All of VCavallo's Comments + Replies

Does anyone else see the (now obvious) clown face in the image on the Not Built To Think About AI page? It's this image here.

Was that simply not noticed by lukeprog in selecting imagery (from stock photography or wherever) or is it some weird subtle joke that somehow hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread?

Can you explain what you mean by this? I ask because I don't know what this means and would like to. Others here clearly seem to get what you're getting at. Some Google searching was mostly fruitless and since we're here in this direct communication forum I'd be interested in hearing it directly.


I read the book Atlas Shrugged [] by Ayn Rand where she sets out her philosophical views. I found them worryingly convincing. Since they're also unpleasant and widely rejected, I semi-jokingly semi-seriously want people to talk me out of them.

I would pay one of these prices for my own set. I'm a little unsatisfied with note-taking and highlighting on ebooks and would love a physical copy to annotate and wear out.

that takes math, programming, and lots of work

But sounds totally awesome. Especially if it can be created once and used over and over for different applications.

Well, my naive first thought was to abuse the opencyc [] engine for a while so it starts getting good rough guesses of which particular mathematical concepts and quantities and sets are being referred to in a given sentence, and plug it either directly or by mass download and conversion into various data sources like WolframAlpha or international health / crime / population / economics databases or various government services. But that still means doing math (doing math with linguistics) tons and tons of programming to even get a working prototype that understands "30% of americans are older than 30 years old", way more work than I care to visualize just to get the system to not explode and respond in a sane manner when you throw at it something incongruent ("30 of americans are 30% years old" should not make the system choke, for example), etc. And then you've got to build something usable around that, interfaces, ways to extract and store data, and then probably pack everything together. And once you're there, you probably want to turn it into a product and sell it, since you might as well cash in some money on all of this work. Then more work. The whole prospect looks like a small asteroid rather than a mountain, from where I'm sitting. I am not in the business of climbing, mining, deconstructing and exporting small asteroids. I'll stick to climbing over mountains until I have a working asteroid-to-computronium converter.

I don't have time at the moment so I'll have to check those out later.

At a very quick skim I saw:

"Tradition is – apart from inborn knowledge – by far the most important source of our knowledge."

Which I must say irks me real badly, but I'll try to keep an open mind.

At the risk of inviting bias, may I ask what the justification for the finger-wagging was? I am unfamiliar with Popper (which is sort of nice, actually. blank slate)

Sorry if I wasn't clear. The "source or origin" meaning the group doing the donating does matter, but the physical creation of the thing is irrelevant. A Dollar isn't a "secular thing" or a "religious thing" - it's just a thing.

Things-which-can-be-donated cannot be secular or religious, but people and organizations can, the way I see it.

I'm not sure that I am the right authority to be correcting anyone's argument - the above comments are just my, an amateur rationalist's, personal response to your argument.

Fortunately there are no authoritative sources of knowledge and all claims may be challenged. I've had fingers wagged my way here for quoting Karl Popper, so instead I'll suggest a few links 1 [] 2 [] 3 [] 4 [] 5 [] from my blog.

Sorry - personally.

And it's a shame that as a general rule it does.

My reasoning for adding the caveat in this particular instance was to fully disclose my stance. I'm inviting questions, and discussion is only aided when people have a better understanding of each other. If I had said that I am completely miserable and the negatives of being alive once already alive don't outweigh the positives, I'd be of a completely different stance and I'd be understood completely differently.

I don't think it lowers someone's status to say they are not ok and I'm sorry that adding the above caveat bothered you. Clearly my comment was innocent and by more fully explaining my feelings I am I'm no way intentionally reinforcing anyone else's lack of confidence.

Are you saying you don't personally believe this or that it is a general rule that it does not?

Did you have a stroke mid-post?

.. I see the "40" in there, which is relevant to lent, along with letter patterns that sort of like like encoded words. Maybe this is a puzzle?

rot13 is a common form of encryption caused by rotating every character by 13 spaces in the alphabet, which is convenient because the encryption and decryption actions are the same. Sites like rot13 [] will allow you to easily cipher and decipher text that way.

Sure, if humans exist then rationality should exist.

