Comment by zubon2 on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2009-02-03T03:57:16.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Any chance to turn the topic to sex and relationships will consume the comments. A surprising number of OB threads have turned into discussions of pick-up artists.

Comment by zubon2 on OB Status Update · 2009-01-31T07:56:34.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Notion of a model for selecting/sorting rationality quotes: http://bash.org/?top

Comment by zubon2 on Rationality Quotes 25 · 2009-01-28T16:47:38.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Potential quote for a future post:

The Tick: "Isn't sanity really a one-trick pony, anyway? I mean, all you get is one trick, rational thinking! But when you're good and crazy...ooh hoo hoo hoo...the sky's the limit!"

Comment by zubon2 on Sympathetic Minds · 2009-01-19T16:51:24.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This was my problem reading C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner. Not that the protagonist kept making the mistake of expecting the aliens to have human emotions: that they sometimes did seem to act on human emotions that they lacked the neurology for. Maybe there is justification later in the series, but it seemed like a failure to fully realize an alien psychology, quite likely for the difficulties that would cause in relating it to a human audience.

Contrary to Cabalamat, I think empathy was explained for the Hive Queen, in the history of establishing cooperation between queens. The first one to get the idea even practiced selective breeding on its own species until it found another that could cooperate. Or maybe the bits about empathizing with other minds (particularly human minds) was just a lie to manipulate the machine-with-levers that almost wiped out its species.

Comment by zubon2 on Living By Your Own Strength · 2008-12-23T02:22:09.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Michael Vassar has a good point that I will take in a different direction: inventors and exploiters are often quite different people. Great explorers are rarely great settlers.

The first person to develop an idea or technology rarely has the best idea of what to do with it. Perhaps s/he is too tied to that development process. Perhaps it takes a different part of the mind to optimize than to discover, and few people have strong modules for both. Sometimes the first mover wins, but the biggest winner is often the later mover who releases a better version.

Citing games again, I look to different sources for ideas and for finished optimizations. Some people can do both, and the more limited the search space the more likely it is that optimizers can find their own ideas. Several people will suggest that X and Y could work well together. They will experiment with things in-game. They will often have the best qualitative grasp of things. Then you bring in the spreadsheet masters to squeeze the last drop of optimization from it. These are the people who calculate the most efficient build for feats, talents, weapons, whatever your game has. Then you can pass that back to the community for people to use.

It takes a certain personality type to explore a new land. It takes a different personality type to start homesteading newly explored territory. It takes yet another to devise regular trade routes back to the mother country.

Comment by zubon2 on High Challenge · 2008-12-19T23:37:18.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

increasing your social circle(online friends don't count) It will be a small, lonely post-upload life...

Comment by zubon2 on Torture vs. Dust Specks · 2007-10-30T12:30:32.000Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Kyle wins.

Absent using this to guarantee the nigh-endless survival of the species, my math suggests that 3^^^3 beats anything. The problem is that the speck rounds down to 0 for me.

There is some minimum threshold below which it just does not count, like saying, "What if we exposed 3^^^3 people to radiation equivalent to standing in front of a microwave for 10 seconds? Would that be worse than nuking a few cities?" I suppose there must be someone in 3^^^3 who is marginally close enough to cancer for that to matter, but no, that rounds down to 0. For the speck, I am going to blink in the next few seconds anyway.

That in no way addresses the intent of the question, since we can just increase it to the minimum that does not round down. Being poked with a blunt stick? Still hard, since I think every human being would take one stick over some poor soul being tortured. Do I really get to be the moral agent for 3^^^3 people?

As others have said, our moral intuitions do not work with 3^^^3.

Comment by zubon2 on Availability · 2007-09-06T14:31:32.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Concerning age and death, the more recent links are not working for me right now, but here is the CDC with 2003 numbers: ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/ncipc/10LC-2003/PDF/10lc-2003.pdf

Until age 34, accidents are winning, with intentional injury (suicide and homicide) taking second and third. 35-44, accidents are still #1, but cancer and heart disease are each close so disease wins. Cancer wins through 64, then heart disease takes over. Because disease reigns supreme 55+, unintentional injuries fall to #5 overall, and intentional injuries fall off the chart entirely.

If you are talking about young people, yes, accidents win. The main component of that is traffic crashes; in older adults, falls start to come in. Suicide beats homicide in every age category except 15-24 (and the very small 1-9 age group).

On a side note, it looks like the majority of deaths in the first year are things that might be classified as "stillborn" in another country or century. Those deaths in the <1 category rival all deaths from all other causes through age 14.

Comment by zubon2 on Positive Bias: Look Into the Dark · 2007-08-28T18:44:38.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Robin, I suspect that Eliezer has a different perspective on that, given his line of work. Availability bias on which biases to overcome? The creation of a seed AI is an event so rare that is has never happened (so far as we can tell), but failure to get it right on the first try could eliminate all life in the solar system. There is perhaps room for discussing average and better inference abilities with respect to common and rare events, although we would do well to be clear on exactly what we are arguing.

Comment by zubon2 on The Futility of Emergence · 2007-08-27T12:40:18.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Tell me what it isn't!"

I'll go with TGGP's domain (video games), since that is what we blog about at Kill Ten Rats. The gaming blogosphere uses the term "emergent gameplay" more or less as TGGP defines it. Going back to my first online game, Asheron's Call, an example of what is not "emergent" gameplay is characters slaying monsters and leveling up. Monsters have the same code, but rarely win, so they rarely level; an example of emergent play was having characters sacrifice themselves to bunnies, who would gradually level up to a Night of the Lepus situation. Non-emergent was the use of "pyreals" (gold pieces) as currency; emergent was the economy that arose using alternate competing commodities as units of exchange.

As others have stated, I usually see "emergent" used as a shorthand for something like "the whole is not predictable from the parts." No cell in your brain understands Chinese, and neither does any part of Searle's Chinese room, but the system as a whole does. Is there a better term akin to the fallacy of composition or ecological fallacy?

Comment by zubon2 on Guessing the Teacher's Password · 2007-08-22T13:37:25.000Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I think of politics here: trying to guess the electorate's password. An elected official is rewarded for giving the answer that will get him the most votes. If that happens to be a well-conceived policy decision, that is a happy coincidence.

The hard part about teaching students not to guess the password is teaching teachers not to accept password guesses, and how to distinguish verbal behavior from thought.

Comment by zubon2 on Risk-Free Bonds Aren't · 2007-06-28T16:13:09.000Z · score: 0 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm with Stuart Armstrong: how do you hedge against a US government default? "End of the world" may be an exaggeration, but what investment is going to be in good shape if the US decides not to pay back the national debt? Everything takes a big hit. The risk is non-zero, but it practically unavoidable.

Or maybe there are investments completely insulated from that collapse. I can't claim global expertise.