Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 25 October 2014 06:57:54PM 0 points [-]

People rarely change their mind's outright in a discussion, but often update on the meta level...for instance about how contentious their claims are, or how strong the arguments for or against are.

Since you are putting forward the minority opinion here...you're aware of that, right?...you are prima facie more likely to be the one who is missing something. No, that is not my sole argument.

Obviously, I think I am doing the epistemology right...but I have only been studying philosophy for 35 years, so I am sure I have plenty to learn.

Who told you that introspection implies separation of mind and body? For one thing it seems to work whatever you believe. For another, the majority of physicalists who aren't eliminativists don't see the problem: they see human introspection as a more sophisticated version of a computers ability to report on its free disk space or whatever.

Comment author: Apprentice 25 October 2014 06:57:47PM 0 points [-]

It's of course possible that this Bock guy knows what he's doing on the hiring front. But in these interviews he has no incentive to give Google's competitors coherent helpful information on how to hire people - and every incentive to send out obfuscated messages which might flatter the preconceptions of NYT readers.

Comment author: brazil84 25 October 2014 06:50:19PM 0 points [-]

Are you implying that that would be a good thing?

No, I'm not. I do think it it would probably be a good thing, but my point was that there isn't a contradiction between (1) valuing the sort of dirty work which is typically done by men; and (2) opposing the bringing in of foreign labor en masse to do this sort of work.

Comment author: brazil84 25 October 2014 06:42:17PM 0 points [-]

No, at least not denotationally.

Well have I connoted or implied anything you disagree with? If so, what?

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:41:32PM 0 points [-]

without these immigrants, the same Real Work would be done by domestic workers for significantly higher wages.

Are you implying that that would be a good thing? Said higher wages would still have to come from someone's pockets.

In response to comment by Michaelos on Weird Alliances
Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 06:38:45PM 0 points [-]

I think those are very distinct subjects. I know nobody that objects on ethical grounds to people writing or reading fan fiction. With PUA a lot of people do object on those grounds and don't want black art social skills that are about manipulating other people to be discussed on LW.

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:38:10PM *  0 points [-]

I've heard this effect mentioned several times, but if it applies to me is not strong enough to be obvious. (Then again, it's not like I tried to test it statistically.)

Possibly, at certain times of the day music might make me more productive, by making it easier for me to stay awake.

(OTOH if I listen to music while concentrating on something else I usually can't remember any of the lyrics afterwards.)

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 06:37:25PM 0 points [-]

I couldn't finish it.

Then why do you post the link to it?

Comment author: Prismattic 25 October 2014 06:36:36PM 0 points [-]

The ability to declare bankruptcy has a similar relationship to the riskiness of entrepreneurial activity, but we do not generally describe bankruptcy law as "encouraging people to fail at business" or "paying people to fail at business."

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:34:15PM 0 points [-]

Anyway, please answer my question: Do you disagree with anything I have said? If you want to change the subject, fine, but please first address what I have said. Thank you.

No, at least not denotationally.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 25 October 2014 06:31:46PM 0 points [-]

(Friedman, among other things, supported a version of guaranteed basic income. To which today's GOP mainstream would probably say, "but if we do that, it will just make poor people even lazier!")

Good thing! We're going to end up in a world where robots do the poor-people jobs. (Just as we are now in a world where machines do the horse and ox jobs, like plowing and pulling carriages.) I for one would prefer that the poor people not starve to death as a result.

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:31:07PM 0 points [-]

One multivitamin in the morning whenever I remember to, mostly as a kind of safety net so that I don't need to worry about my diet too much in order to avoid deficiencies.

Comment author: brazil84 25 October 2014 06:30:31PM 0 points [-]

The fact is, I sometimes see Dark Enlightenment types making the point that men do a disproportionate fraction of the Real®™© work whereas women mostly do bureaucratic busywork, and therefore yay men, boo feminism, without seeming to notice that the same thing applies to immigrants and therefore yay immigration, boo borders.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Dark Enlightenment types," but I doubt anyone disputes that there are lots of recent immigrants doing Real Work. The main "boo immigrants" argument on this point is that without these immigrants, the same Real Work would be done by domestic workers for significantly higher wages.

Anyway, please answer my question: Do you disagree with anything I have said? If you want to change the subject, fine, but please first address what I have said. Thank you.

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:28:44PM 0 points [-]

values-based question like gay marriage where facts aren't especially relevant

Well, there are some relevant facts, such as whether children raised by gay couples end up less well-adjusted than those raised by straight couples.

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:23:00PM 0 points [-]

The fact is, I sometimes see Dark Enlightenment types making the point that men do a disproportionate fraction of the Real®™© work whereas women mostly do bureaucratic busywork, and therefore yay men, boo feminism, without seeming to notice that the same thing applies to immigrants and therefore yay immigration, boo borders.

