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Comment author: Bo102010 28 November 2016 02:24:26AM 2 points [-]

Others have made these points, but here are my top comments:

  • The site was best when there was a new, high-quality post from a respected community member every day or two.
  • The ban on politics means that a lot of interesting discussion migrates elsewhere, e.g. to Scott's blog.
  • The site's current structure - posts vs. comments seems dated. I'd like to try something like discourse.org?
Comment author: Omid 01 January 2015 03:54:01AM 11 points [-]

How do you deal with people who are dominating conversations? I had a New Years party and it was basically 4 hours where either this one guy was talking or someone was talking to him.

Comment author: Bo102010 04 January 2015 07:02:48PM 0 points [-]

It requires some status and a consistent record of not being a jerk to do this (or to convince yourself to do this), but: "[Big Talker] has been talking for 2 hours, and [Small Talker] hasn't really had much opportunity to talk about [thing Small Talker does]. Mind if we hear from [Small Talker] for a bit? "

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2015 08:29:21PM 5 points [-]

How the hell did slate star codex get to be so much more popular than lesswrong? It's an offshoot of this site right?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Stupid Questions January 2015
Comment author: Bo102010 04 January 2015 06:56:52PM 2 points [-]

Reading SSC brings back the feeling I got when I first discovered Less Wrong (right after the split with Overcoming Bias, when there were still sequences being posted). Here's this extremely intelligent and articulate guy, posting very insightful things on topics I didn't even know I was interested in -- and he's doing it pretty regularly!

I like what Less Wrong has evolved into in the post-Sequences era, but reading Less Wrong today produces a very different feeling from when it did early on.

Comment author: pjeby 23 November 2014 02:01:41AM 5 points [-]

Would you mind redacting your quotes of the transcript, so that people can instead enjoy the episode in context? I was intentionally vague about the parts you've chosen to excerpt or talk about, specifically not to ruin people's enjoyment of the episode. (Also, reading a transcript is a very different experience than the actual episode, lacking as it does the timing, expressions, and body language that suggest what the show's makers want us to think.)

It also seems to me that you are not interpreting the quotes particularly charitably. For example, when I saw the episode, I interpreted "can't be accounted for" as shorthand for "emergent behavior we didn't explicitly ask for", not "AI is magic". Likewise, while Mason implies that hostility is inevitable, his reward-channel takeover explanation grounds this presumption in at least one example of how an AI would come to display behavior humans would interpret as "hostile". I took this as shorthand for "there are lots of ways you can end up with a bad result from AI", not "AI is hostile and this is just one example."

Bella is not actually presented as a hostile creature who maliciously kills its creator. Heck, Bella is mostly made to seem less anthropomorphic than even Siri or Google Now! (Despite the creepy-doll choice of avatar.) The implication by Bella's co-creator that Bella might have decided to "alter a variable" by killing someone doesn't imply what a human would consider hostility. Sociopathic amorality, perhaps, but not hostility.

And while Holmes at times seems to be operating from a "true AI = magic" perspective, I also interpreted the episode as making fun of him for having this perspective, such as his pointless attempts at a Turing test that Bella essentially failed hard at in the first 30 seconds. One thing you might miss if you're not a regular of the show, is that one of Holmes' character quirks is going off on these obsessive digressions that don't always work out the way he insists they will. (Unlike the literary Sherlock, this Holmes is often wrong, even about things he states his absolute certainty about... and Watson's role is often to prod his thinking into more productive channels.)

Anyway, his extended "testing" of Bella, and the subsequent remark from Watson to Kitty about using a fire extinguisher on him if he starts hitting things, is a strong signal that we are expected to humor his pointless obsession, as all the people around him are thoroughly unimpressed by Bella right away, and don't need to spend hours questioning it to "prove" it's not "really" intelligent.

Is it possible for somebody to view the episode through their existing trope-filled worldview and not learn anything? Sure. But I don't think it would've been practical to cover the entire inferential distance in just the "A" story of a 44-minute murder mystery TV show, so I applaud the writers for actually giving it a shot, and the artful choices made to simplify their presentation without dumbing things down to the point of being actually wrong, or committing any of the usual howling blunders. For a show intended purely as entertainment, they did a better job of translating the ideas than many journalists do.

OTOH, perhaps it's an illusion of transparency on my part, and only someone already exposed to the bigger picture would be able to grasp any of it from what was put in the show, and the average person will not in fact see anything differently after watching it. But even if that is the case, I think the show's makers still deserve credit -- and lots of praise -- just for trying.

Comment author: Bo102010 23 November 2014 05:33:05AM *  2 points [-]

I enjoyed the episode also. The show is consistently solid, which is quite impressive - I don't think there's been an episode that's really low quality. The peaks aren't very high, but there are no valleys to speak of...

There a laughable P vs. NP-themed episode in a previous season in which mathematicians use their proof to hack computers, but other than that the episode was watchable.

Comment author: Bo102010 18 September 2014 01:07:15AM 4 points [-]

Great post!

Others have mentioned the HPMOR-style "take a poll of different aspects of your personality," which I have found to be entertaining and useful.