But my question stands, why should humans exist? If I'm reading correctly your post assumes that a rapid cessation of humans would be somehow a bad thing.

Stop me if you feel this is entering into uselessly nihilistic territory and we can call it quits here.

Objectively, without reference to human perspective? No reason whatsoever, unless you count the fact that humans would generally prefer to exist than to not exist as an objective reason. Subjectively? Because we, generally, prefer to exist, and more than that, prefer that other human beings continue to exist. Should we count the preferences of people who don't exist yet? Doesn't really matter. The preferences of people today are, cumulatively, that people exist tomorrow. We can of course ignore the general preference of people tomorrow to exist (as they're functionally counterfactual in consideration of antinatalism) but then we don't get to then selectively -fail to ignore- their potential suffering. Otherwise you're just selecting what counterfactuals you include based on what conclusion you want to reach. If their suffering doesn't matter (ignoring counterfactuals) then their potential preference not to exist doesn't matter. OR if their suffering DOES matter (accepting counterfactuals), then we have to also include the general preference of people to exist. Or we could say preferences don't matter whatsoever (full objectivity) inwhichcase there's no argument -against- reproducing, even if there's likely no argument for it. [Edited some grammatical mistakes.]

This is a sort of terrible analogy, but I'm going for it anyway: I recently adopted a cat and feel extremely powerful positive emotional feelings for him just by virtue of being around him and caring for him all the time, not to mention that he is incredibly cute and loving. But I don't feel for him the way I would expect to feel for a biological child of mine. I imagine one's feelings about an adopted child might be similar at first.

more: I'm not sure if you are saying parental love is a good thing or not, or merely factually stating that it could potent... (read more)

Nah, it's not my place to tell you whether paternal/maternal love is good or not. People may find it intrinsically valuable, but maybe you don't value it terminally. Another reason to consider paternal/maternal love is that you're probably more motivated to care for someone you love, other things being equal. Personally, I'd be willing to be responsible for a cat that I don't love, but I wouldn't want to have parental responsibility for a human I didn't love.

there will rapidly cease to be humans

What is the problem with that?

To paraphrase Robin Hanson, rationality should exist. Personally, in terms of utility functions, I'm inclined to give my own suffering positive utility (it's just, y'know, substantially lower than the utility of pleasure). But then, I write poetry on the beauty of the meaningfulness of pain. It's curious what a few years of systematically killing emotion will do to you when it reawakens with a vengeance.

I agree with you that rationality can be spread independent of genetics. In that sense, rationalists don't have to fear their "kind" being wiped out by anti-natalism.

And: I'm not sure, but I think maybe the implied idea in OrphanWilde's comment is that rationality is not dependent on genetics. If I am right though, then I don't see the point he/she is making. Maybe OrphanWilde can clarify.

Clarified; the dependency isn't upon a "rationality" gene, but rather on those genes which make rationality possible. To whit, if every human is rational, and it isn't rational to reproduce, there will rapidly cease to be humans, and there will rapidly cease to be rationality. That's not "winning" by any definition I'd choose to use. It makes rationality dependent upon irrational people choosing to reproduce in spite of its irrationality.

Should Podcasts be its own thread every month?


I'll add: Stuff You Should Know.

They don't always do the best fact-checking and the topical nature can be unsatisfying, but it's a generally entertaining introduction to some things of which you may not be aware.

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So it's not just a long babysitting mission? I was afraid of that.

It's more like she's babysitting you. (In a good way).
Elizabeth is invulnerable and surprisingly useful. This is an FPS where you can only carry two guns at once, and have limited ammo- and so I was fretting that I'd have to give up my cherished sniper rifle and use something like the machine gun. Then Elizabeth said "hey, have some ammo!" and tossed me a fully loaded sniper rifle.

I've recently started listening to Q2 (Click "Q2 Music" in the top player bar) streaming online. It is:

A New York-based online station devoted to the music of living composers

It's often described in different ways, sometimes called "contemporary classical". Give the station a few hours worth of listening - they play a variety of genres within the umbrella of contemporary music and you may like some more than others.

I appreciate the lack of a poppy "hook" in most of the music they play.

