All of dlrlw's Comments + Replies

Open Thread: December 2009

no, no, no, you should be comparing the number of people who want to have great sex with a hot babe with the number of people who want to gain higher status. The answer for most everyone would be yes!! both! Because both were selected for by increased inclusive fitness.

Rationality quotes - May 2009

I think that should be 'pretext for war', not 'pretense for war'.

Rationality Quotes - April 2009

Alas, even those who are governed by reason take the chance that someday a sunken fact will rip the bottom out of their boat.

The odds are only somewhat less for this happening to those governed by reason.

Hard Takeoff

What is "FOOM"? Is it an acronym? What does it stand for?

Wordnik says "The sound of a muffled explosion." But that doesn't sound right. If AI goes FOOM, the explosion presumably won't be 'muffled'. :-)

0Lumifer6yFOOM, in the context of LW, is extremely rapid take-off of artificial intelligence. If an AI can improve itself and the rate at which it improves is itself a function of how good (=smart) it is, the growth of its capabilities will resemble exponential and at some point will rapidly escalate into the superhuman realm. That is FOOM.
1[anonymous]6yI think it may suggest a non-violent, non-destructive rapid expansion, like how a shaving foam goes foom :)
0Good_Burning_Plastic6yThe Jargon page [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Jargon] says "Onomatopoetic vernacular for an intelligence explosion." I have no idea why isn't something louder-sounding like "BOOM" (or "Boom!!!") instead either.
0JoshuaZ6yIt is sometimes used to suggest an extremely rapid AI self-improvement. I don't know where the word originates but I think it is intended as some sort of sound-effect.
An Alien God

This essay is wonderful. It is the first coherent and plausible defense of polytheism I've ever read. It is a much more intellectually satisfying version of creationism than monotheism.

And all just as an aside too, off the cuff. Kudos Mr. Yudkowsky. It really is a pleasure to read your work.

The Neglected Virtue of Scholarship

Seems to me you're asking the wrong question. I say, don't ask if there is a omnipotent God, that is making an unwarranted narrowing assumption. Why should it be either/or? Lots and lots of room in between the 'omnipotent God' theory and the 'no god at all' theory for 'medium potent god(s) theories.

And 'medium potent god' theories are not only inherently more likely than either of the extremes, they seem a lot more fruitful and interesting to think about, in terms of possible consequences.

I say, ask if there are beings of ANY kind that are mor... (read more)

So you say you're an altruist...

This whole speech makes me mad. The same people who urge us to not have kids, because of overpopulation, are urging us to spend all of our disposable income in supporting 'poor people', because they are in misery. And why are they in misery? Because they had more kids than they could afford to take care of. And their parents did. And their parents before them.

You on the other hand, are descended from a long line of prudent people. Who though about the consequences of their actions and decided that the short term pleasure wasn't worth the long... (read more)

Circular Altruism

The problem here is that you don't KNOW that the probability is 90%. What if it's 80%? or 60%? or 12%? In real life you will only run the experiment once. The probabilities are just a GUESS. The person who is making the guess has no idea what the real probabilities are. And as Mr. Yudkowsky has pointed out elsewhere, people consistently tend to underestimate the difficulty of a task. They can't even estimate with any accuracy how long it will take them to finish their homework. If you aren't in the business of saving people's lives in EXAC... (read more)

"NRx" vs. "Prog" Assumptions: Locating the Sources of Disagreement Between Neoreactionaries and Progressives (Part 1)

Well, it's perfectly obvious that as soon as convenient and cheap birth control becomes widely available, then many people will not have children. This reduces the birthrate. HOWEVER, the people that do have children will have been, on average, self-selected. And one thing you can be sure of, they will be over-represented in the psychological category of "People who really like kids"

That being the case, one has to assume that all our descendents, ultimately, will be extremely philoprogenic. Because all the people that deliberately don'... (read more)

The Psychological Unity of Humankind

I've got to disagree with this one. Let's take a concrete example, say pity. The ability to feel pity is a complex adaptation, and so all persons feel pity. However HOW MUCH any one person feels pity for others is a highly variable quantity. It varies dramatically from person to person, and from situation to situation; moreover, some people, (eg psycopaths) don't feel any pity at all: their pity mechanism is broken, defective. Therefore the only conclusion you can draw from the alleged "Psychological unity of humankind" is that they will f... (read more)

Interpersonal Entanglement

Well, obviously the correct decision isn't catpersons OR human partner. The correct decsion is catpersons AND human partner.

Although I would say that in many many instances the average person wouldn't be a more satisfying sex partner than the average catperson. And that goes double for when the catperson is designed by genetically modified to have a human body and a cat's brain, which is probably the quickest path to catpersons from here.

So you say you're an altruist...

The real question is, is the ultimate value maximizing the number of human-years? How about the quest for knowledge? Improvement of the species?

Is saving 10 people from starvation (ie, funding the continued existence of 10 people, engaging in the typical activities of a subsistence agriculturist, and experiencing the normal pleasures/pains of a subsistence agriculturist's life, of greater value than, say, funding one person working to figure out how to increase human being's peak IQ? [although, of course, fill in here the research question t... (read more)

0Good_Burning_Plastic6yThe former may be more terminally valuable for certain value systems, but as far as I can tell the latter is more instrumentally valuable for pretty much all reasonable human value systems.