Here's the new thread for posting quotes, with the usual rules:
- Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be voted up/down separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
- Do not quote yourself.
- Do not quote comments/posts on LW/OB.
- No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
-- Russian proverb
It's a rather lousy translation of the proverb, the more close variant of which than that above is mentioned in Vladimir Dahl's famous collection of russian proverbs: Церковь близко, да ходить склизко, а кабак далеконько, да хожу потихоньку.
-- Lewis Carrol, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Hard to believe that it hasn't show up here before...
Gary Marcus, Kluge
Relevant to deathism and many other things
-Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
In other words, politics is the mind killer.
— John Derbyshire
-- Turkish proverb
-Steve Jobs, [Wired, February 1996]
This is why I'm so glad the creators realized they had pushed their premise as far as they were capable and quit while they were ahead, never making a sequel.
And many of his other simplifications were complete successes and why he died a universally-beloved & beatified billionaire.
Robert Wright, The Moral Animal
-- Chinese proverb
Ian Stewart invented the game of tautoverbs. Take a proverb and manipulate it so that it's tautological. i.e. "Look after the pennies and the pennies will be looked after" or "No news is no news". There's a kind of Zen joy in forming them.
This proverb however, is already there.
--Nicholas Epley, "Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making"
David Hull, Science and Selection: Essays on Biological Evolution and the Philosophy of Science
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
-- Ari Rahikkala
Is this really a rationality quote, is it just pro-Yudkowsky?
It does set a standard for the clarity of any writing you do, but I've seen substantially better quotes on that topic before.
Is that the case?
The majority dreams about a "just society", the minority dreams about a better one through technological advances. No matter there was 20th century when "socialism" brought us nothing and the technology brought us everything.
Echoing a utopian meme is analogous to stamping an instance of an invention, not to inventing something anew. It is inventors of utopian dreams that I doubt to be more numerous than inventors of technology.
I feel obliged to point out that Socialdemocracy is working quite well in Europe and elsewhere and we owe it, among other stuff, free universal health care and paid vacations. Those count as "hidden potentiality of the real." Which brings us to the following point: what's , a priori, the difference between "hidden potentiality of the real" and "unreal"? Because if it's "stuff that's actually been made", then I could tell you, as an engineer, of the absolutely staggering amount of bullshit patents we get to prove are bullshit everyday. You'd be amazed how many idiots are still trying to build Perpetual Motion Machines. But you've got one thing right: we do owe technology everything, the same way everyone ows their parents everything. Doesn't mean they get all the merit.
Yes, it's amazing how many bad decisions are made because it's heartbreaking to just say no.
Be fair. We tried socialism once (in several places, but with minor variations). We tried a lot of technology, including long before the 20th century.
--Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore, 2006, p. 255
--The Lion King opening song
Keith Stanovich, What Intelligence Tests Miss
Better memory and processing power would mean that probabilistically more businessmen would realize there are good business opportunities where they saw none before. Creating more jobs and a more efficient economy, not the same economy more quickly.
ER doctors can now spend more processing power on each patient that comes in. Out of their existing repertoire they would choose better treatments for the problem at hand then they would have otherwise. A better memory means that they would be more likely to remember every step on their checklist when prepping for surgery.
It is not uncommon for people to make stupid decisions with mild to dire consequences because they are pressed for time. Everyone now thinks faster and has more time to think. Few people are pressed for time. Fewer accidents happen. Better decisions are made on average.
There are problems which are not human vs human but are human vs reality. With increased memory and processing power humanity gains an advantage over reality.
By no means is increasing memory and processing power a sliver bullet but it seems considerably more then everything only moving "much more quickly!"
It's a nice list, but I think the core point strikes me as liable to be simply false. I forget who it was presenting this evidence - it might even have been James Miller, it was someone at the Winter Intelligence conference at FHI - but they looked at (1) the economic gains to countries with higher average IQ, (2) the average gains to individuals with higher IQ, and concluded that (3) people with high IQ create vast amounts of positive externality, much more than they capture as individuals, probably mostly in the form of countries with less stupid economic policies.
