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Link: That Time a Guy Tried to Build a Utopia for Mice and it all Went to Hell

Possible explanation: After a certain point of population growth the mice cannot keep track of all the individuals in their group (i.e. in the enclosure) and in nature this would usually result in a non-violent split of the population into two groups that go their own way. But with nowhere to go the mice created smaller subgroups that couldn't go anywhere yet still tried to maintain their own territory, mates etc. which led to conflict.

This would be analogous to humans having the mental capacity to keep up relations with something like 150 to 300 people. If primitive hunter gatherers grew beyond that limit it would result in the exodus of some part of that population into a new group that went elsewhere, probably mainly to retain group cohesion but in part also because the resources needed for survival at any one place were limited. The main reasons why we have not descended into intra-tribe violence once we started to live in permanent settlements and larger villages are probably social innovations as well as recognizing and sharing the benefits of larger scale village structures. Both these things seem to be beyond mouse brains.

Just brainstorming here.

P: 0 <= P <= 1

I'm tempted to agree with DragonGod on a weaker form (or phrasing) of the "I exist" proposition:

I would defend the proposition that my feeling of subjective experience (independent of whether or not I am mistaken about literally everything I think and believe) really does exist with a probability of 1. And even if my entire experience was just a dream or simulated on some computer inside a universe where 2+2=3 actually holds true, the existence of my subjective experience (as opposed to whatever "I" might mean) seems beyond any possible doubt.

Even if every single one of my senses and my entire map of reality (even including the concept of reality itself) was entirely mistaken in every possible aspect, there would still be such a thing as having/being my subjective experience. It's the one and only true axiom in this world that I think we can assign P=1 to.

Especially if you don't conceive of the word "exist" as meaning "is a thing within the base level of reality as opposed to a simulation."

Doing a big survey on work, stress, and productivity. Feedback / anything you're curious about?

Background: My wife and I are both studying psychology, I'm doing my M.Sc. she does a very similar study on health risks at the workplace (an adaptive one, if general questions are answered "unfavorably" (i.e. indicator a health risk at the workplace is present), then a handful of more in-depth related questions to pinpoint the exact problem are given.

I didn't take the test yet, but just by reading ChristianKI's objections/suggestions (with which I agree) you need to really clarify the questions.

Here's a helpful piece of advice I've been given: Don't think about if the question is understandable, ask yourself if there is any chance at all that it could possibly be misunderstood by someone somewhere and change it as often as you need until that is no longer the case.

Is life worth living?

I don't actually think people want to die. I think people think they want to die.

When I have this discussion I often try to paint this scenario: It's easy for you to say you'd want to die now, but imagine for a moment that you live in a future where two of your three neighbors already got their life extension treatment and felt super young, vitalized and healthy again, while you're pushing 60 and you notice how you're slowly falling apart. Many celebrities do it routinely, and eventually even some of your closest family members become convinced and get the treatment as well and some of them even keep pushing you on why the hell you haven't done it yet. If you were not making this decision in some theoretical vacuum but inside some actually plausible social context, I don't think you would possibly choose to just die while everyone else around you is having fun or begging you with tears in their eyes to not be a fucking traditionalist moron about this imagined non-issue.

Usually a lot of people then switch gears into justifying how its probably not possible anyway instead of actually engaging that particular argument and I shift gears into ending the conversation. They'll do it anyway - I know it, you know it and maybe they know it too now.

Is life worth living?

Agreed, there does seem to be no practical difference for the you-in-bed. But that feature seems to be the whole point of this scenario, so I think pointing that out is just a form of debasing the thought-experiment (which also ends with the sentence "if you were forced to pick", I might add).

Initially I thought I'd pick #2. My life was kind of fine enough, so I'd rather prefer to give a copy of me the privilege of experiencing my life than not.

However, assuming world#take2 is populated by "real people" (aka. complete simulations, not just some p-zombie Truman show shenanigans with fake "people outputs" who lack subjective experience) the question really becomes something else: Does the "video-clip" that was your life contain enough fun-for-you-and-others to outweigh the suffering of all the real/perfectly simulated people that would be re-living their existences alongside you? Kind of makes me tend strongly towards #1 just to get it over and done with, there's just still too much shit happening in this world. Just to be safe in order to not commit atrocities for a bit of mediocre hedonistic fun it is #1 for me. Life's fun but who needs it.

This entire thing is super confused. A lot of complexity and assumptions are hidden inside your words, seemingly without you even realizing it.

