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Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 May 2015 08:56:04PM 0 points [-]

Is anyone analysing the web logs of LessWrong to study how people are accessing the site?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 25 May 2015 10:53:50AM *  0 points [-]

It may seem like a bad thing from our perspective now; but its a bit of a strawman argument that it will certainly be something we do not want when the time comes that it is possible to do so.

This is absolutely what I am afraid of. Values themselves will be selected for and I don't want my values to be ground up entirely to dust. Who's to say that I will want to exist under a different value system, even as a part of some larger consciousness? What if consciousness is a waste of resources?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 May 2015 08:53:24PM 0 points [-]

Who's to say that I will want to exist under a different value system, even as a part of some larger consciousness?

Are you expecting these things to happen within your lifetime?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 25 May 2015 09:44:57AM *  3 points [-]

I recently read this essay and had a panic attack. I assume that this is not the mainstream of transhumanist thought, so if a rebuttal exists it would save me a lot of time and grief.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 May 2015 11:19:04AM 2 points [-]

Ask most people what they imagine a better life and a better world might be, and they will rarely imagine anything more than the present evils removed. Less disease, less starvation, less drudgery, less killing, less oppression. Their positive vision is merely the opposite of these: more health, more food, more fun, more love, more freedom.

When cranked up to transhuman levels, this looks like no ignorance, instant access to all knowledge, no stupidity, unlimited intelligence, no disease, unlimited lifespan, no technological limits, unlimited technological superpower, less environmental cramping, expansion across the universe.

What will people do, when almost everything they currently do is driven by exactly those limits that it is the transhuman vision to eliminate? Think of everything you have done today -- how much of it would a transhuman you in a transhuman world have done?

I got out of bed. Sleep? What need has a transhuman of sleep? I showered, unloaded the washing machine that had run overnight, ate breakfast. Surely these and a great deal more stand in the same relation to a transhuman life as the drudgery of a 13th century peasant does to my own. I am typing on a keyboard. A keyboard! How primitive! Later today I will have taiko practice. Practice? Surely we will download such skills, or build robots to do them for us? I value the physical exertion. Exertion? What need, when we are uploads using whatever physical apparatus we choose, which will always run flawlessly?

The vision usually looks like having machines to do our living for us, leaving us as mere epiphenomena of a world that runs itself. We might think that "we" are colonising the galaxy, while to any other species observing, we might just look like a madly expanding sphere of von Neumann machines, with no valuable personhood present. Such is the vision of Utopia that results from imagining the future as being the present, but better, extrapolated without bound.

The Fun Sequence (long version, short version) says a lot about what sort of thing makes for a genuine Utopia, but I don't think it contains examples of a day in the life. Perhaps it cannot, any more than a 13th century peasant's dreams could contain anything resembling the modern world. One attempt I saw, which I can't now find, imagined (this is my interpretation of it, not the way it was presented) a future that amounted to better BDSM scenes. This strikes me as about as realistic as a million years of sex with catgirls.

Comment author: James_Miller 25 May 2015 04:08:10AM 4 points [-]

The purpose of peer review is not to uncover fraud.

And this is OK if the fraud rate is low, and unacceptable if it's high.

Real review of one's work begins after peer review is over and the work is examined by the scientific community at large.

I doubt this happens to more than a tiny number of papers, although probably the more important the result the more likely it will get reviewed.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 May 2015 09:16:00AM 2 points [-]

The purpose of peer review is not to uncover fraud.

And this is OK if the fraud rate is low, and unacceptable if it's high.

If a paper shows all its working, a competent reviewer can judge whether the work as reported is good. How will they detect that the report is a fabrication? All the reviewer sees is the story the author is telling. The reviewer may notice inconsistencies, such as repeated use of the same figures, or data with an implausible distribution, but they will generally have no way to compare the story with the actual facts of what happened in the lab.

Detecting and preventing fraud is a good thing, but I don't think peer review is a place where much of it can happen.

Comment author: Lumifer 22 May 2015 03:58:46PM 2 points [-]

What will come first to LW, comments in Klingon or in Quenya?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 May 2015 08:54:53AM 0 points [-]

wa'DIch!

Comment author: shminux 25 May 2015 07:55:21AM *  8 points [-]

Personally, I'm indifferent to EA. It seems to me a result of decompartmentalizing and taking utilitarianism overly seriously. I don't really disagree with it, just not interested. As I've mentioned before, I care about myself, my family, my friends, and maybe some prominent people who don't know me, but whose work makes my life better. I feel for the proverbial African children, but not enough for anything more than a token contribution. If LW had a budget, /r/EA would be a good subreddit, though one of those I would rarely, if ever, visit. As it is, I skip the EA discussions, but I don't find them annoyingly pervasive.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 May 2015 08:34:22AM 4 points [-]

That is exactly my own view. I can see the force of the arguments for EA, but remain unmoved by them. I don't mind it being discussed here, but take little interest in the discussions. I have no arguments against it (although the unfortunate end of George Price is a cautionary tale, a warning of a dragon on the way), and I certainly don't want to persuade anyone to do less good in the world.

