All of mkehrt's Comments + Replies

This isn't really true--clock performance is a really good metric for computing power. If your clock speed doubles, you get a 2x speedup in the amount of computation you can do without any algorithmic changes. If you instead increase chip complexity, e.g., with parallelism, you need to write new code to take advantage of it.

Wrong. A two-fold increase in CPU clock rate implies a twofold increase in CPU cycles per second, and nothing more. Any number of pure hardware improvements - for example, increasing the number of instructions, decreasing the number of CPU cycles an instruction takes to execute, improving I/O speed, etc - can improve performance without changing the clock rate, or even while decreasing the clock rate, without introducing parallel processing cores.

I'm not entirely convinced by the rest of your argument, but

The idea that multiplying suffering by the number of sufferers yields a correct and valid total-suffering value is not fundamental truth, it is just a naive extrapolation of our intuitions that should help guide our decisions.

Is, far and away, the most intelligent thing I have ever seen anyone write on this damn paradox.

Come on, people. The fact that naive preference utilitarianism gives us torture rather than dust specks is not some result we have to live with, it's an indication that the decisi... (read more)

I would say, instead, that it gives a valid total-suffering value but that said value is not necessarily what is important. It is not how I extrapolate my intuitive aversion to suffering, for example. I would say the same but substitute 'torture' for 'reprehensible'. Using math in that way is essentially begging the question - the important decision is in which math to choose as a guess at our utility function after all. But at the same time I don't consider choosing torture to be reprehensible. Because the fact that there are 3^^3 dust specks really does matter.

Issues with the survey:

  1. As mentioned elsewhere, politics is Americentric.
  2. Race race seems to be missing some categorizations.
  3. If you are going to include transgender, you probably should call the others cis. Otherwise you run the risk of implying transgendered people are not "really" their target gender, which is a mess.
  4. The question of academic field was poorly phrased. I'm not an academic, so I assumed you meant what academic field was most relevant to my work. But you really should ask this question without referring to academia.
  5. The acade
... (read more)

27 years early, 60% certain. Oops.


Gah! A single data point tells you very little about over-/underconfidence! Please, please stop acting like getting a 60% certain thing wrong (or 20% certain thing right) is a mistake.

A die has an 18% chance of rolling a 6. And that still happens. A die has a 66% chance of rolling a number larger than 2, and that sometimes doesn't happen. There is nothing unusual about these things, and the same applies for these estimation-with-confidence exercises!

(This isn't directed at you specifically, but there have been a few instances of this in this thread, and your comment was the "final straw")

I'm fairly convinced that MWI is LW dogma because it supports the Bayesian notion that probabilities are mental entitites rather than physical ones, and not on its own merits.

Certainly Eliezer seems enthralled with the notion. Beyond that I have no opinions on the matter.

This is phenomenal! Thanks!

Every part of this comment is true for me, too.

I think I thought this was better when it was utterly inexplicable, actually.

That reply is entirely begging the question. Whether or not consciousness is a phenomenon "like math" or a phenomenon "like photosynthesis" is exactly is being argued about. So it's not an answering argument; it's an assertion.

I completely agree--XiXiDu was summarizing Massimo Pigliucci's argument, so I figured I'd summarize Eliezer's reply. The real heart of the question, then, is figuring out which one consciousness is really like. I happen to think that consciousness is closer to math than sugar because we know that intelligence is so [], and it seems to me that the rest follows logically from Minsky's idea that minds are simply what brains do []. That is, if consciousness is what an intelligent algorithm feels like from the inside, then it wouldn't make much sense for it to be substrate-dependent.

It's possible that you are referring to the secondary plot line of Chasm City by Alaistair Reynolds in which gur nagvureb wrggvfbaf unys gur uvoreangvba cbqf va uvf fgnefuvc, nyybjvat vg gb neevir orsber gur bguref va gur syrrg naq fb tnva zvyvgnel nqinagntr.

No, that's different. I was referring to a commander who saved lives, but was condemned for doing that instead of letting everybody die.
Does less-wrong have rot13 functionality built in?

I wonder how common it is for the opposite to be true. I think visible logos on clothig are phenomenally tacky and have a strong immediate negative reaction to the people wearing them when I see them. This isn't really a reaction to certain brands, but to the idea of advertising them.

On the other hand, I might assume that these people are wealthier.

I've always been a huge fan of this story.

