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

Comment author: Houshalter 06 August 2016 07:03:21PM 0 points [-]

Well if the pattern was too complicated, then a reader of the blog post wouldn't be able to notice it.

Comment author: TobyBartels 19 October 2016 11:46:28AM 0 points [-]

Sure, that explains why the story was written with this flaw, but it doesn't remove the flaw. But I don't have a better suggestion.

Comment author: Adam_Greenwood 22 October 2008 03:02:34AM 3 points [-]

"The Heap Relativists claim that their philosophy may help prevent future disasters like the Great War of 1957, but it is widely considered to be a philosophy of despair. "

This should read that they claim their philosophy may prevent the destruction of correct pebble piles, as happened in the 1957 war. Otherwise, good.

Comment author: TobyBartels 01 August 2016 09:17:52AM *  1 point [-]

Well, right, when one speaks of the disaster of war, the first thing that comes to mind is of course the senseless and wanton scattering of perfectly correct pebble piles. Further thought reveals other problems, such as a reduced population leading to fewer future correct pebble piles and so forth, but that's not the visceral image that you get when contemplating the horrors of war.

In response to comment by TobyBartels on Final Words
Comment author: alicey 05 July 2016 07:46:42PM 2 points [-]

Voted up this comment, for kabbalistic reasons.

In response to comment by alicey on Final Words
Comment author: TobyBartels 01 August 2016 09:04:22AM 0 points [-]

Voted down this comment, because 2 other people voted it up and didn't even have the guts to admit to it.

Comment author: Houshalter 21 September 2013 09:13:44PM 13 points [-]

There is a pattern to what kinds of heaps the Pebblesorters find "right" and "wrong", but they haven't figured it out yet. They have always just used their intuition to decide if a heap was right or wrong, but their intuition got less precise in extreme cases like very large heaps. The Pebblesorters would have been better off if only they could have figured out the pattern and applied it to extreme heaps, rather than fighting over differences of intuition.

Also if they had just figured out the pattern, they could have programmed it into the AI rather than hoping that the AI's intuition would be exactly the same as their own, or manually programming the AI with every special case.

I think this was the main point of the essay but it went right over my head at first.

Comment author: TobyBartels 01 August 2016 08:59:15AM 0 points [-]

But it seems weird to me that they have computers and algorithms if they can't figure out this pattern. That messed with my suspension of disbelief for a bit.

In response to comment by ygert on Final Words
Comment author: alicey 16 March 2015 06:44:20PM 1 point [-]

Voted down all comments in this chain except this one, because I am flesh.

In response to comment by alicey on Final Words
Comment author: TobyBartels 25 May 2016 03:41:39AM 1 point [-]

Voted up this comment, for reasons that should be self-evident.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 September 2009 03:06:02AM 2 points [-]

I've heard that theory and it's so grotesquely ugly in a case like this that I just can't bring myself to go along with it.

Comment author: TobyBartels 25 April 2015 02:56:41AM 1 point [-]

Yes, the only logical course is to remove all except the outer two quotation marks.

Comment author: bramflakes 17 March 2015 10:51:48AM *  2 points [-]

The science material is presented to the reader in good faith, by the protagonist, who is only ever shown to be wrong in his attempts to link the science to magic, not the science itself. If it's attempting to be faithful to the Harry's youthful hubris, then shouldn't there be parts when Hermione says "actually Harry, you've misunderstood Kahneman and Tversky on X, Y and Z ...", like what happens for magical topics?

There is a section on the site called "science" which reads

All science mentioned in Methods is standard science except where otherwise specified (IIRC, the only two uses of nonstandard theories are Barbour’s timeless physics in Ch. 28 and my own timeless decision theory in Ch. 33). Wherever possible, I have mentioned standard terminology inside the book to make Googling easier. At some future point I may compile a complete list for all the scientific references in Methods, but this has not yet been done.

and if that weren't enough, Yudkowsky explicitly states that the science material is meant to be didactic.

Furthermore, "but it's better in the Sequences" is a terrible excuse. How many people are going to read a fun work of fiction, vs a sprawling 888 series of contrarian philosophy essays? A significant fraction of people on this very site have not read them, and then imagine what the odds are for the average fanfic reader (of whom there are an order of magnitude or two more than LessWrong users). Thousands of people are reading this story and taking what Yudkowsky says on faith (did you independently Google every science reference in the story? I sure didn't), so if the science is wrong then that's thousands of people coming away worse-off than when they started, and Yudkowsky is aware of this possibility..

Comment author: TobyBartels 19 March 2015 08:37:08AM 2 points [-]

The ironic thing about those exceptions is that bringing in Barbour's timeless physics is arguably itself one of the errors. In Harry's explanation of how he was able to perform partial transfiguration, there's nothing from Barbour except the phrase ‘timeless physics’; Harry's explication of that, as enforcing a relationship between separate time slices rather than performing a change, is the standard idea of a block universe, going back at least to 1908.

Comment author: Plasmon 17 March 2015 06:23:24AM 4 points [-]

The fact that quantum mechanics conserves energy is stronger evidence for the hypothesis that reality conserves energy than the fact that classical mechanics conserves energy. He is saying "our best model of reality conserves energy" which is very relevant.

Comment author: TobyBartels 19 March 2015 08:12:00AM *  0 points [-]

If quantum mechanics allowed for small violations of energy conservation (which sometimes people even say that it does, on short time periods, although this is not really correct), then McGonagall's tranformation would still violate physical law as we know it. In physics, you don't always push everything down to the most fundamental theory, which is a good thing, since we don't actually have a most fundamental theory of physics. There is no such thing as ‘our best [single] model of reality’; there are some ways in which our quantum models are (so far) worse than our classical ones.

Comment author: WalterL 18 March 2015 05:46:28PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for posting this. I was wondering what Dumbledore's line from the mirror meant.

I also wonder what the last spell Voldemort cast on Snape did, Hyauk Montauk I think?

Comment author: TobyBartels 19 March 2015 08:02:33AM 2 points [-]

It's a reference to SCP-231.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 24 May 2012 12:06:13AM 1 point [-]

Extrapolated volition of a sociopath would be bad bad news.

Comment author: TobyBartels 18 March 2015 07:55:22PM 0 points [-]

This doesn't seem to me to address MinibearRex's proposal.

We don't want to extrapolate the sociopath's volition; we want the sociopath to extrapolate our volition. The idea is that sociopaths have experience with thinking objectively about humans' volition.

View more: Next