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ata comments on Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts - Less Wrong

126 Post author: steven0461 22 March 2009 08:17PM

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Comment author: ata 10 March 2010 05:44:43PM *  108 points [-]

(Photoshopped version of this photo.)

The scale of intelligent minds

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 November 2010 02:19:49AM 56 points [-]

Note for the clueless (i.e. RationalWiki): This is photoshopped. It is not an actual slide from any talk I have given.

Comment author: XiXiDu 24 November 2010 12:21:02PM *  30 points [-]

Note for the clueless (i.e. RationalWiki): This is photoshopped. It is not an actual slide from any talk I have given.

Here is a real photo if you need one ;-)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 02 December 2010 08:09:17PM 18 points [-]

Note for the clueless (i.e. RationalWiki):

I've been trying to decide for a while now whether I believe you meant "e.g." I'm still not sure.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 December 2010 02:16:44AM 24 points [-]

RationalWiki was the only place I saw this mistake made, so the i.e. seemed deserved to me.

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 December 2010 12:37:11PM *  30 points [-]

It looks like it turned awful since I've read it the last time:

This essay, while entertaining and useful, can be seen as Yudkowsky trying to reinvent the sense of awe associated with religious experience in the name of rationalism. It's even available in tract format.

The most fatal mistake of the entry in its current form seems to be that it does lump together all of Less Wrong and therefore does stereotype its members. So far this still seems to be a community blog with differing opinions. I got a Karma score of over 1700 and I have been criticizing the SIAI and Yudkowsky (in a fairly poor way).

I hope you people are reading this. I don't see why you draw a line between you and Less Wrong. This place is not an invite-only party.

LessWrong is dominated by Eliezer Yudkowsky, a research fellow for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

I don't think this is the case anymore. You can easily get Karma by criticizing him and the SIAI. Most of all new posts are not written by him anymore either.

Members of the Less Wrong community are expected to be on board with the singularitarian/transhumanist/cryonics bundle.

Nah!

If you indicate your disagreement with the local belief clusters without at least using their jargon, someone may helpfully suggest that "you should try reading the sequences" before you attempt to talk to them.

I don't think this is asked too much. As the FAQ states:

Why do you all agree on so much? Am I joining a cult?

We have a general community policy of not pretending to be open-minded on long-settled issues for the sake of not offending people. If we spent our time debating the basics, we would never get to the advanced stuff at all.

It's unclear whether Descartes, Spinoza or Leibniz would have lasted a day without being voted down into oblivion.

So? I don't see what this is supposed to prove.

Indeed, if anyone even hints at trying to claim to be a "rationalist" but doesn't write exactly what is expected, they're likely to be treated with contempt.

Provide some references here.

Some members of this "rationalist" movement literally believe in what amounts to a Hell that they will go to if they get artificial intelligence wrong in a particularly disastrous way.

I've been criticizing the subject matter and got upvoted for it, as you obviously know since you linked to my comments as reference. Further I never claimed that the topic is unproblematic or irrational but that I was fearing unreasonable consequences and that I have been in disagreement about how the content was handled. Yet I do not agree with your portrayal insofar that it is not something that fits a Wiki entry about Less Wrong. Because something sounds extreme and absurd it is not wrong. In theory there is nothing that makes the subject matter fallacious.

Yudkowsky has declared the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics is correct, despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation, and despite admittedly not being a physicist.

I haven't read the quantum physics sequence but by what I have glimpsed this is not the crucial point that distinguishes MWI from other interpretations. That's why people suggest one should read the material before criticizing it.

P.S. I'm curious if you know of a more intelligent and rational community than Less Wrong? I don't! Proclaiming that Less Wrong is more rational than most other communities isn't necessarily factually wrong.

Edit: "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is just wrong." now reads "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is not the crucial point that distinguishes MWI from other interpretations."

Comment author: Jack 21 December 2010 08:52:09PM 25 points [-]

Yudkowsky has declared the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics is correct, despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation, and despite admittedly not being a physicist.

