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Planning Fallacy

But experiment has shown that the more detailed subjects' visualization, the more optimistic (and less accurate) they become.

I'm working in software engineering, and I have often seen the opposite. You ask a guy, hey how long do you think you'll spend on this task? And they say, 150 hours. Now, you say, let's break it down into specific actions, and estimate them. And often it happens that the result is twice as large as original rough estimate.

Beware Trivial Inconveniences

Examples with credit vs cash may not be quite relevant to "trivial inconveniences". It seems to me, that the key here is, when one uses cash, they are physically giving away something material. With credit card, you just type in pin code, or sign a receipt, or whatever, but that does not register in System 1 as giving away something. So, no cash -- no System 1 intervention, thus less regret on bigger numbers.

Rationality: From AI to Zombies

I second this question! I want to have this book in flesh, staying on my bookshelf.

Not for the Sake of Pleasure Alone

more recent study found that a slight majority of people would prefer to remain in the simulation.

I believe lukeprog was talking about what people think before they get wireheaded. It's very probable that once one gets hooked to that machine, one changes ones mind -- based on new experience.

It's certainly true for rats which could not stop hitting the 'pleasure' button, and died of starvation.

This is also why people have that status quo bias -- no one wants to die of starving, even with 'pleasure' button.

Not for the Sake of Pleasure Alone

Really? So you're ready to give up that easily?

For me, best moments in life are not those when I experience 'intense pleasure'. Life for me is like, you know, in some way, like playing chess match. Or like creating some piece of art. The physical pleasure does not count as something memorable, because it's only a small dot in the picture. The process of drawing the picture, and the process of seeing how your decisions and plans are getting "implemented" in a physical world around me -- that's what counts, that's what makes me love the life and want to live it.

And from this POV, wireheading is simply not an option.

Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 1 of 3)

Upvoted the post. But, as I can see, for some reason it is not getting many upvotes (I can only see 5 now). Please do not stop writing Part 2 because of that -- I really, really want to know those few methods of effective meditation you are talking about.

At least, let us, interested ones, know about these somehow -- if you decide to not continue the sequence.

Thanks in advance.

Self-Improvement or Shiny Distraction: Why Less Wrong is anti-Instrumental Rationality

Thank you for this great post -- it matches my understanding perfectly. I recently joined the LW and after several weeks of reading I kind of felt that yeah all those essays are great and some of them just brilliant... but in general it does not get me anywhere, it does not change how I behave.

So I stopped reading it -- only maybe couple of articles a month.

Another thing I wanted to say is: thank you so much for those links for 'practical' stuff you put into the post!

And now I think: it would be very helpful to have a way to somehow filter 'teoretical' posts from 'practical'. Maybe have a way for some members of the community to select and 'tag' these posts? So that the rest, newcomers like me, could find practical stuff in more sensible way than just going through the complete list and read every article?...

Bloggingheads: Robert Wright and Eliezer Yudkowsky

Well, for me, there was only emotional disagreement between RW and EY. And, EY explanation did not make it through completely to RW.

To summarize the second part of the video:

RW: Can it be that evolution of the Earth biosphere is purposeful? EY: Yes, but that's very improbable.

That's it. Isn't it?

And by the way, RW was doing a very good argument! I saw that when I finally understood what RW was talking about, trying to compare a fox to the Earth. Because, you see, I too do not see that much of a difference between them -- provided that we agree on his conditions:

  • a single fox is presented to a viewer (that is, one fertilized cell, which starts to replicate right away)

  • viewer is completely ignorant of natural context/surroundings in which this fox lives on Earth

  • viewer does not even know it is from Earth or whatever else; viewer is not provided any information about this cell whatsoever

  • well, we would have to somehow provide this fox with oxygen and food and etc. -- let's imagine we managed to do it without exposing much of its natural surroundings

Now, thinking of a fox this way, I can see that a fox and the Earth are very alike.

  • both start with something more simple (one cell vs. single-cell organisms),

  • eventually grows into something more and more complex (fox vs. current biosphere),

  • consists of various tissues and "particles", which are in turn quite complex things in itself

And an argument of EY, about "particles" in fox not "eating" each other, while particles on Earth (foxes) eating other particles -- it comes from our subconscious, we feel that it's bad since rabbit dies, so we clearly see a distinction since within our organism nothing actually "dies" in that sense. But if we look at the Earth as a single organism, we can think of this event (fox eating rabbit) as exact analogy of "blood eating oxygen and then transferring it to muscles" -- except that with blood it is straightforward, and with biosphere food chain has way more nodes.

So, I am trying to interpret here, but another thing I think EY meant in the video, is: purposefulness of the biosphere (or panspermia to that effect) may well be the case, but from the point of view of our current body of knowledge, this idea just replaces existing hard-to-answer questions by other equally hard-to-answer questions.

I guess, if humans had a chance to view the Earth with its complete context, or even better -- see other cases of similar biospheres life (and death) -- just as we saw many lives of many foxes and other organisms on Earth -- then we would be able to judge it as purposeful or not, and panspermia hypothesis would not be so useless.

Diseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease

yes, but this still does not classify their laziness as a desease, does it?

Late Great Filter Is Not Bad News

I don't seem to understand the logic here. As I understand the idea of "Late Great Filter is bad news", it is simply about bayesian update of probabilities for hyphoteses A = "Humanity will eventually come to Explosion" versus not-A. Say, we have original probabilities for this p = P(A) and q = 1-p. Now, suppose, we take Great Filter hyphoteses for granted, and we find on Mars remnants of great civilization, equal to ours or even more improved. This means that we must update our probabilities of A/not-A so that P(A) decreases.

And I consider this really bad news. Either that, or Great Filter idea has some huuuuge flaw I overlooked.

So, where am I wrong?

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