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Well, if we really wanted to other-optimize we'd try to change your outlook on life, but I'm sure you get a lot of such advice already.

One thing you could try is making websites to sell advertising and maybe amazon clickthroughs. You would have to learn some new skills and have a little bit of discipline (and have some ideas about what might be popular). You could always start with the games you are interested in.

There's plenty of information out there about doing this. It will take a while to build up the income, and you may not be motivated enough to learn what you need to do to succeed.


"Useful" is negatively correlated with "Correct theory"... on a grand scale.

Sure, having a correct theory has some positive correlation with "useful",

Which is it?

I think all the further you can go with this line of thought is to point out that lots of things are useful even if we don't have a correct theory for how they work. We have other ways to guess that something might be useful and worth trying.

Having a correct theory is always nice, but I don't see that our choice here is between having a correct theory or not having one.


Thank you for the detailed reply, I think I'll read the book and revisit your take on it afterward.


I suppose for me it's the sort of breathless enthusiastic presentation of the latest brainstorm as The Answer. Also I believe I am biased against ideas that proceed from an assumption that our minds are simple.

Still, in a rationalist forum, if one is to not be bothered by dismissing the content of material based on the form of its presentation, one must be pretty confident of the correlation. Since a few people who seem pretty smart overall think there might be something useful here, I'll spend some time exploring it.

I am wondering about the proposed ease with which we can purposefully rewire control circuits. It is counterintuitive to me, given that "bad" ones (in me at least) do not appear to have popped up one afternoon but rather have been reinforced slowly over time.

If anybody does manage to achieve lasting results that seem like purposeful rewiring, I'm sure we'd all like to hear descriptions of your methods and experience.


Not to be discouraging, but is that really the "logical" reasoning used at the time? They use the word "rationalization" for a reason. "I can always work toward my goals tomorrow instead" will always be true.

Hopefully you had fun dancing, nothing wrong with it at all, but it does seem odd to be so self-congratulatory about deciding to go out and party.


Yes, I'm afraid this post is kind of impenetrable, although cousin_it's contribution helped. What is "RDS"?

Also, continually saying "People should..." do this and that and the other thing might be received better if you (meaning Michael, not Vladimir) start us off by doing a little of the desired analysis yourself.


If you're wondering whether I'm aware that I can figure out how to steal software licenses, I am.

ETA: I don't condemn those who believe that intellectual property rights are bad for society or immoral. I don't feel that way myself, though, so I act accordingly.


No specific use cases or examples, just throwing out ideas. On the one hand it would be cool if the notes one jots down could self-organize somehow, even a little bit. Now OpenCog is supposed by its creators to be a fully general knowledge representation system so maybe it's possible to use it as a sort of notation (like a probabilistic-logic version of mathematica? or maybe with a natural language front end of some kind? i think Ben Goertzel likes lojban so maybe an intermediate language like that)

Anyway, it's not really a product spec just one possible sort of way someday to use machines to make people smarter.

(but that was before I realized we were talking about pills to make people stop liking their favorite tv shows, heh)


Thanks for the motivation, by the way -- I have toyed with the idea of getting Mathematica many times in the past but the $2500 price tag dissuaded me. Now I see that they have a $295 "Home Edition", which is basically the full product for personal use. I bought it last night and started playing with it. Very nifty program.


If the point of this essay was to advocate pharmaceutical research, it might have been more effective to say so, it would have made the process of digesting it smoother. Given the other responses I think I am not alone in failing to guess that this was pretty much your sole target.

I don't object to such research; a Bostrom article saying "it might not be impossible to have some effect" is weak support for a 10 IQ point avergage-gain pill, but that's not a reason to avoid looking for one. Never know what you'll find. I'm still not clear what the takeaway from this essay is for a lesswrong reader, though, unless it is to suggest that we should experiment ourselves with the available chemicals.

I've tried many of the ones that are obtainable. Despite its popularity, I found piracetam to have no noticeable effect even after taking it for extended periods of time. Modafinil is the most noticeable of all; it doesn't seem to do much for me while I'm well-rested but does remove some of the sluggishness that can come with fatigue, although I think the results on an IQ test would be unnoticeable (maybe a 6 hour test, something to highlight endurance, could show a measurable difference). Picamilone has a subtler effect that I'm not sure how to characterize. I'm thinking of trying Xanthinol NIcotinate, but have not yet done so. Because of the small effects I do not use these things as a component of my general lifestyle, both for money reasons and the general uncertainty of long-term effects (also mild but sometimes unpleasant side effects). The effects of other more common drugs like caffeine and other stimulants are probably stronger than any of the "weird" stuff, and are widely known. Thinking beyond IQ, there are of course many drugs with cognitive effects that could be useful on an occasional-use basis, but that's beyond the scope of this discussion.

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