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Comment author: username2 12 February 2017 05:09:08AM 1 point [-]

What's materially different about a God-based religion and the science-centered rationality cult? Other than our miracles actually being real, that is.

I almost said "verifiably real", but therein lies the crux of the issue. A religion is basically a foundational system of beliefs, and a framework for constructing new beliefs. That includes even how you verify the truthfulness of statements. Blanket calling religion of all sorts 'stupidly' is oversimplifying the situation, to say the least.

Comment author: DanArmak 12 February 2017 05:52:20PM 1 point [-]

The post doesn't say that all religion is stupidity. It says that one of the things we cal stupidity is subconscious conditioning, and one of the common case of such conditioning is religion. A subset of religion and a subset of stupidity, intersecting. Do you think that's wrong?

Comment author: turchin 11 February 2017 06:19:57PM 0 points [-]

If our universe is test simulation, it is a digital experiment to test something, and if it include AI, it is probably designed to test AI behaviour by putting it in complex moral dilemmas.

So Omega is not interested in humans in this simulation. It is interested in behaviour of Beta to humans.

If there will be no human suffering, it will be clear that it is a simulation, and it will be not pure test. Alpha must hide its existence and only hint on it.

Comment author: DanArmak 11 February 2017 08:37:04PM 1 point [-]

Why do you assume any of this?

If our universe is test simulation, it is a digital experiment to test something,

That's a tautology. But if you meant "if our universe is a simulation" then why do you think it must be a a test simulation in particular? As opposed to a research simulation to see what happens, or a simulation to make qualia because the simulated beings's lives have value to the simulators, or a simulation for entertainment value, or anything else.

if it include AI, it is probably designed to test AI behaviour by putting it in complex moral dilemmas.

Maybe the desired outcome from the simulators' point of view is to develop a paperclipping AI that isn't swayed by human moral arguments. Maybe the simulation is really about the humans, and AIs are just inevitable byproducts of high-tech humans. There are lots of maybes. Do you have any evidence for this, conditional on being a simulation?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 10 February 2017 10:57:16PM *  4 points [-]

This is not a thing that we need to check statistics for. Americans now talk openly about seeing a psychologist or having depression. Americans two generations prior did not. Depression was not recognized as a legitimate disease; it was considered a weakness, and psychotherapy was an act of desperation.

Comment author: DanArmak 11 February 2017 04:22:17PM *  4 points [-]

I was under the impression that two generations ago, Freudian psychotherapy was all the rage and pretty much universal in certain high-status social circles? Of course, it probably didn't help anyone much. I think that "there's something mentally wrong with many/most people, maybe even everyone by default" has existed for decades as a common belief in some places.

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 10 February 2017 05:37:52PM 1 point [-]

Sometimes I worry that we'll find a way of curing autism in the womb and then all progress in mathematics will grind to a halt.

Comment author: DanArmak 11 February 2017 04:14:56PM 2 points [-]

Another reason to find a cure for stupidity first, then.

Comment author: Pimgd 10 February 2017 10:16:09AM *  8 points [-]

So, on one hand, I agree that it would be better if people were smarter on average.

On the other hand, you're using a lot of scary labels. ... Actually, after reflecting a bit, "Stupidity is a mental illness" is the only scary label. But it is a REALLY SCARY label. As in, my overton window is probably shifted, I dunno, 2 or 3 or 4 standard deviations in your direction, compared to the average person. I know about nootropics (at the very least, that they exist). And I'm sort of familiar with this community. And I still got scared reading this.

One of the issues is is that it takes something which has previously enjoyed somewhat protected status (intelligence), and puts it on a same level of importance as ... ... I don't have an example. Weird.

I know a lot of people who are stupid in one way or another. I would hate to see "treatment" forced onto them because they're not as smart as we'd like. I get the feeling that not speaking up now means being next on the list - "when they came for X I didn't speak up because I wasn't X, when they came for Y I didn't speak up because I wasn't Y, and when they came for me there was no-one else to speak up for me".

I don't know what constitutes "stupid" for you. Is it people with, say, an IQ of 70, where their intelligence impairs them on a daily basis? Or is it people who are capable of holding down a job, but live paycheck to paycheck and vote in elections based on very questionable grounds (I don't have proper examples for you)?

