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On Raising Awareness

You might want to try recruiting from people from a more philosophical/mathematical background as opposed to recruiting from a programming background (hopefully we might be able to crack the problem from the pure logic perspective before we get to an application), but yeah now that you mention it "recruiting people to help the AGI issue without also worsening it" looks like it might be an underappreciated issue.

[Prediction] We are in an Algorithmic Overhang, Part 2

Do you think it will ever be possible to simulate a human mind (or analagous conscious mind) on a deterministic computer?

Do you think it possible in principle that a 'non-deterministic' human mind can be simulated on a non-deterministic substrate analagous to our current flesh substrate, such as a quantum computer?

If yes to either, do you think that it is necessary to simulate the mind on the lowest level of physics (e.g. on a true simulated spacetime indistinguishable from the original) or are higer-level abstractions (like building a mathematical model of one neuron and then using this simple equation as a building block) permissible?

(Also, are you just asking about Robert Roger Penrose's view or is this also your view?)

[Prediction] We are in an Algorithmic Overhang, Part 2

I don't have a specific mental image for what I mean when I say 'non-deterministic', I was placing a bet on the assumption that YimbyGeorge was hypothesizing that conscious was somehow fundamentally mysterious and therefore couldn't be 'merely' deterministic, based on pattern-matching this view rather than any specific mental image of what it would mean for consciousness to only be possible in non-deterministic systems.

[Prediction] We are in an Algorithmic Overhang, Part 2

When you say 'require new physics that can explain consciousness', are you imagining:


"New insight shows human brain neuron connections have hundreds of tiny side channels that run much faster than the main connections, leading scientists to conclude that the human brain's processing apacity is much greater than previously thought"


"New insight reveals thin threads that run through all connections and allow neurons to undergo quantum superposition, allowing much faster and more complex pattern-matching and conscious thought than previously thougt possible, while still remaining overall deterministic"


"New insight shows that the human mind is fundamentally nondeterministic and this somehow involves quantum mechanics"


"New insight shows souls are fundamental"



What do you (or your interpretation of Robert Roger Penrose) think a new physics insight that would make consciousness go from mysterious to non-mysterious look like?

The evaluation function of an AI is not its aim

I would also note that most modern-day AI like GPT-N are not actually optimisers, just algorithms produced by optimisation processes - the entity of [GPT-N + its trainer + its training data] could be considered an optimiser (albeit a self-contained one), but as soon as you take GPT-N out of that environment it is a stateless algorithm that looks at a short string of text and provides a probability distribution for the next letter. When it is run in generative mode, the set of its weights and answers will be no different from its isolated guesses when being trained.

Can someone help me understand the arrow of time?

I think it might be useful to think about what it would mean for the sentence “time is an illusion” to be true, or to be false.

There’s a certain contrarian perspective I find it useful to be able to take, by applying that perspective to this question I generated a few scripts:

“Of course a timeline is defined as a static object – if you take time out of the world-in-which-your-model-is-embedded and put it directly into your model you’ll find that there’s no time left over for your model to change in. There’s only one dimension of time, so you can’t have a model of time that changes, because if you did then I would have to ask exactly what your model changes over, if not time; once you take time and put it in the model, you can’t have time that operates outside the model!”

“A couple of your other confusions (if time doesn’t pass, how can you do anything? isn’t everything useless?) seem to be related to the free will/determinism conflict (if everything we do is already determined, what use is it making any decisions?). I occasionally find people that think that determinism constrains and prevents free will, because if your decision is just the result of initial conditions of the things you’re making the decision over, then how do you have the freedom to choose either option?, to which I reply, if you weren’t able to make the decision just based on everything you knew, what else would you posit is affecting it? What third-party source of noise has affected the process by which you are making decisions, so that all options are somehow possible?”

“The feeling-of-time-passing and the feeling-of-yourself-thinking are one and the same – you couldn’t alter one and not affect the other; the feeling-of-time-passing is the result of you moving to new mental states over new thoughts and new memories, as a result of being part of a chain of cause-and-effect that includes yourself as an element and as a subject. The feeling of making decisions and resolving sensory input into data, the feeling of entropy ratcheting forwards, is the feeling of time passing.”

“What would it mean for there to be a now that isn’t ‘subjectively’ defined by the you at each moment? Would that posit a perfect, timeless crystal that also happens to have a little arrow that says ‘you are here’, that moves forward at the rate of one crystal-second per second?”

“The time-that-is-now is the current position of the you within that timeless crystal, and all of them are correct – you can’t have a timeless crystal that has a ‘current time’ on it for the same reason that you can’t have a locationless map beamed onto the moon that also has a ‘you are here’ arrow on it.”

