All of more_wrong's Comments + Replies

Beyond the Reach of God

Yet who prohibits? Who prevents it from happening?

Eliezer seems absurdly optimistic to me. He is relying on some unseen entity to reach in and keep the laws of physics stable in our universe. We already see lots of evidence that they are not truly stable, for example we believe in both the electroweak transition and earlier transitions, of various natures depending on your school of physics. We /just saw/ in 1998 that unknown laws of physics can creep up and spring out by surprise, suddenly 'taking over' 74 percent of the Universe's postulated energ... (read more)

1[anonymous]7yOh come off it. There has to be some way that the universe actually works, at bottom. That way of working must be logical/causal, as if it's not, then everything happens and also nothing happens, including all logically contradictory things, more-or-less all the time. Since we don't observe anything remotely like that degree of sheer chaos, there must be laws. We don't always know the "absolute" laws, in fact we can only sometimes detect our ignorance (by having an experimental result we can't consistently explain), but we can build up models of universal lawfulness that keep working up to information leakage from an Outside universe (which would itself have to have laws of its own). There's no point worrying about Yog-Sothoth when we've already got Azathoth and Clippy on our plates.
[link] Back to the trees

Moreover, we know of examples where natural selection has caused drastic decreases in organismal complexity – for example, canine venereal sarcoma, which today is an infectious cancer, but was once a dog.

Or human selection. Henrietta Lax (or her cancer) is now many tonnes of cultured cells; she has become an organism that reproduces by mitosis and thrives in the niche environment of medical research labs.

The first AI probably won't be very smart

I love the idea of an intelligence explosion but I think you have hit on a very strong point here:

In fact, as it picks off low-hanging fruit, new ideas will probably be harder and harder to think of. There's no guarantee that "how smart the AI is" will keep up with "how hard it is to think of ways to make the AI smarter"; to me, it seems very unlikely.

In fact, we can see from both history and paleontology that when a new breakthrough was made in "biologicial technology" like the homeobox gene or whatever triggered the PreC... (read more)

Against Devil's Advocacy

Even if such worlds do 'exist', whether I believe in magic within them is unimportant, since they are so tiny;

Since there is a good deal of literature indicating that our own world has a surprisingly tiny probabilty (ref: any introduction to the Anthropic Principle), I try not to dismiss the fate of such "fringe worlds" as completely unimportant.

army1987's argument above seems very good though, I suggest you look at his comment very seriously

4private_messaging7yAsteroid belt got all the atoms to make the cake from, the only issue is their arrangement, and they're presently arranged in a specific configuration that is as unlikely - as low amplitude - as if they were arranged into a bunch of cakes. It's just that the highly unlikely configurations that look like asteroids are far more numerous than ones that look like cakes (which is a property of the looks-like-cake function). Basically, it's a common fallacy to believe that coin toss sequence such as HHHHHHH is less probable than HTTHHTH. It isn't, and if you were to throw a quantum coin in a quantum many-worlds universe, the world where it was all heads will have same amplitude as every other sequence's world. (Also, any "stray flows of amplitude" require non-linear Schrödinger's equation, of a very very specific kind so that you don't end up with essentially one world)
Belief in Belief vs. Internalization

Is there an underlying problem of crying wolf; too many warning messages obscure the ones that are really matters of life and death?

This is certainly an enormous problem for interface design in general for many systems where there is some element of danger. The classic "needle tipping into the red" is an old and brilliant solution for some kinds of gauges - an analogue meter where you can see the reading tipping toward a brightly marked "danger zone", usually with a 'safe' zone and an intermediate zone also marked, has surely preven... (read more)

Against Devil's Advocacy

"There is an object one foot across in the asteroid belt composed entirely of chocolate cake."

This is a lovely example, which sounds quite delicious. It reminds me strongly of the famous example of Russell's Teapot (from his 1952 essay "Is There a God?"). Are you familiar with his writing?

You'll just subconsciously avoid any Devil's arguments that make you genuinely nervous, and then congratulate yourself for doing your duty.

Yes, I have noticed that many of my favorite people, myself included, do seem to spend a lot of ti... (read more)

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

stay away from this community I responded to this suggestion but deleted the response as unsuitable because it might embarass you. I would be happy to email my reply if you are interested.

we'd probably convince you such perma-death would be the highly probable outcome

Try reading what I said in more detail in both the post I made that you quoted and my explanation of how there might be a set of worlds of very small measure. Then go read Eliezer Yudkowsky's posts on Many Worlds (or crack a book by Deutsch or someone, or check Wikipedia.) Then reread the c... (read more)

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

Now, whether that distributed information is 'experiencing' anything is arguable,

As far as I know, the latter is what people are worrying about when they worry about ceasing to exist.

