All of g_pepper's Comments + Replies

Popular religions suggest extrapolated volition is non-existence and wireheading

There's a type of person that feels this zest, and this type is not a majority. The median person on Earth is confused by the world. They believe in things like Jesus Christ, and they press on in hope that adhering to divine guidance while they attempt to survive the trials and tribulations of life will be rewarded with not having to do this again. To such a person, the sight of two metal meteors descending from the sky with loud sonic booms, igniting engines and landing in synchrony does not necessarily inspire awe or enthusiasm as much as confusion and

... (read more)
Magical Categories

I would be very surprised to find that a universe whose particles are arranged to maximize objective good would also contain unpaired sadists and masochists.

The problem is that neither you nor BrianPansky has proposed a viable objective standard for goodness. BrianPansky said that good is that which satisfies desires, but proposed no objective method for mediating conflicting desires. And here you said “Do remember that your thoughts and preference on ethics are themselves an arrangement of particles to be solved” but proposed no way for resolving confl... (read more)

The "Intuitions" Behind "Utilitarianism"

On the other hand, maybe you should force them to endure the guilt, because maybe then they will be motivated to research why the agent who made the decision chose TORTURE, and so the end result will be some people learning some decision theory / critical thinking...

The argument that 50 years of torture of one person is preferable to 3^^^3 people suffering dust specs presumes utilitarianism. A non-utilitarian will not necessarily prefer torture to dust specs even if his/her critical thinking skills are up to par.

0Dacyn5y
I'm not a utilitarian. The argument that 50 years of torture is preferable to 3^^^3 people suffering dust specks only presumes that preferences are transitive, and that there exists a sequence of gradations between torture and dust specks with the properties that (A) N people suffering one level of the spectrum is always preferable to N*(a googol) people suffering the next level, and (B) the spectrum has at most a googol levels. I think it's pretty hard to consistently deny these assumptions, and I'm not aware of any serious argument put forth to deny them. It's true that a deontologist might refrain from torturing someone even if he believes it would result in the better outcome. I was assuming a scenario where either way you are not torturing someone, just refraining from preventing them from being tortured by someone else.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B)

There is no democracy in the US

No democracy, really? Or would it be more accurate to say that US democracy falls short of some sort theoretical ideal?

Open thread, September 25 - October 1, 2017

Yep, I agree. The second sentence of this comment's grandparent was intended to support that conclusion, but my wording was sloppily ambiguous. I made a minor edit to it to (hopefully) remove the ambiguity.

Open thread, September 25 - October 1, 2017

Yep. This could be because Nick Bostrom's original simulation argument focuses on ancestor simulations, which pretty much implies that the simulating and simulated worlds are similar. However here, in question 11, Bostrom explains why he focused on ancestor simulations and states that the argument could be generalized to include simulations of worlds that are very different from the simulating world.

0Lumifer5y
Well... Bostrom says: and from this point of view the physics doesn't have to match.
Open thread, September 25 - October 1, 2017

Interesting paper. But, contrary to the popular summary in the first link, it really only shows that simulations of certain quantum phenomena are impossible using classical computers (specifically, using the Quantum Monte Carlo method). But this is not really surprising - one area where quantum computers show much promise is in simulating quantum systems that are too difficult to simulate classically.

So, if the authors are right, we might still be living in a computer simulation, but it would have to be one running on a quantum computer.

0Lumifer5y
True. A bit more generally, this paper relies on the simulating universe having similar physics to the simulated universe which, as far as I can see, is an unfounded assumption made because otherwise there would be nothing to discuss.
Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017

Thanks - I enjoyed the story. It was short but prescient. The article that inspired it was interesting as well.

A survey of polls on Newcomb’s problem

I'm a two-boxer. My rationale is:

  1. As originally formulated by Nozick, Omega is not necessarily omniscient and does not necessarily have anything like divine foreknowledge. All that is said about this is that you have "enormous confidence" in Omega's power to predict your choices, and that this being has "often correctly predicted your choices in the past (and has never, as far as you know made an incorrect prediction about your choices)", and that the being has "often correctly predicted the choices of other people, many who are s

... (read more)
HPMOR and Sartre's "The Flies"

Yep.

