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You’ve heard some trite truism your whole life, then one day an epiphany lands and you try to save it with words, and you realize the description is that truism

Reminds me of https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/k9dsbn8LZ6tTesDS3/sazen

I'm finding myself stuck on the question of how exactly the strict version would avoid the use of some of those negating adjectives. If you want to express the information that, say, eating grass won't give the human body useful calories...

  • "Grass is indigestible" : disallowed
  • "Grass is not nutritious" : disallowed
  • "Grass will pass through you without providing energy" : "without providing energy" seems little different to "not providing energy", it's still at heart a negative claim

Perhaps a restatement in terms of "Only food that can be easily digested will provide calories" except that you still need to then convey that cellulose won't be easily digested.

Probably there are true positive statements about the properties of easily digested molecules and the properties of cellulose which can at least be juxtaposed to establish that it's different to anything that meets the criteria. But that seems like a lot of circumlocution and I'm less than entirely confident that I even know the specifics.

Perhaps part of the point is to stop you making negative claims where you don't know the specific corresponding positive claims? Or to force you to expand out the whole chain of reasoning when you do know it (even if it's lengthier than one would usually want to get into).

On further consideration, and by analogy to "is immortal" being functionally equivalent to "will live forever" (so if it's interchangeable wording, does that mean that "is immortal" is actually equally a positive statement?), formulating "indigestible" as words to the effect of "will pass through your body largely intact and with about exactly as many calories as it started with" occurs to me.

It's certainly a demanding style.

I know few people these days who aren't using ChatGPT and Midjourney in some small way.

We move in very different social circles.

I don't have lots of keys, or frequent changes to which ones I want to carry, but a tiny carabiner has still proved useful to make individual keys easily separable from the bunch.

As an example, being able to quickly and easily say "here's the house key: you go on ahead and let yourself in, while I park the car" without the nuisance of prying the ring open to twiddle the key off.

Low positive and actively negative scores seen to me to send different signals. A low score can be confused for general apathy, imagining that few people having taken notice of the post enough to vote on it. A negative score communicates clearly that something about the post was objectionable or mistaken.

If the purpose of the scoring system is to aggregate opinions, then negative opinions are a necessary input for an accurate score.

Strikes me as inelegant for the final score to depend on the order in which readers happened to encounter the post. Which would happen under this rule, unless people who refrained from voting were checking back later to deliver their vote against a post they thought was bad, once its score has gone up enough to so so without driving it negative (which seems unlikely).

Avoiding negativity would also negate the part of the system where accumulating very negative karma can restrict a user from posting so often.

My sense (from 10+ years on reddit, 2 of which spent moderating a somewhat large/active subreddit) is that there's a "geeks MOPs and sociopaths"–like effect, where a small subreddit can (if it's lucky enough to start with one) maintain a distinctive identity around the kernel of a cool idea, with a small select group who are self-selected for a degree of passion about that idea.

But as the size of the group grows it gradually gets diluted with poor imitators, who are upvoted by a general audience who are less discerning about whether posts are in the original spirit of the sub. Which also potentially drives away the original creative geeks, when the idea feels played out and isn't fun for them any more.

That and large subreddits needing to fight the tide of entropy, against being overrun with the same stuff that fills up every place that doesn't actively and strenuously remove it - the trolls, bots, spam, and political bickering.

Oh I see (I think) - I took "my face being picked up by the camera" to mean the way the camera can recognise and track/display the location of a face (thought you were making a point about there being a degree of responsiveness and mixed processing/data involved in that), rather than the literal actual face itself.

A camera is a sensor gathering data. Some of that data describes the world, including things in the world, including people with faces. Your actual face is indeed neither software nor data: it's a physical object. But it does get described by data. "The thing controlling" your body would be your brain/mind, which aren't directly imaged by the camera to be included as data, but can be inferred from it.

So are you suggesting we ought to understand the AI like an external object that is being described by the data of its weights/algorithms rather than wholly made of that data, or as a mind that we infer from the shadow cast on the cave wall? 

I can see that being a useful abstraction and level of description, even if it's all implemented in lower-level stuff; data and software being the mechanical details of the AI in the same way that neurons squirting chemicals and electrical impulses at each other (and below that, atoms and stuff) are the mechanical details of the human.

Although, I think "humans aren't atoms" could still be a somewhat ambiguous statement - would want to be sure it gets interpreted as "we aren't just atoms, there are higher levels of description that are more useful for understanding us" rather than "humans are not made of atoms". And likewise for the AI at the other end of the analogy.

I'm not certain I follow your intent with that example, but I don't think it breaks any category boundaries.

The process using some algorithm to find your face is software. It has data (a frame of video) as input, and data (coordinates locating a face) as output. The facial recognition algorithm itself was maybe produced using training data and a learning algorithm (software).

There's then some more software which takes that data (the frame of video and the coordinates) and outputs new data (a frame of video with a rectangle drawn around your face).

It is frequently the role of software to transform one type of data into another. Even if data is bounced rapidly through several layers of software to be turned into different intermediary or output data, there's still a conceptual separation between "instructions to be carried out" versus "numbers that those instructions operate on".

True to say that there's a distinction between software and data. Photo editor, word processor, video recorder: software. Photo, document, video: data.

I think similarly there's a distinction within parts of "the AI", where the weights of the model are data (big blob of stored numbers that the training software calculated). Seems inaccurate though, to say that AI "isn't software" when you do still need software running that uses those weights to do the inference.

I guess I take your point, that some of the intuitions people might have about software (that it has features deliberately designed and written by a developer, and that when it goes wrong we can go patch the faulty function) don't transfer. I would just probably frame that as "these intuitions aren't true for everything software does" rather than "this thing isn't software".

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