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Comment author: Lumifer 10 August 2017 02:57:27PM *  5 points [-]

I think your starting assumptions are false.

prediction markets ... aren't really catching on

Not true. Most financial markets are prediction markets. They seem to be popular.

stock market, which for the vast majority of people is no less distasteful

Not true. In fact, I do not know a single person who would characterize the stock market as "distasteful". Caveat: I don't know many tankies.

Only a small minority of people are neither disgusted by nor terrified of gambling.

Not true. Look at how many people are playing the lotteries, going to casinos, etc.

In general, "prediction market as a sport" is called trading the financial markets. HUGE prizes :-D

Comment author: akvadrako 12 August 2017 05:55:26PM 1 point [-]

Not true. Most financial markets are prediction markets. They seem to be popular.

That may be technically true, but only in a superficial sense. Stocks prices have a very complicated relationship to real world events, except in the very long term. That's very different from markets like https://www.predictit.org which have clear connections to things like who will win elections and objective criteria.

Comment author: Thomas 10 July 2017 11:17:18AM 2 points [-]


Comment author: akvadrako 15 July 2017 07:23:51PM *  0 points [-]

You should add a "None of the above" option. If I saw an app with these names, I'd be hard pressed to give it a chance.

You might want to try https://www.namingforce.com ; crowd sourced names; pay the winner $100.

Comment author: turchin 06 July 2017 11:12:11PM *  1 point [-]

At the beginning, I should note that any goal which is not including immortality is stupid, as infinite existence will include realisation of almost all other goals. So immortality seems to be a good proxy for the best goal. It is better goal than pleasure. Pleasure is always temporary, and somewhat not interesting.

However, there is something bigger than immortality. I call it "to become a God". But I can't just jump, or become enlightened, or whatever, it will be not me. I want to go all the way from now to infinitely complex, eternal and superintelligent and benevolent being. I think it is the most interesting way live.

But it is not just fun. It is the meaning of life. And the "meaning" is what makes you work, even if there are no fun ahead. For example, if you care about the survival of your family, it gives you meaning. Or, speaking better, the meaning takes you.

The idea of infinite evolution is also a meaning for the following reasons. There is a basic drive to evolve in every living being. When you choose a beautiful goal, you want to put your genes in the best possible place and create best possible children, and this is a drive that moves evolution. (Not very scientific claim, as sexual selection is not as well accepted as natural selection. So it is more like poetic expression of my feeling about natural drive to evolution). If one educate himself, read, travel etc, it all is parts of this desire for evolution. Even the first AI will immediately find it and start to self-improve.

The desire to evolve is something like Nietzschen "will to power". But this will is oriented on the infinite space of future possible mind states.

I would add that I spent years working in the theory of happiness. I abandoned it and I feel much better. I don't need to be happy, I just need to be in working condition to move to my mission: infinitely evolve (it also includes saving humanity from x-risks and giving life extension for all, so my goal is altruistic).

It may look that this goal has smaller prior chances of success, but it is not so for two reasons, one them connected with appearing of superintelligence in near-term, and another is some form of observation selection which will prevent me from seeing my failure. If I merge with superintelligent AI, I could continue my evolution (as well as other people).

There is another point of view, that I often heard from Lesswrongers. That we should not dare to think about our final goals, as superintelligence will provide us with better goals via CEV. However, there is some circularity here, as superinteligence has to extract our values from us, and if we not investing in attempts to articulate them, it could assume that the most popular TV series are the best presentation of the world we want to live. Its "Games of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead".

Comment author: akvadrako 07 July 2017 02:26:41PM 1 point [-]

Also like username2, I'm happy to hear of others with a view along this direction. A couple years ago I made a brief attempt at starting a modern religion called noendism, with the sole moral of survival. Not necessarily individual survival; on that we may differ.

However since then my core beliefs have evolved a bit and it's not so simple anymore. For one, after extensive research I've convinced myself that personal immortality is practically guaranteed. For another, one of my biggest worries is surviving, but imprisoned in a powerless situation.

Anyway, those details aren't practically relevant for my day to day life; these similar goals all head in the same direction.

Comment author: turchin 04 July 2017 10:43:24PM 1 point [-]

I think that theory of final goals should not be about happiness and sufferings.

My final goals are about infinite evolution etc, and suffering is just a signal that I choose a wrong path or have to call 911. If we fight with the signal, we forget to change the reality and start to live in illusion.

Moreover, I think that value of to be alive is more important than value of happiness.

Comment author: akvadrako 06 July 2017 08:04:50PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: gjm 16 January 2017 09:43:43PM 0 points [-]

it's not about being similar to French and I don't know why you think that.