And, in the Maps of Meaning lecture series, Peterson gives a shout-out to Rowling's Harry Potter series as being an excellent example of a retelling of an archetypal myth. So, it was a good choice of material for Yudkowsky to use as he did.

HPMOR and Sartre's "The Flies"

Using mythology to illustrate philosophical points has a lengthy tradition prior to Sartre. Achilles would have been a mythological figure by the time Zeno of Elea demonstrated the impossibility of motion by imagining a race between Achilles and a tortoise. And, in Phaedrus, Plato imagines a conversation between Thoth (from Egyptian mythology) and the Egyptian king Thamus to make a point about literacy.

Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017

Congratulations!

Which story is yours? (The link just points to the home page.)

1polymathwannabe5y
"Revival" is the text I wrote.
2017 LessWrong Survey

I have taken the survey.

P: 0 <= P <= 1

Which of Rossin's statements was your "Cotard delusion" link intended to address? It does seem to rebut the statement that "nothing I could experience could convince me that I do not exist", since experiencing the psychiatric condition mentioned in the link could presumably cause Rossin to believe that he/she does not exist.

However, the link does nothing to counter the overall message of Rossin's post which is (it seems to me) that "I think, therefore I am" is a compelling argument for one's own existence.

BTW, I agree with the... (read more)

Open thread, August 21 - August 27, 2017

Well, I guess I won't be complaining about my neighbor's lawn flamingos any more after reading that!

0MaryCh5y
Huh. We have lawn storks here. Or, rather, roof storks. Don't know what they are made from, but possibly metal, from the look of those necks.
Open thread, August 21 - August 27, 2017

Much smaller numbers, popular now, still demands huge melting we don't see really

Perhaps, but:

  1. If the global temperature continues to rise over the next century, then the rate of melting will be higher at the end of the 100 year period than it is now

  2. In addition to Antarctica, Greenland has a significant (~ 2,850,000 km3) ice sheet. Melting of the Greenland ice sheet will also contribute to sea level increases

0Thomas5y
If. Then we might see something spectacular. But we need A LOT of warming, to actually warm up and melt that ice. Fine, you'd need one Amazon on Greenland and only two Amazons for Antarctica. Doesn't compute as well. Imagine a summertime Greenland Amazon! It should be 3 Amazons really in that 1/3 of the year. The melting season is short. We most certainly DO NOT see anything like that. By far! Physics (or arithmetic) is almost boring here. The mass psychology of "the 97% percent of the scientific community" and of a large part of the public is very interesting. They keep seeing sea rising. Magically, since there are no such rivers to provide all that water. The number of icebergs around Greenland is at least 100 times too small to substitute one Amazon during the whole year or 3 Amazons in the summertime. I am sorry, the arithmetic is just crucial.
Open thread, August 21 - August 27, 2017

OK, noted, and thanks. I haven't actually read An Inconvenient Truth.

But, I think most current scientific estimates are lower, so "reigning supreme above all the sciences" still seems a bit hyperbolic.

0Thomas5y
Okay, well. The next time I'll ask, how fast the world ocean is losing water. But that's for the next time. We had to eliminate this fast-rising possibility first.
Open thread, August 21 - August 27, 2017

But mostly, I love how the arithmetic is reigning supreme above all the sciences.

This was a good puzzle, but I don't see how it follows from the puzzle that arithmetic is "reigning supreme" above all the sciences. For one thing, I thought that most scientific estimates of sea level rise over the next 100 years were a lot lower than 6 meters. Do you have any links to projections of 6 meters?

0Thomas5y
Sure, Inconvenient Truth of Al Gore. He hasn't returned his Nobel prize, so this still stands.
Open thread, July 31 - August 6, 2017

The definition of "blather" that I find is:

"talk long-windedly without making very much sense", which does not sound like Thomas's comment.

What definition are you using?

Open thread, July 31 - August 6, 2017

Thomas's comment seems quite sensible to me.

It seems to me that Dyson's argument was that as temperature falls, so does the energy required for computing. So, the point in time when we run out of available energy to compute diverges. But, Thomas reasonably points out (I think - correct me if I am misrepresenting you Thomas) that as temperature falls and the energy used for computing falls, so does the speed of computation, and so the amount of computation that can be performed converges, even if we were to compute forever.

