Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts

  • Eliezer Yudkowsky was once attacked by a Moebius strip. He beat it to death with the other side, non-violently.
  • Inside Eliezer Yudkowsky's pineal gland is not an immortal soul, but another brain.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky's favorite food is printouts of Rice's theorem.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky's favorite fighting technique is a roundhouse dustspeck to the face.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky once brought peace to the Middle East from inside a freight container, through a straw.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky once held up a sheet of paper and said, "A blank map does not correspond to a blank territory". It was thus that the universe was created.
  • If you dial Chaitin's Omega, you get Eliezer Yudkowsky on the phone.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Eliezer Yudkowsky knows everything that he isn't telling you.
  • Somewhere deep in the microtubules inside an out-of-the-way neuron somewhere in the basal ganglia of Eliezer Yudkowsky's brain, there is a little XML tag that says awesome.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky is the Muhammad Ali of one-boxing.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky is a 1400 year old avatar of the Aztec god Aixitl.
  • The game of "Go" was abbreviated from "Go Home, For You Cannot Defeat Eliezer Yudkowsky".
  • When Eliezer Yudkowsky gets bored, he pinches his mouth shut at the 1/3 and 2/3 points and pretends to be a General Systems Vehicle holding a conversation among itselves. On several occasions he has managed to fool bystanders.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky has a swiss army knife that has folded into it a corkscrew, a pair of scissors, an instance of AIXI which Eliezer once beat at tic tac toe, an identical swiss army knife, and Douglas Hofstadter.
  • If I am ignorant about a phenomenon, that is not a fact about the phenomenon; it just means I am not Eliezer Yudkowsky.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky has no need for induction or deduction. He has perfected the undiluted master art of duction.
  • There was no ice age. Eliezer Yudkowsky just persuaded the planet to sign up for cryonics.
  • There is no spacetime symmetry. Eliezer Yudkowsky just sometimes holds the territory upside down, and he doesn't care.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky has no need for doctors. He has implemented a Universal Curing Machine in a system made out of five marbles, three pieces of plastic, and some of MacGyver's fingernail clippings.
  • Before Bruce Schneier goes to sleep, he scans his computer for uploaded copies of Eliezer Yudkowsky.

If you know more Eliezer Yudkowsky facts, post them in the comments.

291 comments, sorted by
magical algorithm
Highlighting new comments since Today at 12:59 AM
Select new highlight date
Moderation Guidelinesexpand_more
  • If you put Eliezer Yudkowsky in a box, the rest of the universe is in a state of quantum superposition until you open it again.
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky can prove it's not butter.
  • If you say Eliezer Yudkowsky's name 3 times out loud, it prevents anything magical from happening.

Wouldn't that be a case of belief in belief though?

If marchdown actually believed it, then yes, but I don't believe that he believes in that belief.

True. The implied belief that magic existed was exploited and played for laughs a bit more. I suppose that was a poor joke.

Note for the clueless (i.e. RationalWiki): This is photoshopped. It is not an actual slide from any talk I have given.

Note for the clueless (i.e. RationalWiki): This is photoshopped. It is not an actual slide from any talk I have given.

Here is a real photo if you need one ;-)

Note for the clueless (i.e. RationalWiki):

I've been trying to decide for a while now whether I believe you meant "e.g." I'm still not sure.

RationalWiki was the only place I saw this mistake made, so the i.e. seemed deserved to me.

It looks like it turned awful since I've read it the last time:

This essay, while entertaining and useful, can be seen as Yudkowsky trying to reinvent the sense of awe associated with religious experience in the name of rationalism. It's even available in tract format.

The most fatal mistake of the entry in its current form seems to be that it does lump together all of Less Wrong and therefore does stereotype its members. So far this still seems to be a community blog with differing opinions. I got a Karma score of over 1700 and I have been criticizing the SIAI and Yudkowsky (in a fairly poor way).

I hope you people are reading this. I don't see why you draw a line between you and Less Wrong. This place is not an invite-only party.

LessWrong is dominated by Eliezer Yudkowsky, a research fellow for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

I don't think this is the case anymore. You can easily get Karma by criticizing him and the SIAI. Most of all new posts are not written by him anymore either.