Ahhh... that never occurred to me. I was thinking entirely in terms of risk of data loss.

(Which is presumably a reason why your comment's been downvoted a bunch; most readers would see it as missing the point.)

I don't understand the voting rules or customs. Downvoting people who see things from a different perspective is... a custom designed to keep out the undesir... (read more)

0satt8yTo add to Kawoomba's comment, there isn't a comprehensive voting rubric that pretty much everyone agrees on, but a rule of thumb which seems [http://lesswrong.com/lw/esl/hide_comments_in_downvoted_threads_is_now_active/7knd] relatively [http://lesswrong.com/lw/iq6/inferential_silence/9st3] popular [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ecg/meta_what_do_you_think_of_a_karma_vote_checklist/7bt8] is to upvote what one wants more of and downvote what one wants less of. (Ideally one tries to be fair-minded about this, putting more weight on objective features of the post, like its correctness.) To a degree! Eliezer gave a rationale for this in "Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism [http://lesswrong.com/lw/c1/wellkept_gardens_die_by_pacifism/]". Seeing things from a different perspective may be a good thing or a bad thing; it depends on the perspective. While some novel perspectives are productive and reveal powerful new insights, others are intellectual dead ends, and not a few of those are intellectual dead ends which have been discussed on Less Wrong multiple times before. When the latter rear their head for the nth time it can bring down the usefulness of the discussion here, in which case burying the conversation in downvotes can prove useful. (Quoting myself [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jo7/a_few_remarks_about_massdownvoting/am9f?context=1], "[s]ometimes the most efficient way to handle a crappy comment is to hit it with a downvote and move on, rather than getting bogged down in an argument.") No problem. The big upside of downvoting is that it's far less work than having to explain what might be wrong with someone's comment. (Instead of using introspection to pinpoint why my immediate reaction to your comment was "this seems like it's missing the point", then putting that belief into words, then adjusting what I wrote for brevity, clarity & politeness, then posting what I wrote, then reflecting on it, then editing in a correction, I could've just hit the little downward thumb.) The
1Kawoomba8y! If (all that | most of what)'s keeping you from "killing your meat body" is that being no guarantee of permanent death, stay away from this community (because we'd probably convince you such perma-death would be the highly probable outcome) and seek professional help! Instead of puzzling over the karma system. (Just to lay that question to rest, this is a diverse community and the downvote button means many things to many people. However, in general it's less of "this is not my opinion, so I have to downvote this because this is not my opinion" than e.g. Reddit, and more of "this argument is flawed / this comment adds too much noise to the discussion". You can assume that most people have a good reason to downvote, but that reason can stem from various considerations.)
Exterminating life is rational

People talk about the grey goo scenario, but I actually think that is quite silly because there is already grey goo all over the planet in the form of life" ... " nothing CAN do this, because nothing HAS done it."

The grey goo scenario isn't really very silly. We seem to have had a green goo scenario around 1.5 to 2 billion years ago that killed off many or most critters around due to release of deadly deadly oxygen; if the bacterial ecosystem were completely stable against goo scenarios this wouldn't have happened. We have had mini go... (read more)

8TitaniumDragon8yYou are starting from the premise that gray goo scenarios are likely, and trying to rationalize your belief. Yes, we can be clever and think of humans as green goo - the ultimate in green goo, really. That isn't what we're talking about and you know it - yes, intelligent life can spread out everywhere, that isn't what we're worried about. We're worried about unintelligent things wiping out intelligent things. The great oxygenation event is not actually an example of a green goo type scenario, though it is an interesting thing to consider - I'm not sure if there even is a generalized term for that kind of scenario, as it was essentially slow atmospheric poisoning. It would be more of a generalized biocide type scenario - the cyanobacteria which caused the great oxygenation event created something which was incidentally toxic to other things, but it was purely incidental, had nothing to do with their own action, probably didn't even benefit most of them directly (that is to say, the toxicity of the oxygen they produced probably didn't help them personally), and what actually took over afterwards were things which were rather different from what came before, many of which were not descended from said cyanobacteria. It was a major atmospheric change, and is (theoretically) a danger, though I'm not sure how much of an actual danger it is in the real world - we saw the atmosphere shift to an oxygen-dominated one, but I'm not sure how you'd do it again, as I'm not sure there's something else which can be freed en-mass which is toxic - better oxygenators than oxygen are hard to come by, and by their very nature are rather difficult to liberate from an energy balance standpoint. It seems likely that our atmosphere is oxygen-based and not, say, chlorine or fluorine based for a reason arising from the physics of liberating said chemicals from chemical compounds. As far as repeated green goo scenarios prior to 600Mya - I think that's pretty unlikely, honestly. Looking at mi
Siren worlds and the perils of over-optimised search

Yes, I am sorry for the mistakes, not sure if I can rectify them. I see now about protecting special characters, I will try to comply.

