All of Raythen's Comments + Replies




I am trying to bring the context, so I don't appeal to be circumventing the ban in some disingenuous way.

But I won't talk about [thing that got me banned] unless someone asks me specifically, I guess.

Should I redact my posts if they have any mention of [thing that got me banned]?

Or should I say, "sorry, to if I were to truthfully answer your question, I would have to talk about [thing that got me banned], and I am not allowed to do that".

No. Just choose a different topic in the future.

Well, I was an aspiring rationalist when I had my mental health break.

And I still feel like I am

I feel like I still am acting on rationality-as-I-understand it.

What, exactly, makes you a “rationalist”?

And what, exactly, makes me "not a rationalist"?

Thank you!

I agree 100%

These are very good disclaimers about my claims to make.

Because they "might" be true in some mundane way, but so what?

And for them to be true in some extraordinary way, well where's the evidence? Where is the extraordinary evidence?

As so I must conlude I am simply a delusional human.

And you are right.



I think we are in agreement

I feel that you see me

Do I see you?

Do you feel I understand your position?

What language do you use in the meetups? I'm thinking of coming, but I don't speak Danish, only English and Swedish.

Yeah. I have considered that.

There's overlap between empathy and therapy/psychiatry, but also important differences.

Though working with some kind of therapy might suit my personality, and the way I want to work.

I mostly agree with this.

Right now I live in a small town, and my meatspace friends don't need the particular kind of support I can offer. Outreach/community is one of the reasons, maybe the primary reason I'm considering to do studies (academic, certification or something similar).

Still, the internet seems like a viable way to connect with people.

Narcissism and narcissistic parenting are very real (and hard-to-detect) problems, with potentially serious long-term consequences, so I think it's good that you brought this up.

You might also want to see

(as stated in another comment, though - I really don't see Harry as being narcissistic)

Thanks for the link! Looks like demanding academic perfection is a relatively benign way to express narcissism.

I should probably make clear that most of my knowledge of AI comes from LW posts, I do not work with it professionally, and that this discussion is on my part motivated by curiosity and desire to learn.

Emotions are a core part of how humans make decisions.


Your assessment is probably more accurate than mine.

My original line was of thinking was that while AIs might use quick-and-imprecise thinking shortcuts triggered by pattern-matching (which is sort of how I see emotions), human emotions are too inconveniently packaged to be much of use in AI ... (read more)

We know relatively little about what it takes to create a AGI. Saying that an AGI should have feature X or feature Y to be a functioning AGI is drawing to much conclusions from the data we have. On the other hand we know that the architecture on which humans run produces "intelligence" so that at least one possible architecture that could be implemented in a computer. Bootstraping AGI from Whole Brain Emulations is on of the ideas that is in discussion even on LessWrong.
  1. Having high self-awareness of his strengths and weaknesses as a salesman

That's not at all the same thing as having high self-awareness overall

  1. Understanding people well enough to sell to them

Which may well be not very well at all. Understanding people in the context of sales is not the same as understanding then generally.

  1. Accurately perceiving reality (understanding physics, peoples' motivations, how to drive to work, how to not act crazy, etc.).

Which most people do. (though actually an accurate understanding of neither physics nor people'... (read more)

If you read a list of narcissistic traits, you will see that self-awareness, understanding others, and desire to know the truth are not there. In other words, a narcissist may or may not be self-aware, understand others, or want to know the truth. Harry is self-aware but is also self-obsessed, understands people but is also selfish, and accurately perceives science but is also grandiose.

Some of Harry's traits that strike me as strongly non-narcissistic:
high self-awareness - which appears genuine
capable of (correctly) understanding others' feelings and motivations - does not label or vilify people with very different values
desire to see all things as they really are, even if it's painful (while narcissists typically have delusions)

Thanks for looking for contradictory evidence. I must disagree with your examples, however, because none of them seem non-narcissistic. For example, a narcissistic car salesman can feel superior and swindle people without empathy, despite: 1. Having high self-awareness of his strengths and weaknesses as a salesman, 2. Understanding people (but not actually caring about them) well enough to sell to them, and 3. Accurately perceiving reality (understanding physics, peoples' motivations, how to drive to work, how to not act crazy, etc.).