I think there is a fair chance the many world's interpretation is wrong but anyone who criticizes it by defending the Copenhagen 'interpretation' has no idea what they're talking about.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 03 December 2010 01:14:14PM 15 points [-]

I haven't read the quantum physics sequence but by what I have glimpsed this is just wrong. That's why people suggest one should read the material before criticizing it.

Irony.

Xixidu, you should also read the material before trying to defend it.

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 December 2010 02:10:07PM *  2 points [-]

Correct. Yet I have read some subsequent discussions about that topic (MWI) and also watched this talk:

What single-world interpretation basically say to fit MWI: All but one world are eliminated by a magic faster than light non-local time-asymmetric acausal collapser-device.

I also read Decoherence is Simple and Decoherence is Falsifiable and Testable.

So far MWI sounds like the most reasonable interpretation to me. And from what I have read I can tell that the sentence - "despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation" - is not crucial in favoring MWI over other interpretations.

Of course I am not able to judge that MWI is the correct interpretation but, given my current epistemic state, of all interpretations it is the most likely to be correct. For one it sounds reasonable, secondly Yudkowsky's judgement has a considerable weight here. I have no reason to suspect that it would benefit him to favor MWI over other interpretations. Yet there is much evidence that suggests that he is highly intelligent and that he is able to judge what is the correct interpretation given all evidence a non-physicists can take into account.

Edit: "[...] is not correct, or at least not crucial." now reads "[...] is not crucial in favoring MWI over other interpretations."

Comment author: thomblake 03 December 2010 02:28:50PM 4 points [-]

And from what I have read I can tell that the sentence - "despite the lack of testable predictions differing from the Copenhagen interpretation" - is not correct, or at least not crucial.

It is correct, and it is crucial in the sense that most philosophy of science would insist that differing testable predictions is all that would favor one theory over another.

But other concerns (the Bayesian interpretation of Occam's Razor (or any interpretation, probably)) make MWI preferred.

Comment author: dlthomas 09 December 2011 07:41:35PM *  5 points [-]

An interpretation of Occam's Razor that placed all emphasis on space complexity would clearly favor the Copenhagen interpretation over the MW interpretation. Of course, it would also favor "you're living in a holodeck" over "there's an actual universe out there", so it's a poor formulation in it's simplest form... but it's not obvious (to me, anyway) that space complexity should count for nothing at all, and if it counts for "enough" (whatever that is, for the particular rival interpretation) MWI loses.

Comment author: [deleted] 09 July 2014 05:48:58AM 2 points [-]

That's would not be Occam's razor...

Comment author: Manfred 03 December 2010 05:06:50PM 1 point [-]

I haven't seen any proof (stronger than "it seems like it") that MWI is strictly simpler to describe. One good reason to prefer it is that it is nice and continuous, and all our other scientific theories are nice and continuous - sort of a meta-science argument.

Comment author: dlthomas 09 December 2011 07:49:31PM 8 points [-]

In layman's terms (to the best of my understanding), the proof is:

Copenhagen interpretation is "there is wave propagation and then collapse" and thus requires a description of how collapse happens. MWI is "there is wave propagation", and thus has fewer rules, and thus is simpler (in that sense).

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 December 2010 03:03:45PM *  1 point [-]

I see, I went too far in asserting something about MWI, as I am not able to discuss this in more detail. I'll edit my orginal comments.

Edit - First comment: "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is just wrong." now reads "[...] by what I have glimpsed this is not the crucial point that distinguishes MWI from other interpretations."

Edit - Second comment: "[...] is not correct, or at least not crucial." now reads "[...] is not crucial in favoring MWI over other interpretations."

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 03 December 2010 04:34:07PM 7 points [-]

The problem isn't that you asserted something about MWI -- I'm not discussing the MWI itself here.

It's rather that you defended something before you knew what it was that you were defending, and attacked people on their knowledge of the facts before you knew what the facts actually were.

Then once you got more informed about it, you immediately changed the form of the defense while maintaining the same judgment. (Previously it was "Bad critics who falsely claim Eliezer has judged MWI to be correct" now it's "Bad critics who correctly claim Eliezer has judged MWI to be correct, but they badly don't share that conclusion")

This all is evidence (not proof, mind you) of strong bias.

