Raemon's Scratchpad

I've lately been talking a lot about doublecrux. It seemed good to note some updates I'd also made over the past few months about debate.

For the past few years I've been sort of annoyed at debate because it seems like it doesn't lead people to change their opinions – instead, the entire debate framework seems more likely to prompt people to try to win, meanwhile treating arguments as soldiers and digging in their heels. I felt some frustration at the Hanson/Yudkowsky Foom Debate because huge amounts of digital ink were spilled, and neit... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘/CTRL+F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post

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The fact that such debates can go on for 500 pages without significant updates from either side point towards a failure to 1) systematically determine which arguments are strong and which ones are distractions 2) restrict the scope of the debate so opponents have to engage directly rather than shift to more comfortable ground.

There are also many simpler topics that could have meaningful progress made on them with current debating technology, but they just don't happen because most people have an aversion to debating.

5Raemon4moI had read AI Safety via Debate but it felt like the version of it that connected to my OP here was... a few years down the line. I'm not sure which bits feel most salient here to you. (It seems like in the future, when we've progressed beyond 'is it a dog or a cat', that AI debate could produce lots of considerations about a topic that I hadn't yet thought about, but this wasn't obvious to me from the original blogpost)
13Wei_Dai4moI guess it was mostly just the basic idea that the point of a debate isn't necessarily for the debaters to reach agreement or to change each other's mind, but to produce unbiased information for a third party. (Which may be obvious to some but kind of got pushed out of my mind by the "trying to reach agreement" framing, until I read the Debate paper.) These quotes from the paper seem especially relevant:

Raemon's Scratchpad

by Raemon 1 min read30th Dec 2017277 comments


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