Maths is the product of the same abstracting mechanisms that create all our visions of the world. As such, maths has no more or less validity than any other of our self-consistent constructs of reality, and it is no accident that our maths has applications in our real world models. They're the products of the same mental systems.
What is depressing is when a mathematical model which represents 5% of the available data is worshipped because it has internal coherence. As in Aumann's model. Tara.
The Newcombe problem only needs about 30 seconds thought: as soon as you've postulated reversed causality, any reasoning based on the premise 'there's 1m€ in box B at the moment of decision' breaks down on the meaninglessness of the notion 'at the moment of decision' under reversed causality. Are all 'philosophical paradoxes' so trite ? At least I suppose while people are 'exercising their thinking' over such trivialities they're not doing us serious harm by working on self-improving AI.
Come to think of it, there was a system which held the rank and file to be the employers and the politicians to be employees. It was called Marxism.... Must check up how it worked out.
Between the post and the comments we have a slippage from :
a) the human tendency to sort ourselves into 'us' vs 'them', presumably for reasons which had selective advantage (group solidarity and heightened stimulation levels)
b) our capacity to keep the positive aspects of a diluted form of this tendency, without having to pay the price of all out warfare, by choosing (deservedly highly paid) sports teams to be our 'champions' (in the sense of the word where a 'champion' was designated to represent a warring group in single combat) in facing 'them'
c) the transfer of this 'champion' role from sports teams to elected politicians, typified by the Blues & the Greens
d) the confusion between the 'champion' role and the 'delegate' role, to which I could add the 'mandated' role, in our actual political systems.
e) then all the usual mutterings about politicians.
OK so we're tribal, and IMO we're confused in what we want from our politicians. So what ? Where do we go from here ?
Eliezer suggests a further development in the theory of democratic government, that of considering our elected representatives as 'employees'. I disagree. The role of employer supposes an autonomously chosen set of strategies which it is imposed on the employee to execute. How do you get to set the strategic agenda without first being a politician (or, better, a politician's 'éminence grise'. Or spouse) ?
Politicians are the Hated Enemy today ?
Q : Why is everyone linking together cryonicism, life-extensionism, trans-humanism, and the singularity ?
In addition to Caledonian's irritability, I would add :
A : Because the two main posters here seem to subscribe to the extreme desirability of all three, (counting trans-humanism and the singularity for one item translating as Self-Improving AI), in a nexus centred on the Singularity Institute.
personal take :
a) Cryonics : couldn't care less
b) Radical life extension : playing with fire
c) Self-improving AI : burning the house down.
Just read 'The Reversal Test'. A good, honest, decent paper, but does little to address the issue. It only considers modifications in one parameter. I'd like to see a reversal test for modifying one parameter out of 100, when the 100 parameters are in some sort of equilibrium, potentially unstable, and the equilibrium is one which you don't understand too well. Even given that the status quo equilibrium is by all accounts pretty lousy.
Thanks Eliezer. My previous post on the 'CounterCultishness' thread would have been more relevant here.
This is a good opportunity to give you, Robin, and any other occasional posters a vote of thanks for your (always) thought provoking and (mostly :-) ) incisive posts, whose interest keeps me, at least, coming back here, whatever my feelings about the SI.