I'm suspicious of this. My understanding is that true Solomonoff induction is incomputable (because it requires ordering by Kolomogorov complexity.). Thus, you can't just create an algorithm to predict its next move.

edit: That is, just because it is "defined mathematically" doesn't mean we can predict its next move.

The input sequence doesn't have to be computable, it only has to exist.

I've been thinking about this on and off for half a year or so, and I have come to the conclusion that I cannot agree with any proposed moral system that answers "torture" to dust specks and torture. If this means my morality is scope-insensitive, then so be it.

(I don't think it is; I just don't think utilitarianism with an aggregation function of summation over all individuals is correct; I think the correct aggregation function should probably be different. I am not sure what the correct aggregation function is, but maximizing the minimum ind... (read more)

For anyone high up in a political campaign, I imagine one can volunteer quite a bit to work their way in. I also know someone who tried to do this by working as a local canvasser, but those are apparently low wage jobs with no clear path to advance up the chain.

I think I am at least a standard deviation out on this, but my college experience had a lot of very good both theoretical and practical training which served me extremely well as a grad student and is continuing to do so in my current job. While I could imagine having done it in less than four years, the idea of learning all that I did and getting the practice applying it that I did in less than two or three years is insane. While college does have a very high signaling value, it can also be very good at what it is nominally for: teaching students. Alth... (read more)

I've been pretty consistent about rock climbing and martial arts for multiple short periods in my life, and it is always glorious. Currently I am climbing (bouldering, which has a simplicty top-roping does not) multiple times a week, and weightlifting and getting cardio exercise as well for a few months. I am probably in the best cardio shape of my life (which is pretty mediocre!) and it is pretty great. I've got a group I go with, which is good for motivation.

To free your eyes so that they can "hold on to" and follow your ideas. ETA: for this reason I also use texmacs instead of latex.

It is not clear that anyone outside of the computer world is aware of this. The chip makers PR departments are trying their best to hide this fact. ("It's a Core Two Duo Pro X2400! Don't ask how fast it is!")

I totally knew who said that. Does that make me a bad rationalist?

Let me try to make my objection clearer. You seem to be concerned with things that make your existence less likely. But that is never going to be a problem. You already know the probability of your own existence is 1; you can't update it based on new data.

But that's not true? I already exist. There's nothing acausal going on here. I can pick whatever I want, and it just makes Prometheus wrong.

(Similarly, if Omega presented me with the same problem, but said that he (omniscient) had only created me if I would one-box this problem, I would still (assuming I am not hit by a meteor or something from outside the problem affects my brain) two-box. It would just make Omega wrong. If that contradicts the problem, well, then the problem was paradoxical to begin with.)

I..I can't work up the will power to make the obvious joke about this.

If you like, I'll charge you $20 if you continue not to make it.

OP implies that it is imitation high end jewelry.

Phenomena with non-agenty origins include: any evolved trait or life form (as far as we have seen), any stellar/astronomical/geological body/formation/event...

It is pretty likely you are correct, but this is probably the best example of question-begging I have ever seen.

All Dreaded_Anomaly needs for the argument I take him or her to be making is that those things are not known to be caused by "agenty things". More precisely: Will Newsome is arguing "interesting things tend to be caused by agents", which is a claim he isn't entitled to make before presenting some (other) evidence that (e.g.) trees and clouds and planets and elephants and waterfalls and galaxies are caused by agents.
It seems to me that basing such a list on evidence-based likelihood is different than basing it on mere assumption, as begging the question would entail. I do see how it fits the definition from a purely logical standpoint, though.

You said pretty much exacty everything I would have said and more.

One question--I only read the first third of so and skimmed the rest. The bits I read seemed to give a false dichotomy for dates of the composition of the gospels. The authors discussed atheistic schools that believed the gospels were all composed post 100 and contrasted these with the pre70 dates of Christian belief. Do they ever discuss the modern scholarly mostly-consensus of 70-90?

Relatedly, do you know of any good arguments for post 70 composition dates, especially for Matthew and Luk... (read more)

2Scott Alexander12y
I'm afraid I really know very little about dating the Gospels; I just trusted what I saw on Wikipedia.
That might make a little more sense (until we get proper 3D chips).

