All of Isaac's Comments + Replies

agree. To some extent, this all shows the best way to have a good reputation is to be good. But some awareness of how others perceive you goes a long way.

This means that ever admitting you were offensive is a huge status hit implying you are some combination of callous, ignorant, and racist. Sometimes people may be willing to take this status hit, especially if upon reflection they believe they really were in the wrong, but since most people's actions seem reasonable to themselves they will not be willing to accept a narrative where they're the villain.

More likely, they will try to advance an alternative interpretation, in which their actions were not legitimately offensive or in which they have the "

... (read more)
I'll add to this that if I want to avoid the "backfire" scenario, one useful technique is to be seen as actually changing the behavior that I promised to change. The period over which the changed behavior must be sustained in order to placate suspicious observers depends significantly on how suspicious they are, so it's often best to do this before I notice them becoming overtly suspicious... that is, to establish a habit of following up my promise to change my behavior with an actual change in my behavior.

I can't attend, but good luck from Hong Kong! AFAIK this will be the second Asian LW meetup. I was also unsure if HK had enough rationalists for a meetup, but I managed to get 3 of us LWers together, and we enjoyed an interesting chat about OpenCog and other topics... So it's worthwhile even if you can only get a few people. And of course, you have to start somewhere. - this is one person's experience with it. I agree that sometimes it sounds iffy, but I think it's useful for people who have that problem. When you say it sounds 'scary' do you mean scary to try or scary what could happen if everyone tried it?

By the way, you sound a lot smarter than the average 16-year-old. (I speak as one who also used to tell people online my age at the age of 16, in the hope I'd get such compliments :) )

Haha, thanks Isaac. I meant scary to try, although it would be terrible if everyone did it - what request could you trust they meant? I read a few of the blogs, and a common thread was when people unexpectedly said 'yes', the... what to call them?... wannabe rejectee would feel guilty for requiring them to go out of their way for something they didn't really want. On the other hand, if you only ask for things you really want, it limits your options and usually has higher stakes. Before my tangent gets too far lost, I'm bringing this up because I get way more guilty about things like that than the average, from what I've seen. It was a bigger problem when I was younger; I'd refrain from things that had a chance of being slightly inconvenient for someone - even if it was extremely inconvenient for me. I'm better about it now, have trained myself to feel less guilty (by literally catching myself when I am and considering it, then forcing it down), but it still shows through in many ways. So I might benefit a lot from the program, but as I say it sounds like it could create scary situations - I deal well with more formal improv (theater sports, debating, chatting with close friends etc) but not with social situations I'm unfamiliar with, or with strangers/acquaintances. It also sounds a little new-age to me. I can see how it could work, but I can also see that it could compound fears through the uncomfortable situations, and that it could negatively effect relationships - seeing as for it to work best, they can't know why you're really asking. Maybe it works for some and not others. I don't know - I haven't seen any research on it, just a few blogs (which are more likely to be written by those it worked for, I'd think). I'll be interested to see how it works in the camp. It'll be different there, though, with everyone knowing people are trying to get rejected. On that note, @Jasen: how are you going to work through that? Even if you make it 'get rejected x amount of
Intelligence is notoriously hard to quantify, and I am slightly insulted by your generalization. Perhaps I know very unusual sixteen year olds, but I think maturity would be a better word to use in this context.


Since at the moment it looks like it'll just be the three of us, I'll suggest meeting up in the bar ferrouswheel mentioned below (168 Future) at 6pm. Will add the details to the article if anyone else wants to drop by.

I've stumbled across OpenCog before and thought it sounded like an interesting approach, though I never looked into it in much detail. My bachelors thesis is actually about writing a texas holdem-playing AI, focusing on using machine learning to model an opponent's behaviour - which I guess has some slight relation to yousen's project. Well, it should be one thing to talk about anyway.

Will try and msg tomorrow to confirm.

I am the Shanghai organizer. I have to go to Hong Kong to renew my Visa on the weekend of Oct 7th through 11th. I'd like to meetup with the Hong Kong LessWronger's if possible.

"When the truth is, their adherence to such absurdly costly principles is precisely to signal that, compared to those who cannot afford their morality, they have it easy."

