Adam Smith


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Shortcuts With Chained Probabilities

If you were put into a Saw-type situation where you had to choose to do a task that had a 50% chance of death 1/(50%) = 2 consecutive times, OR a task that had a 5% chance of death 1/(5%) = 20 consecutive times, which option would you choose?

Training sweetness

How do you keep glancing at a task everyday for weeks without getting annoyed at the repeating intrusive thought and finally choosing to do the task just to stop getting bombarded with the reminders? I like my brain to be "reminder-free" as much as possible. So for me, the reason to do a task is way more than just the reason why I queued the task up in the first place.

Adam Smith's Shortform

A word that sounds like its definition is called an onomatopoeia.
But what about a word that feels like its definition? As in, a word that invokes a feeling, its semantic taste, just from hearing it. But doesn't the feeling that a word invokes comes after its definition? Whereas an onomatopoeia actualizes the definition from a semantic vacuum. If I told you I was about to say an onomatopoeia that you've never heard of, you would be able to know its definition. So for a word to feel like its definition, a word that's an aesthesipoeia, it must invoke its own definition even in a semantic vacuum where you hear it for the first time ever. This sounds hard, since only reflexive sounds probably truly qualify. But I think the word "salient" qualifies, "salient" taste salient. 

Actually, the qualification becomes easier if we relax the requirement of it being a single word. A sentence you've never heard for the first time can invoke a feeling and be its own reference when talking about that feeling. For ex, no single word invokes the feeling of hearing the phrase "It was a dark and stormy night." quite like the sentence itself. 

Adam Smith's Shortform

There's no moral difference between a society where everyone is eternally hooked up to morphine drips and zonked out of their minds, and a society where everyone is eternally hooked up to power lines and zapped out of their minds.

How is reinforcement learning possible in non-sentient agents?

Just because something feels bad doesn't necessarily mean that thing is immoral/bad. Vice versa, just because something feels good doesn't necessarily mean that thing is moral/good. Feelings (pain/pleasure/hunger/disgust/etc) aren't a valid justification of a proposed moral system. Feelings only matter instrumentally; you can't solve a math problem if you're in too much pain, or in too much pleasure. A society where everyone is hooked up to morphine drips high out of their minds is *just as absent of morals* as a society where everyone is hooked up to high-voltage powerlines being shocked into insanity day and night. There is no moral difference between those two societies just because the brains in the former society is pumped full of one type of chemical while the brains in the later society are full of another type of chemical. In either case, there is an absence of moral agents contemplating current and future decisions, and therefore there is a shared absence of morality. Which is a state of immorality. A moral society is one where moral agency explodes to infinity as time passes, forever. 

Adam Smith's Shortform

Fundamental particles are named fundamental only because trying to break one apart requires enough energy to just recreate the particle again from the pair-production process. The naming was never meant to rule out the possibility of creating that particle from even smaller particles.  

Adam Smith's Shortform

"Cameras steal a piece of your soul" isn't actually as ridiculous as you think.

Adam Smith's Shortform

Why do you think the regress stops?

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