All of christianoudard's Comments + Replies

Be Wary of Thinking Like a FAI

An "ideal" being is many layers of "better" than you are, whereas something that is simply better is only one layer better. To get to ideal, you would have to imagine someone better, then imagine what that person would consider better, and so forth, until you hit a state where there are no further improvements to be made.

0kokotajlod7yIn the picture you just drew, the ideal being is derived from a series of better beings, thus it is (trivially) easier to imagine a better being than to imagine an ideal being. I see it differently: The ideal being maximizes all good qualities, whereas imperfect beings have differing levels of the various good qualities. Thus to compare a non-ideal being to an ideal being, we only need to recognize how the ideal being does better than the non-ideal being in each good quality. But to compare two non-ideal beings, we need to evaluate trade-offs between their various attributes (unless one is strictly greater than the other) Thinking about it more, I am not happy with either of the above models. One question that arises is: Does the same reasoning extend to other cases as well? i.e. are we better off thinking about incremental improvements than about the ideal society? Are we better off thinking about incremental improvements than about the ideal chess algorithm? I think in some cases maybe we are, but in some cases we aren't--ideals are useful sometimes. I'd go farther to say that some aspects of many ideals must be arrived at by iterating, but other aspects can be concluded more directly. An uninteresting conclusion, but one that supports my overall point: I wasn't claiming that I knew everything about the ideal FAI, just that I had justified high confidence in some things.
[QUESTION]: Academic social science and machine learning

In my understanding of academia, people can be very resistant to integrating ideas from "unrelated" fields. The statistical tools that any one person uses are probably more determined by the status quo than anything else. I vote for options (2) and (4) as the most likely.

Be Wary of Thinking Like a FAI

This is a really good point.

It is easier to determine whether you are doing "better" than your current self than it is to determine how well you line up with a perceived ideal being. So perhaps the lesson to take away is to try to just be better rather than be perfect.

2kokotajlod7yReally? That doesn't seem obvious to me. Could you justify that claim?
Effective Writing

Writing is not very effective? Perhaps you meant "not very efficient"? The right thoughts at the right time given to the right person have had extremely profound effects throughout history (e.g. Karl Marx. Notice I said "profound", not necessarily "good") However, the percentage of reading that results in profound effects is very small.

I think it would be very interesting to compose a reading list, or a reading decision tree, that is as short as possible while communicating the most important possible ideas to someone, especially a young person.

2diegocaleiro7yWhat I mean't is " the percentage of reading that results in profound effects is very small"