I think the idea that "morality is a form of signalling" is inaccurate. I agree that moral principles have an evolutionary explanation, but I think that standard game theory provides the best explanation. Generally, it's better to cooperate than to defect in the iterated prisoner's dilemma; and the best way to convince others you're a cooperator is to be, truly, madly ... (read more)

Yeah. But it's certainly possible for both to theories to be true. Morality is a pretty big umbrella term anyway. Also, evolution likes to exapt existing adaptations for other functions.

To be fair, I think he was using "we" to refer to the Conservative party.

Between Monday to Friday (in the evenings) also works for me. I don't know about everyone else, since no other HK-based Lesswrongers have yet emerged. Bummer...

Out of curiosity, in what way do you think the experience of rationalists in HK will be exceptional (as compared to other cities)? Or am I misreading your comment?

I don't know: the difference is an unknown unknown. But most rationalists live in the Anglosphere, so my guess is that those that live in HK will have a different perspective and philosophy. Are there any native HK people on LW, or are they transplanted westerners? The background interest is that I could see myself moving to HK someday (economic freedom, and all that).

I wasn't sure who this was referring to (I thought it was about Socrates), so I looked it up. It's about Epicurus.

Whoa, great call! Didn't know that. This guy was really not a fan of superstition. In the next paragraph he mentions the case of a girl that the people forced to be sacrificed by her father: "It was her fate in the very hour of marriage to fall a sinless victim to a sinful rite, slaughtered to her greater grief by a father’s hand, so that a fleet might sail under happy auspices. Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by superstition."

This interestingly seems to parallel a comment by the current British Prime Minister David Cameron, when he first entered office.

"We're all going to have things thrown back at us. We're looking at the bigger picture. ... And if it means swallowing some humble pie, and if it means eating some of your words, I cannot think of a more excellent diet."

This was in response to a reporter who asked him why he was working with Nick Clegg, a man he had once described as a "joke". At the time I thought it was a spontaneous remark, but after seeing the above, it looks like he may have been quoting.

I love that evergreen politician's trick of using "we" and "you" to mean "I".

And my nefarious plot to gain cheap karma comes to fruition, muahaha...

Just kidding ;-) Moved to the front page.

I don't have sufficient karma to post to the main page.

Everyone, vote Isaac enough points at least to move this there :-)

I'm interested to find that you read, since along with lesswrong it's one of my two most-visited blogs.

I sometimes think Venkatash's way of thinking might be on a level above that of many of the posts here. As an engineer he seems to have internalized the scientific/rationalist way of thinking, but he's combined that with a metaphorical/narrative/artistic way of looking at the world. When it works well, it works really well. What do other people think?

Interestingly, he has PhD in an AI-related field (specifically, control theory), but think... (read more)

Among my favorites as well! Venkat and Eliezer's recommendations currently dominate my reading queue, and I'd be hard-pressed to pick which of their books I'm more eagerly anticipating. Venkat's observations about group decision making and organizational dynamics are a big part of what made me write this proposal (which I've procrastinated following up on due to being uncertain how to proceed). There's definitely some interesting contrast between Venkat and Eliezer's views/styles/goals. A Blogging Heads episode could be fascinating!
1Eliezer Yudkowsky13y
Erm, sorry, I was just linked there or Googled there or something, don't read it on a regular basis.

I felt the same way. I feel the same way about a lot of science fiction - interesting ideas, often worth reading for the ideas alone, but falls flat on plot, or characters, or writing, or all of the above.

With Permutation City I got the sense that he was trying hard to make his characters 3-dimensional, but it didn't work for me. [SPOILER WARNING] For example, one supporting character spent most of the novel trying to overcome the guilt of murdering a prostitute. The idea is promising, but the execution was irritating.

(In fact, I have a theory that some po... (read more)

Yeah, I felt like that character and all his scenes could have been cut entirely without damaging the book.
I so rarely encounter good characters even in non-sci-fi that the book better be based on a damn interesting premise or it will be a total waste.

Small error at "It's difficult to conceive of an intelligence that experiences around 30,000 years in just one second"

One billion * one second = ~30 years, not ~30,000 years.

Whoop! Thanks, corrected.
Well, unless you're European. :-)

Surely declaring "x is impossible", before witnessing x, would be the most wrong you could be?

The colloquial meaning of "x is impossible" is probably closer to "x has probability <0.1%" than "x has probability 0"

I take more issue with the people who incredulously shout "That's impossible!" after witnessing x.

Probabilities of 1 and 0 are considered rule violations and discarded.