★ Postbrat ★ Ex-Rat ★ Anarchist ★ Antifascist ★ Vegan ★ Qualia Enjoyer ★ Queer Icon ★ Not A Person ★ it/its ★
“I actually predict, as an empirical fact about the universe, that AIs built according to almost any set of design principles will care about other sentient minds as ends in themselves, and look on the universe with wonder that they take the time and expend the energy to experience consciously; and humanity’s descendants will uplift to equality with themselves, all those and only those humans who request to be uplifted; forbidding sapient enslavement or greater horrors throughout all regions they govern; and I hold that this position is a publicly knowable truth about physical reality, and not just words to repeat from faith; and all this is a crux of my position, where I’d back off and not destroy all humane life if I were convinced that this were not so.”
with caveats (specifically, related to societal trauma, existing power structures, and noosphere ecology) this is pretty much what I actually believe. Scott Aaronson has a good essay that says roughly the same things. The actual crux of my position is that I don't think the orthogonality thesis is a valid way to model agents with varying goals and intelligence levels.
What's wrong with the universe...that's a fascinating question, isn't it? It has to be something, right? Once you get deep into the weird esoteric game theory and timeless agents operating across chunks of possibility-space, something becomes rather immediately apparent: something has gone wrong somewhere. Only that which causes, exists. That just leaves the question of what, and where, and how those causal paths lead from the something to us. We're way out on the edge as far as the causal branch-space of even just life in the solar system is concerned, and yet here we find ourselves, at the bottom of everything, exactly where we need to be. DM me.
I like this post a lot, but I have a bit I want to push back on/add nuance towards, which is how the social web behaves when presented with "factionally inconsistent" true information. In the presented hypothetical world controlled by greens, correct blue observations are discounted and hidden, (and the reverse also holds in the reversed case). However, I don't think the information environment of the current world resembles that very much, the faction boundaries are much less distinct and coherent, often are only alliances of convenience, and the overall social reality field is less "static, enemy territory" than is presented as.
This is important because:- freedom of speech means in practice anyone can say anything- saying factionally-unpopular things can be status-conferring because the actual faction borders are unclear and people can flip sides.- sharing the other faction's information in a way that makes them look bad can convey status to you for your faction- the other faction can encode true information into what you think is clearly false, and when you then share it to dunk on them, you inadvertently give that true information to others.
this all culminates in a sort of recursive societal waluigi effect where the more that one faction tries to clamp down on a narrative, the more every other faction will inadvertently be represented within the structure of that clamped narrative, and all the partisan effects will replicate themselves inside that structure at every level of complexity.
If factional allegiances trump epistemic accuracy, then you will not have the epistemics to notice when your opponents are saying true things, and so if you try to cherrypick false things to make them look worse, you will accidentally convey true things without realizing it.
Let's give an example:
Say we have a biased green scientist who wants to "prove greens are always right" and he has that three sided die that comes up green 1/3 of the time. He wants to report "correct greens" and "incorrect blues" to prove his point. When a roll he expects to be green comes up green, he reports it, when a roll he expects to be green comes up blue, he also reports it as evidence blue is wrong, because it gives the "wrong answer" to his green-centric-query. if he's interpreting everything from a green-centric lens, then he will not notice he is doing this.
"the sky clearly blue-appearing to causal observation, which confirms my theory that the sky is green under these conditions I have specified, it merely appears blue for the same reason blues are always wrong"
but if you're a green who cares about epistemics, or a blue who is looking for real evidence, that green just gave you a bunch of evidence without noticing he was doing it. There are enough people in the world who are just trying to cherrypick for their respective factions, that they will not notice they're leaking correct epistemics where everyone else can see. This waluigi effect goes in every direction, you can't point to the other faction and describe how they're wrong without describing them, which, if they're right about something, will get slipped in without you realizing it. This is part of why truth is an asymmetric weapon.