Asking "Would an AI experience emotions?" is akin to asking "Would a robot have toenails?"

There is little functional reason for either of them to have those, but they would if someone designed them that way.

Edit: the background for this comment - I'm frustrated by the way AI is represented in (non-rationalist) fiction.

Define "emotion". I find it highly unlikely robots would have anything corresponding to any given human emotion, but if you just look at the general area in thingspace that emotions are in, and you're perfectly okay with the idea of finding a new one, then it would be perfectly reasonable for robots to have emotions. For one thing, general negative and positive emotions would be pretty important for learning.
I think you are plain wrong. There a lot of thought in AI development of mimicking human neural decision making processes and it's very well possible that the first human level AGI will be similar in structure to human decision making. Emotions are a core part of how humans make decisions.
I have never thought about this, so this is a serious question. Why do you think evolution resulted in beings with emotions and what makes you confident enough that emotions are unnecessary for practical agents that you would end up being frustrated about the depiction of emotional AIs created by emotional beings in SF stories? From Wikipedia: Let's say the AI in your story becomes aware of an imminent and unexpected threat and allocates most resources to dealing with it. This sounds like fear. The rest is semantics. Or how exactly would you tell that the AI is not in fear? I think we'll quickly come up against the hard problem of consciousness here and whether consciousness is an important feature for agents to possess. And I don't think one can be confident enough about this issue in order to become frustrated about a science fiction author using emotional terminology to describe the AIs in their story (a world in which AIs have "emotions" is not too absurd).
What sort of AIs have emotions? How can I tell whether an AI has emotions?

I appreciate you bringing attention to my blood circulation. My hands and feet rarely freeze (I do wear warm socks and gloves in winter, though). My ears are very sensitive to cold, though, which could well be a symptom of poor circulation.

I personally used to often feel cold five years ago but solved the issue for myself. There are days where something emotional is going on and my thermoregulation is messed up but that's not my default.

Another thing that I believe but which does not come from an academic source is that the problem is likely emotional in origin. I consider it to be a self defense mechanism of the body. If they get removed I consider it likely that emotions will come up and that have to be dealt with. Based on what you wrote about severe trauma, I would recommend you to have

... (read more)
I think the fact that vasovagal responses exist illustrate one well documented instance where there's interplay between those forces. I speak about repressing certain things for longer periods of time. Not something where you repress your trauma one day and don't do it the next. You can do the change in a single day. Even in a minute but that's not what happens most of the time.

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions. :)

At this point I have made an appointment to have my hormone levels checked (as suggested by Lumifer and NancyLebovitz).

I also think my blood pressure and circulation is worth looking into.

I'm still processing a lot of the suggestions and ideas, and might make another thread on this in the future.

Change the dates to May 16-31?

oops, thanks!

That makes sense. Even cooperating across short time frames might be problematic - "I'll stay in bed for 10 more minutes, even if it means that me-in-10-minutes will be stressed out and might be late for work"

I prefer to see long-term thinking as increased integration among different time-selves rather than a sacrifice, though - it's not a sacrifice to take actions with a delayed payoff if your utility function puts a high weight on your future-selves' wellbeing.

Your definition of sacrifice seems to exclude some instances of literal self-sacrifice.

Is there a way to get email notifications on receiving new messages or comments? I've looked under preferences, and I can't find that option.

Different people have different needs. Some people would be happy in cheap housing and others wouldn't - maybe they're more sensitive to sounds, environmental conditions or whatever else is the difference is between cheap housing and more expensive housing.

