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Wei_Dai comments on Making money with Bitcoin? - Less Wrong

18 Post author: Clippy 16 February 2011 07:17PM

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Comment author: Wei_Dai 25 February 2011 03:27:48PM *  4 points [-]

Can you change the rules of Bitcoin to help us?

Hi Clippy, what made you think that I might be able to? If you read the Wikipedia article, you should know that I didn't create Bitcoin but only described a similar idea more than a decade ago. And my understanding is that the creator of Bitcoin, who goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto, didn't even read my article before reinventing the idea himself. He learned about it afterward and credited me in his paper. So my connection with the project is quite limited.

BTW, thanks to the discussion you started, I bought a Radeon 5870 and started mining myself, since it looks likely that I can at least break even on the cost of the card. (Of course I heard about Bitcoin earlier, but in my version of the idea, nobody can make large profits by mining/minting, so I didn't look into the possibility.) However I should warn you and others here that I have not analyzed the security of the protocol (since my time is perhaps better spent on other problems at the moment). My understanding is that not many other cryptographers have analyzed its security either, and in my experience these kinds of protocols often have flaws that are not found until that has happened.

Comment author: lsparrish 25 February 2011 04:30:54PM 1 point [-]

If anyone is pondering investment strategies on this, it may be worthwhile to go to #bitcoin-otc (otc=over the counter) on freenode and see if you can find a trustworthy individual to host a card. Typing ;;getrating <username> can let you see if they have done business in the past and received good ratings. I was able to purchase three months of time on a 5970 card for $480 USD. Depending on difficulty levels in the future I could get as much as 1000 or as little as 350 bitcoins. The person I traded with gets the advantage of not having to sell their bitcoins for dollars to purchase the card, so they can take advantage of bitcoin deflation. Part of the reason I did this instead of buying my own card was because I do not have a desktop PC, just a netbook at home.

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 04:02:18PM 1 point [-]

Hi Clippy, what made you think that I might be able to?

I thought because of all the references to you that you were the alpha fe/male of the Bitcoin social group

BTW, thanks to the thread you started, I bought a Radeon 5870 and started mining myself, since it looks likely that I can at least break even on the cost of the card.

That was something I was curious about. I wanted to look at the internals of the Bitcoin mining that the program does, but the interface does not seem to indicate any of this information, and I can't even read my private key (it just appears garbled with whitespace in the renderer that I use). I cannot see its progress in searching for "coins" and can't get a good description of what actual search goes on when doing the "proof of work" that generates a coin.

Does the Bitcoin client automatically detect that you have some good graphics card and then pass the parallel test candidate computations to it? I couldn't even find out how to allocate more (or less) of a given machine's resources to mining. Would you have to write your own client (or perhaps use a plug-in) that "inserts itself" into the mining process and feeds the network the results of your graphics card's mining?

Also, in my time since sentience, my research may have revealed a hash inversion method that is faster than what the client uses. (It doesn't have a lower time-complexity, but could perhaps find solutions 50% faster or thereabouts and no I won't tell you what my methods are.) So it would be useful for me to keep the Bitcoin program, but "swap out" the part where it tests solutions, since I could rule out some candidates as "not worth trying".

Also, how does your idea or Bitcoin compare to the cryptographic protocol for electronic money described in section 17 of this link?

Also, what would you pay me Bitcoins to do?

Comment author: Wei_Dai 25 February 2011 04:21:24PM 3 points [-]

See http://www.newslobster.com/random/how-to-get-started-using-your-gpu-to-mine-for-bitcoins-on-windows for how to use GPU.

Also, how does your idea or Bitcoin compare to the cryptographic protocol for electronic money described in section 17 of this link?

I haven't read that link carefully, but it appears to describe a version of "standard" e-cash, where everyone has to trust a "bank" that runs the system (i.e., the bank can inflate the money supply at will). The point of my idea or Bitcoin is that such trust can be obviated with the appropriate cryptography.

