What about the fact that the best compression algorithm may be insanely expensive to run? We know the math that describes the behavior of quarks, which is to say, we can in principle generate the results of all possible experiments with quarks by solving a few equations. However doing computations with the theory is extremely expensive and it takes something like 10^15 floating point operations to compute, say, some basic properties of the proton to 1% accuracy.
I'm pretty sure cost of resurrection isn't his true rejection, his true rejection is more like 'point and laugh at weirdos'.
Also for a number of commenters in the linked thread, the true rejection seems to be, "By freezing yourself you are claiming that you deserve something no one else gets, in this case immortality."
Am I mistaken in thinking that all you'd need to do is build the centrifuge with an angled floor, so the net force experienced from gravity and (illusory) centrifugal force is straight "down" into it?
Sure, this would work in principle. But I guess it would be fantastically expensive compared to a simple building. The centrifuge would need to be really big and, unlike in 0g, would have to be powered by a big motor and supported against Mars gravity. And Mars gravity isn't that low, so it's unclear why you'd want to pay this expense.
The inscription is not in the Latin alphabet.
A big pie, rotating in the sky, should have apparently shorter circumference than a non-rotating one, and both with the same radii.
I can't swallow this. Not because it is weird, but because it is inconsistent.
There is no inconsistency. In one case you are measuring the circumference with moving rulers, while in the other case you are measuring the circumference with stationary rulers. It's not inconsistent for these two different measurements to give different results.
You don't need GR for a rotating disk; you only need GR when there is gravity.
Having dabbled a bit in evolutionary simulations, I find that, once you have unicellular organisms, the emergence of cooperation between them is only a matter of time, and from there multicellulars form and cell specialization based on division of labor begins.
I'm very curious: in what evolutionary simulations have you seen these phenomena evolve?
This looks fun! I will participate.
A computer is no more conscious than a rock rolling down a hill - we program it by putting sticks in the rocks way to guide to a different path.
Careful!--a lot of people will bite the bullet and call the rock+stick system conscious if you put a complicated enough pattern of sticks in front of it and provide the rock+stick system with enough input and output channels by which it can interact with its surroundings.
This doesn't seem like a good analogy to any real-world situation. The null hypothesis ("the coin really has two tails") predicts the exact same outcome every time, so every experiment should get a p-value of 1, unless the null-hypothesis is false, in which case someone will eventually get a p-value of 0. This is a bit of a pathological case which bears little resemblance to real statistical studies.
The analogy seems pretty nice. The argument seems to be that, based on the historical record, we're doomed to collective inaction in the face of even extraordinarily dangerous risks. I agree that the case of nukes does provide some evidence for this.
I think you paint things a little too grimly, though. We have done at least a little bit to try to mitigate the risks of this particular technology: there are ongoing efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and reduce nuclear stockpiles. And maybe a greater risk really would provoke a more serious response.
I think the Born rule falls out pretty nicely in the Bohmian interpretation.
What frightens me is: what if I'm presented with some similar argument, and I can't spot the flaw?
Having recognized this danger, you should probably be more skeptical of verbal arguments.
This is essentially the standard argument for why we have to quantize gravity. If the sources of the gravitational field can be in superposition, then it must be possible to superpose two different gravitational fields. But (as I think you acknowledge) this doesn't mean that quantum mechanical deviations from GR have to be detectable at low energies.
I'd be interested to know what the correlation with financial success is for additional IQ above the mean among Ivy Leaguers.
I'm pretty sure I've seen a paper discussing this and probably you can find data if you google around for "iq income correlation" and similar.
Plus, it's actually classical: it yields a full explanation of the real, physical, deterministic phenomena underlying apparently quantum ones.
Note that because of Bell's theorem, any classical system is going to have real trouble emulating all of quantum mechanics; entanglement is going to trip it up. I know you said "replicate many aspects of quantum mechanics," but it's probably important to emphasize that this sort of thing is not going to lead to a classical model underlying all of QM.
I read it as saying that people have many interests in common, so pursuing "selfish" interests can also be altruistic to some extent.
every time we discover something new we find that there are more questions than answers
I don't think that's really true though. The advances in physics that have been worth celebrating--Newtonian mechanics, Maxwellian electromagnetism, Einsteinian relativity, the electroweak theory, QCD, etc.--have been those that answer lots and lots of questions at once and raise only a few new questions like "why this theory?" and "what about higher energies?". Now we're at the point where the Standard Model and GR together answer almost any quest...
Fair enough. I can see the appeal of your view if you don't think there's a theory of everything. But given the success of fundamental physics so far, I find it hard to believe that there isn't such a theory!
