Nick_Novitski

Posts

Sorted by New

Comments

Conversation Halters

I hear appeals to my politeness.

That is, because many people debate in order to show their skill at debating, or because they want to dominate the other person by making them submit to their position, some folks will mistake you for one of those people (assuming, of course, that you aren't), and they'll be upset by a debate continuing on for too long.

A rarer and sillier objection: the argument to coolness. "Why are you getting so upset about this? It's not like it, or anything else, matters that much."

Open Thread: January 2010

Here's a silly comic about rationality.

I rather wish it was called "Irrationally Undervalues Rapid Decisions Man". Or do I?

Open Thread: January 2010

This is why neophilia isn't always selected for.

Open Thread: January 2010

For starters, the Council of Nicea would flounder helplessly as every sect with access to a printing press floods the market with their particular version of christianity.

Open Thread: January 2010

Undetectability is hard (impossible?) to establish outside of thought experiments. Real examples are limited to undetected and apparently-unlikely-to-be-detected phenomenon.

But if I took your question charitably, I would personally say absolutely yes.

I've always been fond of stealing Maxwell's example: if there was a system of ropes hanging from a belfry, which was itself impossible to peer inside, but which produced some measurable relation between the position and tension between all the ropes, then what can be said to "exist" in that belfry is nothing more or less than that relationship, in whatever expression you choose (including mechanically, with imaginary gears or flywheels or fluids or whatever). And if later we can suddenly open it up and find that there were some components that had no effect on the bell pull system (for example, a trilobite fossil with a footprint on it), then I would have no personal issue with saying that those components did not exist back "when it was impossible to open the belfry."

But I hold this out of convenience, not rigor.

Lore Sjöberg's Life-Hacking FAQK

First: Haha, voted up for humor.

But if I can be dour for a moment: presume we live in a universe where it's not self-explanatory. What is the cautionary tale we can extract from this? That time spent thinking about optimizing happiness isn't time spent experiencing it?

Let Them Debate College Students

The return of the dojo metaphor! And here I thought we had seen the back of it.

Personally, I would go a step further and say that debating popular ideas which are unworthy of debate might be a good way to train bright un-titled college students.

My grandmother, being time-rich and lacking for good conversation, never failed to invite door-to-door prosyletizers into her house, then spend hours telling them how ridiculous their beliefs were. Soon after this behavior became known, one told her he had been placed in charge of training new young missionaries, and asked if she would mind if he brought them around and seeing how they did against her. She didn't, so he did, and continued to until her health took its final turn for the worse.

Unfortunately, the anecdote ends there, so I don't know what the results of the experiment were, or if they are an actual argument for this trial by verbal fire. But I'm sympathetic to the guess that the practice would inculcate surety in those students who didn't give up mid-way: they would have the answers to the common lies "beaten" into them.

Concrete vs Contextual values

What makes the intelligence cycle zero-sum? What devalues the 10 MIPs advance? After all, the goal is not to earn a living with the prize money brought in by an Incredible Digital Turk, but to design superior probability-space searching programming algorithms, using chess as a particular challenge, then to use that to solve other problems which are not moving targets, like machine vision or materials analysis or...alright, I admit to ignorance here. I just suspect that not all goals for intelligence involve competing with/modeling other growing intelligences.

Technological advances (which seem similar enough to "increases in the ability to achieve goals in the world" to be worthy of a tentative analogy) may help some (the 20 MIPs crowd) disproportionately, but don't they frequently still help everyone who implements them? If people in Africa get cellphones, but people in Europe get supercomputers, all people are still getting an economic advantage relative to their previous selves; they can use resources better than they could previously.

Also, if point 3'' is phrased equally as vaguely as 3' (perhaps: "Wealthy people are able to do things to increase the values in 2''."), then it seems much more reasonable. Wealth can be used to obtain information and contacts that giver greater relative wealth-growing advantage, such as "Don't just put it all in the bank," or "My cousin's company is about to announce higher-than-expected earnings," or even "Global hyperinflation is coming, transfer assets to precious metals." Conversely (I think), if point 3' had a formulation sufficiently specific to be similarly limited ("Computers can keep having more RAM installed and thus will have more intelligence over time."), I don't see how that would be an indictment of the general case. What am I missing?

Voting etiquette

A ranking preference is expressed as a vote. An explanation is expressed as a reply. In the system as it stands, these are two very discrete actions. How often and in what circumstances do people use them in combination? What would be the effects of explicitly linking them?

Voting etiquette

So the solution is either to change the system's design, or change the user's behavior? The latter seems unlikely, so what would a system designed to utilize soft voting look like?

Load More