I am the co founder of the quantitative long term strategy organization Convergence. Over the last ten years I have worked with MIRI, CFAR, EA Global, Founders Fund, and Leverage, and done work in EA strategy, fundraising, networking, teaching, cognitive enhancement, and AI safety research. I have a MS degree in computer science and BS degrees in computer science, mathematics, and physics.

JustinShovelain's Comments

Metaphilosophical Mysteries

By new "term" I meant to make the clear that this statement points to an operation that cannot be done with the original machine. Instead it calls this new module (say a halting oracle) that didn't exist originally.

Metaphilosophical Mysteries

Are you trying to express the idea of adding new fundamental "terms" to your language describing things like halting oracles and such? And then discounting their weight by the shortest statement of said term's properties expressed in the language that existed previously to including this additional "term?" If so, I agree that this is the natural way to extend priors out to handle arbitrary describable objects such as halting oracles.

Stated another way. You start with a language L. Let the definition of an esoteric mathematical object (say a halting oracle) E be D in the original language L. Then the prior probability of a program using that object is discounted by the description length of D. This gives us a prior over all "programs" containing arbitrary (describable) esoteric mathematical objects in their description.

I'm not yet sure how universal this approach is at allowing arbitrary esoteric mathematical objects (appealing to the Church-Turing thesis here would be assuming the conclusion) and am uncertain whether we can ignore the ones it cannot incorporate.

Think Before You Speak (And Signal It)

Interesting idea.

I agree that trusting newly formed ideas is risky, but there are several reasons to convey them anyway (non-comprehensive listing):

  • To recruit assistance in developing and verifying them

  • To convey an idea that is obvious in retrospect, an idea you can be confident in immediately

  • To signal cleverness and ability to think on one's feet

  • To socially play with the ideas

What we are really after though is to asses how much weight to assign to an idea off the bat so we can calculate the opportunity costs of thinking about the idea in greater detail and asking for the idea to be fleshed out and conveyed fully. This overlaps somewhat with the confidence (context sensitive rules in determining) with which the speaker is conveying the idea. Also, how do you gauge how old an idea really is? Especially if it condenses gradually or is a simple combination out of very old parts? Still... some metric is better than no metric.

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

Vote this up if you are the oldest child with siblings.

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

Vote this up if you are an only child.

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

Vote this up if you have older siblings.

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

Poll: Do you have older siblings or are an only child?

karma balance

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