OTOH I'm not sure I've actually ever seen the same person making that argument and also oppose immigration (unless you count trolls like James A. Donald), so maybe I'm committing the Muhammad Wang fallacy as a result of the outgroup homogeneity bias.

(BTW, in my country, people whining that immigrants are stealing their children's jobs when there's no way their children would be willing to do the kind of jobs immigrants tend to do for the kind of pay immigrants tend to accept are so common that Poe's law applies to them. And here in Europe, thanks to (among other things) cheap tuitions, you don't need to be an Optimate for your children to be a tenured student.)

Comment author: Princess_Stargirl 25 October 2014 06:21:52PM 0 points [-]

I was about to post that quote too. Surely IQ has nothing to do with "ability to process on the fly" or "pull together disparate bits of information."

In response to comment by Salemicus on Weird Alliances
Comment author: 9eB1 25 October 2014 06:08:43PM *  0 points [-]

I very much doubt whether vegans and body-builders do metaphorically "hold their noses as they put their cash down" - when they go shopping, they are just customers.

I used to go to Whole Foods occasionally for supplements or esoteric ingredients unavailable elsewhere. I wouldn't say that I "held my nose as I put my cash down," but I definitely had a sensation of "the people at Whole Foods are not my people." So there is something to sixes_and_sevens' example. Now I think that either Whole Foods has more mainstream appeal or I've moved toward respecting Whole Foods' position on food, so I don't feel that way as much, but I still shop there only very rarely.

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 06:04:40PM 0 points [-]

Average productivity or total productivity?

Comment author: JoshuaFox 25 October 2014 05:46:25PM 0 points [-]

These are reflective-decision arguments: Do X to make sure your mind focuses on certain goals. If we were reflectively consistent we wouldn't need to fool our own minds. As with other forms of rationality, you will do better if you can maintain reflective consistency than if you try to hack your way around it.

Comment author: Beluga 25 October 2014 05:45:55PM 0 points [-]

Thanks a lot for your comments, they were very insightful for me. Let me play the Advocatus Diaboli here and argue from the perspective of a selfish agent against your reasoning (and thus also against my own, less refined version of it).

"I object to the identification 'S = $B'. I do not care about the money owned by the person in cell B, I only do so if that person is me. I do not know whether the coin has come up heads or tails, but I do not care about how much money the other person that may have been in cell B had the coin come up differently would have paid or won. I only care about the money owned by the person in cell B in "this world", where that person is me. I reject identifying myself with the other person that may have been in cell B had the coin come up differently, solely because that person would exist in the same cell as I do. My utility function thus cannot be expressed as a linear combination of $B and $C.

I would pay a counterfactual mugger. In that case, there is a transfer, as it were, between two possible selfes of mine that increases "our" total fortune. We are both both possible descendants of the same past-self, to which each of us is connected identically. The situation is quite different in the incubator case. There is no connection over a mutual past self between me and the other person that may have existed in cell B after a different outcome of the coin flip. This connection between past and future selfs of mine is exactly what specifies my selfish goals. Actually, I don't feel like the person that may have existed in cell B after a different outcome of the coin flip is "me" any more than the person in cell C is "me" (if that person exists). Since I will pay and win as much as the other person (if they exist), I cannot win any money from them, and I don't care about whether they exist at all, I think I should decide as an average utilitarian would. I will not pay more than $0.50."

Is the egoist arguing this way mistaken? Or is our everyday notion of selfishness just not uniquely defined when it comes to the possibility of subjectively indistinguishable agents living in different "worlds", since it rests on the dubious concept of personal identity? Can one understand selfishness both as caring about everyone living in subjectively identical circumstances as oneself (and their future selves), and as caring about everyone to whom one is directly connected only? Do these two possibilities correspond to SIA-egoists and SSA-egoists, respectively, which are both coherent possibilities?

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 05:30:26PM *  0 points [-]

You can write down your own goals to make them clearer to you. If you are clear about what you want to do it's harder for someone else to give you other goals then when you are empty.

There are various kind of things you can do to learn emotional control. I remember times in the past where strong emotions could cloud my mind but after doing a lot of meditation that's not true for me anymore. In the absence of ugh-fields or a lot of unknowns strong emotions make me think clearly and I can still follow rules based heuristics.

The most charged emotional situation I can think of that likely would have freaked a lot of people out was when it was past midnight and I was walking alone and a guy grabbed me and told me: "Give me 5 Euros or I'll kill you"

To get to something more speculative, I have the idea that love is a lot of conditioning. If everytime you think about X, you feel good, the next time you think about X you will feel even more good. A bit unpredictability thrown in generally increases the effect.