Members of the Less Wrong community are expected to be on board with the singularitarian/transhumanist/cryonics bundle.

Nah!

If you indicate your disagreement with the local belief clusters without at least using their jargon, someone may helpfully suggest that "you should try reading the sequences" before you attempt to talk to them.

I don't think this is asked too much. As the FAQ states:

Why do you all agree on so much? Am I joining a cult?

We have a general community policy of not pretending to be open-minded on long-settled issues for the sake of not offending people. If we spent our time debating the basics, we would never get to the advanced stuff at all.

It's unclear whether Descartes, Spinoza or Leibniz would have lasted a day without being voted down into oblivion.

So? I don't see what this is supposed to prove.

Indeed, if anyone even hints at trying to claim to be a "rationalist" but doesn't write exactly what is expected, they're likely to be treated with contempt.

Provide some references here.

Some members of this "rationalist" movement literally believe in what amounts to a Hell that they will go to if they get artificial intelligence wrong in a particularly disastrous way.

I've been criticizing the subject matter and got upvoted for it, as you obviously know since you linked to my comments as reference. Further I never claimed that the topic is unproblematic or irrational but that I was fearing unreasonable consequences and that I have been in disagreement about how the content was handled. Yet I do not agree with your portrayal insofar that it is not something that fits a Wiki entry about Less Wrong. Because something sounds extreme and absurd it is not wrong. In theory there is nothing that makes the subject matter fallacious.

Yudkowsky has declared the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics is correct, despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation, and despite admittedly not being a physicist.

I haven't read the quantum physics sequence but by what I have glimpsed this is not the crucial point that distinguishes MWI from other interpretations. That's why people suggest one should read the material before criticizing it.

P.S. I'm curious if you know of a more intelligent and rational community than Less Wrong? I don't! Proclaiming that Less Wrong is more rational than most other communities isn't necessarily factually wrong.

Edit: "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is just wrong." now reads "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is not the crucial point that distinguishes MWI from other interpretations."

Yudkowsky has declared the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics is correct, despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation, and despite admittedly not being a physicist.

I think there is a fair chance the many world's interpretation is wrong but anyone who criticizes it by defending the Copenhagen 'interpretation' has no idea what they're talking about.

It's unclear whether Descartes, Spinoza or Leibniz would have lasted a day without being voted down into oblivion.

So? I don't see what this is supposed to prove.

I know, I loved that quote. I just couldn't work out why it was presented as a bad thing.

Descartes is maybe the single best example of motivated cognition in the history of Western thought. Though interestingly, there are some theories that he was secretly an atheist.

I assume their point has something to do with those three being rationalists in the traditional sense... but I don't think Rational Wiki is using the word in the traditional sense either. Would Descartes have been allowed to edit an entry on souls?

You think the average person on LessWrong ranks with Spinoza and Leibniz? I disagree.

Do you mean Spinoza or Leibniz given their knowledge base and upbringing or the same person with a modern environment? I know everything Leibniz knew and a lot more besides. But I suspect that if the same individual grew up in a modern family environment similar to my own he would have accomplished a lot more than I have at the same age.

the same person with a modern environment

They wouldn't be the same person. Which is to say, the the whole matter is nonsense as the other replies in this thread made clear.

Sorry, I thought the notion was clear that one would be talking about same genetics but different environment. Illusion of transparency and all that. Explicit formulation: if one took a fertilized egg with Leibniz's genetic material and raised in an American middle class family with high emphasis on intellectual success, I'm pretty sure he would have by the time he got to my age have accomplished more than I have. Does that make the meaning clear?

Right, I understand. But Rational Wiki didn't have clones of Leibniz and Spinoza in mind. I'm just saying, the whole thing is goofy.

You think the average person on LessWrong ranks with Spinoza and Leibniz? I disagree.

Wedrifid_2010 was not assigning a status ranking or even an evaluation of overall intellectual merit or potential. For that matter predicting expected voting patterns is a far different thing than assigning a ranking. People with excessive confidence in habitual thinking patterns that are wrong or obsolete will be downvoted into oblivion where the average person is not, even if the former is more intelligent or more intellectually impressive overall.