Ofcourse you may have legitimately changed your mind about MWI, and legimitately moved from a wrongful criticism of the critics on their knowledge of facts to a rightful criticism of their judgment.

Comment author: wedrifid 03 December 2010 01:50:05PM 23 points [-]

It's unclear whether Descartes, Spinoza or Leibniz would have lasted a day without being voted down into oblivion.

So? I don't see what this is supposed to prove.

I know, I loved that quote. I just couldn't work out why it was presented as a bad thing.

Comment author: Jack 21 December 2010 08:55:46PM 14 points [-]

Descartes is maybe the single best example of motivated cognition in the history of Western thought. Though interestingly, there are some theories that he was secretly an atheist.

I assume their point has something to do with those three being rationalists in the traditional sense... but I don't think Rational Wiki is using the word in the traditional sense either. Would Descartes have been allowed to edit an entry on souls?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 27 September 2011 03:30:01AM 4 points [-]

You think the average person on LessWrong ranks with Spinoza and Leibniz? I disagree.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 27 September 2011 03:33:25AM *  19 points [-]

Do you mean Spinoza or Leibniz given their knowledge base and upbringing or the same person with a modern environment? I know everything Leibniz knew and a lot more besides. But I suspect that if the same individual grew up in a modern family environment similar to my own he would have accomplished a lot more than I have at the same age.

Comment author: Jack 27 September 2011 04:00:13AM 4 points [-]

the same person with a modern environment

They wouldn't be the same person. Which is to say, the the whole matter is nonsense as the other replies in this thread made clear.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 27 September 2011 04:09:29AM 7 points [-]

Sorry, I thought the notion was clear that one would be talking about same genetics but different environment. Illusion of transparency and all that. Explicit formulation: if one took a fertilized egg with Leibniz's genetic material and raised in an American middle class family with high emphasis on intellectual success, I'm pretty sure he would have by the time he got to my age have accomplished more than I have. Does that make the meaning clear?

Comment author: wedrifid 27 September 2011 04:30:34AM *  11 points [-]

You think the average person on LessWrong ranks with Spinoza and Leibniz? I disagree.

Wedrifid_2010 was not assigning a status ranking or even an evaluation of overall intellectual merit or potential. For that matter predicting expected voting patterns is a far different thing than assigning a ranking. People with excessive confidence in habitual thinking patterns that are wrong or obsolete will be downvoted into oblivion where the average person is not, even if the former is more intelligent or more intellectually impressive overall.

I also have little doubt that any of those three would be capable of recovering from their initial day or three of spiraling downvotes assuming they were willing to ignore their egos, do some heavy reading of the sequences and generally spend some time catching up on modern thought. But for as long as those individuals were writing similar material to that which identifies them they would be downvoted by lesswrong_2010. Possibly even by lesswrong_now too.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 21 December 2010 08:37:26PM 1 point [-]

Yes. Upvotes come from original, insightful contributions. Descartes', Spinoza's, and Liebnitz's ideas are hundreds of years old and dated.

Comment author: RobinZ 22 December 2010 01:31:51AM 5 points [-]

Not exactly the point - I think the claim is that they would be downvoted even if they were providing modern, original content ... which I would question, even then. We've had quite successful theist posters before, for example.

Comment author: Jack 22 December 2010 01:41:19AM 7 points [-]

I think the claim is that they would be downvoted even if they were providing modern, original content

What would this even mean? Like, if they were transported forward in time and formed new beliefs on the basis of modern science? If they were cloned from DNA surviving in their bone marrow and then adopted by modern, secular families, took AP Calculus and learned to program?

What a goofy thing to even be talking about.

Comment author: RobinZ 22 December 2010 01:45:16AM 1 point [-]

Goofier than a universe in which humans work but matches don't? Such ideas may be ill-formed, but that doesn't make them obviously ill-formed.

Comment author: wedrifid 22 December 2010 02:12:11AM 5 points [-]

Not exactly the point - I think the claim is that they would be downvoted even if they were providing modern, original content ... which I would question, even then.

