All of steven0461's Comments + Replies

In terms of "and those people who care will be broad and varied and trying their hands at making movies and doing varied kinds of science and engineering research and learning all about the world while keeping their eyes open for clues about the AI risk conundrum, and being ready to act when a hopeful possibility comes up" we're doing less well compared to my 2008 hopes. I want to know why and how to unblock it.

I think to the extent that people are failing to be interesting in all the ways you'd hoped they would be, it's because being interesting in th... (read more)

As far as I know, this is the standard position. See also this FAQ entry. A lot of people sloppily say "the universe" when they mean the observable part of the universe, and that's what's causing the confusion.

I have also talked with folks who’ve thought a lot about safety and who honestly think that existential risk is lower if we have AI soon (before humanity can harm itself in other ways), for example.

It seems hard to make the numbers come out that way. E.g. suppose human-level AGI in 2030 would cause a 60% chance of existential disaster and a 40% chance of existential disaster becoming impossible, and human-level AGI in 2050 would cause a 50% chance of existential disaster and a 50% chance of existential disaster becoming impossible. Then to be indifferen... (read more)

"Safewashing" would be more directly parallel to "greenwashing" and sounds less awkward to my ears than "safetywashing", but on the other hand the relevant ideas are more often called "AI safety" than "safe AI", so I'm not sure if it's a better or worse term.

I prefer safe washing, but vote that we make a huge divisive issue over it, ultimately splitting the community in two.
5Quintin Pope5mo
"Safe AI" -> "AI safety" "Green business" -> "Business greenery"

Yes, my experience of "nobody listened 20 years ago when the case for caring about AI risk was already overwhelmingly strong and urgent" doesn't put strong bounds on how much I should anticipate that people will care about AI risk in the future, and this is important; but it puts stronger bounds on how much I should anticipate that people will care about counterintuitive aspects of AI risk that haven't yet undergone a slow process of climbing in mainstream respectability, even if the case for caring about those aspects is overwhelmingly strong and urgent (... (read more)

  1. after a tech company singularity,

I think this was meant to read "2. after AGI,"

Yes, thanks! Fixed.

Note that the full 2021 MIRI conversations are also available (in robot voice) in the Nonlinear Library archive.

I'll let this be my chance to ask whether the Alignment Newsletter Podcast is on hold or finished? I don't think there was a publicized announcement of hibernation or termination.

As I see it, "rationalist" already refers to a person who thinks rationality is particularly important, not necessarily a person who is rational, like how "libertarian" refers to a person who thinks freedom is particularly important, not necessarily a person who is free. Then literally speaking "aspiring rationalist" refers to a person who aspires to think rationality is particularly important, not to a person who aspires to be rational. Using "aspiring rationalist" to refer to people who aspire to attain rationality encourages people to misinterpret self-... (read more)

4Said Achmiz7mo
This was not the usage in the Sequences, however, and otherwise at the time the Sequences were written.

Great report. I found the high decision-worthiness vignette especially interesting.

I haven't read it closely yet, so people should feel free to be like "just read the report more closely and the answers are in there", but here are some confusions and questions that have been on my mind when trying to understand these things:

Has anyone thought about this in terms of a "consequence indication assumption" that's like the self-indication assumption but normalizes by the probability of producing paths from selves to cared-about consequences instead of the proba... (read more)

3Tristan Cook7mo
Thanks! Glad to hear it Yep, this is kinda what anthropic decision theory (ADT) is designed to be :-D ADT + total utilitarianism often gives similar answers to SIA. Yeah, this is a great point. Toby Ord mentions here [] the potential for dark energy to be harnessed here, which would lead to a similar conclusion. Things like this may be Pascal's muggings (i.e., we wager our decisions on being in a world where our decisions matter infinitely). Since our decisions might already matter 'infinitely' (evidential-like decision theory plus an infinite world) I'm not sure how this pans out. Exactly. SSA (with a sufficiently large reference class) always predicts Doom as a consequence of its structure, but SIA doomsday is contingent on the case we happen to be in (colonisers, as you mention).