I also have little doubt that any of those three would be capable of recovering from their initial day or three of spiraling downvotes assuming they were willing to ignore their egos, do some heavy reading of the sequences and generally spend some time catching up on modern thought. But for as long as those individuals were writing similar material to that which identifies them they would be downvoted by lesswrong_2010. Possibly even by lesswrong_now too.

Yes. Upvotes come from original, insightful contributions. Descartes', Spinoza's, and Liebnitz's ideas are hundreds of years old and dated.

Not exactly the point - I think the claim is that they would be downvoted even if they were providing modern, original content ... which I would question, even then. We've had quite successful theist posters before, for example.

I think the claim is that they would be downvoted even if they were providing modern, original content

What would this even mean? Like, if they were transported forward in time and formed new beliefs on the basis of modern science? If they were cloned from DNA surviving in their bone marrow and then adopted by modern, secular families, took AP Calculus and learned to program?

What a goofy thing to even be talking about.

Goofier than a universe in which humans work but matches don't? Such ideas may be ill-formed, but that doesn't make them obviously ill-formed.

Sure...

ETA: I'm making fun of that wiki, not you.

Not exactly the point - I think the claim is that they would be downvoted even if they were providing modern, original content ... which I would question, even then.

I would downvote Descartes based on the quality of his thinking and argument even if it was modern bad thinking. At least I would if he persisted with the line after the first time or two he was corrected. I suppose this is roughly equivalent to what you are saying.

I haven't read the quantum physics sequence but by what I have glimpsed this is just wrong. That's why people suggest one should read the material before criticizing it.

Irony.

Xixidu, you should also read the material before trying to defend it.

Correct. Yet I have read some subsequent discussions about that topic (MWI) and also watched this talk:

What single-world interpretation basically say to fit MWI: All but one world are eliminated by a magic faster than light non-local time-asymmetric acausal collapser-device.

I also read Decoherence is Simple and Decoherence is Falsifiable and Testable.

So far MWI sounds like the most reasonable interpretation to me. And from what I have read I can tell that the sentence - "despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation" - is not crucial in favoring MWI over other interpretations.

Of course I am not able to judge that MWI is the correct interpretation but, given my current epistemic state, of all interpretations it is the most likely to be correct. For one it sounds reasonable, secondly Yudkowsky's judgement has a considerable weight here. I have no reason to suspect that it would benefit him to favor MWI over other interpretations. Yet there is much evidence that suggests that he is highly intelligent and that he is able to judge what is the correct interpretation given all evidence a non-physicists can take into account.

Edit: "[...] is not correct, or at least not crucial." now reads "[...] is not crucial in favoring MWI over other interpretations."

And from what I have read I can tell that the sentence - "despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation" - is not correct, or at least not crucial.

It is correct, and it is crucial in the sense that most philosophy of science would insist that differing testable predictions is all that would favor one theory over another.

But other concerns (the Bayesian interpretation of Occam's Razor (or any interpretation, probably)) make MWI preferred.

An interpretation of Occam's Razor that placed all emphasis on space complexity would clearly favor the Copenhagen interpretation over the MW interpretation. Of course, it would also favor "you're living in a holodeck" over "there's an actual universe out there", so it's a poor formulation in it's simplest form... but it's not obvious (to me, anyway) that space complexity should count for nothing at all, and if it counts for "enough" (whatever that is, for the particular rival interpretation) MWI loses.

What particular gold-standard "Occam's razor" are you adhering to, then? It seems to fit well with "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" and "pluralities must never be posited without necessity".

Note that I'm not saying there is no gold-standard "Occam's razor" to which we should be adhering (in terms of denotation of the term or more generally); I'm just unaware of an interpretaton that clearly lays out how "entities" or "assumptions" are counted, or how the complexity of a hypothesis is otherwise measured, which is clearly "the canonical Occam's razor" as opposed to having some other name. If there is one, by all means please make me aware!

Minimum description length.

The MWI requires fewer rules than Copenhagen, and therefore its description is smaller, and therefore it is the strictly simpler theory.

