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Comment author: Ebthgidr 18 December 2014 07:59:31PM *  0 points [-]

That doesn't actually answer my original question--I'll try writing out the full proof.


  1. P or not-P is true in PA

  2. Also, because of that, if p -> q and not(p)-> q then q--use rules of distribution over and/or

So: 1. provable(P) or not(provable(P)) by premise 1

2: If provable(P), provable(P) by: switch if p then p to not p or p, premise 1

3: if not(provable(P)) Then provable( if provable(P) then P): since if p then q=not p or q and not(not(p))=p

4: therefore, if not(provable(P)) then provable(P): 3 and Lob's theorem

5: Therefore Provable(P): By premise 2, line 2, and line 4.

Where's the flaw? Is it between lines 3 and 4?

Comment author: spxtr 18 December 2014 07:46:20PM 0 points [-]

Depends on your background in physics. Landau & Lifshitz Statistical Mechanics is probably the best, but you won't get much out of it if you haven't taken some physics courses.

Comment author: DanielLC 18 December 2014 07:08:48PM *  0 points [-]

I admit that some definitions can be better than others. A whale lives underwater, but that's about the only thing it has in common with a fish, and it has everything else in common with a whale. You could still make a word to mean "animal that lives underwater". There are cases where where it lives is so important that that alone is sufficient to make a word for it. If you met someone who used the word "fish" to mean "animal that lives underwater", and used it in contexts where it was clear what it meant (like among other people who also used it that way), you might be able to convince them to change their definition, but you'd need a better argument than "my definition is always true, whereas yours is only true in the special case that the fish is not a mammal".

Comment author: DanielLC 18 December 2014 07:01:51PM 0 points [-]

The past is certain but the future is not. But the only difference between the two is when you are in relation to them. It's not as if certain time periods are inherently past or future.

An example of temperature being in the mind that's theoretically possible to set up but you'd never manage in practice is Maxwell's demon. If you already know where all of the particles of gas are and how they're bouncing, you could make it so all the fast ones end up in one chamber and all the slow ones end up in the other. Or you can just get all of the molecules into the same chamber. You can do this with an arbitrarily small amount of energy.

Comment author: gothgirl420666 18 December 2014 06:51:31PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, but I don't think the negative press LessWrong receives is simply because journalists are fickle creatures. I think there is something inherent to the culture that turns outsiders off.

My guess is that Eliezer, MIRI, and LWers in general are strange people who believe strange things, and yet they (we) are pretty confident that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Not only that, but they believe that the future of humanity is in their hands. So at best, they're delusional. At worst, they're right... which is absolutely terrifying.

Also, like I said, Eliezer is a big dork, who for example openly talks about reading My Little Pony fanfiction. The idea that such a goober claims to be in charge of humanity's destiny is off-putting for the same reason. I wonder if to most people, Eliezer pattern-matches better to "weird internet celebrity", kind of an Amazing Atheist figure, than to "respectable intellectual" the same way e.g. Nick Bostrom might. We can see in presidential elections that Americans don't trust someone who isn't charismatic, tall, in good shape, etc. to run the country. So, of course, the average person will not trust someone who lacks those qualities to save the world. It's an ivory tower thing, but instead of ivory it's more like green play-doh.

I think Eliezer's lack of "professionalism" in this sense probably has its upsides as well. It makes him more relatable, which helps him establish an audience. It makes his writings more fun to read. And it is probably easier for him to communicate his ideas if he isn't trying to sanitize them so they meet a certain standard. MIRI in general seems to favor an "open book, keep it real, no bullshit" approach, as exemplified with how lukeprog wrote on this forum that it was disastrously managed before he took over, and all he had to do was read Nonprofits for Dummies. From a PR standpoint, that seems unequivocally stupid to publicly admit, but he did it anyway. I feel like this philosophy has its benefits for MIRI as a whole, but I can't quite put my finger on what they are.

Comment author: Dustin 18 December 2014 06:41:07PM 0 points [-]

How do you access the inbox RSS feed? As far as I can tell there's no way for the feed reader to authenticate to access your LW account.

Comment author: paper-machine 18 December 2014 06:39:22PM *  0 points [-]

Just finished marathoning the first season of Broadchurch, a typical cozy murder series staring David Tennant and every other actor I presume the BBC keeps locked away in a closet somewhere.

Tennant plays a guilt-ridden and deathly-sick-but-hiding-it DCI Alec Hardy who's just been reassigned to Broadchurch, replacing DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), who was promised the job. He's all forlorn and gritty (not unlike Cohle from True Detective, but minus the philosophical rambling) and she's all sociable and awkward at investigating all her friends and neighbors.

