All of RichardHughes's Comments + Replies

The cup-holder paradox

Can you find that article about cupholder man-years?

6Kawoomba9yI'll check again, it wasn't in English though. It was a few years back, about a German engineer who supposedly had to devote more than a year just to the cupholder. It could have been 31,557,600 engineers who were assigned to the task for one second each, one of those two extrema.
Eliezer's YU lecture on FAI and MOR [link]

Same thing as 'multiple competing goals', where those goals are 'do not be part of a causal chain that leads to the death of others' and 'reduce the death of others'.

The value of Now.

I fear bees way less than I fear super-torment. Let's go with the bees.

1shminux9yI would imagine if you want to really contain it, you'd put some initial set of data about the world in to the box before letting it foom, and cut it off completely, except for the power source, if any. This would not be a useful AI box if the setup works as intended, but if a bit of escapology [] gets one out, then there is no point in discussing how to make a useful box.
Cryo and Social Obligations

Have you read Transmetropolitan? This is actually a major sub-plot. There is a significant quantity of people who had cryonics, were thawed, were released under their own recognizance in to an unrecognizably bizarre future, and promptly became homeless, desperate vagrants.

edit: ignore this comment, redundant with discussion from DataPacRat

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How confident are you in the Atomic Theory of Matter?

I can't. But that sounds like a more useful question!

How confident are you in the Atomic Theory of Matter?

"Not all data is productively quantifiable to arbitrary precision." Hoard that, and grow wiser for it.

3DataPacRat9yIndeed not. In this particular case, can you recommend any better way of finding out what the limits to precision actually are?
5DataPacRat9yThe most important reason I can think of: the largest number of decibans that's yet been mentioned is 160 (though that's more of a delta, going from -80 to +80 decibans); the highest actual number of decibans is around 100. This gives me reasonably good confidence that if any practical rules-of-thumb involving decibans I come up with can handle, say, from -127 to +127 decibans (easily storable in a single byte), then that should be sufficient to handle just about anything I come across, and I don't have to spend the time and effort trying to extend that rule-of-thumb to 1,000 decibans. I'm also interested in finding out what the /range/ of highest decibans given is. One person said 50; another said 100. This gives an idea of how loosely calibrated even LWers are when dealing with extreme levels of confidences, and suggests that figuring out a decent way /to/ calibrate such confidences is an area worth looking into. An extremely minor reason, but I feel like mentioning it anyway: I'm the one and only DataPacRat, and this feels like a shiny piece of data to collect and hoard even if it doesn't ever turn out to have any practical use.
How confident are you in the Atomic Theory of Matter?

I live my life under the assumption that it is correct, and I do not make allowances in my strategic thinking that it may be false. As for how hard it would be to convince me I was wrong, I am currently sufficiently invested in the atomic theory of matter that I can't think, off-hand, what such evidence would look like. But I presume (hope) that a well-stated falsifiable experiment which showed matter as a continuum would convince me to become curious.

2DataPacRat9yOne viewpoint I've learned from the skeptical community is that individual experiments have very little value - an experiment with a stated p-value of 0.05 actually has more than a 1-in-20 chance of being wrong. Collections of experiments, however, from a whole field of research, that can provide some valuable evidence; for example, 400 different experiments, of which around 370 lean in one direction and 30 in the other, and there's a noticeable trend that the tighter the experiment, the more likely it is to lean in the majority direction. What I'm currently trying to wrestle with is that if there are 400 experiments, then even restating their p-values in terms of logarithmic decibans, you can't /just/ add all that evidence up. At the least, there seems to be a ceiling, based on the a-few-in-a-billion odds of extreme mental disorder. I'm currently wondering if a second-order derivative for evidence might be in order - eg, take decibans as a linear measure and work with a logarithm based on that. Or, perhaps, some other transformation which further reduces the impact of evidence when there's already a lot of it.
Group rationality diary, 1/9/13

Are you sure that you really want to have done Y? Maybe you just think you do.

Mini advent calendar of Xrisks: nuclear war

It is admittedly not an existential risk for our species, but it is an existential risk for our civilization.

