Posts

Learning math (repost from reddit) 2010-12-20T16:26:15.950Z · score: 0 (3 votes)
Wonder who is going to be there... 2010-12-07T03:14:24.123Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Good news about the Big Bang 2010-11-25T12:44:45.663Z · score: 0 (5 votes)
Toy model of human values 2010-11-02T18:28:33.783Z · score: 3 (6 votes)
Before you start solving a problem 2010-10-12T15:46:32.585Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Cognitive Bias Song 2010-05-06T23:30:55.781Z · score: 1 (18 votes)
Who is your favorite rationalist? 2010-04-25T14:56:39.340Z · score: 3 (8 votes)
Living Large - availability of life 2010-04-21T16:14:58.925Z · score: 3 (8 votes)
CogSci books 2010-04-20T14:11:39.721Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Interesting Peter Norvig interview 2010-03-03T00:59:04.214Z · score: 6 (11 votes)

Comments

Comment by xamdam on Timeless Causality · 2010-12-15T20:59:21.597Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is no t coordinate, and no global now sweeping across the universe. Events do not happen in the past or the present or the future, they just are. But there may be a certain... asymmetric locality of relatedness... that preserves "cause" and "effect", and with it, "therefore"

Not to trivialize this, but Phillip Fry helps me think about it, by going back in time and being his own grandfather:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell_That_Ends_Well

for him, whether he was prior to his father is an unanswerable question, but the story is causally consistent.

Comment by xamdam on Rationality Quotes: December 2010 · 2010-12-15T10:50:02.717Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Never trust another computational agent unless you can see its source code?

Comment by xamdam on What topics would you like to see more of on LessWrong? · 2010-12-14T14:10:58.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Suggestion: upon seeing a topic of interest, tag the person you'd like to write about it, if someone comes to mind.

Comment by xamdam on If reductionism is the hammer, what nails are out there? · 2010-12-13T19:55:13.321Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What about the nails scattered around here http://lesswrong.com/lw/oh/righting_a_wrong_question/ ?

Comment by xamdam on If reductionism is the hammer, what nails are out there? · 2010-12-12T19:50:51.628Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Essentialism also seems very prominent in human pleasure, per "how pleasure works" book.

As far as supernatural theories, I am in an interesting position as far as taking some meditation training from a martial arts teacher; on one hand I (surely hope!) am not "aligning meridians of the body" while doing the breathing exercises, on the other hand I don't want to dismiss this incorrect "model" too early as it might be of further usefulness, given that these systems tend to be very ancient.

Comment by xamdam on Kazakhstan's president urges scientists to find the elixir of life · 2010-12-10T04:58:25.468Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

http://cherrythian.com/images/borat.jpg

Comment by xamdam on Wonder who is going to be there... · 2010-12-10T04:19:49.617Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, got that one right (it was a no-brainer)

http://singularityhub.com/2010/12/09/how-was-the-billionaires-singularity-dinner-see-for-yourself-in-these-videos/

Here is the direct link to Vassar's talk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFkK1O8cuto&feature=player_embedded

Comment by xamdam on Were atoms real? · 2010-12-09T18:32:48.145Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

-men and women: men aren't supposed to dress like women and vice versa.

agreed, support your theory

-fish and mammals

yes, probably wrong way to phrase it, but I agree about the essentialism of "fish with scales" being "fishy fish" - that's a very sharp observation, actually.

Comment by xamdam on Reliably wrong · 2010-12-09T18:03:25.407Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I believe certain investors used some sentiment as counter-indicators. Jim Cramer comes to mind.

Comment by xamdam on Were atoms real? · 2010-12-09T18:00:18.597Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  • wool and flax - Yes
  • men and women - Huh?
  • fish and mammals - Sort of (some people do not eat milk and fish with same utensils, but it's not from the Bible as far as I can tell) Additionally -
  • mixing plant species (via grafting) - Yes, a major support for your point

-- your local ex-rabbinical student :)

Comment by xamdam on Best career models for doing research? · 2010-12-09T16:05:40.835Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect it's also difficult for Julian (or pretty much anybody) to estimate these things; I guess intelligent people will just have to make best guesses about this type of stuff. In this specific case a rationalist would be very cautious of "having an agenda", as there is significant opportunity to do harm either way.

