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

Comment author: moridinamael 20 March 2017 03:09:47PM 2 points [-]

What is the steelmanned, not-nonsensical interpretation of the phrase "democratize AI"?

Comment author: WalterL 20 March 2017 03:43:48PM 0 points [-]

"Make multiple AIs that can restrain one another instead of one tyrannical MCP"?

Comment author: lifelonglearner 15 March 2017 02:24:13PM 0 points [-]

The title says that sufficiently sincere confirmation bias is indistinguishable from real science. But I don't see how this differs too much from real science (the attitude of the NYU people versus scientists.)

You say:

What made this work? I think what happened is that they took their own beliefs literally. They actually believed that people hated Hillary because she was a woman, and so their idea of something that they were confident would show this clearly was a fair test.

I'm a little confused. Isn't this just saying that these people held real beliefs, rather than, say, belief-in-belief? So when contrary evidence appeared, they were able to change their mind?

I dunno; I feel not super convinced that its confirmation bias which causes this sort of good epistemic behavior? (As in, I wouldn't expect this sort of thing in this sort of situation to happen much and this is maybe unique?)

Comment author: WalterL 15 March 2017 07:52:05PM 1 point [-]

Real belief is actually moderately rare. People don't generally believe stuff anymore that they might get laughed at about. Find one person who believes something they didn't read on wikipedia and it's a weird week.

Comment author: Pimgd 14 February 2017 09:01:36AM 1 point [-]

And their reply was....?

Comment author: WalterL 14 February 2017 01:52:52PM 1 point [-]

Different things for each person. Security paranoia, 'always done it this way', perfectionism...

Comment author: Viliam 13 February 2017 03:05:29PM 7 points [-]

Have you tried asking them why they don't pay someone else? Because I can imagine a few reasons (some of them rational, some irrational) for doing so.

Maybe some of them are richer than average, but not rich enough to start paying people for doing things for them. Some people may seem more rich than they actually are, if they optimize for showing wealth. For example, they may have a huge house and an expensive car, but also a crushing mortgage that consumes most of their above-average income. So you look at the house and the car and get the impression they must be super rich (which is exactly what they optimized for), but they actually have no cash left after paying their regular bills to also pay someone for mowing the lawn.

Maybe they were poor in the past, and didn't update (emotionally) yet. Maybe their income is large but uncertain, so they make saving the extra money the priority. Or maybe they just never did a market research, so they imagine that paying someone for doing stuff is more expensive than it actually is.

Or maybe the complaints are insincere and they actually enjoy doing the stuff, but for some reason want to appear as disliking it. Maybe they don't want to seem too satisfied with their lives, to prevent envy, so they make up artificial problems. Or maybe they are obsessive perfectionists, who would never be satisfied with how someone else does the job.

Comment author: WalterL 13 February 2017 04:13:18PM 0 points [-]

I did, yeah. Isn't that what you do when you don't understand someone's decision? What does that have to do with a behavior being surprising?

Imagine you were getting to know someone. Then they reveal that they are devout followers of Scientology. You are surprised. You ask what's up. They give an explanation roughly on par with the stuff you wrote above. Are you surprised the next time you meet a person who turns out to be a Scientologist?

Yes, because it is weird. Things can be shocking and also explainable.

Comment author: WalterL 13 February 2017 02:32:28PM 1 point [-]

I'm always shocked to see rich folks complaining about how long it takes to do various routine tasks/maintenance. Like, if you don't like mowing the lawn, hire someone. If you don't like picking stuff up, then leave it on the ground or hire a maid. Basically, once you have a lot of money, you shouldn't spend time in ways you don't want to.

Comment author: WalterL 09 February 2017 05:08:07PM 5 points [-]

We don't have an open quotes thread on the main page, but this made me chuckle:

"mathematician thinks in numbers, a lawyer in laws, and an idiot thinks in words." from Nassim Taleb in


Comment author: Dagon 06 February 2017 07:26:47PM 0 points [-]

You don't make any choices.

Indeed. You experience results of the progression of states of the universe. It feels like you're making a choice, but that's illusory. Not so much "assume away" free will, but "dissolve the concept" and recognize that it's meaningless.

Or, at least that's the case in a universe where Omega can perfectly (or even near-perfecty) predict your "choices" - choice is meaningless if it's that predictable. It's not actually proven that this is possible, or that our universe (including consciousness) works that way.

Comment author: WalterL 07 February 2017 09:31:41PM 0 points [-]

How else would it work? Where is the decision going to come from that Omega can't see?

Comment author: Viliam 06 February 2017 10:17:41AM *  1 point [-]

Reminds me of a story where Gandhi tried using nonviolent resistance against Nazis. Didn't work as expected, the Nazis just shrugged and said "makes throwing you into the ovens easier".

Also, if the enemy propaganda is strong enough, it probably doesn't matter that you didn't use violence, because their TV will still report that you did. There needs to be some impartial observer to report on your actions.

Comment author: WalterL 06 February 2017 03:13:25PM 0 points [-]

Very true, although believing in the idea of an impartial observer feels a little old fashioned.

Nowadays the Resistance Channel would report that everybody is peaceful, regardless of the truth (anything that can't be ignored is false flag), and the Regime Channel would report that the protests are an Orcish Uprising that wants to murder your kids.

Outside observers will just be taken to be Regime loyalists by Rebels, and Rebels by Regimes, since their narrative will disagree with one or the other propoganda storylines.

Comment author: WalterL 03 February 2017 02:12:39PM 2 points [-]

It feels like reading something like this may have mislead the Syrian rebels. Nonviolent resistance runs the risk that the other side presses the violence button.

Comment author: WalterL 31 January 2017 03:40:07AM 2 points [-]

Fascinating. One can only hope this kind of thing proliferates.

View more: Next