Maybe if we're literally talking about a pure speed and LTM pill that doesn't affect at all, say, capacity to keep things in short-term memory or the ability to maintain complex abstractions in working memory, i.e., a literal speed and disk space pill rather than an IQ pill.
Absolutely - IQ is very important, especially in aggregate. And yet, I'd still bet that the next day people will just be moving faster.
I think its worth making the distinction between having hardware which can support complex abstractions and actually having good decision making software in there. Although it'd be foolish to ignore the former because it tends to lead to the latter, it seems to be the latter that is more directly important.
That, and the fact that people can generally support better software than they pick up on their own is what makes our goal here doable.
James Miller says:
How about http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/are-the-wealthiest-countries-the-smartest-countries.html ?
Citing "Cognitive Capitalism: The impact of ability, mediated through science and economic freedom, on wealth". (PDF not immediately available in Google.)
EDIT: efm found the PDF: http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/hsw/psychologie/professuren/entwpsy/team/rindermann/publikationen/11PsychScience.pdf
Or http://www.nickbostrom.com/papers/converging.pdf :... (read more)
"Do you have to be smart to be rich? The impact of IQ on wealth, income and financial distress", Zagorsky 2007:
One could also phrase this as: "if we control for factors which we know to because by intelligence, such as highest level of education, then mirabile dictu! intelligence no longer increases income or wealth very much!"; or, "regressions are hard, let's go shopping."
Apropos of http://lemire.me/blog/archives/2012/07/18/why-we-make-up-jobs-out-of-thin-air/... (read more)
Here's another one: "National IQ and National Productivity: The Hive Mind Across Asia", Jones 2011
Above link is dead. Here is a new one
This is related, but not the research talked about. The Terman Project apparently found that the very highest IQ cohort had many more patents than the lower cohorts, but this did not show up as massively increased lifetime income.
Unless we want to assume those 4x extra patents were extremely worthless, or that the less smart groups were generating positive externalities in some other mechanism, this would seem to imply that the smartest were not capturing anywhere near the value they were creating - and hence were generating significant positive externalities.
EDIT: Jones 2011 argues much the same thing - economic returns to IQ are so low because so much of it is being lost to positive externalities.
3 more links:
But naturally doing everything faster would be pretty freaking awesome in itself.
But I'm having way to much fun nitpicking so I'll just stop here. :)
I think it would take more than a day for people to get possible good effects of the change.
A better memory might enable people to realize that they have made the same mistake several times. More processing power might enable them to realize that they have better strategies in some parts of their lives than others, and explore bringing the better strategies into more areas.
I'm not convinced. One very simple gain from
is the ability to consider more alternatives. These may be alternative explanations, designs, or courses of action. If I consider three alternatives where before I could only consider two, if the third one happens to be better than the other two, it is a real gain. This applies directly to the case of
Julian Huxley, Darwinism To-Day
Considering the beast that some hope to kill by sharpening people's mind-sticks on LW, this sounds applicable wouldn't you agree?
-- Aleister Crowley
I recently contemplated learning to play chess better (not to make an attempt at mastery, but to improve enough so I wasn't so embarassed about how bad I was).
Most of my motivation for this was an odd signalling mechanism: People think of me as a smart person, and they think of smart people as people who are good at chess, and they are thus disappointed with me when it turns out I am not.
But in the process of learning, I realized something else: I dislike chess, as compared to say, Magic the Gathering, because chess is PURE strategy, whereas Magic or StarCraft have splashy images and/or luck that provides periodic dopamine rushes. Chess only is mentally rewarding for me at two moments: when I capture an enemy piece, or when I win. I'm not good enough to win against anyone who plays chess remotely seriously, so when I get frustrated, I just go capturing enemy pieces even though it's a bad play, so I can at least feel good about knocking over an enemy bishop.