A side note of possible interest. Under ZF, as well as ZFC, one can actually prove that induction works, via Tarski's fixed point theorem. Thus, if you think that induction seems a little weird as an axiom,, but set theory is cool, you still get to use induction.

rot13ed because I am convinced I am correct and so this counts as a spoiler ;-)

It's pretty obvious to me that Santa Claus is fvevhf oynpx, nffhzvat gung "v'z abg frevbhf" zrnaf ur vfa'g va nmxnona.

Has this been discussed? It seems to fit, especially given the way things worked out in canon.

Ch. 61: I can't believe we all glazed over this one. I only know because a TVTroper noticed in the thread. And Eliezer posted in that thread shortly thereafter and made no comment on it. Yes, it's possible that McGonagall is just assuming, or that Dumbledore lied to her. But still.
An undiscussed alternative, of course, is dhveery. He probably was able to pick up the Cloak, and has a strong incentive to port Harry someplace special if Harry cracks. My personal guess is Lupin, though. I think the Black/Pettigrew story is wrapped up in MoR with one of them dead and the other in Azkaban, but Lupin has the connections and freedom and desire.
It makes the most sense to me too, but it certainly doesn't have to be true. How about Gilderoy Lockhart or Horace Slughorn, cynically trying to curry favor with the Boy-Who-Lived? Maybe he sends presents (through a corrupt House Elf?) to all the promising students in Hogwarts.
discussed here [] (tvtropes)

Hm, I guess you are right.

However, it still seems to me that Dumbledore is acting significantly more sane than he has in previous chapters. So far he has attempted to fill the role of Wise Old Wizard exactly.

Harry attempted to fill the role of Brave Young Hero and succeeded at that, but in the process, committed to something incredibly dangerous with less consideration than he would have given it under other circumstances. Role-filling =/= sanity.

I've got to say, I think the wizardly mentor character pointing out the mistakes of Gandalf is about as far from Genre Savvy as one can get!

I don't understand your comment. He's casting himself as the Gandalf of this story, and trying to avoid one of Gandalf's grave mistakes. That is exactly what is meant by Genre Savvy.

Chapter 62

Dumbledore's comments on The Lord of the Rings and his keeping Harry at Hogwarts seem significantly more rational than usual. Any chance Dumbledore is secretly awesome?

A degree of realism is selected for by the process of wizarding wars against dark lords. He's not awesome on purpose, as far as we know.
MoR!Dumbledore is clearly set up as Genre Savvy [] rather than rational- part of the interest of this work is the way it distinguishes the two.

Any chance we can get links to the latest thread in the original MoR post? I can never find this without expending a fair amount of mental effort wading through search results, and the first thread is the one that comes up when I search.

Done. Clicking on the harry_potter tag is the easiest way to find the latest thread, since it auto-updates as long as the new post includes the tag.

I dislike watching videos, as they are synchronous (i.e., require a set amount of time to watch, which is generally more than it would take to read the same material) and not random access (i.e., I cannot easily skim them for a certain section).

Agreed thoroughly. They also demand all of my attention at once, and if I want to pause to do something else, it's harder to find my place and catch up again (I can't just glance up a couple of sentences). Plus they require fiddly mouse controls and are relatively resource-intensive, neither of which is any fun on a netbook.

Do you think that people only have sex because they might have an orgasm? Really?

Modern humans have sex for a variety of reasons, yes. Regardless, individuals who do not enjoy sex are less likely to reproduce than individuals who do. I don't believe this is a controversial idea.

The word translates to "insight" and the term "insight meditation" is sometimes used for this form of mediation.

Or ideally you would launch it into space, with a cloak against detection, and a randomly fluctuating acceleration factor that would take it out of the Solar System.

Is this a MoR explanation for the Pioneer anomaly? Because that would be awesome.

Also, I assumed Voldemort was talking about the classical elements, too, and was amused that Harry, a scientist, had come up with those at random.

I noticed that as well, but the Pioneer anomaly doesn't randomly fluctuate IINM, and he would have had to not only horcruxed both Pioneer plaques, but also screwed up his randomness so as to get approximately the same anomaly on both.

Yeah it's definitely all about large powers of two of Planck times. Nothing else is actually worth celebrating.

This idea has the bug/feature that you're overwhelmingly likely to have already celebrated most of your "birthdays".

It is not at all clear to me why this was upvoted three times.

