Johannes C. Mayer

Tsuyoku Naritai! I operate on Crocker's rules. I greatly appreciate any positive and negative feedback. You can use this (optionally anonymous) feedback form or any other communication medium you like.

I am doing independent AI alignment research. I am still in the process of figuring out a lot of stuff.

Read here about what I would do after taking over the world, and my motivations in general.

Being able to think for yourself is a virtue. So is not giving up because of how you feel, or because it gets difficult.

Here is other stuff from me on the web:

  • I made some games. I am pretty proud of them. Here is a website presenting them. The first two games on that website are garbage. I don't recommend looking at them first. I was scrambling to just do something with ML in the last year of my game design bachelor's because I just had read Superintelligence.
  • My GitHub is a heap of personal projects. Some of them I use daily. Though probably too clunky for other people to use.
  • Here is my youtube channel that I sometimes use.
  • Here are some shaders I made.
  • My LinkedIn

Wiki Contributions


Here is a model of mine, that seems related.

[Edit: Add Epistemic status]
Epistemic status: I have used this successfully in the past and found it helpful. It is relatively easy to do. is large for me.

I think it is helpful to be able to emotionally detach yourself from your ideas. There is an implicit "concept of I" in our minds. When somebody criticizes this "concept of I", it is painful. If somebody says "You suck", that hurts.

There is an implicit assumption in the mind that this concept of "I" is eternal. This has the effect, that when somebody says "You suck", it is actually more like they say "You sucked in the past, you suck now, and you will suck, always and ever".

In order to emotionally detach yourself from your ideas, you need to sever the links in your mind, between your ideas and this "concept of I". You need to see an idea as an object that is not related to you. Don't see it as "your idea", but just as an idea.

It might help to imagine that there is an idea-generation machine in your brain. That machine makes ideas magically appear in your perception as thoughts. Normally when somebody says "Your idea is dumb", you feel hurt. But now we can translate "Your idea is dumb" to "There is idea-generating machinery in my brain. This machinery has produced some output. Somebody says this output is dumb".

Instead of feeling hurt, you can think "Hmm, the idea-generating machinery in my brain produced an idea that this person thinks is bad. Well maybe they don't understand my idea yet, and they criticize their idea of my idea, and not actually my idea. How can I make them understand?" This thought is a lot harder to have while being busy feeling hurt.

Or "Hmm, this person that I think is very competent thinks this idea is bad, and after thinking about it I agree that this idea is bad. Now how can I change the idea-generating machinery in my brain, such that in the future I will have better ideas?" That thought is a lot harder to have when you think that you yourself are the problem. What is that even supposed to mean that you yourself are the problem? This might not be a meaningful statement, but it is the default interpretation when somebody criticizes you.

The basic idea here is, to frame everything without any reference to yourself. It is not me producing a bad plan, but some mechanism that I just happened to observe the output of. In my experience, this not only helps alleviate pain but also makes you think thoughts that are more useful.

Here is what I would do, in the hypothetical scenario, where I have taken over the world.

  1. Guard against existential risk.
  2. Make sure that every conscious being I have access to is at least comfortable as the baseline.
  3. Figure out how to safely self-modify, and become much much much ... much stronger.
  4. Deconfuse myself about what consciousness is, such that I can do something like 'maximize positive experiences and minimize negative experiences in the universe', without it going horribly wrong. I expect that 'maximize positive experiences, minimize negative experiences in the universe' very roughly points in the right direction, and I don't expect that would change after a long reflection. Or after getting a better understanding of consciousness.
  5. Optimize hard for what I think is best.

Though this is what I would do in any situation really. It is what I am doing right now. This is what I breathe for, and I won't stop until I am dead.

How much risk is worth how much fun?

Minor point: Having fun is not the only motivation one can have. One could end up doing a drug, even if they expect to have a bad time, but think it is worth it in the long run. I am talking especially about psychedelics.

LW readers' model of society and relationships is more symmetrical in goals and attitudes than is justified by experience and observation

What do you mean by this?

Yes. I was thinking about the scenario where I make it absolutely clear that there is a problem. I feel that should be enough reason for them to start optimizing, and not take my inability to provide a policy for them to execute as an excuse to ignore the problem. Though I probably could describe the problem better. See also this.

Would this not be better as a Question post?

I mean the situation where they are serious. If I would tell them a solution they would consider it and might even implement it. But they are not pointing their consequentialist reasoning skills toward the problem to crush it. See also this comment.

I have not communicated the subtleties here. I was mainly complaining about a situation where the other person is not making the mental move of actually trying to solve the problem. When I don't have an answer to "What do you want me to do?", they see it as an excuse, to do nothing and move on. Your interpretation presupposes that they are trying to solve the problem. If somebody would do what you are describing, they would do well to state that explicitly.

"What do you want me to do?" is much worse than "What do you want me to do? I am asking because maybe you have already thought of a solution, and it is just a matter of you telling me how to implement it. Then I can go ahead and implement it if I also think it is a good solution. If not that is fine too. In this case, let's try to solve the problem together. Let's first get clearer about what a solution would look like. What are the relevant properties a solution should have, and what is weighting on these properties? ..."

Sometimes I tell somebody about a problem in our relation. An answer I often hear is an honest "What do you want me to do". This is probably well-intentioned most of the time, but I really don't like this answer. I much prefer when the other person starts to use their cognitive resources to optimize the problem to smithereens. "What do you want me to do" is the lazy answer. It is the answer you give to be agreeable. It makes it seem like you don't care about the problem, or at least not enough for you to invest effort into fixing it.

Load More