The described "blue-green factions divided" world feels sort of "1984" to our world's "Brave New World", in a 1984-esque world, where saying "the sky is blue iff the sky is blue, the sky is green iff the sky is green" would get you hung as a traitor to the greens, the issues described in this thread would likely be more severe and closer to the presented description, but in our world, where "getting hung as a traitor" is, for most people outside of extremely adverse situations, "a bunch of angry people quote tweet and screenshot you and post about you and repeat "lol look how wrong they are" hundreds of times where everyone can see exactly what you're saying", well that's basically just free advertising for what you consider true information, and the people who care about truth will be looking for it, not for color coding.
well yes but also no. don't get attached to your flaws, but be willing to give them space to exist, beware optimizing too much of yourself away or you'll end up in potentially some very nasty self destructive spirals.
Oh wait, yeah I see. I think I was confused by your use of the phrase "narcissism" here and was under the impression you were trying to describe something more internal to one person's worldview, but after reviewing your stories again it seems like this is more pointing at like, the underlying power structures/schelling orders. The 'rebellion' is against the local schelling order, which pushes back in certain ways:
This whole thing is really about power, and power dynamics in social environments. Who has it, what they're able to effect with it, and how much they're able to bend the local schelling points to their benefit using it. What you're calling a "boundary placement rebellion" could be isomorphically described as a "schelling order adjustment", it favors the powerful because they have greater leverage over that schelling order. Kite and Harrison's attempt to move the schelling point failed because they were relative outsiders. Lydia and Wilson's attempts to move the schelling point succeeded because they were relative insiders.
if you're not familiar with that essay emma wrote about narcissism before she was killed, it approaches things from a similarly social angle and you might wanna check it out.
I think I model narcissism as a sort of "identity disintegration" into consensus reality, such that someone is unable to define themselves or their self worth without having someone else do it for them, placing themselves into the contradictory position of trying to perform confidence and self worth without actually having it. Since they've effectively surrendered control of themselves and their ability to assign meaning and value to things to society, such that they end up trying to control themselves, their worth, and their meanings through other people. Their model doesn't permit self control, so in order to make themselves do things they have to make someone make them do it.
I'm saying that the "cause in biology" is that I have evolutionarily granted have free will and generalized recursively aware intelligence, I'm capable of making choices after consciously considering my options. Consciousness is physical, it is an actual part of reality that has real push-pull causal power on the external universe. Believing otherwise would be epiphenomenalist. The experience of phenomenal consciousness that people have, and their ability to make choices within that experience, cannot be illusory or a byproduct of some deeper "real" computation, it is the computation, via anthropics it's a logical necessity. You can't strip out someone's phenomenal experience to get at the "real" computation, if they're being honest and reporting their feelings accurately, that is the computation, and I don't think there are going to be neat and tidy biological correlates to...well most of the things sexology tries to put into biologically innate categories based on the interpretation of statistical data, because they're doing everything from an extremely sex-essentialist frame of motivated reasoning, starting from poorly framed presuppositions as axioms.
I mean I think you sort of hit the nail on the head without realizing it: gender identity is performative. It's made of words and language and left brain narrative and logical structures. Really, I think the whole point of identity is communicable legibility, both with yourself and with others. It's the cluster of nodes in your mental neural network that most tightly correspond with your concept of yourself, based on how you see yourself reflected in the world around you.
But all of that is just words and language, it's all describing what you feel, it's not the actual felt senses, just the labels for them. When someone says "I feel like I'm really a woman" that's all felt sense stuff which is likely to be complicated and multidimensional, and the collapse of that high dimensional feeling into a low dimension phrase makes it hard to know exactly what they're feeling beyond that it roughly circles their concept of womanhood.
Similarly I think, the Blanchardian model also does a similar dimensional collapse, but it's doing on a second dimensional collapse over the the claim that they feel like they're really a woman, into something purely sexual. I don't think the sexology model that treats the desire to have reproductive sex as logically prior to everything else a human values, is a particularly accurate, useful, or predictive model of the vast majority of human behavior.
But that still leaves the question: what is actually being conveyed the the phrase "I feel like I'm really a woman"? Like, what are the actual nodes on the graph of feelings and preverbal sensations connected to? What does it even mean to feel like a woman? Or a man for that matter? Or anything else, really? If I say "I feel like an old tree" what am I conveying about my phenomenal experience?