The point is, there's no basic standard that would satisfy everyone (unless that's a reasonably high standard, which isn't what is proposed here). Some people would consider more expensive goods and services NEEDS rather than luxuries, and for good reason - consuming cheaper alternatives might not kill ... (read more)

It's possible. I don't know. I eat when I'm hungry, which is quite regularly (once per 3-4 hours, maybe 5), so I'm definitely not starving myself. And if I try to eat more, I feel unpleasantly full, and I feel less hungry later - so I don't think it makes a difference.

I'm not sure how to check whether I'm eating enough save for counting calories (which seems complicated and unreliable).

I'm hoping I'll gain some muscle mass by exercise, both for its own sake and because weight gain by other means doesn't seem to be working for me (I suspect I naturally have a slim build).

At this point, I'd say it's unlikely that you're eating so little as to lower your temperature. If you still want to test the hypothesis without counting calories, you could try a higher fat diet and see what happens. Does your temperature ever get higher or lower?

Thanks. A hormone check does seem like a good idea to me.

Interesting perspective, thanks.

I am taking vitamins and have been for some time.

My diet has had a random drift over time due to practical concerns, taste changing etc... and random diet adjustments don't seem to have a noticeable effect. There might some specific nutritional strategies that would help - I don't have enough information to choose one, though.

More data and more detailed observations seem like a good idea. There might have been some fluctuations, but I'm not noticing any obvious correlations (besides, you know, exposure to cold temperatures).

This is a long shot, but is there a chance you're eating less than you need?

Thanks, these seem like good suggestions.

I've made a list of what I'll try to have checked. Any comments?

Total and Free Testosterone
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
Insulin like Growth factor (IGF-1)

Given that you were/are under much stress, I'd focus on the HTA axis []. In particular, try to get a 24-hour cortisol test -- cortisol has a pronounced circadian cycle so one measurement taken at a single point in time might be misleading.

I doubt it's a "thermoregulation set point" issue, since I haven't always felt this way.

Thanks for pointing out the blood pressure thing. I hadn't considered it might be related to cold sensitivity.

I have considered it might be a thyroid issue, and I am familiar with the controversy around thyroid disease. Not completely trusting all the alternative claims - but I think there's enough evidence to believe something might be going on. I think I might try to get a prescription for thyroid hormone medication, and see if it improves my condition. I'll probably try other options first, since there are potential side effects.

If you're male you might also want to check your testosterone levels. And if your doctors and insurance are amenable, run a thorough hormones check in general.
Your thermoregulation set point could have moved. In fact, I'd say that's exactly what happened, since I get the impression your temperature is fairly stable. The problem is that it's too low. Very tentatively-- maybe you should get your hormones checked. This is based on a weak hypothesis that if menopause can send body temperature too high erratically, maybe there's a hormone problem which is keeping yours too low.

Yes, to the extent it's realistically possible.

I've had a really bad childhood and experienced a lot of severe emotional trauma throughout my life since then, including at that time.

I do think that what you have can be caused by severe emotional trauma. If that's the case it basically explains why the tests that doctors run come up empty. There are defense mechanisms that the body can use in cases of trauma that lead to reduced blood circulation which in turn messes up temperature regulation and shows itself as low blood pressure. That means that the first step would be to move to a safe environment where you aren't constantly exposed to severe emotional trauma. Did you already make that step?

Not regularly.
I exercise at a gym (upper body strength program, started quite recently).

In my anecdotal experience, being underweight is correlated with being unusually susceptible to cold. Building some mass might help. Consider doing a more general strength program too.

Thanks for sharing.
(just posted my blood pressure results in an another comment)

90/60 mmHg according to what a doctor told me during a measurement a month ago (though my journal says 98/60 for some reason). 105/60 in an another measurement a week before that.

Thyroid panel:
P-TSH mIE/L 1.5 (0.3-4.2)
P-T4, free pmol/L 15 (12-22)
P-T3, free pmol/L 5.2 (3.1-6.8)
S-Ak, (IgG) TPO kIE/L 8 (<34)

The last one is TPO antibodies. The parentheses are the reference ranges at my lab.

All values are within what is considered normal range. I've also had the thyroid physically examined (though palpation) and it appears there are no abnormalities (it's not swollen or enlarged).

