Worried that typical commenters at LW care way less than I expected about good epistemic practice. Hoping I'm wrong.

Software developer and EA with interests including programming language design, international auxiliary languages, rationalism, climate science and the psychology of its denial.

Looking for someone similar to myself to be my new best friend:

❖ Close friendship, preferably sharing a house ❖ Rationalist-appreciating epistemology; a love of accuracy and precision to the extent it is useful or important (but not excessively pedantic) ❖ Geeky, curious, and interested in improving the world ❖ Liberal/humanist values, such as a dislike of extreme inequality based on minor or irrelevant differences in starting points, and a like for ideas that may lead to solving such inequality. (OTOH, minor inequalities are certainly necessary and acceptable, and a high floor is clearly better than a low ceiling: an "equality" in which all are impoverished would be very bad) ❖ A love of freedom ❖ Utilitarian/consequentialist-leaning; preferably negative utilitarian ❖ High openness to experience: tolerance of ambiguity, low dogmatism, unconventionality, and again, intellectual curiosity ❖ I'm a nudist and would like someone who can participate at least sometimes ❖ Agnostic, atheist, or at least feeling doubts

Wiki Contributions


While Annie didn't reply to the "confirm/deny" tweet, she did quote-tweet ittwice:

Wow, thank you. This feels like a study guide version of a big chunk of my therapy discussions. Yes can confirm accuracy. Need some time to process, and then can specify details of what happened with both my Dad and Grandma’s will and trust

Thank you more than words for your time and attention researching. All accurate in the current form, except there was no lawyer connected to the “I’ll give you rent and physical therapy money if you go back on Zoloft”

Annie didn't say specifically that Jack sexually abused her, though; her language indicated some unspecified lesser abuse that may or may not have been sexual.

Neither Sam nor Annie count as "the outgroup". I'm sure some LWers disagree with Sam about how to manage the development of AGI, but if Sam visited LW I expect it would be a respectful two-way discussion, not a flame war like you'd expect with an "outgroup". (caveat: I don't know how attitudes about Sam will change as a result of the recent drama at OpenAI.)

The teacher looks a bit apologetic, but persists: “‘Ocean’ is spelt with a ‘c’ rather than an ‘sh’; this makes sense, because the ‘e’ after the ‘c’ changes its sound…”

I like how true-to-life this is. In fact it doesn't makes sense, as 'ce' is normally pronounced with 's', not 'sh', so the teacher is unwittingly making this hard for the child. Many such cases. (But also many cases where the teacher's reasoning is flawless and beautiful and instantly rejected.)

This post seems to be about Conflation Fallacies (especially subconscious ones) rather than a new concept involving buckets, so I'm not a big fan of the terminology, but the discussion is important & worthwhile so +1 for that, though it seems like a better title would be '"Flinching away from truth" is often caused by internal conflation" or "bucket errors" if you like.

Though I don't remember people saying explicitly that Eliezer Yudkowsky was a better philosopher than Kant, I would guess many would have said so.

Reminds me of a Yudkowsky quote:

Science isn't fair.  That's sorta the point.  An aspiring rationalist in 2007 starts with a huge advantage over an aspiring rationalist in 1957.  It's how we know that progress has occurred.

To me the thought of voluntarily embracing a system explicitly tied to the beliefs of one human being, who's dead, falls somewhere between the silly and the suicidal. 

So it's not that Eliezer is a better philosopher. Kant might easily have been a better philosopher, though it's true I haven't read Kant. But I expect Eliezer to be more advanced by having started from a higher baseline.

(However, I do suspect that Eliezer (like most of us) isn't skilled enough at the art he described, because as far as I've seen, the chain of reasoning in his expectation of ruinous AGI on a short timeline seems, to me, surprisingly incomplete and unconvincing. My P(near-term doom) is shifted upward as much based on his reputation as anything else, which is not how it should be. Though my high P(long-term doom) is more self-generated and recently shifted down by others.)

Rather, it's fine to say "that's a FGCA" if it's a FCGA, and not fine if it's not.

FGCAs derail conversations. Categorizing "that's a FGCA" as a FCGA is feeding the trolls.

If someone accuses you of making a FGCA when you didn't, you can always just explain why it's not a FGCA. Otherwise, you f**ked up. Admit your error and apologize.

Someone said to me "you're just repeating a lot of the talking points on the other side."

I pointed out that this was just a FGCA, so they linked to this post and said "Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to list Fully General Counter Arguments. Of course that sentiment probably counts as a Fully General Counterargument: Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel." Did I break him?

So Q=inner alignment? Seems like person 2 not only pointed to inner alignment explicitly (so it can no longer be "some implicit assumption that you might not even notice you have"), but also said that it "seems to contain almost all of the difficulty of alignment to me". He's clearly identified inner alignment as a crux, rather than as something meant "to be cynical and dismissive". At that point, it would have been prudent of person 1 to shift his focus onto inner alignment and explain why he thinks it is not hard.

Note that your post suddenly introduces "Y" without defining it. I think you meant "X".

I don't really know how GPTs work, but I read §"Only modifying certain residual stream dimensions" and had a thought. I imagined a "system 2" AGI that is separate from GPT but interwoven with it, so that all thoughts from the AGI are associated with vectors in GPT's vector space.

When the AGI wants to communicate, it inserts a "thought vector" into GPT to begin producing output. It then uses GPT to read its own output, get a new vector, and subtract it from the original vector. The difference represents (1) incomplete representation of the thought and (2) ambiguity. Could it then produce more output based somehow on the difference vector, to clarify the original thought, until the output eventually converges to a complete description of the original thought? It might help if it learns to say things like "or rather", "I mean", and "that came out wrong. I meant to say" (which are rare outputs from typical GPTs). Also, maybe an idea like this could be used to enhance summarization operations, e.g. by generating one sentence at a time, and for each sentence, generating 10 sentences and keeping only the one that best minimizes the difference vector.

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