All of scasper's Comments + Replies

The Achilles Heel Hypothesis for AI

It's really nice to hear that the paper seems clear! Thanks for the comment. 

  • I've been working on this since March, but at a very slow pace, and I took a few hiatuses. most days when I'd work on it, it was for less than an hour. After coming up with the initial framework to tie things together, the hardest part was trying and failing to think of interesting ways in which most of the achilles heels presented could be used as novel containment measures. I discuss this a bit in the discussion section.

For 2-3, I can give some thoughts, but these aren't ne... (read more)

The Achilles Heel Hypothesis for AI

Thanks for the comment. +1 to it. I also agree that this is an interesting concept: using Achilles Heels as containment measures. There is a discussion related to this on page 15 of the paper. In short, I think that this is possible and useful for some achilles heels and would be a cumbersome containment measure for others which could be accomplished more simply via bribes of reward. 

Solipsism is Underrated

Thanks.

I disagree a bit. My point has been that it's easy for solipsism to explain consciousness and hard to materialism to. But it's easy for materialism to account for structure and hard solipsism to. Don't interpret the post as my saying solipsism wins--just that it's underrated. I also don't say qualia must be irreducible, just that there's spookiness if they are.

Solipsism is Underrated

Thanks! This is insightful.

What exactly would it mean to perform a baysian update on you not experiencing qualia?

Good point. In an anthropic sense, the sentence this is a reply to could be redacted. Experiencing qualia themselves would not be evidence to prefer one theory over another. Only experiencing certain types of observations would cause a meaningful update.

The primitives of materialism are described in equations. Does a solipsist seek an equation to tell them how angry they will be next Tuesday? If not, what is the substance of a solipsistic mode
... (read more)
1Donald Hobson2ySomeone that knows quantum physics but almost no computing looks at a phone. They don't know how it works inside. They are uncertain about how apps result from material phenomenon. This is just normal uncertainty over a set of hypothesis. One of those hypotheses is the actual answer, many others will look like alternate choices of circuit board layout or programming language. They still need to find out how the phone works, but that is because they have many hypothesis that involve atoms. They have no reason to doubt that the phone is made of atoms. I don't know how your brain works either, but I am equally sure it is made of (atoms, quantum waves, strings or whatever). I apply the same to my own brain. In the materialist paradigm I can understand Newtonian gravity as at least an approximation of whatever the real rules are. How does a solipsist consider it?
Solipsism is Underrated

Great comment. Thanks.

In the case of idealism, we call the ontological primitive "mental", and we say that external phenomena don't actually exist but instead we just model them as if they existed to predict experiences. I suppose this is a consistent view and isn't that different in complexity from regular materialism.

I can't disagree. This definitely shifts my thinking a bit. I think that solipsism + structured observations might be comparable in complexity to materialism + an ability for qualia to arise from material phenomena. ... (read more)

1Brian_Tomasik2yMakes sense. :) To me it seems relatively plausible that the intuition of spookiness regarding materialist consciousness is just a cognitive mistake [https://reducing-suffering.org/hard-problem-consciousness/#Expgap_syndrome], similar to Capgras syndrome. I'm more inclined to believe this than to adopt weirder-seeming ontologies.
Solipsism is Underrated

Thanks for the comment. I'm not 100% on the computers analogy. I think answering the hard problem of consciousness is significantly different compared to understanding how complex information processing systems like computers work. Any definition or framing of consciousness in terms of informational or computational theory may allow it to be studied in those terms in the same way that computers are can be understood by system based theoretical reasoning based on abstraction. However, I don't think this is what it means to solve the hard problem o... (read more)

Solipsism is Underrated

I agree--thanks for the comment. When writing this post, my goal was to share a reflection on solipsism in a vacuum rather than in context of decision theory. I acknowledge that solipsism doesn't really tend to drive someone toward caring much about others and such. In that sense, it's not very productive if someone is altruistically/externally motivated.

I don't want to give any impression that this is a particularly important decision theoretic question. :)

3Dagon2yMostly my comment was a response to the word "underrated" in the title. We wouldn't know how it's rated, because, by it's nature, it's going to be less proselytized. A quibble, to be sure, but "underrepresented" is probably more accurate.
Dissolving Confusion around Functional Decision Theory

Thanks for the comment. I think it's exciting for this to make it into the newsletter. I am glad that you liked these principles.

I think that even lacking a concept of free will, FDT can be conveniently thought of applying to humans through the installation of new habits or ways of thinking without conflicting with the framework that I aim to give here. I agree that there are significant technical difficulties in thinking about when FDT applies to humans, but I wouldn't consider them philosophical difficulties.

Dissolving Confusion around Functional Decision Theory
I'm skeptical of this. Non-mere correlations are consequences of an agent's source-code producing particular behaviors that the predictor can use to gain insight into the source-code itself. If an agent adaptively and non-permanently modifies its souce-code, this (from the perspective of a predictor who suspects this to be true), de-correlates it's current source code from the non-mere correlations of its past behavior -- essentially destroying the meaning of non-mere correlations to the extent that the predictor is suspicious.

Oh yes. I agre... (read more)

A Critique of Functional Decision Theory

I wrote a LW post as a reply to this. I explain several points of disagreement with MacAskill and Y&S alike. See here.

Dissolving Confusion around Functional Decision Theory

I really like this analysis. Luckily, with the right framework, I think that these questions, though highly difficult, are technical but no longer philosophical. This seems like a hard question of priors but not a hard question of framework. I speculate that in practice, an agent could be designed to adaptively and non-permanently modify its actions and source code to slick past many situations, fooling predictors exploiting non-mere correlations when helpful.

But on the other hand, maybe a way to induce a great amount of uncertainty to mess up certain age... (read more)

1Isnasene2yYes -- I agree with this. It turns the question "What is the best source-code for making decisions when the situations you are placed on depend on that source-code?" into a question more like"Okay, since there are a bunch of decisions that are contingent on source-code, which ones do we expect to actually happen and with what frequency?" And this is something we can, in principle, reason about (ie, we can speculate on what incentives we would expect predictors to have and try to estimate uncertainties of different situations happening). I'm skeptical of this. Non-mere correlations are consequences of an agent's source-code producing particular behaviors that the predictor can use to gain insight into the source-code itself. If an agent adaptively and non-permanently modifies its souce-code, this (from the perspective of a predictor who suspects this to be true), de-correlates it's current source code from the non-mere correlations of its past behavior -- essentially destroying the meaning of non-mere correlations to the extent that the predictor is suspicious. Maybe there's a clever way to get around this. But, to illustrate the problem with a claim from your blog [https://medium.com/@thestephencasper/decision-theory-ii-going-meta-5bc9970bd2b9] : This is true for a mind reader that is directly looking at source code but is untrue for predictions relying on non-mere correlations. To such a predictor, a dynamic user of CDT who has just updated to EDT would have a history of CDT behavior and non-mere correlations associated mostly with CDT. Now two things might happen: 1. The predictor classifies the agent as CDT and kills it 2. The predictor classifies the agent as a dynamic user of CDT, predicts that it has updated to EDT, and does not kill it. Option 1 isn't great because the agent gets killed. Option 2 also isn't great because it implies predictors have access to non-mere correlations strong enough to indicate that a given agent can dynamically update. This