Comment author: 29 February 2012 08:16:40PM 0 points [-]

I'd like to propose a way for measuring a system's freedom: it is the size of the set of closed-ended goals which it can satisfy from its current state. How's that?

I also think that this is all you really need to not be confused about free will. It's the freedom to do what you will.

In response to comment by on AI is not enough
Comment author: 07 February 2012 05:33:34PM *  -2 points [-]

You never quite state the alternative to an algorithm. I propose that the only alternative is randomness.

The alternative to algorithms are non-formalizable processes. Obviously I can't give a precise definition or example of one, since in this case we would have an algorithm again.

The best example I can give is the following: Assume that the universe works precisely according to laws (I don't think so, but let's assume it). What determines the laws? Another law? If so, you get an infinite regress of laws, and you don't have a law to determine this, either. So according to you, the laws of the universe are random. I think this hardly plausible.

I'm curious as to what you think the human brain does, if not an algorithm.

I don't know, and I don't think it is knowable in a formalizable way. I consider intelligence to be irreducible. The order of the brain can only be seen in recognizing its order, not in reducing it to any formal principle.

In addition, I think the human brain is a lot more algorithmic than you think it is. A lot of Lukeprog's writings on neuroscience and psychology demonstrate ways in which our natural thoughts or intuitions are quite predictable.

I am not saying the human brain is entirely non-algorithmic. Indeed, since the knwon laws of nature we discovered are quite algorithmic (except for quantum indeterminateness) and the behaviour of the brain can't deviate from that to a very large degree (otherwise we would have recognized it already) we can assume the behaviour of our brains can be quite closely approximated by laws. Still, this doesn't mean there isn't a very crucial non lawful behaviour inherent to it.

The universe started with the laws of physics (which are known to be algorithms possibly with a random generator), and have run that single algorithm up to the present day.

How did the universe find that algorithm? Also, the fact that the behaviour of physics is nicely approximated by laws doesn't mean that these laws are absolute or unchanging.

What do you think about my proposed algorithm/random dichotomy?

Frankly, I see no reason at all to think it is valid.

In response to comment by on AI is not enough
Comment author: 18 February 2012 12:50:43AM 0 points [-]

"So according to you, the laws of the universe are random. I think this hardly plausible."

I don't see why it is not plausible. It's not like the Universe has any reason to choose the laws that it did and not others. Why have a procedure, algorithmic or not, if there are no goals?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Things you are supposed to like
Comment author: 21 October 2011 09:09:56PM *  2 points [-]

I agree with your last sentence but not your first. Aesthetics is pretty reliable among humans, but what about in minds-in-general?

After all, dung beetles probably consider dung to be pleasing at some level. The beauty of dung, art, a piece of music, etc., is not "true" or "false".

Comment author: 22 October 2011 03:09:56AM 6 points [-]

"Aesthetics is pretty reliable among humans, but what about in minds-in-general"

I don't think that's relevant. A fugue's job description doesn't include entertaining killer robots from outer space, it's supposed to entertain humans.

In general, I think any artwork should be judged (not enjoyed, but judged) based on whether the author succeeded or failed at what [s]he, personally set out to do, and whether it was a hard thing to do - whether it is creating music that is different from all other music in every way imaginable while remaining musical, or writing a novel that avoids all unrealism, or just figuring out what makes museums accept works for which "garbage" is a description, not an insult. Basically, the same way you'd judge an engineer.

Comment author: 03 September 2011 01:34:26AM 7 points [-]

Do you consider this a promotion of fun theory? Or a justification for living forever?

Comment author: 09 September 2011 10:15:12PM 1 point [-]

My initial guess was "keep learning, there's always more to learn."

Comment author: 13 June 2011 11:33:53PM 4 points [-]

There's also the possibility that you're being inconvenient to them. Say, vegetarians can't go to a true meat lover's party, people who get up early might need ME to get up eartly for whatever reason, and if your business fails and I live with you, that's obviously my problem.

Comment author: 27 May 2011 11:39:52PM 20 points [-]

Subskill: Avoid pitfalls of verbal strategic reasoning.

• List consequences without shifting from intuitive-sum to verbal-justification mode.
• Don't exacerbate scope insensitivity or attending to rare events.

There are studies showing that people who consider their decisions more make worse decisions. As I understand it, the main explanation for this is that people shift from an intuitive sum of costs and benefits, to seeking verbally justifiable decisions, which in turn might lead them to one-reason-decisionmaking, ignoring some of their costs and benefits which are important to them but seem less "sensible". I also suspect it may exacerbate other biases like scope insensitivity or rare events - thinking about cases which are rare or short in duration.

The classic case being "Let's get a bigger house, further away from work, so it has an extra bedroom in case Grandma comes over", which she does once a year, but the 20 minutes of extra commute time happen every day and are not acclimated-to.

Comment author: 30 May 2011 04:46:53AM 3 points [-]

"Let's get a bigger house, further away from work, so it has an extra bedroom in case Grandma comes over"

Not saying this is a bad example, but it COULD be the case that grandma never being able to come over is totally unacceptable. Which is also a pitfall - something can seem trivial until it goes away.

Comment author: 30 April 2011 12:05:49AM 2 points [-]

So, having thought about it today, I realized that I did overreact. Some of the justifications offered made sense. But I still find McGonnagal's reactions odd. Yes, a kid genius has special needs. But that doesn't mean he should be able to treat others like imbecils. It might've been just shock, but at some point it should have occured to her: I'm letting a prepubescent kid run circles around me. Even if he keeps being right, he's gonna get himself in trouble running his mouth all the time.

I know that she's supposed to be special, that most adults Harry knows DO put him in his place, but I see no reason to think that she is THAT special. She is not used to dealing with such situations (she can't even describe the one she had), and of all the teachers in the books, she's probably the one who values discipline the most.

Also, she never said: "Can you repeat what you just said? And this time, in English?" Sometimes, the situation seemed to call for a Point of View Gun from the Hitchhiker's Guide.

And there is REALLY no excuse for the temper tantrum.

And that's what a Black Hole Sue is: people act strange around her, so she might be happy.

Comment author: 29 April 2011 01:11:01PM *  3 points [-]

I didn't downvote Tiiba, but there's lots of reasons I could have potentially downvoted her, besides simple disagreement -- from the hostile tone all the way to a confusing semi-rhetorical "Does he?" at the end, which didn't make it clear what exactly she was asking us about.

If Tiiba was asking us, if given her hostile reaction, she should anticipate her opinion of the work to improve later on, she could make it far clearer. If Tiiba was asking us if there's justification for the content of the chapters she has read so far, she could ask about that more clearly as well.

Comment author: 29 April 2011 11:29:32PM 1 point [-]

"HE"

Comment author: 29 April 2011 08:49:10AM 4 points [-]

In case you didn't notice due to lack of Potterverse familiarity, it was established back in chapter 5 that Professor McGonagall knows the prophecy.

Comment author: 29 April 2011 08:55:40AM *  1 point [-]

I honestly have no idea how that has anything to do with what I'm saying.

And I read all the books, and watched the first six movies. I know what the prohesy is.

Comment author: 29 April 2011 08:10:12AM 2 points [-]