My impression (based on using Metaculus a lot) is that, while questions like this may give you a reasonable ballpark estimate and it's great that they exist, they're nowhere close to being efficient enough for it to mean much when they fail to move. As a proxy for the amount of mental effort that goes into it, there's only been three comments on the linked question in the last month. I've been complaining about people calling Metaculus a "prediction market" because if people think it's a prediction market then they'll assume there's a point to be made like... (read more)

Metaculus (unlike Manifold) is not a market and does not use play money except in the same sense that Tetris score is play money.

I don't understand why people are calling Metaculus a prediction market. There's no buying or selling going on, even in play money. There's a score, but score doesn't affect the community estimate, which is just a median of all user predictions weighted by recency. I think it ends up doing pretty well, but calling it a market (which it doesn't call itself) will give readers a mistaken impression of how it works.

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It took a minute to "click" for me that the green up marks and red down marks corresponded to each other in four opposed pairs, and that the Truth/Aim/Clarity numbers also corresponded to these axes. Possibly this is because I went straight to the thread after quickly skimming the OP, but most threads won't have the OP to explain things anyway. So my impression is it should be less opaque somehow. I do like having votes convey a lot more information than up/down. I wonder if it would be best to hide the new features under some sort of "advanced options" in... (read more)

Are there online spaces that talk about the same stuff LW talks about (AI futurism, technical rationality, and so on), with reasonably high quality standards, but more conversational-oriented and less soapbox-oriented, and maybe with less respectability signaling? I often find myself wanting to talk about things discussed here but feeling overconstrained by things like knowing that comments are permanent and having to anticipate objections instead of taking them as they come.

4Daniel Kokotajlo1y
It's not obvious that unaligned AI would kill us. For example, we might be bargaining chips in some future negotiation with aliens.

I tend to want to split "value drift" into "change in the mapping from (possible beliefs about logical and empirical questions) to (implied values)" and "change in beliefs about logical and empirical questions", instead of lumping both into "change in values".

This seems to be missing what I see as the strongest argument for "utopia": most of what we think of as "bad values" in humans comes from objective mistakes in reasoning about the world and about moral philosophy, rather than from a part of us that is orthogonal to such reasoning in a paperclip-maximizer-like way, and future reflection can be expected to correct those mistakes.

future reflection can be expected to correct those mistakes.

I'm pretty worried that this won't happen, because these aren't "innocent" mistakes. Copying from a comment elsewhere:

Why did the Malagasy people have such a silly belief? Why do many people have very silly beliefs today? (Among the least politically risky ones to cite, someone I’ve known for years who otherwise is intelligent and successful, currently believes, or at least believed in the recent past, that 2⁄3 of everyone will die as a result of taking the COVID vaccines.) I think the unfort

... (read more)
Could the same be also true about most "good values"? Maybe people just makes mistakes about almost everything.
4Beth Barnes1y
Is this making a claim about moral realism? If so, why wouldn't it apply to a paperclip maximiser? If not, how do we distinguish between objective mistakes and value disagreements?

"Problematic dynamics happened at Leverage" and "Leverage influenced EA Summit/Global" don't imply "Problematic dynamics at Leverage influenced EA Summit/Global" if EA Summit/Global had their own filters against problematic influences. (If such filters failed, it should be possible to point out where.)

Your posts seem to be about what happens if you filter out considerations that don't go your way. Obviously, yes, that way you can get distortion without saying anything false. But the proposal here is to avoid certain topics and be fully honest about which topics are being avoided. This doesn't create even a single bit of distortion. A blank canvas is not a distorted map. People can get their maps elsewhere, as they already do on many subjects, and as they will keep having to do regardless, simply because some filtering is inevitable beneath the eye of Sa... (read more)

due to the mechanisms described in "Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies" and "Dark Side Epistemology"

I'm not advocating lying. I'm advocating locally preferring to avoid subjects that force people to either lie or alienate people into preferring lies, or both. In the possible world where The Bell Curve is mostly true, not talking about it on LessWrong will not create a trail of false claims that have to be rationalized. It will create a trail of no claims. LessWrongers might fill their opinion vacuum with false claims from elsewhere, or with true claims, ... (read more)

I'm not advocating lying.

