All of maxikov's Comments + Replies

PA has a big advantage over object-level ethics: it never suggested things like "every tenth or so number should be considered impure and treated as zero in calculations", while object-level ethics did. The closes thing I can think of in mathematics, where everyone believed X, and then it turned out not X at all, was the idea that it's impossible to take every elementary integral algorithmically or prove that it's non-elementary. But even that was a within-system statement, not meta-statement, and it has an objective truth value. Systems as whole... (read more)

What about all the angst people had over things like irrational numbers ,infinitesimals, non-smooth functions, infinite cardinalities, non-euclidian geometries? I think what you're saying about needing some way to change our minds is a good point though. And I certainly wouldn't say that every single object-level belief I hold is more secure than every meta belief. I'll even grant you that for certain decisions, like how to set public health policy, some sort of QALY-based shut up and calculate approach is the right way to go. But I don't think that's the way to change our minds about something like how we deal with homosexuality, either on a descriptive or a normative level. Nobody read Bentham and said, "you know what guys I don't think being gay actually costs any utils! I guess it's fine". And if they did, it would have been bad moral epistemology. If you put yourself in the mind of an average Victorian, "don't be gay" sits very securely in your web of belief. It's bolstered by what you think about virtue, religion, deontology, and even health. And what you think about those things is more or less consistent with and confirmed by what you think about everything else. It's like moral-epistemic page rank. The "don't be gay" node has strongly weighted edges from the strongest cluster of nodes in your belief system. And they all point at each other. Compared to those nodes, meta level stuff like utilitarianism is in a distant and unimportant backwater region of the graph. If anything an arrow from utilitarianism to "being gay is ok" looks to you like a reason not to take utilitarianism too seriously. In order for you to change your mind about homosexuality, you need to change your mind about everything. You need to move all that moral pagerank to totally different regions of the graph. And picking a meta theory to rule them all and assigning it a massive weight seems like a crazy reckless way to do that. If you're doing that you're basically saying you prioritize

I agree with the first paragraph of the summary, but as for the second - my point is against turning applause lights for utilitarianism on the grounds of such occurrences, or on any grounds whatsoever. And I also observe that ethics haven't gone as far from Bentham as physics have gone from Newton, which I regard as meta-evidence that the existing models are probably insufficient at best.

yet the OP states This seems like a normative statement that only makes sense once you have a preference for utilitarianism.

Is this a bit Silicon Valley Culture? Because those guys do the same - they have a software idea and work on it individually or with 1-2 co-founders. Why? Why not start an open source project and invite contributors from Step 1? Why not throw half-made ideas out in the wild and encourage others to work on them to finish them?

For one thing, because open source community isn't terribly likely to embark on a random poster's new project, and you'll end up developing it mostly by yourself anyway. Furthermore, ... (read more)

That's actually surprising: I thought yeast survives freezing reasonably well, and seems to confirm that. What was different in your setup so that even the control group had a very low survival rate?

Most of my childhood notes and cryo-memrobilia were lost when my house burned down in September, of last year. So, regrettably, I can't consult my notes from those experiments. However, as best I recall, the mortality rate in yeast frozen in distilled water was ~90%. No special treatment was required beyond removing them from the incubating medium and resuspending them in distilled water prior to freezing. Viability was determined indirectly by adding the frozen-thawed yeast in water to culture medium in an Erlenmeyer flask connected to a water displaceme... (read more)

Thanks so much for the detailed review and lots of useful reading!

My pleasure!

I have a few (hopefully helpful) comments to add. I am a huge advocate of trying things yourself on a do-able scale. For instance, many years ago I had pretty much the same idea you did and I decided to it out, directly. I lived across the street from a mechanical engineer from Eli Lilly, Inc., named Bud Riever. I asked Bud to figure how much prsssure would be developed if I simply cooled a closed steel container which was completely filled with water to well below the frrezing point? The answer was about 2,000 atmospheres, or about 24,000 psi... (read more)

Sure, I can easily imagine that by mentally substituting steel with jello - at some point you're tear it apart no matter how thick the walls are. However, that substitute also gives me the impression that most shapes we would normally consider for a vessel don't reach the maximum strength possible for the material.

