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Comment by tag on Situating LessWrong in contemporary philosophy: An interview with Jon Livengood · 2020-07-05T18:43:52.589Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

it could be cherry-picked to take advantage of places where the issue appears clear-cut in hindsight.

If you did that 1500 years ago, then theism would appear clear cut in hindsight.

If you did that 150 years ago, then reductionism would appear obviously false.

this kind of material would actually be appropriate for a liberal-arts setting

As opposed to what? Would you be doing anyone any favours by rounding off "seems true to us, here now" as the last word on the subject?

Comment by tag on Situating LessWrong in contemporary philosophy: An interview with Jon Livengood · 2020-07-05T14:01:27.130Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In a sense it's all about mistakes ,because the history of philosophy isn't a bunch of random stuff, it's one phlosopher reacting to another.

But you seem to want mistakes in a sense where they are not just criticisms from some perspective or set of assumptions, but absolute. That you are not going to get , because epistemology has not been solved. So what you have instead is everyone criticising everyone else in a Mexican stand off.

If it were possible to divide philosophy into right stuff and wrong stuff ,you would need an explanation, such as cosmopolitanism, for continuing to teach the wrong stuff. But that would be downstream of solving episyemology.

Comment by tag on Situating LessWrong in contemporary philosophy: An interview with Jon Livengood · 2020-07-03T14:25:27.672Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The ability to suspect that your model of things is wrong even as you try your best, and the ability to sometimes notice mistakes after you make them and go back to try again.

Wouldn't knowledge of past mistakes be helpful in that? Wouldn't recreating philosophy from a blank slate lead to reproducing a lot of errors?

Comment by tag on Situating LessWrong in contemporary philosophy: An interview with Jon Livengood · 2020-07-03T14:23:57.707Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The ability to suspect that your model of things is wrong even as you try your best, and the ability to sometimes notice mistakes after you make them and go back to try again.

Wouldn't knowledge of past mistakes be helpful in that? Wouldn't recreating philosophy from a blank slate lead to reproducing a lot of errors?

Comment by tag on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-07-03T13:54:00.667Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's not true that particles behave identically under identical circumstances -- that would be determinism.

If it were true, it wouldn't only apply to consciousness, or mean that "cosnciousness is One" in some sense that doens't apply to everything else.

There's a lot of information in N particles. If you want to conserve it all, your huge particle has to exist in 3*N dimensional space. But a freely moving particle in 3*N space would behave locally, so you also need constraints to recover locality. Which is bascially the argument for space realluy being 3 dimensional.

Comment by tag on Welcome to LessWrong! · 2020-06-30T22:20:41.131Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Try the "grey" or "zero" themes, in the top left corner.

Comment by tag on What do the baby eaters tell us about ethics? · 2020-06-29T19:50:52.976Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Label the rule producing the order A < B < C as “moral.”

As a way of explaining "The Meaning of Right" that is pretty unhelpful. EY says the true morality is a blob of computation that doens't vary between persons. But it is capable of varying from other blobs of computation. So is calling that particular computation Moral the recognition of a pre-existing fact about it, or the stipulation of a meaning for the word "morality"?

Likewise -- is the label a recognition (not abitrary) , or a stipulation that is arbitrary at the point that it is made.

Comment by tag on The Illusion of Ethical Progress · 2020-06-29T18:46:05.785Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What universal system of ethics would apply both to humans and aliens who eat their own young?

Comment by tag on Gödel's Legacy: A game without end · 2020-06-29T12:51:04.326Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It’s not that all statements are improvable

"Improvable" should be "unprovable".

Comment by tag on The Illusion of Ethical Progress · 2020-06-28T23:28:29.480Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What does it mean for an ethical system to get “better”? Physics contains no such thing.

You say that as though there is no other possible basis to make an objective judgement. Naturalists tend to reject the idea of a separate ontological domain of ethical value, whoch is fair enough. but nihilism is too hasty a conclusion. There is also the domain of human cultural constructs, which is neither derivable from physics, nor ontologically non-physical.[*]

Norms about how well things function, how well they do their job, are objective enough, yet are not rooted in physics. There are norms about how to play chess well, although chess is clearly a human construct. There are norms about how to play run a economy , although money is clearly a human construct.