The whole point of using a formal language is that IF your premises / axioms are correct, AND you only use logically allowed operations, THEN what comes out at the tail end should equal truth. However, you are really just talking with letters acting as placeholders for what could just as well be simply more words:

Committing on A's part, causes B to commit to defect (and vice versa). committing leads to outcomes ranked 3rd and 4th in their preferences. As A and B are rational, they do not commit.

What does "commit" mean?

As A is not committing, A's strategy is either predict(B) or !predict(B).

What could it even mean to not commit and !predict(B)? How is not predicting B just another way of committing to defect/collaborate?

If A predicts B will defect, A can cooperate or defect. If A predicts B will cooperate, A can cooperate or defect, Vice versa.

They can cooperate or defect whether or not they predict or don't predict each other, because that is all they can do anyway so this statement has zero information content.

The above assignment is circular and self-referential. If A and/or B tried to simulate it, it leads to a non terminating recursion of the simulations.

What makes you possibly say that with such confidence at this point in all this confusion?

You should google "cargo cult science" by Feynman, because It seems like there is also such a thing as cargo cult rationality and frankly I think you're doing it. I'm not trying to be mean and it's not like I could do these kind of mental gymnastics better than you but you can't do it it either yet and the sooner you realize it the better for you.

Emotional labour

With your cancer event - how could you be sure that the partner would not want to talk about it or be involved in the situation?

She was under a lot of stress due to an ungodly amount of near simultaneous university exams and under high pressure of failing her course if she didn't ace all of them (luckily she pulled through). She had also lost her father to cancer about a year before this event and was still suffering the effects. In fact, with the death of her father she had lost both her parents and next to her brother I'm her "only real family" and we had been together for about five years at that point.

My prediction of how she would have reacted to the possibility of me having cancer was that she would not have been able to focus on her studies and exams very well, possibly fail an education she had invested years of her life and a huge sum of money into and generally have an unbelievably miserable time during the weeks until anything conclusive about the lump would have been found. I on the other hand was actually fairly fine during the whole affair and didn't even have trouble falling asleep. Either it was going to kill me or not, and if there was something I could do then I'd do whatever it takes, but I was not going to lose sleep over something that to me felt maybe like a 40 - 60% chance of it being cancer or nothing. A rational / stoic mindset about differentiation what you can and what you cannot control in your life and the knowledge to clearly separate those two helped me a lot with that I think.

To me it was not even remotely an option to tell her, I did what I think any good partner should have done in the situation I described above: Suck it up and don't let anything show. When I eventually told her afterwards she did get somewhat mad about it but conceded it was the right decision...

How could I even face myself in the mirror today if I had simply told her about it and she had failed her education as a result of it - especially after it turned out to be nothing (though even if it was cancer I think the same would apply)? I think I did precisely the right thing, what she would have wanted was irrelevant, the only person who really had "a choice" in this scenario was me.

Emotional labour

Two counter-examples involving my SO in cases where we both chose option 1 and both felt it was the correct decision.

Event + option 1: I became aware I was pregnant with your child right before you left in order to visit your parents over the Christmas and New Year holidays. I kept it from you during all of your vacation because I knew it would screw up your whole stay with your parents and friends. I predicted you'd prefer to deal with it later and in person.

Event + option 1: I (not known to be paranoid about personal health) found a very suspicious lump in a very suspicious place in my body. I immediately went to get it checked, but since I predicted you'd be extremely worried about me I did not tell you about it until after my second check-up months later, so you would not have to worry about losing me to cancer like you recently did one of your parents.

We agree that in both cases these were good decisions, but those are rather extreme cases with a very high emotional cost to the other person compared to breaking a vase or something in the low range of suffering.

My suspicion: Preferring option 2 over option 1 across all applicable cases seems too generalized and wrong. I suspect there is a point of magnitude in emotional cost to another person, after which you might also feel that option 1 would be preferred by both parties - what do you think?

Another real-world-example I'm personally familiar with that feels very related to this one, but without the intention to ever let the emotionally impacted person actually know (i.e. direct lying) is this situation: Dear god-fearing bed-ridden grandma, your poor son died peacefully of a heart attack. (As opposed to slit his wrists in the bathroom while drunk).

Post ridiculous munchkin ideas!

Could very well be true. But it leaves open the curious question what on earth I would be looking for in the ex-eastern block ;)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014)

Be honest, do you really actually fear cringing when you re-read your stuff months or years from now? Sounds to me like an invented reason to mask a much more plausible fear: Looking foolish in front of others by saying foolish things. Well in case you do make a fool of yourself you always have the option of admitting "back then I was foolish in saying that and I have changed my mind because of X". In this communuty being able to do that is usually accompanied with a slight status gain rather than severe status punishment and ridicule, so no need to worry about that.

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