Most vessels are spherical or cylindrical, which is already pretty good (intuitively, spherical vessels should be optimal for isotropic materials). You might want to take a look at the mechanics of thin-walled pressure vessels if you didn't already. It's important to note that the radial stresses in cylindrical vessels are way smaller than the axial and hoop stresses (which, so to say, pull perpendicular to the "direction" of the pressure). This is also why wound fibers can increase the strength of such vessels.

Is that done to convert shear force to tension?

I wonder, how much can be achieved by merely increasing the thickness of the walls (even to such extremes as a small hole in a cubic meter of steel)?

To my understanding it's because of the higher tensile strength of carbon fiber, although I could be wrong. In a round vessel containing pressure, a pressure gradient is set up from the inside wall to the outside. You can think of such a vessel as a series of concentric shells of increasing radius, each of which only has to support the pressure differential acting upon it. At some pressure level, this pressure differential itself becomes so high that it tears the material apart, regardless of how thick the walls are or how tiny the interior radius is. The physics of this isn't terribly complicated but I don't have any links at the moment, sorry.

Ah, that's true. I guess going back to normal vitals and motion is good enough for preliminary experiments, but of course once that step is over, it's crucial to start examining the effects of preservation on cognitive features of mammals.

Tardigrada and some insects are in fact known to survive ridiculously harsh conditions, freezing (combined with nearly complete dehydration) included. Thus, it makes sense to take a simple organism that isn't known to survive freezing, and make it survive. I suspect though that if you can prevent tardigrades from dehydrating before freezing, the control group won't survive, which means that some experiments can possibly be done on them too.

I'm sure I'm following why mammals should be less susceptible to this problem, can you elaborate?

Doing this with mammals has a lot of challenges though, which it'd make sense to bypass in initial experiments. The deepest dive (aside from humans in DSVs) is only 3km, which accounts for 30 MPa. I guess it's safe to say that no mammal can withstand 350 MPa with air or any gas in its lungs, so total liquid ventilation is required, which is just as challenging to do with sea mammals as with land mammals. Also, mammals are warm-blooded, and usually experience as... (read more)

I meant that in mammals of comparable sizes, you have brains with comparable sizes - and, ultimately, if you salvage a brain all is not lost. Also, they have definable behaviour, which (as you approach more harsh experiments, like the ability to recognize kin after being thawed) might tell you something useful. How would you interpret a shrimp's ability to move after thawing? And all that blood chemistry - the closer it gets to human, the better. Starting with shrimp is useful at the very beginning, to see if it can be done at all, maybe. As to mammals, perhaps mice are better to begin with, because they are smaller than we. I just thought - without checking - that sea mammals are tougher when it comes to oxygen depletion combined with evenly distributed heightened pressure. I can be wrong. BTW, what do you think of Tardigrada, water bears?:)

Hmm, I wonder what the exact biochemistry that prevents life forms (including, apparently, vertebrate fish) in Challenger Deep at 111 MPa from experiencing these problems is, and whether it can be replicated in mammals.

They also mentioned that blebbing first appears at 90-120 seconds, but that's way too short even for the fastest protocols possible. Theoretically, it's not unthinkable to cool the body to just above 0C, and then go straight to 632 MPa and above, to make it instantly freeze, before blebbing occurs. And then, if total liquid ventilation allow... (read more)

That's an interesting observation! When I was looking into this, I found several suppliers[1][2][3][4] that claim to produce pressure vessels, tubing, and pumps all the way up to 150'000 psi (1GPa). If 300MPa are already pushing the boundaries of steel, do you know what they could use to achieve such pressures?

One common technique is composite construction with carbon fibers wound concentrically around an alloy core.

It seems like the approach of cooling the organism to -30C at 350MPa, and then raising pressure further to ~600Mps to freeze it could actually solve that. As far as I understand, the speed of diffusion in water it far slower that the speed of sound (speed of sound at 25C is 1497 m/s, while diffusion coefficient for protons at 25C is 9.31e-5 cm^2/s, which corresponds to 1.4e-4 m/s - 8 orders of magnitude less), which is the speed of pressure gradient propagation. So if we use raising pressure as a way to initiate phase transition, it will occur nearly simul... (read more)

That's a very sound (pun partially intended) insight, and I don't immediately see a significant reason for why that shouldn't be the case.

However, humans aren't perfectly uniform spheres of water (to borrow from a common physics joke), so some concerns do still exist. Namely: Pressure might propagate through them less predictably/quickly than just water, and different areas of the body might begin freezing at different pressures/in different orders (which can, however, be countered by raising pressures quickly).