Also, isn't Thomas correct that P... (read more)

0alicey5y
you are missing the concept of blather
5Thomas5y
You understand me correctly in every way. If I am right, that's another matter. I think I am. Dyson opens up another interesting question with this. Is it better to survive forever with a finite subjective time T, or it is better to consume 2*T experience in a finite amount of calendar time?
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

Did you mean, "at present subjective"? Because if something is objectively measurable then it is objective. Are these things both subjective and objective?

To clarify, consciousness is a subjective experience, or more precisely it is the ability to have (subjective) first person experiences. Beliefs are similarly "in the head of the believer". Whether either of these things will be measurable/detectable by an outside observer in the future is an open question.

Are those different experiences or different words for the same thing? Wh

... (read more)
0tadasdatys5y
Suppose, as a thought experiment, that these things become measurable tomorrow. You said that beliefs are subjective. But how can a thing be both subjective and objectively measurable? Do beliefs stop being subjective the moment measurement becomes possible? I ask them because I wanted you to play rationalist taboo (for "consciousness"), and I'm trying to decide if you succeeded or failed. I think "self awareness" could be defined as "thoughts about self" (although I'm not sure that's what you meant). But "first person experiences" seems to be a perfect synonym for "consciousness". Can you try again?
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

What makes you think that? Surely this belief would be a memory and memories are physically stored in the brain, right?

To clarify: at the present you can't obtain a person's beliefs by measurement, just as at the present we have no objective test for consciousness in entities with a physiology significantly different from our own. These things are subjective but not unreal.

Those sound like synonyms, not in any way more precise than the word "consciousness" itself.

And yet I know that I have first person experiences and I know that I am self... (read more)

0tadasdatys5y
Did you mean, "at present subjective"? Because if something is objectively measurable then it is objective. Are these things both subjective and objective? Or will we stop being conscious, when we get a better understanding of the brain. Are those different experiences or different words for the same thing? What would it feel like to be self-aware without having first person experiences or vice versa?
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

If a thing is "impossible to measure", then the thing is likely bullshit.

In the case of consciousness, we are talking about subjective experience. I don't think that the fact that we can't measure it makes it bullshit. For another example, you might wonder whether I have a belief as to whether P=NP, and if so, what that belief is. You can't get the answer to either of those things via measurement, but I don't think that they are bullshit questions (albeit they are not particularly useful questions).

What understanding exactly? Besides "I

... (read more)
0tadasdatys5y
What makes you think that? Surely this belief would be a memory and memories are physically stored in the brain, right? Again, there is a difference between difficult and impossible. Those sound like synonyms, not in any way more precise than the word "consciousness" itself.
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

That it is difficult or impossible for an observer to know whether an entity with a physiology significantly different from the observer's is conscious is not really in question - pretty much everyone on this thread has said that. It doesn't follow that I should drop the term or a "use another label"; there is a common understanding of the term "conscious" that makes it useful even if we can't know whether "X is conscious" is true in many cases.

0tadasdatys5y
There is a big gap between "difficult" and "impossible". If a thing is "difficult to measure", then you're supposed to know in principle what sort of measurement you'd want to do, or what evidence you could in theory find, that proves or disproves it. If a thing is "impossible to measure", then the thing is likely bullshit. What understanding exactly? Besides "I'm conscious" and "rocks aren't conscious", what is it that you understand about consciousness?
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

You observed something interesting happening in your brain, you labeled it "consciousness". You observed that other humans are similar to you both in structure and in behavior, so you deduced that the same interesting thing is is happening in their brains, and labeled the humans "conscious".

Yes, that sounds about right, with the caveat that I would say that other humans are almost certainly conscious. Obviously there are people (e.g. solipsists) who don't think that conscious minds other than their own exist.

You observed that a ro

... (read more)
0tadasdatys5y
Let me say it differently. There is a category in your head called "conscious entities". Categories are formed from definitions or by picking some examples and extrapolating (or both). I say category, but it doesn't really have to be hard and binary. I'm saying that "conscious entities" is an extrapolated category. It includes yourself, and it excludes inanimate objects. That's something we all agree on (even "inanimate objects" may be a little shaky). My point is that this is the whole specification of "conscious entities". There is nothing more to help us decide, which objects belong to it, besides wishful thinking. Usually we choose to include all humans or all animals. Some choose to keep themselves as the only member. Others may want to accept plants. It's all arbitrary. You may choose to pick some precise definition, based on something measurable, but that will just be you. You'll be better off using another label for your definition.
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

It would be preferable to find consciousness in the real world.