3Dr_Manhattan9yI'd think not, if it's just Europe. It's a good question how long it would take to re-create present technological level * from the remaining shielded tech * just from books
Prediction Sources

I'm not competent to comment on the 'revealed incompetence of the Bitcoin community', but for the benefit of those who aren't aware of those issues, it would useful if you could either summarize that revelation or post a link to such a summary.

4gwern9y;all [;all] is a reasonably good start at listing the various scams and frauds and hacks. See also []
Mini advent calendar of Xrisks: nuclear war

Don't forget the threat of high-atmospheric detonations creating electromagnetic pulses big enough to destroy every un-shielded microchip in Europe, a.k.a., every microchip in Europe. Even a rogue state can manage that.

7Dr_Manhattan9yhow's that an x-risk?
Cryonic resurrection - an ethical hypothetical

1: Obviously I would PREFER 1.0, but if it appears likely that it will never happen, I'd be okay with 0.900. I won't be a clever motherfucker anymore, but I'll still be a motherfucker. As long as I have the capacity to love and be loved, I'll find a way to be happy. It might not be the way I use now, but I have confidence I'll find one.

2: Anyone who has themselves frozen without considering this angle is being very silly; ideally we just look in their will. If they didn't specify conditions for their revivification, we should revive them whenever the value... (read more)

Teaching English in Shanghai

How are the worst-case-scenario recovery tools? I.E., if you're injured, do you risk bankruptcy from medical care? How's the crime risk? Long term health risks?

1ShanghaiTEFLer9yMileyCyrus appears to know more than me about the legal ins and outs. I have heard the required insurance referred to as bodybag insurance but at the same time I've friends who woke up in a hospital after an epilectic fit who just left. No one chased them for any money. I imagine if you go bankrupt you scrape together the money to go home and do so unless you've pissed off a powerful person enormously. I know of people who are in their third stay in prison for running gambling dens so whatever else they do they don't deport people for comparitively petty shit like going bankrupt. Or they might, if you declare it on the form applying for a new visa. On a similar note, if the border guard or visa desk guy asks if you are working on a tourist or student visa the answer is no. As far as violent crime goes I'd be surprised if Shanghai was as violent as New York or London. Gotta watch your wallet/purse/bag though. There are professionals all over.
1MileyCyrus9yIf you're working legally, the schools are required to pay 80% of your health insurance costs. If you're working illegally you can buy global health insurance. In fact, your health insurance might already cover you (call your provider to make sure though). Also if you're an American under 26, you can still use your parents' insurance. Like others have mentioned, air pollution is a problem. Living in Beijing (where pollution is worse) is equivalent to smoking a sixth of a cigarette a day [] , which would reduce your life by a couple minutes. Noise pollution is 72 decibels [] during the day, which is loud enough to stress you out but not loud enough to permanently damage your hearing. [] Lead pollution would be my biggest concern. I would drink only filtered water and get periodic blood tests.
Prediction market sequence requested

Speaking as a man who is dubious enough about the "invisible hand of the free market" that I universally refer to it in sarcasm-quotes, I would be very interested in such a sequence.

Problem of Optimal False Information

The parallels with Newcomb's Paradox are obvious, and the moral is the same. If you aren't prepared to sacrifice a convenient axiom for greater utility, you're not really rational. In the case of Newcomb's Paradox, that axiom is Dominance. In this case, that axiom is True Knowledge Is Better Than False Knowledge.

In this instance, go for falsehood.

[Link] Inside the Cold, Calculating Mind of LessWrong?

Decision paralysis is a cruel binding that falls only on the unfettered.

Taking "correlation does not imply causation" back from the internet

The specific fake argument used is flawed because of that. When people make the correlation-causation error, how often are they doing it based off of a variable that's constant across the population? Do people ever really develop 'drinking water causes x' beliefs?

It's a valid point and very true, but I suspect that it isn't applicable to the issue at hand.