The show wins when it's about DS Miller coming to terms with the idea that everyone's a suspect and about DCI Hardy being a gruff, tragic hero with a heart of gold. It also is good at being a Scottish cozy that doesn't depend as heavily on British cozy murder tropes (although there is the obligatory adultery that is revealed when one of the parties lies about their alibi). There's lots of fish and chips, and also (more shockingly) child actors who can act.

At one point, I told the television screen, "No, you don't get any more f--king plot twists, you're not M. Night Shyamalan." To the show's credit, there were no more plot twists after that point. There's also a stupid and annoying and worthless police psychic sticking his nose in the plot every once in a while, but luckily he doesn't show up that often.

You may be familiar with Gracepoint, the FOX AU fanfiction that also stars Tennant playing the same character, but this time in California without his Scottish accent. The only difference I've detected in the plot is that they've roughed it up a bit (pedophiles, drug dealing minors, and whatnot) and made Anna Gunn play Miller like she's Skyler from Breaking Bad. One of these shows was renewed for a second season; hint: it wasn't Gracepoint.

Comment author: Dustin 18 December 2014 06:37:39PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, I watch this series and this season in particular makes me feel like the writers read LessWrong.

Like any technical subject I'm familiar with, I get a little weirded out by the treatment it receives in the mass media as there's always little (or big) bits that are just dumb for the stories sake, but Person of Interest seems to do a better job talking about AI than most shows do talking about whatever other technical subject.

Comment author: janos 18 December 2014 06:17:52PM 0 points [-]

If you want to discuss the nature of reality using a similar lexicon to what philosophers use, I recommend consulting the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:42:01PM *  1 point [-]

I've modeled all cancer in my mind as vaguely similar to testicular cancer - one is likely to get it, but unlikely to die

Cancer is really cancers -- it's a class of diseases which are pretty diverse. Some are slow and rarely actually kill people (e.g. prostate cancer), some are fast and highly lethal.

I'm not sure if the data we care about is prevalence-of-cancer or prevalence-of-cancer-deaths.

I think we care about prevalence of cancer (morbidity) because the prevalence of cancer deaths (mortality) heavily depends on the progress in medicine and availability of medical services.

how much prevalence of cancer effects quality of life

My impression is that the answer is "a lot".

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 18 December 2014 05:39:56PM 0 points [-]

Why did you only show the E(T) function for positive temperatures?

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 18 December 2014 05:35:22PM 0 points [-]

Rather than 'in very specific contexts' I would say 'in any normal context'. Just because it's not universal doesn't mean it's not the overwhelmingly common case.

Comment author: TimS 18 December 2014 05:28:29PM 0 points [-]

Interesting - I've modeled all cancer in my mind as vaguely similar to testicular cancer - one is likely to get it, but unlikely to die of it unless you survive many other potential causes of death.

In other words, I'm not sure if the data we care about is prevalence-of-cancer or prevalence-of-cancer-deaths.

On reflection, I think the assertion under question is essentially "Paleo diet creates more QUALYs." Which should be answered in part by how much prevalence of cancer effects quality of life even if the cancer was not a causal factor in death.

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:26:36PM 0 points [-]

As James_Miller said, it's not a binary thing. Paleo-style diets are closer -- not identical -- to actual paleolithic diets (compared, say, to SAD).

The point of paleo isn't really to pretend to be a caveman though reading some promotional materials will give you that idea. The point is to get rid of food which the humans have encountered only recently in evolutionary terms.

Paleo certainly doesn't go all the way (for one thing you'd have to exclude pretty much all cultivated fruits to start with), but makes a step, and it's debatable how big of a step, in that direction.

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:17:52PM 2 points [-]

Cancer and heart disease are diseases of longevity.

I don't have data at hand, but I think that's true only partially. Yes, the prevalence of cancer and CVD is a function of the age of the population, but as far as I remember, even after you control for age, they still show up as diseases of civilization with the "primitive" societies having considerably lesser age-adjusted rates.

At least one causal pathway for that is visible: diabetes and the metabolic syndrome in general are clearly diseases of civilization and they are strong risk factors for CVD (I don't know about cancer).

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:05:20PM 0 points [-]

Yes, future is uncertain but past is already fixed and certain. So? We are not talking about probabilities of something happening in the past. The topic of the discussion is how temperature (and/or probabilities) are "in the mind" and what does that mean.

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:02:04PM 0 points [-]

Well, it's behind the paywall, but even the abstract is pretty clear that there are no results (aka no evidence). The paper seems to want to "discuss future research directions".

