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Comment author: JoshuaZ 30 September 2015 12:31:25AM 0 points [-]

Another reason for optimism is that it seems that the level of political bias is actually lower today than it was historically. People are better at judging politically controversial issues in a detached, scientific way today than they were in, say, the 14th century. This shows that progress is possible.

Can you expand on what evidence there is for this?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 30 September 2015 12:17:44AM 1 point [-]

This and other recent work with deep learning raises a substantial question: how much of intelligence is simply raw processing power? Many of the ideas and algorithms used in these recent advances have been around for a while, but they are taking advantage of much more processing power than they would have had available 10 or 20 years ago. This suggests that we may have most of the ingredients for intelligence and can't implement it or can't recognize it due to processing limitations.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 25 September 2015 10:40:26PM 1 point [-]

[Link] Scott Adams' The Persuasion Reading List

Scott Adams' apparently has a his own version of the sequences and even has structured it into steps that bridge the inferential gap to the points he wants to get across. I notice that there is some self-promotion but overall it seems like a sensible list. What do you think?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 27 September 2015 07:53:45PM 1 point [-]

Considering he claims a 98% probability of Donald Trump becoming the next US President, I'll bother paying attention to what he says to say if/when that turned out to be accurate.

Comment author: MattG 26 September 2015 07:33:20AM 2 points [-]

I'll bet you 10$ that within 5 years there will be a test for virtual reality in prisons, and that it will have some statistically significant positive effects.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 27 September 2015 07:51:45PM 2 points [-]

I don't know about Lumifer, but I'd certainly be willing to take that bet.

Comment author: James_Miller 31 August 2015 04:49:25AM *  2 points [-]

Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who has a fantastic rationalist-compatible blog, is giving Donald Trump a 98% of becoming president because Trump is using advanced persuasion techniques. We probably shouldn't get into whether Trump should be president, but do you think Adams is correct, especially about what he writes here. See also this, this, and this.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 02 September 2015 01:51:50AM 6 points [-]

Why do so many people see Adams as being rationality-compatible? I've seen very little that he has to say that sounds at all rational or helpful. Cynical != rational.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 14 August 2015 11:53:35PM -2 points [-]

It's common sense to infer that someone is talking about valid proofs when they talk about believing in proofs.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 16 August 2015 02:33:39AM 2 points [-]

That is the problem in a nutshell: how do you know it is a valid proof? All the time one thinks the proof is valid and it turns out one is wrong.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 11 August 2015 12:37:26PM -1 points [-]

The principle, stated simply in my bastardized version, is to believe no thing with probability 1.

Meeehhhh. Believe nothing empirical with probability 1.0. Believe formal and analytical proofs with probability 1.0.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 14 August 2015 06:02:53PM 5 points [-]

Have you never seen an apparently valid mathematical proof that you later found an error in?

Comment author: CellBioGuy 21 July 2015 06:04:25AM *  28 points [-]

Would a series of several posts on astrobiology and the Fermi paradox, each consisting of a link to an external post on a personal blog I have just established to contain my musings on the subject and related matters, be appreciated?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 July 2015 11:18:47PM 1 point [-]

Yes. absolutely would be of interest.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 June 2015 01:35:51PM 5 points [-]

Philosophers are apparently about as vulnerable as the general population to certain cognitive biases involved in making moral decisions according to new research. Apparently, they are as susceptible to the order of presentation impacting how moral or immoral they rate various situations. See summary of research here. Actual research is unfortunately behind a paywall.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 22 May 2015 12:37:42PM *  0 points [-]

No offense to you guys, but this is why I don't play RPGs with other people. Instead of playing a role almost everybody is trying to make "efficient" "overpowered" characters as if it was some sort of a competition which you can win. I think entirely the other way around, I would make my character a wizard because and only because this career choice matches his personality, background and so on, and multiclass only when it looks like my char really would. And would not give no heed to efficiency and power. It would be the DMs job to match difficulty level to our characters, not the other way around.

I will have to invent an RPG where all armor has the same AC, all weapons the same damage, so that players don't try to make overpowered optimization monsters but plain simply choose whatever matches a characters style, background, culture, or the players general sense of coolness. Thus, for example, a player would be comfortable with a fighter character that wears no armor and carries only a rapier because he is a D'Artagnan type swashbuckler, that is his personality, background and style.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 May 2015 01:11:26AM -2 points [-]

No offense to you guys, but this is why I don't play RPGs with other people. Instead of playing a role almost everybody is trying to make "efficient" "overpowered" characters as if it was some sort of a competition which you can win.

I generally don't play "optmized" characters, but the fact that there are some character types which are more optimal for most purposes (surviving games, making DMs cry, etc.) is well acknowledged. One can have fun discussing those issues independent of any characters one actually plays in a game.

There are however, some circumstances where it really does matter. Say for example one is playing a very high intelligence wizard in D&D 3.5. The fact is that throwing fire balls at everything is very fun, but not at all effective compared to battlefield control and buffing. So if one has a wizard who likes doing that sort of thing, you need an in game explanation for why they enjoy solving things with explosions so much.

It is also worth noting that in some games, the problem of optimal characters gets so severe that it makes it for some arrangements of characters where it is extremely difficult or impossible for a DM to match something that corresponds to the difficulty level of all the characters. A genuine threat to some characters will be the same level that makes other characters useless or dead. The 3.5 Tier list was made to try to help understand and fix this problem. So these issues do impact real game play.

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