All of Discredited's Comments + Replies

Terminology Thread (or "name that pattern")

An argument that halts in disagreement (or fails to halt in agreement) because the interlocutors are each waiting for another to provide a skillful assessment of their own inexpertly-referenced media sounds a lot like a software process deadlock condition in computer science. Maybe there's a more specific type of deadlock, livelock, resource starvation, ..., in the semantic neighborhood of your identified pattern.

Dropping references, while failing to disclaim your ability to evaluate the quality and relevance of topical media, could be called a violation ... (read more)

[LINK] Elon Musk interested in AI safety

DeepMind isn't doing safety engineering; they're doing standard AI. It doesn't matter if Elon Musk is interested in AI safety, if, after his deliberations, he invests in efforts to develop unsafe AI. Good intentions don't leak value into the consequences of your acts.

1AlexMennen8yHe said the investments were to "keep an eye on what's going on with artificial intelligence." I'm not sure how investments help with that, but perhaps DeepMind and Vicarious are willing to give certain information to people who invest in them that they wouldn't give otherwise?
1[anonymous]8yRight, but it's still good news, as it pushes the conversation from discussing whether or not AI is dangerous to discussing precisely the best organization to prevent unsafe AI. Right now, a report by MIRI on the specifics of MIRI vs DeepMind/Vicarious, if it magically came across Musk's desk, would have a chance of doing good. Before, it wouldn't. That's progress.
Rationality Quotes February 2014

You are never going to catch up, and neither is anyone else.

-- Gian-Carlo Rota

0simplicio8yMissing context, I think.
Tricky Bets and Truth-Tracking Fields

Bob will accept that some phrase X is meaningful if there is a test that can be performed whose outcome value depends on truth value of X. If there is such a test, then we can construct a further test of asking someone who has performed the original test what the outcome of the test was. Since the people who set up tests are usually honest, this test would also be a test of X (provided the original test exists).

If I ask an honest peasant how long the emperor's nose is, but I also suspect no one has ever seen the emperor, how much do I learn from her statem... (read more)

Why CFAR?

Do you choose that rephrasing because you don't see how MIRI's work could be harmful or because there is nothing CFAR can do in that case?

4Rob Bensinger8ySwitch out 'harmful' for 'aiming at the wrong goals', since that's the possibility cipher raised and Eliezer didn't. (Those goals might make MIRI useless; harmful isn't the only possibility.) I'd guess that Eliezer's rephrasing reflects (1) his vagueness about the means by which CFAR would act as game-changer, and (2) his being much more worried that MIRI lacks the ingenuity and intellectual firepower to achieve its goals than worried that MIRI's deepest values and concerns are misplaced. CFAR might also help in some low-probability scenarios, but it's the likelier scenarios that make Eliezer a CFAR supporter.
0lukeprog8yNope, Suppes [http://lesswrong.com/lw/iyy/from_philosophy_to_math_to_engineering/a0bi].
From Philosophy to Math to Engineering

The man on the left is Hans Reichenbach.

1lukeprog8yNope!
0gjm8yThat was one of my first guesses, but it doesn't seem to look much like him.
Polyphasic Sleep Seed Study: Reprise

No, I don't dislike that Brienne et al. ran the experiment. They can spend their time how they like, and quantitative self-help is admirable. But we didn't get to the quantitative part yet, so I'm very confused that this post was so well received. It reflects a problem more severe than community standards falling because individuals are unwilling to bear the cost of speaking out; individuals are actively encouraging low standards. Or that's how it seemed before people responded to me. Now my probability mass is mostly split between my values being weird or... (read more)

4ChristianKl8yThe community standard that get's promoted is that people get credit for taking action instead of creating credit for specific results that the action produced. Moving from theoretical anaylsis to real empirics is good.