I have updated significantly in the direction of "This idea might actually be very valuable to cryonics proponents," for sure.

If you only observe by absorbing particles, but not emitting them, you can be far enough away so that the light cone of your observation only intersects with the Earth later than the original departure point. That would only change the past of presumably uninhabited areas of space-time.

So where exactly do I go for that? Googling "freeze your cells" gives me the information about technical details of that, rather than a company that provides such service, or completely irrelevant weight loss surgery information.


What is the probability of having afterlife in a non-magical universe?

Aside from the simulation hypothesis (which is essentially another form of a magical universe), there is at leas one possibility for afterlife to exist: human ancestors travel back in time (or discover a way to get information from the past without passing anything back) to mind-upload everyone right before they die. There would be astrong incentive for them to not manifest themselves, as well as tolerate all the preventable suffering around the world: if changing the past leads to killi... (read more)

The time travel seem even more magical to me than the simulation hypothesis.
Giving our physical laws I don't see how "observing without interfering" is non-magical. There seems to be a lot of assumption you make about the term non-magical that aren't well founded.
I think a more reasonable thing to explore for "afterlife in a non-magical universe" is the considerations brought up in this post by Yvain
You don't. At least, that's the approach I take to all such Weird Tales.

If the effect of RF doesn't go beyond thermal, then you probably shouldn't be concerned about sitting next to an antenna dish any more than about sitting next to light bulb of the equal power. At the same time, even if the effect is purely thermal, it may be different from the light bulb since RF penetrates deeper in tissues, and the organism may or may not react differently to the heat that comes from inside rather than from outside. Or it may not matter - I don't know.

And apparently, there is a noticeable body of research, in which I can poke some holes,... (read more)

Nitpick: A dish antenna is directional, a typical light bulb is not. For a fair comparison, specify a spotlight bulb.

The general implication is that the so-called truth-seekers are worse off even though the opposite should be true.

The opposite should be true for a rational agent, but humans aren't rational agents, and may or may not benefit from false beliefs. There is some evidence that religion could be beneficial for humans while being completely and utterly false:

http://journa... (read more)

Good point, maxikov. I agree that instrumental rationality > epistemic rationality once you have enough epistemic rationality to understand why and not have it backfire and inadvertently make you less rational in both senses. As I said before, life is always lived in practice.

Should we be concerned about the exposure to RF radiation? I always assumed that no, since it doesn't affect humans beyond heating, but then I found this:

The only mechanism they suggest for non-thermal effects is:

changes to protein conformations and binding properties, and an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that may lead to DNA damage (Challis, 2005 and La Vignera et al., 2012)

One ... (read more)

You shouldn't be worried. Because of the low low energy of radio waves, all chemical transitions they could cause in your body are already happening due to random thermal motion. If the amplitude is high enough, though, radio waves can still move ions around. So it's possible that standing next to an AM antenna would have some psychoactive effects, similar to transcranial magnetic or DC stimulation (though the existence of a similar effect for RF, that shows up before the heat input becomes dangerous, is far from certain). But these would be be chemical changes and have nothing to do with cancer. Also, you're totally right about radio waves warming things up.
The question is too general. If you find yourself in front of a microwave antenna dish, yes, you should be very much concerned about RF radiation X-D and there's not much doubt about that. The cell-phones-cause-brain-cancer scare was successfully debunked, wasn't it?

OK, I'll have to read deeper into TDT to understand why that happens, currently that seems counterintuitive as heck.

Hypocrisy isn't actually fundamentally wrong, even is deliberate. The idea that it's bad is a final yet arbitrary value that has to be taught to humans. Many religions contain the Golden Rule, which boils down to "don't be a hypocrite", and this is exactly an indicator that is was highly non-obvious before it permeated our culture.

Hypocrisy means that what you are signalling is not reality. It doesn't harm you, directly; but it does, potentially, and in general, harm anyone who relies on your signalling. Therefore, in a sufficiently large and inter-connected society, the society will be more successful if hypocrisy is given some significant negatives, like social ostracisation for known hypocrites (that also cuts down on the potential damage radius). Therefore, societies which punish hypocrisy will, on average, be more successful than societies which do not. So I don't think that the idea that hypocrisy is bad is arbitrary. It might not be obvious, but it's not arbitrary.