To judge the quality of an ethical system you must do so through your own ethical system

Ethical philosophy itself is an attempt to judge ethics by norms that are not ethical, such as rational norms. (Or mathematical ones in the case of "torture vs. dust specs").

The assumption that ethics has a function, that it is part of the "operating system" of society allows us to make judgements about better and worse systems of ethics, where "better" and "worse" are cashed out as fulfilling a function well or badly, and are not therefore circular appeals to the ethical sense of better and worse.

A universal standard of ethics must have practical utility in every society at every point in history.

I suppose so, but why would you want one? In order to justify moral progress, you need an objective standard of ethics, not a universal one.

Minimally, an objective truth is not a subjective truth, that is to say, it is not mind-dependent. Lack of mind dependence does not imply that objective truth needs to be the same everywhere, which is to say it does not imply universalism. Truths that are objective but not universal would be truths that vary with objective circumstances: that does not entail subjectivity, because subjectivity is mind dependence.

I like to use the analogy of big G and little g in physics. Big G is a universal constant, little g is the local acceleration due to gravity, and will vary from planet to planet (and, in a fine-grained way, at different points on the earths surface). But little g is perfectly objective, for all its lack of universality.

To give some examples that are actually about morality and how it is contextual:

  • A food-scarce society will develop rules about who can eat how much of which kind of food.

  • A society without birth control and close to Malthusian limits will develop restrictions on sexual behaviour, in order to prevent people being born who are doomed to starve, whereas a society with birth control can afford to be more liberal.

[* from Vaniver's review of Hariri's Sapiens]

But, of course, those modern institutions (as well as the ‘primitive’ ones) function. One division Harari discusses that I found useful was objective, subjective, and inter-subjective:

An objective phenomenon exists independently of human consciousness and human beliefs. … [Radioactivity is his example.]

The subjective is something that exists depending on the consciousness and beliefs of a single individual. … [A child’s imaginary friend is his example.]

The inter-subjective is something that exists within the communication network linking the subjective consciousness of many individuals. If a single individual changes his or her beliefs, or even dies, it is of little importance. However, if most individuals in the network die or change their beliefs, the inter-subjective phenomenon will mutate or disappear. …

Many of history’s most important drivers are inter-subjective: law, money, gods, nations.

That last list looks familiar. Gods and prices are not features of the wavefunction of the physical universe—they’re features of communication networks, or cultures. The creation of a third, explicitly defined category (phrases that mean similar things are “social construct” and “myth,” at least when used non-pejoratively) solves the epistemic crisis of realizing that many, if not most, of the interesting things in life are neither objective nor subjective. The rules of association football are not objective natural laws baked into the universe before there was time, but neither can they be changed by a single person deciding to play differently. (Many authors fall headlong into this epistemic crisis, and Harari every now and then seems to have his presentation, if not his arguments, tripped up by it. But on the whole he manages it well.)

Comment by tag on Map Errors: The Good, The Bad, and The Territory · 2020-06-28T22:20:44.195Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What happens when your map doesn’t match the territory?

What does it mean for the map not to match the territory?

  1. The map is less detailed that the territory?

  2. The map does not predict correctly?

  3. The map predicts, but only under limited circumstances?

  4. The map predicts well, but nonetheless does not correspond to the territory?

The really pessimistic possibility is that you can't avoid all the problems simultaneously.

Comment by tag on Atemporal Ethical Obligations · 2020-06-27T11:35:13.175Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And Y is arguably a lot better than Z.

Why not argue it, then? The OP takes some premise on the lines of "moral gets objectively better over time", as an unstated given. Saying its arguable, but not arguing it, is not much of an improvement.

Comment by tag on Reductive Reference · 2020-06-26T23:44:01.550Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I see your point. But if water didn’t always boil at the same temperature, why would we bother inventing thermometers?

We have more need to measure the unpredictable than the predictable.

If both views are equally coherent and give us equal result (or the results are unclear as of yet), choosing one would be privileging the hipotesis.

Not every one sees things that way. The more hardline claims require the physical map to exclude others.

