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In response to comment by DragonGod on P: 0 <= P <= 1
Comment author: jimrandomh 28 August 2017 10:44:34PM 1 point [-]

There are decision-theoretic contexts in which you don't exist, but your (counterfactual) actions still matter because you're being simulated or reasoned about. These push on corner cases of the definitions of "I" and of "exist", and as far as I know are mostly not written up and published because they're still poorly understood. But I'm pretty sure that, for the most obvious ways of defining "I" and "exist", adding your own existence as an axiom will lead to incorrect results.

In response to comment by jimrandomh on P: 0 <= P <= 1
Comment author: Friendly-HI 02 September 2017 02:43:50PM *  2 points [-]

I'm tempted to agree with DragonGod on a weaker form (or phrasing) of the "I exist" proposition:

I would defend the proposition that my feeling of subjective experience (independent of whether or not I am mistaken about literally everything I think and believe) really does exist with a probability of 1. And even if my entire experience was just a dream or simulated on some computer inside a universe where 2+2=3 actually holds true, the existence of my subjective experience (as opposed to whatever "I" might mean) seems beyond any possible doubt.

Even if every single one of my senses and my entire map of reality (even including the concept of reality itself) was entirely mistaken in every possible aspect, there would still be such a thing as having/being my subjective experience. It's the one and only true axiom in this world that I think we can assign P=1 to.

Especially if you don't conceive of the word "exist" as meaning "is a thing within the base level of reality as opposed to a simulation."

Comment author: Friendly-HI 31 August 2017 05:11:46PM 0 points [-]

Background: My wife and I are both studying psychology, I'm doing my M.Sc. she does a very similar study on health risks at the workplace (an adaptive one, if general questions are answered "unfavorably" (i.e. indicator a health risk at the workplace is present), then a handful of more in-depth related questions to pinpoint the exact problem are given.

I didn't take the test yet, but just by reading ChristianKI's objections/suggestions (with which I agree) you need to really clarify the questions.

Here's a helpful piece of advice I've been given: Don't think about if the question is understandable, ask yourself if there is any chance at all that it could possibly be misunderstood by someone somewhere and change it as often as you need until that is no longer the case.

Comment author: turchin 30 August 2017 02:13:54PM 1 point [-]

I have been working on life extension industry for years and the main problem is that people want to die. It is the root of all other problems with funding or research, regulation etc. Technical problems are smallest.

Comment author: Friendly-HI 31 August 2017 03:24:37PM *  2 points [-]

I don't actually think people want to die. I think people think they want to die.

When I have this discussion I often try to paint this scenario: It's easy for you to say you'd want to die now, but imagine for a moment that you live in a future where two of your three neighbors already got their life extension treatment and felt super young, vitalized and healthy again, while you're pushing 60 and you notice how you're slowly falling apart. Many celebrities do it routinely, and eventually even some of your closest family members become convinced and get the treatment as well and some of them even keep pushing you on why the hell you haven't done it yet. If you were not making this decision in some theoretical vacuum but inside some actually plausible social context, I don't think you would possibly choose to just die while everyone else around you is having fun or begging you with tears in their eyes to not be a fucking traditionalist moron about this imagined non-issue.

Usually a lot of people then switch gears into justifying how its probably not possible anyway instead of actually engaging that particular argument and I shift gears into ending the conversation. They'll do it anyway - I know it, you know it and maybe they know it too now.

Comment author: jmh 30 August 2017 12:08:11PM *  7 points [-]

I think given the scenario, I roll over and go back to sleep. Put simply that's such a silly god I'm not going to pay any attention to it.

Another thought, "exactly as it unfolded" suggests I will have no awareness of any prior loop as I certainly have none now. Moreover, such an awareness necessarily changes how my life would unfold. There simply seems no difference between the two options from a practical perspective for me.

In response to comment by jmh on Is life worth living?
Comment author: Friendly-HI 30 August 2017 08:09:05PM *  0 points [-]

Agreed, there does seem to be no practical difference for the you-in-bed. But that feature seems to be the whole point of this scenario, so I think pointing that out is just a form of debasing the thought-experiment (which also ends with the sentence "if you were forced to pick", I might add).

Initially I thought I'd pick #2. My life was kind of fine enough, so I'd rather prefer to give a copy of me the privilege of experiencing my life than not.

However, assuming world#take2 is populated by "real people" (aka. complete simulations, not just some p-zombie Truman show shenanigans with fake "people outputs" who lack subjective experience) the question really becomes something else: Does the "video-clip" that was your life contain enough fun-for-you-and-others to outweigh the suffering of all the real/perfectly simulated people that would be re-living their existences alongside you? Kind of makes me tend strongly towards #1 just to get it over and done with, there's just still too much shit happening in this world. Just to be safe in order to not commit atrocities for a bit of mediocre hedonistic fun it is #1 for me. Life's fun but who needs it.