I, for instance, do not think it's okay to kill a copy of me even if I know I will live on

Not OK in what sense - as in morally wrong to kill sapient beings or as terrifying as getting killed? I tend to care more about people who are closer to me, so by induction I will probably care about my copy more than any other human, but I still alieve the experience of getting killed to be fundamentally different and fundamentally more terrifying than the experience of my copy getting killed.

From the linked post:

The counterargument is also simple, though: Makin

... (read more)
The first one - they're just a close relative :) TDT says to treat the world as a causal diagram that has as its input your decision algorithm, and outputs (among other things) whether you're a copy (at least, iff your decision changes how many copies of you there are). So you should literally evaluate the choices as if your action controlled whether or not you are a copy. As to erasing memories - yeah I'm not sure either, but I'm learning towards it being somewhere between "almost a causal descendant" and "about as bad as being killed and a copy from earlier being saved."

Disclaimer: the identity theory that I actually alieve is the most common intuitionist one, and it's philosophically inconsistent: I regard as death teleportation but not sleeping. This comment, however, is written from System 2 perspective, that can operate even with concepts that I don't alieve

The basic idea behind timeless identity is that "I" can only be meaningfully defined inductively as "an entity that has experience continuity with my current self". Thus, we can safely replace "I value my life" with "I value the e... (read more)

Depend on how you feel about anthropically selfish preferences, and altruistic preferences that try to satisfy other peoples' selfish preferences. I, for instance, do not think it's okay to kill a copy of me even if I know I will live on. In the earth-mars teleporter thought experiment, the missing piece is the idea that people care selfishly about their causal descendants (though this phrase is obscuring a lot of unsolved questions about what kind of causation counts). If the teleporter annihilates a person as it scans them, the person who get annihilated has a direct causal descendant on the other side. If it waits ten minutes, gives the original some tea and cake, and then annihilates them, the person who gets annihilated has no direct causal descendant - they really are getting killed off in a way that matters more to them than before.

We decided that keeping the whole video including personal stories public all the time wouldn't be a very good idea. All the songs, however, are publicly available here:

My primary concern is that the model is very simplified. Although even on this level it may be interesting to invent a metric for the accuracy of encoding the organism's behavior - from completely random to a complete copy.

When you think about it, the brain is really nothing more than a collection of electrical signals.

Statements like this make me want to bang my head against a wall. No, it is not. Brain is a collection of neural and glial cells, the role of which we only partially understand. Most of the neurons are connected through various types of chemical synapses, and ignoring their chemical nature would fail to explain the effects of most psychoactive drugs and even hormones. Some of the neurons are linked directly. Some of them are myelinated, while others are no... (read more)

Agreed this is not brain uploading. Actually this research is not that much different from what has previously been done in computer simulations. The advance is having embedded it in a physical substrate vs a computer.

However, are you implying that C. elegans uploading wouldn't count as uploading because it's so much simpler that a human brain? If so, I disagree with you there. A lot of people think that it would be basically impossible to encode preferences from a C elegans organism (eg learned patterns) into a computer. It certainly hasn't been done yet... (read more)

I doubt that the experimenters themselves wrote the article. Someone has to popularize science to mere humans

Is there a significant difference between the mathematical universe hypothesis and Hegelian absolute idealism. Both seem to claim the primacy of ideas over matter (mind in case of Hegel, and math in case of MUH), and conclude that matter should follow the law of ideas. MUH just makes one step forward, and says that if there are different kind of maths, there should be different kinds of universes, while Hegel haven't claimed the same about different minds.

I've always thought of the MU hypothesis as a derivative of Plato's theory of forms, expressed in a modern way.
The video appears to be private, which is unfortunat since I was interested in watching how the event progressed.