I understand that. I cited a Sequences post that has the word "lies" in the title, but I'm claiming that the mechanism described in the cited posts—that distortions on one topic can spread to both adjacent topics, and to people's understanding of what reasoning looks like—can apply more generally to distortions that aren't direct lies.

Omitting information can be a distortion when the information would otherwise be relevant. In "A Rational Argument", Yudkowsky gives the example of an election campaign manager publishing survey re... (read more)

"Offensive things" isn't a category determined primarily by the interaction of LessWrong and people of the sneer. These groups exist in a wider society that they're signaling to. It sounds like your reasoning is "if we don't post about the Bell Curve, they'll just start taking offense to technological forecasting, and we'll be back where we started but with a more restricted topic space". But doing so would make the sneerers look stupid, because society, for better or worse, considers The Bell Curve to be offensive and does not consider technological forecasting to be offensive.

1Said Achmiz1y
I’m sorry, but this is a fantasy. It may seem reasonable to you that the world should work like this, but it does not. To suggest that “the sneerers” would “look stupid” is to posit someone—a relevant someone, who has the power to determine how people and things are treated, and what is acceptable, and what is beyond the pale—for them to “look stupid” to. But in fact “the sneerers” simply are “wider society”, for all practical purposes. “Society” considers offensive whatever it is told to consider offensive. Today, that might not include “technological forecasting”. Tomorrow, you may wake up to find that’s changed. If you point out that what we do here wasn’t “offensive” yesterday, and so why should it be offensive today, and in any case, surely we’re not guilty of anything, are we, since it’s not like we could’ve known, yesterday, that our discussions here would suddenly become “offensive”… right? … well, I wouldn’t give two cents for your chances, in the court of public opinion (Twitter division). And if you try to protest that anyone who gets offended at technological forecasting is just stupid… then may God have mercy on your soul—because “the sneerers” surely won’t.

You'd have to use a broad sense of "political" to make this true (maybe amounting to "controversial"). Nobody is advocating blanket avoidance of controversial opinions, only blanket avoidance of narrow-sense politics, and even then with a strong exception of "if you can make a case that it's genuinely important to the fate of humanity in the way that AI alignment is important to the fate of humanity, go ahead". At no point could anyone have used the proposed norms to prevent discussion of AI alignment.

Another way this matters: Offense takers largely get their intuitions about "will taking offense achieve my goals" from experience in a wide variety of settings and not from LessWrong specifically. Yes, theoretically, the optimal strategy is for them to estimate "will taking offense specifically against LessWrong achieve my goals", but most actors simply aren't paying enough attention to form a target-by-target estimate. Viewing this as a simple game theory textbook problem might lead you to think that adjusting our behavior to avoid punishment would lead ... (read more)

I agree that offense-takers are calibrated against Society-in-general, not particular targets.

As a less-political problem with similar structure, consider ransomware attacks. If an attacker encrypts your business's files and will sell you the encryption key for 10 Bitcoins, do you pay (in order to get your files back, as common sense and causal decision theory agree), or do you not-pay (as a galaxy-brained updateless-decision-theory play to timelessly make writing ransomware less profitable, even though that doesn't help the copy of you in this timeline)?

I... (read more)

I think simplifying all this to a game with one setting and two players with human psychologies obscures a lot of what's actually going on. If you look at people of the sneer, it's not at all clear that saying offensive things thwarts their goals. They're pretty happy to see offensive things being said, because it gives them opportunities to define themselves against the offensive things and look like vigilant guardians against evil. Being less offensive, while paying other costs to avoid having beliefs be distorted by political pressure (e.g. taking it elsewhere, taking pains to remember that politically pressured inferences aren't reliable), arguably de-energizes such people more than it emboldens them.