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 04:56:13PM *  0 points [-]

So now that you've told me what it does NOT mean, perhaps you can clarify what it DOES mean? I still don't understand.

In particular, the phrase "in the mind" implies that temperature requires a mind and would not exist if there were no minds around. Given that we are talking about classical systems, this seems an unusual position to take.

Another implication of "in the mind" is that different minds would see temperature differently. In fact, if you look into the original EY post, it explicitly says

Is the water colder, because we know more about it? Ignoring quantumness for the moment, the answer is: Yes! Yes it is!

And that makes me curious about phase changes. Can I freeze water into ice by knowing more about it? Note: not by doing things like separating molecules by energy and ending up with ice and electricity, but purely by knowing?

Comment author: James_Miller 18 December 2014 04:54:10PM 6 points [-]

True story:

My son resisted cleaning up his toys but loved beating me at games. Once when he was three I took advantage of his competitive spirit by dividing his blocks into two piles, assigning one pile to him and the other to myself and then telling my son that we will race to see who puts away all of his blocks first. My son smiled, indicating that he was going to play my game, making me proud of my parenting skills.

At the contest’s start my son grabbed a bunch of my blocks, ran outside of his room and threw the blocks down our stairs. When he returned I laughed so hard that the game ended.

My son recently joined LessWrong.

Comment author: James_Miller 18 December 2014 04:46:06PM 2 points [-]

"Why did you become an economist?"

"I forgot to check my second order conditions."

Comment author: Philip_W 18 December 2014 04:43:55PM 0 points [-]

Did MIRI answer you? I would expect them to have answered by now, and I'm curious about the answer.

Comment author: AABoyles 18 December 2014 04:26:10PM 1 point [-]

Thanks very much! Good to know.

Comment author: James_Miller 18 December 2014 04:20:20PM 0 points [-]

While I don't have the stats, I think that 50,000 years ago if you lived to 30, you had a reasonable chance of living to 70, and cancer and heart disease kill lots of people under 70.

Comment author: James_Miller 18 December 2014 04:17:11PM 1 point [-]

It's not a binary thing. Eating a diet consisting mostly of grass-fed meat, seafood, and vegetables is a lot closer to what our ancestors ate than the standard American diet is.

Comment author: Emily 18 December 2014 03:15:54PM 1 point [-]

Maybe this would be a coherent position:

  • You trust GiveWell's judgement on which charities are the best choices
  • You think they've done enough work to establish this, at least for the time being
  • You don't plan to give more money in the immediate future
  • Therefore, you want your money go to to the charities, not to a decision-making process that you now see as having diminishing returns

I'm not sure I'd buy it myself... it seems like it really only makes sense if you don't think anybody else is going to be giving money to GiveWell in the immediate future either (or perhaps ever?).

Comment author: SteveG 18 December 2014 02:39:10PM *  0 points [-]

That's pretty cool-could you explain to me how it does not cause us to kill people who have expansive wants in order to reduce the progress toward entropy which they cause?

I guess in your framework the goal of Superintelligence is to "Postpone the Heat Death of the Universe" to paraphrase an old play?

Comment author: TimS 18 December 2014 02:37:25PM 1 point [-]

Cancer and heart disease are diseases of longevity. Why expect paleo to help with them when there's every reason to believe longevity wasn't a part of that environment?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 December 2014 02:34:59PM 0 points [-]

It might be true if the so-called paleo diets resembled actual old diets. But they don't. Even in paleolithic times human diets varied by region. And many of the crops included in paleo diets didn't exist in the cultivars and forms they exist in now. See for example this talk.

Comment author: Bruno_Coelho 18 December 2014 02:15:28PM 1 point [-]

Somehow, LW/MIRI can't disentangle research and weirdness. Vassar is one of the guys when make public interviews end up giving this impression.

Comment author: SteveG 18 December 2014 02:12:02PM 1 point [-]

The picture of Superintelligence as having and allowing a single values systems is a Yudowsky/Bostrom construct. They go down this road because they anticipate disaster along other roads.

Meanwhile, people invariably will want things that get in the way of other people's wants.

With or without AGI, some goods will be scarce. Government and commerce will still have to distribute these goods among people.

For example, some people will wish to have as many children or other progeny as they can afford, and AI and medical technology will make it easier for people to feed and care for more children.

There is no way to accommodate all of the people who want as many children as possible exactly when they want them.

What values scheme successfully trades off among the prerogatives of all people who want many progeny? After a point, if they persist in thinking this, the many people who share this view eventually need to compromise through some mechanism.

The child-wanters will also be forced to trade off their goals with those who hope to preserve a pristine environment as much as possible.