Is there anything in particular that leads you to claim Minimum Description Length is the only legitimate claimaint to the title "Occam's razor"? It was introduced much later, and the wikipedia article claims it is "a forumlation of Occam's razor".

Certainly, William of Occam wasn't dealing in terms of information compression.

The answer seems circular: because it works. The experience of people using Occam's razor (e.g. scientists) find MDL to be more likely to lead to correct answers than any other formulation.

I don't see that that makes other formulations "not Occam's razor", it just makes them less useful attempts at formalizing Occam's razor. If an alternative formalization was found to work better, it would not be MDL - would MDL cease to be "Occam's razor"? Or would the new, better formalization "not be Occam's razor"? Of the latter, by what metric, since the new one "works better"?

For the record, I certainly agree that "space complexity alone" is a poor metric. I just don't see that it should clearly be excluded entirely. I'm generally happy to exclude it on the grounds of parsimony, but this whole subthread was "How could MWI not be the most reasonable choice...?"

There's an intent behind Occam's razor. When Einstein improved on Newton's gravity, gravity itself didn't change. Rather, our understanding of gravity was improved by a better model. We could say though that Newton's model is not gravity because we have found instances where gravity does not behave the way Newton predicted.

Underlying Occam's razor is the simple idea that we should prefer simple ideas. Over time we have found ways to formalize this statement in ways that are universally applicable. These formalizations are getting closer and closer to what Occam's razor is.

I haven't seen any proof (stronger than "it seems like it") that MWI is strictly simpler to describe. One good reason to prefer it is that it is nice and continuous, and all our other scientific theories are nice and continuous - sort of a meta-science argument.

In layman's terms (to the best of my understanding), the proof is:

Copenhagen interpretation is "there is wave propagation and then collapse" and thus requires a description of how collapse happens. MWI is "there is wave propagation", and thus has fewer rules, and thus is simpler (in that sense).

and thus requires a description of how collapse happens

... which it doesn't provide.

I agree denotatively - I don't think the Copenhagen interpretation provides this description.

I am not sure what I do connotatively, as I am not sure what the connotations are meant to be. It would mean that quantum theory is less complete than it is if MWI is correct, but I'm not sure whether that's a correct objection or not (and have less idea whether you intended to express it as such).

I see, I went too far in asserting something about MWI, as I am not able to discuss this in more detail. I'll edit my orginal comments.

Edit - First comment: "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is just wrong." now reads "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is not the crucial point that distinguishes MWI from other interpretations."

Edit - Second comment: "[...] is not correct, or at least not crucial." now reads "[...] is not crucial in favoring MWI over other interpretations."

The problem isn't that you asserted something about MWI -- I'm not discussing the MWI itself here.

It's rather that you defended something before you knew what it was that you were defending, and attacked people on their knowledge of the facts before you knew what the facts actually were.

Then once you got more informed about it, you immediately changed the form of the defense while maintaining the same judgment. (Previously it was "Bad critics who falsely claim Eliezer has judged MWI to be correct" now it's "Bad critics who correctly claim Eliezer has judged MWI to be correct, but they badly don't share that conclusion")

This all is evidence (not proof, mind you) of strong bias.

Ofcourse you may have legitimately changed your mind about MWI, and legimitately moved from a wrongful criticism of the critics on their knowledge of facts to a rightful criticism of their judgment.

I'm also commenting on the blog of Neal Asher, a science fiction author I read. I have no problem making fun of his climate change skepticism although I doubt that any amateur, even on Less Wrong, would have the time to conclude that it is obviously correct. Yet I do not doubt it for the same reasons I do not doubt MWI:

  • There is no benefit in proclaiming the correctness of MWI (at least for Yudkowsky).
  • The argument used against MWI fails the argument used in favor of MWI on Less Wrong.
  • The person who proclaims the correctness of MWI is an expert when it comes to beliefs.

It's the same with climate change. People saying - "look how cold it is in Europe again, that's supposed to be global warming?!" - are, given my current state of knowledge, not even wrong. Not only will there be low-temperature records even given global warming (outliers), but global warming will also cause Europe to get colder on average. Do I know that this is correct? Nope, but I do trust the experts as I do not see that a global conspiracy is feasible and would make sense. It doesn't benefit anyone either.