Comment by xamdam on Best career models for doing research? · 2010-12-08T21:58:34.743Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To be fair, I think the parent of the downvoted comment also has status implications:

I think you're nitpicking to dodge the question

It's a serious accusation hurled at the wrong type of guy IMO - Vladimir probably takes the objectivity award on this forum. I think his response was justified and objective, as usual.

Comment by xamdam on Best career models for doing research? · 2010-12-08T20:37:17.251Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

whether the decision is correct (has better expected consequences than the available alternatives), not whether it conflicts with freedom of speech.

Sounds like a good argument for WikiLeaks dilemma (which is of course confused by the possibility the government is lying their asses off about potential harm)

Comment by xamdam on Were atoms real? · 2010-12-08T20:04:15.111Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect it's for the same reason I occasionally litter by accident and not pick it up; it's a negative externality but the cost of self monitoring all the time is greater. I'd get worried if it goes over a (small) threshold. People like the communication for non-informational reasons and occasionally speech-litter.

Comment by xamdam on Were atoms real? · 2010-12-08T18:28:14.306Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

[5] Thus, to extend this conjecturally toward our original question: when someone asks "Is the physical world 'real'?" they may, in part, be asking whether their predictive models of the physical world will give accurate predictions in a very robust manner, or whether they are merely local approximations. The latter would hold if e.g. the person: is a brain in a vat; is dreaming; or is being simulated and can potentially be affected by entities outside the simulation.

Hmm. Let's say we live in a multiverse where there are infinitely many universes with laws we cannot compute, so our laws are very much local (but not necessarily approximations). Would it make the world as we know it less real? I would not feel that.

On the other hand living in a simulation would feel unreal, though it might be based on a fantasy that you can 'break out' somehow.

Another use of the term is authenticity; e.g. I'd be proud to own a book signed by Churchill, but ashamed if it was a fake. (Physical laws to not dictate either way - it could have been authentic). This last example makes me think that it's going to be hard to disentangle the term from its psychological connotations.

Comment by xamdam on Genetically Engineered Intelligence · 2010-12-06T01:15:18.925Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

China is planning to sequence the full genome of 1000 of its brightest kids

Terrance Tao, run and hide!

Comment by xamdam on How to Live on 24 Hours a Day · 2010-12-05T01:21:22.585Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also on Google Books (has downloadable PDF version)

http://books.google.com/books?id=PBRWAAAAMAAJ&dq=Arnold%20Bennett%2024%20hours&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false

Comment by xamdam on Towards a New Decision Theory · 2010-11-28T18:20:49.114Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think historically, the phenomenon described must have played some role in the evolution of intelligence. So why should I retract it?

I do not think the article suggests any non-toy scenario where such situations might have reasonably arisen.

My personal favorite reason for "why are we not more intelligent species" is that the smart ones don't breed enough :)

Comment by xamdam on Greg Egan disses stand-ins for Overcoming Bias, SIAI in new book · 2010-11-28T15:16:04.753Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

So I actually read the book; while there is a little "dis" in there, but the portrait is very partial: "Nate Caplan, my IQ is 160" of "OverpoweringFalsehood.com" is actually pictured as the rival of the "benign SuperIntelligence Project" (a stand-in for SIAI I presume, which is dissed in its own right of course). I think it's funny flattering and wouldn't take it personally at all, doubt Eliezer would in any case.

BTW the book is Ok, I prefer Egan in far-future mode than in near-future.

Comment by xamdam on Why abortion looks more okay to us than killing babies · 2010-11-25T12:16:54.719Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

variation in SIDS across socio-economic spectrum suggest infanticide is quite common in our culture.

Comment by xamdam on Why abortion looks more okay to us than killing babies · 2010-11-25T12:02:45.619Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriage is common...The hospital procedure is routine and not attended with the same kind of reverence as death usually is.

Infant death rate was around 20% (in Paris!) when they invented incubators. I wonder if their attitude to infant death was similar to our re: miscarriage.