I'll kick it off:

I've begun to seriously consider the anti-natalist views of philosophers like David Benatar. My two sisters recently each had their first child and while I've given thought to the idea of having my own children in the past, closely seeing the process play out from beginning to end has somehow updated my thoughts on the topic. I haven't read much yet (I'm about a quarter through Better To Have Never Been and would relish some suggestions from LWers on the matter.

Currently my thinking is that as much as I would like the experience of raisin... (read more)

that everyone feels the need to add this caveat when discussing topics like this, regardless of whether they are actually doing okay, always bothers me a lot. What if you're not okay? To be cliche, why is it not okay for someone to not be okay? To paraphrase Bostrom: many people are walking around quietly leading desperately unhappy lives, and much of the improvements they could make don't get talked about because it is low status to admit you are unhappy.
A point that might be overlooked in discussions of adoption is that paternal/maternal love might be partially mediated by biological signals (pheromones? hormones? knowing that your partner is pregnant?) that are not present when you adopt. I don't know what research has been done in this field, but it's worth looking in to.
If not having children is rational, and rationality is dependent upon genetics, rationality won't survive very long.

Lying lieutenants love Lovecraftian lightning.

What about the policy of making an effort on your own and opting out of groups of either variety?

I'm not sure what you mean about religious groups' aid being secular. It seems like you are saying medicine and food are "secular" things, while prayer is a "religious" thing. Sure you can't pray money into existence, so it's sort of a "secular thing", but the useful question is really who is giving the thing, not how it came to be.

The issue at hand is what organization is at the source of the charitable donations - a secular organization or a religious one. That's a question that is worth asking. Whether or not the aid they ... (read more)

Yes, that is what I am saying. First, you say both that the source or origin does matter and that the source or origin does not matter. Which is it? Second, as I said in my original post, "help where help is most effective or meets your needs best." Thank you for your reply. If I have erred, please help me correct my argument.

I completely agree with what you are saying and also tap out, even though it may be redundant. Let us kill this line of comments together.

If you both tap out, then anyone who steps into the discussion wins by default!

They could just be a weird sort of lazy whereby they don't scroll back up and change anything. Or maybe they never see his post. Or something else. I don't think the -%positive-not-going-down-yet is any indication that wedrifid's comment is not right.

You may well be right, it's hard to tell. I don't see an easy way of finding out short of people replying like you have. I assumed that there enough of those who would react to make the effect visible, and I don't see how someone agreeing with wedrifid's assessment would go back and upvote my original comment, so even a partial effect could be visible. But anyway, this is not important enough to continue discussing, I think. Tapping out.

Egalitarian instinct. Eliezer is using power against you, which drastically raises the standards of behavior expected from him while doing so---including less tolerance of him getting things wrong.

Nailed it on the head. As my cursor began to instinctively over the "upvote" button on shminux's comment I caught myself and thought, why am I doing this?. And while I didn't come to your exact conclusion I realized my instinct had something to do with EY's "use of power" and shminux's gentle reply. Some sort of underdog quality that I di... (read more)

If it is as right as it is insightful (which it undeniably is), I would expect those who come across wedifid's explanation to go back and change their vote, resulting in %positive going sharply down. It doesn't appear to be happening.

Thank you for introducing me to the term akrasia!

If your Reddit time commitment was anything like that of other people I know, you should be able to blow through all the sequences in about a day or two : )

Thanks, I'll get started making stupid mistakes as quickly as I can! I'm sorry I wasn't able to make any here.

Hey! My name is Vinney, I'm 28 years old and live in New York City.

To be exceedingly brief: I've been working through the sequences (quite slowly and sporadically) for the past year and a half. I've loved everything I've seen on LW so far and I expect to continue. I hope to ramp up my study this year and finally get through the rest of the sequences.

I'd like to become more active in discussions but feel like I should finish the sequences first so I don't wind up making some silly error in reasoning and committing it to a comment. Perhaps that isn't an ideal approach to the community discussions, but I suspect it may be common..

Welcome! Do finish the sequences, but you won't be done then; you'll still make stupid mistakes. Best to start making them now, I think.