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Comment author: dglukhov 22 March 2017 05:05:55PM *  0 points [-]

Resistance on whose part to what?

Resistance of those without resources against those with amassed resources. We can call them rich vs. poor, leaders vs. followers, advantaged vs. disadvantaged. the advantaged groups tend to be characteristically small, the disadvantaged large.

Revolutions haven't been very kind to leaders, too -- that's the point. When the proles have nothing to lose but their chains, they get restless :-/

Restlessness is useless when it is condensed and exploited to empower those chaining them. For example, rebellion is an easily bought commercial product, a socially/tribally recognized garb you can wear. You'd be hard-pressed more to look the part of a revolutionary than to actually do anything that could potentially defy the oppressive regime you might be a part of. There are other examples, which leads me to my next point.


It would be in the best interest for leaders to optimize for a situation where rebellion cannot ever arise, that is the single threat any self-interested leader with the goal of continuing their reign needs to worry about. Whether it involves mass surveillance, economic manipulation, or simply despotic control is largely irrelevant, the idea behind them is what counts. Now when you bring up the subject of technology, any smart leader with a stake in their reign time will immediately seize any opportunity to extend it. Set a situation up to create technology that necessarily mitigates the potential for rebellion to arise, and you get to rule longer.

This is a theoretical scenario. It is a scary one, and the prevalence of conspiracy theories arising from such a theory simply plays to biases founded in fear. And of course, with bias comes the inevitable rationalist backlash to such idea. But I'm not interested in this political discourse, I just want to highlight something.

The scenario establishes an optimization process. Optimization for control. It is always more advantageous for a leader to worry more about their reign and extend it than to be benevolent, a sort of tragedy of the commons for leaders. The natural in-system solution for this optimization problem is to eliminate all potential sources of competition. The out-system solution for this optimization problem is mutual cooperation and control-sharing to meet certain needs and goals.

There currently exists no out-system incentive that I am currently aware of. Rationality doesn't count, since it still leads to in-system outcomes (benevolent leaders).

EDIT: I just thought of an ironic situation. The current solution to the tragedy of the commons most prevalent is through the use of government regulation. This is only a Band-Aid, since you get a recursion issue of figuring out who's gonna govern the government.

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 06:28:42PM *  0 points [-]

Restlessness is useless when it is condensed and exploited to empower those chaining them.

And when it's not? Consider Ukraine. Or if you want to go a bit further in time the whole collapse of the USSR and its satellites.

It is always more advantageous for a leader to worry more about their reign and extend it than to be benevolent

I don't see why. It is advantageous for a leader to have satisfied and so complacent subjects. Benevolence can be a good tool.

Comment author: SnowSage4444 22 March 2017 05:32:04PM 0 points [-]

Does this site have a report button?

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 06:22:38PM *  0 points [-]

Yell loudly for moderators to come rescue you. I recommend ALL CAPS.

Comment author: SnowSage4444 22 March 2017 05:29:00PM 0 points [-]

You don't know what newtonian means, do you?

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 06:21:33PM *  0 points [-]

Errr.. That's when you find a newt on Ian, right? Unfortunate situation for a newt, I think. But not so bad for Ian -- it could have been a non-newt. An elephant, for example.

Comment author: gjm 22 March 2017 04:36:03PM 0 points [-]

Fair enough; I just wanted to make it explicit that that question has basically nothing to do with anything else in the thread. I mean, Viliam was saying "so it might be a good idea to do such-and-such about superhumanly capable AI" and you came in and said "aha, that kinda pattern-matches to communism. Are you defending communism?" and then said oh, by the way, I'm only interested in communism in the case where there is no superhumanly capable AI.

But, well, trolls gonna troll, and you've already said trolling is your preferred mode of political debate.

