Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

In response to Hiroshima Day
Comment author: Steve 07 August 2008 04:07:22PM -1 points [-]

EY: 'Until the end of time we will be a species that has used fission bombs in anger.'

The decision was a calculated political decision made to let the Soviet Union know that we were(are) crazy enough to use nuclear weaponry even when unnecessary. Truman knew the Japanese were running out of time:

"Truman himself eloquently noted in his diary that Stalin would "be in the Jap War on August 15th. Fini (sic) Japs when that comes about."

EY: 'Time has passed, and we still haven't blown up our world, despite a close call or two. Which makes it difficult to criticize the decision - '.

Non sequitur.

Whether or not we blow ourselves up, either with a nuclear device or an AI, has no relationship to that first use of a nuclear weapon. The facts at the time of those 'close calls or two' carry no similarity to the facts of the first use, staring with ALL sides had access to the big nukes during every subsequent 'close call'; that at the time of the 'close calls' that it was common knowledge the effects of nuclear war would have even without the example of the first use; that it was commonly accepted by all that one launch would result in a retaliation.

The decision is easy to criticize. It was used not for any purpose of ending the war, but rather just to send a 'message' from one 'super' power to another 'super' power. It is easy to criticize the decision even if it 'saved' some projected number of one nation's population at the cost of some of another nation's population. It is always in the hands of the 'forecasters' of those about to kill others in the name of some cause, war, religion, etc. to be able to proclaim saving lives or acceptable losses. It's standard propaganda of the winner. (and of the loser, until they lose.)

The first implementation AI is analogous to the the first strike nuclear situation. Fortunately, from what I gather, there will only be one implementation because I'd hate to see an AI Cold War... :)

Off for my hike into the wilderness. Remember: exercise, eat less, sleep well and be good to others. And have some fun.


Comment author: Steve 21 July 2008 03:31:44PM 0 points [-]

I would advise them that if they were to do novel physics experiments that they also take time to exercise, eat less, sleep well and be good to others. And to have some fun. Then at least they probably would have improved their experience of life regardless as to the outcome of their novel experiments. That advice might also lead to clearer insights for their novel experiments.

Off for my day hike into the wilderness :)

In response to Reductionism
Comment author: Steve 17 March 2008 06:55:30PM 1 point [-]

'I wish I knew where Reality got its computing power.'

Assume Reality has gotten computing power and that it makes computations. Computation requires time. Occurrence would require the time required for the occurrence plus the time necessary for Reality to make the computation for that occurrence. The more complex the occurrence, either more computing power or longer computation time, or both. Accounting for that seems a challenge that can not be overcome.

Alternatively, let's assume Reality did not get computing power and that it does not make computations. Rather, let's assume that there are computational activities within Reality.

Perhaps Reality is certainty, while attempts to comprehend Reality are computational activities that have acquired mapping processes that attempt to map certainty.

Changing the sentence to: 'I wish I knew why I believe there is a where from which Reality got its computing power.' gets me to an answer while the original question precluded me from one.

In response to Penguicon & Blook
Comment author: Steve 15 March 2008 04:57:51PM 0 points [-]

Publish the book. Do the other stuff, too, especially the 'feed the author thing'. I, and people I know, buy and financially support people who provide something worthwhile on the internet even though its available 'free'.

Given what I understand to be your underlying view about how natural processing in the brain inherently uses probability, trust your instincts.

Besides, if you right your book and some non positive AI reads it, maybe it will make sense to it and it will become positive in a way humanity would like to see.


In response to Is Reality Ugly?
Comment author: Steve 02 March 2008 05:04:30PM 0 points [-]

‘If you stand on the outside and take a global perspective - looking down from above at the sequence of cubes and the little people perched on top - then these two facts say everything there is to know about the sequence and the people.’

