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Comment author: Chris 03 January 2008 12:08:51AM 1 point [-]

:-) Maths is the product of the same abstracting mechanisms that create all our visions of the world. As such, maths has no more or less validity than any other of our self-consistent constructs of reality, and it is no accident that our maths has applications in our real world models. They're the products of the same mental systems. What is depressing is when a mathematical model which represents 5% of the available data is worshipped because it has internal coherence. As in Aumann's model. Tara.

Comment author: Chris 01 January 2008 08:07:44PM -1 points [-]

Come to think of it, there was a system which held the rank and file to be the employers and the politicians to be employees. It was called Marxism.... Must check up how it worked out.

Comment author: Chris 01 January 2008 06:22:00PM 0 points [-]

Between the post and the comments we have a slippage from : a) the human tendency to sort ourselves into 'us' vs 'them', presumably for reasons which had selective advantage (group solidarity and heightened stimulation levels) b) our capacity to keep the positive aspects of a diluted form of this tendency, without having to pay the price of all out warfare, by choosing (deservedly highly paid) sports teams to be our 'champions' (in the sense of the word where a 'champion' was designated to represent a warring group in single combat) in facing 'them' c) the transfer of this 'champion' role from sports teams to elected politicians, typified by the Blues & the Greens d) the confusion between the 'champion' role and the 'delegate' role, to which I could add the 'mandated' role, in our actual political systems. e) then all the usual mutterings about politicians.

OK so we're tribal, and IMO we're confused in what we want from our politicians. So what ? Where do we go from here ?

Eliezer suggests a further development in the theory of democratic government, that of considering our elected representatives as 'employees'. I disagree. The role of employer supposes an autonomously chosen set of strategies which it is imposed on the employee to execute. How do you get to set the strategic agenda without first being a politician (or, better, a politician's 'ĂŠminence grise'. Or spouse) ?

Comment author: Chris 01 January 2008 06:21:01PM 0 points [-]

Between the post and the comments we have a slippage from : a) the human tendency to sort ourselves into 'us' vs 'them', presumably for reasons which had selective advantage (group solidarity and heightened stimulation levels) b) our capacity to keep the positive aspects of a diluted form of this tendency, without having to pay the price of all out warfare, by choosing (deservedly highly paid) sports teams to be our 'champions' (in the sense of the word where a 'champion' was designated to represent a warring group in single combat) in facing 'them' c) the transfer of this 'champion' role from sports teams to elected politicians, typified by the Blues & the Greens d) the confusion between the 'champion' role and the 'delegate' role, to which I could add the 'mandated' role, in our actual political systems. e) then all the usual mutterings about politicians.

OK so we're tribal, and IMO we're confused in what we want from our politicians. So what ? Where do we go from here ?

Eliezer suggests a further development in the theory of democratic government, that of considering our elected representatives as 'employees'. I disagree. The role of employer supposes an autonomously chosen set of strategies which it is imposed on the employee to execute. How do you get to set the strategic agenda without first being a politician (or, better, a politician's 'ĂŠminence grise'. Or spouse) ?

Comment author: Chris 01 January 2008 11:33:36AM 1 point [-]

Politicians are the Hated Enemy today ?

In response to My Strange Beliefs
Comment author: Chris 31 December 2007 02:41:11PM -1 points [-]

Q : Why is everyone linking together cryonicism, life-extensionism, trans-humanism, and the singularity ? In addition to Caledonian's irritability, I would add : A : Because the two main posters here seem to subscribe to the extreme desirability of all three, (counting trans-humanism and the singularity for one item translating as Self-Improving AI), in a nexus centred on the Singularity Institute.

personal take : a) Cryonics : couldn't care less b) Radical life extension : playing with fire c) Self-improving AI : burning the house down.

In response to My Strange Beliefs
Comment author: Chris 30 December 2007 09:52:38PM 0 points [-]

Just read 'The Reversal Test'. A good, honest, decent paper, but does little to address the issue. It only considers modifications in one parameter. I'd like to see a reversal test for modifying one parameter out of 100, when the 100 parameters are in some sort of equilibrium, potentially unstable, and the equilibrium is one which you don't understand too well. Even given that the status quo equilibrium is by all accounts pretty lousy.

In response to My Strange Beliefs
Comment author: Chris 30 December 2007 12:35:51PM 0 points [-]

Thanks Eliezer. My previous post on the 'CounterCultishness' thread would have been more relevant here. This is a good opportunity to give you, Robin, and any other occasional posters a vote of thanks for your (always) thought provoking and (mostly :-) ) incisive posts, whose interest keeps me, at least, coming back here, whatever my feelings about the SI.

Comment author: Chris 30 December 2007 09:27:58AM 0 points [-]

Not sure why EY redefined the debate in terms of cultishness. Was anyone under the illusion they were being asked to pack their things for Guyana ?

Doubts about the objectives of the SI arise more from the seeming contradiction between the professed rationality of its members (Bayesian rationality, weighing the risks, putting all the 'Friendly' safeguards in place etc.) and the passion with which in their writings they seem to hail the Singularity and radical life extension like the Second Coming. Which leads one to fear a certain bias. Fear only, mind you. My slovenly and inadequate heuristics don't push me into a superhuman effort to get involved.

BTW, the very abuse of the term Bayesian, except humouristically, is in itself worrying. It's only a statistical method for Chrissake. Very useful in well defined scientific investigation, of no use at all in areas where the priors are (a) innumerable (b) inestimable, like, in all areas in the 'humanities'.

BBTW : The word 'Singularitarianism'. Any word ending in '-arianism' denotes a belief system, no ? So using that word does indicate that its users have gone beyond the domain of ideas and are in the domain of beliefs.

Comment author: Chris 29 December 2007 01:37:36PM 4 points [-]

By that time everyone knew it was time to leave, they had seen the lights repeatedly dimmed, but they were comfortable in the hall, and as long as no individual could be blamed for the antisocial act of staying, they would do so. Nevertheless their discomfort level was rising. Your action precipitated the decision, like seeding a supersaturated solution precipitates crystallisation. It's another example of an unstable group equilibrium just waiting to be disturbed, like the lonely dissenter in a group where the majority have private doubts. If the lights hadn't previously been repeatedly dimmed, the group might well not have followed you.

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