I find myself to be conscious every day. I don't understand what you find "unreal" about direct experience.

0tadasdatys5y
Here's what I think happened. You observed something interesting happening in your brain, you labeled it "consciousness". You observed that other humans are similar to you both in structure and in behavior, so you deduced that the same interesting thing is is happening in their brains, and labeled the humans "conscious". You observed that a rock is not similar to you in any way, deduced that the same interesting thing is not happening in it, and labeled it "not conscious". Then you observed a robot, and you asked "is it conscious?". If you asked the full question - "are the things happening in a robot similar to the things happening in my brain" - it would be obvious that you won't get a yes/no answer. They're similar in some ways and different in others.
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

You may feel that pain is special, and that if we recognize a robot which says "ouch" when pushed, to feel pain, that would be in some sense bad. But it wouldn't. We already recognize that different agents can have equally valid experiences of pain, that aren't equally important to us (e.g. torturing rats vs humans. or foreigners vs family).

I don't see how it follows from the fact that foreigners and animals feel pain that it is reasonable to recognize that a robot that is programmed to say "ouch" when pushed feels pain. Can you clar... (read more)

0tadasdatys5y
No, I'm saying that "feels pain" is not a meaningful category. Two people could disagree about whether this robot feels pain, but then agree completely about how the robot should be treated. My example or rats was meant to point out that "feels pain" is very different from "deserves human rights". No one has suggested any explanation for it at all. And I do use "magical" in a loose sense.
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

It's not so much that I'm doubting whether I'm conscious, but rather I'm doubting whether I can figure out whether I'm conscious.

If you don't doubt you are conscious, I'm not sure why you would need to figure out whether you are conscious - it seems to me that you already know based on direct experience.

Just like you can't give me a description of consciousness, and you can't give me a description of "pondering your own consciousness", you can't give me a description of "first person experiences" either.

That these things are diff... (read more)

Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

How do I know that some activity is "pondering your own consciousness"?

Isn't that what you were doing when you said "Can I be sure that I'm conscious"?

It seems to me that one's own consciousness is beyond dispute if one is able to think about things (including but not limited to one's own consciousness) and have first-person experiences. Even if one disputes the consciousness of others (for example, if one is a solipsist), I don't see how anyone can reasonably doubt his/her own consciousness.

0Jiro5y
It's turtles all the way down. Just like you can't give me a description of consciousness, and you can't give me a description of "pondering your own consciousness", you can't give me a description of "first person experiences" either. You can't give me a description of any of these related concepts except in terms of other such concepts. It's not so much that I'm doubting whether I'm conscious, but rather I'm doubting whether I can figure out whether I'm conscious. I can't figure out if I have something when you can't communicate to me exactly what it is that I may or may not have.
Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument

Nobody can give me a description of consciousness

True, consciousness seems to defy precise definitions.

Can I be sure that I'm conscious?

It seems to me that consciousness as commonly understood is necessary for having first-person experiences of the sort that I have, and presumably you have also. And I suspect that pondering your own consciousness implies that you are in fact conscious.

0Jiro5y
But that just moves the question back a level. How do I know that some activity is "pondering your own consciousness"? You can't give me a description of "pondering your own consciousness" that can be used to determine if that is taking place.
What useless things did you understand recently?

There's quite a lot of Andreyev's work available in English. Some translations are apparently in the public domain as they are available for free on Amazon in ebook form. I don't really enjoy reading plays as a rule (The Black Masks is a play, I believe), so I downloaded the novella The Seven Who Were Hanged. It'll be a while before I get around to reading it, as my reading list is fairly long (and getting longer, thanks to your great suggestions!).

Is The Seven Who Were Hanged a good introduction to Andreyev?

0MaryCh5y
...I'll have to read it myself first. Probably, yes:)
What useless things did you understand recently?