Comment by tag on Reductive Reference · 2020-06-25T20:17:07.527Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You are saying it doesn't need to be accurate. To show that boiling water is always the same temperature, the thermometer doesn't need to display the rest that temperature ...any consistent temperature will do ...but it does need to avoid varying randomly, and that is reliability

Comment by tag on Reductive Reference · 2020-06-25T10:40:02.889Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know that water always boils at the same temperature? Well, you could use a reliable thermometer...

The moral of the story is not so much that science always works, it's that it works in a way that's more coherentist than foundationalist. And the downside of coherentism is that you can have more than one equally coherent wordlviews...

Comment by tag on Probability interpretations: Examples · 2020-06-20T23:11:54.096Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It doens't make your point, since I don't agree with it.

Given any degree of realism, you can differentiate between determined but unknown things and undetermined things.

Well, you're an anti realist. But that doesn't give you the right to interpret what other people, if there are any other people, are saying in anti-realist terms.

Comment by tag on Probability interpretations: Examples · 2020-06-20T20:55:00.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It is determined in the sense of having only one possible value. The same applies to a call to rand() ,so long as it is a deterministic PRNG. We don't know what the answer is , until we have done some work, in either case, but that doesn't mean anything indeterministic is going on. Determinism is defined in terms of inevitability, ie. lack of possible alternatives. We do not regard the future as undeterminedjust because it has not happened yet.

Comment by tag on Probability interpretations: Examples · 2020-06-20T18:18:39.201Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The 98,765th digit of π

..isn't a random digit, it's the 98,765th digit.

There's a puzzle about how probability theory would apply would apply to something that's basically determinate, but the question of how randomly selected digits of pi are distributed isn't it, because the process of picking a digit randomly bring indeterminacy in.

People pose the problem with a specific digit to make the problem determinate, and focus on the paradoxical aspect.

Comment by tag on Probability interpretations: Examples · 2020-06-20T14:09:28.219Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Having read through the above discussion, I don't think you have distinguished between the claim that there are mathematical entities, and the claim that there are mathematical facts. The latter can mean nothing more than different mathematicians will find the same solutions to a given problem, which you accept. Call the second claim epistemological realism, and the first metaphysical realism. To argue that convergence on a set of facts can only be, or be explained by, form of metaphysical realism is to give to much credence to realism. Metaphysical realism about mathematical entities , Platonism, is much more controversial than realism about physical bodies.

Comment by tag on What is meant by Simulcra Levels? · 2020-06-18T23:57:49.767Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But what's that got to do with simulacra in any other sense?

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T23:41:57.324Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A piano-shaped bunch of quarks and electrons is a piano. The causal powers of the piano are exactly the same as a piano-shaped bunch of quarks and electrons. Mentioning the quarks and electrons is doing no work, because we can talk of pianos without knowing anything about quarks and electrons.

That's what I meant: if two things are identical, they have identical causal powers. The Singer/Strawson argument seems to be that nothing exists or causes anything unless it is strongly emergent.

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T23:08:02.208Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with all of that except 4. (A piano “emerges” from putting together its parts. But there is nothing epiphenomenal about it, as anyone who has had a piano fall on them will know.) But it gets no farther to explaining consciousness.

The charitable reading of 4 would be that the piano has no causal powers beyond those of its parts: it's a piano-shaped bunch of quarks and electrons that crushes you.

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T23:03:05.631Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I guess my beef is that when it’s framed as “But why does XYZ system entail qualia?” I infer that even if in the far future I had a SUPER detailed understanding of “tweak this and you get X more units of experience, if you don’t have ABC any experience is impossible, LMN architecture is really helpful, but not necessary” that Chalmers would still be unimpressed and got “But why does any of this lead to qualia?”

How do you argue that no physical explanation, even an unknown future one, could explain qualia?

Chalmers has an argument of that sort. He is not just knee jerking. He characterises all physical explanations as being about structure and function. He thinks qualia are not susceptible to structural and funcitonal explanation (not "isolated" or "separate").

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T22:30:33.219Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It’s just that I personally can’t find any way to relate this isolated “qualia of redness” to anything else I care about.

Maybe not, but its still of academic interest.