There is no reconciling these people's goals completely. Maybe we can arbitrate between them and prevent outcomes which satisfy nobody. Sometimes, we can show that one or another person's goals are internally inconsistent.

There is no obvious way to show that the child-wanter's view is superior to the environment-preserver's view, either. Both will occasionally find themselves in conflict with those people who personally want to live for as long as they possibly can.

Neither AGI nor "Coherent Extrapolated Volition" solves the argument among child-wanters, and it does not solve the argument between child-wanters, environment-preservers and long-livers.

Perhaps some parties could be "re-educated" or medicated out of their initial belief and find themselves just as happy or happier in the end.

Perhaps at critical moments before people have fully formulated their values, it is OK for the group to steer their value system in one direction or another? We do that with children and adults all of the time.

I anticipate that IT and AI technology will make value-shifting people and populations more and more feasible.

When is that allowable? I think we need to work that one out pretty well before we start up an AGI which is even moderately good at persuading people to change their values.

Comment author: James_Miller 18 December 2014 01:58:54PM 0 points [-]

I can't back up any of this with solid citations but: If our ancestors have been eating a food for a very long time that's Bayesian evidence that the food is safe. We have been eating meat for so long that it seems likely parts of us are dependent on stuff we can get only from meat. Cancer, heart disease, and strokes seem to be mostly diseases of civilization that were relatively rare among hunter-gatherers who ate their traditional diets. Things go really badly for hunter-gatherers who switch from their traditional diets to modern diets. Wheat is cheap to grow so even if it is unhealthy it's understandable that it would be widely consumed. It's also understandable that sugar, being a superstimulus would be widely consumed even if it is unhealthy. Lots of people who try paleo succeed in loosing weight. The modern obesity epidemic shows something is very wrong with SAD (Standard American Diet) and paleo offers a tried and true safe harbor.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 18 December 2014 01:46:35PM *  3 points [-]

For some reason this reminds me of a scene from Game of Thrones, where one person says "knowledge is power", and the other person responds by threatening their life, and they saying "no, power is power". (Unspecific to avoid spoilers.)

The point is, some kinds of power depends on context, some don't. Generally, respecting people for their intellectual or artist skills is context-dependent. You don't get status by being good at maths among people who consider maths low status. You don't get status for writing good fan fiction among people who consider fan fiction low status. You don't get status for being able to debate rationality among people who consider rational debating low status. -- More universal sources of status are money, and ability to harm people. Because almost everyone is afraid of harm, and almost everyone needs money.

When dealing with journalists, it is useful to realize that journalists have this kind of destructive power. Dealing with a journalist is like meeting a thug in a dark street. You don't want to make him angry. If you get out alive, you should consider it a success, and not complain about small inconveniences. In a long term, if you live on that dark street, you should try to "befriend" the thug, so that he will not attack you, and may even agree to attack people you don't like.

How specifically to "befriend" journalists? Well, this is exactly what PR is about. You treat them with respect, invite them on conferences when you give them free food, and offer help with writing articles. Because they usually have small salaries and have to write a lot of articles, so by giving them free food and making part of their work for them, you make them happy. If you keep them hungry and unrespected, they may randomly attack you.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 18 December 2014 01:23:42PM *  0 points [-]

Yep. At this moment, we need a strategy, not just how to make a good impression in general (and we have already not optimized for this), but also how to prevent active character assassination.

I am not an expert on this topic. And it probably shouldn't be debated in public, because, obviously, selective quoting from such debate would be another weapon for the anti-fans. The mere fact that you care about your impression and debate other people's biases can be spinned very easily.

It's important to realize that we not only have to make a good impression on Joe the Rational Internet Reader, but also to keep social costs of cooperating with us reasonable low for Joe. At the end, we care not only about Joe's opinion, but also about opinions of people around him.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 18 December 2014 12:34:23PM 0 points [-]

Thank God. I swear that group has an ideological black-hole nerd-sniping effect where otherwise decent people just get sucked down into the morass.

Comment author: maxikov 18 December 2014 12:07:16PM 0 points [-]

Is there a significant difference between the mathematical universe hypothesis and Hegelian absolute idealism. Both seem to claim the primacy of ideas over matter (mind in case of Hegel, and math in case of MUH), and conclude that matter should follow the law of ideas. MUH just makes one step forward, and says that if there are different kind of maths, there should be different kinds of universes, while Hegel haven't claimed the same about different minds.

