Vakus Drake


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Is there a simple parameter that controls human working memory capacity, which has been set tragically low?

It's worth noting here that human working memory is probably vastly worse than our ancestors in many regards, because chimps outperform us on short memory tests by a massive margin. This is probably because hominids repurposed the relevant hardware towards doing other things.

Could waste heat become an environment problem in the future (centuries)?

I don't expect this to be a problem because by the time humans would be using this much energy we should be easily capable of constructing simple megastructures. One would only need to decrease the amount of IR light that hits the earth with massive but relatively cheap (at least once you have serious space industry) IR filters in order to decrease the earth's temperature without impacting anything dependant on the sun's light.

So You Want To Colonize The Universe Part 3: Dust

I'd also like to bring up that the idea you mentioned of having multiple ships in a line so only the first one needs substantial dust shielding, is the same reason it makes sense to make your ships as long and thin as possible.

So You Want to Colonize The Universe

You're misunderstanding the argument. The article you link is about the aestivation hypothesis which is basically the opposite strategy to the "expand as fast as possible" strategy put forth here. The article you linked doesn't say that some computation _can't_ be done orders of magnitude more efficiently when the universe is in the degenerate era, it just says that there's lots of negentropy that you will never get the chance to exploit if you don't take advantage of it now.

Decelerating: laser vs gun vs rocket

>unless someone revolutionizes space travel by figuring out how to bend spacetime more efficiently than with sheer mass, and makes something like the Alcubierre drive feasible.

The bigger problem here is just that genuine negative inertial mass (which you need for warp drives) is considered to be probably impossible for good reason, since it lets you both violate causality and create perpetual motion machines.

The E-Coli Test for AI Alignment

While I consider wireheading only marginally better than oblivion the more general issue is the extent to which you can really call something alignment if it leads to behavior that the overwhelming majority of people consider egregious and terrible in every way. It really doesn't make sense to talk to talk about there being a "best" solution here anyway because that basically begs the question with regards to certain moral philosophy.

>I'm also assuming you think if bacteria somehow became as intelligent as humans, they would also agree that wireheading would be a disastrous outcome for them, despite the fact that wireheading is probably the best solution that can be done given how unsophisticated their brains are. I.e. the best solution for their simple brains would be considered disastrous by our more complex brains.

This assumption doesn't hold and somewhat misses my point entirely. As I talked about in my comment bacteria don't seem like they meaningfully have thoughts or preferences so the idea of making a super smart bacteria is rather like making a superintelligent rock. I can remove those surface level issues if I just replace say "bacteria" with say "mice" in which case there's a different misunderstanding involved here.

The main issue here is that it seems like you are massively anthropomorphizing animals. If a species of animal doesn't have a certain degree of intelligence it's unlikely to have a value system that actually cares about the external world. However it would be a form of anthropocentrism to expect that an "uplifted" version of an animal would necessarily start gaining certain terminal human values just because it's smarter.

So my point more generally is that you seem to need (in natural life at least) a degree of intelligence and socialness to both be able to and have evolved a mind design that cares about the external world. So most animals can have their values easily and completely encompassed by wireheading so there's no reason not to do that to them and that doesn't really generalize to aligning AI for smarter more social species.

The E-Coli Test for AI Alignment

It seems like this example would in some ways work better if the model organism was mice not bacteria because bacteria probably do not even have values to begin with (so inconsistency isn't the issue) nor any internal experience.

With say mice though (though perhaps roundworms might work here, since it's more conceivable that they could actually have preferences) the answer to how to satisfy their values seems almost certainly is just wireheading since they don't have a complex enough mind to have preferences about the world distinct from just their experiences.

So I'm not sure whether this type of approach works because you probably need more intelligent social animals in order for satisfying their preferences to not just be best achieved through wireheading.

Still I suppose this does raise the question of how one might best satisfy the preferences/values of animals like corvids or primates who lack some of the more complex human values but still share the most basic values like being socially validated (and caring about the mental states of other animals; which rules out experience machine like solutions).

Letting Others Be Vulnerable

In the spirit of reversing all advice your hear, it's worth mentioning that a substantial portion of people genuinely are toxic once you get to know them (just look at the prevalence of abuse as an extreme yet very common example).

One's gut instincts about someone once they open up (or you can start to get a better gauge of who they actually are) are often a pretty guide metric for whether getting close to them (or being around them at all) is a good idea.