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Comment author: NickRetallack 05 December 2013 12:59:06AM 0 points [-]

Did you notice that the year listed is 2014? I think that's a mistake.

Comment author: shinoteki 26 July 2013 05:09:31PM 1 point [-]

Those are the probabilities that both halves of a pair of photons are transmitted, so you can't determine them without the information from both detectors. The distribution at each individual detector doesn't change, it's the correlation between them that changes.

Comment author: NickRetallack 26 July 2013 06:18:18PM 1 point [-]

Oh. I can imagine a distribution that looks like that. It would have been helpful if he had given us all the numbers. Perhaps he does in this blog post, but I got confused part way through and couldn't make it to the end.

Would it look like this?

Comment author: NickRetallack 26 July 2013 08:51:02AM *  0 points [-]

There must be something I'm missing here. The previous post pretty definitively proved to me that the no communication clause must be false.

Consider the latter two experiments in the last post:

A transmitted 20°, B transmitted 40°: 5.8%

A transmitted 0°, B transmitted 40°: 20.7%

Lets say I'm on Planet A and my friend is on Planet B, and we are both constantly receiving entangled pairs of photons from some satellite stationed between us. I'm filtering my photons on planet A at 20°, and my friend on planet B is filtering his at 40°. He observes a 5.8% chance that his photons are transmitted, in accordance with the experiment. I want to send him a signal faster than light, so I turn my filter to 0°. He should now observe that his photons have a 20.7% chance of being transmitted.

This takes some statistical analysis before he can determine that the signal has really been sent, but the important part is that it makes the speed of sending the message not dependent on the distance, but on the number of particles sent. Given a sufficient distance and enough particles, it should be faster than light, right?

Comment author: NickRetallack 20 July 2013 06:57:30PM *  1 point [-]

Debates can easily appear one-sided, for each side. For example, some people believe that if you follow a particular conduct in life, you will go to heaven. To these people, any policy decision that results in sending less people to heaven is a tragedy. But to people who don't believe in heaven, this downside does not exist.

This is not just an arbitrary example. This shows up all the time in US politics. Until people can agree on whether or not heaven exists, how can any of these debates not seem one-sided?

Comment author: CornellEngr2008 02 January 2012 11:34:31PM *  8 points [-]

I was just making a simple factual observation. Why did some people think it was an argument in favor of regulation?

I've noticed that Argument by Innuendo is unfortunately common, at least in in-person discussions. Basically, the arguer makes statements that seem to point to some conclusion or another, but stops a few steps short of actually drawing a conclusion, leaving the listener to draw the conclusion themselves. When I've caught myself doing this and ask myself why, there are a few reasons that come up, including:

  • I'm testing my audience's intelligence in a somewhat subtle and mean way.
  • I'm throwing ideas out there that I know are more than one or two inferential steps away, and seeing if my audience has heard of them, is curious enough to ask about them, or neither and just proceeds as if I didn't say anything.
  • I want to escape the criticism of the conclusion I'm suggesting, and by making someone else connect the last few dots, I can redirect the criticism towards them instead, or at least deflect it from myself by denying that that was the conclusion that I was suggesting (even if it was).

Needless to say, this is pretty manipulative, and a generally Bad Thing. But people have sort of been conditioned to fall into the trap of Argument by Innuendo - to not look stupid (or "slow"), they want to try to figure out what you're getting at as quickly as possible instead of asking you, and then argue against it (possibly by innuendo themselves so they can make you look stupid if you don't get it right away). Of course, this makes it extremely easy to argue past each other without realizing it, and might leave one side bewildered at the reaction that their innocent-seeming statement of fact has provoked. I think that this has simply become part of how we reason in real-time in-person discussions.

(To test this claim, try asking "so what?" or "what's the conclusion you're getting at?" when you notice this happening. Note the facial expressions and tone you get in response. In my experience, either the arguer treats you as stupid to ask for clarification on such an "obvious" point, or they squirm in discomfort as their forced to state explicitly the conclusion that they were trying to avoid criticism for proposing, and may weasel into an entirely different position altogether that isn't at all supported by their statements.)

So, I'd venture to say that that's what's going on here - your audience heard your factual observation, interpreted it as laden with a point to be made, and projected that conclusion back onto you, all in the blink of an eye.

Comment author: NickRetallack 20 July 2013 06:42:38PM 2 points [-]

I think it's a good thing to do this. It is analogous to science.

If you're a good reasoner and you encounter evidence that conflicts with one of your beliefs, you update that belief.

Likewise, if you want to update someone else's belief, you can present evidence that conflicts with it in hopes they will be a good reasoner and update their belief.

This would not be so effective if you just told them your conclusion flat out, because that would look like just another belief you are trying to force upon them.

In response to Psychic Powers
Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 September 2008 05:53:31AM 5 points [-]

Post-Bayes the "Everything you know is wrong" itself split into a few categories and psi went in the "reason is a mistake" extreme category.

I don't quite see this one. Telepathy and telekinesis would be easy enough to implement via the Matrix or even lesser technologies. Even precognition holds out the possibility of expanding our account of causality to allow loops, which General Relativity occasionally seems to threaten. How is psi on the same order as 2 + 2 = 3, or Jehovah as the one true God of all reality?