Comment author: DanielFilan 18 December 2014 11:05:17AM *  1 point [-]

The energy/entropy plot makes total sense, the energy/temperature doesn't really because I don't have a good feel for what temperature actually is, even after reading the "Temperature" section of your argument (it previously made sense because Mathematica was only showing me the linear-like part of the graph). Can you recommend a good text to improve my intuition? Bonus points if this recommendation arrives in the next 9.5 hours, because then I can get the book from my university library.

Comment author: MrMind 18 December 2014 11:02:13AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: MrMind 18 December 2014 11:00:36AM 1 point [-]

The theoretical case for paleo is excellent.

Could you provide some solid evidence? I've never found something that didn't crumble at the first investigation.

Comment author: Ritalin 18 December 2014 10:56:43AM 1 point [-]

Describing myself as a "rationalist" pretty much automatically makes a bad impression, no matter how much you explain afterwards that you value emotion and passion and humanity and you're totally not a Straw Vulcan or an Objectivist.

Comment author: DanielFilan 18 December 2014 10:54:58AM 0 points [-]

I think you do misunderstand that, and that the proof of not(provable(consistency(PA))) is not in fact in PA (remember that the "provable()" function refers to provability in PA). Furthermore, regarding your comment before the one that I am responding to now, just because not(provable(C)) isn't provable in PA, doesn't mean that provable(C) is provable in PA: there are lots of statements P such that neither provable(P) nor provable(not(P)), since PA is incomplete (because it's consistent).

Comment author: Ritalin 18 December 2014 10:54:47AM 2 points [-]

The Anti-Drug

I've seen that a lot of drugs seem to act like "gratification borrowers": they take gratification/happiness from the future and spend it all on the present, sometimes extremely quickly, then leave you feeling miserable for a certain duration, the "low" or "hangover".

I was wondering whether there was any drug that did the opposite, that functioned like delayed gratification: a drug that makes you feel utterly miserable at first, then eventually leaves you with a long-lasting feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and joy.

Does anyone here know of such a thing?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 18 December 2014 10:47:30AM 1 point [-]

The rationality content was my only interest, so I haven't particularly looked for any other source of anime recommendations. However, I have seen Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, and all I can say of them is that they were pleasant enough.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 18 December 2014 10:28:41AM 0 points [-]

Also, I don't think you realize how many different definitions of model there are.

Leaving aside "Model" as a proper name, I think there is just one concept there, specialised in many different ways.

Comment author: MathiasZaman 18 December 2014 10:07:42AM 1 point [-]

Since I mostly communicate in Dutch when in meatspace, I find myself rarely using terms directly from Less Wrong (because good translations don't always come to mind). Of course, this isn't exactly a lifehack, since you wouldn't expect most people to move to a different language zone for a minor benefit.

Comment author: calef 18 December 2014 08:17:19AM 0 points [-]

Because one is true in all circumstances and the other isn't? What are you actually objecting to? That physical theories can be more fundamental than each other?

Comment author: gilch 18 December 2014 08:16:16AM 0 points [-]

The Way of Bayes
Getting What You Want
Future Thought
Man's Final Invention
Intelligence: Evolved, Explained, Engineered
Friendly AI: Engineering God
Thinking is a Skill
The Science of Wisdom
The Art of Reason
The Case for Reason
I Will Teach You to be Smart
Reason for 21st Century Humans
The Dawn Age

Comment author: MazeHatter 18 December 2014 08:07:26AM 0 points [-]

What would work much better would be for you to use these words consistently with your ideals

Yes, indeed. And I hope I have and do.

However, how would I ever know if my use of "reality" is exactly what others mean by "universe" or "nature", if I didn't ask the question. How do you put reality together? Where does meaurement fit in? How does objectivity get accounted for? What does such a view have in common with physics and philosophy contemporarily and historically?

I guess that's where I was headed with this discussion. Compare the structure of reality I've come up with to others here.

Comment author: MazeHatter 18 December 2014 07:59:37AM 0 points [-]

Killer Whale, Orca. I give you these do have connotations, but in general, we're talking about one name that is decidedly technical, and one that is colloquial, common, or poetic and dramatic.

Do we need Cosmos, Nature, Universe, World, Being, Existence, if we have "reality"? If so, what is the argument for them?

One thing to keep into consideration is that what I say about "mind" and "consciousness" being redundant terms, is that this doesn't necessarily imply that we have redundant terms for apples and oranges.

You can hold an apple in your hand, and bite it. It's pretty easy to get a single term for apple, when you get taste the difference between an apple and an orange.

Can you "taste" the difference between mind and consciousness? Maybe the redundancy of terms for this particular concept is only evidence of how tricky this concept actually is, unlike "orange".

Comment author: MazeHatter 18 December 2014 07:47:18AM *  0 points [-]

Thank you for thet pointers.

