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Comment author: Eneasz 30 October 2014 04:52:15PM 1 point [-]

Taken, in full

In response to Podcasts?
Comment author: gwillen 26 October 2014 12:53:27AM 1 point [-]

I'm surprised to see Radiolab get top billing, and This American Life not even get a mention. I think of Radiolab as an excellent imitation of TAL. :-)

In response to comment by gwillen on Podcasts?
Comment author: Eneasz 29 October 2014 04:27:20AM 1 point [-]

I had to stop listening to TAL because I was tired of wanting to kill myself after every episode.

Comment author: Eneasz 29 October 2014 04:25:40AM 0 points [-]

1-2 mg of Melatonin ~20min before you wish to fall asleep

Comment author: Eneasz 28 October 2014 01:55:57PM 0 points [-]

2 hours per day seems like way too much. I work out 3x per week, 1 hour each time. (Though I did start 4x per week, 1 hour each, when I was initially losing weight). Just make sure to keep it high intensity. When I'm tempted to slack off I ask myself if I'm here to kill some time by moving around, or if I'm here to achieve a damn objective as efficiently as I can so I can get back to doing other things. If after an hour is up I'm physically capable of continuing for another hour, I obviously was just wasting my time.

In response to Podcasts?
Comment author: Eneasz 28 October 2014 01:47:37PM 1 point [-]

Planet Money is fantastic, I never miss it. Savage Love is equally fantastic, and on a topic too many people neglect because they don't think there's much to learn.

Welcome to Night Vale is quirky and fun. Plus quite popular, so gives you something to talk about with other geeks you run into at random.

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 23 October 2014 09:12:47AM *  3 points [-]

Some assorted thoughts:

  • Virtual PVP games with permadeath (or even progress permaloss) are relatively rare.

  • There's currently no virtual PVP game that allows destruction of the game world, e.g. restarting and wiping a server triggered by an in-game event.

  • Some real-world PVP games (e.g. racing or MMA fighting) have their risks, but injury or death are relatively rare because these games are regulated. The percentage of the population willing to compete in such games is tiny. There must be unregulated PVP games with permadeath, but I'm struggling to imagine them taking place anywhere outside a Colombian prison - and I don't think the participation there is fully voluntary.

  • A CEV implementer can set limits to human conflict. For example, status games, Red vs Blue, bickering and insults are OK, but hurting / killing each other or degrading / destroying the environment are not allowed or impossible. Or, players could simply set the limits of acceptable loss in real-world PVP - or even limit themselves to PVE-only. No doubt there would be 'hardcore PVP characters' of various extent, but I think they would be in a minority.

Comment author: Eneasz 23 October 2014 05:22:54PM 0 points [-]

This reminds me quite a bit of The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war continued by other means

25 Eneasz 21 October 2014 07:39PM

(cross-posted from my blog)

I. PvE vs PvP

Ever since it’s advent in Doom, PvP (Player vs Player) has been an integral part of almost every major video game. This is annoying to PvE (Player vs Environment) fans like myself, especially when PvE mechanics are altered (read: simplified and degraded) for the purpose of accommodating the PvP game play. Even in games which are ostensibly about the story & world, rather than direct player-on-player competition.

The reason for this comes down to simple math. PvE content is expensive to make. An hour of game play can take many dozens, or nowadays even hundreds, of man-hours of labor to produce. And once you’ve completed a PvE game, you’re done with it. There’s nothing else, you’ve reached “The End”, congrats. You can replay it a few times if you really loved it, like re-reading a book, but the content is the same. MMORGs recycle content by forcing you to grind bosses many times before you can move on to the next one, but that’s as fun as the word “grind” makes it sound. At that point people are there more for the social aspect and the occasional high than the core gameplay itself.

PvP “content”, OTOH, generates itself. Other humans keep learning and getting better and improvising new tactics. Every encounter has the potential to be new and exciting, and they always come with the rush of triumphing over another person (or the crush of losing to the same).

But much more to the point – In PvE potentially everyone can make it into the halls of “Finished The Game;” and if everyone is special, no one is. PvP has a very small elite – there can only be one #1 player, and people are always scrabbling for that position, or defending it. PvP harnesses our status-seeking instinct to get us to provide challenges for each other rather than forcing the game developers to develop new challenges for us. It’s far more cost effective, and a single man-hour of labor can produce hundreds or thousands of hours of game play. StarCraft  continued to be played at a massive level for 12 years after its release, until it was replaced with StarCraft II.

So if you want to keep people occupied for a looooong time without running out of game-world, focus on PvP

II. Science as PvE

In the distant past (in internet time) I commented at LessWrong that discovering new aspects of reality was exciting and filled me with awe and wonder and the normal “Science is Awesome” applause lights (and yes, I still feel that way). And I sneered at the status-grubbing of politicians and administrators and basically everyone that we in nerd culture disliked in high school. How temporary and near-sighted! How zero-sum (and often negative-sum!), draining resources we could use for actual positive-sum efforts like exploration and research! A pox on their houses!

