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Comment author: RichardKennaway 01 July 2015 02:01:44PM 3 points [-]

It costs about 0.2 $ per view for a video ad on YouTube, so if 0.2% of viewers

Beware of figures plucked from the air just because they "sound" small enough or big enough to do the work required of them. It is quite possible to run an ad that goes out to a million people and gets no responses.

What response do video ads on YouTube get, in terms not just of clicks but of whatever action the ad is intended to elicit?

Comment author: Slider 29 June 2015 12:47:21PM 0 points [-]

This could be made to not be a counterexample by using a theory of probability that uses surreals.

That is Pr(irrational|random form 0 to 1) being 1 is of the "almost always" kind, which can be separated form the kind of 1 that is of the "always" kind.

for ω that is larger than any surreal that has a real-counter part, there is a ɛ=1/ω.

Taking only finite samples out of a infinite group makes for a probability that is smaller than any real probability that could well be represented by real/natural multiples of ɛ.

Similarly taking only countably infinite samples from a group of uncountably many samples would result in a probability larger than 0 but smaller than any real value.

Thus we could have P(irrational|between 0 and 1)=1-xɛ and P(rational|between 0 and 1)=xɛ that would sum to exactly 1 and yet P(Z|0-1)=xɛ>0 ie a positive probability.

Similarly the probability of a dart landing exactly on a line in a dart board is "almost never" ie 0 yet that place is as probable as any other location on the dart board. It would be possible to find a dart exactly on the line, you would not just expect to encounter it in a finite number of throws.

However there are counterexamples where all As are indeed Bs but no implication is possible.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 29 June 2015 01:26:40PM 4 points [-]

This could be made to not be a counterexample by using a theory of probability that uses surreals.

Surreal numbers do not yet have a good theory of integration. This makes surreal probability theory problematic.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 28 June 2015 11:11:19PM -1 points [-]

Ah, you mean a densely interconnected "almost all to almost all" causal structure. Well, I'd have to guess: because that would look far more like random behavior than causal order, so we wouldn't even notice it as something to causally analyze!

Comment author: RichardKennaway 29 June 2015 12:54:05PM 1 point [-]

We do notice turbulence as something doesn't look random, and is hard-to-impossible to causally analyze.

Here's an anecdote. I can't copy and paste it, but it's in the middle column.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 28 June 2015 11:26:35PM 0 points [-]

I was more positing that it's a self-reinforcing, self-creating effect: people treat Mathematics in a cultish way because they think they're supposed to.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 29 June 2015 12:26:52PM 0 points [-]

I was more positing that it's a self-reinforcing, self-creating effect

I don't believe there's any such thing, on the general grounds of "no fake without a reality to be a fake of."

Comment author: eli_sennesh 28 June 2015 07:32:50PM 0 points [-]

Quite frankly, I find the norms in academia very creepy: I've seen a lot of people develop serious mental health problems in connection with their experiences in academia. It's hard to see it from the inside: I was disturbed by what I saw, but I didn't realize that math academia is actually functioning as a cult, based on retrospective impressions, and in fact by implicit consensus of the best mathematicians of the world (I can give references if you'd like) .

I've only been in CS academia, and wouldn't call that a cult. I would call it, like most of the rest of academia, a deeply dysfunctional industry in which to work, but that's the fault of the academic career and funding structure. CS is even relatively healthy by comparison to much of the rest.

How much of our impression of mathematics as a creepy, mental-health-harming cult comes from pure stereotyping?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 29 June 2015 12:25:43PM 0 points [-]

How much of our impression of mathematics as a creepy, mental-health-harming cult

Er, what? Who do you mean by "we"?

comes from pure stereotyping?

The link says of Turing:

Finally, Alan Turing, the great Bletchley Park code breaker, father of computer science and homosexual, died trying to prove that some things are fundamentally unprovable.

This is a staggeringly wrong account of how he died.

Comment author: James_Miller 27 June 2015 06:08:20PM 9 points [-]

Having a written constitution that's very hard to change reduces the importance of winning the next election and so makes politics less of a blood sport.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 29 June 2015 11:41:50AM -1 points [-]

Unlike the US, where politics is very much a blood sport, and only the words of the constitution are hard to change.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 28 June 2015 06:52:25PM -1 points [-]

There are really just three ways the causal structure of reality could go:

  • Many causes -> one effect
  • One cause -> one effect, strictly
  • One cause -> many effects

Since the latter will generate more (apparent) random variables, most observables will end up deriving from a relatively sparse causal structure, even if we assume that the causal structures themselves are sampled uniformly from this selection of three.