What I found most significant, though, was the realization that this fundamental not enjoying the process of thinking out chess strategies gave me some level of empathy for people who, in general, don't like to think. (This is most non-nerds, as far as I can tell). Thinking about chess is physically stressful for me, whereas thinking about other kinds of abstract problems is fun and rewarding purely for its own sake.
This is an awesome quote that captures an important truth, the opposite of which is also an important truth :-) If I were choosing a vocation by the way its practicioners look and dress, I would never take up math or programming! And given how many people on LW are non-neurotypical, I probably wouldn't join LW either. The desire to look cool is a legitimate desire that can help you a lot in life, so by all means go join clubs whose members look cool so it rubs off on you, but also don't neglect clubs that can help you in other ways.
--Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (1872); cf. "Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism"
-- Oliver Cromwell
-- Sergey Dovlatov
(translation is mine; can you propose a better translation from Russian?)
-- Dr. Dre, "The Watcher"
-- Scott Aaronson, Quantum Computing Since Democritus (http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec14.html)
In writing, I often notice that it's easier to let someone else come up with a bad draft and then improve it - even if "improving" means "rewrite entirely". Seeing a bad draft provides a basic starting point for your thoughts - "what's wrong here, and how could it be done better". Contrast this to the feeling of "there's an infinite amount of ways by which I could try to communicate this, which one of them should be promoted to attention" that a blank paper easily causes if you don't already have a starting point in mind.
You could explain the phenomenon either as a contraining of the search space to a more tractable one, or as one of the ev-psych theories saying we have specialized modules for finding flaws in the arguments of others. Or both.
Over in the other thread, Morendil mentioned that a lot of folks who have difficulty with math problems don't have any good model of what to do and end up essentially just trying stuff out at random. I wonder if such folks could be helped by presenting them with an incorrect attempt to answer a problem, and then asking them to figure out what's wrong with it.
I don't think so. In this context, it seems that Scott is talking about in this context making his mathematical intuitions more precise by trying to state explicitly what is wrong with the idea. He seems to generally be doing this in response to comments by other people sort of in his field (comp sci) or connected to his field (physics and math ) so he isn't really trying to reverse stupidity.
What does it mean for a society to suffer?
-- Henry David Thoreau
— Horatio__Caine on reddit
Matthew (slightly paraphrased...)
-- Bertrand Russell, The Philosophy of Logical Atomism
~ William Johnson Cory
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, via The Lichtenberg Reader: selected writings, trans. and ed. Franz H. Mautner and Henry Hatfield.
Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion, part VI
Captain Tagon: Lt. Commander Shodan, years ago when you enlisted you asked for a job as a martial arts trainer.
Captain Tagon: And here you are, trying to solve our current problem with martial arts training.
Captain Tagon: How's that saying go? "When you're armed with a hammer, all your enemies become nails?"
Shodan: Sir,.. you're right. I'm being narrow-minded.
Captain Tagon: No, no. Please continue. I bet martial arts training is a really, really useful hammer.
"What I cannot create, I do not understand."
taken from wiki quotes which took it from Stephen Hawking's book Universe in a Nutshell which took it from Feynman's blackboard at the time of this death (1988)
its simple but it gets right at the heart of why the mountains of philosophy are the foothills of AI (as Eliezer put it) .
Francis Bacon, The advancement of Learning and New Atlantis
Banach, in a 1957 letter to Ulam.
-- Nick Tarleton
The original goes:
-- T. S. Eliot
The Onion (it's sort of a rationality and anti-rationality quote at multiple levels)
Richard P. Feynman
-- C.S. Peirce
-Seth Klarman, Margin of Safety, p.90
Will Newsome on facebook ;)
-- HL Mencken
-- Richard P. Feynman
Quite literally, in fact.
"Our present study is not, like other studies, purely theoretical in intention; for the object of our inquiry is not to know what virtue is but how to become good, and that is the sole benefit of it." —Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics (translated by James E. C. Weldon; emphasis added)
-- Planet Sheen
“When anyone asks me how I can describe my experience of nearly forty years at sea, I merely say uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales and storms and fog and the like, but in all my experience, I have never been in an accident of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea… I never saw a wreck and have never been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort.”
