If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.
Notes for future OT posters:
1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.
2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one. (Immediately before; refresh the list-of-threads page before posting.)
3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.
4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.
Recent news suggest that having measles weakens the immune system for 2 to 3 years afterwards and therefore the Measles vaccine manages to reduce a lot of childhood deaths that weren't thought to be measles related.
NPR article Academic paper
It looks like AI is overtaking Arimaa, which is notable because Arimaa was created specifically as a challenge to AI. Congratulations to the programmer, David Wu.
Transhumanism in the real world
Rugby players who get a bottle opener to replace a missing tooth.
(Random) by analogy with what Quirrellmort led people to believe about his imminent death, it would be cool to read a fic, 6th year AU, in which Dumbledore teaches defence...
Pretty awesome set of trolley problems
Is utilitarianism foundational to LessWrong? Asking because for a while I've been toying with the idea of writing a few posts with morality as a theme, from the standpoint of, broadly, virtue ethics -- with some pragmatic and descriptive ethics thrown in. (The themes are quite generous and interlocking, and to be honest I don't know where to start or whether I'll finish it.) This perspective treats stable character traits, with their associated emotions, drives, and motives as the most reasonably likely determiner of moral behaviour, and means to encourage... (read more)
I agree, scholarship is a problem.
To any physicists out there:
This idea came to me while I was replaying the game Portal. Basically, suppose humanity one day developed the ability to create wormholes. Would one be able to generate an infinite amount of energy by placing one end of a wormhole directly below the other before dropping an object into the lower portal (thus periodically resetting said object's gravitational potential energy while leaving its kinetic energy unaffected)? This seems like a blatant violation of the first law of thermodynamics, so I'm guessing it would fail due to s... (read more)
So there was recently an advance related to chips for running neural networks. I'm having a hard time figuring out if we should be happy or sad. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a "computing power" advance or a "cell modeling" one.
I recently found this blog post by Ben Kuhn where he briefly summarizes ~5 classic LW posts in the space of one blog post. A couple points:
I don't think that much of the content of the original posts is lost in Ben's summary, and it's a lot faster to read. Do others agree? Do we think producing a condensed summary of the LW archives at some point might be valuable? (It's possible that, for instance, the longer treatment of these concepts in the original posts pushes them deeper in to your brain, or that since people are so used to skimming, conceptua
Just posted this in the previous open thread; reposting here: Has anyone here used fancyhands.com or a similar personal-assistant service? If so, what was your experience like?
(context: I have anxiety issues making phone calls to strangers and certain other ugh fields, and am thinking I may be better off paying someone else to take care of such things rather than trying to bull through the ugh fields.)
Hi. I don't post much, but if anyone who knows me can vouch for me here, I would appreciate it.
I have a bit of a Situation, and I would like some help. I'm fairly sure it will be positive utility, not just positive fuzzies. Doesn't stop me feeling ridiculous for needing it. But if any of you can, I would appreciate donations, feedback, or anything else over here: http://www.gofundme.com/usc9j4
I can't understand what my girlfriend is saying when she uses her cell phone to call my cell phone. Often entire words are simply dropped from the audio stream. Is there anything I can do to improve the voice quality?
PSA: If you wear glasses, you might want to take a look behind the little nosepads. Some... stuff... can build up there. According to this unverified source it is oxidized copper from glasses frame + your sweat, and can be cleaned with an old toothbrush + toothpaste.
It mildly annoys me, but I hadn't thought to use toothpaste on it, so there's that.
For some time I've been thinking about just how much of our understanding of the world is tied up in stories and narratives.
Let's take gravity. Even children playing with balls have a good idea of where a ball is going to land after they throw it. They don't know anything about spacetime curvature or Newton's laws. Instead, they amass a lot of data about the behavior of previously-thrown balls and from this they can predict where a newly-thrown ball will land. With experience, this does not even require conscious thought--a skilled ball-player is already m... (read more)
I've begun to notice discussion of AI risk in more and more places in the last year. Many of them reference Superintelligence. It doesn't seem like a confirmation bias/Baader-Meinhoff effect, not really. It's quite an unexpected change. Have others encountered a similar broadening in the sorts of people you encounter talking about this?
Anybody care to weigh in on adding a flag to newbies, and make it part of the LessWrong culture to explain downvotes to flagged newbies?
Identifying what you've done incorrectly to provoke downvotes is a skill that requires training. (Especially since voting behavior in Discussion is much less consistent to voting behavior in Main.)
Is this the place to ask technical questions about how the site works? If so, then I'm wondering why I can't find any of the rationality quote threads on the main discussion page anymore (I thought we'd just stopped doing those, until I saw it pop up in the side bar just now). If not, then I think I just asked anyway. :P
I have nearly finished the second of the Seven Secular Sermons, which is going to premiere at the European Less Wrong Community Weekend in Berlin in June. For final polishing, I'm looking for constuctive feedback especially from native speakers of English. If you'd like to help out, PM me for the current draft.
The rationalist Tumblr community looks interesting. Any tips on how to start?
According to this article, a traumatic brain injury turned a furniture salesman into a mathematician. (Not without side effects, but still.)