The physicalist paradigm has been successful in many areas, but has yet to win out entirely because of some recalcitrant problems. The alternatives to physicalism -- idealism, dualism, panpsychism, and so on -- get their traction, retain what popularity they have, because of the mind body problem. There are a few other issues, such whether mathematical entities have an immaterial existence, and the status of physical law, but the mind-body problem is the big one. And the hard problem is the hardest part of the mind body problem.

A lot of people care enough about preserving physicalism to come up with a stance on the HP, including extreme ones like illusionism.

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T22:13:31.035Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So when I hear a claim that “subjective experience” and “qualia” are divorced from any and all behavior or functionality in the mind, I’m left with a sense that Chalmers is talking about something very different from my subjective experience, and what it seems like to be me. My subjective experience seems deeply integrated with my behavior and functioning.

That's playing on different meanings of "isolated" and "integrated". The claim that explanations of behaviour are not explanations of subjective experience does not by itself amount to the claim that subjective experience is epiphenomenal -- causally idle, not causing or influencing behaviour.

There is fertile ground for confusion here, because there are plausible grounds for considering Chalmers to be an epiphenomenalist -- but, importantly, his epiphenomenalism isn't an assumption of the hard problem, as he states it, nor an immediate consequence.

He argues at length that property dualism is the correct answer to the HP, and that would seem to imply epiphenomenalism: if physical properties are sufficient to explain behaviour, then mental properties have nothing to do. But that means epiphenomenalism is an indirect consequence of the HP.

Comment by tag on Cartesian Boundary as Abstraction Boundary · 2020-06-12T21:44:58.078Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

let’s me

Not all programming is solipsistic. If you are trying to deliver to a lot of different end users and environments, its useful to have front loaded checking and predictable behaviour.

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T20:42:16.797Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you make "physical" broad enough, it ceases to mean anything, and everything is compatible with it. That's not a just a problem for panpsychism: physicalists are often in the position of fervently defending something they can only vaguely define. But if you try to make physicalism precise, it turns out that the concept of reductionism is the one doing the work: the idea that the only fundamental properties are physical ones, and all higher level properties must be explicable in terms of lower level ones.

if panpsychism solves everything, then it doesn’t matter whether it is physicalist or not.

Matters to whom? There's no shortage of people who would rather leave cosnsciosuness unexplained (or illusory or non existent) than abandon physicalism.

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T18:35:38.940Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Weakly illusory—meaning non-fundamental.

Well, panpsychism is the claim that consciousness is fundamental , or at least co-fundamental with material properties.

you can only choose between new physics, epiphenomenalism, panpsychism and strong illusionism (“there is no such thing as consciousness”).

Only? I would add dual-aspect neutral monism to that list;-)

Comment by tag on The "hard" problem of consciousness is the least interesting problem of consciousness · 2020-06-12T18:30:35.729Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don’t get why it’s still not mainstream that panpsychism with weak illusionism about “self” solves the Hard Problem.

In the sense that shooting someone and also cutting off their head kills them. It's not clear why would need both ... and there are good arguments against each.

What is hard about the hard problem is the requirement to explain consciousness, particularly conscious experience, in terms of a physical ontology. Its the combination of the two that makes it hard. Which is to say that the problem can be sidestepped by either denying consciousness, or adopting a non-physicalist ontology.

Examples of non-physical ontologies include dualism, panpsychism and idealism . These are not faced with the Hard Problem, as such, because they are able to say that subjective, qualia, just are what they are, without facing any need to offer a reductive explanation of them. But they have problems of their own, mainly that physicalism is so succedsful in other areas.

Eliminative materialism and illusionism, on the other hand, deny that there is anything to be explained, thereby implying there is no problem, But these approaches also remain unsatisfactory because of the compelling subjective evidence for consciousness.

Comment by tag on What does “torture vs. dust specks” imply for insect suffering? · 2020-06-09T13:00:23.875Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe don't. There is no metaphysical fact that takes the micro sufferings of lots of agents and turn them into the mega suffering of one agent. That kind of summation is on the map not the territory. It's optional, not forced on you by reality.