9Said Achmiz1y
This logic would fall down entirely if it turned out that “offensive things” isn’t a natural kind, or a pre-existing category of any sort, but is instead a label attached by the “people of the sneer” themselves to anything they happen to want to mock or vilify (which is always going to be something, since—as you say—said people in fact have a goal of mocking and/or vilifying things, in general). Inconveniently, that is precisely what turns out to be the case…
Another way this matters: Offense takers largely get their intuitions about "will taking offense achieve my goals" from experience in a wide variety of settings and not from LessWrong specifically. Yes, theoretically, the optimal strategy is for them to estimate "will taking offense specifically against LessWrong achieve my goals", but most actors simply aren't paying enough attention to form a target-by-target estimate. Viewing this as a simple game theory textbook problem might lead you to think that adjusting our behavior to avoid punishment would lead to an equal number of future threats of punishment against us and is therefore pointless, when actually it would instead lead to future threats of punishment against some other entity that we shouldn't care much about, like, I don't know, fricking Sargon of Akkad.

My claim was:

if this model is partially true, then something more nuanced than an absolutist "don't give them an inch" approach is warranted

It's obvious to everyone in the discussion that the model is partially false and there's also a strategic component to people's emotions, so repeating this is not responsive.

I think an important cause of our disagreement is you model the relevant actors as rational strategic consequentialists trying to prevent certain kinds of speech, whereas I think they're at least as much like a Godzilla that reflexively rages in pain and flattens some buildings whenever he's presented with an idea that's noxious to him. You can keep irritating Godzilla until he learns that flattening buildings doesn't help him achieve his goals, but he'll flatten buildings anyway because that's just the kind of monster he is, and in this way, you and Godzi... (read more)

The relevant actors aren't consciously being strategic about it, but I think their emotions are sensitive to whether the threat of being offended seems to be working. That's what the emotions are for, evolutionarily speaking. People are innately very good at this! When I babysit a friend's unruly 6-year-old child who doesn't want to put on her shoes, or talk to my mother who wishes I would call more often, or introspect on my own rage at the abject cowardice of so-called "rationalists", the functionality of emotions as a negotiating tactic is very clear to... (read more)

3Said Achmiz1y
But of course there’s an alternative. There’s a very obvious alternative, which also happens to be the obviously and only correct action: Kill Godzilla.

standing up to all kinds of political entryism seems to me obviously desirable for its own sake

I agree it's desirable for its own sake, but meant to give an additional argument why even those people who don't agree it's desirable for its own sake should be on board with it.

if for some reason left-wing political entryism is fundamentally worse than right-wing political entryism then surely that makes it not necessarily hypocritical to take a stronger stand against the former than against the latter

Not necessarily objectively hypocritical, but hypocritical in the eyes of a lot of relevant "neutral" observers.

"Stand up to X by not doing anything X would be offended by" is not what I proposed. I was temporarily defining "right wing" as "the political side that the left wing is offended by" so I could refer to posts like the OP as "right wing" without setting off a debate about how actually the OP thinks of it more as centrist that's irrelevant to the point I was making, which is that "don't make LessWrong either about left wing politics or about right wing politics" is a pretty easy to understand criterion and that invoking this criterion to keep LW from being a... (read more)

Some more points I want to make:

  • I don't care about moderation decisions for this particular post, I'm just dismayed by how eager LessWrongers seem to be to rationalize shooting themselves in the foot, which is also my foot and humanity's foot, for the short term satisfaction of getting to think of themselves as aligned with the forces of truth in a falsely constructed dichotomy against the forces of falsehood.
  • On any sufficiently controversial subject, responsible members of groups with vulnerable reputations will censor themselves if they have sufficien
... (read more)

It would be really nice to be able to stand up to left wing political entryism, and the only principled way to do this is to be very conscientious about standing up to right wing political entryism, where in this case “right wing” means any politics sufficiently offensive to the left wing, regardless of whether it thinks of itself as right wing.