Surely I do. The hypothesis that after a certain period of hypoxia under the normal body temperature the brain sustains enough damage so that it cannot be recovered even if you manage to get the heart and other internal organs working is rather arbitrary, but it's backed up by a lot of data. The hypothesis that with the machinery for direct manipulation of molecules, which doesn't contradict our current understanding of physics, we could fix a lot beyond the self-recovery capabilities of the brain is perfectly sensible, but it's just a hypothesis without t... (read more)

We may be using different definitions of "care". Mine is exactly how much I'm motivated to change something after I became aware that it exists. I don't find myself extremely motivated to eliminate the suffering of humans, and much less for animals. Therefore, I conclude that my priorities are probably different. Also, at least to some extent I'm either hardwired or conditioned to empathize and help humans in my immediate proximity (although definitely to a smaller extent than people who claim to have sleepless nights after observing the footage ... (read more)

1Rob Bensinger9y
Yes, I'm using 'care about X' to mean some combination of 'actually motivated to promote X's welfare' and 'actually motivated to self-modify, if possible, to promote X's welfare'. If I could, I'd take a pill that makes me care enough about non-humans to avoid eating them; so in that sense I care about non-humans, even if my revealed preferences don't match my meta-preferences. Meta-preferences are important because I frequently have conflicting preferences, or preferences I need to cultivate over time if they're to move me, or preferences that serve me well in the short term but poorly in the long term. If I just do whatever I 'care about' in the moment at the object level, unreflectively, without exerting effort to shape my values deliberately, I end up miserable and filled with regret. In contrast, I meta-want my deepest wants to be fairly simple, consistent, and justifiable to other humans. Even if I'm not feeling especially sympathy-laden on a particular day, normative elegance and consistency suggests I should care about the suffering of an exact replica of myself just as much as I care about the suffering inside my own skull. This idea generalizes to endorse prudence for agents that are less similar to me but causally result from me (my future selves) and to endorse concern for agents that will never be me but can have states that resemble mine, including my suffering. I have more epistemic warrant for thinking humans instantiate such states than for thinking non-humans do, but I'm pretty sure that a more informed, in-control-of-his-values version of myself would not consider it similarly essential that moral patients have ten fingers, 23 chromosome pairs, etc. (Certainly I don't endorse decision procedures that would disregard my welfare if I had a different chromosome or finger count, whereas I do endorse procedures that disregard me should I become permanently incapable of experiencing anything.) If I wish I were a nicer and more empathic person, I shoul

How about putting numbers on it? Without doing so, your argument is quite vague.

I would estimate the cumulative probability as the ballpark of 0.1%

Have you actually looked at the relevant LW census numbers for what "we are hoping"?

I was actually referring to the apparent consensus what I see among researchers, but it's indeed vague. I should look up the numbers if they exist.

Most researchers don't do cryonics. I think a good majority of LW anti-aging research is underfunded. I don't buy the thesis that people who do cryonics are investing less effort into other ways of fighting aging. The 2013 LW census asked a questions : "P(Anti-Agathics) What is the probability that at least one person living at this moment will reach an age of one thousand years, conditional on no global catastrophe destroying civilization in that time?" "P(Cryonics) What is the probability that an average person cryonically frozen today will be successfully restored to life at some future time, conditional on no global catastrophe destroying civilization before then?" And "Are you signed up for cryonics?" The general takeaway is that even among people signed up with cryonics the majority doesn't think that it"s chance of working are bigger than 50%. But they do believe that it's bigger than 0.1%.

I would say it's probably no higher than 0.1%.

But by no means I'm arguing against cryonics. I'm arguing for spending more resources on improving it. All sorts of biologists are working on longevity, but very few seem to work on improving vitrification. And I have a strong suspicion that it's not because nothing can be done about it - most of the time I talked to biologists about it, we were able to pinpoint non-trivial research questions in this field.

I think LW looks favorably on the work of the Brain Preservation Foundation and multiple people even donated.

Secondly, because the people who are in a position to do such research are less likely than the general population to believe in an afterlife.

On this particular point, I would say that people who are in a position to allocate funds for research programs are probably about as likely as the general population to believe in the belief in afterlife.

Generally, I agree - it's definitely not the only problem. The USSR, where people were at least supposed to not believe in afterlife, didn't have longevity research as its top priority. But it's definitely one of the cognitive stop signs, that prevents people from thinking about death hard enough.

Good futurology is different from storytelling in that it tries to make as few assumptions as possible. How many assumptions do we need to allow cryonics to work? Well, a lot.