Comment by xamdam on Imperfect Levers · 2010-11-18T02:12:15.687Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

this link is messed up in the post

http://lesswrong.com/lw/1ws/the_importance_of_goodharts_law/

Comment by xamdam on Reference Points · 2010-11-17T17:37:30.336Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I accept this as a valid point - first hour/day is an important heuristic indicator of goodness, but Eli wrote

You only need to convince them that the first hour or day

Comment by xamdam on Zero Bias · 2010-11-17T17:24:52.663Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interestingly 0 as in "free stuff" is also often mispriced (hence all the 'free offers' you get in the mail).

Comment by xamdam on Reference Points · 2010-11-17T17:21:10.301Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think that's a rational response

In the timespan under discussion

first hour or day

you just justified crack usage

Comment by xamdam on How to pick your categories · 2010-11-11T18:10:59.677Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

The descriptive math part was very good, thanks - and that's why I resisted downvoting the post. My problem is that the conclusion omits the hugely important factor that categories are useful for specific goals, and the kind of techniques you are suggesting (essentially unsupervised techniques) are context-free.

E.g. is a dead cow more similar to a dead (fixed from 'live') horse or to a live cow? (It clearly depends what you want to do with it)

Comment by xamdam on Rationality Quotes: November 2010 · 2010-11-10T01:46:16.075Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If after 1/2 hr of poker you can't tell who's the patsy, it's you. - Charles T. Munger

Comment by xamdam on An Xtranormal Intelligence Explosion · 2010-11-08T00:48:52.678Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The Red guy is a dead ringer for Prime Intellect.

Comment by xamdam on Have no heroes, and no villains · 2010-11-07T22:42:42.352Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Great post, thanks.

I try to remember my heroes for the specific heroic act or trait, e.g. Darwin's conscientious collection of disconfirming evidence.

Comment by xamdam on Ben Goertzel: The Singularity Institute's Scary Idea (and Why I Don't Buy It) · 2010-11-07T17:24:25.543Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No, I am not aware of any facts about progress in decision theory

Please take a look here: http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Decision_theory

As far as the dragon, I was just pointing out that some minds are not trainable, period. And even if training works well for some intelligent species like tigers, it's quite likely that it will not be transferable (eating trainer, not ok, eating an baby, ok).

Comment by xamdam on A Proof of Occam's Razor · 2010-11-07T16:17:21.817Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Taking UDT Seriously

Can you post this in the discussion area?

Comment by xamdam on The Curve of Capability · 2010-11-05T20:48:02.627Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks.

The posts (at least the second one) seem to point that symbolic reasoning is overstated and at least some reasoning is clearly non-symbolic (e.g. visual).

In this context the question is whether the symbolic processing (there is definitely some - math, for example) gave pre-humans the boost that allowed the huge increase in computing power, so I am not seeing the contradiction.

Comment by xamdam on Are the effects of UFAI likely to be seen at astronomical distances? · 2010-11-05T17:17:38.112Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would being seen be an advantage for them? (answering question with a question, still...)

Comment by xamdam on Religious/Worldview Techniques · 2010-11-05T15:43:39.979Z · score: -3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Would considering the effects of Christianity on civilization help? Something about Dark Ages...

Another approach, find what is appealing to you in Christianity, and attempt to extract it from the silly religious context.

Comment by xamdam on Goertzel on Psi in H+ Magazine · 2010-11-05T15:37:51.722Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Freud once said that Jung was a great psychologist, until he became a prophet.

Comment by xamdam on The Curve of Capability · 2010-11-04T22:07:41.269Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

calling this "symbolic processing" assumes a particular theory of mind, and I think it is mistaken

Interesting. Can you elaborate or link to something?

Comment by xamdam on Ben Goertzel: The Singularity Institute's Scary Idea (and Why I Don't Buy It) · 2010-11-03T23:41:35.203Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It is going to be next to impossible to solve the problem of "Friendly AI" without first creating AI systems that have social cognitive capacities. Just sitting around "Thinking" about it isn't likely to be very helpful in resolving the problem.

I am guessing that this unpacks to "to create and FAI you need some method to create AGI. For the later we need to create AI systems with social cognitive capabilities (whatever that means - NLP?)". Doing this gets us closer to FAI every day, while "thinking about it" doesn't seem to.

First, are you factually aware that some progress has been made in a decision theory that would give some guarantees about the future AI behavior?