"Stand up to X by not doing anything X would be offended by" is obviously an unworkable strategy, it's taking a negotiating stance that is maximally yielding in the ultimatum game, so should expect to receive as ... (read more)

I agree that LW shouldn't be a zero-risk space, that some people will always hate us, and that this is unavoidable and only finitely bad. I'm not persuaded by reasons 2 and 3 from your comment at all in the particular case of whether people should talk about Murray. A norm of "don't bring up highly inflammatory topics unless they're crucial to the site's core interests" wouldn't stop Hanson from posting about ems, or grabby aliens, or farmers and foragers, or construal level theory, or Aumann's theorem, and anyway, having him post on his own blog works fin... (read more)

Not within the mainstream politics, but within academic / corporate CS and AI departments.

My observation tells me that our culture is currently in need of marginally more risky spaces, even if the number of safe spaces remains the same.

Our culture is desperately in need of spaces that are correct about the most important technical issues, and insisting that the few such spaces that exist have to also become politically risky spaces jeopardizes their ability to function for no good reason given that the internet lets you build as many separate spaces as you want elsewhere.

Our culture is desperately in need of spaces that are correct about the most important technical issues

I also care a lot about this; I think there are three important things to track.

First is that people might have reputations to protect or purity to maintain, and so want to be careful about what they associate with. (This is one of the reasons behind the separate Alignment Forum URL; users who wouldn't want to post something to Less Wrong can post someplace classier.)

Second is that people might not be willing to pay costs to follow taboos. The more a spac... (read more)

I’m going to be a little nitpicky here. LW is not “becoming,” but rather already is a politically risky space, and has been for a long time. There are several good reasons, which I and others have discussed elsewhere here. They may not be persuasive to you, and that’s OK, but they do exist as reasons. Finally, the internet may let you build a separate forum elsewhere and try to attract participants, but that is a non-trivial ask.

My position is that accepting intellectual risk is part and parcel of creating an intellectual environment capable of maintaining... (read more)

And so you need to make a pitch not just "this pays for itself now" but instead something like "this will pay for itself for the whole trajectory that we care about, or it will be obvious when we should change our policy and it no longer pays for itself."

I don't think it will be obvious, but I think we'll be able to make an imperfect estimate of when to change the policy that's still better than giving up on future evaluation of such tradeoffs and committing reputational murder-suicide immediately. (I for one like free speech and will be happy to advocate for it on LW when conditions change enough to make it seem anything other than pointlessly self-destructive.)

I agree that the politics ban is a big sacrifice (regardless of whether the benefits outweigh it or not)

A global ban on political discussion by rationalists might be a big sacrifice, but it seems to me there are no major costs to asking people to take it elsewhere.

(I just edited "would be a big sacrifice" to "might be a big sacrifice", because the same forces that cause a ban to seem like a good idea will still distort discussions even in the absence of a ban, and perhaps make them worse than useless because they encourage the false belief that a rational discussion is being had.)

This could be through any number of mechanisms like

A story I'm worried about goes something like:

  • LW correctly comes to believe that for an AI to be aligned, its cognitive turboencabulator needs a base plate of prefabulated amulite
  • the leader of an AI project tries to make the base plate out of unprefabulated amulite
  • another member of the project mentions off-hand one time that some people think it should be prefabulated
  • the project leader thinks, "prefabulation, wasn't that one of the pet issues of those Bell Curve bros? well, whatever, let's just go
... (read more)

Taking the second box is greedy and greed is a vice. This might also explain one-boxing by Marxists.

I also wonder if anyone has argued that you-the-atoms should two-box, you-the-algorithm should one-box, and which entity "you" refers to is just a semantic issue.