  • The true point of no return has to be indeed much later than we believe it to be now. (Besides does it even exist at all? Maybe a super-advanced civilization can collect enough information to backtrack every single process in the universe down to the point of one's death. Or maybe not)

  • Our vitrification technology is not a secure erase procedure. Pharaohs also thought that their mu

... (read more)
I think trying to stop death is a rather pointless endeavour from the start but I agree the fact that most everyone has accepted it and we have some noble myths to paper it over certainly keep resources from being devoted to living forever. But then, why should we live forever?
Who is "we", and what do "we" believe about the point of no return? Surely you're not talking about ordinary doctors pronouncing medical death, because that's just irrelevant (pronouncements of medical death are assertions about what current medicine can repair, not about information-theoretic death). But I don't know what other consensus you could be referring to.
You missed a few: * you will die in a way that leaves your brain intact * people will care enough in the future to revive frozen people * the companies that provide these services will stick around for a long time
About half of your list is actually an OR statement (timeless identity AND brain scanning AND simulation) OR (nanites through ice), and that doesn't even exhaustively cover the possibilities since at least it needs a term for unknown unknowns we haven't hypothesized yet. It's probably easiest to cover all of them with something like "it's actually possible to turn what we're storing when we vitrify a cryonics patient back into that person, in some form or another". And the vast majority of cryonicists, or at least, those in Less Wrong circles who your post are likely to reach, already accept that the probability of cryonics working is low, but exactly how low they think the probability is after considering the four assumptions your list reduces to is something they've definitely already considered and probably would disagree with you on, if you actually gave a number for what "very low" means to see whether we even disagree (note: if it's above around 1%, consider how many assumptions there are in trying to achieve "longevity escape velocity", and maybe spread your bets). And, as others have already pointed out, belief in cryonics doesn't really funge against longevity research. If anything, I expect the two are very strongly correlated together. At least as far as belief in them being desirable or possible goes, it's quite apparent that they're both ideas that are shared by a few communities such as our own and rejected by other communities including "society at large". How much we spend on each is probably affected by e.g. cryonics being a thing you can buy for yourself right now but longevity being a public project suffering from commons problems, so the correlation might be less strong and even inverse if you check it (I would be very surprised if it actually turned out to be inverse), but if so that wouldn't necessarily be because of the reasons you suggest.
While mainstream belief in an afterlife is probably a contributing factor in why we aren't doing enough longevity/immortality research, I doubt it's a primary cause. Firstly, because very few people alieve in an afterlife, i.e. actually anticipate waking up in an afterlife when they die. (Nor, for that matter, do most people who believe in a Heaven/Hell sort of afterlife, actually behave in a way consistent with their belief that they may be eternally rewarded or punished for their behavior.) Secondly, because the people who are in a position to do such research are less likely than the general population to believe in an afterlife. And finally, because even without belief in an afterlife, people would still probably have a strong sense of learned helplessness around fighting death, so instead of a "Dying is sure scary, we won't truly die, so problem solved, let's do something else." attitude, we'd have a "Dying is sure scary, but we can't really do anything about it, let's do something else." attitude (I have a hunch the former is really the latter dressed up a bit.).
How about putting numbers on it? Without doing so, your argument is quite vague. Have you actually looked at the relevant LW census numbers for what "we are hoping"?

being spoken by "figures wearing black robes, and speaking in a dry, whispering voice, and they are actually withered beings who touched the Stone of Evil"

Isn't that what my inner Quirrellmort supposed to be?

No, that's your inner Nazgul.
"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken" -- Oliver Cromwell
I think that entire comment deserves the Cognitive Trope Therapy response. Is this "being spoken by the kindly old witch who has approached the fanatic knight with concern in her eyes and implored him to realize that he will only hurt others more by what he is doing", or is it being spoken by "figures wearing black robes, and speaking in a dry, whispering voice, and they are actually withered beings who touched the Stone of Evil". Definitely the latter.

Exactly. Having the official position buried in comments with long chains of references doesn't help to sound convincing compared to a well-formatted (even if misleading) article.

On meta-level, I find it somewhat ironical that LW community, as well as EY, who usually seem to disapprove of oversensitivity displayed by tumblr's social justice community, seem also deeply offended by prejudice against them and a joke that originates from this prejudice. On object-level, the joke Randall makes would have been rather benign and funny (besides, I'm willing to exercise the though that mocking Roko's Basilisk could be used as a strategy against it), if not for the possibility that many people could take it seriously, especially given the ac... (read more)

Eh, I'm not sure I agree with the first claim. Yes, some people here are touchy, especially about this issue, but many of us are not touchy about this issue (or in general), and to claim that the LW community is touchy seems like an overgeneralization, and I think LWers typically disapprove of the process of overgeneralization, which can lead to conflicts with various social justice claims and narratives.