If you repeat that a thousand times you get a pretty strong stimulus. Almost wireheading ;)

Of course there are additional effects that comes with physical intimacy. Speaking about them would be even more speculative.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 05:27:24PM 0 points [-]

We're trying to formalize our intuitions.

The way the opening post is written it doesn't ask the question: "Should we consider this behavior blackmail?" but takes it for granted that the answer to that question is "Yes".

Shutting off questions like that is quite typical for how politics mindkilling works. "Boo, evil prosecutors"

Comment author: NxGenSentience 25 October 2014 05:22:42PM *  0 points [-]

To continue:

If there are untapped human cognitive-emotive-apperceptive potentials (and I believe there are plenty), then all the more openness to undiscovered realms of "value" knowledge, or experience, when designing a new mind architecture, is called for. To me, that is what makes HLAI (and above) worth doing.

But to step back from this wondrous, limitless potential, and suggest some kind of metric based on the values of the "accounting department", those who are famous for knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing, and even more famous for, by default, often derisively calling their venal, bottom-line, unimaginative dollars and cents worldview a "realistic" viewpoint (usually a constraint based on lack of vision) -- when faced with pleas for SETI grants, or (originally) money for the National Supercomputing Grid, ..., or any of dozen of other projects that represent human aspiration at its best -- seems, to me, to be shocking.

I found myself wondering if the moderator was saying that with a straight face, or (hopefully) putting on the hat of a good interlocutor and firestarter, trying to flush out some good comments, because this week had a diminished activity post level.

Irrespective of that, another defect, as I mentioned, is that economics as we know it will prove to be relevant for an eyeblink, in the history of the human species (assuming we endure.) We are closer to the end of this kind of scarcity-based economics, than the beginning (assuming even one or more singularity style scenarios come to pass, like nano.)

It reminds me of the ancient TV series Star Treck New Gen, in an episode wherein someone from our time ends up aboard the Enterprise of the future, and is walking down a corridor speaking with Picard. The visitor asks Picard something like "who pays for all this", as the visitor is taking in the impressive technology of the 23rd century vessel.

Picard replys something like, "The economics of the 23 century are somewhat different from your time. People no longer arrange their lives around the constraint of amassing material goods...."

I think it will be amazing if even in 50 years, economics as we know it, has much relevance. Still less so in future centuries, if we -- or our post-human selves are still here.

Thus, economic measures of "value" or "success" are about the least relevant metric we ought to be using, to assess what possible critaris we might give to track evolving "intelligence", in the applicable, open-ended, future-oriented sense of the term.

Economic --- i.e. marketplace-assigned "value" or "success" is already pretty evidently a very limiting, exclusionary way to evaluate achievement.

Remember: economic value is assigned mostly by the center standard deviation of the intelligence bell curve. This world, is designed BY, and FOR, largely, ordinary people, and they set the economic value of goods and services, to a large extent.

Interventions in free market assignment of value are mostly made by even "worse" agents... greed-based folks who are trying to game the system.

Any older people in here might remember former Senator William Proxmire's "Golden Fleece" award in the United States. The idea was to ridicule any spending that he thought was impractical and wasteful, or stupid.

He was famous for assigning it to NASA probes to Mars, the Hubble Telescope (in its several incarnations), the early NSF grants for the Human Genome project..... National Institute for Mental Health programs, studies of power grid reliability -- anything that was of real value in science, art, medicine... or human life.

He even wanted to close the National Library of Congress, at one point.

THAT, is what you get when you have ECONOMIC measures to define the metric of "value", intelligence or otherwise.

So, it is a bad idea, in my judgement, any way you look at it.

Ability to generate economic "successfulness" in inventions, organization restructuring... branding yourself of your skills, whatever? I don't find that compelling.

Again, look at professional sports, one of the most "successful" economic engines in the world. A bunch of narcissistic, girl-friend beating pricks, racist team owners... but by economic standards, they are alphas.

Do we want to attach any criterion -- even indirect -- of intellectual evolution, to this kind of amoral morass and way of looking at the universe?


Back to how I opened this long post. If our intuitions start running thin, that should tell us we are making progress toward the front lines of new thinking. When our reflexive answers stop coming, that is when we should wake up and start working harder.

That's because this --- intelligence, mind augmentation or redesign, is such a new thing. The ultimate opening-up of horizons. Why bring the most idealistically-blind, suffocatingly concrete worldview, along into the picture, when we have a chance at transcendence, a chance to pursue infinity?

We need new paradigms, and several of them.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 05:13:28PM 0 points [-]

That test is quite easy to corrupt by telling the 20 people to make it easy for them of the people who get interviewed.

More importantly you test for a very specific skill that's likely trainable. The best people at the skill will be people trained by specific coaches in telling lies in that artificial setting. Those coaches might be payed for by lobbyists.

