All of fubarobfusco's Comments + Replies

I might make the move of saying: "Let's pretend for a moment, that people really conspire. Would that be really that problematic?"

We do really conspire! Conspiring is at best a handy social and economic coordination activity. At worst it is a big bunch of no fun, where people have to pretend to be conspiring while they'd really rather be working on personal projects, flirting, or playing video games; and everyone comes out feeling like they need to hide their freakish incompetence at pursuing the goals of the conspiracy.

We usually call it "having meetings" though.

Are you claiming that a being must be a moral agent in order to be a moral patient?

Yes, with the possible exception of moral patients with a reasonable likelihood of becoming moral agents in the future.

I was on an Android tablet, which I use in a laptop-like fashion (landscape mode, with keyboard) but which usually gets the mobile version of sites that try to be mobile-friendly.

The section presumes that the audience agrees wrt veganism. To an audience who isn't on board with EA veganism, that line comes across as the "arson, murder, and jaywalking" trope.

A lot of people who disagree with veganism agree that factory farming is terrible. Like, more than 50% of the population I'd say.

Advanced rationality techniques, at least when applied to one's self-conception and life choices, are basically therapy. "Failures of basic rationality" are often better described as "mental health issues". Therapy is how you deal with mental health issues. People with mental health issues need more therapy/advanced rationality, not less! I've seen it hypothesized that one reason we have so many mentally ill rationalists is because people with mental health issues must learn rationality in order to function, at least to some degree tha

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I'm curious if there's much record of intentional communities that aren't farming communes.

Oneida comes to mind. They had some farming (it was upstate New York in the 1850s, after all) but also a lot of manufacturing — most famously silverware. The community is long gone, but the silverware company is still around.

We should increase awareness of old fairy tales with a jinn who misinterprets wishes.

The most popular UFAI story I'm aware of is "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".

Sticking with European folktales that were made into classic Disney cartoons, maybe the analogy to be made is "AI isn't Pinocchio. It's Mickey's enchanted brooms. It doesn't want to be a Real Boy; it just wants to carry water. The danger isn't that it will grow up to be a naughty boy if it doesn't listen to its conscience. It's that it cannot care about anything other than carrying wa... (read more)

Why do you care if you're running in a simulation? Well, if you're a piece of malware, like a computer virus or Internet worm, you care whether you're being analyzed by an anti-malware researcher. If you're running in a researcher's lab instead of actually infecting target systems, you'd want to shut down so the researcher can't observe your real behavior and find out how to exterminate you. However, this means that if you can be fooled into believing you're running in a simulation when you're not, you can be made to shut down in the wild.

Yep, that happen... (read more)

Why do you think a piece of software has the same goals as it's creator? My conscious planning mind doesn't have the same goals as evolution. Current software doesn't even have goals, it has behaviors. Ascribing desires and decision-making to it leads to incorrect beliefs. AIs will have goals, but they'll be influenced and shaped by their creators rather than being fully specified.

Harry Frankfurt's "On Bullshit" introduced the distinction between lies and bullshit. The liar wants to deceive you about the world (to get you to believe false statements), whereas the bullshitter wants to deceive you about his intentions (to get you to take his statements as good-faith efforts, when they are merely meant to impress).

We may need to introduce a third member of this set. Along with lies told by liars, and bullshit spread by bullshitters, there is also spam emitted by spambots.

Like the bullshitter (but unlike the liar), the spambot... (read more)

To me it seems troll is also an important category. Most journalists don't care whether you believe what they write but care that you engage with their writing. Whether you love it or hate it is secondary when you share the post on facebook and twitter.

Caution: This is not just a survey. It is also a solicitation to create a public online profile.

In the future, please consider separating surveys from solicitations; or disclosing up front that you are not just conducting a survey.

When I got to the part of this that started asking for personally identifying information to create a public online profile, it felt to me like something sneaky was going on: that my willingness to help with a survey was being misused as an entering-wedge to push me to do something I wouldn't have chosen to do.

