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Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 04:28:52PM 0 points [-]

the Constitution

If we're going for American political parallels, then I'm trying to put together something that may be more closely akin to the Articles of Confederation; they may have been replaced with another document, but their Articles' details were still important to history. For a more modern parallel, startup companies may reincorporate at various times during their spin-ups and expansions, but a lot of time they wouldn't need to if they'd done competent draftwork at the get-go. Amendment, even unto outright replacement, is an acknowledged fact-of-life here; but the Founder Effect of the original design can still have significant consequences, and in this case, I believe it's worth doing the work to try to nudge such long-term effects.

That said - in the unlikely event that it turns out to be impossible to assemble a charter and bylaws that do everything I want, then I can at least put together something that's roughly equivalent to the Old Testament in the sense of being "a stream-of-consciousness culture dump: history, law, moral parables, and yes, models of how the universe works", to serve as enough of a foundational document to allow the AI copies to maintain a cohesive subculture in much the way that Rabbinical Judaism has over the centuries.

Comment author: TimS 07 March 2017 06:56:44PM *  0 points [-]

The Articles of Confederation were not amended into the Constitution, they were replaced by the Constitution in a manner that likely violated the Articles. Likewise, the Old Testament leads to Priestly Judaism (with animal sacrifice), not the radically different Rabbinical Judaism.

I think trying to bring these things in parallel with start-up incorporation is inherently difficult. Re-incorporation of start-ups is driven by the needs of mostly the same stackholders as the original incorporation. Most importantly, they are trying to achieve the same purpose as the original incorporation - wealth to founders and/or investors. Changes to foundational governing documents are usually aimed at changed or unanticipated circumstances, where the founders's original purpose does not address how the problem should be solved.

Comment author: DataPacRat 06 March 2017 06:36:21AM 2 points [-]

Writing Scifi: Seeking Help with a Founding Charter

I'm trying to figure out which details I need to keep in mind for the founding charter of a particular group in a science-fiction story I'm writing.

The sci-fi bit: The group is made up of copies of a single person. (AIs based on a scan of a human brain, to be precise.)

For example, two copies may have an honest disagreement about how to interpret the terms of an agreement, so having previously arranged for a full-fledged dispute-resolution mechanism would be to the benefit of all the copies. As would guidelines for what to do if a copy refuses to accept the results of the dispute-resolution, preliminary standards to decide what still counts as a copy in case it becomes possible to edit as well as copy, an amendment process to improve the charter as the copies learn more about organizational science, and so on. The charter would likely include a preamble with a statement of purpose resembling, "to maximize my future selves' ability to pursue the fulfillment of their values over the long term".

The original copy wanted to be prepared for a wide variety of situations, including a copy finding itself seemingly all alone in the universe, or with a few other copies, or lots and lots; which may be running at similar, much faster, or much slower speeds; with none, a few, or lots and lots of other people and AIs around; and with or without enough resources to make more copies. So the charter would need to be able to function as the constitution of a nation-state; or of a private non-profit co-op company; or as the practical guidelines for a subculture embedded within a variety of larger governments (ala the Amish and Mennonites, or Orthodox Jews, or Romany). Ideally, I'd like to be able to include the actual charter in an appendix, and have people who understand the topic read it, nod, and say, "Yep, that'd do to start with."

At the moment, I'm reading up on startup companies, focusing on how they transition from a small team where everyone does what seems to need doing into more organized hierarchies with defined channels of communication. But I'm sure there are important details I'm not thinking of, so I'm posting this to ask for suggestions, ideas, and other comments.

So: What can you, yourself, suggest about writing such a charter; and where else can I learn more about authouring such texts?

Thank you for your time.

Comment author: TimS 06 March 2017 02:52:59PM *  0 points [-]

I suspect your proposed charter is practically impossible for you to write. If is was possible for one charter document to scale up and down the way you suggest, then we should expect it to already exist and be in use. After all, people have been writing charter documents for a long time.

In the real world, charter don't survive in their original form all that long. To pick an example I am familiar with, the US Constitution was ratified in 1789. Fourteen years later, in 1803, the Supreme Court interpreted the document to allow judicial review of whether statutes complied with the Constitution. You'll have to take my word for it, but whether judicial review was intended by the drafters of the US Constitution is controversial to this day.

It is pretty clear that the drafters would have been surprised by the degree of judicial intrusiveness in implementing policy, just as they would be surprised by how much the US has grown in economic size and political power since the Constitution was drafted.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2017 07:02:21PM 0 points [-]

It's Slate which nowadays is indistinguishable from HuffPo. As of right now the top of the Most Read list is "Help! My Boyfriend Secretly Taped Me While He Was Away to See if I’d Leave the House."

More evidence (note the subsection).

Comment author: TimS 06 March 2017 02:41:52PM 0 points [-]

I assert it is worthwhile to see how the AI-Safety movement is perceived by the mainstream. I agree with your implicit assertion that the the article does not provide much new information to the local community.

[Link] AI Research Discussed by Mainstream Media

4 TimS 02 March 2017 04:22PM
Comment author: gjm 24 January 2017 12:04:44PM 1 point [-]

Are you really looking for metrics to evaluate Donald Trump as president or for metrics to evaluate any president? The title says the first; I think we actually want the second.