My paragraph on QM got dense there and tried to cram a lot into a sidenote, which deserves more of an explanation.

I'm not advocating Many Worlds, which was something that DeWitt introduced.

Everett's Relative State Formulation hinges on the difference between an absolute state (which is quantumly indetermine) and a relative state (which is a determinate measurement record produced by a neural net operating on the physics of the model).

Hugh Everett's general model doesn't predict "parallel worlds". He predicted the measurement records acheived without the wave function collapsing are the same as what you would get if you apply the "special rule" of collapsing the wave function.

So when AIXI says something like this:

On each clock tick, the agent receives an observation (a bitstring/number) from the environment,

This would actually be in direct violation of Everett's Relative State Formulation, which says there can be no special rules besides the physics engine that produces a measurement. Just as the Copenhagen had a special collapse event for a measurment, here is a special line of code (presumably) to initiate the measurement. In Everett's views, the measurement must occur as an interaction according to the physics engine.

Now, "physical" is not a word I used in my original post. It is a word Everett used however. A purely physical observer interacting with its object in a purely physical way. I think it is important to understand that no metaphysical implication is made by the use of the word physical, except to say that it must be capable of being described by physics (ie, part of the physics engine).

Comment author: Jayson_Virissimo 18 December 2014 07:34:55AM 1 point [-]

If you're never ambiguous, your vocabulary is too large.

Comment author: FrameBenignly 18 December 2014 07:28:33AM 0 points [-]

I'm reminded of Lojban which is a constructed language designed to be unambiguous. I think there's an underemphasis on semantics in a lot of fields. Errors like this should just not happen. I don't see much reason to require it outside of academia however. Where would life be without double entendre? Also, I don't think you realize how many different definitions of model there are.

Comment author: AlexSchell 18 December 2014 07:04:11AM 0 points [-]

Huh, thanks. Not sure how I managed to misremember so specifically. Edited post.

Comment author: DanielLC 18 December 2014 06:44:16AM 0 points [-]

Uncertainty in the mind and uncertainty in the territory are related, but they're not the same thing, and calling them both "uncertainty" is misleading. If indeterminism is true, there is an upper limit to how certain someone can reliably be about the future, but someone further in the future can know it with perfect certainty and reliability.

If I ask if the billionth digit of pi is even or odd, most people would give even odds to those two things. But it's something that you'd give even odds to on a bet, even in a deterministic universe.

If I flip a coin and it lands on heads, you'd be a fool to bet otherwise. It doesn't matter if the universe is nondeterministic and you can prove that, given all the knowledge of the universe before the coin was flipped, it would be exactly equally likely to land on heads or tails. You know it landed on heads. It's 100% certain.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 18 December 2014 06:28:18AM 0 points [-]

E-minimal [language]8http://www.ebtx.com/lang/readme2.htm) aims to use set of (human) root concepts and thereby get away with ~300 one-syllable words which can be combined to form any concept conceivable. It is actually possible to use it to talk about arbitrary topics. But it is not an efficient or fluid language. Some constructions needed to express simple things are unpractical in everyday use.

Comment author: nshepperd 18 December 2014 06:23:09AM 3 points [-]

I am not quite sure in which way this statement is useful.

Is that because you didn't read the rest of the post?

"Temperature is in the mind" doesn't mean that you can make a cup of water boil just by wishing hard enough. It means that whether or not you should expect a cup of water to boil depends on what you know about it.

(It also doesn't mean that whether an ice cube melts depends on whether anyone's watching. The ice cube does whatever the ice cube does in accordance with its initial conditions and the laws of mechanics.)

Comment author: shminux 18 December 2014 06:19:54AM 1 point [-]

First, regarding word usage, http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/A_Human%27s_Guide_to_Words is a good sequence to start with, assuming you haven't read it yet.

Second, there is no universally accepted rationalist ontology. Some believe in Everett's worlds, others don't. A new interpretation, Interacting Many Worlds, seems to be gaining popularity. Also, not everyone here is a physical realist, so the same term "absolute reality" would mean different things to different people. And pushing Everett (which might well be proven a less-than-useful model at some point) is certainly a separate issue from standardizing the terminology.

On a mildly related point, you seem to consider "absolute reality" without regard to the observers being a part of it. This AIXI-like dualism fails once you dig a bit deeper. So8res talks about it in his recent post in Main about decision theories. Consider reading his posts.

Comment author: nshepperd 18 December 2014 06:15:54AM *  1 point [-]

Two systems with the same "average kinetic energy" are not necessarily in equilibrium. Sometimes energy flows from a system with lower average kinetic energy to a system with higher average kinetic energy (eg. real gases with different degrees of freedom). Additionally "average kinetic energy" is not applicable at all to some systems, eg. ising magnet.