Second, yes, perhaps whatever you're tinkering with is getting closer to an AGI which is what FAI runs on. It is also getting us closer to and AGI which is not FAI, if the "Thinking" is not done first.

Third, if the big cat analogy did not work for you, try training a komodo dragon.

Comment by xamdam on Ben Goertzel: The Singularity Institute's Scary Idea (and Why I Don't Buy It) · 2010-11-03T22:11:43.401Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Simons is an AI researcher? News to me. Clearly his fund uses machine learning, but there is an ocean between that and AGI (besides plenty of funds use ML also, DE Shaw and many others).

Comment by xamdam on Toy model of human values · 2010-11-03T18:38:23.273Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Status, say, is the analogy of board position- it only leads to higher genetic fitness on average in some broad way, but it's a cheap and effective heuristic for doing so, just like good board position is a cheap and effective (but not guaranteed!) heuristic for winning at chess

Yep, basically what I was getting at.

Comment by xamdam on Rationality Quotes: November 2010 · 2010-11-03T13:41:32.586Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings.

Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen)

Comment by xamdam on Call for Volunteers: Rationalists with Non-Traditional Skills · 2010-11-01T18:30:52.703Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The extreme is uninformative, that's why I was asking if you came to any heuristics about finding and optimal point. Clearly there are benefits to muscle, besides status: strength and increased metabolism (the way I understand it is you actually have to exercise less with weights than with aerobics to stay in shape). Too much is likely to lead to injury and possibly other problems (possibly caused by extreme blood pressure during heavy lifting).

My personal conclusion is that bodyweight exercises are pretty safe, though I do use weights where bodyweight alternatives are too complicated or require annoyingly many reps.

Comment by xamdam on Call for Volunteers: Rationalists with Non-Traditional Skills · 2010-10-31T14:27:18.849Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Feel free to pop onto the NYC meetup list here and say hello (and would love to meet you in person):

http://groups.google.com/group/overcomingbiasnyc?hl=en

Comment by xamdam on Call for Volunteers: Rationalists with Non-Traditional Skills · 2010-10-31T14:24:42.358Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I use weights a bit, and since you are on a rationalist site I'd ask this question: where is the point where lifting unusually heavy things contributes more to the destruction of the body than to its maintenance?

Comment by xamdam on I'll be in NYC from Oct. 30 to Nov. 21 · 2010-10-29T14:42:26.747Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

some of you that aren’t on that list or are a bit further away from the city.

And the reminder for those who aren't on the list: we live here:

http://groups.google.com/group/overcomingbiasnyc?hl=en

(the Meetup.com group is really just a recruiting station, that's how I got 'in')

Comment by xamdam on Rationality quotes: October 2010 · 2010-10-15T12:03:34.046Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

AI makes philosophy honest

-- Dan Dennet

Comment by xamdam on In which I fantasize about drugs · 2010-10-14T14:10:34.534Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

1) A drug against unrequited love, aka "infatuation" or 'limerence".

Marriage might qualify as a solution, though you might need all other kinds of drugs afterwords.

Comment by xamdam on Poker Playing · 2010-10-13T13:27:42.261Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Token booth clerks and bar bouncers are pithy too. You need to prove the average case ;)

Comment by xamdam on Of the Qran and its stylistic resources: deconstructing the persuasiveness Draft · 2010-10-12T17:23:46.523Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Don't know a direct answer to your question, but I think these types of books (Torah is the one I am very familiar with) are best deconstructed by historians, as they were not all written at once (at least this is the case for Torah).

And where is the markup help in this blog? I can't seem to find it and it frustrates the hell out of me when I'm commenting usual posts.

Look at the Help link bottom right of the comment box.

Comment by xamdam on Recommended Reading for Friendly AI Research · 2010-10-12T13:40:09.934Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Related by Cousin It: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/2sw/math_prerequisites_for_understanding_lw_stuff/

It would be helpful if the books we ordered by dependency (topological sort) & order of difficulty .

Comment by xamdam on Discuss: Have you experimented with Pavlovian conditioning? · 2010-10-11T22:03:53.179Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Funny... I've been thinking along the same lines (though I am not sure if this is technically Pavlovian). Except for nitrous oxide I was thinking of another highly pleasurable distraction.