I'd also like to endorse the method for troubleshooting. I got the idea from Ridiculous Fish's blog post from 3 years ago.

When I have a technical problem I'm stuck on, I try to ask myself "What would someone who's smarter than me do?" This is really just "imagine a parody version of person x and see if that causes you to think about the problem in a different way."

I like to consult Imaginary Dr. House ("The problem is something very rare and obscured because your data is lying to you"), my former boss ("The problem is the most obvious thing it could be, trust yourself and go solve it!"), my college roommate ("Maybe there's a YouTube video from a dedicated hobbyist that explains this"), and some others.

I wrote up one experience with this technique (not as good as Ridiculous Fish's) a few months ago, when I had a baffling issue to solve at work (FTP on April 26th at 2 AM).

Comment author: Bo102010 20 December 2012 04:35:19AM 0 points [-]

I am reluctantly someone who pretty much doesn't care about what happens after I die. This is a position I that I don't necessarily endorse, and if I could easily self-modify into the sort of person who did care I would.

I don't think this makes me a monster. I basically behave the same way as people who claim they do care about what happens after they die. That is, I have plans for what happens to my assets if I die. I have life insurance ("free" through work) that pays to my wife if I die. I wouldn't take a billion dollars on the condition that a third world country would blow up the day after I died.

As you say, though, it's "me-of-the-present" that cares about these things. With the self-modification bit above, really what I mean is "I'd like to self-modify into the sort of person who could say that I cared about what happens after I die and not feel compelled to clarify that I really mean that I think good things are good and that acting as if I cared about good things continuing to happen after I die is probably a better strategy to keep good things happening while I'm alive."

In response to 2012 Survey Results
Comment author: Bo102010 08 December 2012 12:19:06AM 0 points [-]

10 people said "Drug C: reduces the number of headaches per year from 100 to 60. It costs $100 per year" over "Drug B: reduces the number of headaches per year from 100 to 50. It costs $100 per year" on CFAR question #4...

I said "Drug A: reduces the number of headaches per year from 100 to 30. It costs $350 per year" personally. I think there's a case for B, maybe, but who picks C?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 October 2012 06:34:21PM 4 points [-]

Yep. The main problem would be that I'd been writing for year and years before then, and, alas for our unfair universe, also have a certain amount of unearned talent; finding somebody who can pick up the Sequences and improve them without making them worse, despite their obvious flaws as they stand, is an extremely nontrivial hiring problem.

Comment author: Bo102010 03 October 2012 01:18:07AM -2 points [-]

Not to mention that any candidate up to the task likely has more lucrative alternatives...

Comment author: Bo102010 07 September 2012 11:19:49PM 1 point [-]

I didn't think it was quite fair that your comment was downvoted to -2, but then I read the sentence "When women feel desperate, they cry about it."

While I think your comment was overall constructive to the discussion, that kind of thing is a turnoff. I assume you meant it in the best possible way, but I would encourage you to avoid that particular construction in the future.

Comment author: Bo102010 08 September 2012 02:30:50AM 0 points [-]

I'm genuinely curious why hg00's amended comment is now even more downvoted? And why my advice is also? Generally I take downvotes to mean "Would not like to read more of such comments at Less Wrong," but I'm a little puzzled at these.

Comment author: hg00 07 September 2012 10:15:03PM *  3 points [-]

EDIT: OK, on reflection I'm less confident in all this. Feel free to read my original comment below.


I have a theory that a high male-to-female ratio actually triggers creepy behavior in men. Why?

Creepy behavior has an evolutionary purpose, just like all human behavior. The optimal mating strategy changes depending on my tribe's gender ratio. As nasty as it sounds, from the perspective of my genes it may make sense to try to have sex by force, if it's not going to happen any other way.

I suspect evolution has programmed men to be more bitter, resentful, and belligerent if they seem to be in an area where there aren't many women. Hence you get sexual assault problems in the military, countries with surplus young males causing various forms of societal unrest, etc.

In other words, maybe it's not that individuals are creepy so much as men "naturally" act more rapey if there are only a few women around. Of course, we're all adults and we can supress unwanted internal drives, but it may also be a good idea to attack the root problem.

So in light of this, some possible solutions for male creepiness:
* When men feel desperate, they act creepy. That doesn't necessarily mean we should treat these men like bad people. Yes, these are antisocial behaviors. But they're a manifestation of internal suffering. So, try to feel compassion and respect for people that are suffering, in addition to letting them know that their behavior is antisocial.
* If you're a man and you notice yourself acting creepy, one idea is to try to get interested in something that's got a decent number of women involved with it. (Possible examples: acting, dancing, book clubs. Maybe other commenters have more ideas?) Hopefully, this will program your subconscious to believe you're no longer in a desperate situation. In the best case, maybe you'll find a girlfriend.

Comment author: Bo102010 07 September 2012 11:19:49PM 1 point [-]

I didn't think it was quite fair that your comment was downvoted to -2, but then I read the sentence "When women feel desperate, they cry about it."

While I think your comment was overall constructive to the discussion, that kind of thing is a turnoff. I assume you meant it in the best possible way, but I would encourage you to avoid that particular construction in the future.

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