Comment author: spxtr 18 December 2014 06:15:29AM 0 points [-]

Good show!

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 06:00:43AM 0 points [-]

They make awesome garbage disposal units :-)

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:57:39AM 0 points [-]

Sorry, don't wear hats :-P

Comment author: Lumifer 18 December 2014 05:54:02AM 1 point [-]

the time it takes for the measure of the universes

So, does your probability-less half-life require MWI? That's not a good start. What happens if you are unwilling to just assume MWI?

A mind that already knows the future

Why do you think such a thing is possible?

Comment author: DanielLC 18 December 2014 05:50:25AM 1 point [-]

Why is one definition more fundamental than another? Why is only one definition "actual"?

Comment author: knb 18 December 2014 05:45:26AM *  0 points [-]

LW user Stuart Armstrong did a number of posts assessing Kurzweil's predictions: Here, here, here, and here.

Comment author: L29Ah 18 December 2014 05:40:44AM 0 points [-]

Suppose you don't have any time to figure out which people would be better. And suppose no one else will know that you were able to pull a switch.

Then my current algorythms will do the habitual stuff I'm used to do in similar situations or randomly explore the possible outcomes (as in "play"), like in every other severely constrained situation.

Honestly, it seems like your notion of ethics is borderline psychopathic.

What does this mean?

Comment author: MazeHatter 18 December 2014 05:40:36AM *  0 points [-]

Does having a thought make something a mind?

Or does having a mind make something think?

I think the most honest thing to say is that as of right now, there isn't a material, or spatial, or temporal description of how these things are related. Which comes first temporally, which is larger spatially, which is more complex materially. None of those questions have answers.

I think we can say with a pretty straight face that we all have subjective experiences. How that involves minds creating consciousness or consciousness creating minds is something of which I'm skeptical.

Comment author: Grothor 18 December 2014 05:38:47AM *  1 point [-]

your final answer isn't right

You're right. That should be ε, not E. I did the extra few steps to substitute α = E/(Nε) back in, and solve for E, to recover DanielFilan's (corrected) result:

E = Nε / (exp(ε/T) + 1)

I used S = log[N choose M], where M is the number of excited particles (so M = αN). Then I used Stirling's approximation as you suggested, and differentiated with respect to α.

Comment author: knb 18 December 2014 05:37:59AM 0 points [-]

I have a vague notion from reading science fiction stories that black holes may be extremely useful for highly advanced (as in, post-singularity/space-faring) civilizations. For example, IIRC, in John C. Wright's Golden Age series, a colony formed near a black hole became fantastically wealthy.

I did some googling, but all I found was that they would be great at cooling computer systems in space. That seems useful, but I was expecting something more dramatic. Am I missing something?

Comment author: Capla 18 December 2014 05:24:10AM *  0 points [-]

You have a point.

"Minds are made of thoughts."

Is that a coherent thing to say?

Comment author: calef 18 December 2014 05:06:13AM *  0 points [-]

I just mean as definitions of temperature. There's temperature(from kinetic energy) and temperature(from entropy). Temperature(from entropy) is a fundamental definition of temperature. Temperature(from kinetic energy) only tells you the actual temperature in certain circumstances.

Comment author: dhasenan 18 December 2014 04:46:46AM *  -2 points [-]

People will they're heroes to have unusually positive traits, thus men are unusually strong, courageous, cool under fire, etc. and women are unusually beautiful, as well as unusually pure, nurturing, etc.

Surely a positive trait is a positive trait for anyone to have?

However, removing the positive masculine traits from men, or the positive feminine traits from women will lead to a product no one wants to watch/play.

I see you've done a large amount of market research -- oh, wait, I don't.

then again the whole concept of warrior women fighting on par with men is itself completely unrealistic.

No. It's not. Not even slightly. If you mean it's contrary to popular narratives, sure -- but then you're not saying whether women do fight, only how well publicized their fighting is. Women fought in the African National Congress. Women fought in the US Civil War. In World War I, the US started officially allowing women into the navy and air force, while Russia had fifteen battalions of women -- one of which had the moniker "Battalion of Death".

In World War II, the Soviet Union again accepted women as volunteers, but they assumed women would be poor fighters, so high command seldom sent them into battle. In response, many of them deserted, sneaked to the front, and fought clandestinely. This despite the shit heaped on them by their commanding officers, sexual harassment, and rape.

If you're asking whether women fought in a particular war, the answer is almost certainly yes.

