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Hey there,

Just joined. My only exposure to LW has been reading about it on other websites, and reading a short story by Yudkowsky (I think) about baby eating aliens, which was a fun read. (Though I prefer the original ending to the "real" one.)

I have no idea what I plan to get out of joining the site, other than looking around. I know I do have an itch to write out my thoughts about a few topics on some public forum, but no idea if they're at all novel or interesting.

So, I do have questions about what the "prevalent view (assuming there is one)" is on LW about a couple topics, and where I can find how people have arrived at that view.

  1. Qualia. I don't believe they exist. Or, equivalently, qualia being something "special" is an illusion, just like free will. Is there a consensus here about that? Or has the topic been beaten to death? Also, would the perception of having free will itself count as qualia?

  2. The possibility that we're in a simulation. I believe it's basically currently not calculable, given what we know. It's a consequence of me finding no compelling reason to believe that the capabilities of technology either end shortly beyond our current capabilities, or are unimaginably limitless. It's simply not predictable where they end, but obvious that they do end somewhere. Any of that interest anyone?