Wiki Contributions


Astrobiology III: Why Earth?

Have you ever seen this paper that claims a complexity analysis of the Viking lander experiment results can't be explained by chemistry alone? Interesting stuff...


Neutralizing Physical Annoyances

I found a trick somewhere on the net for clearing a blocked nose (even very blocked). Hold your nose, inhale deeply, then repeat tipping your head back for four seconds, and then forward for four seconds. Breath out slowly. Then hold your breath as long as you can, still tipping forward and back every four seconds and holding your nose. Eventually you inhale and all the gunk just sort of flows out of your nasal cavity. Warning... much gagging, spluttering and spitting at this point. But it's worth it.

How could one (and should one) convert someone from pseudoscience?

Possibly asking something like "you're good at finding points that back up your beliefs, but you also need to spend time thinking about points that might contradict your beliefs. How many contradictory points can you think of over the next five minutes?"

Probability of coming into existence again ?

I think you are making an unjustified assumption, e.g. "... that I will pop into existence again...", that there is an "I". There is a pattern of information that feels that it experiences qualia, and then later possibly there is another pattern of information that feels that it experiences qualia, and possibly with additional information representing memories corresponding to the first set of information. Shifting to this viewpoint dissolves the question. If we accept that qualia is an illusion then we still have an interesting question about how the illusion occurs, but many other tricky issues go away.

Discussion of concrete near-to-middle term trends in AI

Advanced quickly for a while due to a complete change in algorithm, but then we seem to have hit a plateau again. It's still an enormous climb to world champion level. It's not obvious that this will be achieved.

SHRDLU, understanding, anthropomorphisation and hindsight bias

Looking at SHRDLU output just trying to recreate that looks pretty challenging for the modern coder, let alone decades ago. A little Lisp goes a long way.

Thoughts on How Consciousness Can Affect the World

If you are trying to be all formal about it, it's good to start by defining your terminology. What do you mean by Consciousness and what do you mean by existence?

I'm trying to be slightly formal, but without getting too bogged down. Instead I would prefer to take a few shortcuts to see if the road ahead looks promising at all. So far I feel that the best I've managed is to say "If a system seems to itself to experience consciousness in the same way that we seem to experience it, then we can call it conscious".

I am pretty sure you have no firm understanding of what you are talking about,

Not as sure as I am ;-) But I am trying to improve my understanding, and have no intention of writing philosophy papers.

Timeless Physics

So it sounds like you're saying the details may all be correct but the high level interpretation of the results is significantly overreaching. Not too unexpected, I guess.

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