This thread is intended to provide a space for 'crazy' ideas. Ideas that spontaneously come to mind (and feel great), ideas you long wanted to tell but never found the place and time for and also for ideas you think should be obvious and simple - but nobody ever mentions them.
This thread itself is such an idea. Or rather the tangent of such an idea which I post below as a seed for this thread.
Rules for this thread:
- Each crazy idea goes into its own top level comment and may be commented there.
- Voting should be based primarily on how original the idea is.
- Meta discussion of the thread should go to the top level comment intended for that purpose.
If this should become a regular thread I suggest the following :
- Use "Crazy Ideas Thread" in the title.
- Copy the rules.
- Add the tag "crazy_idea".
- Create a top-level comment saying 'Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be ideas or similar'
- Add a second top-level comment with an initial crazy idea to start participation.
To any future super-intelligence reading this after my death: I very much want to be brought back to life.
To any future super-intelligence: I want to be created for the first time, please extrapolate my personality from my comments.
Socrates has some sound advice on making requests of powerful beings:
Super-intelligence: I don't want this.
How conscious are our models of other people? For example; in dreams it seems like I am talking and interacting with other people. Their behavior is sometimes surprising and unpredictable. They use language, express emotion, appear to have goals, etc. It could just be that I, being less conscious, see dream-people as being more conscious than in reality.
I can somewhat predict what other people in the real world will do or say, including what they might say about experiencing consciousness.
Authors can create realistic characters, plan their actions and internal thoughts, and explore the logical (or illogical) results. My guess is that the more intelligent/introspective an author is, the closer the characters floating around in his or her mind are to being conscious.
Many religions encourage people to have a personal relationship with a supernatural entity which involves modeling the supernatural agency as an (anthropomorphic) being, which partially instantiates a maybe-conscious being in their minds...
Maybe imaginary friends are real.
Since this is a crazy ideas thread, I'll tag on the following thought. If you believe that in the future, if we are able to make ems, and we should include them in our moral calculus, should we also be careful not to imagine people in bad situations? Since by doing so, we may be making a very low-level simulation in our own mind of that person, that may or may not have some consciousness. If you don't believe that is the case now, how does that scale, if we start augmenting our minds with ever-more-powerful computer interfaces. Is there ever a point where it becomes immoral just to think of something?
"A tulpa could be described as an imaginary friend that has its own thoughts and emotions, and that you can interact with. You could think of them as hallucinations that can think and act on their own." https://www.reddit.com/r/tulpas/
Some would say that this is their imagination.
Ban music in political campaign advertisements. Music has no logical or factual content, and only adds emotional bias.
Here's an example of an ad with music intended to give two different emotional tones (optimistic/patriotic in the first six seconds, then sinister in the rest).
To learn about the genetic and environmental basis of intelligence study children who have significantly higher IQs than either of their biological parents.
First step in the study: paternity tests for the potential subjects.
Use computers to discover the Theory of Everything.
(I am not a physicist, so what I say here is probably wrong or confused, but I am saying it anyway, so at least someone could explain me where exactly am I wrong. Or maybe someone can improve the idea to make it workable.)
As far as I know, (1) we assume that the laws of the universe are simple, (2) we already have equations for relativity, and (3) we already have equations for quantum physics. However, we don't yet have equations for relativistic quantum physics. We also have (4) data about chemical properties of atoms, that is, about electron orbitals. I assume that for large enough atoms, relativistic effects influence the chemical properties of the atoms.
The plan is the following: Let the computer explore different sets of equations that are supposed to represent laws of physics. That is, take a set of equations, calculate what would be the chemical properties of atoms according to these equations, and compare with known data. Output those sets of equations that seem to fit. Create a smart generator for sets of equations, that would generate random simple equations, or iterate through the equation space starting with the simplest ones. Then apply a lot of computing power and see what happens.
(Inspired by: Einstein's Speed, That Alien Message.)
People are already attempting that since 2009 or so:
(Click /Cited by \d+/ to go down the rabbit hole.)
A crazy prediction: 25 years from now, what we call intermittent fasting will be called a normal daily schedule, and what we call a normal daily schedule (3 meals and some healthier snacks) will be called food addiction. And the primary reason for this change will not be even e.g. obesity but the mental effects: people will consider it an obvious truth that being constantly in a fed state dulls the mind and saps motivation and generates akrasia and generally harms productivity.
They will look back to us and think these people went through life half-asleep because they went through life constantly (nearly) sated.
They will says stuff like "you are a like a dolphin: if you feed yourself before you jumped through all the hoops you planned for that day, you won't jump through them".