So, for instance, parameter-space compression (which is its own topic to explain, but oh well), aka: the hierarchical structure of reality, actually does follow that first item: many micro-level causes give rise to a single macro-level observable. But you'll still find that most observables come from non-compressive causal structures.

This is why we actually have to work really hard to find out about micro-scale phenomena (things lower on the hierarchy than us): they have fewer observables whose variance is uniquely explicable by reference to a micro-scale causal structure.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 28 June 2015 09:43:19PM 3 points [-]

I need that expanded a lot more. Why not many causes -> many effects, for example?

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 28 June 2015 09:52:52AM *  0 points [-]

I was just going by my understanding of what Chalmers calls panpsychism. Did I misunderstand Chalmers?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 28 June 2015 10:18:22AM 0 points [-]

Chalmers here begins, "Panpsychism, taken literally, is the doctrine that everything has a mind", which agrees with the general use. Then he redefines the word to mean "the thesis that some fundamental physical entities have mental states".

His "taken literally" qualification implies that the universal quantification of the "pan-" prefix is usually limited in some unspecified way, making his redefinition seem less of a break, but I do not think that the SEP article on panpsychism supports a limitation as drastic as the one he is making. His "some" could accommodate consciousness being present only in humans; no historical use of "panpsychism" in the SEP article can.

So you did not misunderstand Chalmers, but Chalmers would better have picked a different word. I think "psychism" fits the bill.

If some entities have a soul and others do not, there remains the same question as for the materialistic doctrine: why these and not those, and how does it work? We then get "emergent psychism", where what emerges from unensouled matter is not the right configuration to be a soul, but the right configuration to have a soul. And if answers to these questions are found, we end up with materialist psychism, with an expanded set of materials. At which point materialist philosophers can point out that this was materialism all along.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 27 June 2015 01:05:24PM *  0 points [-]

You keep saying panpsychism is useless, and I keep saying it's not. Do you understand why I am saying that? I am not proposing we ask a rock. I am proposing we ask a human, and try to reverse engineer from a human's self report. That is very very hard, but not in principle impossible.


. How does panpsychism suggest I investigate the soul that it claims it to have?

Panpsychism of the kind I am talking about does not make claims about souls, it makes claims about "consciousness as a primitive in physics." Adding primitives when forced to has a long history in science/math.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 28 June 2015 09:38:30AM *  0 points [-]

Panpsychism of the kind I am talking about does not make claims about souls, it makes claims about "consciousness as a primitive in physics." Adding primitives when forced to has a long history in science/math.

I was just using "soul" to avoid typing out "consciousness" all the time. But perhaps we are talking at cross purposes? My understanding of the word "panpsychism" is the doctrine that everything ("pan-") has whatever-you-want-to-call-it ("-psych-"), and from the etymology, dictionaries, philosophical encyclopedias, and the internet generally, that is how the word is universally used and understood.

"Consciousness as a primitive" is independent of that doctrine, and needs a different name. "Psychism"? (Materialists will call it "magic", but that's a statement of disagreement with the doctrine, rather than a name for it.)

Comment author: eli_sennesh 26 June 2015 11:07:15PM *  1 point [-]

Real world data often has the surprising property of "dimensionality reduction": a small number of latent variables explain a large fraction of the variance in data.

Why is that surprising? The causal structure of the world is very sparse, by the nature of causality. One cause has several effects, so once you scale up to lots of causative variables, you expect to find that large portions of the variance in your data are explained by only a few causal factors.

Causality is indeed the skeleton of data. And oh boy, wait until you hit hierarchical Bayes models!

Only, the variables that explain a lot usually aren't the variables that are immediately visible – instead they're hidden from us, and in order to model reality, we need to discover them, which is the function that PCA serves.

Not quite. PCA helps you reduce dimensionality by discovering the directions of variation in your feature-space that explain most of the variation (in fact, a total ordering of the directions of variation in the data by how much variation they explain). Then there's Independent Components Analysis, which separates your feature data into its most independent/orthogonal directions of variation.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 27 June 2015 08:11:41AM 6 points [-]

The causal structure of the world is very sparse, by the nature of causality.

Can you expand your reasoning? We do see around us sparse — that is, understandable — causal systems. And even chaotic ones often give rise to simple properties (e.g. motion of huge numbers of molecules → gas laws). But why (ignoring anthropocentric arguments) would one expect to see this?

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