All of manuelg's Comments + Replies

I get an uncomfortable feeling, Eliezer, that this work is to ultimately lead to a mechanism to attract:

  • people of libertarian bent

  • people interested in practically unbounded longevity of consistent, continual consciousness

and also lead to a mechanism to tar people disinclined to those two goals; tar them with the label "sentimentally irrational".

Rationality to me is simply a tool. I would have absolutely no confidence in it without the ongoing experiences of applying it iteratively, successfully to specific goals.

And of course, no matter

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A 2% annual return adds up to a googol (10^100) return over 12,000 years

Well, just to point out the obvious, there aren't nearly that many atoms in a 12,000 lightyear radius.

Robin Hanson didn't get very close to 3^^^3 before you set limits on his use of "very very large numbers".

Secondly, you refuse to put "death" on the same continuum as "mote in the eye", but behave sanctimoniously (example below) when people refuse to put "50 years ... (read more)

It appears to be a quite general principle that, whenever there is a randomized way of doing something, then there is a nonrandomized way that delivers better performance but requires more thought.

If I was a casino owner, I would not purchase a non-randomized slot-machine or a non-randomized roulette wheel. (I might if I was running an underground gaming room.)

Two uses of randomness:

  • Have to express a sequence, and need that sequence to have minimal information content about inner state.

  • Don't want to be doomed by history, always want maintain a tiny chance of success.

What other uses am I missing?

The mere fact that you asked that question makes me a little worried about you, manuel.

Uh, thx 4 ur concern. Kthxbye.

I call myself a liberal. Not because I act or think like most self-described liberals, but because the simple word "liberal" sends waves of debilitating revulsion through many people. Precisely the people whom I identify with a low probability of sustaining rational thought.

I am a liberal, but I am profoundly uninterested in coercing change in the beliefs or behavior of others. I find it a full-time job to coerce change in th... (read more)

I think there's a hope that we'll find ways of persuading others. So it's worth tossing ideas around just on the offchance we'll find new and more potent tools for that purpose. It also helps us feel better about our own choice ;)

But isn't this just another failure mode of groups working together, which we already know is far from optimal?

Like so many of the other failure modes of groups (stupid but loud people having an over-sized influence, smart but shy people having no influence, stopping exploring the problem/solution space way to early, couching everything in weasel-words, etc), you can do so much better with an iterative process:

  1. Quick brainstorming

  2. Written summary of everything said during brainstorming

  3. All participants work on sub-problems on their own.

  4. All participant

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The perfect age of the past, according to our best anthropological evidence, never existed.

Minor point: in defense of the esteemed Taoist, I would argue Chuang Tzu was speaking of the time humans were small groups of hunter-gatherers. Based on my understanding of Jared Diamond's "Agriculture: the worst mistake in the history of the human race".

Back on the point of your post. I am not ashamed to say I listen to Zig Ziglar tapes (I probably should be). His folksy way of putting it is "Do you want to be a learner, or learned?" With "learned" implying that you have mastered a system of thought perfectly suited for a receding past.

Did Chuang Tzu know that much about the ancient history of humans, really?
Small groups of hunter-gatherers were only nice to each other within the group. I would much rather live in a world where it's accepted to lie to your neighbor than one where it's accepted to murder someone who isn't.

Apropos of nothing: you have a lot to say about the discrete Bayesian. But I would argue that talking about the quality of manufacturing processes, one would often do best talking about continuous distributions.

The distributions that my metal-working machines manifest (over the dimensions under tolerance that my customers care about) are the Gaussian normal, the log normal, and the Pareto.

When the continuous form of the Bayesian is discussed, they always talk about the Beta distributions.

I have tried reasoning with the lathe, the mill, and the drill press... (read more)

"Resist against being human" is an interesting choice of words. Surely, most people would not see that as a goal worth pursuing.

Nominull nailed it on the head, Eliezer. What are the human qualities worth amplifying, and what are the human qualities worth suppressing?

For myself, "cultishness" is definitely a human group failure mode.

To others, maybe "cultishness" is a comfortable state of being, like relaxing in a warm bath. (Partake in the vivid imagery of a group of nude people in a drowsy state soaking in their collecti... (read more)

Have you read Bion's "Experiences in Groups"? He was an English Freudian, so he was extremely passive while observing group behavior, which is fine, because he was also careful to record what was happening.

I am less satisfied with his analysis, because, as a typical Freudian, he always has ad-hoc reasons why any piece of evidence (or its exact opposite) perfectly confirms his theories. Absolutely impossible to falsify.

What I took from it was that, after you establish a concrete, positive goal for a group's interactions, for each and every sub-e... (read more)

You shouldn't expect to be able to compress a human morality down to a simple utility function, any more than you should expect to compress a large computer file down to 10 bits.

I think it is a helpful exercise, in trying to live "The Examined Life", to attempt to compress a personal morality down to the fewest number of explicitly stated values.

Then, pay special attention to exactly where the "compressed morality" is deficient in describing the actual personal morality.

I find, often but not always, that it is my personal morality that would benefit from modification, to make it more like the "compressed morality".

From what I've read, virtually nobody in China is a communist now, just as people had stopped believing in the last days of the Soviet Union. In North Korea or among the rebels of Nepal there are still true-believers, but I don't think there are as many as there are Christians.

I find it useful to distinguish between the Chinese and the Swedish. I call the Chinese form of government "communism", and I call the Swedish form of government "socialism". If they are all sub-tribes of "Canadians" to you, then you don't prize dis... (read more)

Minor point. It is peculiar to talk about the "death of communism" when there are about as many communists in the world as there are Christians.

"Death of the Purported Worldwide Worker's Communist Revolution" is closer to the truth (and a mouthful).

How about "Death of Worldwide Revolutionary Communism"?

Undoubtedly because Darwin didn't know what genes were. Genetic change over a period of several generations: sounds like evolution to me. In addition, I believe you may have misread Eliezer's comment: the gene may take a long time to reach the point where the species dies out. It's only "one more generation" once the gene has evolved to fixation.

But the male chromosome isn't competing against the female chromosome. The mutant male chromosome is competing against the unmutant male chromosome. The mutant male chromosome is fitter, rises to fixation at its allele location, and in one more generation the species as a whole goes extinct.

I would still be loath to call it "evolved to death". Where is the "evolution"? You are describing an event that would wipe out a species in an instant (considering it on the time scales that evolution acts on). Species die out instantaneously ... (read more)

The very first "compilation" I would suggest to your choice system would be to calculate the "Expected Utility of Success" for each Action.

1) It is rational to be prejudiced against Actions with a large difference between their "Expected Utility of Success" and their "Expected Utility", even if that action might have the highest "Expected Utility". People with a low tolerance for risk (constitutionally) would find the possible downside of such actions unacceptable.

2) Knowing the "Expected Utility of S... (read more)

Get big enough in the beyond to come down to where I live God, I wont send you back to the slow zone or anything ;) -Pham

Eliezer -

Would "innovation" in genetic error correction, or changes to the proteins responsible for allowing greater or fewer mutations in DNA...

...would such "meta-changes" (changes to the mechanisms of DNA replication) be the basis for group selection?

If different groups had slightly different rules for their DNA replication, intuitively I could see that their competition would be best understood as group selection.

Consider two groups, both formed by mating of a single mother pregnant with a son, leading to two groups with slightly di... (read more)