Comment by tsathoggua on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T23:29:23.013Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I hate this so much, and it happens so often with Tech stuff. Just because something is brand new, and does not have laws or regulations relating to it right now does not mean that people can simply do whatever they want.

Courts are still going to litigate this stuff, and people are definately going to sue if they start losing huge amounts of money, and it is just worse that the creators are basically not planning for these issues, but just going off the basis that it is all going to work out.

Comment by tsathoggua on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T23:26:28.465Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In the specific case of the project known as 'TheDAO', the terms of service does indeed waive all legal rights and says that whatever the computer program says supersedes all human-world stuff.

I may have missed it, but that is not at all what the link you posted says. It has a waiver of liability against 3rd parties (basically the DAO operation). It does not say that you cannot have liability between to parties subject to a contract, or even seem to mention anything about dispute resolution.

Also, I would like to point out that you CANNOT have a contract that requires an illegal act. For instance, you cannot create a contract that says "Person A waives all legal recourse against Person B if Person B murders them." The act of murder is still illegal even if both parties agree to it.

Finally, the TOS for DAO is not the contract, it is merely the TOS for using the service. So the individual contracts between two people are going to override that.

Comment by tsathoggua on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T23:16:16.701Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Right, except Is there a section in the code that says the parties agree to have no legal recourse? Because if not, I can still appeal to a judge. The simple fact is that in the legal eyes of the law, the code is not a contract, it is perhaps at best a vehicle to complete a contract. You cannot simply set up a new legal agreement and just say "And you don't have any legal recourse".

Comment by tsathoggua on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T20:23:29.332Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The law cannot compell you not to murder either, but does that mean you can go out an do it freely? No.

The law doesnt need to compell the computer code, it can force people to do things, it can force the code to be rewritten, it can shut down servers that run the code, it can confiscate the money used in the processes.

These are not some magical anonymous items that are above the law and inviolate. While it is true that they have not been litigated yet, that time is quickly coming, and they still rely on outside individuals to complete the contracts, and are still governed by all the same laws that everything else is.

Comment by tsathoggua on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T18:47:11.141Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But that isnt even true. If two people enter into a contract they are governed by law, regardless of whether it is a paper contract or computer code. I highly doubt there is any legal language in the computer code saying that the agreeing parties waive any US legal rights.

The code is not the contract, but rather a vehicle to effect the contract. You can have the exact same setup without the code.

On top of that, there is some legal questions as to what the DAO stuff actually is as a legal matter.

Comment by tsathoggua on [Link] A rational response to the Paris attacks and ISIS · 2015-11-24T17:12:48.849Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Did the Allies win WW I?

I think it is pretty obvious that by most measures that the central powers did not win the war, but did that victory create a lasting peace?

It obviously didn't. The way the "victory" in WW I was handled pretty much set the stage for WW II.

It is the same way in the middle east, you can have a "victory" or "win" but that does not mean long lasting peace.

Comment by tsathoggua on Some thoughts on decentralised prediction markets · 2015-11-24T16:40:34.137Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So I will comment on the one example that I can speak somewhat fluently on, which is Thought experiment #2.

In the modern economy, hedges are publicly traded as well as the stocks. It is impossible for one to rise in value without the other falling, simply because information is public. If the executive begins to buy huge hedges against his corporations stock, the value of the hedge will rise.

Even if no one knows who exactly is buying these hedges, the price is going up, and so people will either begin to buy hedges as well, thus reducing the gain on them, or they will sell the stock, lowering its price and reducing the gain on the hedge.

Also, buying hedges based on private information would also be insider least in the US.

Comment by tsathoggua on Wealth from Self-Replicating Robots · 2014-07-19T15:07:47.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

naively assuming linear returns to medical research funding

Likely the returns in medical research would be not even close to linear. The Law of diminishing returns will hit you hard. Spending 10x more on research will likely net you far less than a 10x increase, you would likely be lucky if you got half or a quarter of that. Science comes in steps and part of the process that reduces so much waste is peer reviewing and replication of results. Some processes simply cannot be sped up, regardless of funding. Even with infinite funding, I would be impressed to see a 10x growth.

My main question to you is: Why is it better to have a million robots that are all able to do "X" and build themselves instead of one factory that builds robots and a million robots that do "X"?

Obviously replication in certain circumstances is very useful (mars/space exploration for example where "shipping costs" are not only astronomically expensive but nearly impossible on large scale). In the same way 3D printers are useful not because they can replicate themselves (the cant), but because they can create custom things in short amounts of time wherever and whenever they are needed. It is because the jobs they are doing is small scale that they are efficient. You can ship one thing and have it create 100s of other things.

Comment by tsathoggua on [moderator action] Eugine_Nier is now banned for mass downvote harassment · 2014-07-04T02:52:46.844Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think the end goal is to stop him from down-voting as well as commenting as mentioned in the last sentence of the post.

Comment by tsathoggua on [moderator action] Eugine_Nier is now banned for mass downvote harassment · 2014-07-04T02:51:14.202Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I guess the question is whether someone who took action by themselves to mass down vote for the express purpose of removing other users from the site would stop simply because his primary method was removed.

