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Comment author: Ender 19 April 2014 05:13:01AM 0 points [-]

You might pull together a good message just based on the original question, "what advice do you give to Archimedes, and how do you say it into the chronophone." Yudkowsky's question was designed to make us think non-obvious thoughts, after all.

"Would you be able to ask anything meaningful through the chronophone?"

(My construction might not be quite right. I'm feeling all smug and Godelian, but it's 1 AM, so I've probably missed something.)

Comment author: Will_Pearson 05 October 2008 07:05:23PM 0 points [-]

@Will: The point is not that you should necessarily run the algorithm that would be optimal if you had unlimited computational resources. The point is that by understanding what that algorithm does, you have a better chance of coming up with a good approximation which you can run in a reasonable amount of time. If you are trying to build a locomotive it helps to understand Carnot Engines.

There are other scenarios when running the "optimal" algorithm is considered harmful. Consider a nascent sysop vaporising the oceans purely by trying to learn how to deal with humanity (if that amount of compute power is needed of course).

Probability theory was not designed about how to win, it was designed as way to get accurate statements about the world, assuming an observer whose computations have no impact on the world. This is a reasonable formalism for science, but only a fraction of how to win in the real world, and sometimes antithetical to winning. So if you want your system to win, don't necessarily approximate it to the best of your ability.

Ideally we want a theory of how to change energy into winning, not information and a prior into accurate hypotheses about the world, which is what probability theory gives us, and is very good at.

Comment author: Ender 26 March 2014 07:25:56PM 0 points [-]

Ideally we want a theory of how to change energy into winning, not information and a prior into accurate hypotheses about the world, which is what probability theory gives us, and is very good at.

You need accurate information about the world in order to figure out how to "change energy into winning."

Comment author: VHanson 21 January 2014 02:37:26AM 0 points [-]

I did study stuff like this a LONG time ago, so I respect your trying to work this out from 'common sense'. The way I see it, the key to the puzzle is the truth-value of Y, not 'whether or not X is actually true'. By working out the truth-tables for the various implications, the statement "((◻C)->C)->C" has a False truth-value when both (◻C) and C are False, i.e. if C is both unprovable and false the statement is false. Even though the 'material implication' "(X->Y)->Y implies (not X)->Y" is a tautology (because when the 1st part is false the 2nd part is true & vice-versa) that does not guarantee the truth of the 2nd part alone. In fact, it is intuitively unsurprising that if C is false, the premise that 'C is provable' is also false (of course such intuition is logically unreliable, but it feels nice to me when it happens to be confirmed in a truth table). What may seem counterintuitive is that this is the only case for which the premise is True, but the encompassing implication is False. That's because a 'logical implication' is equivalent to stating that 'either the premise (1st part) is False or the conclusion (2nd part) is True (or both)'. So, for the entire statement "((◻C)->C)->C" to be True when C is False, means "((◻C)->C)" must be False. "((◻C)->C)" is only False when "(◻C)" is True and "C" is False. Here's where the anti-intuitive feature of material implication causes brain-freeze - that with a false premise any implication is assigned a True truth-value. But that does NOT mean that such an implication somehow forces the conclusion to be true! It only affirms that for any implication to be true, it must be the case that "IF the premise is true then the conclusion is true." If the premise is False, the conclusion may be True or False. If the premise is True and the conclusion is False, then the implication itself is False!

The translation of " (not ◻C)->C" as "all statements which lack proofs are true" is a ringer. I'd say the implication "If it is not the case that C is provable, then C is True" is equivalent to saying "Either C is provable or C is True or both." Both of these recognize that the case for which "C is provable" and "C is False" makes the implication itself False. The mistranslation erroneously eliminates consideration of the case in which C is both unprovable an False, which is (not coincidentally, I suspect) the one case for which the grand formulation "((◻C)->C)->C" is False.

Comment author: Ender 05 February 2014 11:04:20PM *  0 points [-]

Jeepers. I haven't thought about this problem for a long time. Thanks.

The answer that occurs to me for the original puzzle is that Yudkowsky never proved (◻(2 = 1) -> (2 = 1)). I don't know it that is actually the answer, but I really need to go do other work and stop thinking about this problem.

Comment author: ialdabaoth 02 May 2013 04:07:12PM 2 points [-]

I believe the current theory is that musical talent was a sexual selection criteria that 'blew up'. Good rhythm, a good singing voice, and an ability to remember complex rhythm were originally linked to timing and muscle coordination, and so helped to signal for hunting fitness; and to intelligence, and so helped to signal for the ability to navigate the pack's social landscape. But once sexual selection for a trait begins, that trait can take on a life of its own, leading to things like peacocks' tails and lyre bird's mating calls.

Comment author: Ender 28 July 2013 11:42:18PM 1 point [-]

This article from 2005 says that while there are some different theories about the evolution of music, there is not enough evidence yet to reach a conclusion. http://www.cns.nyu.edu/~jhm/mcdermott_hauser_mp.pdf

In another article, Geoffrey F. Miller explained that Darwin hypothesized that hominids might have included some music in their courtship, similar to birdsong, before the development of language. Darwin's theory is described pretty clearly in the refrain of "Who Put the Bomp," but you can also google the article.

G. F. (2000). Evolution of human music through sexual selection. In N. L. Wallin, B. Merker, & S. Brown (Eds.), The origins of music, MIT Press, pp. 329-360.

Comment author: CCC 12 October 2012 10:07:29AM 4 points [-]

It could be. However, the consequences of the questioner's "communing with the universe" are observable; I can observe whether you claim that your partner truly loves you or not afterwards.