Someone replied, asking why anyone should care about the minutia of lifeless, non-agenty forces? How could anyone expend so much of their mental efforts on such trivia when there are these complex, elaborate status games one can play instead? Feints and countermoves and gambits and evasions, with hidden score-keeping and persistent reputation effects… and that’s just the first layer! The subtle ballet of interaction is difficult even to watch, and when you get billions of dancers interacting it can be the most exhilarating experience of all.

This was the first time I’d ever been confronted with status-behavior as anything other than wasteful. Of course I rejected it at first, because no one is allowed to win arguments in real time. But it stuck with me. I now see the game play, and it is intricate. It puts Playing At The Next Level in a whole new perspective. It is the constant refinement and challenge and lack of a final completion-condition that is the heart of PvP. Human status games are the PvP of real life.

Which, by extension of the metaphor, makes Scientific Progress the PvE of real life. Which makes sense. It is us versus the environment in the most literal sense. It is content that was provided to us, rather than what we make ourselves. And it is limited – in theory we could some day learn everything that there is to learn.

III. The Best of All Possible Worlds

I’ve mentioned a few times I have difficulty accepting reality as real. Say you were trying to keep a limitless number of humans happy and occupied for an unbounded amount of time. You provide them PvE content to get them started. But you don’t want the PvE content to be their primary focus, both because they’ll eventually run out of it, and also because once they’ve completely cracked it there’s a good chance they’ll realize they’re in a simulation. You know that PvP is a good substitute for PvE for most people, often a superior one, and that PvP can get recursively more complex and intricate without limit and keep the humans endlessly occupied and happy, as long as their neuro-architecture is right. It’d be really great if they happened to evolve in a way that made status-seeking extremely pleasurable for the majority of the species, even if that did mean that the ones losing badly were constantly miserable regardless of their objective well-being. This would mean far, far more lives could be lived and enjoyed without running out of content than would otherwise be possible.

IV. Implications for CEV

It’s said that the Coherent Extrapolated Volition is “our wish if we knew more, thought faster, were more the people we wished to be, hard grown up farther together.” This implies a resolution to many conflicts. No more endless bickering about whether the Red Tribe is racist or the Blue Tribe is arrogant pricks. A more unified way of looking at the world that breaks down those conceptual conflicts. But if PvP play really is an integral part of the human experience, a true CEV would notice that, and would preserve these differences instead. To ensure that we always had rival factions sniping at each other over irreconcilable, fundamental disagreements in how reality should be approached and how problems should be solved. To forever keep partisan politics as part of the human condition, so we have this dance to enjoy. Stripping it out would be akin to removing humanity’s love of music, because dancing inefficiently consumes great amounts of energy just so we can end up where we started.

Carl von Clausewitz famously said “War is the continuation of politics by other means.”  The correlate of “Politics is the continuation of war by other means” has already been proposed. It is not unreasonable to speculate that in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war continued by other means. Which, all things considered, is greatly preferable to actual war. As long as people like Scott are around to try to keep things somewhat civil and preventing an escalation into violence, this may not be terrible.

Comment author: Eneasz 07 October 2014 03:17:42PM *  1 point [-]

Barring catastrophe, I shall indeed be there!

Petrov Day Reminder

8 Eneasz 26 September 2014 01:57PM

9/26 is Petrov Day. It is the time of year where we celebrate the world not being destroyed. Let your friends and family know.


Comment author: Eneasz 23 September 2014 02:22:47AM 9 points [-]

Has anyone posted about Seth Dickinson yet? I don't keep up on the open threads as much as I'd like, but my google-fu says no.

Last year I was blown away by a short story by Seth Dickinson called A Plant (Whose Name is Destroyed). Recently I went and checked out Seth Dickinson's other works. I've read over half of them now, and I gotta say - I STRONGLY recommend this author. Many of his works have a very strong transhumanist message, and some could be called rationalist. I'm kinda surprised I haven't already heard his name brought up on LessWrong, or SlateStarCodex, or /r/rational. I'm fixing that this week.

A few of my favorite stories:

Economies of Force - A post-GAI story where humanity made AI that almost captures our values, but not quite, and it results in the sort of utopia you might expect from that sort of failure. Shades of Amputation of Destiny and Bostrom's Empty Disneyland. If anyone can figure out the significance of the name "Loom", please let me know. It must have been chosen for a reason, but I'm not making the connection.

Sekhmet Hunts the Dying Gnosis: A Computation - A rather literal take on Meditations on Moloch, and/or An Alien God

Morrigan in the Sunglare - Like Bayesians vs Barbarians, told from the PoV of the Barbarians (sort of).

Kumara - a seriously beautiful post-singularity transhumanist story. Just... really beautiful. And murderous.

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