I think that because there is no definition of "stupid people" provided, this becomes scary. You're targeting a population group, which was previously okay, but now they're no longer okay, and this feels like you're trying to invoke "look at these people, they need to be fixed", and maybe I'm shaping some of that feeling myself, but I don't see the underlying tone of doing good. This isn't helping others, this is helping yourself. Maybe everyone benefits. But this essay reads as something that helps just you.


In short.

Promoting research into intelligence boosting drugs: Yay

Destigmatizing stupidity into favoring intelligence: Yay

Classifying stupidity as a mental illness, forcing things like the American health system onto people who are already missing one of the success factors in life: Nay.

...

And I don't think mental illness is seen as something positive either. People with mental illnesses are dangerous, not fit for society, scary, should be kept someplace safe... I think that's the sentiment you'll get if you ask the average person (maybe they're stupid too? I don't know). Now, I don't mean to say these traits apply to people who are stupid, I mean to say that people on average think these traits apply to people with a mental illness, and that as a result, you don't want to be mentally ill, and reclassifying people who are stupid as mentally ill won't go over well. Even only because people won't actually say they can't see the emperor's clothes, lest they lose their job.


Honestly, I think if you want to go this way, you'd be better off trying to develop things that people can use for their kids. They'll buy organic foods "because it's more healthy", so they might also buy intelligence boosters for their kids so they can go to a prestige university and do great in life.

And you don't want to classify stupidity as a mental illness. You want it to be seen as a physical injury. You go to the hospital, they fix you, you're better. No shrink visits, no endless talks, no getting locked up in an internment facility.

Comment author: DanArmak 11 February 2017 04:14:02PM 1 point [-]

"Stupidity is a mental illness" is the only scary label. But it is a REALLY SCARY label.

That's the point of this post, I think.

Mental illness is a very scary label - because it's a terrible thing to be. And we should work hard on being able to cure mental illness.

Stupid is an equally terrible thing to be - terrible to yourself and to your friends and to society at large. We should work just as hard on making people not-stupid as we do on making them not-depressed. But we don't actually work hard on that, and that's a real problem.

Comment author: Brillyant 10 February 2017 03:09:50PM 7 points [-]

"Stupidity" is a...word that we apply to different conditions which may be caused by deep subconscious conditioning (e.g., religion).

Wow.

Comment author: DanArmak 11 February 2017 04:11:34PM 3 points [-]

Do you think it's factually untrue, or normatively wrong, or something?

Comment author: DanArmak 11 February 2017 04:03:37PM *  2 points [-]

I think your argument (if true) would prove too much. If we admit your assumptions:

  1. Clearly, the universe as it is fits A-O's goals, otherwise A-O would have intervened and changed it already.
  2. Anything we (or the new AI) do to change the universe must align with A-O's goals to avoid conflict.
  3. Since we do not assume anything about A-O's goals or values, we can never choose to change the universe in one direction over its opposite. Humans exist, A-O must want it that way, so we will not kill them all. Humans are miserable, A-O must want it that way, so we will not make them happy.

Restating this, you say:

If the superintelligence is actually as powerful as it is, yet chooses to allow humans to exist, chances are that humans serve its purposes in some way. Therefore, in a very basic sense, the Alpha Omega is benevolent or friendly to humans for some reason.

But you might as well have said:

If the superintelligence is actually as powerful as it is, yet chooses to allow humans to keep suffering, dying, and torturing and killing one another, chances are that human misery serve its purposes in some way. Therefore, in a very basic sense, the Alpha Omega is malevolent or unfriendly to humans for some reason.

Comment author: gjm 21 November 2016 03:53:04AM -1 points [-]

I'm not sure that's the right question. How about this: Do you think the fact he does this is evidence that he and others working with him are likely to do things that are significantly harmful, once actually in power? Or this: Do you think the fact that a president-elect does this has any harmful effect on other people's behaviour?

I don't know the answer to either question, but it seems like there are pretty plausible arguments for answering "yes" to both.

Comment author: DanArmak 21 November 2016 06:23:03PM *  -1 points [-]

Or this: Do you think the fact that a president-elect does this has any harmful effect on other people's behaviour?

That was, in fact, what I meant.

Comment author: ChristianKl 19 November 2016 10:14:45PM 1 point [-]

Scott apparently couldn't find anything Trump said during his campaign that would make him out to be clearly racist. Do you think he's just wrong about this?