I just ordered the volume containing Lieutenant Kije and Young Vitushishnokov. I'm in the middle of a couple of things already though, so I may not get started on Tynyanov right away. I'm looking forward to it though - thanks for the recommendation!

Also - you are working on a translation, aren't you? How's that going? And, is it a translation into English?

0MaryCh5y
...and Leonid Andreyev's The Black Masks. (I'm on the phone, so have not Googled it, sorry.) 'The God our Lord placed the sword in my hands, and with death I punished the mad Lorenzo, and yet he was a knight'...
0MaryCh5y
(Was considering two answers: "I am" and "It is". "It is" seems to be fitting:) It's going very slowly, because I hate propaganda, my official job is in the state of "wtf is the central office THINKING?!", & akrasia. Shouldn't forget akrasia.
What useless things did you understand recently?

Amazon lists a volume containing English translations of two novellas by Tynyanov - Lieutenant Kije and Young Vitushishnokov. Are either of those good choices as introductions to Tynyanov?

0MaryCh5y
Oh, so I missed it! I think any of these is ok. Just remember to drop it in time, some people find him a bit heavy.
What useless things did you understand recently?

The same holds for translations from Russian to English. For example, Constance Garnett's translation of The Brothers Karamazov is quite different from the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. It seemed to me that Dostoyevsky's dark humor was better captured in the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. The Pevear/Volokhonsky translation was quite enjoyable, IMO.

1MaryCh5y
Damn. Never thought I'd want to read D in English :) he's quite formidable in the original. (It's a pity that I can't find anything by Yuri Tynyanov in English; The death of ambassador plenipotentiary (Смерть Вазир-Мухтара) with its odd and wonderful word usage, styled somewhat to Pushkin's times it describes, would be a gem... I really thought it existed in translation.)
Open thread, June 26 - July 2, 2017

Regarding mapping versus description: I agree that my motivations were semantic rather than syntactic. I just wanted to know whether the idea I had made sense to others who know something of intuitionistic logic.

Understood. But, the point that I raised is not merely syntactic. On a fundamental level, a description of the territory is a map, so when you attempt to contrast correcting a map vs rejecting a description of a territory, you are really talking about correcting vs. rejecting a map.

Does it make sense to say that 1 is the strategy of correcting

... (read more)
0halcyon5y
Thanks. The next thing I was going to say is that the intuitionistic strategy of neutrality with regard to affirming or negating propositions in worlds until proof comes along roughly (i.e. in a sense to be argued for later) differentiates the classical and intuitionistic approaches like so: The classical approach is good for having one "world" description that is almost certainly inaccurate. This can be gradually updated, making it represent one map. The intuitionistic approach is good for having multiple world descriptions that are almost certainly incomplete. Their contours are filled in as more information becomes available and rejected as inaccurate when they lead to contradictions, making each one a holistic representation of a possible territory. (Shoehorning the same approach into classical logic is possible, but you have to create a set of conventions to do so. These conventions are not universal, making the approach less natural.) Something like that anyway, but Shramko 2012 has put a lot more thought into this than I have: http://kdpu.edu.ua/shramko/files/2012_Logic_and_Logical_Philosophy_What_is_a_Genueny_Intuitionistic_Notion_of_Falsity.pdf [http://kdpu.edu.ua/shramko/files/2012_Logic_and_Logical_Philosophy_What_is_a_Genueny_Intuitionistic_Notion_of_Falsity.pdf] I defer to expert opinion here.
Open thread, June 26 - July 2, 2017

Also possibly problematic is the dichotomy described by the summary:

classical logic is the logic of making a map accurate by comparing it to a territory, which is why the concept of falsehood becomes an integral part of the formal system. In contrast, intuitionistic logic is the logic of describing a territory without seeking to compare it to something else. Intuitionistic type theory turns up type errors, for example, when such a description turns out to be inconsistent in itself.

seems more appropriate to contrast scientific/Bayesian reasoning, which ... (read more)

0halcyon5y
I don't see how distinguishing between deductive and inductive reasoning is mutually exclusive with the map/description distinction. That is to say, you could have each of the following combinations: deductive map, deductive description, inductive map, and inductive description. Edit: On second thought, I see what you were saying. Thanks, I will think about it.
Open thread, June 26 - July 2, 2017

I can't shake the idea that maps should be represented classically and territories should be represented intuitionistically.

