Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


Right, I was thinking in the context of our Western society. But in the third world, as you said, the opposite is true: an address like "123 Main St., Sometown Somecountry" simply does not work. So it is still not the case that you need to implement a fully general address database that covers all possible cases; you only need to cover the cases that you personally care about.

I realize this is supposed to be satire, but I am not convinced that, taken at face value, this poem actually constitutes bad advice. If you have the kind of personality that would allow you to implement these instructions, chances are good that -- in our modern society, at least -- you'll live a happier life; though the world may be poorer for it.

I think it's worth noting that, yes, if you want your database of names/addresses/times/etc. to be fully robust, you need to essentially represent these items as unconstrained strings of arbitrary length (including zero).

However, in practice, most likely you're not building a fully robust database. For example, you are not solving the problem of, "how can I fully represent all of the marvelous variety of human names and addresses ?", but rather, "how can I maximize the changes that the packages my company is shipping to customers will actually be shipped to the correct customer ?".

The second problem is much more heavily constrained, because your database no longer holds arbitrary pieces of information; but rather, instructions to someone (or something) at the package shipping company. All you need to do is implement just enough complexity to make sure you can communicate to that agent. It is highly unlikely that the agent will accept arbitrary strings, because he needs to turn around and convert the strings to instructions for his fleet of delivery truck drivers, and -- not being omniscient -- he can't do that if the address says, "That one old guy who lives in the village over by the river".

This article appears to encompass most of my objections:


I do disagree with some of the things Geist says in there, but of course he's a professional AI researcher and I'm, well, me, so...

See my response to Caspar42, below. I'll write up my thoughts and post them, this way I have something to link to every time this issue comes up...

No, and that's a good point, I should really make one. I will try to post a discussion post about it, once I get more time.

My own set of objections to AI risk does not include any of these (except possibly #7); but it's possible that they are unusual and therefore do not qualify as "top 10". Still, FWIW, I remain unconvinced that AI risk is something we should be spending any amount of resources on.

Folding is allowed, yes.

Parts can have different shapes (if you want), but must have the same area.

You cannot use compasses, but you can use an unmarked straightedge if you want to make precise creases, or to avoid ripping the paper in an untidy fashion. You are not allowed to mark the straightedge, of course.

If the procedure were carried out with infinite precision, then it would indeed produce exact fifths.

In keeping with the "puzzle" theme:

You are given a rectangular piece of paper (such as the placemat at a fast-food restaurant). Without using any measuring tools (such as a ruler, a tape measure, some clever length-measuring app on your smartphone, etc.), divide the paper into five equal parts.

Load More