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Comment author: Ian_C. 04 April 2009 03:08:58AM -2 points [-]

Stopping aid to Africa? It won't happen. Even people who fancy themselves rationalist still follow the Christian ethic that it's better to give something you earn to someone else than to keep it for yourself.

This ethic is irrational because to follow reason is to follow cause and effect, therefore the person who caused the thing to be (who earned it) should suffer the effect (receive the thing).

Comment author: Ian_C. 20 February 2009 02:58:32AM 0 points [-]

Religion is possibly to blame for the idea that suspended judgment = superiority. Only God is omniscient, so only He knows things for sure, everyone else must act unsure and tentative.

Priests are allowed to pass judgment and still retain their authority, because they are the voice of God on earth. Maybe the idea of judges evolved from priests and retained that immunity.

In response to Value is Fragile
Comment author: Ian_C. 29 January 2009 03:08:06PM 2 points [-]

Evolution (as an algorithm) doesn't work on the indestructible. Therefore all naturally-evolved beings must be fragile to some extent, and must have evolved to value protecting their fragility.

Yes, a designed life form can have paper clip values, but I don't think we'll encounter any naturally occurring beings like this. So our provincial little values may not be so provincial after all, but common on many planets.

In response to OB Status Update
Comment author: Ian_C. 27 January 2009 03:35:30PM 0 points [-]

How are we meant to interpret the name? At first blush, I would take it to mean "Posts here are less wrong than average, but still wrong," which is not really encouraging for potential posters...

Also a workaround for anonymous posting might be to make an actual account called "anonymous" and publicize the password.

Comment author: Ian_C. 27 January 2009 01:52:53PM -2 points [-]

There were a number of anti-Bush comments in that video. Whatever you thought of him, there were no terrorist attacks for 7 years. Let's hope Obama can beat that record.

In response to Visualizing Eutopia
Comment author: Ian_C. 17 December 2008 12:20:58AM 0 points [-]

"Why does anything exist in the first place?" or "Why do I find myself in a universe giving rise to experiences that are ordered rather than chaotic?"

So... is cryonics about wanting to see the future, or is it about going to the future to learn the answers to all the "big questions?"

To those who advocate cryonics, if you had all the answers to all the big questions today, would you still use it or would you feel your life "complete" in some way?

I personally will not be using this technique. I will study philosophy and mathematics, and whatever I can find out before I die - that's it - I just don't get to know the rest.

Comment author: Ian_C. 10 December 2008 03:40:17AM 1 point [-]

The idea of making a mind-design n-space by putting various attributes on the axis, such as humorous/non-humorous, conceptual/perceptual/sensual, etc. -- how much does this tell us about the real possibilites?

What I mean is, for a thing to be possible, there must be some combination of atoms that can fit together to make it work. But merely making an N-space does not tell us about what atoms there are and what they can do.

Come to think of it, how can we assert *anything* is possible without having already designed it?

Comment author: Ian_C. 08 December 2008 12:59:36AM 2 points [-]

But if the brain does not work by magic (of course), then insight does not either. Genius is 99% perspiration, 10,000 failed lightbulbs and all that...

I think the kind of experimental approach Jed Harris was talking about yesterday is where AI will eventually come from. Some researcher who has 10,000 failed AI programs on his hard drive will *then* have the insight, but not before. The trick is, once he has the insight, to not implement it right away but stop and think about friendliness! But after so many failures how could you resist...

Comment author: Ian_C. 06 December 2008 06:39:59PM 10 points [-]

Eliezer, I'm sure if you complete your friendly AI design, there will be multiple honorary PhDs to follow.

Comment author: Ian_C. 05 December 2008 12:37:23AM 0 points [-]

"as long as the differences in the new situation are things that were originally allowed to vary"

And all the things that were fixed are still present of course! (since these are what we are presuming are the causal factors)

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