There is a bit of conventional wisdom in evolutionary biology that drastic improvements in efficacy are not available through trivial modifications (and that nontrivial modifications which are random are not improvements). This is an example of the principle that evolution is supposed to have already 'harvested' any 'low-hanging fruit'. Although I don't think much of this type of website (note the lack of external l... (read more)
Suffering and AIs
Disclaimer - Under utilitarianism suffering is an intrinsically bad thing. While I am not a utilitarian, many people are and I will treat it as true for this post because it is the easiest approach for this issue. Also, apologies if others have already discussed this idea, which seems quite possible
One future moral issue is that AIs may be created for the purpose of doing things that are unpleasant for humans to do. Let's say an AI is designed with the ability to have pain, fear, hope and pleasure of some kind. It might be reasonable to ex... (read more)
Article on transhumanism (intro bit perfunctory) - but has interviews with Anders Sandberg and Steve Fuller on implications of transhumanist thought. Quite interesting in parts - http://www.theworldweekly.com/reader/i/humanity-20/3757
Same journalist did reasonable job of introducing AI dangers last month - http://www.theworldweekly.com/reader/i/irresistible-rise-ai/3379
Asking for article recommendations: difference between intelligence vs. intellectualism, how a superintelligence is not the same as a superintellectual.
An idea: auto-generated anki-style flashcards for mathematical notation.
Let's say you struggle reading set builder notation. This system would prompt you with progressively more complicated set builder expressions to parse, keeping track of what you find easy or difficult, and providing tooltips/highlighting for each individual term in the expression. If it were an anki card, the B-side would be how you'd read the expression out in natural language. This wouldn't be a substitute for learning how to use set builder notation, but it would give you a lot of p... (read more)
In what conceiveable (which does not imply logicality) universes would Rationalism not work in the sense of unearthing only some truths, not all truths? Some realms of truth would be hidden to Rationalists? To simplify it, I mean largely the aspect that of empiricism, of tying ideas to observations via prediction. What conceivable universes have non-observational truths, for example, Platonic/Kantian "pure apriori deduction" type of mental-only truths? Imagine for convenience's sake a Matrix type simulated universe, not necessarily a natural one,... (read more)
Having strong opinions on QM interpretations is "not even wrong."
LW's attitude on B is, at best, "arguable."
Donating to MIRI as an effective use of money is, at best, "arguable."
LW consequentialism is, at best, "arguable."
Shitting on philosophy.
Ratonalism as part of identity (aspiring rationalist) is kind of dangerous.
What I personally find valuable is "adapting the rationalist kung fu stance" for certain purposes.
Acting on A Gut Feeling
I've been planning an overnight camping trip for sometime this week; but something about the idea is making me feel... disquiet. Uneasy. I can't figure out why; I've got a nice set of equipment, I have people who know where I'm going, and so on. But I can't shake something resembling an "ugh field" that eases when I think of /not/ taking the trip.
And so, I'm concluding that the rational thing to do is to pay attention to my gut, on the chance that one part of my mind is aware of some detail that the rest of my mind hasn't figured out, and postpone my camping trip until I'm feeling more self-assured about the whole thing.
Transhumanism-related blog posts:
In Praise of Life (Let’s Ditch the Cult of Longevity)
Overcoming Bias: Why Not?
Prepping for cataclysms, neglecting ordinary emergencies
A cryonics novel:
The New World: A Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2015 by Chris Adrian (Author), Eli Horowitz (... (read more)
How the hell are they treating this as a successful preservation? The body spent two days "warm and dead".
Looking at their past case reports, this seems to be fairly normal. Unless you're dying of a known terminal condition and go die in their hospice in Arizona, odds are the only thing getting froze is a mindless, decaying corpse.
Cryonicist Ben Best has put a lot of effort into studying and testing personal alarm gadgets you can wear which signal cardiac arrest to try to reduce the incidence of these unattended deanimations and long delays before cryopreservation. I plan to look into those myself.
Ironically, I've noticed that cryonicists talk a lot about how much they believe in scientific, medical and technological progress, but then they don't seem to want to act on it when you present them with evidence of the correctable deficiencies of real, existing cryonics.
Personal Alarm Systems for Cryonicists
That article would be better titled "In Praise of Death", and is a string of the usual platitudes and circularities.
Why not? Because (the article says) rationalists are cold, emotionless Vulcans, and valuing reason is a mere prejudice.
Maybe there are people who do that, but the article is pure story-telling, without a single claim of fact. File this one under "fiction".
The previous links scored 0 out of 3 for rational content, so coming to this one, I thought, what am I likely to find? Clearly, the way to bet is that it's against cryonics. There's only about a blogpost's worth of story in the idea of corpsicles just being unrevivable, so the novel will have to have revival working, but either it works horribly badly, or the revived people find themselves in a bad situation.
Click through...and I am, I think, pleasantly surprised to find that it might, in the end, be favourable to the idea. Or maybe not, ther... (read more)
So why lash out at him for this now when he isn't currently doing that? In any case I don't think he was trolling (deliberately trying to cause anger) so much as he was just morbidly fixated on a topic, and couldn't stop bringing it up,
I recommend responding to whatever specific problematic things he might say rather than issuing a general warning.
Would this work at least as an early crude hypothesis of how neurotypicals function?
Neurotypicals like social mingling primarily because they play a constant game of social status points, both in the eyes of others (that is real status) and just feeling like getting status (this is more like self-esteem). This should not be understood as a harsh machiavellian cruel game. Usually not. Often it is very warm and friendly. For example, we on the spectrum often finding things like greeting each other superfluous. Needless custom. You notice when people arrive ... (read more)