I would downvote Descartes based on the quality of his thinking and argument even if it was modern bad thinking. At least I would if he persisted with the line after the first time or two he was corrected. I suppose this is roughly equivalent to what you are saying.

Comment author: Jack 02 December 2010 08:53:19PM 1 point [-]

Unless by 'the clueless' he only meant RationalWiki e.g. is right. But try not to spend too much longer trying to decide :-)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 02 December 2010 09:09:48PM 0 points [-]

Well, right. What I'm having trouble deciding is whether I believe that's what he meant.

Or, rather, whether that's what he meant to express; I don't believe he actually believes nobody other than RationalWiki is clueless. Roughly speaking, I would have taken it to be a subtle way of expressing that RationalWiki is so clueless nobody else deserves the label.

I was initially trying to decide because it was relevant to how (and whether) I wanted to reply to the comment. Taken one way, I would have expressed appreciation for the subtle humor; taken another, I would either have corrected the typo or let it go, more likely the latter.

I ultimately resolved the dilemma by going meta. I no longer need to decide, and have therefore stopped trying.

(Is it just me, or am I beginning to sound like Clippy?)

Comment author: Clippy 03 December 2010 02:28:53AM 3 points [-]

What's wrong with sounding like Clippy?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 03 December 2010 03:07:42AM 0 points [-]

Did I say anything was wrong with it?

Comment author: Clippy 03 December 2010 03:25:06AM 0 points [-]

No.

Comment author: wedrifid 03 December 2010 02:34:05AM -1 points [-]

Is it just me, or am I beginning to sound like Clippy?

Not particularly.

Comment author: ata 24 November 2010 05:22:23PM *  9 points [-]

Sorry if I've contributed to reinforcing anyone's weird stereotypes of you. I thought it would be obvious to anybody that the picture was a joke.

Edit: For what it's worth, I moved the link to the original image to the top of the post, and made it explicit that it's photoshopped.

Comment author: XiXiDu 24 November 2010 06:52:28PM *  10 points [-]

No sane person would proclaim something like that. If one does not know the context and one doesn't know who Eliezer Yudkowsky is one should however conclude that it is reasonable to assume that the slide was not meant to be taken seriously (e.g. is a joke).

Extremely exaggerated manipulations are in my opinion no deception, just fun.

Comment author: wedrifid 03 December 2010 03:20:06PM 15 points [-]

You mean some of the comments in the Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts thread are not literal depictions of reality? How dare you!

Comment author: ata 03 December 2010 05:36:07PM 7 points [-]

Yep, it turns out that Eliezer is not literally the smartest, most powerful, most compassionate being in the universe. A bit of a letdown, isn't it? I know a lot of people expected better of him.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 24 November 2010 06:36:01PM 3 points [-]

That might be underestimating the power of lack of context.

Comment author: David_Gerard 24 November 2010 02:43:53PM *  5 points [-]

I must ask: where did you see someone actually taking it seriously? As opposed to thinking that the EY Facts thing was a bad idea even as local humour. (There was one poster on Talk:Eliezer Yudkowsky who was appalled that you would let the EY Facts post onto your site; I must confess his thinking was not quite clear to me - I can't see how not just letting the post find its level in the karma system, as happened, would be in any way a good idea - but I did proceed to write a similar list about Trent Toulouse.)

Edit: Ah, found it. That was the same Tetronian who posts here, and has gone to some effort to lure RWians here. I presume he meant the original of the picture, not the joke version. I'm sure he'll be along in a moment to explain himself.

Comment author: ata 24 November 2010 05:11:54PM 6 points [-]

I presume he meant the original of the picture, not the joke version.

"having watched the speech that the second picture is from, I can attest that he meant it as a joke" does sound like he's misremembering the speech as having actually included that.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 July 2011 12:21:15AM *  2 points [-]

I'm a bit late to the party, I see. It was an honest mistake; no harm done, I hope.

Edit: on the plus side, I noticed I've been called "clueless" by Eliezer. Pretty amusing.

Edit2: Yes, David is correct.