I am sorry, I have some impairments and it is hard to make everything come out right.

Thank you for your help

Siren worlds and the perils of over-optimised search

On rereading this I feel I should vote myself down if I knew how, it seems a little over the top.

Let me post about my emotional state since this is a rationality discussion and if we can't deconstruct our emotional impulses and understand them we are pretty doomed to remaining irrational.

I got quite emotional when I saw a post that seemed like intellectual bullying followed by self congratulation; I am very sensitive to this type of bullying, more so when directed at others than myself as due to freakish test scores and so on as a child I feel fairly secur... (read more)

2[anonymous]8yI have not the slightest idea what happened, but your revised response seems extraordinarily mature for an internet comment, so yeah.
0[anonymous]8yYou appear to have posted this as a reply to the wrong comment. Also, you need to escape underscores with a \_. On the topic, I don't mind if you post tirades against people posting false information (I personally flipped the bozo bit on private_messaging a long time ago). But you should probably keep it short. A few paragraphs would be more effective than two pages. And there's no need for lengthy apologies.
Siren worlds and the perils of over-optimised search

Private_messaging, can you explain why you open up with such a hostile question at eli? Why the implied insult? Is that the custom here? I am new, should I learn to do this?

For example, I could have opened with your same question, because Monte Carlo methods are very different from what you describe (I happened to be a mathematical physicist back in the day). Let me quote an actual definition:

Monte Carlo Method: A problem solving technique used to approximate the probability of certain outcomes by running multiple trial runs, called simulations, using r... (read more)

2private_messaging8yI'm well aware of what Monte Carlo methods are (I work in computer graphics where those are used a lot), I'm also aware of what AIXI does. Furthermore eli (and the "robots are going to kill everyone" group - if you're new you don't even know why they're bringing up monte-carlo AIXI in the first place) are being hostile to TheAncientGeek. edit: to clarify, Monte-Carlo AIXI is most assuredly not an AI which is inventing and applying some clever Monte Carlo methods to predict the environment. No, it's estimating the sum over all predictors of environment with a random subset of predictors of environment (which doesn't work all too well, and that's why hooking it up to the internet is not going to result in anything interesting happening, contrary to what has been ignorantly asserted all over this site). I should've phrased it differently, perhaps - like "Do you even know what "monte carlo" means as applied to AIXI?". It is completely irrelevant how human-invented Monte-Carlo solutions behave, when the subject is hooking up AIXI to a server. edit2: to borrow from your example: " Of course we haven't discovered anything dangerously good at finding pi..." "Of course we have, it's called area of the circle. Do I need to download a Monte Carlo implementation from Github and run it... " "Do you even know what "monte carlo" means? It means it tries random points and checks if they're in a circle. Even very stupid geometric methods do better."
2nshepperd8yYou appear to have posted this [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jao/siren_worlds_and_the_perils_of_overoptimised/axx4] as a reply to the wrong comment. Also, you need to indent code 4 spaces and escape underscores in text mode with a \_. On the topic, I don't mind if you post tirades against people posting false information (I personally flipped the bozo bit on private_messaging a long time ago). But you should probably keep it short. A few paragraphs would be more effective than two pages. And there's no need for lengthy apologies.
-8[anonymous]8y
-5Lumifer8y
You Only Live Twice

The only scenario where a financial argument makes sense is if you're shortening your life by spending more than you can afford, or if spending money on cryonics prevents you from buying some future tech that would save your life.

What if I am facing death and have an estate in the low six figures, and I can afford one cryonic journey to the future, or my grandchildren's education plus, say, charitable donations enough to save 100 young children who might otherwise live well into a lovely post-Singularity world that would include life extension, uploadi... (read more)

0[anonymous]8yYou may be interested, at the moment, in donating to the Brain Preservation Foundation. I have personally found arguments that cryonics actually works (with significant probability) unconvincing, so that's what I do.
You Only Live Twice

I think cryonics is very promising but the process of bringing people back from frozen state will need a lot of research and practice.