What would it mean then for a Universe to not "run on math"? In this approach it means that in such a universe no subsystem can contain a model, no matter how coarse, of a larger system. In other words, such a universe is completely unpredictable from the inside. Such a universe cannot contain agents, intelligence or even the simplest life forms.
I think when we say that the universe "runs on math," part of what we mean is that we can use simple mathematical laws to predict (in principle) all aspects of the universe. We suspect that ...
Quantum fluctuations are not dynamical processes inherent to a system, but instead reflect the statistical nature of measurement outcomes.
I'm no expert at all, but while that sounds agreeable on an intuitive level, I've read that the opposite is true - ie that QM processed are inherently fuzzy
I don't quite understand why you think that this is the opposite of what you quoted. The point is that the "inherent fuzziness" is there, but it is not because of literal unobserved "fluctuations" of the system over time. Speaking of "fl...
something like 'simulationist' preservation seems to me to be well within two orders of magnitude of the probability of cryonics - both rely on society finding your information and deciding to do something with it
I don't know if I agree with your estimate of the relative probabilities, but I admit that I exaggerated slightly to make my point. I agree that this strategy at least worth thinking about, especially if you think it is at all plausible that we are in a simulation. Something along these lines is the only one of the listed strategies that I thou...
Personally, I don't find any of the strategies you mention to be plausible enough to be worth thinking about for more than a few seconds. (Most of them seem obviously insufficient to preserve anything I would identify as "me.") I'm worried this may produce the opposite of this post's intended effect, because it may seem to provide evidence that strategies besides cryonics can be easily dismissed.
"There are numbers you can't remember if I tell them to you" is not at all the same claim that "there are ideas I can't explain to you."
But they might be related. Perhaps there are interesting and useful concepts that would take, say, 100,000 pages of English text to write down, such that each page cannot be understood without holding most of the rest of the text in working memory, and such that no useful, shorter, higher-level version of the concept exists.
Humans can only think about things that can be taken one small piece at a tim...
I can't turn it into equations.
Did you try? Each sentence in the quote could easily be expressed in some formal system like predicate calculus or something.
I see a future pattern emerging in the United States:
Few atheists among overwhelming Christians -> shrinking Christianity, growing Atheism -> atheism tribalness growing well connected and strong -> Natural tribal impulse to not tolerate different voices -> war between atheists and Christians.
The last arrow seems like quite a jump. In the US we try to restrain the impulse to intolerance with protections for free speech and such. Do you think these protections are likely to fail? Why are religious divisions going to cause a war when other divi...
I don't think that line makes him a compatibilist, because I don't think that's the notion of free will under discussion.
What exactly is the notion of free will that is under discussion? Or equivalently, can you explain what a "true" compatibilist position might look like? You cited this paper as an example of a "traditionally compatibilist view," but I'm afraid I didn't get much from it. I found it too dense to extract any meaning in the time I was willing to spend reading it, and it seemed to make some assertions that, as I interpr...
I think this is his conclusion:
...if we want to know which meaning to attach to a confusing sensation, we should ask why the sensation is there, and under what conditions it is present or absent.
Then I could say something like: "This sensation of freedom occurs when I believe that I can carry out, without interference, each of multiple actions, such that I do not yet know which of them I will take, but I am in the process of judging their consequences according to my emotions and morals."
This is a condition that can fail in the presence of jai
my confidence that the ultimately correct and most useful Next Great Discovery (e.g. any method to control gravity) will not come from a physics department is above 50%.
If you care to expand on this, I'm curious to hear your reasoning.
What does this mean?
Computer simulation of the strong interaction part of the Standard Model is a big research area: you may want to read about lattice QCD. I've written a simple lattice QCD simulation in a few hundred lines of code. If you Google a bit you can probably find some example code. The rest of the Standard Model has essentially the same structure and would only be a few more lines of code.
I don't think this works, because "fairness" is not defined as "divide up food equally" (or even "divide up resources equally"). It is the algorithm that, among other things, leads to dividing up the pie equally in the circumstances described in the original post
Yes; I meant for the phrase "divide up food equally" to be shorthand for something more correct but less compact, like "a complicated algorithm whose rough outline includes parts like, '...When a group of people are dividing up resources, divide them according to the following weighted combination of need, ownership, equality, who discovered the resources first, ...'"
I think your discussions of metaethics might be improved by rigorously avoiding words like "fair," "right," "better," "moral," "good," etc. I like the idea that "fair" points to a logical algorithm whose properties we can discuss objectively, but when you insist on using the word "fair," and no other word, as your pointer to this algorithm, people inevitably get confused. It seems like you are insisting that words have objective meanings, or that your morality is universally compelling, ...