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 04:42:21PM 0 points [-]

Well, the kinda-sorta OP phrased the issue this way:

If the choice is between giving each human a 1/7000000000 of the universe, or giving the whole universe to Elon Musk (or some other person) and letting everyone else starve

...and that set the tone for the entire subthread :-P

Comment author: dglukhov 22 March 2017 02:55:10PM *  0 points [-]

Good luck coalescing that in any meaningful level of resistance. History shows that leaders haven't been very kind to revolutions, and the success rate for such movements aren't necessarily high given the technical limitations.

I say this only because I'm seeing a slow tendency towards an absolution of leader-replacement strategies and sentiments.

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 04:18:15PM *  0 points [-]

coalescing that in any meaningful level of resistance

Resistance on whose part to what?

History shows that leaders haven't been very kind to revolutions

Revolutions haven't been very kind to leaders, too -- that's the point. When the proles have nothing to lose but their chains, they get restless :-/

an absolution of leader-replacement strategies


Comment author: dglukhov 22 March 2017 02:37:08PM *  0 points [-]

Much more than the top 20% of this planet has mobile phones. Most people benefit from technologies like smart phones.

I wouldn't cherry-pick one technological example and make a case for the rest of available technological advancements as conducive to closing the financial gap between people. Tech provides for industry, industry provides for shareholders, shareholders provide for themselves (here's one data point in a field of research exploring the seemingly direct relationship between excess resource acquisition and antisocial tendencies, I will work on finding more, if any). I am necessarily glossing over the extraneous details, but since the corporate incentive system provides for a whole host of advantages, and since it has power over top-level governments (lobbying success statistics come to mind), this incentive system is necessarily prevalent and of major interest when tech advances are the topic of discussion. Those with power get tech benefits first, if any benefits exist beyond that point, fantastic. If not, the obsolescence conspiracy seems the likely next scenario. I have no awareness of an incentive system that dictates that those with money and power need necessarily provide for everyone else. If there was one, I wouldn't be the only unaware one, since clearly the OP isn't aware of such a thing either.

Are there any technological advancements you can think of that necessarily trickle down the socio-economic scale and help those poorest of the poor? My first idea would be agricultural advancements, but then I'd have to go and collect statistics on rates of food acquisition for the poorest subset of the world population, with maybe a start in the world census data for agriculture, which may not even have the data I'd need. Any ideas of your own?

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 02:41:23PM 0 points [-]

I have no awareness of an incentive system that dictates that those with money and power need necessarily provide for everyone else.

It's called a survival instinct.

Comment author: gjm 22 March 2017 03:10:19AM 0 points [-]

It seems you agree with Viliam: see the second paragraph below.

For the obvious reasons I don't think you can find selfless and competent human rulers to make this really work. But conditional on possibility of creating a Friendly superintelligent AI... sure.

Although calling that "communism" is about as much of a central example, as calling the paperclip maximizer scenario "capitalism".

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 02:38:52PM *  0 points [-]

Right, but I am specifically interested in Viliam's views about the scenario where there is no AI, but we do have honest and competent rulers.

Comment author: gjm 22 March 2017 01:07:20AM 1 point [-]

Maybe I misunderstood the context, but it looked to me as if Viliam was intending only to say that post-Singularity communism might work out OK on account of being run by superintelligent AIs rather than superstupid meatsacks, and any more general-sounding things he may have said about the problems of communism were directed at that scenario.

(I repeat that I agree that merely replacing the leaders with superintelligent AIs and changing nothing else would most likely not make communism work at all, for reasons essentially the same as yours.)

Comment author: Lumifer 22 March 2017 01:13:04AM 0 points [-]

post-Singularity communism

I have no idea what this means.