It's rather like the Christian call to sainthood. Many are called, but few are chosen.

Comment author: ChristianKl 23 May 2015 06:50:54PM 0 points [-]

I was intending to point to the fact that these are two different things -- not a non-thing and a thing.

I think you overrate the difference from New Agey people in that regard. Someone who does energy healing speaks labels certain sensations he perceives as energy.

That a thought is familiar does not invalidate it.

I don't think "invalidation" is the point of asking questions.

We all know what these expressions mean.

These expressions can usually refer to a bunch of different things. Also if you know what the expression means, it shouldn't be hard for you to break it down.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 24 May 2015 10:14:45AM 0 points [-]

These expressions can usually refer to a bunch of different things. Also if you know what the expression means, it shouldn't be hard for you to break it down.

They mean certain generally familiar sensations. What has that to do with "breaking it down"? You can stare really hard at those sensations, and examine how they arise and change and pass away, which I am guessing is what you are referring to as "breaking it down", and you can study them from outside the experience with the usual methods of science, which might also be part of what you are referring to, but that has nothing to do with knowing "what these expressions mean".

If I learn from a carpenter about the construction of tables, I am learning about tables, not about the meaning of the word "table".

Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 May 2015 08:33:26PM 9 points [-]

Be nice to nice people
Be rude to rude people

The theory of iterated games explained in a Eurovision song.

Comment author: ChristianKl 23 May 2015 03:27:59PM 0 points [-]

"Energy" in such a context refers to a subjective physical and mental sensation, which has in common with joules that it is experienced as being used up and replenished. Newage types may attribute physical existence to it, but everyday usage need not be making any such claim.

As if sensations don't have physical existence.

But I'm rather surprised by your question, given the amount you've written on the importance of proper physical awareness and use of our bodies.

A core part of developing physical awareness is to get clear about what words one uses to label what phenomena. If you can distinguish more different states by having clear labels for them, you get more awareness.

To me "Extroverts gain energy from being with other people. [...] Introverts pay energy to be with other people." feels like a cached thought.

If you assume that humans have something like "batteries", it's worth thinking about the physical reality of what you are talking about. Are you talking about glucose level in the blood or aren't you? Is this about Roy Baumeister's glucose based willpower and the amount of joule in that glucose?

I think it's worthwhile to consciously think about what we actually mean instead of only relying on metaphors. That doesn't mean that metaphors are always bad but it's important to be conscious of the reason one has for using them.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 May 2015 05:36:11PM 4 points [-]

"Energy" in such a context refers to a subjective physical and mental sensation, which has in common with joules that it is experienced as being used up and replenished. Newage types may attribute physical existence to it, but everyday usage need not be making any such claim.

As if sensations don't have physical existence.

They do. So does the physical mechanism that produces them. I was intending to point to the fact that these are two different things -- not a non-thing and a thing. The everyday use of "energy" refers to the former.

To me "Extroverts gain energy from being with other people. [...] Introverts pay energy to be with other people." feels like a cached thought.

Cached vs. newly thought is orthogonal to this. That a thought is familiar does not invalidate it.

I think it's worthwhile to consciously think about what we actually mean instead of only relying on metaphors. That doesn't mean that metaphors are always bad but it's important to be conscious of the reason one has for using them.

A sharp taste. A dull pain. A piercing scream. Fluent speech. Raw weather.

Feeling energetic.

We all know what these expressions mean. Metaphors are unproblematic as descriptions. The important thing is to be aware that they are descriptions, not explanations. When misused as explanations they amount to magic: an explanation with no moving parts, just a name. Real explanations require more than thought alone, but also observation and investigation.

Actually, the first definition that Google gives for "energy" is "the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity", not the sense it takes in physics. In the OED, of the six senses distinguished, the thing measured by joules is in last place and dates from 1807. So it isn't even a metaphor here.

Comment author: ChristianKl 23 May 2015 11:38:57AM -1 points [-]

My go-to definition of introverts and extroverts goes like this: Extroverts gain energy from being with other people. Being with others is a relaxing thing which recharges their batteries. Introverts pay energy to be with other people. Being with others tires them out.

What exactly does energy mean here? How many joules does it cost?

I have the impression that when new age people use energy is a way that doesn't correspond to something that can be measured in joules that's bad, but when people with a more rational background do so, it's completely fine.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 May 2015 01:04:51PM 1 point [-]

What exactly does energy mean here? How many joules does it cost?

"Energy" in such a context refers to a subjective physical and mental sensation, which has in common with joules that it is experienced as being used up and replenished. Newage types may attribute physical existence to it, but everyday usage need not be making any such claim.

But I'm rather surprised by your question, given the amount you've written on the importance of proper physical awareness and use of our bodies.

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