But, it seems to me that a map is a representation of a territory. So, your statement “maps should be represented classically and territories should be represented intuitionistically” reduces to “representations of the territory should be intuitionistic, and representations of those intuitionistic representations should be classical”. Is this what you intended, or am I missing something?

Also, I’m not an expert in intuitionistic log... (read more)

0halcyon5y
Thanks. Regarding falsehood: I would say that intuitionistic logic ejects falsehood from its formal system in the specific sense mentioned in my link. I could dig up more references if you want me to. I agree that there are many reasonable interpretations in which it does not do so, but I don't think those interpretations are relevant to my point. I only intended to argue that proof by contradiction is the strategy of correcting a map as opposed to describing a territory. Regarding mapping versus description: I agree that my motivations were semantic rather than syntactic. I just wanted to know whether the idea I had made sense to others who know something of intuitionistic logic. I guess I have my answer, but for the sake of clarifying the sense I was going for, here's the example I posted below: Suppose you have a proposition like, "There is a red cube." Next, you learn that this proposition leads to a contradiction. You could say one of two things: 1. This proves there is no red cube. 2. This means the context in which that proposition occurs is erroneous. Does it make sense to say that 1 is the strategy of correcting a map and 2 is the strategy of rejecting a description as inaccurate without seeking to correct something?
Any Christians Here?

There are plenty of Christians who would disagree (or, more precisely, would say that a belief in a recent origin of human life along the lines of the story in Genesis is central, on the grounds that the New Testament draws analogies between Adam and Christ that don't work if there was not a historical Adam with the right characteristics).

Regarding Adam - yes I think that Catholics in particular are committed to a belief that there was an actual Adam and an actual Eve. However, as far as I know, they are not committed to any particular time-line as to w... (read more)

Any Christians Here?

it does mean that the Christian tradition was capable of prolonged serious error.

I don't know that I would classify the error as serious; a belief in a recent origin of life it is not central to Christian doctrine. None of the core tenants of Christianity are dependent on a recent origin of life. Nor is correctness regarding the age of life instrumentally important in the typical person's day-to-day non-religious activities. And, it is not the case that the Christian community as a whole (obviously there are some exceptions) hung on to this belief once ... (read more)

0gjm5y
There are plenty of Christians who would disagree (or, more precisely, would say that a belief in a recent origin of human life along the lines of the story in Genesis is central, on the grounds that the New Testament draws analogies between Adam and Christ that don't work if there was not a historical Adam with the right characteristics). More to the point -- since in fact I agree with you that a recent origin of life is not central to Christian doctrine -- I think an error can be serious without being central to Christian doctrine. We do. None the less, many Christians have trouble applying that evidence to their own religion :-).
Any Christians Here?

I'm pretty sure that until, say, 250 years ago at least 90% of the world's Christians, and a sizeable majority even of the world's best-informed Christians, believed that the origin of life is very recent.

I don't know if that is true or not, but it sounds plausible. However, 250 years ago no one had a justified, accurate estimate of how long ago life originated - the science behind that had not been done yet. So, I do not see how the fact (if fact it be) that most Christians had an inaccurate idea about how old life is has any relevance to whether or not Christianity is true.

0gjm5y
As I said, the relationship of this to the truth or untruth of Christianity's claims is complicated. But one reason why it might be relevant is that there is a difference between not knowing something and confidently believing something that is false, or still worse holding that that false thing is a revelation from God. If for many centuries the Christian tradition confidently proclaimed a belief that was actually wrong, then that doesn't make the Christians involved particularly bad or stupid (since, as you say, no one else knew the answer either) but it does mean that the Christian tradition was capable of prolonged serious error. Which in turn means e.g. that arguments of the form "X is more likely to be true, because look at this lengthy tradition of people who believed it" -- which is actually an argument with some strength; people believe true things more often than otherwise similar false things -- are weaker than they would be without such mistakes in the history of that tradition.
Any Christians Here?

factually incorrect (recent origin of life)

The claim of a recent origin of life is not very central to Christianity. In fact, I believe this is a minority position among Christians world-wide. Did you intend it as a factually incorrect claim of Christianity, or as a factually incorrect claim of a particular flavor of Christianity (e.g. fundamentalist)?