Comment by tag on Consequentialism and Accidents · 2020-06-07T19:45:23.036Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Focus on the goodness of the action and the outcome, not of the person.

For what purpose?

Comment by tag on Consequentialism and Accidents · 2020-06-07T19:44:03.383Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

because when you integrate over all possible worlds, his actions tend to get people killed, v

I have never heard of a version of consequentialism that explictly says that consequences include non-actual possibilities. The idea seems to coincide with virtue theory in a way that is a bit suspicious. Virtue ethics make it very easy to make judgements about agents, since that is what it is all about. Consequentialism has difficulty , because of moral luck. But is judging an agent by their propensity-to-produce-desirable-consequences really different from judging them by their virtue ... or is it just a misleading re-naming of virtue?

Comment by tag on Consequentialism and Accidents · 2020-06-07T19:39:45.057Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is actually a pretty big topic.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-luck/

Comment by tag on Paul Crowley's Shortform · 2020-06-03T00:51:18.852Z · score: -7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You mean the swine are judging ideas by how they work in practice?

Comment by tag on You See The Territory or Nothing at All · 2020-06-03T00:24:09.548Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Cognitive Qualia

Why? Is that section called " cognitive qualia"?

Comment by tag on You See The Territory or Nothing at All · 2020-06-03T00:21:03.690Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Humans have a mechanism that allows that them have experiences (as if) of things that aren't there, which is employed in dreaming, visualisation and hallucination. Whether that mechanism is also involved in veridical perception is a perfectly valid empirical question. It can be settled by science.

There is an issue about whether perception is defined in a way that absolutely requires a real object of perception. That is an entirely semantic issue. You can solve it without performing experiments. (Or just side step it by using different words for veridical perception and other kinds).

There is also a much thornier,and much more genuinely philosophical question about how much veridical perception is influenced by perceptual mechanisms and cognitive frameworks. Naive realism says "zero" but naive realism is scientifically false.

Comment by tag on One systemic failure in particular · 2020-06-01T19:05:47.132Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Every person should have the job that uses the persons talents, intellect, education to the maximum without running into the Peter-Principle.

That's not something you can optimise without optimising a bunch of other things. A lot of talent goes wasted in mostly-substistence econonomies, for instance. An if you education system doens't suit the job market, you are going to need jobs for the people with degrees is underwater basket weaving.

Unlike today’s companies who live under the illusion that they can get any staff delivered at no cost to their front steps like stuff off amazon.

Even the ones who are grumbling about the minimum wage?

Comment by tag on Antimemes · 2020-05-27T15:07:43.339Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. There's nothing magic about a list as a data structure that allows you to do implement type-safe macros. In fact, since any code can be represented as an abstact syntax tree, a tree-like data structure would be more general. I beleive the Nim language works that way.

Comment by tag on Philosophy: A Diseased Discipline · 2020-05-27T13:45:20.681Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Before saying intuitions are bad, you need to show that you can manage without them -- entirely.

Comment by tag on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-05-24T16:54:03.107Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
 If someone were to invent a test for qualia, perhaps we couldn’t even tell if it works properly without solving the hard problem of consciousness.

Even without solving the hard problem of consciousness, as long as we agree that consciousness is a property the human mind has, the test can be administered by a paramedic with a flashlight.

Qualiaphiles don't think qualia are something other than a property the mind has, they think they are not open to any obvious third-party inspection, like shining a flashlight.

If you define consc. as the thing EMT's can check with a flashlight, all you have done is left qualia out of the definition: you haven't solved any problem of qualia.

Comment by tag on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2019 · 2020-05-23T21:02:57.557Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hume was an idiot

Idiot about what?

emotions being a necessary part of decision-making horrifying

Horrifying but true?

Comment by tag on Nihilism doesn't matter · 2020-05-23T12:14:23.194Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Philosophy isn't the only motivation. If you don't have philosophical motivations to do something, it is likely that expediency or self interest will fill the gap. Expediency would tell you not to pull the lever in case you were charged with murder.

Comment by tag on A Problem With Patternism · 2020-05-21T14:55:52.598Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If patternism isn't a good answer, why talk about it?