With Newcomb's Problem, I always wonder how much the issue is confounded by formulations like "Omega predicted correctly in 99% of past cases", where given some normally reasonable assumptions (even really good predictors probably aren't running a literal copy of your mind), it's easy to conclude you're being reflective enough about the decision to be in a small minority of unpredictable people. I would be interested in seeing statistics on a version of Newcomb's Problem that explicitly said Omega predicts correctly all of the time because it runs an identical copy of you and your environment.

I also wonder if anyone has argued that you-the-atoms should two-box, you-the-algorithm should one-box, and which entity "you" refers to is just a semantic issue.

Obviously the idea is not to never risk making enemies, but the future is to some extent a hostage negotiation, and, airy rhetoric aside, it's a bad idea to insult a hostage taker's mother, causing him to murder lots of hostages, even if she's genuinely a bad person who deserves to be called out.

Even in the complete absence of personal consequences, expressing unpopular opinions still brings disrepute on other opinions that are logically related or held by the same people. E.g., if hypothetically there were a surprisingly strong argument for murdering puppies, I would keep it to myself, because only people who care about surprisingly strong arguments would accept it, and others would hate them for it, impeding their ability to do all the less horrible and more important things that there are surprisingly strong arguments for.

In this case the principle that leaves the state of evidence undisturbed is to keep any argument for not murdering puppies to yourself as well, for otherwise you in expectation would create filtered evidence in favor of not murdering puppies. This is analogous to trial preregistration, you just do the preregistration like an updateless agent, committing to act as if you've preregistered to speak publicly on any topic on which you are about to speak regardless of what it turns out you have to say on it. This either prompts you to say a socially costly thing (if you judge the preregistration a good deal) or to stay silent on a socially neutral or approved thing (if the preregistration doesn't look like a good deal).
If people would think badly upon my community for acting righteously then I welcome their transient [] disdain as proof that I am saying something worth saying.
You don't talk about because you want others to accept your position. You talk about it, so others have a chance to convince you to abandon that position, either for you to take theirs or something entirely different. How do you know that you've read everything to take up your position if you don't bother giving others who have put into their own time and thoughts into this a chance to present their arguments? But at the end of the day, we just gotta what we gotta do that makes us happy.

The harms described in these articles mostly arise from politicization associated with voting rather than from the act of voting itself. If you focused on that politicization, without asking people to give up their direct influence on which candidates were elected, I think there'd be much less unwillingness to discuss.

There's still a big gap between Betfair/Smarkets (22% chance Trump president) and Predictit/FTX (29-30%). I assume it's not the kind of thing that can be just arbitraged away.

Another thing I feel like I see a lot on LW is disagreements where there's a heavy thumb of popularity or reputational costs on one side of the scale, but nobody talks about the thumb, and it makes it hard to tell if people are internally trying to correct for the thumb or if they're just substituting the thumb for whatever parts of their reasoning or intuition they're not explicitly talking about, and a lot of what looks like disagreement about the object level arguments that are being presented may actually be disagreement about the thumb. For example, in the case of the parent comment, maybe such a thumb is driving judgments of the relative values of oranges and pears.

Together with my interpretation [] of the preceding example this suggests an analogy between individual/reference-class charity and filtered evidence. The analogy is interesting as a means of transfering understanding of errors in ordinary charity to the general setting where the salient structure in the sources of evidence could have any nature. So what usually goes wrong with charity is that the hypotheses about possible kinds of thinking behind an action/claim are not deliberatively considered (or consciously noticed), so the implicit assumption is intuitive, and can occasionally be comically wrong (or at least overconfident) in a way that would be immediately recognized if considered deliberatively. This becomes much worse if failure of charity is a habit, because then the training data for intuition can become systematically bad, dragging down the intuition itself to a point where it starts actively preventing deliberative consideration from being able to work correctly, so the error persists even in the face of being pointed out. If this branches out into the anti-epistemology territory, particularly via memes circulating in a group that justify the wrong intuitions about thinking of members of another group, we get a popular error with a reliably trained cognitive infrastructure for resisting correction. But indeed this could happen for any kind of working with evidence that needs some Bayes and reasonable hypotheses to stay sane! So a habit of not considering obvious possibilities about origin of evidence risks training systematically wrong intuitions that make noticing their wrongness more difficult. In a group setting, this gets amplified with echo chamber/epistemic bubble effects, which draw their power from the very same error of not getting deliberatively considered as significant forces that shape available evidence.