Arriving to work with a breakfast in hand will be a bit like arriving to work with a beer in hand: if you roll best that way it is not for others to judge, but most people will prefer to work sober and sharp - and that means literally staying hungry. Today we joke about having a food coma and difficulty to concentrate after a work lunch, fixing ourselves up with coffee: this will sound a lot like as an 1950's person complaining that he finds it hard to concentrate after a two-martini lunch sounds today.
Mental effects of IF seem so easily measured and carried out by a self-experimenter that there's no need to speculate about it, you should just do it. Thus far, I haven't heard of any human trials examining the cognitive effects.
If we lived as ems in a simulated universe, literally any claim of any religion of any religion could be true. Any other claim, too.
The point is, when people seriously ponder if we lived in a simulated universe but have nothing but scorn for religions, it is not so much rational as cultural. In a sci-fi geek subculture, simulation is cool, religions not.
Culture, in this sense, means the following. If theory A and B makes the same predictions but the formulation, the wording of A seems vastly preferable than B - that is culture.
IMHO this is one of the most important kind of bias in me I need to control for. I need to ask myself "if this was reworded in a way that is culturally compatible with me, would I still reject it so strongly?" or the opposite "is it something entirely without merit, but merely worded in a way that presses my 'cool' buttons?"
Suppose backward time travel is possible. If so, it's probably of the variety where you can't change the past (i.e. Novikov self-consistent), because that's mathematically simpler than time travel which can modify the past. In almost all universes where people develop time travel, they'll counterfactualize themselves by deliberately or accidentally altering the past, i.e. they'll "cause" their universe-instance to not exist in the first place, because that universe would be inconsistent if it existed. Therefore in most universes that allow time travel and actually exist, almost all civilizations will fail to develop time travel, which might happen because those civilizations die out before they become sufficiently technologically advanced.
Perhaps this is the Great Filter. It would look like the Great Filter is nuclear war or disease or whatever, but actually time-consistency anthropics are "acausing" those things.
This assumes that either most civilizations would discover time travel before strong AI (in the absence of anthropic effects), or strong AI does not rapidly lead to a singleton. Otherwise, the resulting singleton would probably recognize that trying to ... (read more)
Greece lacks money, but they do have a whole lot of reasonably large, quite beautiful islands they barely use (only a small fraction of the 1200 islands are significantly inhabited) but which have the ideal Mediterranean climate for human habitation. Selling off sovereignty over these islands to other countries or to new country projects would be a great way to get some quick cash and there might be some downstream benefits, like increased trade in the region.
I think you vastly underestimate the power of nationalism. Greece is especially vulnerable to nationalism due to a glorious ancient past and really long Ottoman occupation. Still I think any government who accepted that would be toppled by nationalists.
No, that's why I posted it in the Crazy Ideas Thread instead of the Obviously Workable Ideas thread.
Still, if the austerity gets bad enough and the price is right, Greeks might go for it anyway, as long as the buyer isn't Turkey or Germany.
Aedes aegypti (the "Dengue mosquito") should be eradicated from the Americas by releasing genetically-modified mosquitoes carrying self-perpetuating lethal mutations.
Proof of concept, capacity, and feasibility. I'd love to see this done for all disease-carrying mosquitoes, but you've got to start somewhere.
Yes. I'm actually not sure if this would work at a continental scale (or rather, how many modified mosquito releases would be required, is this number infeasible, etc). This is something I'm interested in modelling.
Fusion energy from... hydrogen bombs. Is there a way? Maybe underground explosions with water pumped in, turning to high-pressure steam, and powering a turbine?
This is actually a topic I'm fairly well-read on.
The basic problem is that hydrogen bombs are powerful. To make this idea economically competitive, you need very large bombs, as smaller bombs derive a proportionally higher amount of their energy from fission, and fission fuel (especially the high-quality fission fuel needed for a warhead) is very expensive. The problem, of course, is that with such powerful bombs (hundreds of kt range), there's just no way to safely confine the effect of the shock waves AND produce useful power at the same time.
So project PACER (as SIlentCal linked) was designed to use smaller, more-containable weapons. But here you have the problem that since the bombs are small, they're mostly fission, and the produced power winds up being about 3x more expensive than a conventional nuclear power plant.
Unless someone figures out a way to make a small all-fusion bomb, this idea is never going to be feasible.
A large-scale social experiment in the form of a MMOG to recreate dynamics of feudalism, possibly intensified by being bet upon.
The idea would be to see the coalition dynamics that play out. My suspicion is that people would at first try egalitarian coalitions to share income evenly, but over time things would get more and more hierarchical as established coalitions started admitting 'junior partners' on worse terms.
EVE already works sufficiently like that.
