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Some suggestions:

  • A large chunk of probability mass
  • Watercolor painting of the end of history
  • An electric car painted by Wassliy Kandinsky
  • A monkey is painting a portrait of Charles Darwin
  • A monkey is explaining something to Charles Darwin
  • Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks!
  • The anatomy of a friendly AI
  • Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler in a loving embrace [if this isn't allowed, substitute Gandhi for Hitler]
  • A painting of a spurious correlation in the style of impressionism
  • Friedrich Nietzsche is shaving his mustache 
  • Sigmund Freud tries LSD for the first time in the style of a picture from 1920s
  • A round flat world carried on the shoulders of four elephants who are standing on a giant turtle
  • A charcoal drawing of a brain in a vat
  • The map is not the territory
  • Richard Feynman discovers the meaning of life
  • Hippocrates is the father of modern medicine

Russia doesn't have enough money; carpet bombing civilians is expensive and inefficient


Didn't Russia actually use carpet bombing over the past several years in Chechnia and in Syria? If they were willing to do it in those cases I can't imagine money being the limiting factor now... And from what I see so far is consistent with the Russian army switching their strategy more and more towards bombing the enemy into submission like they did in Syria.

Question to Eliezer: would you agree with the gist of the following? And if not, any thoughts on what lead to a strong sense of 'coherence in your worldview' as Vaniver put it?

Vaniver, I feel like you're pointing at something that I've noticed as well and am interested in too (the coherence of Eliezer's worldview as you put it). I wonder if has something to do with not going to uni but building his whole worldview all by him self. In my experience uni often tends towards to cramming lots of facts which are easily testable on exams, with less emphasis on understanding underlying principles (which is harder to test with multiple choice questions). Personally I feel like I had to spend my years after uni trying to make sense, a coherent whole if you like, of all the separate things I've learned while in uni where things were mostly just kind of put out there without constantly integrating things. Perhaps if you start out thinking much more about underlying principles earlier on it's easier to integrate all the separate facts into a coherent whole as you go along. Not sure if Eliezer would agree with this. Maybe it's even much more basic and he just always had a very strong sense of dissatisfaction if he couldn't make things cohere into a whole and this urge for things to make sense was much more important than self studying or thinking about underlying principles before and then during the learning of new knowledge...

I would like to point out a section in the latest Shay/Yudkowsky dialogue where Eliezer says some things about this topic, does this feel like it's the same thing you are talking about Vaniver?

Eliezer: "So I have a general thesis about a failure mode here which is that, the moment you try to sketch any concrete plan or events which correspond to the abstract descriptions, it is much more obviously wrong, and that is why the descriptions stay so abstract in the mouths of everybody who sounds more optimistic than I am.

This may, perhaps, be confounded by the phenomenon where I am one of the last living descendants of the lineage that ever knew how to say anything concrete at all.  Richard Feynman - or so I would now say in retrospect - is noticing concreteness dying out of the world, and being worried about that, at the point where he goes to a college and hears a professor talking about "essential objects" in class, and Feynman asks "Is a brick an essential object?" - meaning to work up to the notion of the inside of a brick, which can't be observed because breaking a brick in half just gives you two new exterior surfaces - and everybody in the classroom has a different notion of what it would mean for a brick to be an essential object. 

Richard Feynman knew to try plugging in bricks as a special case, but the people in the classroom didn't, and I think the mental motion has died out of the world even further since Feynman wrote about it.  The loss has spread to STEM as well.  Though if you don't read old books and papers and contrast them to new books and papers, you wouldn't see it, and maybe most of the people who'll eventually read this will have no idea what I'm talking about because they've never seen it any other way...

I have a thesis about how optimism over AGI works.  It goes like this: People use really abstract descriptions and never imagine anything sufficiently concrete, and this lets the abstract properties waver around ambiguously and inconsistently to give the desired final conclusions of the argument.  So MIRI is the only voice that gives concrete examples and also by far the most pessimistic voice; if you go around fully specifying things, you can see that what gives you a good property in one place gives you a bad property someplace else, you see that you can't get all the properties you want simultaneously."