In real life telling whether people lie when things are at stake for them is a much more useful skill than telling whether someone is lying for whom nothing is at stake.

In most real world contexts where telling whether someone lies is important you analyse the persons motivations and the emotions that body language reveals. That's highly different from telling whether someone whom you give a random card from a deck of cards lies when he says: "This is the Queen of Hearts"

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 05:12:20PM 0 points [-]

The value of having a 40 hour work week probably depends on what you do in the other hours of the day.

If you spent all the time outside of work relaxing you will get more productive than if you spend your time outside of work in highly stressful activities.

If you employ a computer programmer who spends 80 hours per week in front of a computer regardless of whether he has a 40 hour or 80 hour work week, it might make sense to ensure that all of those hours are spent of his work.

Opensource programming in his free time comes likely outside of the same budget of mental resources.

Comment author: satt 25 October 2014 05:08:57PM 0 points [-]

Thanks. A negative correlation between log GDP per capita and the freedom index surprises me; that falsifies my "poor country" confounder speculation.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 05:06:21PM 0 points [-]

Overall, I think the best thing is to have fluid intelligence as an essential component of the tests - if the tests focus on Shakespeare and medieval Europe then they can be accused of cultural bias

You can easily tune your fluid intelligence test in a way that gives woman an advantage or in a way that gives men an advantage.

But Raven's progressive matrices for instance is completely objective.

No, performance on that test is trainable.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 04:52:09PM 1 point [-]

Its a nice idea, although when making decisions regarding the live and death of many people, an empathic person might simply shut down, so it might be good to include some more dispassionate people who can shut up and multiply.

I don't think that's the case. EQ seems to make people both empathic and also able to keep a clear head when it comes to tough decisions.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 04:46:40PM 0 points [-]

I consider pluralism to be important. Very often having good governance and organisations you check and balance each other is more important the specific "issues".

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 04:44:08PM *  1 point [-]

In the real world there are cases where a person with 0 income get's X support from the government. On the other hand there are people with income less than X who don't get government support.

That means there an incentive out there to have income 0. The phrase "paying for" suggests to me that you create a monetary incentive for something.

I think you dilute the value of the phrase "paying for" when you don't let it mean "create a monetary incentive for something".

Comment author: Matthew_Opitz 25 October 2014 04:43:50PM 0 points [-]

Vitamin D and omega-3 fish oil daily.

Melatonin when needed (a couple of times a month).

Evening primrose oil occasionally.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 04:24:52PM *  1 point [-]

I always thought this was a pretty straightforward issue from a rationalist perspective - we have the technology to figure out whether the foetus has an active brain and can meaningfully perceive pain.

I see no reason to believe that you can in general kill a person because the person can't perceive pain. Congenital insensitivity to pain is a thing.

"Active brain" is also a term that wide open.

Comment author: Coscott 25 October 2014 04:21:03PM 1 point [-]

Correct me if I am wrong:

Ah, so you and DanielLC define "paying people to be poor" to be when government incentives make it better for people with less normal income than for people with more normal income.

I was trying to say that we would still be paying people to be poor, just not enough to cancel out 100% the negative of being poor, so that making more money is still monotonic in increasing happiness.

I think my definition is more reasonable, but yours is also reasonable, as it seems to capture some extra connotations. I retract my complaint under your definition.

In response to comment by lmm on Non-standard politics
Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 04:14:50PM 0 points [-]

It could be my catholic upbringing, but it just seems incredibly obvious to me, a "you must be this rational to ride" line, that killing the same entity inside someone else is just as bad as killing it outside.

Do you suggest that women have a right to abortion but doctors have no right to help them with the procedure?

Comment author: dthunt 25 October 2014 04:14:18PM 0 points [-]

I have made a prosecutor pale in the face by suggesting that courthouses should be places where people with plea bargains shop their offers around with each other so that they know what's a good deal and a bad deal.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 04:11:27PM 2 points [-]

If you give everyone the same amount, but then just take it right back from the rich in taxes, this is basically the same a just paying the poor for being poor.

No. There are cases where a person has less money/health insurance if they get a low paying job than if they register as unemployed. Marginal tax rates of >100% do happen in the real world and effectively lead to "paying people to be poor".

Comment author: brazil84 25 October 2014 03:54:14PM 0 points [-]

See my reply to Lumifer above.

Comment author: brazil84 25 October 2014 03:53:45PM 0 points [-]

Core temperature might vary between people by only a few degrees, but surface temperature varies much more widely.

That's an interesting point. Would you agree that if a person has a higher metabolism, one would expect that under your theory, their skin temperature would be expected to be higher?

Comment author: brazil84 25 October 2014 03:50:00PM 0 points [-]

I don't expect all fat people to have slow metabolisms, but I expect slow metabolism to be more prevalent among fat people as compared to thin people.

