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XiXiDu comments on References & Resources for LessWrong - Less Wrong

90 Post author: XiXiDu 10 October 2010 02:54PM

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Comment author: XiXiDu 10 October 2010 04:06:19PM 1 point [-]

Whoops! Yes, that's clearly the wrong word. Thank you. To my excuse, I never learnt English formally but basically taught it myself with time :-)

Comment author: gwern 10 October 2010 04:17:49PM 5 points [-]

I dunno, Permutation City is pretty infamous in my books because it presents disquieting ideas I don't know how to disprove. (Kind of like Boltzmann Brains or the Eternal Return.)

Comment author: rwallace 11 October 2010 03:47:42PM 1 point [-]

Thank you, I was about to comment on this; you've given me a needed data point.

Permutation City is the only work of fiction I've enjoyed that I do not go around recommending, because I'm wary that to a reader without the requisite specialized background to separate the parts based on real science from the parts that are pure fiction, it might actually be something of a memetic hazard.

If you are going to recommend it, I would suggest accompanying the recommendation with a link to the antidote

Comment author: gwern 11 October 2010 04:50:33PM *  2 points [-]

So your strategy is basically 'subjective anticipation is a useful but ultimately incoherent idea; Permutation City takes it to an absurdum'?

That's a good idea, but I don't think your antidote post is strong enough. Subjective anticipation is a deeply-held belief, after all.

Comment author: rwallace 11 October 2010 09:15:28PM 1 point [-]

I agree, I think the antidote post is better than nothing, but I recommend it in addition to, not instead of, the memetic hazard label.

Comment author: XiXiDu 11 October 2010 05:41:28PM *  0 points [-]

I haven't added the antidote post as accompanying reading, as I have to read it yet, but 'The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence' post by EY. Reload and see the fiction section. Not sure, maybe a bit drastic. But at least it is obvious now.

Comment author: gwern 11 October 2010 06:05:47PM *  1 point [-]

I don't think that Permutation City being fiction matters (if I understand your comment).

The nonfiction ideas stand on their own, though they were presented in (somewhat didactic) fiction: that computation can be sliced up arbitrarily in space and time, that it be 'instantiated' on almost arbitrary arrangements of matter, and that this implies the computation of our consciousness can 'jump' from correct random arrangement of matter (like space dust) to correct random arrangement, lasting forever, and hooking in something like quantum suicide so that it's even likely...

If it were simply pointing out that the fiction presupposes all sorts of arbitrary and unlikely hidden mechanisms like Skynet wanting to exterminate humanity, Permutation City would not be a problem. But it shows its work, and we LWers frequently accept the premises.

Comment author: XiXiDu 12 October 2010 08:31:11AM 2 points [-]

However, the book could also mislead people to believe those arbitrary and unlikely elements if they are linked to them on a list of resources for LessWrong. That's why I think a drastic warning is appropriate. Science fiction can give you a lot of ideas but can also seduce you to believe things that might be dangerous, like that there is no risk from AI.

Comment author: XiXiDu 11 October 2010 05:39:01PM 1 point [-]

I introduced a new label M for Memetic Hazard and added a warning sign including a accompanying text to the fiction section.

Comment author: rwallace 11 October 2010 09:13:45PM 1 point [-]

And I see a number of other things that merited the memetic hazard label also now have it, good idea. I'd suggest that it also be added to the current links in the artificial intelligence section, and to the link on quantum suicide.

Maybe also add a link to Eliezer's Permutation City crossover story, now that we have the requisite memetic hazard label for such a link?

Comment author: XiXiDu 12 October 2010 08:11:33AM *  0 points [-]

I thought quantum suicide is not controversial since MWI is obviously correct? And the AI section? Well, the list is supposed to reflect the opinions hold in the LW community, especially by EY and the SIAI. I'm trying my best to do so and by that standard, how controversial is AI going FOOM etc.?

Eliezer's Permutation City crossover story? It is on the list for some time, if you are talking about the 'The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover' story.

Comment author: rwallace 12 October 2010 04:37:57PM 2 points [-]

I thought quantum suicide is not controversial since MWI is obviously correct?

I agree MWI is solid, I'm not suggesting that be flagged. But it does not in any way imply quantum suicide; the latter is somewhere between fringe and crackpot, and a proven memetic hazard with at least one recorded death to its credit.

And the AI section? Well, the list is supposed to reflect the opinions hold in the LW community, especially by EY and the SIAI. I'm trying my best to do so and by that standard, how controversial is AI going FOOM etc.?

Well, AI go FOOM etc is again somewhere in the area between fringe and crackpot, as judged by people who actually know about the subject. If the list were specifically supposed to represent the opinions of the SIAI, then it would belong on the SIAI website, not on LW.

Eliezer's Permutation City crossover story? It is on the list for some time, if you are talking about the 'The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover' story.

So it is, cool.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 13 October 2010 09:40:59AM 2 points [-]

[quantum suicide is] a proven memetic hazard with at least one recorded death to its credit.

I hadn't heard of this -- can you give more details?

Comment author: rwallace 13 October 2010 04:53:02PM 5 points [-]
Comment author: khafra 13 October 2010 07:10:23PM 3 points [-]

Not even the most optimistic interpretations of quantum immortality/quantum suicide think it can bring other people back from the dead. Does it count as a memetic hazard if only a very mistaken version of it is hazardous?

Comment author: Document 11 October 2010 10:56:35PM *  0 points [-]

I expected the link to be the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover.

(disclaimer: haven't read)