If I were doing the down-voting, and was then de-karmified, it would be the next logical step to find another way around the system such that I could continue my actions without the use of karma.

Comment by tsathoggua on Separating university education from grading · 2014-07-04T02:20:13.391Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do they grade the exams themselves? For instance whether a particular exam is a good test of ability or not? or do they actually grade the student work? It would seem the former would be much more advantageous.

Comment by tsathoggua on Separating university education from grading · 2014-07-04T02:15:03.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

While I think that there is some validity to your point, I would like more data rather simply your opinion on the matter. I will now play devil's advocate.

As it stands, there are some outside players that regulate universities, mainly the regional associations that give colleges their accreditation. Standards for accreditation can be found here:

Apart from that, you say that part of the problem with "contemporary" universities, but what has changed in recent history with teaching that has suddenly brought universities on the downhill slope? Surely British and European universities that have been around far longer have the same such problems. The general idea of teacher/student relationship does not seem to have undergone significant changes since first instituted centuries ago, except perhaps now with the advent of online degrees/programs.

Beyond that, although surely there is some laziness on both the part of professors and students, Institutions do have a stake in making sure that students have the requisite knowledge that is expected of them. Universities many times work with employers to develop and implement curriculum. I work at a college currently that is implementing a healthcare degree that by and large is being done because of demand from area employers. These employers have had more than a small part in designing curriculum.

My personal area of expertise is accounting. If anyone wants to really be an accountant, a degree is not enough. Professional certifications are a requisite to do almost any accounting position. There are a multitude of accounting and business related organizations that offer certifications for various areas such as CPA, CMA, CFE, CIA and many more. Obviously these organizations are independent, and have a stake in upholding their standards. However, just like colleges, they also need to contend with the duality of maintaining standards but also the fact that the revenue for the organization comes in large part from dues, which increase the more people pass the exam.

In any organization like colleges there is going to be this inherent conflict. Even in an organization like OECD, why would a college pay to administer the exams, and probably also to qualify into the organization if it knew it was on the lower end? Thus it would benefit the OECD to not have a comparison system, but rather a criteria system that could give everyone high marks. I am not saying this is the case, I am saying that there is a pressure to do so. Ultimately, it is government that needs to require colleges into programs like this for the welfare of society, since the results will obviously be very bad for some of the participants. In the same way if your school loses accreditation, you will almost cease to exist as a higher education institution since it would disqualify the institution from receiving federal student loans and grant money.

Comment by tsathoggua on What resources have increasing marginal utility? · 2014-06-14T22:31:54.935Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I am not sure that trustworthiness has increased marginal utility. Think about ebay or Amazon, what is the difference between 99% positive and 100% positive. Or 97% positive or 100% positive. It would seem to me that with trustworthiness there is a tipping point, at which there is a huge spike in marginal utility, and all other increases don't really add much utility.

Comment by tsathoggua on The physiology of fun? · 2014-06-12T17:18:10.355Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Generally in a wild population, "play" as young animals provides for the development of skills that are useful in adulthood, for instance cats that chase after everything as kittens will be better chasing after stuff like mice and rodents as adults. So once an animal has learned the skill, the only practice that is needed is the actual use of the skill.

Developmentally and psychologically, there is a condition called neoteny. This is where juvenile traits carry on into adulthood. This is seen in many cases of domestication and can be seen vary well in the domestication of silver foxes ( Basically, some animals don't grow up but still become sexual viable mates, and sometimes this is evolutionarily better for survival. An extreme example of this is some salamanders that never transition from their larval stage to full grown adults (

Many domesticated animals show some signs of neoteny, for instance in the foxes in order to fully domesticate them over a short span of time, neoteny traits were selected for.

Comment by tsathoggua on How has technology changed social skills? · 2014-06-08T21:40:12.108Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Memory has definitely changed with the advent of technology. The ability to acquire information almost instantaneously has definitely reduced the need to remember more information. Also, I feel that social interaction has changed due to instantaneous communication. People expect others to instantly reply at any time and be available at all times. I know this is a cause of increased stress ( in the work place and a blurring of tradition work/home life boundaries.

I think the permanence of technological communication is also causing problems and changes in social skills. With the internet, anything that is posted can potentially be recovered at any point in the future. Never before has a form of communication been needed what would instantly delete itself (snapchat, privnote), at least in any other setting than a military one.

Technology particularly the internet and the multitude of television channels have made it easier and easier for extreme views to flourish. Even if you have views that would be considered immoral, wrong, or evil by most people it is easy enough to find groups and people who share your own ideas and views, as well as exclude anything that does not fit your view. Take the fact that certain news channels cater to certain ideological standpoints (fox news, Cnn, etc). No longer do companies need to cater to a middle point or showcase opposing views. The internet even changes based on your beliefs without you knowing (

Technology has also greatly changed how we speak and talk, for instance I hear people saying "lol" or Oh-Em-Gee on serious news channels.