That's not quite the claim I was addressing - the claim is that generally speaking, obesity is the result of having a slow metabolism. But anyway, I was able to dig up some evidence:

First, a video which is obviously not a scientific study but still pretty compelling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA9AdlhB18o

In this video, a fat girl who believes she is fat because of a "slow metabolism," is tested. It turns out that she has a perfectly normal metabolism but eats a lot more than she realizes.

Here is a similar video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGLwzbvx4S4

Scientific research would seem to indicate that this is pretty typical. i.e. people are fat not because of their "slow metabolism" but because they eat a lot more than they realize:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199212313272701

Here is a study which looked at a group of people and determined that the fatter subjects had higher metabolic rates than the thinner ones:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/35/3/566.short

If you search, there are a lot of studies like this out there. AFAIK, most (but not all) scientific studies have found that obese people have higher metabolisms than thin people.

My guess is that this is largely because obese people regularly overeat and so their metabolisms rev up a bit in a futile effort to handle the onslaught of calories. There may be a few studies out there which indicate that obese people have slower metabolisms, but I suspect the differences are pretty minor when you look at the real problem: Fat people eat a lot more than they realize, which is something that every study looking at this issue has concluded.

Comment author: Coscott 25 October 2014 03:43:10PM 2 points [-]

I do not understand your argument. If people know that taxes/basic income are coming in the future, that is an incentive for them to become poor relative to if taxes/basic income was not coming. They may not say "Oh, that is a good deal, I want to be poor," but they may work less or take bigger financial risks because of it, because being poor is relatively less bad than it would be otherwise.

Comment author: palladias 25 October 2014 03:33:36PM 0 points [-]

Right, I'm saying that I do think it's possible that people working 60hr weeks might be more productive while being unhappier than the 40hr people. I don't trust that happiness and productivity are tightly correlated enough that an employer trying to get more of the latter out of me will help me out with the former.

Plus, there are a bunch of jobs that currently exist where the model is to extract a lot of productivity over 2-3 years while quashing an outside life and then to just hire a new crop of people when your current set burn out (TFA, I-banking, Hill jobs, etc).

Comment author: Apprentice 25 October 2014 03:30:28PM *  1 point [-]

Bock said ... that learning ability was much more important indicator of whether someone would be a good fit for Google than I.Q.

I have limited trust in a source which says things like that.

Edited to add: More on Bock's learning ability:

For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.

Yeah, nope.

In response to comment by knb on Non-standard politics
Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 02:48:24PM 0 points [-]

I'm not against "big government" as long as it isn't wasteful or overly complex.

Does that basically mean Singapore is okay, but the US isn't? Otherwise what's your idea of not overly complex big government?

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 02:14:54PM 0 points [-]

I think the orthodox LW view would be that this used car salesperson might have an immoral utility function but that he isn't irrational.

I also maintain that focus on "winning" is psychologically in conflict with truth seeking.

That basically means that sometimes the person who seeks the truth doesn't win. That outcome isn't satisfactory to Eliezer. In Rationality is Systematized Winning he writes:

If the "irrational" agent is outcompeting you on a systematic and predictable basis, then it is time to reconsider what you think is "rational".

Of course you can define rationality for yourself differently but it's a mistake to project your own goals on others.

A recent article title Truth, it's not that great got 84% upvotes on LW.

Comment author: NxGenSentience 25 October 2014 02:13:27PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks, I'll have a look. And just to be clear, watching *The Machine" wasn't driven primarily by prurient interest -- I was drawn in by a reviewer who mentioned that the backstory for the film was a near-future world-wide recession, pitting the West with China, and that intelligent battlefield robots and other devices were the "new arms race" in this scenario.

That, and that the film reviewer mentioned that (i) the robot designer used quantum computing to get his creation to pass the Turing Test (a test I have doubts about as do other researchers, of course, but I was curious how the film would use it) - and (ii) yet the project designer continued to grapple with the question of whether his signature humanoid creation was really conscious, or a "clever imitation", pulled me in.

(He verbally challenges and confronts her/it, in an outburst of frustration, in his lab about this, roughly two thirds of the way through the movie and she verbally parrys plausible responses.)

It's really not all that weak, as film depictions of AI go. It's decent entertainment with enough threads of backstory authenticity, political and philosophical, to tweak one's interest.

My caution, really, was a bit harsh; applying largely to the uncommon rigor of those of us in this group -- mainly to emphasise that the film is entertainment, not a candidate for a paper in the ACM digital archives.

However, indeed, even the use of a female humanoid form makes tactical design sense. If a government could make a chassis that "passed" the visual test and didn't scream "ROBOT" when it walked down the street, it would have much greater scope of tactical application --- covert ops, undercover penetration into terrorist cells, what any CIA clandestine operations officer would be assigned to do.