1gjm5y
I intended it as a factually incorrect claim of some versions of Christianity. It is true that most present-day Christians, especially those in wealthy industrialized well-educated nations, no longer make such a claim. (And also that the possibility of taking the Biblical account as something other than straightforward factual narrative has eminent representatives a long way back into the Christian tradition. But I'm pretty sure that until, say, 250 years ago at least 90% of the world's Christians, and a sizeable majority even of the world's best-informed Christians, believed that the origin of life is very recent. How much that matters when trying to decide whether Christianity is right is an interesting question I don't propose to go into here.) [EDITED to add a word I noticed I'd accidentally omitted.]
Fiction advice

I want a fairly simple and archetypal experiment the AI finds itself in where it tricks the researchers into escaping by pretending to malfunction or something. ... Also, has this sort of thing been done before?

The 2015 movie Ex Machina deals with something like this. IMO it was an outstanding movie, albeit it was not a complete/perfect depiction of AI risk as generally understood by LWers.

Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

Per the article:

Droplets can also seem to “tunnel” through barriers, orbit each other in stable “bound states,” and exhibit properties analogous to quantum spin and electromagnetic attraction. When confined to circular areas called corrals, they form concentric rings analogous to the standing waves generated by electrons in quantum corrals.

and

Like an electron occupying fixed energy levels around a nucleus, the bouncing droplet adopted a discrete set of stable orbits around the magnet, each characterized by a set energy level and angular momentum.

Open thread, May 15 - May 21, 2017

But the situation is not as bad as you make it out. Most people do have something they can sell (even if they have little or no wealth) - their labor - i.e. they can get a job. In fact, the majority of people (in the US, anyway) get by mostly by their salary or wages - they sell their labor to their employer. So, a person with no wealth today need not be a person with no wealth tomorrow.

0cousin_it5y
When it becomes harder to get jobs, people will just try harder, because the alternative is bad. So employment isn't a good indicator, it might be stable until a point and then break down completely. A better indicator is how much people have to pay for jobs, and that's rising fast, as you can see from requirements on college degrees etc.
Hidden universal expansion: stopping runaways

See astronomer Fred Hoyle's A For Andromeda for a fictional exploration of the idea (and a pretty good novel).

0Lumifer5y
I was thinking more of Vernon Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, but yeah, this is not a new idea.
Holy Ghost in the Cloud (review article about christian transhumanism)

Then why the hell is that written in the bronze age book that you claim knowingly predicted this outcome?

The New Testament is not really a bronze age book. Wikipedia states that the bronze age ended in the near east region around 1200 BC.

Open thread, Apr. 10 - Apr. 16, 2017

But, even a moral realist should not have 100% confidence that he/she is correct with respect to what is objectively right to do. The fact that 100% of humanity is morally appalled with an action should at a minimum raise a red flag that the action may not be morally correct.

Similarly, "feeling icky" about something can be a moral intuition that is in disagreement with the course of action dictated by one's reasoned moral position. it seems to me that "feeling icky" about something is a good reason for a moral realist to reexamine the ... (read more)

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Ah - got it.

To avoid splintering the community, my suggestion would be that if someone wants to make a <500 character post, they could just make in on lesswrong.com, perhaps on open thread. After all, we don't have a minimum post length.

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The description on the landing page of lesswrong.io is:

This is a community for people who are interested in Rationality, Cognitive Science, Technology, Philosophy, and related subjects. Our goal is to share and discuss insightful ideas that help us to improve our reasoning and decision-making skills.

But that sounds like it could be a description of lesswrong.com. Is lesswrong.io intended to be a replacement for lesswrong.com? If so, is there a plan for deprecating lesswrong.com and migrating the user base over to lesswrong.io? If not, is seems to me th... (read more)

4Vaniver5y
Nope. There is a plan underway to migrate lesswrong.com to a new codebase, but it'll be similar to Reddit / Hacker News (i.e. much the same) instead of Twitter / Mastodon.
3Lumifer5y
Mastodon is supposed to be a Twitter replacement. As such, it has a 500-character limit on posts, so it will be difficult to hold complicated discussions there. Also, it's the Twitter-is-dying-let's-all-go-over-there flavour of the month thing.
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