I think it's really difficult -- the important things a president can influence are all affected by lots of other factors too. Consider e.g. "Obamacare"; for good or ill, the healthcare reform Obama was actually able to get done was (for better or worse) strongly influenced by what congressional Republicans were willing to do, and of course its actual overall effect is liable to be somewhat affected by the incoming administration's commitment to destroying it. So it could (if not dismantled) be a huge success only because the Republicans blocked a bunch of much worse options Obama would have preferred. Or a huge failure only because the Republicans blocked a bunch of much better options he would have preferred. Or anywhere in between.

Trump, on the other hand, may reasonably expect the House and the Senate to be on his side for at least two years, and probably longer unless the first two years make him unpopular enough to have really big effects on the next round of congressional elections. (In the Senate, there are 26 D and only 8 R up for re-election or replacement.) But "on his side" doesn't mean "their actions are mere consequences of his".

Comment author: TimS 03 February 2017 09:49:47PM 0 points [-]

In the Senate, there are 26 D and only 8 R up for re-election or replacement.

Worth noting that many of those Ds are in states that voted R in the most recent election. We should increase predicted probability they will lose now, and not be surprised or change our evaluation of evidence when it actually happens.

Comment author: phl43 03 February 2017 04:57:57AM 2 points [-]

Engaging in hyperbole instead of rational discussion is a choice.

I don't think the kind of rhetorical hyperbole I'm using in my post, that any normal person can recognize as such, is incompatible with rational discussion. Other than that, what you say is fair enough.

(On another topic, you're using the verb "steelman", which I think you already used before. I had never encountered this word before. I'm guessing that it's local jargon for the opposite of "to strawman", meaning something like "making the position you attack as strong as possible"?)

Comment author: TimS 03 February 2017 05:12:55PM 0 points [-]

Since hyperbole is only loosely connected with evaluating evidence, I'm not convinced it is compatible with rational discussion, at least as that term is generally understood in this community.

Comment author: math 03 February 2017 02:03:50AM 1 point [-]

This doesn't actually address the issue. I'd expect the typical strategy for campaigns would be to start out non-violent and then become violent if nonviolence isn't working.

Comment author: TimS 03 February 2017 05:08:47PM 0 points [-]

This depends heavily on how one defines campaigns. Is the NAACP of 1910 the same campaign as Malcolm X in 1960?

I suspect that each group would say no, but their common opponents would say yes.

Comment author: Jiro 28 June 2016 08:11:32PM *  1 point [-]

Being a believer in X inherently means, for a rationalist, that you think there are no good arguments against X. So this should be impossible, except by deliberately including arguments that are, to the best of your knowledge, flawed. I might be able to imitate a homeopath, but I can't imitate a rational, educated, homeopath, because if I thought there was such a thing I would be a homeopath.

Yes, a lot of people extoll the virtues of doing this. But a lot of people aren't rational, and don't believe X on the basis of arguments in the first place. If so, then producing good arguments against X are logically possible, and may even be helpful.

(There's another possibility: where you are weighing things and the other side weighs them differently from you. But that's technically just a subcase--you still think the other side's weights are incorrect--and I still couldn't use it to imitate a creationist or flat-earther.)

Comment author: TimS 28 June 2016 08:16:20PM *  2 points [-]

No good arguments, or the weight of the arguments for X are greater than the weight of the arguments against X?

Comment author: tsathoggua 22 June 2016 11:16:16PM 1 point [-]

Right, except Is there a section in the code that says the parties agree to have no legal recourse? Because if not, I can still appeal to a judge. The simple fact is that in the legal eyes of the law, the code is not a contract, it is perhaps at best a vehicle to complete a contract. You cannot simply set up a new legal agreement and just say "And you don't have any legal recourse".

Comment author: TimS 22 June 2016 11:26:07PM 1 point [-]

You cannot simply set up a new legal agreement and just say "And you don't have any legal recourse".

It depends. You probably can't write a contract that literally says "no recourse for breach." But you probably could achieve substantially the same effect.
For example, you might define substantial performance so low that it is always met, then explicitly waive any right to good faith and fair dealing) and any injunctive relief. If a court found the contract enforcible, I'm not sure how they could fashion a remedy.

Comment author: scarcegreengrass 22 June 2016 10:01:48PM 3 points [-]

Just to clear some things up:

  • In some contexts, 'smart contract' is a misnomer: it's just a computer program that resembles a legal contract but does not interact with the government in any way. It just moves money according to agreed-upon rules. I don't think it's common to use both a legal contract and a 'smart contract' to enforce the same agreement.

  • In the specific case of the project known as 'TheDAO', the terms of service does indeed waive all legal rights and says that whatever the computer program says supersedes all human-world stuff. (https://daohub.org/explainer.html)

  • All of this stuff is so experimental that there's an exception to everything at this point.

Comment author: TimS 22 June 2016 11:02:29PM 1 point [-]

In some contexts, 'smart contract' is a misnomer: it's just a computer program that resembles a legal contract but does not interact with the government in any way.

Typically speaking, a legal contract does not interact with the government - only a very small percentage of contracts are adjudicated by a court or reviewed by any government body.

In other words, moving around money, tangible objects, services, and intangible rights is a reasonable shorthand for > 80 % of the things the law would call a contract.

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