Comment author: wedrifid 25 July 2011 02:02:03AM 4 points [-]

Edit: on the plus side, I noticed I've been called "clueless" by Eliezer. Pretty amusing.

RationalWiki is you? Nice. I like the lesswrong page there. Brilliant!

Comment author: [deleted] 25 July 2011 02:53:35AM *  5 points [-]

I started the article way back in May of 2010, at which point I viewed LW as weird and unsettling rather than awesome. As you can see, though, David_Gerard and others have made the article significantly better since then.

Comment author: Vaniver 24 November 2010 08:26:50PM 3 points [-]

I must confess his thinking was not quite clear to me - I can't see how not just letting the post find its level in the karma system, as happened, would be in any way a good idea

My reaction was pointed in the same direction as that poster's, though not as extreme. It seems indecent to have something like this associated with you directly. It lends credence to insinuations of personality cult and oversized ego. I mean, compare it to Chuck Norris's response ("in response to").

If someone posted something like this about me on a site of mine and I became aware of it, I would say "very funny, but it's going down in a day. Save any you think are clever and take it to another site."

Comment author: David_Gerard 24 November 2010 09:29:57PM *  7 points [-]

I'm actually quite surprised there isn't a Wikimedia Meta-Wiki page of Jimmy Wales Facts. Perhaps the current fundraiser (where we squeeze his celebrity status for every penny we can - that's his volunteer job now, public relations) will inspire some.

Edit: I couldn't resist.

Comment author: steven0461 24 November 2010 11:10:02PM 2 points [-]

Would it help if I added a disclaimer to the effect that "this was an attempt at mindless nerd amusement, not worship or mockery"? If there's a general sense that people are taking the post the wrong way and it's hurting reputations, I'm happy to take it down entirely.

Comment author: David_Gerard 24 November 2010 11:16:42PM 7 points [-]

I really wouldn't bother. Anyone who doesn't like these things won't be mollified.

Comment author: Manfred 24 November 2010 11:41:23PM 0 points [-]

As someone who is pretty iconoclastic by habit, that disclaimer would be a good way to mollify me. But there are probably lots of different ways to have a bad first impression of Facts, so I can't guarantee that it will mollify other people.

Comment author: Vaniver 25 November 2010 09:17:29AM 0 points [-]

My feeling is comparable to David_Gerard's- I think it would help if it said "this is a joke" but I don't think it would help enough to make a difference. It signals that you're aware some people will wonder about whether or not you're joking but the fundamental issue is whether or not Eliezer / the LW community thinks it's indecent and that comes out the same way with or without the disclaimer.

I have a rather mild preference you move it offsite. I don't know what standards you should have for a general sense people are taking it the wrong way.

Comment author: multifoliaterose 24 November 2010 08:41:28PM 0 points [-]

I have a similar reaction.

Comment author: roland 02 November 2012 10:25:23PM 1 point [-]

Eliezer you just spoiled half the fun :)

Comment author: JoshuaFox 11 March 2012 01:38:32PM *  4 points [-]

Pinker How the Mind Works, 1997 says "The difference between Einstein and a high school dropout is trivial... or between the high school dropout and a chimpanzee..."

Eliezer is not a high school dropout and I am an advocate of unschooling, but the difference in the quotes is interesting.

Comment author: Anubhav 11 March 2012 02:19:52PM 1 point [-]

You have reached a page that is unavailable for viewing or reached your viewing limit for this book.

The link isn't to the book you're talking about.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 10 March 2010 11:36:59PM 3 points [-]

This is amazing.

I for one think you should turn it into a post. Brilliant artwork should be rewarded, and not everyone will see it here.

(May be a stupid idea, but figured I'd raise the possibility.)

Comment author: LucasSloan 11 March 2010 01:25:42AM 18 points [-]

It's good, but we should retain the top level post for things that are truly important.

Comment author: ata 11 March 2010 01:50:19AM *  12 points [-]

Thanks! Glad people like it, but I'll have to agree with Lucas — I prefer top-level posts to be on-topic, in-depth, and interesting (or at least two of those), and as I expect others feel the same way, I don't want a more worthy post to be pushed off the bottom of the list for the sake of a funny picture.