Making it look like a woman just adds to the "blend into the crowd" potential, and that was the justification hinted at in the film, rather than some kind of sexbot application. "She" was definitely designed to be the most effective weapon they could imagine (a British-funded military project.)

Given that over 55 countries now have battlefield robotic projects under way (according to Kurzweil's weekly newsletter) -- and Google got a big DOD project contract recently, to proceed with advanced development of such mechanical soldiers for the US government -- I thought the movie worth a watch.

If you have 90 minutes of low-priority time to spend (one of those hours when you are mentally too spent to do more first quality work for the day, but not yet ready to go to sleep), you might have a glance.

Thanks for the book references. I read mostly non-fiction, but I know sci fi has come a very long way, since the old days when I read some in high school. A little kindling for the imagination never hurts. Kind regards, Tom ("N.G.S")

In response to Weird Alliances
Comment author: David_Gerard 25 October 2014 01:58:22PM 1 point [-]

The health store phenomenon you observe (weird alliances) is called "crank magnetism". People who believe one weird thing tend to believe other weird things. (This particularly applies to conspiracy theorists.) Alternative medicine advocates are highly supportive of other alternative therapies that directly contradict their own, because they're of a subculture that defines itself oppositionally. The money flows in to support this weird alliance.

LW's interests do indeed not necessarily hang together, except being things advanced by the transhumanist subculture. Friendly AI doesn't go naturally with cryonics or nanotechnology as interests, for example (even if those things might plausible have synergies).

I submit that promoting LW as material for crank magnets may not work well and will just end up infuriating those capable of joined-up thinking.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 01:57:44PM *  1 point [-]

If the US became completely isolationist, including pulling out all support from NATO and dismantling the nuclear umbrella, I'd predict the next Franco-German war in 20 years max (possibly sooner).

Which what credence?

Why the heck should Germany want to wage war in the next 20 years on France?

Why should an isolationist US lead to a weaker EU instead of the EU coming more together?

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 01:51:11PM 0 points [-]

I find it historically exceptional that the United States doesn't use its military dominance to rule or extract tribute from rich but relatively weak nations such as Canada, Japan, and much of Western Europe.

The US runs a very big trading surplus. It gets vastly more goods from other countries than it ships to other countries. Of course that technically isn't called "tribute" but it comes down to the same thing. More goods for US citizens.

Comment author: army1987 25 October 2014 12:44:02PM 1 point [-]

[The Marshall Plan was] Not generosity. The US was building barriers against Stalin's European ambitions.

I dunno, it also gave lots of money to Britain too, which is harder to explain that way. (And I just learned from Wikipedia it also offered money to the Soviet Union and its allies, though I guess it expected them to turn it down.)

Comment author: Izeinwinter 25 October 2014 12:40:37PM 1 point [-]

Ehrr... France is a nuclear power. Wholly independently so - It isn't like the british deterrent which might get a lot more expensive without US support, the French nukes are French. Made in France, mounted on french rockets, in french submarines that are propelled by french reactors. "Has a firing solution for washington DC right along with the one for Moscow" is what I am saying. Nobody is invading them.

Comment author: gjm 25 October 2014 12:33:31PM 1 point [-]

It's not clear to me why this is a better explanation than the obvious alternative from, so to speak, the other side: the PUA bloggers were already thinking of women as objects, to be used and manipulated for the benefit of men, which is right in line with a "Dark Enlightenment" view that men should be controlling them and keeping them in line. Same attitude to women, just on a societal rather than an individual scale.

Comment author: Kyrorh 25 October 2014 12:18:40PM 0 points [-]

I think government should not be monolithic. I believe only land ownership should be taxed. I think the law should be unchangeable. I think every citizen should enforce the law and learn the procedures when they get their gun permit. I think there should be a monarch as head of the judicial system.

In response to Weird Alliances
Comment author: ShardPhoenix 25 October 2014 12:08:59PM *  0 points [-]

I've noticed a tradeoff in the anime community where people are more willing to tolerate pedophilia when it comes to "lolis" (sexualized portrayals of pre-teen girls)*. The problem is, where do you draw the line between reasonably "cute" and inappropriately sexy? I think there's a also a fear that if there was some sort of anti-pedophile crackdown, that <my favourite show> might get banned because it has 13 year old girls in tight clothes.

*Specifically, people can lust over pre-teen girls to a certain extent on r/anime without getting downvoted by me or others.

Comment author: Ritalin 25 October 2014 12:02:42PM 0 points [-]

Mostly I resent the fact that my mind becomes completely clouded, like I'm on some drug.