What's the name of the proto-fallacy that goes like "you should exchange your oranges for pears because then you'll have more pears", suggesting that the question can be resolved, or has already been resolved, without ever considering the relative value of oranges and pears? I feel like I see it everywhere a lot, including on LW.

Sounds like failing at charity, not trying to figure out what thinking produced a claim/question/behavior and misinterpreting it as a result. In your example, there is an implication of difficulty with noticing the obvious, when the correct explanation is most likely having a different objective, which should be clear if the question is given half a thought. In some cases, running with the literal meaning of a claim as stated is actually a misinterpretation, since it differs from the intended meaning.
Another thing I feel like I see a lot on LW is disagreements where there's a heavy thumb of popularity or reputational costs on one side of the scale, but nobody talks about the thumb, and it makes it hard to tell if people are internally trying to correct for the thumb or if they're just substituting the thumb for whatever parts of their reasoning or intuition they're not explicitly talking about, and a lot of what looks like disagreement about the object level arguments that are being presented may actually be disagreement about the thumb. For example, in the case of the parent comment, maybe such a thumb is driving judgments of the relative values of oranges and pears.

Suppose you have an AI powered world stabilization regime. Suppose somebody makes a reasonable moral argument about how humanity's reflection should proceed, like "it's unfair for me to have less influence just because I hate posting on Facebook". Does the world stabilization regime now add a Facebook compensation factor to the set of restrictions it enforces? If it does things like this all the time, doesn't the long reflection just amount to a stage performance of CEV with human actors? If it doesn't do things like this all the time, doesn't that create a serious risk of the long term future being stolen by some undesirable dynamic?

If Petrov pressing the button would have led to a decent chance of him being incinerated by American nukes, and if he valued his life much more than he valued avoiding the consequences he could expect to face for not pressing, then he had no reason to press the button even from a purely selfish perspective, and pressing it would have been a purely destructive act, like in past LW Petrov Days, or maybe a kind of Russian roulette.


Well, I don't think it's obviously objectionable, and I'd have trouble putting my finger on the exact criterion for objectionability we should be using here. Something like "we'd all be better off in the presence of a norm against encouraging people to think in ways that might be valid in the particular case where we're talking to them but whose appeal comes from emotional predispositions that we sought out in them that aren't generally either truth-tracking or good for them" seems plausible to me. But I think it's obviously not as obviously unobjectionable as Zack seemed to be suggesting in his last few sentences, which was what moved me to comment.

If short timelines advocates were seeking out people with personalities that predisposed them toward apocalyptic terror, would you find it similarly unobjectionable? My guess is no. It seems to me that a neutral observer who didn't care about any of the object-level arguments would say that seeking out high-psychoticism people is more analogous to seeking out high-apocalypticism people than it is to seeking out programmers, transhumanists, reductionists, or people who think machine learning / deep learning are important.

The way I can make sense of seeking high-psychoticism people being morally equivalent to seeking high IQ systematizers, is if I drain any normative valance from "psychotic," and imagine there is a spectrum from autistic to psychotic. In this spectrum the extreme autistic is exclusively focused on exactly one thing at a time, and is incapable of cognition that has to take into account context, especially context they aren't already primed to have in mind, and the extreme psychotic can only see the globally interconnected context where everything means/is co... (read more)

I wouldn't find it objectionable. I'm not really sure what morally relevant distinction is being pointed at here, apocalyptic beliefs might make the inferential distance to specific apocalyptic hypotheses lower.
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