You are correct that I should stay away from calling people wrong on details when I'm not ready to get into the details. Maybe those people who wrote that entry are doing research on foundational physics, I doubt it though (writing style etc.).

I'm not sure about the details of your comment. I just changed my comment regarding the claim that there are testable predictions regarding MWI (although there are people on LW and elsewhere who claim this to be the case). As people started challenging me on that point I just retreated to not get into a discussion I can't possible participate in. I did not change my mind about MWI in general. I just shortened my argument from MWI making testable predictions and being correct irrespective of testable predictions to the latter. That is, MWI is an implication of a theory that is more precise in its predictions, yet simpler, as the one necessary to conclude other interpretations.

My mistake was that I went to far. I read the Wiki entry and thought I'd write down my thoughts on every point. That point was behind my expertise indeed.

Unless by 'the clueless' he only meant RationalWiki e.g. is right. But try not to spend too much longer trying to decide :-)

Well, right. What I'm having trouble deciding is whether I believe that's what he meant.

Or, rather, whether that's what he meant to express; I don't believe he actually believes nobody other than RationalWiki is clueless. Roughly speaking, I would have taken it to be a subtle way of expressing that RationalWiki is so clueless nobody else deserves the label.

I was initially trying to decide because it was relevant to how (and whether) I wanted to reply to the comment. Taken one way, I would have expressed appreciation for the subtle humor; taken another, I would either have corrected the typo or let it go, more likely the latter.

I ultimately resolved the dilemma by going meta. I no longer need to decide, and have therefore stopped trying.

(Is it just me, or am I beginning to sound like Clippy?)

Sorry if I've contributed to reinforcing anyone's weird stereotypes of you. I thought it would be obvious to anybody that the picture was a joke.

Edit: For what it's worth, I moved the link to the original image to the top of the post, and made it explicit that it's photoshopped.

You mean some of the comments in the Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts thread are not literal depictions of reality? How dare you!

Yep, it turns out that Eliezer is not literally the smartest, most powerful, most compassionate being in the universe. A bit of a letdown, isn't it? I know a lot of people expected better of him.

No sane person would proclaim something like that. If one does not know the context and one doesn't know who Eliezer Yudkowsky is one should however conclude that it is reasonable to assume that the slide was not meant to be taken seriously (e.g. is a joke).

Extremely exaggerated manipulations are in my opinion no deception, just fun.

That might be underestimating the power of lack of context.

I must ask: where did you see someone actually taking it seriously? As opposed to thinking that the EY Facts thing was a bad idea even as local humour. (There was one poster on Talk:Eliezer Yudkowsky who was appalled that you would let the EY Facts post onto your site; I must confess his thinking was not quite clear to me - I can't see how not just letting the post find its level in the karma system, as happened, would be in any way a good idea - but I did proceed to write a similar list about Trent Toulouse.)

Edit: Ah, found it. That was the same Tetronian who posts here, and has gone to some effort to lure RWians here. I presume he meant the original of the picture, not the joke version. I'm sure he'll be along in a moment to explain himself.

I presume he meant the original of the picture, not the joke version.

"having watched the speech that the second picture is from, I can attest that he meant it as a joke" does sound like he's misremembering the speech as having actually included that.

I must confess his thinking was not quite clear to me - I can't see how not just letting the post find its level in the karma system, as happened, would be in any way a good idea

My reaction was pointed in the same direction as that poster's, though not as extreme. It seems indecent to have something like this associated with you directly. It lends credence to insinuations of personality cult and oversized ego. I mean, compare it to Chuck Norris's response ("in response to").

If someone posted something like this about me on a site of mine and I became aware of it, I would say "very funny, but it's going down in a day. Save any you think are clever and take it to another site."

I'm actually quite surprised there isn't a Wikimedia Meta-Wiki page of Jimmy Wales Facts. Perhaps the current fundraiser (where we squeeze his celebrity status for every penny we can - that's his volunteer job now, public relations) will inspire some.

Edit: I couldn't resist.

