Well by that logic Germans may experience more shadenfreude, which would presumably mean there is more shadenfreude going on in Germany than elsewhere, so I don't think your point makes sense. You only need a word for something if it exists, especially if it's something you encounter a lot.
It may also be possible that we use facsimiles for words by explaining their meaning with whole sentences, and only occasionally stumble upon a word that catches on and that elegantly encapsulates the concept we want to convey (like "gaslighting"). It may be a matter of probability, and it may not matter much that our language is not as efficient as it could be.
It could also be that most languages can convey 99% of the things our modern world needs it to convey, and that we are simply hung up on the rare exceptions (like shadenfreude or je ne sais quoi). If that hypothesis is true, then language does not carry much information about cultural values.
Right, but if LessWrong is to become larger, it might be a good idea to stop leaving his posts as the default (the Library, the ones being recommended in the front page, etc.) I don't doubt that his writing is worth reading and I'll get to it, I'm just offering an outsider's view on this whole situation, which seems a little stagnant to me in a way.
That last reply of mine, a reply to a reply to a Shortform post I made, can be found after just a little scrolling on the main page of LessWrong. I should be a nobody to the algorithm, yet I'm not. My only point is that LessWrong seems big because it has a lot of posts but it isn't growing as much as it should be. That may be because the site is too focused on a single set of ideas, and that shooes some people away. I think it's far from being an echo chamber, but it's not as lively as I would think it should be.
As I've noted though, I'm a humble outsider and have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm only writing this because often outsider advice is valuable as there's no chance in getting trapped into echo thinking at all.
Eliezer Yudkowsky is kind of a god around here, isn't he?
Would you happen to know what percentage of total upvotes on this website are attributed to his posts? It's impressive how many sheer good ideas written in clear form that he's had to come up with to reach that level. Cool and everything, but isn't it ultimately proof that LessWrong is still in its fledgling stage (which it may never leave), as it depends so much on the ideas of its founder? I'm not sure how one goes about this, but expanding the LessWrong repertoire in a consequential way seems like a good next step for LessWrong. Perhaps that includes changing the posts in the Library... I don't know.
Anyhow thanks for this comment, it was great reading!
I'm still new to this, but I can say I love a culture where there is a button for retracting statements without deleting them. I will most likely have to use it a lot as I progress around here.
What do you mean? What I read is: magic is subjective, and since the human brain hasn't changed in 200,000 years nothing will ever feel like magic. I'm not sure that's what you meant though, could you explain?
How much information do you think is present in daily language? Can you give me specific examples?
You may be making a similar point to George Orwell and his newspeak in 1984, that language ultimately decides what you can think about. In that case, languages may have a lot of cultural-values information.
I'm not sure. My hunch is that yes, it's possible to learn a language without learning too much about the values of those who speak it. I don't think Germans engage in shadenfreude more than other cultures and I don't think the French experience more naivete. They just have words for it and we don't.
What is magic?
Presumably we call whatever we can't explain "magic" before we understand it, at which point it becomes simply a part of the natural world. This is what many fantasy novels fail to account for; if we actually had magic, we wouldn't call it magic. There are thousands of things in the modern world that would definitely enter the criteria for magic of a person living in the 13th Century.
So we do have magic; but why doesn't it feel like magic? I think the answer to this question is to be found in how evenly distributed our magic is. Almost everyone in the world benefits from the magic that is electricity; it's so common and so many people have it that it isn't considered magic. It's not magic because everyone has it, and so it isn't more impressive than an eye or an opposable thumb. In fantasy novels, the magic tends to be concentrated into a single caste of people.
Point being: if everyone were a wizard, we wouldn't call ourselves wizards, because wizards are more magical than the average person by definition.
Entropy dictates that everything will be more or less evenly distributed, and so worlds from the fantasy books are very unlikely to appear in our universe. Magic as I've loosely defined it here does not exist and it is freakishly unlikely to. We can dream though.
AI could eliminate us in its quest to achieve a finite end, and would not necessarily be concerned with long-term personal survival. For example, if we told an AI to build a trillion paperclips, it might eliminate us in the process then stop at a trillion and shut down.
Humans don't shut down after achieving a finite goal because we are animated by so many self-editing finite goals that there never is a moment in life where we go "that's it. I'm done". It seems to me that general intelligence does not seek a finite, measurable and achievable goal but rather a mode of being of some sorts. If this is true, then perhaps AGI wouldn't even be possible without the desire to expand, because a desire for expansion may only come with a mode-of-being oriented intelligence rather than a finite reward-oriented intelligence. But I wouldn't discount the possibility of a very competent narrow AI turning us into a trillion paperclips.
So narrow AI might have a better chance at killing us than AGI. The Great Filter could be misaligned narrow AI. This confirms your thesis.
To elaborate your idea here a little:
It may be that the only way to be truly aware of the world is to have complex and fragile values. Humans are motivated by a thousand things at once and that may give us the impression that we are not agents moving from a clearly defined point A to point B, as AI in its current form is, but are rather just... alive. I'm not sure how to describe that. Consciousness is not an end state but a mode of being. This seems to me like a key part of the solution to AGI: aim for a mode of being not an endstate.
For a machine whose only capability is to move from point A to point B, adding a thousand different, complex and fragile, goals may be the way to go. As such solving AGI may also solve most of the alignment problem, so long as the AIs specific cocktail of values is not too different from the average human's.
In my opinion there is more to fear from highly capable narrow AI than there is from AGI, for this reason. But then I know nothing.