There are two separate questions: (1) Does Trump engage say things in public about that violate PC norms. (2) Is Trump someone who acts in a way that's harmful to minorities because he dislikes majorities.

I think Scott is correct in arguing that Trump likely isn't generally engaging in more discriminatory actions against minorities then the average Republican. That doesn't change the fact that he's willing to publically say things that are generally understood as signals for racism. Questioning whether Obama was born in the US, saying that Mexico sends rapists and calling for a ban on Mexican immigration are all rhetorical moves that are out of the Overton window in a way that signals racism.

Most of these seem just fine as attack narratives for the media.

There are certainly media articles written about how Trump is incompetent but the average media case doesn't provide a sophisticated argument for the case it's making. A mainstream newspaper has to dumb down the argument that it makes.

Comment author: DanArmak 19 November 2016 10:41:15PM 2 points [-]

That doesn't change the fact that he's willing to publically say things that are generally understood as signals for racism.

Do you think the fact he does this is significantly harmful?

Comment author: ChristianKl 19 November 2016 01:22:32AM 2 points [-]

First you misrepresent Scott Alexander's post. Scott didn't write that the media invented the narrative that Trump is racist.

The media isn't really responsible for coming up with the narrative. Trump himself came up with it because it was a good way to get attention. Trump purposefully spoke about how Mexico sends rapists to create that narrative. At least that's the version if you think Trump has at least a tiny shred of awareness of the moves he makes.

I don't remember anybody in the rationality community attacking Trump based on the theory that the main problem with him is that he's racist.

So when I hear an admission that many of the charges against Trump were lies (and that Scott didn't want to draw attention to this before the election), I must update towards thinking any other given charge is likely to be a lie too.

I think the references classes are bad.

Media economics produced an environment where it's profitable to write certain stories. Accusing people of racism is very profitable. The story is easy to write without engaging in any research. There's little cost to be payed by the journalist. It get's well shared on social media for signaling tribal loyalty.

On the other hand describing interaction of Trump with the mob isn't profitable. Writing those stories would likely anger powerful people who are connected to the mob. As a result the media tried not to report those stories and sometimes they cut out the parts of interviews where the people they interviewed tried to talk about that connection.

When I conclude that the characterization of Trump's ghostwriter who spend 1 1/2 years with him provides valuable information about his character that's a completely different way of accessing him than judging him based on his answers about David Duke or even his speeches about Mexican rapists.

Comment author: DanArmak 19 November 2016 04:45:14PM 0 points [-]

First you misrepresent Scott Alexander's post. Scott didn't write that the media invented the narrative that Trump is racist.

You're right, he didn't. I don't know who invented it - maybe it's always been around. Scott merely said that the media promote it and make it popular. I'll amend my post.

Trump himself came up with it because it was a good way to get attention. Trump purposefully spoke about how Mexico sends rapists to create that narrative. At least that's the version if you think Trump has at least a tiny shred of awareness of the moves he makes.

I didn't follow Trump's campaign. If you're talking about something other than Scott's point 6 (What about Trump’s “drugs and crime” speech about Mexicans?) then I don't know about it. Scott apparently couldn't find anything Trump said during his campaign that would make him out to be clearly racist. Do you think he's just wrong about this?

I don't remember anybody in the rationality community attacking Trump based on the theory that the main problem with him is that he's racist.

Not the main problem, no. I had the impression that many denunciations of Trump included "racist" in the general litany of accusations, but now I'm not so sure. The only thing I could find in five minutes is that Scott Aaronson called Trump a "racist lunatic", and that wasn't even in his main post on Trump, but as an aside. So yes, you're right about this.

On the other hand describing interaction of Trump with the mob isn't profitable.

I was thinking less about concrete past actions like that, and more about the character traits Scott listed that I quoted: "incompetent thin-skinned ignorant boorish fraudulent omnihypocritical demagogue". Most of these seem just fine as attack narratives for the media. Maybe they just didn't catch on, or the "market" tended towards a single simple narrative dominating.

the characterization of Trump's ghostwriter who spend 1 1/2 years with him provides valuable information about his character

That sounds valuable, at least if we can be certain that he's speaking up due to personal convictions and has no hidden interests or biases. I've now read the New Yorker article about him. (Like I said, I tried not to follow the US election cycle.)

Thanks for correcting me about the above.

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