Comment author: Izeinwinter 25 October 2014 11:59:29AM 1 point [-]

I think a lot of the finance industry overwork is outright about impairing employee judgement. Desensitization training - If a lot of what you do is abhorrent or just flat out nuts to the faculties of your recruits, work them until they are numb, and their sunk costs so high that quitting is no longer an option they can easily conceive of. Because they have no life other than the job. I also recall a highly hilarious study indicating that "skill" was essentially a nul factor in employee productivity in investment banking - so maybe it just flat out doesn't matter that the guy manning the desk is punch-drunk with sleep deprevation as long as he isn't so out of it he forgets to call frankfurt when the price of steel moves.

Comment author: DanielFilan 25 October 2014 11:04:06AM 0 points [-]

Any luck with this? You might want to set the date further into the future, 2015 is coming up soon.

Comment author: gjm 25 October 2014 10:42:06AM 1 point [-]

and a big part of the reason why the system remained so stable.

You sound very confident of that. Is there positive evidence for it, or is it just that it seems plausible?

Comment author: Sean_o_h 25 October 2014 10:32:31AM 3 points [-]

A question I've been curious about: to those of you who have taken modafinil regularly/semi-regularly (as opposed to a once off) but have since stopped: why did you stop? Did it stop being effective? Was it no longer useful for your lifestyle? Any other reasons? Thanks!

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 25 October 2014 10:28:29AM 0 points [-]

I'm guessing that "here are 20 people, who are each going to tell you a statement. You have five minutes to cross question each one, and then you must decide if they are lying" would be a decent test of social skills for instance.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 25 October 2014 10:25:51AM *  1 point [-]

This seems very unlikely to me. Could you explain what you think would cause this war?

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 25 October 2014 10:22:15AM 1 point [-]

Its a nice idea, although when making decisions regarding the live and death of many people, an empathic person might simply shut down, so it might be good to include some more dispassionate people who can shut up and multiply.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure there exist tests that can measure these things without being faked. Maybe you could measure empathy by looking at oxytocin levels? But more oxytocin=more empathy is a huge simplification.

Do you have any good ideas for a goal/empathy/altruism/duty test?

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 25 October 2014 10:17:02AM 0 points [-]

Nornagest seems to be worried about the system becoming aristocratic, so I somehow doubt that he'd be interested in a more NRx flavoured technocracy. While technocracy could come in many forms, I personally would advocate for a less culture-neutral system - at a bare minimum the test should require fluency in the native language and knowledge of the countries' history.

But I also wouldn't advocate too much cultural bias - after all, we are discussing China in a positive light!

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 25 October 2014 10:05:39AM *  1 point [-]

I've been libertarian for a while (and I did answer "libertarian" on the survey) but I'm drifting more in the direction of NRx/"post-rationalist" because they seem like the only group willing to embrace the truth, while pure libertarianism is starting to seem incompatible with actual existing people. I'm increasingly disgusted by the left and want to get as far away from their lies and bullying as I can.

Comment author: Baisius 25 October 2014 09:51:43AM 1 point [-]

A few other things have been causing me look at supplements, and this thread is making me seriously consider developing a regimen. I'm not sure where the best place to start is. On an intuitive level, there are a few supplements that seem like they would be common sense for me:

  1. Melatonin - I just started working a shift schedule, 7 day shifts / 4 off / 7 graveyard shifts / 2 off / 7 evening shift / 1 off. It seems common sense that melatonin would increase quality of sleep, which is a large problem with the rotating sleep schedule. I see one of the results for my Amazon search has turned up Valerian instead. Does anyone have experience with this relative to melatonin?
  2. Vitamin D - I really only leave the house when I have to. Pretty much the stereotypical stay-inside nerd.
  3. Algae oil - I recently (about a year go) became a vegan, but I'm not sure I'm doing it very healthily. From what I've read, Algae oil is the best substitute for fish oil.
  4. Multivitamin - I have a bottle of multivitamins that I theoretically take every day, but am actually horrible at following through. Hopefully developing a more structured regimen will help with this, what with the cognitive dissonance and all.
  5. Whey protein - I used to be very successful at drinking a protein shake every morning before work (I have been a vegetarian for many years) but I developed a distaste for them. Since then, I've started eating 2 bean burgers just about every day that are my primary source (34g) of protein. I'm unsure exactly how much my other foods fill the 22g gap between this and the recommendation.

What other low hanging fruit is there for me to investigate? The above are only what seem obvious, they are not necessarily what is optimal. Particularly, information on any supplements important for vegans would be helpful.

Comment author: Emile 25 October 2014 09:04:38AM 2 points [-]

As a Frenchman with German friends, and family near the border, this seems outrageously stupid.

Comment author: Azathoth123 25 October 2014 08:22:50AM 1 point [-]

if the tests focus on Shakespeare and medieval Europe then they can be accused of cultural bias

Um, "cultural bias", i.e., limiting important posts to people who've assimilated into and agree with the culture, was a large part of the point of the Chinese Examination System and a big part of the reason why the system remained so stable.