I made the post despite not having detailed quantitative information yet because people are curious. I made a post before promising the results of a very high VOI experiment, so people kept sending me messages along the lines of, "Ok, the month of the experiment is over! What happened?" and I didn't want them to lose interest or think the whole thing had been abandoned. I think this post was fairly well received because it was effective at reassuring people that the good thing they care about continues to exist and be good. Further, it's provided... (read more)

Polyphasic Sleep Seed Study: Reprise

If adopting a weird sleep schedule has a high cost for the experimenter, that also offsets any potential payoff of adopting one on the experiment's basis. The experiment so far hasn't yielded any valuable results, because we already knew that a mild polyphasic schedule can be maintained (siestas), and that only running on naps is difficult (college students). Sleep deprivation is interesting and cognitive test results are fun to read; other than that novelty I don't see the VoI, because we already know with confidence what to expect from the test: slowed reactions and limited attention, with more extreme impairment for more deviant sleep schedules.

0ChristianKl8yIf we see people who do those experiments as cool that pays in some sense of the costs involved in doing the experiment. If someone sees that you get positive attention in this community for doing experiments that have the potential to produce valuable insights and that involve personal sacrifice that's a good thing.
3Dorikka8yThis is indeed what I expect, but I think you are more confident about it than I am -- I'm interested in seeing what's causing the difference. Can you link/cite the resources that caused you to update the most? (If you have a very strong prior against this sort of thing, that's fair game too.) If, in fact, a (strongly) polyphasic schedule did provide considerable advantages to a monophasic schedule, this would be very valuable information, if only because it could be used to the benefit of a large number of people. I'm sort of puzzled at why you dislike other people spending their resources on things that might help you, even if the chance of it doing so is small; even if you were purely a selfish agent, I don't see why you would discourage this. (One possibility is that alternative uses of the time of the people involved would help you more. Is this likely?)
0ChristianKl8yIt doesn't seem to be a post in Main but in Discussion.

I upvoted because somebody on the Internet said they were going to do something and then actually did it.

I upvoted out of gratitude for doing an experiment that involves personal sacrifice and has a high potential payoff for all of us, and to suggest that I eagerly await the cognitive battery results.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

For Snape, I was specifically thinking of the scene in Dumbledore's office where Harry reveals that he knows about the prophecy and Snape reacts without hesitation as though he hadn't heard of it. Snape was also a double agent during the war, and continues to maintain close relationships with Dumbledore and Lucius Malfoy. His actions do seem crude, awkward, uncontrolled or mostly defensive in other scenes such as in the bullying arc or his conversation with Quirrell in the forbidden forest in Chapter 77. But then, one can act with false impulsiveness too.

I suppose the characters are in a cold war and in the shadow of a hot war. That circumstance makes "offensive" deception in one's social presentation more useful.

7gattsuru8yThey're also in an environment where creating an artificial persona is not merely useful, but a fundamental survival tactic: each of these characters would be dead by now if they were not Occlumens (and Lord Mafloy is an Occlumens, see chapter 47), which requires the person to also juggle a separate and highly artificial persona. And of course, McGonagall acts similarly, even though her reaction is not similarly perfect, possibly because she's not a perfect Occlumens (and had just dealt with a full day of Rationalist!Harry). There's some correlation between IQ and various measures of social awareness, despite the stereotype to the opposite, but it is a learned ability and many experts either don't learn it, or harness it to different ends. Feymann's writings on public speaking and instruction suggest that he, for one example, was highly aware of how he made his words and how his public face appeared. At the same time, I'm not sure how much of that was foresight and how much was later introspection -- and artificially controlling the flow of a Congressional inquiry may be less 'creepy' than artificially controlling the flow of information to an eleven-year-old. ((Yudkowsky's style may be part of the issue, as well. As in /Three Worlds Collide/ and /Sword of Good/, character dialogue, even from 'normal' characters, comes across as artificial at times. That more than the complexity of thought may trigger the creepy vibe.))
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

Quirrell, Dumbledore, Snape, Harry, and (increasingly) Draco have something in common. They are all creepy. These characters are intentionally inauthentic - acting as though they posses the specific beliefs, preferences, and abilities that they want others to attribute to them.

I feel unusually strong revulsion about this kind of deception - more than toward someone hiding their faults to manage their appearance, much more than toward someone being tactful and withholding or biasing sensitive claims to avoid conflict.