I considered — for ... (read more)

6Peter Wildeford6y
Thanks for the feedback. I added a paragraph to above saying: "We're also using this as a way to build up the online EA community, such as featuring people on a global map of EAs and with a list of EA Profiles. This way more people can learn about the EA community. We will ask you in the survey if you would like to join us, but you do not have to opt-in and you will be opted-out by default."

Just a few groups that have either aimed at similar goals, or have been culturally influential in ways that keep showing up in these parts —

  • The Ethical Culture movement (Felix Adler).
  • Pragmatism / pragmaticism in philosophy (William James, Charles Sanders Peirce).
  • General Semantics (Alfred Korzybski).
  • The Discordian Movement (Kerry Thornley, Robert Anton Wilson).
  • The skeptic/debunker movement within science popularization (Carl Sagan, Martin Gardner, James Randi).

General Semantics is possibly the closest to the stated LW (and CFAR) goals of improving ... (read more)

Maybe starting the Church of the Frost Giants and declaring cryonic suspension to be a religiously mandated funerary practice would work to that end.

I think actually reviving some ice mice might be a bigger step, though.

What does "successful" look like here? Number of patients in cryonic storage? Successfully revived tissues or experimental animals?

0J Thomas Moros6y
To me, success would be the number of patient's signed up for cryonics, greater cultural acceptance and recognition of cryonics as a reasonable patient choice from the medical field and government.

In many towns in the US, high school sports (especially football) are not just a recreational activity for students, but rather a major social event for the whole community.

This is an algorithm for producing filter bubbles, rather than for discovering or implementing community norms.

String substitution isn't truth-preserving; there are some analogies and some disanalogies there.

One possibility: Ensure that the benefits of AI accrue to everyone generally, rather than exclusively to the teeny-tiny fraction of humanity who happen to own their own AI business.

I feel like it's rather obvious that this is approximately what is meant. The people who talk of democratizing AI are, mostly, not speaking about superintelligence or do not see it as a threat (with the exception of Elon Musk, maybe).
s/AI/capital/ Now, where have I heard this before..?

Composing a comment and then deciding not to post it can be a good form of rubber-ducking.

Or an e-mail. (If you leave the "To:" field empty, there is no risk of sending it accidentally.)
Ha, it's true, good catch. I usually let a long comment ferment some minutes before clicking the 'comment' button. Sometimes I end up deleting the whole thing.

I think this idea is worth seeking.

I read it. Which is better, or

And "domain registration", which many web hosting providers will do for you. You can also start with the domain and then add services such as web sites and email, for instance via Google Domains:

Your claim seems to factor into two parts: "There exist charities that are just selling signaling", and "All charities are that kind of charity." The first part seems obviously true; the second seems equally obviously false.

Some things that I would expect from a charity that was just selling signaling:

  • Trademarking or branding. It would need to make it easy for people to identify (and praise) its donors/customers, and resist imitators. (Example: the Komen breast-cancer folks, who have threatened lawsuits over other charities' use of th
... (read more)

See Scott's "The Goddess of Everything Else" for a poetical exposition on the subject.

So what was the wrong idea "geocentrism" about, then?

Some tribal lore tells us that it had to do with the centrality of humanity in God's plan; or the qualitative difference between earthly and celestial things: the sun, moon, and stars belong to the heavens; the earth is below them; and hell is under the earth.

But maybe it's more to do with a wrong idea of "revolving" instead. The ancients had no concept of freefall. When they imagined an object revolving around another, they may have imagined a sling-stone being swung in a sling. &quo... (read more)

Politically, taxing gasoline is utterly commonplace and accepted. Every developed country except Mexico does it, and every U.S. state.

In the US it is not high enough to fully pay for the highway infrastructure because it's politically unpopular.

Is there a directory of the gods and monsters somewhere? If not, I think I'll start one.

It's been commented on before, once or twice!

Hitherto [1848] it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny, which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish. Only when, in addition to just

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Not sure if this should make me feel better or worse.

It is written by the sage Brandeis that "the remedy [to harmful speech] is more speech, not enforced silence."