Since this is an observable consequence, I therefore conclude that if it is possible to commune with the universe in such a way, and if the results of such communing are correlated at all to the state "your partner truly loves you", then that state has consequences (i.e. whether or not you say that it is true after communing with the universe) and thus can be part of a causal universe.

Comment author: Ender 07 March 2013 09:38:47PM 0 points [-]

And since it has observable consequences, you can do science to it! Yay!

Comment author: Vaniver 02 October 2012 07:39:35PM 6 points [-]

When the Irishman is a painter and the Mongolian a dissatisfied customer, does their disagreement have meaning?

Comment author: Ender 03 October 2012 02:35:09AM 3 points [-]

In that case, they're arguing about the wrong thing. Their real dispute is that the painting isn't what the Mongolian wanted as a result of a miscommunication which neither of them noticed until one of them had spent money (or promised to) and the other had spent days painting.

So, no, even in that situation, there's no such thing as a dragon, so they might as well be arguing about the migratory patterns of unicorns.

Comment author: Tiiba2 17 August 2008 09:36:19PM 1 point [-]

"""(X->Y)->Y implies (not X)->Y"""

The arrow means "implies", right?


(Smoke implies fire, therefore fire) implies (no smoke means fire)?

I don't get it.

Comment author: Ender 24 June 2012 07:16:27PM 1 point [-]

I think that this is what the theorem means;

If (X->Y) -> Y, then ~X -> Y (If it's true that "If it's true that 'if X is true, then Y is true,' then Y must be true," then Y must be true, even if X is not true).

This makes sense because the first line, "(X->Y) -> Y," can be true whether or not X is actually true. The fact that ~X -> Y if this is true is an overly specific example of that "The first line being true (regardless of the truth of X)" -> Y. It's actually worded kind of weirdly, unless "imply" means something different in Logicianese than it does in colloquial English; ~X isn't really "implying" Y, it's just irrelevant.

This doesn't mean that "(X -> Y) -> Y" is always true. I actually can't think of any intuitive situations where this could be true. It's not true that the fact that "if Jesus really had come back to life, Christians would be Less Wrong about stuff" implies that Christians would be Less Wrong about stuff even if Jesus really hadn't come back to life.


To anyone who wants to tell me I'm wrong about this; If I'm wrong about this, and you know because you've learned about this in a class, whereas I just worked this out for myself, I'd appreciate it if you told me and mentioned that you've learned about this somewhere and know more than I do. If logic is another one of those fields where people who know a lot about it HATE it when people who don't know much about it try to work stuff out for themselves (like Physics and AI), I'd definitely like to know so that I don't throw out wrong answers in the future. Thanks.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 August 2010 02:20:19PM 5 points [-]

And if someone is good at making bombs (which is the role I would have expected for engineers) that's precisely the sort of person a terrorist organization wouldn't want to die.

I think.

One thing I've noticed is that everyone (ok, some huge proportion of people) thinks they're an expert on how to do effective terrorism.

Comment author: Ender 18 June 2012 03:42:40PM 6 points [-]

Making perfect, evil plots can be a great conversation starter.

In response to comment by [deleted] on The Substitution Principle
Comment author: Dmytry 30 January 2012 11:50:08AM *  0 points [-]

ahh btw to satisfy the citation request:

Computer chess on wikipedia

I've participated some in computer contests, not chess related, where you can't solve the problem exactly. It's generally the case that you need clever "substitutions" to get anywhere at all. Most problems that aren't outright trivial are too hard to solve from first principles.

Definitely so for the real world behaviours. A supposedly 'rational' calculation of best move, from first principles (death of king), but without substitutions and hunch based heuristics, done by human, over course of centuries, will not be even remotely powerful enough to match the immediate move that Kasparov would somehow make playing 1-minute blitz (and if you actually played chess real fast, it does become apparent that you just can't match this play without massively parallel, rather deep evaluation). I think all aspiring rationalists should learn boardgames like Chess, Go, and perhaps some RTS (like starcraft, though my favourite is springrts. In the starcraft the AI has too much advantage due to human bottlenecking on the output) to appreciate the difficulties. Ideally, try writing an AI that fights against other AIs (in a timed programming contest) to appreciate the issues with advance metastrategies and heuristics.

I perform best on that sort of stuff if I am not tired and I act on feelings. If I am tired or bored and I act on feelings that leads to a quick loss which is also rational because - what the hell am I doing playing game when tired?

edit: where the hell did my wikipedia link disappear? ahh nevermind.

Comment author: Ender 31 January 2012 02:42:20AM 1 point [-]

I have a friend who is much better at starcraft than I am; he says that he's largely better because he's worked out a lot of things like exactly the most efficient time to start harvesting gas and the resource collection per minute harvesters under optimal conditions, and he uses that information when he plays. It works better than playing based on feelings (by which I mean that he beats me).

If you don't have way too much time on your hands, though, it's about as much fun to not bother with all of that.

Also, I notice you cited a Wikipedia page. Naughty, naughty, naughty.

Comment author: Ender 22 January 2012 01:39:01AM 1 point [-]

I like your suggestion to learn to learn to like things. If anyone is looking for things to learn to like, these are some nice ones.

Ligeti's etudes (and other 12-tone music); www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0qoue0JbbU

This piece by Charles Ives; www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBU_XzWZNtc

Plays! You don't need to buy hundred-dollar tickets to fancy Broadway shows; community theater productions are often comically horrible in movies, but I've only seen good ones in real life (I did just put drama in a group with Ligeti etudes and cowboy music, but not because it's really weird).

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