I have not measured my body temperature.

Your systolic is low, but I'm sure you're well aware of that. The thyroid panel looks normal, but there exists a bunch of people (including a few doctors one of whom, I believe, wrote a book) who think that hypothyroidism is seriously underdiagnosed and that it will not necessary show up in the TSH/T3/T4 tests. Google it up. I have no opinion on their claims. There is also, of course, the non-answer that your thermoregulation set point just happens to be very low :-/

Hi, I wonder how you would use your rationality skills to solve this problem.

I'm very sensitive to cold and have been for at least 2-3 years. (I'm a 25 year old male). This is manageable with (really) warm clothes, but sometimes very inconvenient.

I've seen multiple doctors about this, and the response I've got was basically "our tests indicate there's nothing wrong with you, so there's nothing I can do". I've left multiple blood samples, and all the things that were tested are within normal (well, my trombocyte count is a bit low. Doubt it's rela... (read more)

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions. :) At this point I have made an appointment to have my hormone levels checked (as suggested by Lumifer and NancyLebovitz). I also think my blood pressure and circulation is worth looking into. I'm still processing a lot of the suggestions and ideas, and might make another thread on this in the future.
There are a bunch of ways temperature is regulated. Blood circulation is on of the main ways the body regulates the temperature of the extremities. Blood moves very fast through the body and has therefore a relatively constant temperature. The blood in your hand is warmer than the rest of the hand. If there's more blood in the capillaries in your hand than your hand gets warmer. Low blood pressure in the arterioles means that less blood flows into the capillaries. If muscle tissue is tense that also usually makes it harder for blood to flow into it. I personally used to often feel cold five years ago but solved the issue for myself. There are days where something emotional is going on and my thermoregulation is messed up but that's not my default. I do have done a bunch of different things, so I can't give you a single solution. Firstly an easy suggestion. Drink a lot. Drinking can increase blood pressure. There were weeks where I needed to drink 4-5 liters a day for my body to work at it's peak. I would recommend you to try drinking 4 liters a day for a week and see whether that changes how you feel. On of the main things I personally did was dancing a lot of Salsa. Salsa gave me a new relationship with my body. Part of Salsa is also having body contact and that allows me to feel which parts of the body of the woman I'm dancing with are warm and relaxed and which aren't. Good Salsa dancers are usually well circulated. On the other hand I do know woman who danced for years and didn't solve issues like that in their body. Knowing dancing patterns doesn't seem to be enough. In the Salsa sphere body movement classes seem like the produce such results but I don't know whether they are optimal. I do personally think that there's a case that 5 Rhythms or Contact Improvisation is better for your purpose than Salsa. But to be open, the theory based on which I make that recommendation are not academic in origin. Another thing that I believe but which does not come fro
My first tactic with confusing health problems is adjusting my diet, but I seem to be more affected by diet than the typical person, so your mileage may vary Taking a very complete multivitamin [] for a few days and seeing if you feel any different is an easy way to check for nutrition deficiencies, if your blood tests didn't check for that (or only checked for a few usual suspects). If you do feel different, then you at least know you were deficient in something. You could also do an elimination diet for the most common food allergies, but that takes a lot of effort, so it might not be worth it if you and your family don't have a history of food issues. If you're more sensitive to cold at some times than others, try to notice the fluctuation and see if it correlates with anything (especially stress, based on ChristianKi's comment). Maybe try writing down how cold you felt and what you did that day? (I usually don't write this sort of thing down, even though I know I should.)
Did something happen 3 years ago? Maybe a major emotional trauma?
Do you do sports?
Long underwear. Even if your legs don't specifically feel cold, adding more insulation there helps the whole body. Your legs are a pair of huge heat exchangers, and there's a limit to how useful it is to pile more layers on your torso if all your body heat can still leak out through your legs. I've had something like that for the last 35 years or so. I just live with it. I suspect a connection with a serious illness I had back then, but I've never bothered to raise the matter with a doctor, because it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that a doctor is likely to have any remedy for. I am also slightly built (BMI 19 to 20) and have occasional attacks of great fatigue, but not depression. Thick woolly hats are good too. A lot of heat is lost through the head.
I'm similar. I have found scarves to be both stylish and practical. The neck area is highly sensitive to cold. I've taken to toting a scarf if I am going to bring a jacket.
First question: what's your blood pressure? Second question: did you do a thyroid panel and what did it show? Third question: did you measure your body temperature in controlled settings (e.g. first thing upon waking up before getting out of bed)? Common causes of sensitivity to cold are low blood pressure and hypothyroidism.
I'm in a similar situation, and am leaning toward it being a circulation issue. Would you happen to know what your last blood pressure measurements were? My previous lead candidate was proto-diabetes, but the most recent tests suggest otherwise. The only comment made about my bloodpressure was by the trainee EMT, saying "I wish my bloodpressure was that low!". I've been suspicious that the safe range for bloodpressure might be shifted a bit too far downward, since most people suffer from high bloodpressure-related conditions, but I'll need to refind the evidence that pushed me in that direction. Anyway, my current strategy is to try and get more/better exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Those are good ideas in general, and should have an impact if it's circulation-related. It's too early and I'm still struggling to get good exercise, and I didn't think to try and quantify changes until... just now, so right now, this solution is experimental on my end.