Comment author: mindreadings 21 March 2017 07:03:31PM 1 point [-]

Good. The experiment is, however, very good evidence for the hypothesis that R.S. Marken is a crank, and explains the >quote from his farewell speech that didn't make sense to me before:

I can be a pretty cranky fellow but I think there might be better evidence of that than the model fitting effort you refer to. The "experiment" that you find to be poor evidence for PCT comes from a paper published in the journal Ergonomics that describes a control theory model that can be used as a framework for understanding the causes of error in skilled performance, such as writing prescriptions. The fit of the model to the error data in Table 1 is meant to show that such a control model can produce results that mimic some existing data on error rates (and without using more free parameters than data points; there are 4 free parameters and 4 data points; the fit of the model is, indeed, very good but not perfect).

But the point of the model fitting exercise was simply to show that the control model provides a plausible explanation of why errors in skilled performance might occur at particular (very low) rates. The model fitting exercise was not done to impress people with how well the control model fits the data relative to other models since, to my knowledge, there are no comparable models of error against which to compare the fit .As I said in the introduction to the paper, existing models of error (which are really just verbal descriptions of why error occurs) "tell us the factors that might lead to error, but they do not tell us why these factors produce an error only rarely."

So if it's the degree of fit to the data that you are looking for as evidence of the merits of PCT then this paper is not necessarily a good reference for that. Actually, a good example of the kind of fit to data you can get with PCT can be gleaned from doing one of the on-line control demos at my Mind Readings site, particularly the Tracking Task. When you become skilled at doing this task you will find that the correlation between the PCT model (called "Model" in graphic display at he end of each trial) and your behavior will be close to one. And this is achieved using a model with no free parameters at all; they are the parameters that have worked for many different individuals and they are now simply constants in the model.

OH, and if you are looking for examples of things PCT can do that other models can't do, try the Mind Reading demo, where the computer uses a methodology based on PCT, called the Test for the Controlled Variable, to tell which of three avatars -- all three of which are being moved by your mouse movements -- is the one being moved intentionally.

The fact that Marken was repeatedly told this, interpreted it to mean that others were jealous of his precision, and continued to produce experimental "results" of the same sort along with bold claims of their predictive power, makes him a crank.

I don't recall ever being told (by reviewers or other critics) that the goodness of fit of my (and my mentor Bill Powers') PCT models to data was a result of having more free parameters than data points. And had I ever been told that I would certainly not have thought it was because others were jealous of the precision of our results. And the main reason I have continued to produce experimental results -- available in my books Mind Readings, More Mind Readings and Doing Research on Purpose-- is not to make bold claims about the predictive power of the PCT model but to emphasize the point that PCT is a model of control, the process of consistently producing pre-selected results in a disturbance prone world. The precision of PCT comes only from the fact that it recognizes that behavior is not a caused result of input or a cognitively planed output but a process of control of input. So if I’m a crank, it’s not because I imagine that my model of behavior fits the data better than other models; it’s because I think my concept of what behavior is is better than other concepts of what behavior is.

I believe Richard Kennaway, who is on this blog, can attest to the fact that, while I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, I’m not really a crank; at least, no more of a crank than the person who is responsible for all this PCT stuff, the late (great) William T. Powers.

I hope all the formatting comes out ok on this; I can't seem to find a way to preview it.

Best regards

Rick Marken

Comment author: Lumifer 21 March 2017 07:22:49PM 0 points [-]

You know you're replying to an 8-year-old thread, right?

Comment author: bogus 21 March 2017 06:51:58PM *  0 points [-]

Capital is resources needed for production of value.

And that stack of decade-old manga is a resource that might indeed provide value (in the form of continuing enjoyment) to a manga collector. That makes it capital. A $20 bill in my wallet is ultimately a claim on real resources that the central bank commits to honoring, by preserving the value of the currency - that makes it "capital" from a strictly individual perspective (indeed, such claims are often called "financial capital"), although it's indeed not real "capital" in an economy-wide sense (because any such claim must be offset by a corresponding liability).

Comment author: Lumifer 21 March 2017 07:03:33PM *  0 points [-]

Sigh. You can, of course, define any word any way you like it, but I have my doubts about the usefulness of such endeavours. Go read.

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