GeraldMonroe

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Monty Hall Sleeping Beauty

Care to elaborate?

You just woke up. You don't know if the coin was head or tails, and you have no further information. You knew it was 50-50 before going to sleep. No new information, no new answer. I don't see what the "twist" is. Monty Hall, there's another information input - the door the host opens never has the prize behind it.

Or, another perspective : a perfect erasure of someone's memories and restoration of their body to the pre-event state is exactly the same as if the event in question never occurred. So delete the 1 million from consideration. It's just 1 interview post waking. Heads or Tails?

Are Cognitive Biases Design Flaws?

The designer had a specific design goal : "thou shalt replicate adequately well under the following environmental conditions"...

Given the complex, intricate mechanisms that humans seem to have that allow for this, the "designer" did a pretty good job.

Cognitive biases boost replication under the environmental conditions they were meant for, and they save on the brainpower required.

So yes, I agree with you. If the human brain system were an engineered product, it clearly meets all of the system requirements the client (mother nature) asked for. It clearly passes the testing. The fact that it internally takes a lot of shortcuts and isn't capable of optimal performance in some alien environment (cities, virtual spaces, tribes larger than a few hundred people) doesn't make it a bad solution.

Another key factor you need to understand in order to appreciate nature is the constraints it is operating under. We can imagine a self-replicating system that has intelligence of comparable complexity and flexibility to humans that makes decisions that optimal to a few decimal places. But does such a system exist inside the design space accessible to Earth biology? Probably not.

The simple reason for this is 3 billion years of version lock in. All life on earth uses a particular code-space, where every possible codon in DNA maps to a specific amino acid. With 3 bases per codon, there's 4^3 possibilities, and all of them map to an existing amino acid. In order for a new amino acid to be added to the code base, existing codons would have to be repurposed, or an organism's entire architecture would need to be extended to a 4 (or more) codon base system.

We can easily design a state machine that translates XXX -> _XXX, remapping an organisms code to a new coding scheme. However, such a machine would be incredibly complicated at the biological level - it would be a huge complex of proteins and various RNA tools, and it would only be needed once in a particular organism's history. Evolution is under no forces to evolve such a machine, and the probability of it occurring by chance is just too small.

To summarize, everything that can ever be designed by evolution has to be made of amino acids from a particular set, or created as a derivative product by machinery made of these amino acids.

An organism without cognitive biases would probably need a much more powerful brain. Nature cannot build such a brain with the parts available.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111

I agree that Voldemort seems to be holding the idiot ball this chapter. With that said, you'd kind of expect an immortal god-wizard who's 10 steps ahead to be buffed with poison and magic protections up the wazoo, etc.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111

Why does he need to create a Horcrux immediately? Theory :

Each horcrux, even with Voldemort's modified ritual, is just a snapshot of Voldemort's mind-state at the instant the horcrux was made. What Voldemort has somehow managed using magic is to interconnect all these Horcruxes into a network, and build some kind of non-biological system to "run" his personality based on the snapshots.

This explains why he was able to observe the stars and think about his mistakes for 8 years until someone touched one of his horcruxes. Somehow, his network sends only the presentMindState to the body it hijacks.

This is how I assumed, previously, that Harry might defeat him. Since magic thinks he's got the same identifiers as Voldemort, is Harry is killed a moment after voldemort is, his mind should become the "top" element in the stack of memory states that is Voldemort's horcrux network. I would assume that he would have access to all of the knowledge in the lower states, but as the top, canonical state, he would have control when Voldemort respawns.

As it is, I'm guessing the respawned Voldemort after he's killed by magical resonance will lack the mind state changes since his last horcrux.

Non-standard cryo ideas

One thing I would like to be mentioned is why these methods might work.

Assume the best possible scanning method is used, such that the future reanimators have a map of where every atom was bonded in your brain.

There's going to be frost damage, even if cryoprotectant is used - there will be areas it didn't reach, cracks from low temperature stresses, oxidation damage from time spent in the cryostat, and so on.

Future software could computationally reverse many of these damaging events - but there will be uncertainty in that there would be multiple solutions possible as to the "original" state. A video of the freezing process would allow you to calibrate the model used to computationally reverse the damage better.

Furthermore, this level of technology means it is probable that the reanimators would be able to "read" memories at some level of fidelity. If there are surviving notes about your life, they could potentially resolve ambiguities when there are multiple possible past memory states.

One thing that bothers me about this proposal is that the "reanimators" would have to be beings smarter than you ever were, and they would probably need to use more computational capacity to revive just one person than that person performed in their entire lifetime.

Military Rationalities and Irrationalities

The reason while you had limited instruction in shooting a weapon was probably due to a related problem I observed.

The military spends lavish sums on expensive capital equipment and human resources, but it seems to pinch pennies on the small stuff. For example, I recall being assigned numerous times to various cleanup details, and noticed we would never have any shortage of manpower - often 10+ people, but there would be an acute shortage of mops, cleaning rags, and chemicals.

Similarly, we all had rifles, but live ammunition to train with was in very short supply. I would mentally compute how backwards this was. It costs the government several hundred dollars in pay and benefits to have each one of us standing around for a day, yet they were pinching pennies on ammo that cost maybe 10 cents a round.

I don't know what causes these backwards situations, where you would be drowning in expensive equipment and people yet critically short of cheap, basic supplies, but I've seen many references to the problem.

Artificial explosion of the Sun: a new x-risk?

Your statement would be a safe bet based on the past 50 years. 50 years ago, or 1963, was 4 years before the Saturn V first launched. Using modern figures of 3.3 billion/launch, including R&D costs, that comes to approximately $28,000 per Kg to low earth orbit. The same math says that the Space Shuttle cost about $61,000 per Kg.

(I'm lumping in the total cost of the entire program in both cases divided by the number of launches. There's problems with this method, but it means that costs can't be hidden by accounting tricks as easily)

With that said, there are scads of methods that would lower this cost, at least for unmanned payloads, and there is also the realistic possibility that automated manufacturing could build the rockets for a fraction of what they currently cost. There's videos taken at the SpaceX plant showing automated lathes, and direct metal 3d printers can apparently make parts that meet spec. It seems at least possible that over the next 50 years the entire end to end process could be automated to take minimal human labor.

New Monthly Thread: Bragging

Why is there a solar wind, then?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

Prediction : Harry has stolen a march on Quirrelmort. I predict that between the time Professor Mcgonagall unlocked his time turner and Quirrelmort entered the room, he already used the device to visit the library's restricted section.

At least, I hope so : I really want to learn how "spell creation" is done, per EY's interpretation. That will tell us a lot about what magic actually is and what can be done to achieve Real Ultimate Power.

Furthermore, this would be fully rational. Harry's analysis of what to do next should have already made it abundantly clear that he needs to obtain more information, and the restricted section obviously has stuff that might be helpful. And why start on a task now when you can start on it 6 hours ago?

How probable is Molecular Nanotech?

Why do we have to solve it? In his latest book, he states that he calculates you can get the thermal noise down to 1/10 the diameter of a carbon atom or less if you use stiff enough components.

Furthermore, you can solve it empirically. Just build a piece of machinery that tries to accomplish a given task, and measure it's success rate. Systematically tweak the design and measure the performance of each variant. Eventually, you find a design that meets spec. That's how chemists do it today, actually.

Edit : to the -1, here's a link where a certain chemist that many know is doing exactly this : http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2013/06/27/sealed_up_and_ready_to_go.php

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