Evan O'Leary


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What are questions?

Can all questions be re-written as statements where you have to fill-in-the-blank?

If so, they may have helped people historically *cooperate* in constructing explanations with *discussion*, because they communicate knowledge, but also communicate that although what was said is incomplete as an explanation, the person who said it is done talking and someone else trying to complete the explanation won't be punished for interrupting.

Criticism Scheduling and Privacy

Great article. This covers more of morality than most lesswrongers will notice, I guess. If:

Criticism = an explanation of a problem with an idea

Idea = a recipe (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1407.0681.pdf) that programs a vehicle to execute it

Problem = a conflict between two ideas

Explanation (of a problem with an idea) = a virtual reality environment in which the idea dies when executed by the environment (i.e. executed recursively by a vehicle that bottoms out in the environment.)

, then this idea that it's wrong to criticise people unless they ask for it can explain:

  • why it's wrong to kill an animal - e.g. by putting an animal in a slaughtering machine, which is basically a virtual reality environment that contains an explanation of problems with the animal's survival strategies.
  • why it's wrong to hurt people by physically injuring them - if someone executes a program with their body (e.g. executing a decision to punch someone with their arm), then their body is a virtual reality environment that someone near it is in. It contains the explanation of problems with the ideas for survival that the person near it has. Ideas (programs/recipes) that the body executes conflict with the ideas the person near it who gets injured has.

>So to be relevant to your problems at any given time, only certain kinds of criticism are helpful — namely, criticism that is wanted. The rest is useless or actively harmful.

What about a technologically poor, isolated tribe of people who migrated away from a bigger tribe early on in life - and none of them have died yet so they haven't discovered aging - receiving unsolicited criticism from members of an advanced future country that they are going to die if they don't use specific anti-aging technologies?

That is wanted in some sense, but it does seem to be an invasion of privacy and disruption of their schedule of criticism.

Maybe this only applies to people who have immortality - safety from risks from unintelligent sources. (Because risks of harm or death from other intelligences would be covered by this - prohibited by the rule against invading another intelligence's privacy)

>And it needs to address your problems and ideas — not abstract 'problems', or someone else's ideas.

Interesting - what are the abstract 'problems' you're talking about (do they include problems with our understandings of abstractions like problems in math)?

Searching for Bayes-Structure

Non-probabilistic formulations of the laws of thermodynamics now exist: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1608.02625.pdf

They are better than other formulations: e.g. they are scale independent and can explain the time asymmetry of the 2nd law.