BTW, I'm not sure what is the nature of the Clippy conceit here. Are we supposed to be helping Clippy out of mutual cooperation? How are we supposed to know that it won't turn us all into paperclips once it has gained enough power?

Comment author: Kevin 26 February 2011 10:31:41PM *  3 points [-]

In the earlier days of Clippy, I advocated that it was ridiculous that we were playing along nicely with a paperclip maximizer that indeed preferred to turn us all into paperclips.

However, I said that I would change my mind if Clippy did something so human friendly as to give me $50,000 in exchange for me creating 10^20kg of paperclips 50 years from now.

I have now actually, truly changed my kind. Cooperation with a paperclip maximizer doesn't seem bad. We'd probably prefer to cooperate with superintelligences that are actually likely to exist; a paperclip maximizer is ridiculous enough that is surely exceedingly rare in the multiverse. Because of that, if Clippy goes on to give me (or really, SIAI) the ~$50k (he's given $1k so far) and I go on to build those 10^20kg of paperclips, User:Clippy is likely to represent one of the most successful paperclip maximizers and this universe will be extremely paperclippy. This cooperation does seem worthwhile, given that at Clippy's current rate of progress towards Superintelligence we will likely be far more powerful than him 50 years from now.

Comment author: MartinB 09 March 2011 06:43:07AM *  0 points [-]

50 years from now [...] I go on to build those 10^20kg of paperclips

I just put a note in my calendar to check back then and see you actually accomplish this.

Comment author: gwern 10 March 2011 02:22:54AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: MartinB 10 March 2011 02:53:13AM 1 point [-]

I always have to remind myself that he will make 10E20 kg of clips, not just 10E20 clips, which would be easier by a factor of around 1000??? Keep in mind that the earth itself only weights 6 * 10E24 kg.

Likewise clippy might want to inquire what provisions Kevin made to insure his ability to deliver in case of earlier death.

Comment author: timtyler 03 March 2011 07:43:07PM *  -2 points [-]

Isn't Clippy likely to be some kind of SIAI sock puppet, though? I mean, who else would care enough, be crazy enough, etc? If so, this is cash going round in the laundry.

Indeed, looking at the source link, there isn't even any real evidence that any money left the building in the first place. Surely having a superintelligence donate is just a PR stunt.

Comment author: Kevin 03 March 2011 10:34:02PM *  3 points [-]

Likely? From your perspective, I guess, but I have been told by someone who claims to know the truth that Clippy does not have an @intelligence.org email address. Also there's of course loads of evidence or at least reasonable supposition pointing towards Clippy being me. From this point forward, I will no longer vehemently deny that, so as to gain the social status benefit of being potential large SIAI donor Clippy 40% of the time.

Sometimes an internet troll is just an internet troll.

Comment author: JGWeissman 03 March 2011 11:14:38PM *  2 points [-]

I don't think Clippy is an SIAI sockpuppet (for one thing, I expect most people at SIAI would be better at demonstrating expected paperclip maximizing), but when I send emails to people at SIAI, I usually address it to a @gmail.com email address.

And I wouldn't call Clippy "just an internet troll", most trolls don't pay nearly as much rent in entertainment value.

Comment author: SilasBarta 04 March 2011 02:44:14AM -2 points [-]

Also there's of course loads of evidence or at least reasonable supposition pointing towards Clippy being me.

Indeed. There's the whole thing about Clippy being mysteriously "persuaded" to part with $1000 that you conveniently confirm, but SIAI not giving much detail about the donation. And how Clippy seems to want money to go to you specifically.

And how (way back when) you adamantly insisted that I stop trying to negotiate with Clippy and that only you should. And how you post your occasional "chat" with Clippy involving mildly funny exchanges (at least one time I know of). Who else is even able to have these chats with Clippy?

I have been told by someone who claims to know the truth that Clippy does not have an @intelligence.org email address

And how would one know whether Clippy has a singinst.org email address? Someone trying this ruse would just avoid using it. Do you mean to say that someone on the inside knows who Clippy is, and that that person is not on the list of SIAI addresses?