Comment author: Elo 25 August 2017 09:29:52PM *  1 point [-]

These are really great examples - I tried to pick generic examples of events which is why they seem dry of emotion (vase).

Being able to use option 1 depends on your ability to keep something secret without anything feeling off. I am impressed that you seem to report success doing so. But on top of that it also takes the risk that you can successfully model your partner and predict their next move in an unknown situation. (knowing that the risks of failure are catastrophic)

With your cancer event - how could you be sure that the partner would not want to talk about it or be involved in the situation?

I get a lot of closure by being in control of the situation. As much as it's not possible to control cancer - the information can deliver closure or a sense of knowing, or known unknowns.

In response to comment by Elo on Emotional labour
Comment author: Friendly-HI 26 August 2017 01:30:07AM *  1 point [-]

With your cancer event - how could you be sure that the partner would not want to talk about it or be involved in the situation?

She was under a lot of stress due to an ungodly amount of near simultaneous university exams and under high pressure of failing her course if she didn't ace all of them (luckily she pulled through). She had also lost her father to cancer about a year before this event and was still suffering the effects. In fact, with the death of her father she had lost both her parents and next to her brother I'm her "only real family" and we had been together for about five years at that point.

My prediction of how she would have reacted to the possibility of me having cancer was that she would not have been able to focus on her studies and exams very well, possibly fail an education she had invested years of her life and a huge sum of money into and generally have an unbelievably miserable time during the weeks until anything conclusive about the lump would have been found. I on the other hand was actually fairly fine during the whole affair and didn't even have trouble falling asleep. Either it was going to kill me or not, and if there was something I could do then I'd do whatever it takes, but I was not going to lose sleep over something that to me felt maybe like a 40 - 60% chance of it being cancer or nothing. A rational / stoic mindset about differentiation what you can and what you cannot control in your life and the knowledge to clearly separate those two helped me a lot with that I think.

To me it was not even remotely an option to tell her, I did what I think any good partner should have done in the situation I described above: Suck it up and don't let anything show. When I eventually told her afterwards she did get somewhat mad about it but conceded it was the right decision...

How could I even face myself in the mirror today if I had simply told her about it and she had failed her education as a result of it - especially after it turned out to be nothing (though even if it was cancer I think the same would apply)? I think I did precisely the right thing, what she would have wanted was irrelevant, the only person who really had "a choice" in this scenario was me.

In response to Emotional labour
Comment author: Friendly-HI 25 August 2017 07:17:12PM *  1 point [-]

Two counter-examples involving my SO in cases where we both chose option 1 and both felt it was the correct decision.

Event + option 1: I became aware I was pregnant with your child right before you left in order to visit your parents over the Christmas and New Year holidays. I kept it from you during all of your vacation because I knew it would screw up your whole stay with your parents and friends. I predicted you'd prefer to deal with it later and in person.

Event + option 1: I (not known to be paranoid about personal health) found a very suspicious lump in a very suspicious place in my body. I immediately went to get it checked, but since I predicted you'd be extremely worried about me I did not tell you about it until after my second check-up months later, so you would not have to worry about losing me to cancer like you recently did one of your parents.

We agree that in both cases these were good decisions, but those are rather extreme cases with a very high emotional cost to the other person compared to breaking a vase or something in the low range of suffering.

My suspicion: Preferring option 2 over option 1 across all applicable cases seems too generalized and wrong. I suspect there is a point of magnitude in emotional cost to another person, after which you might also feel that option 1 would be preferred by both parties - what do you think?

Another real-world-example I'm personally familiar with that feels very related to this one, but without the intention to ever let the emotionally impacted person actually know (i.e. direct lying) is this situation: Dear god-fearing bed-ridden grandma, your poor son died peacefully of a heart attack. (As opposed to slit his wrists in the bathroom while drunk).

Comment author: [deleted] 25 March 2015 10:53:00AM *  3 points [-]

Being Swedish (at least by citizenship) is probably also a very good signal internationally speaking. Better than German for sure.

If you go to the ex-Eastern Block, you find German usually has the signal "awesome rich industrial powerhouse, want to imitate, the kind of capitalist overlord I would want to be become, bossing over everybody" and Swedish has the signal "pretty people with funny ideas like non-gendered kindergartens, lacking courage or else they would beat the shit out of immigrant rapists".

Basically in Eastern Europe German is the second most powerful signal after American, and since people tend to worship power it works...

In response to comment by [deleted] on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas!
Comment author: Friendly-HI 29 March 2015 03:52:03PM 1 point [-]

Could very well be true. But it leaves open the curious question what on earth I would be looking for in the ex-eastern block ;)

Comment author: arbo 20 December 2014 06:51:32AM 11 points [-]

Hello. I’m Mark. I’m a 24-year-old software engineer in Michigan.

I found LessWrong a little over a year ago via HPMOR. I’m working through the books listed on MIRI’s Research Guide. I finished Bostrom’s Superintelligence earlier this week, and I’m currently working through the Sequences and Naive Set Theory. I’m not quite sure what I want to do after I complete the Research Guide; but AI is challenging and interesting, so I’m excited to learn more.

