Is it possible to get Dementors to play poker with you by strongly expecting that behaviour?

It should be possible to test whether or not the mental gymnastics are even possible by getting rationalists to make homeopathy work by believing in it. Then again, it might be harder to expect that a cloaked monster that eats happiness will play poker than to believe that pills packaged just like normal pills will cause symptom relief when you're sick. So you might need to get someone who didn't know about dementors and tell them that they play poker. Be sure to tell it with a straight face. In a textbook might work best.

As Locke says, the question is how much they're capable of doing just because you expect it. Can they break the laws of physics? That sounds like an awesome thing to test.

5Locke8yI think the circular logic might make them implode, rendering Patronus 2.0 unnecessary. "I expect the Dementors to play poker with me because I expect the Dementors to play poker with me because I expect..." But if you were weak-minded enough (or strong-minded enough?) to trick yourself into genuinely believing that would work, I suppose it would. But in that case, what exactly is the limit of their power? Can you expect a Dementor to turn into an all-powerful friendly AI?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments


(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  The author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.