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Comment author: Lumifer 25 August 2014 09:02:20PM 4 points [-]

is the economic theories and policies that are coming out of the neoliberal ... economics

Do you actually mean "coming out of" or do you mean "expected to replace"? Because economic theories coming out of neoliberal economics would probably be called "neoliberal".

was most widely practiced

Anywhere other than Chile?

All in all you seem to talking about economic theories of development. There are a lot of those. Why do you think it's useful to stick a "post-neoliberal" moniker on them, especially given that Wikipedia seems to think that "neoliberal" is a pejorative term used mostly by people who don't like markets?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 27 August 2014 12:31:08PM *  1 point [-]

Why do you think it's useful to stick a "post-neoliberal" moniker on them, especially given that Wikipedia seems to think that "neoliberal" is a pejorative term used mostly by people who don't like markets?

As far as I can make out, the "post-" prefix in words such as postneoliberal, postcolonial, postmodern, etc. means not merely "after", but also "in reaction or opposition to", with connotations of supercession of the old and bad by the superior new and good. Claiming the "post-" moniker for oneself is a way of linguistically framing the situation (that is, casting a magic spell) to define oneself into having the high moral ground.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 August 2014 02:35:57PM 3 points [-]

I find it hard to do something I consider worthwhile while on a spring break, despite having lots of a free time.

Perhaps it is because you have no deadlines, no compelling reason to complete something specific?

I tend to make grandiose plans — I should meet new people! I should be more involved in sports! I should start using Anki! I should learn Lojban! I should practice meditation! I should read these textbooks including doing most of exercises!

Those aren't plans.

— and then fail to do almost anything.

This is the retrospective evidence that they weren't plans.

Yet I manage to do some impressive stuff during academic term, despite having less time and more commitments.

There you are—commitments, and a structure, in this case externally imposed, once you've made the decision to go to college.

If when you have a wish such as "I should meet new people!", your thinking does not immediately proceed to considering what sort of people, where to find them, when to do it, and what the effort will look like, then it's just daydreaming.

Comment author: V_V 19 August 2014 05:24:09PM *  1 point [-]

The point is that all object-level arguments for and against these scenarios, even if you call them "probability estimates", are ultimately based on intuitions which are difficult to formalize or quantify.

The scenarios hypthesized by the Singularitarians are extreme, both in the magnitude of the effect they are claimed to entail, and in the the highly conjunctive object-level arguments that are used to argue for them. Common sense rationality tells us that "extraordinary claims demand exceptional evidence". How do we evaluate whether the intuitions of these people constitute "exceptional evidence"?

So we take the "outside view" and try to meta-reason on these arguments and the people making them:
Can we trust their informal intuitions, or do they show any signs of classical biases?

Are these people privileging the hypothesis? Are they drawing their intuitions from the availability heuristic?

If intelligence explosion/cryonics/all things singularitarian were ideas radically different from any common meme, then the answer to these questions would be likely no: these ideas would appear counterintuitive at a gut level to most normally rational people, possibly in the same way quantum mechanics and Einstenian relativity appear conterituitive.
If domain-level experts, after studing the field for years, recalibrated their intuitions and claimed that these scenarios were likely, then we should probably listen to them.
We should not just accept their claims based on authority, of course: even the experts can subject to groupthink and other biases (cough...economists...cough), but as far as the "outside view" is concerned, we would at least have plausibly excluded the availability bias.

What we observe, instead, is that singulariarians ideas strongly pattern-match to Christian millenarianism and similar religious beliefs, mixed with popular scifi tropes (cryonics, AI revolt, etc.). They certainly originated, or at least were strongly influenced by these memes, and therefore the intuitions of the people arguing for them are likely "contaminated" via the availability heuristic by these memes.
More specifically, if singulariarians ideas make intuitive sense to you, you can't even trust your own intuitions since they are likely to be "contaminated" as well.

Add the fact that the strength of these intuitions seems to decrease rather than increase with domain-expertise, suggesting that the Dunning–Kruger effect is also at work, then the "outside view" tells us to be wary.

Of course, it is possible to believe correct things even when they are likely to be the subject of biases, or even to believe correct things that many people believe for the wrong reason, but in order to make a case for these beliefs, you need some airtight arguments with strong evidence.
As far as I can tell, MIRI/FHI/other Singularitarians have provided no such arguments.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 21 August 2014 12:37:26PM 0 points [-]

Between outside view, Dunning-Krueger, and rhetorical questions about biases with no attempt to provide answers to them, you've built a schema for arguing against anything at all without the burden of bringing evidence to the table. I guess evidence would be the dreaded inside view, although that doesn't stop you demanding it from the other side. Bostrom's recent book? The arguments in the Sequences? No, that doesn't count, it's not exceptional enough, and besides, Dunning-Krueger means no-one ever knows they're wrong, and (contd. p.94).

Maybe a better name for "outside view" would be "spectator's view", or "armchair view".

Comment author: DanielLC 20 August 2014 11:59:04PM 3 points [-]

Except I don't think this works. The answer to the question "why did X happen" should not depend on who is asking. Martian historians observing the Earth and asking "how did they avoid blowing themselves up?" are not in a position to answer the question anthropically(1), without going all the way to the absurdity of answering every question "why X?" with "otherwise, you would not be asking why X".