Taking "correlation does not imply causation" back from the internet

Disagree. Our target audience - humans - rarely if ever thinks of 'correlation' in terms of its mathematical definition and I suspect would be put off by an attempt to do so.

1[anonymous]9yThe point still applies. What do you mean by “correlation” --formally or informally-- when one (or both) of the variables is constant across the population?

This is entirely true - as a mere human, my interest plummeted at "covariance", and I'd still like to think I'm SOMEWHAT equipped to handle correlation/causation. Just not numerically. So, as a roughly average human, I say your suspicions are correct.

[Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We?

I voted 'other' and downvoted the question. Lordy, what the heck are you doin' bringing this in here? D:

[Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We?

I felt this was a confused question for the reasons you've defined and so I've voted other.

[Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We?

I voted 'other' to the original question. I would vote 'accept platonism' to this question.

[Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We?

Presuming I value the lives of all the people involved equally, I turn on to the side track. If I have a strong reason not to let the person on the side track die - they're a relative, I know them well, they owe me money, I'm in love with them, whatever - I let it go straight.

This is a really easy problem if you accept that you're only a marginally good person at best.

[Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We?

I'm not sure how anyone could argue that aesthetic value is objective when humans regularly disagree about the aesthetic value of things. It's a pretty stern counterexample.

8DanArmak9yHumans regularly disagree about lots of objective things, because they're wrong about them.

I presented the paradox (the version where you know of 1000 previous attempts all confirming that the Predictor is never wrong), answered the questions, cut off some standard ways to weasel out, then asked for the answer and the justification, followed by a rather involved discussion of free will, outside vs inside view, then returned to the question. What I heard was "of course I would one-box". "But barely an hour ago you were firmly in the two-boxing camp!". Blank stare... "Must have been a different problem!"

New study on choice blindness in moral positions

It strikes me that performing this experiment on people, then revealing what has occurred, may be a potentially useful method of enlightening people to the flaws of their cognition. How might we design a 'kit' to reproduce this sleight of hand in the field, so as to confront people with it usefully?

7NancyLebovitz9yIt would be easy enough to do with a longish computer survey. It's much easier to change what appears on a screen than to do sleight-of-paper.
4Armok_GoB9yFor added fun metaness, have the option you swich them to and start rationalize for be the one you're trying to convince them of :p
3nerfhammer9yThe video shows the mechanics of how it works pretty well.
1niceguyanon9yI suspect that those who are most susceptible to moral proposition switches and their subsequent defense of switch, are also the same people that will deny the evidence when confronted with their switch. Much like the Dunning Kruger effect there will be people who fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy, even when confronted with evidence of such. Edit: The paper states that they informed all participants of the true nature of the survey, but it does not go in to detail on whether participants actually acknowledged that their moral propositions were switched.
The utility-maximizing complexity of conscious beings

I don't see a point or thesis in your statement for me to react to beyond the situation itself. What are you getting at? What argument are you seeking to make?

1Mitchell_Porter9yIt might be an unfinished draft that was accidentally posted.
Meetup : Cambridge (MA) Meetup

I'm planning to be there. I'm going to try to bring my shy boyfriend, but I dunno how that'll go.

Suggest alternate names for the "Singularity Institute"

I have no ability to do any actual random selection, but you raise a good point - some focus group testing on laymen would be a good precaution to take before settling on a name.

How confident is your atheism?

I was literally just about to post a thread asking about the fixation on putting numerical values on our confidences all the time, then I saw this. So, thanks for that. Wrapped that little dilemma right up.

Suggest alternate names for the "Singularity Institute"

Agreed that people are very likely to misunderstand it - however, even the obvious, naive reading still creates a useful approximation of what it is you guys actually do. I would consider that misreading to be a feature, not a flaw, because the layman's reading produces a useful layman's understanding.

6Dorikka9yThe approximation might end up being 'making androids to be friends with people', or some kind of therapy-related research. Seriously. Given that even many people involved with AGI research do not seem to understand that Friendliness is a problem, I don't think that the first impression generated by that word will be favorable. It would be convenient to find some laymen to test on, since our simulations of a layman's understanding may be in error.