and economically.

I read that France and Greece lost 3 & 5% of their millionaires last year (or possibly the year before), citing economic depression and rising racial/religious tension, with the most popular destination being Australia (as it has the 1st or 2nd highest HDI in the world). 3-5% may not seem like a lot, but if it were sustained for several years it quickly piles up. The feedback effects are obvious - the wealthier members of society find it easier to leave and perhaps have more of a motive to leave an economic collapse, which decreases tax revenue, which increases collapse etc. On the flip side, Australia attracts these people and its economy grows more making it even more attractive...

Socially, the same effect as described in EY's essay I linked happens on a national scale - if the 'blue' people leave, the country becomes 'greener' which attracts more greens and forces out more blues. And social/economic factors feed into each other too - economic collapses cause extremism of all sorts, while I imagine a wealthy society attracting elites would be more able to handle or avoid conflicts.

Now, this is not automatically a bad thing, or at least it might be bad locally for some people, but perhaps not globally. Any thoughts as to what sort of outcomes there might be? And incidentally, how many people can you fit in Australia? I know its very big, but also has a lot of desert.