Comment by tag on A Problem With Patternism · 2020-05-21T14:52:04.943Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I assumed that patternism was intended as an answer to the question: how does one person retain their identity despite changes in material composition. (or: how do we get a materialistic theory of personal identity?).

Comment by tag on A Problem With Patternism · 2020-05-19T21:20:03.570Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would have thought the time to worry was when your pattern changes.

Comment by tag on Perpetual Motion Beliefs · 2020-05-18T13:11:00.184Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A common reaction to QM is that it doesn't matter since quantum randomness will never manifest itself at the macroscopic level -- that is, in the world of sticks and stones we can see with the naked eye. An appeal is usually made to the "law of large numbers", according to which random fluctuations at the atomic (or lower level) will cancel each other out in a macroscopic object, so that what is seen is an averaged-out behaviour that is fairly predictable.

Something like this must be happening in some cases, assuming QM is a correct description of the micro-world, or there would not even be an appearance of a deterministic macro-world. Since deterministic classical physics is partially correct, there must be a mechanism that makes the QM micro-world at least approximate to the classical description.

However, it it were the case that all macroscopic objects behaved in a 100% deterministic fashion, there would be no evidence for QM in the first place -- since all scientific apparatus is in the macro-world ! A geiger-counter is able to amplify the impact of a single particle into an audible click. Richard Feynman suggested that if that wasn't macroscopic enough, you could always amplify the signal further and use it to set off a stick of dynamite! It could be objected that these are artificial situations. However, because there is a well-known natural mechanism that could do the same job: critical dependence on initial conditions, or classical chaos.

Comment by tag on Perpetual Motion Beliefs · 2020-05-18T13:05:36.182Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A common reaction to QM is that it doesn't matter since quantum randomness will never manifest itself at the macroscopic level -- that is, in the world of sticks and stones we can see with the naked eye. An appeal is usually made to the "law of large numbers", according to which random fluctuations at the atomic (or lower level) will cancel each other out in a macroscopic object, so that what is seen is an averaged-out behaviour that is fairly predictable.

Something like this must be happening in some cases, assuming QM is a correct description of the micro-world, or there would not even be an appearance of a deterministic macro-world. Since deterministic classical physics is partially correct, there must be a mechanism that makes the QM micro-world at least approximate to the classical description.

However, it it were the case that all macroscopic objects behaved in a 100% deterministic fashion, there would be no evidence for QM in the first place -- since all scientific apparatus is in the macro-world ! A geiger-counter is able to amplify the impact of a single particle into an audible click. Richard Feynman suggested that if that wasn't macroscopic enough, you could always amplify the signal further and use it to set off a stick of dynamite! It could be objected that these are artificial situations. However, because there is a well-known natural mechanism that could do the same job: critical dependence on initial conditions, or classical chaos.

Comment by tag on Movable Housing for Scalable Cities · 2020-05-16T16:56:50.169Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible to live inside a car-sized gizmo like an RV. Since it already exists, it's not what Yudkwosky means.

It's possible to site a more-than-car-sized mobile gizmo, such as a trailer, somewhere outside a city. Yudkwosky is talking about cities, so that's not what he means either.

It's not really possible to get mobile house-sized contrivances into cities, because of the width of the roads. RV's are the size they are because of that limitation.

You could put trailer parks in city centres if there was enough space, but there's also no point, because you are just diluting the high density that makes a city a city.

So you need to solve the problem of getting house-sized living podules into a city, and also the problem of storing them in a high-density manner. You could do that by building something like a giant server rack and using a crane to slot your living podule into the nth floor. But then you would still need to knock down an existing high-rise building.

And remember that there is an alternative technology available: you can move house by putting your stuff in boxes and unpacking it at a new location. On the one hand, there is a slightly inconvenient solution in the $100s, and on the other, a highly convenient solution in the $1,000, 000s, at least.

Comment by tag on Movable Housing for Scalable Cities · 2020-05-16T16:35:21.254Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose the sci-fi answer is to build something like a giant server rack and slot your living podule into the nth floor. But then you would need to knock down an existing high-rise building and build a lot of other infrastructure. Infrastructure!

Comment by tag on Movable Housing for Scalable Cities · 2020-05-15T23:34:08.284Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Infrastructure?