When I try to unpack "creepy",... (read more)

9Viliam_Bur8yAs a sidenote, intelligent people may seem creepy to the general population even if they don't try to deceive anyone. The mere fact of being more intelligent makes them more difficult to model for the average person. Then, when their actions violate the (wrong) model, the author of the model may feel deceived. The basic human irrationality: "if things don't work according to my model, the problem is not with my model but somewhere else". Another contributing factor may be the illusion of transparency, when the more intelligent person thinks they made their intentions obvious to the people around them, but the average people don't get the message, and then they are surprised when the intelligent person does the (unclearly) announced thing. EDIT: Even the rational thing of "changing your opinion when faced with evidence in the opposite direction" may feel like a dishonesty to a person not used to this. ("Yesterday you believed X, and today you believe non-X; were you lying to me?")
4Nornagest8yConscious control over social presentation is a learned skill; it doesn't come in the same box with intelligence or rationality, although either or both might make it easier to pick up. I suspect it's prominent in Methods mainly because it serves the particular type of wheels-within-wheels plotting that Eliezer seems fond of. We could have a conversation at this point about whether constructed social presentation is unethical or "creepy", but I don't think it'd get us anywhere. Some people have the squick response, some don't. (Incidentally, I don't feel like Snape's got this in-story. He's certainly got a facade, but it's the sort you build semi-involuntarily when you hate parts of yourself and desperately want to hide them, not the kind you consciously build to optimize social outcomes. Harry does have it, but shouldn't have had the opportunity to develop it; it may be part of his Mysterious Dark Side/possible Harrymort package.)
[LINK] Hyperloop officially announced — predictions, anyone?

Big tube in the air rests on pylons / support towers. Maybe goes along a highway. Vehicle inside the tube has batteries for running a compressor. It pumps air away from its front to reduce air resistance, pumps below for suspension and behind. High subsonic speed (~700 mi/hr, 1100 km/hr). Accelerated by occasional linear induction motors on the tube, like a maglev train. Vehicle estimated to cost millions, tube estimated to cost billions. Conventional rails cost tens of billions. That's all from the abstract, much more inside.

1[anonymous]8ySeriously? o.O

(~700 mi/hr, 11000 km/hr)

No.

More "Stupid" Questions

Adding to the laundry list of explanations and trivializations, gender skew!

1gothgirl4206668yOh, wow, I liked this. Devastatingly cynical.
Rationality Quotes from people associated with LessWrong

"Taking up a serious religion changes one's very practice of rationality by making doubt a disvalue." ~ Orthonormal

Superrationality and network flow control

Another unsatisfying Nash equilibrium in traffic control I'd like to see analyzed from a modern decision theory perspective is Braess's Paradox.

2Pentashagon8yInitially it looks like so long as a sufficient number of agents are using a decision theory that can provably cooperate on one shot PD (as in the Modal Agent paper discussed recently) they can coordinate to decrease the individual cost below the Nash Equilibrium. The number of agents required depends on the network graph. Agents that can provably pick a Nash-suboptimal path if enough other agents provably pick complementary paths such that the individual cost is reduced will have lower costs than the original Nash Equilibrium. In the A-B network example on Wikipedia the number of agents required to cooperate would be >1000 to beat the 80 minute equilibrium cost by lowering the T/100 path costs below 35 minutes each by half the agents taking the start-A-end path and the other half taking the start-B-end path, leaving <3500 start-A-B-end paths.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93

Then he would have prepared for those >3 things failing to happen.

The path leading to disaster must be averted along every possible point of intervention.

~ Quirinus Xanatos Quirrell

RIP Doug Engelbart

Every time I hear "Rest in Peace" my mind corrects with "...except not resting or at peace". Does anyone have a secular, naturalistic world view analogue? Like "whom we should remember with honor", but catchy.

