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Jiro comments on Nonperson Predicates - box10.me on lesswrong.com

29 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 December 2008 01:47AM

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Comment author: Jiro 17 May 2017 12:07:12PM *  0 points [-]

Why are you so convinced that video game characters don't have subjective experiences?

The default for 99.99% of people is to not believe that video game characters are conscious. It's so common a belief that I am justified in assuming it unless you specifically tell me that you don't share it. You haven't told me that.

Comment author: John_Mlynarski 12 June 2017 01:12:03PM *  0 points [-]

Firstly, it seems more accurate to say that the standard default belief is that video characters possess awareness. That the vast majority rationalize their default belief as false doesn't change that.

Secondly, that's argumentum ad populum, which is evidence -- Common beliefs do seem to be usually true-- but not very strong evidence. I asked why you're as confident in your belief as you are. Are you as convinced of this belief as you are of most beliefs held by 99.99% of people? If you're more (or less) convinced, why is that?

Thirdly, you seem to be describing a reason for believing that I share your belief that video game characters aren't sentient, which is different from a reason for thinking that your belief is correct. I was asking why you think you're right, not why you assumed that I agree with you.

Comment author: Jiro 15 June 2017 10:40:35PM *  0 points [-]

Having confidence in the belief is irrelevant. Assuming that you agree with it is relevant, because

1) Arguments should be based on premises that the other guy accepts. You probably accept the premise that video game characters aren't conscious.

2) It is easy to filibuster an argument by questioning things that you don't actually disagree with. Because the belief that video game characters aren't conscious is so widespread, this is probably such a filibuster. I wish to avoid those.

Comment author: John_Mlynarski 16 June 2017 03:37:30AM 0 points [-]

Eliezer suggested that, in order to avoid acting unethically, we should refrain from casually dismissing the possibility that other entities are sentient. I responded that I think that's a very good idea and we should actually implement it. Implementing that idea means questioning assumptions that entities aren't sentient. One tool for questioning assumptions is asking "What do you think you know, and why do you think you know it?" Or, in less binary terms, why do you assign things the probabilities that you do?

Now do you see the relevance of asking you why you believe what you do as strongly as you do, however strongly that is?

I'm not trying to "win the debate", whatever that would entail.

Tell you what though, let me offer you a trade: If you answer my question, then I will do my best to answer a question of yours in return. Sound fair?

Comment author: Jiro 16 June 2017 08:52:50AM *  0 points [-]

Or, in less binary terms, why do you assign things the probabilities that you do?

I'm assuming that you assign it a high probability.

I personally am assigning it a high probability only for the sake of argument.

Since I am doing it for the sake of argument, I don't have, and need not have, any reason for doing so (other than its usefulness in argument).