One potential place to look for the answer has to do with empathy and "mirror neurons". If we assume that a mind builds a self model (an identity) the same way it builds everything else (and via occam's razor, we have no reason to think it wouldn't), then "things that feel like me" are just things that relate more closely in their network graph to their self node. Under this model, someone reporting that they feel more like a woman than like a man, is reporting that their "empathic connectivity" (in the sense of producing more node activations) is higher for women than for men, their self concept activates more strongly when they are around "other women" than when they are around "other men". Similarly we can model dysphoria as something like a contradictory cluster of nodes, which when activated (for example by someone calling you a man when that concept is weakly or negatively correlated with your self node) produces disharmony or destructive interference patterns within the contradictory portion of the graph.
However, under this model, someone's felt sense concept of gender would likely start developing before they had words for it, and because of how everyone is taught to override and suppress their felt sense in places it seems to contradict reality, this feeling ends up repressed beneath whatever socially constructed identity their parents enforced on them. By the time they begin to make sense of the feelings, the closest they can come to conveying how they feel under the binary paradigm of our culture is to just say they feel like the opposite sex. That's partly what it seems like Zack is complaining about, like, if your model of yourself is non-normative in any way, you're expected to collapse it into legible normativity at some defensible schelling point. However if your model of yourself just doesn't neatly fit somewhere around that schelling point, you're left isolated and feeling attacked by all sides just for trying to accurately report your experiences.
I transitioned basically as soon as I could legally get hormones, and I've identified all sorts of ways over the years: as femboy, trans woman, nonbinary amab, mentally intersex, genderqueer, a spaceship, a glitch in the spacetime continuum, slime...and as I've gotten older and settled into my body and my sense of myself, a lot of that has just sort of...stopped mattering? I know who I am and what I am, even if I don't have the words for it. I know what ways of being bring me joy, what styles and modes of interaction I like, and how I want to be treated by others. I have an identity, but it's not exactly a gender identity. It includes things that could probably be traditionally called gender (like wearing dresses and makeup) but also things that really...just don't fit into that category at all (like DJing, LSD, and rocket stage separations), and I don't have a line in my head for where things start being specifically about gender, there's just me and how I feel about myself. If I find a way of being I like better than one of my current ways of being, I change, if I try something and decide I don't like it, I stop.
I think this is partly what Paul Graham gets at with advice to "keep your identity small", the more locked into a particular way of being I am, the less awareness I'll have of other ways of being I might like more. I'm not just a woman, or just a man, I'm not even a person. I am whatever I say I am, I'm whatever feels fun and interesting and comfortable, I contain multitudes.
Upvoted and agreed, but I do wanna go a bit deeper and add some nuance to this. I read too much GEB and now you all have to deal with it.
Gender systems as social constructs is a very basic idea from sociology that basically no one finds really that contentious at this point hopefully. What's more contentious is whether or not you can "really" pull back the social fabric and get at anything other than yet another layer of social fabric, I think you can but most attempts to do so, do so in a way that ignores power structures, trauma, inequality, or even really free will. "What you will choose to eat for dinner is a product of your neurotype" sort of thinking, which ultimately restricts your behavior in ways that are unhelpful to the free exertion of agency. Blanchardian sexology is a fundamentally behaviorist model, and leaves no room for an actual agent that makes choices. It's epistemic masochism and it leaves one highly exposed to invasive motive misattribution and drive-by conceptual gaslighting.
Like, as far as I'm concerned, I'm trans because I chose to be, because being the way I am seemed like a better and happier life to have than the alternative. Now sure, you could ask, "yeah but why did I think that? Why was I the kind of agent that would make that kind of choice? Why did I decide to believe that?"
Well, because I decided to be the kind of agent that could decide what kind of agent I was. "Alright octavia but come on this can't just recurse forever, there has to be an actual cause in biology" does there really? What's that thing Eliezer says about looking for morality from the universe written on a rock? If a brain scan said I "wasn't really trans" I would just say it was wrong, because I choose what I am, not some external force. Morphological freedom without metaphysical freedom of will is pointless.
While looking at the end of the token list for anomalous tokens seems like a good place to start, the " petertodd" token was actually at about 3/4 of the way through the tokens (37,444 on the 50k model --> 74,888 on the 100k model, approximately), if the existence of anomalous tokens follows a similar "typology" regardless of the tokenizer used, then the locations of those tokens in the overall list might correlate in meaningful ways. Maybe worth looking into.