In order for this remedy to be applied, someone has to actually compose the "more speech" that rebuts the harmful speech. This paper appears to be a set of recommendations for how to go about doing that; crafting "more speech" so that it actually constitutes an effective and relevant rebuttal against speech that advocates violence. I didn't notice anything in this paper that recommended suppression or censorship, or ev... (read more)

I'd upvote this five times if I could - but I suspect the reason we're all hung up on the title is that nobody but you actually has read the paper before commenting. Which is a perfect little example of how people often get sucked into a debate about terminology and end up neglecting the actual subject.

"I got caught lying — again — so now I'm going to tell you why lying is actually better than telling the truth."

Seriously ... just stop already.

You seem to be suggesting that I had previously advocated being as transparent as possible. On the contrary - I have long advocated [] for the most effective communication techniques to achieve EA ends.

It's possible to fool people's sense of "feeling informed".

For instance, LSD seems to often induce a sense of insight and significance ... including sometimes attributing cosmic meaning to the patterns perceived in the pebbles in a concrete wall.

Or, for that matter, as some of the psychological studies described in Cialdini's Influence or Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow appear to have failed to replicate, what is there to say about the sense of feeling informed that accrued to many of us who took them to be insightful?

They may offer to install a group-sanctioned web filter, or otherwise let you outsource the information filtering to them.

Which cult currently does this? Do you know of any?

Scientology did this ... about two decades ago.

Edited to add: This is presented as an example of how someone might have heard of "cults doing web censorship" as a story, without it being current.

As with "violence" itself, it seems like some uses of "bullying" strike me as being somewhat metaphorical rather than literal; but the folks using it those ways may not agree.

That said, my experience in school was that physical violence and "word stuff" could be combined arms in an effort to create misery or to drive someone away: perpetrators could use physical harm when they expected to get away with it; aggressive posturing (e.g. miming a punch) to remind the victim of the possibility of physical harm; and verbal attacks when they expected to get away with those.

Metaphor makes sense; I'dn't thought of that. Thanks!

Not sure what else to add, but if I think of anything later I'll do so.

Berkeley, and the Sunday Assembly one in Mountain View. I care more about the Berkeley one, and much of the reason I went to the other was to see what differences that group was doing with their liturgy. Much more sedate emotionally, although pretty energetic musically: they have a rock band instead of a choir; they opened with "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog". They still did "When I Die" and "Do You Realize?" though, and their venue allowed candles. Also, I think they have a running gag about playing "Wonderwall" that I didn't quite pick up on.

Oh cool, glad to hear from someone who went to the Mountain View one - I'd be interested in any more thoughts/impressions you have on that. (I've talked to them and looked over their script/setlist, so I have a rough idea of what happened, but curious how it felt to someone familiar with LW)

"Just being stupid" and "just doing the wrong thing" are rarely helpful views, because those errors are produced by specific bugs. Those bugs have pointers to how to fix them, whereas "just being stupid" doesn't.

I'm guessing you're alluding to "Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity" here, which seems to have disappeared along with the rest of LiveJournal. Here's the Google cached version, though.

I was, and I couldn't find it; thanks for doing that!

Things that persistently work for me at Solstice:

  • Having it happen at all.
  • Group singing, particularly "Brighter Than Today" which has gotten to be pretty much the song of the season for me.
  • Acknowledging and working with dark themes — cold, danger, extinction, loneliness — and facing them as a community and as humanity. This is a big part of what makes Solstice work as a ritual for me. I'm going to come in vaguely mopey and anxious but glad to see people; completely break down crying at least once during the ritual; hug a lot of people; reconne
... (read more)
Thanks! Curious which events you attended? (I'm guessing Berkeley and Seattle, but wasn't sure)

I think it goes beyond violation of norms. It has to do with the sum over the entire interaction between the two parties, as opposed to a single tree-branch of that interaction. In one case, you are in a bad situation, and then someone comes along, and offers to relieve it for a price. In the other case, you are in an okay situation and then someone comes along and puts you into a bad situation, then offers to relieve it.