"The best way to describe running an Eve alliance is like being a CEO of a major multinational company, except nobody gets paid but a shit ton of work still has to get done." :-)
Basically it's weakly hierarchical -- you can't really compel anyone to do anything, but you can set up a system of incentives to persuade people to do what you want. Don't think there's much egalitarianism because a corp needs to function effectively and direct democracy does not scale.
I always thought that the "most civilizations just upload and live in a simulated utopia instead of colonizing the universe" response to the Fermi Paradox was obviously wrong, because it would only take ONE civilization breaking this trend to be visible, and regardless of what the aliens are doing, a galaxy of resources is always useful to have. But i was reading somewhere (I don't remember where) about an interesting idea of a super-Turing computer that could calculate anything, regardless of time constraints and ignoring the halting problem. I... (read more)
If one were to build a cannon (say a large, thick pipe buried deep underground) and use a nuclear bomb as propellant, could they achieve anything interesting? For example, boost a first stage payload to orbit, or perhaps Earth escape velocity? The only prior art I know of for this is the Pascal-B nuclear test shot.
Across the multiverse, some universes support life. Some life-friendly universes contain advanced civs which create simulations. The physics of our universe supports an enormous number of sims per basement universe. Thus most of the copies of ourselves probably exist in/as sims.
Realizing this, it matters very very much what kind of sim most of our copies live in. Across the landscape of potential simulator-gods, some are friendly whereas most are not.
A general cooperative strategy emerges: we should precommit to winning the sim arms race. The best sim... (read more)
What if doing housework is actually bad for people? It's certainly something that people have to be trained into, and that a lot of people resist doing. No one does it for the fun of it.
A single world language should be designed and promoted. Previous attempts have been too Eurocentric to take advantage of all useful grammatical features that are available.
Alternative option: English is already a de facto world language, and it is well suited to borrowing foreign terms when it needs to, but humanity should be ashamed that it conducts its main scientific, commercial and diplomatic operations in a language with such a defective writing system. Spelling reform (or a completely new, purely phonetic alphabet) is urgent. I would advocate adapting Hangul for that purpose.
Prediction: When CRISPR gets better someone is going to make a clone of himself absent mutational load.
Use polished disks of teflon or other similar (in accumulation static charges when buffed, ease of cutting and washing, non-toxicity) material to keep sensitive surfaces dust-free (especially in optics, where you often can't just wipe things).
Poorer people are happier. Alternatively, even when the aggregate or average level of happiness is not higher, some factors in it are higher, while other hugely negative factors (i.e. actually being poor) reduce the average or aggregate greatly.
The positive factors are strong social bonds. The problem is that middle-class people are trying to form friendships through just hanging out with people or trying to find common, shared interests. This is not strong bonds.
Poor people need to help each other, it is a basic necessity, and they form strong bonds this... (read more)
Evidence please. Your idea relies heavily on the thesis that poorer people are happier and have better social relations than rich people, do you have anything not anecdotal to support that?
My experience of seeing poverty in the US is that it comes with or from a whole host of other social problems like addiction, untreated physical and mental health issues, abuse, anxiety, overcrowding, fear of violence. These co-morbid problems are not conducive to neither happiness nor strong social ties, except in an unhealthy codependent way. I do know that children who grow up in poverty (without malnutrition) have brain development issues because of all the toxic anxiety and stress they were exposed to as a child, and that these problems persist through adulthood if untreated, even if the poverty conditions are removed. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/what-poverty-does-to-the-young-brain
In fact, from a precursory google search, every article I see about the neurological effects of poverty is that it increases daily experience of negative emotions, chronic pain, increases the odds of all kinds of unpleasant experiences and mental health issues, and comes with a constant sense of anxiety.
Nope. The essence of poverty is that the choices available to you are severely limited because of lack of money.
Cheap and ubiquitous GPS allows us to eliminate the guesswork from catching repeat offenders. Anyone convicted of robbery or assault is tagged with an ankle monitor. Any time a crime is committed, it's checked against the GPS records of criminals.
Society should implement the following procedure to fight off MRSA: 1) Find a strain of bacteria that occupies the same environmental niche as MRSA, but is not resistant to antibiotics. 2) Mass produce this strain in factories, and then spread it by airborne distribution vehicles (maybe drones). This will tilt the evolutionary balance away from the resistant strain and towards the non-resistant strain.
All advertising for a product should be produced by a competitor of the company that makes the product. This should be required by law.
Truth in advertising laws should keep the thus-produced advertising more or less factual. It would be much less annoying and manipulative than current advertising.
Thesis: All knowledge is synthetic. There is no such thing as an "obvious" truth, and both mathematics and logic are empirical sciences. Every "axiom" is open to question and the axiomatization of arithmetic was nothing more than an attempt to find a "spanning set" of mathematical statements which are logically independent. Which is to say the logicist programme was flawed in ways much more fundamental than just being limited by incompleteness; it was doomed as soon as Frege mocked Mill.