I disagree. Most observers will have found that their planet was not blown up, but if they look at other planets, they will find that most of them blew up. As such, it would be surprising to find another planet that didn't blow up, but not surprising that yours did not.

The difference in surprise is due to the unlikeliness of being from Earth. Being from Earth is evidence that it did not blow itself up. The aliens don't have this evidence, so they're more surprised than an Earthling.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 21 August 2014 12:19:32PM 0 points [-]

I think this is confusing priors and posteriors. Since we have not blown ourselves up, the probability that we have not blown ourselves up is 1. That does not affect the answer to the question, "how likely was it in 1950 that we would?".

Here's another extreme and hypothetical problem (hence of little interest to me, but others may find themselves drawn to thinking about it). A physicist deduces from currently known physics the existence of a process whereby there is a calculable probability per unit of space-time volume of a spontaneously created singularity that will spread outwards at the speed of light, instantaneously turning everything it hits to a state incapable of the complexity required to support any sort of life. The probability works out to about 1-10^(-20) per Planck volume per Planck time. Should that suggest that his conclusion is wrong?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 20 August 2014 09:43:29PM 3 points [-]

Rightly or wrongly, I don't pay much attention to anthropics, but here's another argument to throw into the pot to rebut the argument of part III:

Nuclear exchange (of the sort assumed) results in fewer observers around for me to be any of them. Whereas, more siblings for George VI leaves just as many observers around.

Except I don't think this works. The answer to the question "why did X happen" should not depend on who is asking. Martian historians observing the Earth and asking "how did they avoid blowing themselves up?" are not in a position to answer the question anthropically(1), without going all the way to the absurdity of answering every question "why X?" with "otherwise, you would not be asking why X".

(1) Or whatever the word should be. Perhaps just "anthropically".

Comment author: shminux 20 August 2014 06:09:49PM *  0 points [-]

Wait, are you saying that ambition can only be fulfilled by playing zero-sum games?

Yeah, seems like a misunderstanding. Not sure where you inferred the "only" part from. Winning in zero-sum games is harder (but the reward is usually bigger), so no point playing them if you don't care all that much. Anyway, it's best to invent your own games, then they are positive sum for you.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 20 August 2014 08:55:37PM 2 points [-]

Winning in zero-sum games is harder (but the reward is usually bigger)

Really? Business is generally positive sum: you win big by being unique, not by competing head to head. Sports is zero sum. Here are figures I came up with from a quick search.

Total of the 100 highest paid CEOs in the world in 2013: 3.028 billion.

Total of the 100 highest paid athletes in the world in 12 months to June 2014: 2.75 billion

I had actually expected the difference to be larger in that direction, but certainly the athletes are not doing better than the businessmen.

One could think of a lot of other possible measures; that was just one it was easy to find figures for.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 20 August 2014 08:22:53PM 1 point [-]

The second complication is in what exactly a simplicity prior is supposed to look like. In the case of Solomonoff induction the shape is exponential - more complicated hypotheses are exponentially less likely. But why not a power law? Why not even a Poisson distribution?

More complicated hypotheses have to be on average at least exponentially less likely, because there are exponentially many of them. There are probability measures that decline with length faster than exponential, but none that are slower. One could even say that the Solomonoff probabilities decline as slowly as possible.

Comment author: shminux 19 August 2014 07:16:10AM *  2 points [-]

Well, I'm no Dymitry or XiXiDu, and not "especially capable" but why not give it a try.

Intelligence explosion pattern-matches pretty well to the religious ideas of Heaven/Hell, and cryonics to Limbo. Also note the dire warnings of the impending UFAI doom unless the FAI Savior is ushered by the righteous (called "rational") before it's too late. So one could dismiss the whole thing as a bad version of Christianity or some other religion.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 19 August 2014 08:48:01AM 4 points [-]

So one could dismiss the whole thing as a bad version of Christianity or some other religion.

Only by ignoring the fundamental question: Is it true?

Comment author: blacktrance 18 August 2014 01:09:18AM 0 points [-]

Maximizing one's own utility is practical rationality. Maximizing the world's aggregate utility is utilitarianism. The two need not the the same, and in fact can conflict. For example, you may prefer to buy a cone of ice cream, but world utility would be bettered more effectively if you'd donate that money to charity instead. Buying the ice cream would be the rational own-utility-maximizing thing to do, and donating to charity would be the utilitarian thing to do.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 18 August 2014 06:30:41AM *  0 points [-]

However, if utilitarianism is your ethics, the world's utility is your utility, and the distinction collapses. A utilitarian will never prefer to buy that ice cream.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 17 August 2014 08:00:59AM 2 points [-]

Unfortunately, not all constructivists or dialetheists (as proponents of paraconsistent logic are called) would agree with my viewpoint entirely.

I cannot form any idea of what your viewpoint is, although I'm familiar with most of the logical topics you referenced. You always stop short of stating it, all the way up to the last sentence of the last footnote.

More generally, and this is addressed to everyone writing on a complex subject to an audience of diverse and unknown backgrounds, try writing your material backwards. Start at the end, the conclusion, and work back from that to the reasons for the conclusion, and the reasons for the reasons, and so on. Stop before you think you should and continue clarification in the comments as the need is revealed by the questions.

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