It seems to me that Bostrom simply has had a question answered differently than the answer given to the cube folk. Start Bostrom in the same initial state of information as the cube folk: Suppose there are cubes, that there are numbered (1, 8, 27, 64, 125…), that there are people that include Bostrom standing, and that only one is not standing on a cube.

It seems to me that ‘Who is not standing on a cube?’ is the start of the search for predictability. The answer to that question seems to have been begged in the assumption that places Bostrom ‘not standing on a cube’, outside looking in.

Being global (not standing on a cube) requires having an answer that contains a 'bit of information certainty' as a possibility for the question asked. A ‘bit of information certainty’ is that bit that when acquired, allows prediction to occur. In ‘Who is standing on a cube?’, ‘I am’ = no ‘bic’. ‘I am not’ = ‘bic’. For everyone else, a bic is still missing even though they all now understand that they are all on cubes: ‘‘But if you are one of the little people perched atop a cube, and you know these two facts, there is still a third piece of information you need to make predictions: "Which cube am I standing on?"’

Accurate representation of Indexical Uncertainty?

If so, does it make sense that Indexical Uncertainty is not having acquired the bic?

No pen intended.

(I’ll confess that I do not really understand how to treat infinities, but what I have gathered is that they, and zeros, are often hidden in calculations and discussions.

When you have two of the three, the common sense, and the consistency, information is still needed. Not just any information. The information has to be bounded, treating infinities as a finite or series of finites. Change my facts from ‘’only one is not standing on a cube’ to ‘at least one is not standing on a cube’. Neither ‘I am standing on a cube’ nor ‘I am not standing on a cube’ contain a bic that allows prediction to begin because there is no bic available until the infinity is resolved.).

Comment author: Steve 18 January 2008 03:29:57AM 1 point [-]

'No, they are to doubt that perhaps their doubts may grow and become stronger.'

This establishes the a rule for using doubt as bias against any future information that would perhaps increase preexisting doubts. It is a bias because it does not apply the rule for doubt about anything that perhaps increases belief, or perhaps maintains the assessment of current doubt/belief.

Having instructed a rule for doubt about 'perhaps' for only one 'perhaps', the rule provides a default increase in the amount of information required to overcome that particular 'perhaps'. That increased amount of information needed is the amount needed to overcome the imposed 'doubt'.

That this amount is established by rule conveys the requirement of 'faith' because it replaces a methodology that is falsifiable with one that is not.

In response to Trust in Math
Comment author: Steve 15 January 2008 06:38:29PM 0 points [-]

As I skimmed over the lines to see how 'smart' I was, figurin that the quicker I got 'there' the smarter I'd be able to feel, the first error I saw was in line 5. Bingo. How can that be! Ah yes, that line 4 div by zero thing. Bingo, again! feelin pretty smart! whew, gonna get more tea. Got back and looked at line 3. hmmm. Pesky zero. feelin a little uncertain. That dadgum line 2 looks pretty good. came from line one fair and square. Eventually over a number of cups of tea, i figured out why few of regulars had been posting on this post (i did notice). i appreciate their patience and EY's clue.

Gotta love this site. And tea :)

Comment author: Steve 08 January 2008 11:10:28PM 0 points [-]

I read somewhere that if one were to be an x treme nitpicker, a good place for that to occur would be in evolutionary psychology.

I see 'religion' as an expression of intellectual capacity of curiosity rather than the evolutionary event of an adaptive mechanism I'll call the neural ability to be curious.

As to the many why's of the widespread nature of myths (religions) around the planet, all myths were attempts to explain or achieve something.

Of course, rather than curiosity, mabe: 'Well, it might just be a side effect of our ability to do things like model other minds, which enables us to conceive of disembodied minds.'

Comment author: Steve 26 December 2007 05:09:07PM 2 points [-]

my vision is so bad that i answered 'none of the above'. i had to decide to measure the lines. that meant i first had to get to where i did not think the trick was the question. that took a cup of tea. 'trust the ruler, not the vision' has been added to my list of -ings.