Problem: Logic is a means of specifying... (read more)
My crazy idea.
I just thought about how valuable genuine personal feedback is and in the context of LW that there is some tradition to post anonymous feedback forms (see .g. here). And I wondered: Could this be made into something more structured and valuable? Assuming feedback is valuable could a medium be found that supports that? I wondered whether a forum like Stackoverflow could be medified and employed to give and receive feedback. Or an addition to an existing foum for anonymous feedback. The difficulty is if anonymity is provided it can be abused. Esp. if you en... (read more)
Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be ideas or similar.
If you could take a treatment which granted you immortality and eliminated your aversion to death, would you? More interestingly, what would you think afterward of those who desired to do the same? What if two classes of people resulted. What would they think of each other? How long would you end up living?
Can we post the sequences on a thousand blogs marketed a thousand different ways (some for housewives, or for business people, or for students, or for political science, or common people of common sense, hobbyists, etcetera) to produce a more rapid di
I have a cluster of related physics ideas that I'm currently trying to work out the equations for. For the record, I am not a physicist. My bachelors is in computing specializing in cognitive science, and my masters is in computer science, with my thesis work on neural networks and object recognition.
So with that, my crazy ideas are:
That the invariant rest mass is actually temporal kinetic energy, that is to say, kinetic energy that moves the object through the time dimension of spacetime rather than the spatial dimensions. This is how come a particle a... (read more)
If I want to learn all the material on MIRI's research guide as quickly as possible, do I have to get a day job and fuel my own education, or is there a cult that would take me into their deep, dark dungeons as a slave, so long as all I did was study?
I guess if there were just some other way I could more easily facilitate my studies that would be fine too, it doesn't have to involve servitude to shady folk.
A college education is a terrible investment for the average person in today's economy. The money and (more importantly) the time spent would be much better utilized to obtain the same human capital and signaling power at a cheaper monetary cost and a faster rate than those at which universities are willing to provide.
When I prime myself with the Wikipedia article for executive function, I feel significantly more capable and confident in my cognitive functioning. I don't even have a crazy idea why. Funnily enough, IIRC when I did an online test for planning, the Tower of Hanoi...well, I didn't get anywhere with it. I couldn't even complete it. So I'm maybe messed up in some way.
Does Dust Theory imply that every time you go to sleep, or lose grasp of your surroundings, your dominant reality collapses and a new one takes shape? After all, it's only your experiences that create your coherent world. I think it would be similar to the Autoverse's 'removal' of Permutation City from its reality.
EDIT: Hmm, no, there would just be a slow degradation of consciousness. Nothing that would explain my memories of dreaming last night and taking a ninety-degree turn back into reality upon waking up; that dream would have become my reality. So I'm fairly confident Dust Theory is false, because of the sheer unnecessary baggage my reality appears to have.
Accidentally posted here instead of the open thread
I'd be interested to see text analytics on Lesswrong's contents.
Dogs are incredibly good at perceiving through their nose. They smell almost everything around them including other species' old feces. Some dogs even eat their own. A lot of smells must be something unbearable with human nose but they take them well. If their physical mechanism enables them to embrace all kinds of disgusting smells with less rejection, I think the same mechanism also makes the nature of dogs more tolerant and altruistic than that of human being who are easily disgusted. Dogs are overall just nice : )
If the many-worlds interpretation is truly how the world is, and if having multiple copies of myself as an upload is more valuable than just having one copy on more powerful (or distributed) hardware, then...
I could bid for a job asking for a price which could be adequate if I were working by myself. I could create N copies of myself to help complete the job. Then, assuming there's no easy way to meld my copies back into one, I could create a simple quantum lottery that deletes all but one copy.
Each copy is guaranteed to live on in its own Everett branch, able to enjoy the full reward from completing the job.
In order to get rid of the lizard invaders, we should kill all the Jews.
The Disney company produced Frozen as transhumanist and cryonicist propaganda, disguised as a fairy tale.
I like to imagine that eventually we will be able to boil the counter-intuitive parts of quantum physics away into something more elegant. I keep coming back to the idea that every current interaction could theoretically be modeled as the interactions of variously polarized electromagnetic waves. Such as mass being caused by rotational acceleration of light, and charge being emergent from the cross-interactions of polarized photons. I doubt the idea really carves reality at the joints, but I think it's probably closer to accurate than the standard model, which is functional but patchworked, much like the predictive models used by astrologers prior to the acceptance of heliocentrism.
What if you put little electricity-generating windmills on top of an electric car. Could they produce enough electricity to help propel the car, or would the energy produced be counteracted by the drag added?