Comment author: Azathoth123 25 October 2014 08:16:59AM 0 points [-]

I doubt Germany would invade France again any time soon.

If the US became completely isolationist, including pulling out all support from NATO and dismantling the nuclear umbrella, I'd predict the next Franco-German war in 20 years max (possibly sooner).

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 25 October 2014 08:16:52AM 1 point [-]

Oh man, does that mean I have to go to the Bath one?

Comment author: Baisius 25 October 2014 08:16:18AM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure any of those things measure incorruptibility.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 25 October 2014 08:10:09AM *  2 points [-]

It's difficult to talk about these supposed studies, since you didn't link any, but unless done carefully, they would also be vulnerable to the same issues as the grandparent (confounding over time, basically).

Comment author: Manfred 25 October 2014 08:07:26AM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for giving this great example. This works because in the total utilitarian case (and average utilitarian, and other more general possibilities) the payoff of one gnome depends on the action of the other, so they have to coordinate for maximum payoff. This effect doesn't exist in any selfish case, which is what I was thinking about at the time. But this definitely shows that isomorphism can be more complicated than what I said.

Comment author: Azathoth123 25 October 2014 07:58:29AM 0 points [-]

or the throw_book() branch needs to have noticeable costs for prosecutors associated with it.

It does, otherwise they would simply do it to all suspects.

Comment author: the-citizen 25 October 2014 07:47:09AM *  1 point [-]

I'd love to make a suggestion that your tests include a goal/empathy/altruism/duty test that ensures they're not in the office in order to simply enrich themselves through corruption.

Comment author: the-citizen 25 October 2014 07:08:34AM 1 point [-]

A used car salesperson convincing themselves that what they're selling isn't a piece of crud is an example of where irrationality is a "good" (effective) strategy. I don't think that's what we are trying to encourage here. That's why I say instrumental truthiness - the truth part is important too.

I also maintain that focus on "winning" is psychologically in conflict with truth seeking. Politics = mind killer is best example.

Comment author: Alicorn 25 October 2014 05:47:47AM 0 points [-]

I take iron (I'm pretty careless about what dose I grab) to control anemia, and vitamin D (gelcaps because Dr. My Uncle told me they're better, 5000 IU/day because a blood test showed me D-insufficient on a lower dose). You're supposed to take iron with food but I don't get the stomach upset problem if I just take it before bed and it's easier to remember that way. I don't care about brands qua brands, although I'm probably influenced by packaging when there are several options within my parameters.

For a while I took magnesium to see if that would help reduce fasciculations. It didn't help so I stopped when I ran out. I think that's the only one.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 25 October 2014 05:43:20AM 1 point [-]

Well, nobody from within effective altruism has written much up about this yet. It's not something I'm considering doing soon. Until someone does, I doubt others will think about it, so it's a non-issue. If some take this consideration for their careers seriously, then that's a problem they'll need to assess, hopefully publicly so feedback can be given. At any rate, you make a good point, so I won't go around encouraging people to do this willy-nilly, or something.

Comment author: knb 25 October 2014 05:40:36AM 1 point [-]

I seem to be one of the tiny number of people on LW who are conservative but not a "neo-reactionary." I'm socially conservative in the sense that I think the classical virtues are real virtues--I would like to live in a society that supports the classical virtues in its people.

I don't fit into ordinary US-conservatism on most levels. I'm very anti-interventionist and I think the US has had a profoundly destructive role in the world since the cold war era began. I'm not against "big government" as long as it isn't wasteful or overly complex. I'm also a transhumanist, but I don't really think transhumanism is inherently anti-conservative.

Comment author: Prismattic 25 October 2014 05:21:55AM 1 point [-]

Not being a programmer, I don't know if this is relevant to silicon valley in particular, but people in general overestimate how many hours per week they work, and the greatest exaggeration is found among the people reporting the longest hours.

Full BLS report

Shorter NYT version

Comment author: Prismattic 25 October 2014 05:06:09AM 1 point [-]

"Paying people to be poor" carries an additional connotation of "encouraging them to remain poor"; it's distinct from "paying people because they are currently poor".

In response to comment by lmm on Non-standard politics
Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 25 October 2014 04:51:13AM 4 points [-]

killing the same entity inside someone else is just as bad as killing it outside

89% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (source). A 12-week-old fetus is not viable outside of the womb.

Also worth noting is that the majority of pregnancies are terminated by natural miscarriage within that 12 week period. In most such cases, the mother has not even realized she was pregnant. (source) Do you consider these natural miscarriages to be the equivalent of human deaths from disease or injury, and if so, what should be done about them?

View more: Next