I would like to volunteer to go in as a research subject if someone else will pay and if any data mined from my remains is released as open source historical data under some reasonable license, for example the Perl Artistic License, with myself listed as the author of the raw recovered data. (I wrote it into my memories, no?)

People could then use the mined data, such as it is, for research on personality reconstruction or an... (read more)

Circular Altruism

It depends on the actual situation and my goal.

Imagine I were a ship captain assigned to try to If rescue a viable sample of a culture from a zone that was about to be genocided, I would be very likely to take the 400 peopleweights (including books or whatever else they valued as much as people) of evacuees, unless someone made a convincing case that the extra 100 people were vital cultural or genetic carriers. For definiteness, imagine my ship is rated to carry up to 400 peopleweight worth of passengers in almost any weather, but 500 people would overlo... (read more)

2ChristianKl8yThe foolish thing is to consider those two options the only choices.
0Jiro8yYou are foolish in this. Birthday cards show that you specifically thought of someone's birthday and are celebrating it. Giving them something generic, regardless of value, doesn't serve the same purpose as a birthday card. By your reasoning you could not only substitute lottery tickets for birthday cards, you could substitute lottery tickets for saying the words "happy birthday" as well, thus never wishing them a happy birthday either. Furthermore, since the lottery ticket is cheaper than the birthday card, and everyone knows this, and (apparently) this cheapness is one of your reasons for doing this, you are violating social expectations about when it is acceptable to be obviously cheap. (You can still be cheap, but you can't be obviously cheap about it.)
Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

It seems very likely to me that tribal groups in prehistory observed that "eating some things leads to illness and sometimes death; eating other things seems to lead to health or happiness or greater utility" and some very clever group of people starting compiling a system of eating rules that seemed to work. It became traditional to hand over rules for eating, and other activities, to their children. Rules like "If a garment has a visible spot of mildew, either cut out the mildewed spot with a specified margin around it or discard it enti... (read more)

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

Note that I anticipate not Cessation of Existence but "occasional interruptions of my linear consciousness, which may last up till or beyond the Omega Point", if the current leading models of physical law prove to be for real in the long run. One or more of these interruptions may look exactly like death to the naive observer, but since I've experienced many previous interruptions in consciousness without too much inconvenience, I expect I can get used to death as well.

6[anonymous]8yQuantum information is a very different thing from what you're thinking of as "information" (ie: data stored on a hard-disk or connection strengths in a neural net). For one thing, turning quantum information into "normal" information actually requires becoming entangled (in causal contact) with the quantum information, which is an entropic process [http://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20140416-times-arrow-traced-to-quantum-source/] . Particularly, the disequilibriating entropic process composing your consciousness is, you know, entropic, so it requires fresh sources of unentangled information and mechanical energy in order to operate (luckily, stored chemical energy in food can provide both). Sorry for being vague; I wish I had the mathematical knowledge to explain this more clearly.
1satt8yAs far as I know, the latter is what people are worrying about when they worry about ceasing to exist. While it's true that their information would be still out there somewhere (so they still exist in that sense), they'd no longer be/have a conscious mind within any given branch (assuming MWI). Even if universal information obliteration is incompatible with physics, minds turning into non-minds is very much compatible with physics, and the latter is quite sufficient to disturb people. (Which is presumably a reason why your comment's been downvoted a bunch; most readers would see it as missing the point.) Edit: on reflection, "within any given branch" is too strong. Substitute "within almost any given branch" — I think my point still goes through.
-6more_wrong8y
-4more_wrong8yNote that I anticipate not Cessation of Existence but "occasional interruptions of my linear consciousness, which may last up till or beyond the Omega Point", if the current leading models of physical law prove to be for real in the long run. One or more of these interruptions may look exactly like death to the naive observer, but since I've experienced many previous interruptions in consciousness without too much inconvenience, I expect I can get used to death as well.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

I chose more_wrong as a name because I'm in disagreement with a lot of the lesswrong posters about what constitutes a reasonable model of the world. Presumably my opinions are more wrong than opinions that are lesswrong, hence the name :)

My rationalist origin story would have a series of watershed events but as far as I can tell, I never had any core beliefs to discard to become rational, because I never had any core beliefs at all. Do not have a use for them, never picked them up.

As far as identifying myself as an aspiring rationalist, the main events t... (read more)