Well, now we're just being contrary =P
Comments informing that someone is going to be attending a meetup fall in the category "I would like to see more comments like this". I just hope it doesn't lead to abuse of strange incentives.
With meetup threads the trend tends to be to up vote people for showing enthusiasm, or just for saying they're going. Maybe up voters justify this as way to encourage people to be vocal about participation, but I doubt the up voters are thinking that far ahead. More likely: people excited about a meetup up vote people that seem excited.
Could be people using votes as an "I've read this" marker; I've done that sometimes.

Awesome. I'm mostly a lurker, but I'll stop by and meet you people.

With meetup threads the trend tends to be to up vote people for showing enthusiasm, or just for saying they're going. Maybe up voters justify this as way to encourage people to be vocal about participation, but I doubt the up voters are thinking that far ahead. More likely: people excited about a meetup up vote people that seem excited.
It is not at all clear to me why this was upvoted three times.

But I see no reason for assigning high probability to notion that a runaway superhuman intelligence will be developed within such a short timescale. In the bloggingheads diavlog Scott Aaronson challenges Eliezer on this point and Eliezer offers some throwaway remarks which I do not find compelling. As far as I know, neither Eliezer nor anybody else at SIAI have provided a detailed explanation for why we should expect runaway superhuman intelligence on such a short timescale.

I think this is a key point. While I think unFriendly AI could be a problem in ... (read more)

Is it only expected to be a few million? This could easily be privately funded with a good advertising campaign. For example, a project which might have a similar audience, SETI, is entirely privately funded and has a budget of a few million a year.

Not voted, because I think this is utterly fascinating and entirely off topic!

I really agree with both a and b (although I do not care about c). I am glad to see other people around here who think both these things.

What kind of math do you know in where things can be "true, and that's the end of that"? In math, things should be provable from a known set of axioms, not chosen to be true because they feel right. Change the axioms, and you get different result.

Intuition is a good guide for finding a proof, and in picking axioms, but not much more than that. And intuitively true axioms can easily result in inconsistent systems.

The questions, "what axioms do I need to accept to prove Bayes' Theorem?", "Why should I believe these axioms reflect... (read more)

Bayes' theorem doesn't require much more than multiplication and division. Here's some probability definitions: P(A) = the probability of A happening P(A|B) = the probability of A happening given B has happened P(AB) = the probability of both A and B happening For example, if A is a fair, six-sided die rolling a 4 and B is said die rolling an even, then P(A) = 1/6, P(A|B) = 1/3, P(AB) = 1/6. By definition, P(A|B)=P(AB)/P(B). In words, the probability of A given B is equal to the probability of both A and B divided by the probability of B. Solving for P(AB) tells us that: P(B)P(A|B) = P(AB) = P(A)P(B|A) Taking out the middle and solving for P(B) allows us to flip-flop from one-side of the given to the other. P(A|B)=P(A)*P(B|A)/P(B) Voila! Bayes' Theorem is logically necessary.
I'd love to hear more reasons, but here's one: The fact that we find it intuitive is (via evolution) evidence that it in fact is true in this universe. Right? Unfortunately, there are enough exceptions to that rule that it probably only counts as weak evidence.

I was intrigued when I first read this when you last posted it, and I thought about it for a while. The problem with it, it seems to me, is that this is a good explanation for why qualia are ineffable, but it doesn't seem to be come any close to explaining what they are or how they arise.

So, I could imagine a world (it may even be this one!) where people's brains happen to be organized similarly enough that two people really could transfer qualia between them, but this still doesn't explain anything about them.

You're right. But I believe that that the ineffable aspect is closely related to the other two questions, although I don't have an answer in the same detail as the ineffability question (which would still be progress!). To give a sketch of what I have in mind, my best explanation is this: conscious minds form when a subsystem is able to screen itself off from the entropizing forces of the environment (similar in kind to a refrigerator or other control system). This necessarily decouples it from the patterns that exist in the environment, as well as other minds that have done the same. So the formation of a conscious mind will coincide with the formation of incompatible encoding methods, unless special care is taken to ensure that the encoding protcols are the same. Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised to notice that, "hey, everything that's conscious, also has ineffable experiences with the other conscious things." But again, I don't claim this part is as well-developed or thought-out.

Completely out of curiosity, why do you cite him by his birth name rather than his pen name of Anton Szander LaVey?

As a token of obligatory disrespect towards the juvenile pomposity of adopting a spoooky name for oneself.
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