This can also be expressed in terms of your regret of the other party's presence in your life. Would you regret having ever met the trade... (read more)

This is backwards. Tolerance of dumping negative utility allows extortion. The problem is the ability/willingness to cause harm, not the monetization.
Confused as well by insurers who are protection rackets. The Mafia did provide some pluses as well as costs, and governments with emergency services will lock you up if you fail to pay the taxes that support them.

Are you looking for solutions at the "how healthcare should work in this country" level or at the personal "this person should do that" level?

I'm not looking for solutions right now. I'm looking to describe a problem, specifically at the individuals-in-our-community level rather than the national or state policy level.

Hold off on proposing solutions.

Do not propose solutions until the problem has been discussed as thoroughly as possible without suggesting any.

The problem: There are a number of folks in the LW-diaspora (and adjacent circles) who live in the U.S. and are living with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. Many of these people have benefited from increased access to health care in the past few years due to the Affordable Care Act. This increased access may very well be going away soon, putting these folks' health, well-being, and in some cases live... (read more)

Not an expert on any facets of the situation, so my only contribution will be an outside view: * what are the probabilities assigned to that level: decreasing, staying the same, increasing? * What are the conditions granting access to health care? * What and how much impact said program has on those who access it? * How could it been improved / worsened?
Are you looking for solutions at the "how healthcare should work in this country" level or at the personal "this person should do that" level? If the former, we are not policy makers and there's little point in coming up with amateur solutions that won't be implemented. If the latter, there is a rather severe lack of information as to what will happen to Obamacare and what will the post-Obamacare landscape look like. One data point: the Colorado single-payer proposal was decisively crushed (~80% against, I think). And Colorado is a blue state.

"Surely someone more important than me in the organization has checked that this plan is legal before asking me to execute it."

It's really silly.

If we lived in the kind of universe where learning didn't help, where drawing more-correct conclusions and fitting your behavior better to the environment didn't help, then evolution and indeed biological life wouldn't work either. The kind of world where maps don't have anything to do with territories is a dead world, one in which there are no maps because becoming a mapper is worthless.

"Every communication is inaccurate" is inaccurate, but more-or-less true. "Every communication is equally inaccurate" is very much le... (read more)

It's a question of truth, you can be truthful that these things are maps, and yet nothing really changes, except you are meta-aware and no longer ignorant, it takes a radical shift in open-mindedness to see this, and I don't mean it at all in the way you might think. Because the you, and many others, are so attached to their maps, they are stuck in a lie, in a maximum-security prison forever, but only because they have beliefs and maps. I do agree with you on these points, it's obvious, right? I know, but just because it's obvious doesn't mean it is the territory, because it's not, it's not at all. They are concepts we have, and because of our ego we can't really let go of it. You can discover the world, which is not a map, and because you'll see how obvious this is, there won't be anything more perfect, not even 1000 x sunsets or 1000 x "aha"-moments can compare. It depends on what perspective, from the arational they are all the same, and there's nothing wrong with that. But now I am writing as a map, from the arational. Not the arational itself, it exists beyond reasoning or understanding. Do you understand how different things matter in relation to what? Communication can work just fine, but it's still communication, you might believe that some communication is better than others, and it might be the case. But, it's still what it is in relation to the arational. I don't see any issue in some extreme rationalist having high expected value +, making excellent decisions, yet still being aware in relational to the arational it is all the same. Sure, this is obvious, but everything is still the way it is. We're conditioned to say "THIS IS ME" "IM THIS" "IM SPECIAL" it screams "ego" "identity" and so forth. The universe IS, all of reality IS, and we're IT.

It's not as if LW has a problem of too much material these days.

I can post less if that's what people tell me that they want. I recognised the problem of low-volume writing and am trying to solve it.
For perspective, I find Elo's writing interesting maybe half the time. That's about on par with a random LW post, for me. (Whereas, >99% of facebook posts are uninteresting.) If he published more than about once a day, or put a little less effort into each post, I think he'd lower the LW average. (According to my subjective judgement.) Conversely, another hour or so on each post, or a slightly higher self-filter might raise the average. (Assuming his idea of what makes a good post is fairly representative of mine.)