“There is no arrow of time – the more we understand physics, the more timeless our understanding becomes, but there IS an arrow of entropy (defined by taking a given starting state and running physics in either direction), and asking ‘what would it mean for use to go in the opposite direction from entropy, remembering our future but not our past’ yields a contradiction; the direction we experience entropy in is the direction we experience time passing in, because that's what it means to be affected by entropy."

I can’t put full epistemic emphasis on any of these individually, but I hope you can see the general line that I’m working from.

The Simple Truth

My conjecture is that the abillity for characters to explain counting, equal quantities, and causal relations has been deliberately removed to allow those latter processes (with particular emphasis on the scientific method) to be used, to illustrate the general foundation of empiricism without needing to resort to an actually difficult problem where there might be genuine ambiguity about the answers. The lack of a common ground about causal reasoning and reality allows the process to described from the ground up, instead of resting on previous vague intuitions about reality and beliefs.

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 9

Weird but self-consistent explanation: The Chamber of Secrets itself isn't a Parselmouth. It's not really using the Parseltounge API, it just uses the raw audio of the speaker.

Babble challenge: 50 consequences of intelligent ant colonies

I didn't participate in last week's babble, and I also went from three stars to two stars - I think it might just be a miscount

Babble challenge: 50 ways of hiding Einstein's pen for fifty years

Edit: Here's some buffer text, because the sidebar shows things even inside spoilers. Buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, buffer text, and more buffer text.

  1. Keep it in your pocket
  2. Hide it inside a chair leg
  3. Bury in it your garden
  4. Attach a weight to it and throw it over a pier into the ocean (use a fishing magnet to retrieve)
  5. Surgically implant it in yourself
  6. Surgically implant it in a volunteer
  7. Use your bank's safe deposit box
  8. Pay someone else to hide it for you
  9. Hide it inside a notable artifact that's already in a museum
  10. Hide it inside a public monument, so you know that it'll be safe over the duration
  11. Decoy pen
  12. Make a chest of drawers with a false bottom
  13. Hide it in a regular chest of drawers, underneath all the clothes
  14. Place it underneath the floorboards
  15. Disassemble it and reassemble its components into non-pen objects then reassemble it later
  16. Dissolve it in acid (a nobel prize winner once used this to hide their medal)
  17. Invent thermos flasks, and once they are popularised hide the pen in the vacuum between the exterior wall and the interior wall
  18. Sneak into a construction site, and bury the pen underneath drying concrete
  19. Hide it in an attic
  20. Hide it in a basement
  21. Hde it inside a tree
  22. Bury it underneath the ballast of a railway track
  23. Dissasemble it into single-material components, and then surround each component with a block of identical material. Use as paperweights
  24. Hide it in between the double walls of a house
  25. Invent bin liners. Hide between a bin and its bin liner
  26. Cut open a teddy bear, and hide inside
  27. Make a plumbing-standard pipe, with a mesh at each end. Hide pen inside pipe. Insert into your plumbing system
  28. Hide it inside a hat
  29. Coat in precious metals, attach a chain, wear as jewelry
  30. Hide inside a fake book
  31. Hide inside skirting boards
  32. Hide inside a door frame
  33. Hide inside a door
  34. Hide inside the barrel of a gun
  35. Hide inside the shaft of a spear
  36. Hide inside a rail on which curtains are mounted
  37. Hide on top of a tall shelf to tall for the forces of evil to reach
  38. Give it to a miner to hide inside a mine
  39. Hide it inside a teacher's cane
  40. Hide it inside a window pane
  41. Hide it on the underside of a train (if the force of evil are blindly following magic einstein-pen-trackers this should throw them for a loop)
  42. Sneak it onto a ship under construction, and hide it inside the material of the ship
  43. Give to someone onboard a ship you know will sink on that voyage and whose wreck will not be investigated for the relevant duration
  44. Hide it inside a corpse's burial clothes
  45. Hide it inside a casket/coffin/whatever-is-the-correct-name-for-the-boxes-people-are-buried-in
  46. Reveal myself to a government of my choice and explain the dilemma. Leave the hiding to them
  47. Throw it up into a gap inside the ornaments on the roof of a historical building
  48. Hide inside a walking stick
  49. Disguise as a different type of pen. Gift to political leader (so it will be both safe and well-kept)
  50. Hide inside a conductor's baton

Time: 47 minutes


A couple of times I found myself adding an 'honourable mentions' box, and then finding a way to include it in the main list ('Gift it to someone -> that's not exactly hiding it -> disguise it first' and 'Hide it underneath a bin liner -> bin liners weren't invented yet -> invent bin liners first'). I used some somewhat absurd solutions the previous two challenges, and inspired by the more down-to-earth answers of others so I tried to limit myself to the possible (nothing outside the technology range available to me, so no inventing AIs to do the job for me) although in the spirit of babble I generally tried to make every idea somewhat workable.

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