4advancedatheist9yHe has entered the Off-State. Which I prefer over superstitions about ordering dead people to "rest in peace," because brain preservationists want to turn death from a permanent off-state into a temporary and reversible off-state. Seriously, think about the traditional expression. We use the imperative tense of the verb "to rest," and it sounds like a spell one of our shamanistic ancestors came up with to keep ghosts from bothering the living.

One of Eliezer's stories (http://lesswrong.com/lw/p1/initiation_ceremony/) uses the formula "Is dead but not forgotten." It's not bad even if I personally would prefer "gone but not forgotten".

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

Draco and Lucius, Snape, Bellatrix, Amelia Bones. Maybe the Weasley parents or Nicholas Flamel. I haven't given up on Minerva. Grindelwald is still alive and undemented.

3Fhyve9yAnd mentioned numerous times.
1Ritalin9yIt would be awesome for the latter to show up...
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

Robin often displays unusual confusions. I think that stems from a reliance on his explicit memory over implicit memory. If he doesn't have a theory to account for why society fails to distinguish songs by whether their lyrics are fictional, as we do with literature, then he considers that a puzzle to solve, even if he's never wanted society to draw that category to aid him in selecting songs.

So when Robin asks, "Why do we appear to value X more than Y", he's not making any claim about how he feels about X and Y. He disregards his feelings and i... (read more)

Initial Thoughts on Personally Finding a High-Impact Career

Getting people to stop existing might not be the right thing to do, but there are many people who should not be created. All else equal, I feel people whose children would be at a high risk for horrible diseases like depression should avoid procreating until the state of genetic engineering or embryo selection is much advanced (in both reliability and generality of factors identified).

Robust Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma

Well, not at all for the literal complexity of agents, because we don't estimate the complexity of our peers. Aristotle thought the heart was the seat of intelligence, Shannon thought AGI could be built in a year, everyone and their mother anthropomorphizes inanimate objects like smoke alarms and printers.

I suspect perceived character traits that engender distrust, the Dark Triad traits, make the trait-possessor seem complex not because their brain must be described in more bits absolutely, but conditionally given the brain of the character judge. That is... (read more)

Tegmark's talk at Oxford

No. Elsewhere he has said "I believe that consciousness is the way information feels when being processed", but in this talk he seems to make a little bit of a retreat. He describes a positive singularity with p-zombie AI/robots that have perception and appear conscious, but aren't "aware" of the world around them. He makes no clarification of how perception differs from awareness and doesn't mention introspection at all.

0shminux9ySo... basically he doesn't know what he is talking about?
Finding interesting communities

What? Rock climbing demonstrates depth? Circus skills are virtuous?

Which hobbies are especially shallow and narcissistic? Arts, crafts, gardening, cooking? Team sport, extreme sport, cycling, karate, yoga? Romance novels, short films, video games? Genealogy, collecting, puzzle solving? Card games, brewing, stage magic, lock picking? Sailing, camping, fishing, geocaching, trainspotting?

You are right that a cluster exists, and not everyone will be a con-langing, rocket building, capoeira fighter, but the attributes you're naming don't select for that group (or any group really).

3sixes_and_sevens9yOK. I think I've figured out the miscommunication here. My claim isn't that these activities select for people who exhibit virtue and depth, but for people smart enough at signalling to pursue "vain" outcomes incidentally through indirect means, and wealthy enough to waste a lot of time doing it. As a personal example, I am currently learning authentic jazz dancing. On one level this is because I find it intrinsically enjoyable, but on another level I'm less proud of, it's because many women in my social circle exhibit intense arousal when they see a guy in a sharp suit bust out a sweet Charleston solo. There are more direct and less time-consuming ways of accomplishing this, but I don't much care for them. On one level, I don't much care for them because I find them dull and uninteresting, but on another level I'm less proud of, it's because I want to signal to a more discerning audience.
5sixes_and_sevens9yPerhaps "virtuous" and "shallow" aren't the ideal words to use, but they seemed to be pointing well-enough to the concept I was trying to get at. Let's say Albert has a ridiculously well-defined physique. Can you recognise that him saying "I do a lot of rock climbing" appears less narcissistic and shallow than "I spend hours and hours toning up at the gym"?