This seems plausible to me. Also compare "torture vs. dust specks" (intended as a thought experiment about aggregating disutility over hypothetical people) with "the ticking bomb scenario" (intended as an actual justification for actual societies developing torture practices for actually torturing actual people).

With the internet of things physical goods can treat their owner differently than other people. A car can be programmed to only be driven by their owner.

Theoretically yes, but that doesn't seem to be how "smart" devices are actually being programmed.

There's a IBM/Samsung project that wants to create a framework where smart devices move in that direction: [] basic model is also about creating infrastructure for this. Current smart-devices often rely on a central server. If you buy a device from a startup that might go out of business you have an interest in there not being a central point of trust. Does that mean that success of Ethereum is a certainty? No, it doesn't. But a possible model of how success would look like is there. It's also worth noting that various luxury brands have a problem with forgeries. There can be a clear chain of purchase for a smart product that makes it clear that the product is authentic.
Which shift the verification to the imperfect car code.

Someone should pay to install and maintain a printing press and supply of ink and paper, installed in the public square, for all comers to print pamphlets and disseminate their views, ads, rants, wedding invitations, conspiracy allegations, and so on. Surely this would be an excellent and effective contribution to public discourse... and if not, to the wage of the cleaner who sweeps up litter.

Seems like a great idea for a sci-fi or a fantasy story, or even a detective one... Like, there is a small community in a remote village, a conflict of interests, and the possibility of communication either in the daytime, or by leaving anonymous messages sent by night...:) something like SSC's 'It was you who made my blue eyes blue', but with LESS VIOLENCE.
Too easily exploitable. It was common in the fax era to waste a lot of ink (paper too but you can't waste more than one paper per paper) by sending a completely black document. There's probably more sophisticated ways to attack such a system, but don't ask me. Go read Bruce Schneier.
  • Legislating for individuals to be held more accountable for large-scale catastrophic errors that they may make (including by requiring insurance premiums for any risky activities)

If I blow up the planet, neither my insurance nor your lawsuit is going to help anything. Which is to say, this proposal is just a wealth transfer to insurance companies, since they never have to pay out.

If you're running a synthetic biology company, and have to be insured against major pandemics, you may need more risk reduction measures to stay profitable, reducing existential risk, precisely because many pandemics can bring on costs without causing extinction.

This seems to be a complicated, abstruse way of saying "reading statements of knowledge doesn't thereby convey practical skills".

If I explain one paradigm in the concepts of another paradigm that leads in it's nature to complicated and abstruse ways of making a statement. But in this case the claim is more general. There are cases where the programmer can describe a heuristic that he uses to make decisions without pointing to a statement that has justified veracity. Google for example wants to give it's managers good management skills. To do that they give them checklists of what they are supposed to do when faced with a new recruit. Lazlo Bock from Google's People Operations credits the email that gives that checklist with a resulting productivity improvement of 25% due to new recruits coming up to speed faster. You don't need to understand the justification for a checklist item to be able profit from following a ritual that goes through all the items on checklist. Following a ritualistic checklist would be knowledge in the Chinese sense where there's a huge emphasis of following proper protocols but it wouldn't be seen as knowledge in the philosophic western tradition. But why does it matter? What harm can come from thinking that knowledge is about demonstrable truths? If generating knowledge is about generating demonstrable truths you can use the patent system to effectively reward knowledge creation.

The 1916 case United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola did not recognize Coca-Cola as containing an incipient intelligence, nor did 2013's United States v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton contemplate dinosaur necromancy.

Titles like this just represent the legal fiction for in rem cases, in which a case is brought against a piece of property — originally e.g. unclaimed property or contraband.

"discretion is the better part of valour"

This is a (slight paraphrase of a) quote from a character who is offering a rationalization for cowardice. It wasn't intended as a positive thing in the original work.

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