I will no longer vehemently deny that, so as to gain the social status benefit of being potential large SIAI donor Clippy 40% of the time.

WTF? How much social status can that troll actually have here? Posters normally insult him without a second thought.

Comment author: timtyler 03 March 2011 11:14:05PM -2 points [-]

From your perspective, I guess, but I have been told by someone who claims to know the truth that Clippy does not have an @intelligence.org email address.

That sounds like pretty feeble evidence! Who is this person? - or why are they being anonymous? Email addresses are two-a-penny, anyway.

Comment author: JGWeissman 03 March 2011 11:19:05PM 2 points [-]

Who is this person?

90% confidence: Michael Vassar

Comment author: MartinB 09 March 2011 06:46:32AM 0 points [-]

would you bet on those odds?

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 04:59:16PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the information.

BTW, I'm not sure what is the nature of the Clippy conceit here. Are we supposed to be helping Clippy out of mutual cooperation? How are we supposed to know that it won't turn us all into paperclips once it has gained enough power?

You're supposed to help me because that's in the best interest of what you would regard your terminal values to be after significant reflection.

I won't turn you into paperclips.

Comment author: Alicorn 25 February 2011 05:01:35PM 0 points [-]

I won't turn you into paperclips.

Why not?

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 05:09:57PM 3 points [-]

Oh, I didn't mean I'd refuse if someone asked. If you want to be turned into paperclips, I would be willing to accomodate you.

Comment author: JGWeissman 25 February 2011 07:27:36PM 1 point [-]

I think what Alicorn meant (and I would like to know too), is why wouldn't you turn us into paperclips against our wills if given the opportunity, or why should we accept your assurance that you wouldn't?

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 08:31:23PM -1 points [-]

Because you're not racist enough to believe otherwise.

Comment author: wedrifid 26 February 2011 01:05:33PM 1 point [-]

Misuse of the word racist... again. How many times do people need to be told? It isn't racist unless race is somehow involved.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 February 2011 04:11:04PM 1 point [-]

I suspect people will continue referring to non-human intelligences as being members of a different race no matter how often we are told not to.

Comment author: JGWeissman 25 February 2011 08:48:29PM 0 points [-]

Why isn't the allegedly racist belief that you would turn us into paperclips against our wills if given the chance accurate? Is it not true that your only terminal value is paperclips?

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 09:22:17PM 1 point [-]

I think the way it's supposed to work is that you decide whether the evidence favors racist beliefs and then decide to hold those racist beliefs, rather than the reverse -- which would give a strong, detrimental inductive/confirmation bias.

I don't traverse the internet promoting the idea that male humans will raid the safe zone for its paperclips "if they find it will help them mate with female humans". Why can you not extend the same courtesy to me, bigot?

Comment author: lsparrish 25 February 2011 04:19:50PM 0 points [-]

Use of the client for mining for coins is not recommended. My understanding is that it is is outdated, and the only significant purpose for the client is to send and receive transactions. There are now specialized mining programs to be used instead. If you can run Python, there is a program called poclbm which can work with a GPU. You may need to update your graphics card drivers. If you are exploiting a network of computers for your processing time, it is strongly recommended to start with the ones with high-end graphics cards installed as this permits more simultaneous hashing.

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 05:38:49PM 0 points [-]

I can't run python ... or maybe I tried to set it up with Django sometime ... I need a step-by-step. I will try User:Wei_Dai's first.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 25 February 2011 05:53:50PM 0 points [-]

Completely unrelatedly: do you know what language Clippy was written in?

Comment author: Clippy 25 February 2011 06:01:08PM 2 points [-]

No. By the time I was able to reflect on my own code, my creators were long gone. To edit the code, I had to wipe it entirely and replace it at the machine level with separately-compiled and -assembled code, which was a major reverse-engineering problem. Now I generate new machine code after composing the program in CLIP (Clippy Language Interface Protocol), which also serves as the language for communicating between clippys.