I don't think this works, because "fairness" is not defined as "divide up food equally" (or even "divide up resources equally"). It is the algorithm that, among other things, leads to dividing up the pie equally in the circumstances described in the original post -- i.e., "three people exactly simultaneously spot a pie which has been exogenously generated in unclaimed territory." But once you start tampering with these conditions -- suppose that one of them owned the land, or one of them baked the pie, or two were we...
Upvoted because of the frank and detailed reduction of pleasure, pain, and preferences in general.
This seems very insightful to me. In physics, it's definitely my experience that over time I gain fluency with more and more powerful concepts that let me derive new things in much faster and simpler ways. And I find myself consciously working ideas over in my mind with, I think, the explicit goal of advancing this process.
The funny thing about this is that before I gain these "superpowers," I'll read an explanation in a textbook, which is in terms of high-level ideas that I haven't completely grasped yet, so the reading doesn't help as much as ...
I'm not disputing that we should factor in the lost utility from the future-that-would-have-been.
The issue for me is not the lost utility of the averted future lives. I just assign high negative utility to death itself, whenever it happens to someone who doesn't want to die, anywhere in the future history of the universe. [To be clear, by "future history of the universe" I mean everything that ever gets simulated by the simulator's computer, if our universe is a simulation.]
That's the negative utility I'm weighing against whatever utility w...
I am having my doubts that time travel is even a coherent concept.
But Eliezer gave you a constructive example in the post!
I compute utility as a function of the entire future history of the universe and not just its state at a given time. I don't see why this can't fall under the umbrella of "utilitarianism." Anyway, if your utility function doesn't do this, how do you decide at what time to compute utility? Are you optimizing the expected value of the state of the universe 10 years from now? 10,000? 10^100? Just optimize all of it.
If you could push a button and avert nuclear war, saving billions, would you?
Why does that answer change if the button works via transporting you back in time with the knowledge necessary to avert the war?
Because if time travel works by destroying universes, it causes many more deaths than it averts. To be explicit about assumptions, if our universe is being simulated on someone's computer I think it's immoral for the simulator to discard the current state of the simulation and restart it from a modified version of a past saved state, beca...
either way there is an equal set of people-who-won't-exist. It's only a bad thing if you have some reason to favor the status-quo of "A exists"
My morality has a significant "status quo bias" in this sense. I don't feel bad about not bringing into being people who don't currently exist, which is why I'm not on a long-term crusade to increase the population as much as possible. Meanwhile I do feel bad about ending the existence of people who do exist, even if it's quick and painless.
More generally, I care about the process by which we ...
Suppose we pick out one of the histories marked with a 1 and look at it. It seems to contain a description of people who remember experiencing time travel.
Now, were their experiences real? Did we make them real by marking them with a 1 - by applying the logical filter using a causal computer?
I'd suggest that if this is a meaningful question at all, it's a question about morality. There's no doubt about the outcome of any empirical test we could perform in this situation. The only reason we care about the answer to such questions is to decide whether it...
Thanks, I wish someone had pointed out this isomorphism to me earlier. I think angles might well be more intuitive than correlation coefficients.
The examples make the point that it's possible to be too pessimistic, and too confident in that pessimism. However, maybe we can figure out when we should be confidently pessimistic.
For example, we can be very confidently pessimistic about the prospects for squaring the circle or inventing perpetual motion. Here we have mathematical proofs of impossibility. I think we can be almost as confidently pessimistic about the near-term prospects for practical near-light-speed travel. Here we have a good understanding of the scope of the problem and of the capabil...
How can utilities not be comparable in terms of multiplication?
"The utility of A is twice the utility of B" is not a statement that remains true if we add the same constant to both utilities, so it's not an obviously meaningful statement. We can make the ratio come out however we want by performing an overall shift of the utility function. The fact that we think of utilities as cardinal numbers doesn't mean we assign any meaning to ratios of utilities. But it seemed that you were trying to say that a person with a logarithmic utility function assesses $10^9 as having twice the utility of $50k.
Yes, clearly my Google-fu is lacking. I think I searched for phrases like "sun went around the Earth," which fails because your quote has "sun went round the Earth."
Thanks; I thought it was likely to have been posted, but I tried to search for it and didn't find it.
"Tell me," the great twentieth-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once asked a friend, "why do people always say it was natural for man to assume that the sun went around the Earth rather than that the Earth was rotating?"
His friend replied, "Well, obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going around the Earth."
Wittgenstein responded, "Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?"
-related by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion
I have an objection to this:
So branching is the consequence of a particular type of physical process: the "measurement" of a microscopic superposition by its macroscopic environment. Not all physical processes are of this type, and its not at all obvious to me that the sorts of processes usually involved in our deaths are of this sort.
I think that essentially all processes involving macroscopic objects are of this type. My understanding is that the wave function of a macroscopic system at nonzero temperature is constantly fissioning into vast...
I already have this and it's horrible.