Would it help if I added a disclaimer to the effect that "this was an attempt at mindless nerd amusement, not worship or mockery"? If there's a general sense that people are taking the post the wrong way and it's hurting reputations, I'm happy to take it down entirely.

I really wouldn't bother. Anyone who doesn't like these things won't be mollified.

My feeling is comparable to David_Gerard's- I think it would help if it said "this is a joke" but I don't think it would help enough to make a difference. It signals that you're aware some people will wonder about whether or not you're joking but the fundamental issue is whether or not Eliezer / the LW community thinks it's indecent and that comes out the same way with or without the disclaimer.

I have a rather mild preference you move it offsite. I don't know what standards you should have for a general sense people are taking it the wrong way.

As someone who is pretty iconoclastic by habit, that disclaimer would be a good way to mollify me. But there are probably lots of different ways to have a bad first impression of Facts, so I can't guarantee that it will mollify other people.

I'm a bit late to the party, I see. It was an honest mistake; no harm done, I hope.

Edit: on the plus side, I noticed I've been called "clueless" by Eliezer. Pretty amusing.

Edit2: Yes, David is correct.

Edit: on the plus side, I noticed I've been called "clueless" by Eliezer. Pretty amusing.

RationalWiki is you? Nice. I like the lesswrong page there. Brilliant!

I started the article way back in May of 2010, at which point I viewed LW as weird and unsettling rather than awesome. As you can see, though, David_Gerard and others have made the article significantly better since then.

Pinker How the Mind Works, 1997 says "The difference between Einstein and a high school dropout is trivial... or between the high school dropout and a chimpanzee..."

Eliezer is not a high school dropout and I am an advocate of unschooling, but the difference in the quotes is interesting.

You have reached a page that is unavailable for viewing or reached your viewing limit for this book.

The link isn't to the book you're talking about.

This is amazing.

I for one think you should turn it into a post. Brilliant artwork should be rewarded, and not everyone will see it here.

(May be a stupid idea, but figured I'd raise the possibility.)

It's good, but we should retain the top level post for things that are truly important.

Thanks! Glad people like it, but I'll have to agree with Lucas — I prefer top-level posts to be on-topic, in-depth, and interesting (or at least two of those), and as I expect others feel the same way, I don't want a more worthy post to be pushed off the bottom of the list for the sake of a funny picture.

Ooh, this is fun.

Robert Aumann has proven that ideal Bayesians cannot disagree with Eliezer Yudkowsky.
Eliezer Yudkowsky can make AIs Friendly by glaring at them.
Angering Eliezer Yudkowsky is a global existential risk
Eliezer Yudkowsky thought he was wrong one time, but he was mistaken.
Eliezer Yudkowsky predicts Omega's actions with 100% accuracy
An AI programmed to maximize utility will tile the Universe with tiny copies of Eliezer Yudkowksy.

Eliezer Yudkowsky can make AIs Friendly by glaring at them.

And the first action of any Friendly AI will be to create a nonprofit institute to develop a rigorous theory of Eliezer Yudkowsky. Unfortunately, it will turn out to be an intractable problem.

Transhuman AIs theorize that if they could create Eliezer Yudkowsky, it would lead to an "intelligence explosion".

Robert Aumann has proven that ideal Bayesians cannot disagree with Eliezer Yudkowsky.

... because all of them are Eliezer Yudkowsky.

They call it "spontaneous symmetry breaking", because Eliezer Yudkowsky just felt like breaking something one day.

Particles in parallel universes interfere with each other all the time, but nobody interferes with Eliezer Yudkowsky.

An oracle for the Halting Problem is Eliezer Yudkowsky's cellphone number.

When tachyons get confused about their priors and posteriors, they ask Eliezer Yudkowsky for help.

Angering Eliezer Yudkowsky is a global existential risk

Where's the punch line?

Eliezer can in fact tile the Universe with himself, simply by slicing himself into finitely many pieces. The only reason the rest of us are here is quantum immortality.

Eliezer Yudkowsky made a mistake once - but only so he could calibrate his confidence level.

After Eliezer Yudkowsky was conceived, he recursively self-improved to personhood in mere weeks and then talked his way out of the womb.

Eliezer two-boxes on Newcomb's problem, and both boxes contain money.