gregconen

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Assuming Nails

Not that it isn't interesting, but it seems confused, and somewhat trivial.

Trivial, because it basically says: Keep in mind that the map is not the territory applies even if the map is a scientific model. A good thing to keep in mind, nevertheless.

But in the details, you seem to misunderstand some of the problems "mathematics appears to have perfect conformity with reality" is, as Vladmir Nesov points out, exactly backwards. Mathematics qua mathematics has no relation to reality, and (properly) makes no claim as to reflections of reality. Your linked article, on the surface, is perfectly in line with classical incentive economics: remembering to take meds is costly, so some people don't do it. Give an incentive, and more people will do it. Not that there aren't important flaws in the perfect rationality assumption, and some of them show up beneath the surface of that behavior. But show it to computer programmed to do classical economics, and it will happily calculate marginal costs of remembering to take drugs, etc.

Further, you seem to miss some of the important roots of the problem. Economics is not the only discipline where good models are lacking (turbulent flow comes to mind). But it's easy to create a turbulent flow in a laboratory. So, is it the difficulty of experiments that cause problems, or the complexity of the phenomenon?

Or is it lack of self-awareness or honesty? Do economists imagine they understand the economy better than aeronautical engineers imagine they understand flow? And if so, why?

Abnormal Cryonics

In most cases, signing up for cryonics and signing up as an organ donor are not mutually exclusive. The manner of death most suited to organ donation (rapid brain death with (parts of) the body still in good condition, generally caused by head trauma) is not well suited to cryonic preservation. You'd probably need a directive in case the two do conflict, but such a conflict is unlikely.

Alternatively, neuropreservation can, at least is theory, occur with organ donation.

Human values differ as much as values can differ

The point of the reproductive analysis is that it explains the status seeking and attention seeking - whilst also explaining the fees paid for IVF treatments and why ladies like to keep cute puppies. It is a deeper, better theory - with firm foundations in biology.

Evolutionary analysis can if used properly. But evolutionary analysis is properly identifying adaptations, not:

people's desires should be nailed down as hard as possible to those things that lead to raising good quality babies.

The Cameron Todd Willingham test

As ever, both stories are studies in irrelevancy and emotional appeal.

Which probably reflects a good bit of what's wrong with the criminal justice system.

Though unscientific scientific testimony is also a serious problem, apparently also seen in this case.

Open Thread: May 2010

It may have helped if you'd explained yourself to onlookers in English, or simply asked in English (given Thomas's apparent reasonable fluency).

I disagree with the downvotes, though.

Human values differ as much as values can differ

Calling it an "infection" or a "malfunction" implicitly judges the behavior. That's your own bias talking.

The fact that someone desires something because of a meme instead of a gene (to oversimplify things; both are always in play) does not make the desire any less real or any less worthy.

A solely status-based analysis misses things, just as a solely reproductive analysis misses things. The point is that you can't nail desires down to simply "making good babies" or "being high status" or "having lots of sex"; any or all of these may be true desires in a given person.

Human values differ as much as values can differ

Almost 7 billion humans shows how well this theory works.

And yet subreplacement fertility in a number of rich countries (the very place where people have copious resources) points to a serious flaw. It's apparent that many people aren't having babies.

People are adaptation executors, not fitness maximizers.

For a highly simplified example, people like sex. In the ancestral environment sex would lead to babies. But the development of condoms, hormonal birth control, etc, has short-circuited this connection. The tasks of caring for a baby (which are evolutionarily programmed) interfere with sex. Thus, you have people forgoing babies in order to have more sex.

Of course, in the real world, people care about status, food, etc, as well as sex. All those things may have been linked to reproduction in the environment where we evolved, but the connection is far weaker with modern technology. Thus, people prefer other things to reproduction.

Open Thread: May 2010

Strongly unFriendly AI (the kind that tortures you eternally, rather than kills you and uses your matter to make paperclips) would be about as difficult to create as Friendly AI. And since few people would try to create one, I don't think it's a likely future.

Let them eat cake: Interpersonal Problems vs Tasks

Keep in mind selection bias. The pool of people who would unschool their children is systematically different from the general population. Aspects of child-rearing unrelated to schooling (at least conventional schooling) and/or genetics probably played a role in determining the adult personality of their children.

Fusing AI with Superstition

This solves nothing. If we knew the failure mode exactly, we could forbid it explicitly, rather than resort to some automatic self-destruct system. We, as humans, do not know exactly what the AI will do to become Unfriendly; that's a key point to understand. Since we don't know the failure mode, we can't design a superstition to stop it, anymore than we can outright prohibit it.

This is, in fact, worse than explicit rules. It requires the AI to actively want to do something undesirable, instead of it occurring as a side effect.

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