G Gordon Worley III

Director of Research at PAISRI


Zen and Rationality
Formal Alignment
Map and Territory Cross-Posts
Phenomenological AI Alignment


AI safety from first principles: Conclusion

One thing I like about this series is that it puts all this online in a fairly condensed form, which I feel like I often am not quite sure what to link to in order to present these kinds of arguments. That you do it better than perhaps we have done in the past makes it all the better!

On "Not Screwing Up Ritual Candles"

One thing we use with candles at my zen center in addition to a holder/base is a follower, basically a "cap" for the candle with a hole in it for the wick and some of the top of the candle. The follower has to be sized to match the size of the candle, but it's quite nice to have one since it prevents wax from dripping since it's contained in a little pool by the follower that gets burned off before lower wax can melt.

Obviously mostly for pillars, not tapers.

The rationalist community's location problem

The pandemic has updated me in the direction that having any particular place be the center of the physical community is not super important. In some ways, it would almost be better if we less anchored on the idea of trying to get everyone physically together in a single local, and instead thought of ourselves as distributed with many hubs that have strong connections within and between hubs, although those connections within and between look a bit different (local being more about human needs, and between hubs being more about project needs).

For comparison, many businesses operate with multiple offices, the community of academics is highly distributed, and religions have various approaches to this split local/global model. There's no special reason we all need to be physically together in the same city, so I don't think it needs to happen and thus won't.

Put another way, I think of a major rationalist hub that everyone was happy living in as a kind of fairy tale: it's a nice idea to dream about, but the ground conditions simply aren't conducive to it, and we should focus on meeting the conditions as we find them rather than hoping we can find a city that probably doesn't exist that will enable us to have a hub with features that sadly currently sit well beyond the Pareto frontier.

EA Relationship Status

I'm surprised also by the relatively low "ever married" rates for the above 45 segments, since marriage rates were higher in the past and those people have had more chances to have gotten married, so barely cresting 60% suggests EA is somehow correlated with folks who don't get married, robust to those people having many opportunities to get married prior to EA coalescing as a movement. I would have expected something closer to 85%.

This Territory Does Not Exist

Depends. In a certain vague sense, they are both okay pointers to what I think is the fundamental thing they are about, the two truths doctrine. In another sense, no, because the map and territory metaphor suggests a correspondence theory of truth, whereas ontological and ontic about mental categories and being or existence, respectively, and historically tied to a different approaches to truth, namely those associated with transcendental idealism. And if you don't take my stance that they're both different aspects of the same way of understanding reality that are contextualized in different ways and thus both wrong at some limit but in different ways, then there is an ocean of difference between them.

niplav's Shortform

This is an idea that's been talked about here before, but it's not even exactly clear what philosophical reasoning is or how to train for it, let alone if it's a good idea to teach an AI to do that.

Rationality for Kids?

I can't find it, but I vaguely recall Julia Galef writing something about how her parents raised her and her brother such that they fit naturally with the Rationalist community, even though it didn't exist at the time of their upbringing.

This Territory Does Not Exist

Standard rationalist terminology would be roughly territory and map, respectively.

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