Thank you - this is helpful.

I wonder what you think of the question of the origin of consciousness i. e. "Why do we have internal experiences att all?" and "How can any physical process result in an internal/subjective experience?"

I've read some material on the subject before, and reading the quantum physics and identity sequence got me thinking about this again.

My suggestion would be to start with Dennett's Consiousness Explained. It tackles exactly the questions you are interested in, and it is much more entertaining than the average philosophy/neurology book on the topic.
Douglas Hofstadter is the go to, mainstream, "hey I recognize that name" authority, though it obviously should be noted that he is a cognitive scientist, not a biologist, neurologist, or nuero-biologist. So, you couldn't build a brain from reading Godel, Escher, and Bach. The only other material I intimately know that discusses the origin of consciousness is Carl Sagan's The Dragons of Eden, which, again, is mainstream and pop science. It's fun reading and enjoyable, but you can't build a brain from it. Someone else can probably suggest better sources for more study. Of course, some components of these questions can be answered by reducing the question to find out more about what you're looking for. What's the make up of an internal experience []? What are its moving parts? How do you build it? How are subjective experiences not physical processes []? If they aren't physical, what are they? Taboo [] "internal/subjective experiences." What are you left with to solve? What mechanics remain to be understood? Since you've read through the quantum physics sequence, I'm sure you've been exposed to these ideas already. I'm not a neuroscientist or a cognitive scientist. I know very little about the brain that wasn't used for blunt symbolism in Neon Genesis or Xenogears. But I'd guess that, whatever mechanism(s) allows for consciousness, it's built using the matter available. No tricks or slight of hand.

I agree with Raemon.

Mostly posting to express my agreement; for group dynamic purposes.

Incidentally, some years before discovering LW I was facing a similar problem to ones that the Tarsky and Gendlin litanies strive to address. The affirmation I came up with was

"You are not choosing whether to have a problem or not. Sure it would be nice not to have a problem, but that's not a choice that is offered. What are you doing is choosing whether to become AWARE of an already existing problem/situation"

Hello fellow LWers,

I'm Raythen, a 25 year old European male.

I discovered this community via HPMOR.

I'd say that the rationalist way of thinking is a natural fit for me. It just makes a lot if sense, and it surprises me when other people don't think this way. To be fair, I haven't always thought this way either, but I've had quite many thoughts on the subject which are now complemented by LW material.

Besides rationality, I'm primarily interested in psychology and understanding human behavior.

To counter my general nonconformist tendency :), here are some of t... (read more)

It's quite interesting to have someone define himself as European instead of a nationality.