Comment author: NickRetallack 19 July 2013 08:41:01AM 0 points [-]

What's this "the Matrix" everyone in this thread is talking about? The movie? The idea that we're all in a computer simulation?

Btw, as for causality loops, Feynman describes antimatter as "just like regular matter, only traveling backwards in time", which means if we allow for time travel, we've just reduced the number of types of particles in our description of reality by half =].

In response to comment by Raemon on What is life?
Comment author: asr 01 April 2012 11:37:18PM 0 points [-]

Is "preference" a word we have any idea how to define rigorously?

I have the increasingly strong conviction that we ascribe emotions and values to things we can anthropomorphize, and there's no real possibility of underlying philosophical coherence.

In response to comment by asr on What is life?
Comment author: NickRetallack 13 July 2013 09:08:08PM 0 points [-]

Anthropomorphizing animals is justified based on the degree of similarity between their brains and ours. For example, we know that the parts of our brain we have found are responsible for strong emotions are also present in reptiles, so we might assume that reptiles also have strong emotions. Mammals are more similar to us, so we feel more moral obligation to them.

Comment author: Amanojack 22 May 2011 05:24:08PM *  -1 points [-]

Newcomb's Problem is silly. It's only controversial because it's dressed up in wooey vagueness. In the end it's just a simple probability question and I'm surprised it's even taken seriously here. To see why, keep your eyes on the bolded text:

Omega has been correct on each of 100 observed occasions so far - everyone [on each of 100 observed occasions] who took both boxes has found box B empty and received only a thousand dollars; everyone who took only box B has found B containing a million dollars.

What can we anticipate from the bolded part? The only actionable belief we have at this point is that 100 out of 100 times, one-boxing made the one-boxer rich. The details that the boxes were placed by Omega and that Omega is a "superintelligence" add nothing. They merely confuse the matter by slipping in the vague connotation that Omega could be omniscient or something.

In fact, this Omega character is superfluous; the belief that the boxes were placed by Omega doesn't pay rent any differently than the belief that the boxes just appeared at random in 100 locations so far. If we are to anticipate anything different knowing it was Omega's doing, on what grounds? It could only be because we were distracted by vague notions about what Omega might be able to do or predict.

The following seemingly critical detail is just more misdirection and adds nothing either:

And the twist is that Omega has put a million dollars in box B iff Omega has predicted that you will take only box B.

I anticipate nothing differently whether this part is included or not, because nothing concrete is implied about Omega's predictive powers - only "superintelligence from another galaxy," which certainly sounds awe-inspiring but doesn't tell me anything really useful (how hard is predicting my actions, and how super is "super"?).

The only detail that pays any rent is the one above in bold. Eliezer is right that one-boxing wins, but all you need to figure that out is Bayes.

EDIT: Spelling

Comment author: NickRetallack 02 July 2013 07:56:20AM 2 points [-]

I'm with you. You have to look at the outcomes, otherwise you end up running into the same logical blinders that make Quantum Mechanics hard to accept.

After reading some of the Quantum Mechanics sequence, I am more willing to believe in Omega's omniscience. Quantum mechanics allows for multiple timelines leading to the same outcome to interfere and simply never happen, even if they would have been probable in classical mechanics. Perhaps all timelines leading to the outcome where one-boxing does not yield money happen to interfere. Even if you take a more literal interpretation of the problem statement, where it is your own mind that determines the box's content, your mind is made of particles which could conceivably affect the universe's configuration.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 29 March 2012 06:23:05PM 0 points [-]

For example. In Figure 3, from prior knowledge, I would suppose if you counted individual photons, they'd ALL end up in detectors 1 and 2 (none would be absorbed by obstacle) - this goes to explain what in fact happens when we think a particle "knows" where it's going to end up. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

You are. If you were to put a detector 3 there instead of an absorber, it would go off half the time, and detectors 1 and 2 would each go off a quarter of the time.

Comment author: NickRetallack 29 June 2013 05:05:02PM 1 point [-]

Are you implying that the presence of a detector instead of an obstacle changes what the other detectors detect, or not?

The text is unclear here:

Detector 1 goes off half the time and Detector 2 goes off half the time.

Does "half the time" mean "half the time that any detector goes off", or "half the time you shoot a photon"? I would expect that, with the obstacle in place, half the time you shoot a photon no detector would go off, because the first mirror would deflect it into an obstacle. Seeing no detector go off is distinct and observable, so I don't see any way it could be eliminated as a possibility like the other case described here where two possible timelines that lead to the same world interfere and cancel out. So I would assume Eliezer means "half the time that any detector goes off". If so, I'd like to see the text updated to be more clear about this.

Comment author: DSherron 29 June 2013 05:19:45AM *  0 points [-]

Neat. Consider my objection retracted. Although I suspect someone with more knowledge of the material could give a better explanation.

Comment author: NickRetallack 29 June 2013 08:45:00AM 1 point [-]

I'm going to read the QM sequence now. I have always been confused by descriptions of QM.

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