loup-vaillant's Comments

What steep learning curve do you wish you'd climbed sooner?

I, on the other hand love my cello. I also happen to enjoy practice itself. This helps a lot.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101

I have defeated the hydra! (I had to cut off 670 heads). Feels like playing Diablo.

2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey

I took the survey (answered nearly everything).

The dangers of zero and one

(7): indentation error. But I guess the interpreter will tell you i is used out of scope. That, or you would have gotten another catastrophic result on numbers below 10.

def is_prime(n):
for i in range(2,n):
    if n%i == 0: return False
return True

(Edit: okay, that was LessWrong screwing up leading spaces. We can cheat that with unbreakable spaces.)

Probability, knowledge, and meta-probability

I don't like your use of the word "probability". Sometimes, you use it to describe subjective probabilities, but sometimes you use it to describe the frequency properties of putting a coin in a given box.

When you say, "The brown box has 45 holes open, so it has probability p=0.45 of returning two coins." you are really saying that knowing that I have the brown box in front of me, and I put a coin in it, I would assign a 0.45 probability of that coin yielding 2 coins. And, as far as I know, the coin tosses are all independent: no amount of coin toss would ever tell me anything about the next coin toss. Simply put, a box, along with the way we toss coins in it has rather definite frequency properties.

Then you talk about "assigning probabilities to each possible probability between 0 and 1". What you really wanted to say is assigning a probability distribution over the possible frequency properties.

I know it sounds pedantic, but I cringe every time someone talks about "probabilities" being some properties of a real object out there in the territory (like amplitudes in QM). Probability is in the mind. Using the word any other way is confusing.

Help us name a short primer on AI risk!

It just occurred to me that we may be able to avoid the word "intelligence" entirely in the title. I was thinking of Cory Doctorrow on the coming war on general computation, where he explain unwanted behaviour on general purpose computers is basically impossible to stop. So:

Current computers are fully general hardware. An AI would be fully general software. We could also talk about general purpose computers vs general purpose programs.

The Idea is, many people already understand some risks associated with general purpose computers (if only for the various malware). Maybe we could use that to draw attention to the risks of general purpose programs.

That may avoid drawing unwanted associations with the word "intelligence". Many people believe that machines cannot be intelligent "by definition". Many believe there is something "magic" between the laws of physics and the high-level functioning of a human nervous system. They would be hard-pressed to admit it outright, but it is at the root of a fundamental disbelief of the possibility of AI.

As for actual titles…

  • The Risks of General Purpose Software.
  • General Purpose Computers can do anything. General Purpose Programs, will. (Sounds better as a subtitle, that one.)

(Small inconvenience: phrasing the title this way may require to touch the content of the book itself.)

Help us name a short primer on AI risk!

Or, "Artificial intelligence as a risk to mankind". (Without the emphasis.)

Rationality Quotes September 2013

Good luck finding one that doesn't also bias you into a corner.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98

Maybe we could explain it by magical risks, and violence. I wouldn't be surprised if wizard kill each other more than muggles. With old-fashioned manners, may come old fashioned violence. The last two wars (Grindelwald and Voldemort), were awfully close, and it looks like the next one is coming.

If all times and all countries are the same, with a major conflict every other generation, it could easily explain such a low population.

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