Oh, but you said "on par with men." You must have known about these examples, conducted a review of the combat performance of all-women and mixed gender units, and compared that with the performance of all-men units, right? And you controlled for combat experience, considering commanding officers tried their damnedest to relegate women to background roles?

Audiences tolerate this lack of realism because she at least displays (some) possitive feminine traits.

Women tolerate this because it's the best representation they can find -- but there's less tolerance over time and more demand for women in all roles. The passivity varies between annoying and sickening -- mainly because it's constant. The extremely narrow range of body depictions no doubt contributes to the body image problems that many women face.

But the games industry is ridiculously male-dominated. The odds of getting together artists, animators, writers, and art directors who all agree to have a woman who isn't crone, seductress, or fair maiden -- you'll get that in a handful of indie studios.

If you made female characters that realistically depict what it would take for women to fight on par with men (i.e., women who look like the Eastern block's doped Olympic athletes)

Ah, yes, because some random terrorist group desperate for warm bodies to throw at their enemies only takes men who look like the Eastern block's doped Olympic athletes. After all, when the US was conscripting people in the World Wars,

you'll find that no one will want to watch/play them.

Why do you believe this? Do you even have any market research available?

Comment author: spxtr 18 December 2014 04:37:11AM 2 points [-]

I posted some plots in the comment tree rooted by DanielFilan. I don't know what you used as the equation for entropy, but your final answer isn't right. You're right that temperature should be intensive, but the second equation you wrote for it is still extensive, because E is extensive :p

Comment author: spxtr 18 December 2014 04:28:13AM 7 points [-]

Maxwell's demon, as criticized in your first link, isn't omniscient. It has to observe incoming particles, and the claim is that this process generates the entropy.

Comment author: wisnuops 18 December 2014 04:26:09AM *  0 points [-]

Hi all. Where in Bandung will the meetup take place? I am from Jakarta but considering of having a new year in Bandung. Let me know if there is any update about the meetup.

Comment author: DanielLC 18 December 2014 04:23:53AM 1 point [-]

The half-life of a radioactive element is something that can be found without using probability. It is the time it takes for the measure of the universes in which the atom is still whole to be exactly half of the initial measure. Similarly, phase change can be defined without using probability.

The universe may be indeterministic (though I don't think it is), but all this means is that the past is not sufficient to conclude the future. A mind that already knows the future (perhaps because it exists further in the future) would still know the future.

Comment author: DanielLC 18 December 2014 04:18:47AM 2 points [-]

Average kinetic energy always corresponds to average kinetic energy, and the amount of energy it takes to create a marginal amount of entropy always corresponds to the amount of energy it takes to create a marginal amount of entropy. Each definition corresponds perfectly to itself all of the time, and applies to the other in the case of idealized objects. How is one more general?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 December 2014 04:14:02AM 0 points [-]

Suppose you don't have any time to figure out which people would be better. And suppose no one else will know that you were able to pull a switch.

Honestly, it seems like your notion of ethics is borderline psychopathic.

Comment author: dhasenan 18 December 2014 04:07:34AM -1 points [-]

You contradict yourself.

Whenever someone says that, I know I'm in for a long series of lawyery responses based on almost plausible misunderstandings. Life's too short for that. Goodbye, and don't forget your fedora on the way out.

Comment author: L29Ah 18 December 2014 03:59:44AM 0 points [-]

Please explain how say a trolley problem fits into your framework.

The correct choice is to check out who do you want to be killed and saved more, and what are, for instance, the social consequences of your actions. I don't understand your question, it seems.

Comment author: Grothor 18 December 2014 03:54:51AM *  1 point [-]

I'l follow suit with the previous spoiler warning.

















I took a bit different approach from the others that have solved this, or maybe you'd just say I quit early once I thought I'd shown the thing I thought you were trying to show:

If we write entropy in terms of the number of particles, N and the fraction of them that are excited: α ≡ E/(Nε) , and take the derivative with respect to α, we get:

dS/dα = N log [(1-α)/α]

Or if that N is bothering you (since temperature is usually an intensive property), we can just write:

T = 1/(dS/dE) = E / log[(1-α)/α]

This will give us zero temperature for all excited or no excited particles (which makes sense, because you know exactly where you are in phase space), and it blows up at half particles are excited. This means that there is no reservoir hot enough to get from α < .5 to α = .5 .

Comment author: spxtr 18 December 2014 03:49:52AM 3 points [-]

I made a plot of the entropy and the (correct) energy. Every feature of these plots should make sense.

Note that the exponential turn-on in E(T) is a common feature to any gapped material. Semiconductors do this too :)

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