E.J. Smith, 1907, later captain of the RMS Titanic
Note: This is one of those comments that has been repeated, without citation, on the internet so many times that I can no longer find a citation.
I will submit (separately) three quotations from my favorite philosopher, C.S. Peirce:
-- C.S. Peirce
-- Jim Dator ("Dator's Law")
"Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason."
-Leonardo da Vinci
"Communication usually fails, except by accident" - Osmo Wiio
"Communication" here has a different definition from the usual one. I interpreted it as meaning the richness of your internal experiences and the intricate web of associations are conjured in your mind when you say even a single word.
-- Raymond Terrific
-- C.S. Peirce
-- Upton Sinclair
-- Jeffrey Lewis, If Life Exists, which is really about set point happiness
James Clerk Maxwell
-- Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
-Whitbreads Fyunch(click), by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle in "The Mote in God's Eye".
-Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
In other words, have no heroes, and no villains.
-- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
(I know it's old and famous and classic, but this doesn't make it any less precious, does it?)
Sometimes I suspect that wouldn't even occur to them as a question. That evolution might turn out to be one of those things that it's just assumed any race that had mastered agriculture MUST understand.
Because, well, how could a race use selective breeding, and NOT realise that evolution by natural selection occurs?
Realizing far-reaching consequences of an idea is only easy in hindsight, otherwise I think it's a matter of exceptional intelligence and/or luck. There's an enormous difference between, on the one hand, noticing some limited selection and utilising it for practical benefits - despite only having a limited, if any, understanding of what you're doing - and on the other hand realizing how life evolved into complexity from its simple beginnings, in the course of a difficult to grasp period of time. Especially if the idea has to go up against well-entrenched, hostile memes.
I don't know if this has a name, but there seems to exit a trope where (speaking broadly) superior beings are unable to understand the thinking and errors of less advanced beings. I first noticed it when reading H. Fast's The First Men, where this exchange between a "Man Plus" child and a normal human occurs:
"Can you do something you disapprove of?" "I am afraid I can. And do." "I don't understand. Then why do you do it?"
It's supposed to be about how the child is so advanced and undivided in her thinking, but to me it just means "well then you don't understand how the human mind works".
In short, I find this trope to be a fallacy. I'd expect an advanced civilisation to have a greater, not lesser, understanding of how intelligence works, its limitations, and failure modes in general.
Yeah. This was put very well by Fyodor Urnov, in an MCB140 lecture:
"What is blindingly obvious to us was not obvious to geniuses of ages past."
I think the lecture series is available on iTunes.
I suspect that the intent of the original quote is that they'll assess us by our curiosity towards, and effectiveness in discovering, our origins. As Dawkins is a biologist, he is implying that evolution by natural selection is an important part of it, which of course is true. An astronomer or cosmologist might consider a theory on the origins of the universe itself to be more important, a biochemist might consider abiogenesis to be the key, and so on.
Personally, I can see where he's coming from, though I can't say I feel like I know enough about the evolution of intelligence to come up with a valid argument as to whether an alien species would consider this to be a good metric to evaluate us with. One could argue that interest in oneself is an important aspect of intelligence, and scientific enquiry important to the development of space travel, and so a species capable of travelling to us would have those qualities and look for them in the creatures they found.
This is my time posting here, so I'm probably not quite up to the standards of the rest of you just yet. Sorry if I said something stupid.
Welcome to lesswrong.
I wouldn't consider anything you've said here stupid, in fact I would agree with it.
I, personally, see it as a failure of imagination on the part of Dawkin's, that he considers the issue he personally finds most important to be that which alien intelligences will find most important, but you are right to point out what his likely reasoning is.
If I were an intelligent creature from space visiting Earth, I'd probably start by asking, "do they have anything that can shoot us out of orbit ?" That's just me though.