P.S. I’m a SuperLurker™. I find it very difficult to post in public forums. I only visualize the futures where future!Me looks back at his old posts and cringes. If you suffer similarly, I hope you will follow my lead and introduce yourself. Throw caution to the wind! Or, you know, just send me a private message (a simple “hey” will suffice) and maybe we can help each other.

Comment author: Friendly-HI 26 December 2014 11:53:47AM 1 point [-]

Be honest, do you really actually fear cringing when you re-read your stuff months or years from now? Sounds to me like an invented reason to mask a much more plausible fear: Looking foolish in front of others by saying foolish things. Well in case you do make a fool of yourself you always have the option of admitting "back then I was foolish in saying that and I have changed my mind because of X". In this communuty being able to do that is usually accompanied with a slight status gain rather than severe status punishment and ridicule, so no need to worry about that.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 24 November 2014 10:18:17PM *  2 points [-]

I had a similar issue, although I think it was just a product of OCD. I used to have insane, tear-your-hair out arguments online with idiots which I could never ever not respond to, no matter how petty. It just bounced around in my brain until I had to vomit out a response to stop myself from going nuts.

I'd like to see a competent cognitive-behavioral therapist, as Eliezer recommended, but I don't believe that competent mental health professionals actually exist. Better to do your own research, and find your own solution.

Comment author: Friendly-HI 25 November 2014 09:59:30PM 2 points [-]

I don't believe that competent mental health professionals actually exist

Ouch shots fired. How the success rate of CBT looks like depends heavily what exactly the mental health problem is. "Curing" or rather alleviating many kinds of phobias via cognitive behavior therapy has a really excellent success rate for example.

Comment author: Swimmer963 04 August 2014 02:05:20AM *  6 points [-]

Lots of reasons. The reasons why I originally chose it at age 15 aren't all the same reasons why I keep doing it now.

At age 15: -I wanted to get better at social skills, and nursing seemed like good practice for that. -I wanted a steady guaranteed well-paying job after 4 years of university. Not many things promise that. Nursing does. (My hospital guaranteed me a job, in the unit that I wanted, a year before I even graduated.) -I read number of books by Tilda Shalof about working as an ICU nurse, and my response to them was a powerful "yes, that, I want to do that."

Now: -It's exciting and varied, and challenges and rewards many different parts of me. On a good day at work, I'm curious. I'm admitting a patient and we don't quite know what's going on yet and I stay after the end of my shift to look up their lab results because I fought to get that bloodwork (it's really hard to do blood draws on someone who's in severe shock) and I want to know. On a good day at work, I care. I have the same sweet old lady for a week and she's telling me her life story and keeping me laughing as I coax and cajole her to get up in the chair an extra time, walk an extra lap around the unit, eat one more bite of hospital chicken puree. On a good day, I'm a well-oiled part in a machine much bigger than myself, a necessary and essential member of a great team, and it feels awesome. On a good day, I'm proud: of the IV I put in, the infected central line site that I noticed first, of the antibiotics I reminded the doctor to change, of the help I gave the other nurses. There are some bad days, and lots of meh days, but the work that I'm doing is always important...and in a way that my System 1 can really grasp. No productivity hacks required; I don't need urging to work my butt off. -I'm 22 years old and I have $50K in savings. And job security forever. That's pretty rare. -I have skills that are unusual within the rationality community. Nursing, like engineering, takes in random first-year undergrads and trains them to have a specified set of skills–and, in the process, to see the world in a particular way. I think like a nurse. It makes me inexplicably good at some things, like running logistics for CFAR workshops. It's brought me up to average or above average in a lot of areas, like reacting under pressure and most types of social skills. It's made me generically useful. And I don't think it's done making me more useful. I'm not even a particularly good nurse yet; you aren't expected to be until ~5 years in.

(Perfectionism: useful overall. It might make my learning curve flatter at first, but I think I'll keep improving for longer.)

I probably won't do nursing forever. It's pretty varied, but it's not infinitely varied. Currently I'm having too much fun at work to want to leave; if I'm bored in five years, and I can find a way to legally work in the US in any capacity other than nursing, there are a bunch of interesting things I could do.

Comment author: Friendly-HI 04 August 2014 11:03:08AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for the response, that was an interesting read.

As for perfectionism - In retrospect I think it was a huge drag on my own well-being and social relationships but helpful in getting things done. I am much less of a perfectionist nowadays and that has improved my life in many ways at the cost of making me somewhat less effective when it comes to work. Perfectionism for me wasn't just about my work but also about myself and others - seeing the imperfections and trying to iron them out. A pattern of perception if you will that didn't see the good things about myself and others and predominantly focused on optimizing the negatives. I feel much better now after changing that pattern of perception, so I was interested in how you thought of it - also outside of work.

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