betterthanwell

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June 2012: 0/33 Turing Award winners predict computers beating humans at go within next 10 years.

AlphaGo's victory over World Champion Lee Sedol made a (seemingly) deep impression on me at the time.

I had just NOT expected that. I had expected the game to remain intractable for decades. But the initial excitement and mild sense of doom that followed soon faded. I'm not a computer scientist, just a civilian interested for philosophical reasons.

But many people in attendance at the Alan Turing centenary celebration were World Champions of computer science. And either none of them knew any better, or if any did, or even suspected. Then, it seems that any suspicion that humans would be, uh, defeated at go, in the next decade, was defeated by subtle snickering and mild peer pressure.

How has lesswrong changed your life?

I discovered the idea of Bitcoin early, made a life-changing amount of money.

What is the most anti-altruistic way to spend a million dollars?

Thus, I maintain the attacks were a huge failure at accomplishing the attackers' political agenda.

Osama Bin Laden (2004):

...All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two Mujahedin to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qa'ida in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits to their private companies. This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers as we alongside the Mujahedin bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. All Praise is due to Allah.

So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah is willing and nothing is too great for Allah. That being said, those who say that al-Qa'ida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise because when one scrutinizes the results, one cannot say that Al-Qa'ida is the sole factor in achieving these spectacular gains. Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations -- whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction -- has helped al-Qa'ida to achieve those enormous results. And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and us are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States even if the intentions differ. And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (when they pointed out that) for example, al-Qa'ida spent $500,000 on the event, while America in the incident and its aftermath lost -- according to the lowest estimates -- more than 500 billion dollars, meaning that every dollar of al-Qa'ida defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah besides the loss of a huge number of jobs. As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record, astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars. And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the Mujahedin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan with Allah's permission.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16990-2004Nov1.html

Open Thread, June 16-30, 2013

Aaron Winborn: Monday was my 46th birthday and likely my last. Anything awesome I should try after I die?

Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. In short, that means that my mind will increasingly become trapped in my body as the motor neurons continue to die, and the muscles atrophy and waste away, until my diaphragm dies, bringing me with it.

...

But yes, there is a silver lining to this all, such as it is. Kim Suozzi made a similar plea to the Internet a year ago today, and came up with the brilliant idea of freezing her body in the hopes of a distant advanced technology being able to revive her someday. Her body now rests at liquid nitrogen temperatures.

...

Justifiable Erroneous Scientific Pessimism

"I think there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!" (Eddington, 1935)

Eddington erroneously dismissed M_(white dwarf) > M_limit ⇒ "a black hole" , but didn't he correctly anticipate new physics?
Do event horizons (Finkelstein, 1958) not prevent nature from behaving in "that absurd way", so far as we can ever observe?

Recent updates to gwern.net (2012-2013)

With some awe and much respect, I would say that you are an inspiration, but that has already been said. I'll upvote that and say something else instead. For whatever reason, some part of my brain tells me; "Yeah, this is pretty much what I would expect the research interests of of a "supervillain"-in-training to look like". I don't pretend to know exactly what awesomeness is, but you have grown a lot of it.

Farewell Aaron Swartz (1986-2013)

EDIT: OTOH, there's this... What person makes a will at 26?

It seems he published "If i get hit by a truck" in 2002, at age 16. Sad. Also, perhaps, awe-inspiring. Eliminating the problem of one's bus-factor would ordinarily be admirable... if you do it for the contingency where you simply get hit by a bus. I want, but can't, quite make myself believe that he didn't write this, at that time, in anticipation of an end like this. In that case; not awe-inspiring, only sad.

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