I study at a small campus, that only has grad students of technical majors, more than of whom are international students. There's basically no political or societal discourse on campus. Feels good. I actually get much more exposure to politics via LW meet-ups, and most of the political discourse I interact with comes from local EGL community and their facebook feeds. And reddit, of course. But back on topic, our campus seems to operate on implicit politeness and tolerance principles, which aren't really voiced by anyone.

  1. Did this study consider the difference between white and non-white immigrants to mostly white Western countries?

  2. Did this study consider the difference between white and non-white immigrants to non-white countries?

  3. Did this study consider the difference between immigrants who (try to) assimilate to local communities, and those who prefer to stay within national communities?

Yes, the effect was very pronounced in Africans, possibly due to the use of the traditional African stimulant khat. But white people do drugs too, so this seems very dubious. & No, although maybe other studies did.

I'm not if it works with physical attractiveness, but in case of intellectual adequacy, I'm just not letting any internal doubts in my competence to interfere with external confidence. Even if I suspect that I'm not as smart as people around me, I still act exactly as if I am.

That's the whole point: if we can if we can prevent water from expanding by freezing and keeping the sample under high pressure, thus making crystal formation harmless (probably), we can use less cryoprotectant. I don't know if it's possible to get rid of it completely, so I mentioned wood frogs, that already have all the mechanisms necessary to survive slightly below the freezing temperature. It's just their cryoprotectant isn't good enough to go any colder, but it's not so poisonous either. Also, they're small, so it's easier to find high pressure units ... (read more)

That would destroy cryonics companies who make money via insurance that depends on people legally dying.

Wouldn't it just shift to health insurance in this case? But generally, yes, recognizing cryonic patients as alive has a lot of legal ramifications. On the other hand, it provides a much better protection against unfreezing: just like with the patients in a persistent vegetative state, someone authorized has to actively make a decision to kill them, as opposed to no legal protection at all. I'm not sure which of these is the net positive. Besides, tha... (read more)

Health insurance doesn't automatically pay for everything. A bit but not that much. A company that can't afford to freeze would still shut down. Nobody is foreced to pay to keep the machines on in every case.

Unfounded self-confidence (or any unfounded belief) is very harmful.

Citation needed. Bluff (i.e. unfounded confidence) seems to be a very efficient strategy in many games. Apparently, even in chess:


CAMPBELL: And this particular move was really bad, and so it caused us to give up the game right away.

FOO: This really bad move confused Kasparov. Murray says he heard Kasparov's team stayed up that night trying to analyze the logic behind that move - what it meant. The only thing was - there was no logic.

Couple of random thoughts about cryonics:

  • It would actually be better to have cryonics legally recognized as a burial ritual than as a cadaver experimentation. In that way it can be performed on someone who hasn't formally signed a will, granting their body as an anatomical gift to the cryonic service provider. Sure, ideally it should be considered a medical procedure on a living person in a critical condition, but passing such legislation is next to impossible in the foreseeable future, whereas the former sounds quite feasible.

  • The stabilization procedu

... (read more)
That would destroy cryonics companies who make money via insurance that depends on people legally dying. What do you mean exactly? If I understood it right then vitrification is done to prevent ice crystals from forming. Do you mean something different?

This article heavily implies that every LessWronger is a preference utilitarian, and values the wellbeing, happiness, and non-suffering of ever sentient (i.e. non-p-zombie) being. Neither of that is fully true for me, and as this ad-hoc survey - - seems to suggest, I may not be alone in that. Namely, I'm actually pretty much OK with animal suffering. I generally don't empathize all that much, but there a lot of even completely selfish reasons to be nice to humans, whereas it's not really the case f... (read more)

3Rob Bensinger9y
I was mainly talking about LessWrongers who care about others (for not-purely-selfish reasons). This is a much milder demand than preference utilitarianism. I'm surprised to hear you don't care about others' well-being -- not even on a system 2 level, setting aside whether you feel swept up in a passionate urge to prevent suffering. Let me see if I can better understand your position by asking a few questions. Assuming no selfish benefits accrued to you, would you sacrifice a small amount of your own happiness to prevent the torture of an atom-by-atom replica of you?
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