Because (1) the study mentioned in the Grin report was conducted on francophone students and (2) while Esperanto is a proposal for a universal language, its structure and vocabulary are very decidedly European and indeed Romance. It is much more like French than Japanese or Mandarin or Korean, or even Sanskrit. Or, in fact, German.

I've learned Esperanto and French and didn't notice any similarities.

That surprises me. Let's try a little experiment. Go to the Wikipedia page on Esperanto (selected just because it's an obvious thing to select, so you know I'm not cherry-picking) and find the first substantial quantity of Esperanto text. It's this:

En multaj lokoj de Ĉinio estis temploj de la drako-reĝo. Dum trosekeco oni preĝis en la temploj, ke la drako-reĝo donu pluvon al la homa mondo. Tiam drako estis simbolo de la supernatura estaĵo. Kaj pli poste, ĝi fariĝis prapatro de la plej altaj regantoj kaj simbolis la absolutan aŭtoritaton de feŭda imperiestro. La imperiestro pretendis, ke li estas filo de la drako. Ĉiuj liaj vivbezonaĵoj portis la nomon drako kaj estis ornamitaj per diversaj drakofiguroj. Nun ĉie en Ĉinio videblas drako-ornamentaĵoj, kaj cirkulas legendoj pri drakoj.

The very first word (en) has approximately the same spelling, pronunciation and meaning as a French word. This is not a coincidence. The next word doesn't (I think). The next (lokoj) is in fact cognate with French lieux with the same meaning. Next (de): French also has a word "de" with the same spelling and similar pronunciation, and a closely related meaning. Then Ĉinio; corresponding French is Chine, similar spelling, similar pronunciation. Maybe half the words in this passage have close French cousins. The sentence structures are very similar too. The writing system is almost identical -- same repertoire of letters, similar set of accents, more or less the same punctuation.

If you took the same text and wrote it in, say, Tamil, it would be very much more different.

It would be easy to grow Esperanto quickly.

Easy for whom? What's the actual sequence of events that would lead to it happening?

Becoming the official language of the EU is one plausible avenue

I think we may have different ideas about what constitutes plausibility. I agree it's possible but I'd put the probability well below 1%.

Comment author: akvadrako 17 January 2017 04:30:47PM *  0 points [-]

Sorry, but the idea that Esperanto is somehow only easy for French speakers is plainly wrong. I don't think you'll find anyone who has learned it and another language who'll disagree.

Actually Esperanto is in the same language family as many Asian ones:


Comment author: gjm 16 January 2017 03:30:40PM *  1 point [-]

I don't see how those numbers, even if correct, mean that I'm being too pessimistic about Esperanto. I didn't deny that some people speak it, or that it's easy to learn. I said I don't see any plausible pathway by which it becomes widely enough used to be a lingua franca.

The most interesting of those figures is the one about how many hours it takes to learn various languages. The link you gave doesn't offer any direct support for the startling claim you make (apparently saying that Esperanto is 10x easier to learn than English); rather, it quotes someone else describing a study apparently done by the University of Paderborn's Institute of Pedagogic Cybernetics. (On French students, so part of what this is measuring is similarity to French; that will no doubt be why German is alleged to be harder than English. I remark that Esperanto is more like French than English is -- though probably not more like French than Italian is.) Unfortunately I can't readily track down more information about this (it's cited in an article by Flochon in a book by Guy Gauthier but, at least as quoted in the Grin report, doesn't give any specifics about the study). I would want to know more before believing that the ratio is so very large.

Comment author: akvadrako 16 January 2017 08:44:09PM *  0 points [-]

You should better look at the wikipedia page I linked:


Also it's not about being similar to French and I don't know why you think that. I've learned Esperanto and French and didn't notice any similarities. Actually the Chinese were one of the biggest supporters, though that may be trending down.

It would be easy to grow Esperanto quickly. It would require some concerted effort, but there is a solid though small base around the world and there only needs to be some push to make it happen. Becoming the official language of the EU is one plausible avenue, but another one might crop up in the next few centuries.

Comment author: gjm 13 January 2017 01:01:27PM 4 points [-]

I think it might be good to have a universal language, but I think it's vanishingly unlikely that Esperanto or any other deliberately manufactured language will become one. The way languages get (anything like) universal is by being widely used, and the way languages get widely used is by being widely useful. I don't see any plausible way for something like Esperanto to achieve that. English might become a universal language. Maybe, depending on how the world goes over the next few decades, Chinese or Russian or something. But it won't be Esperanto. Pretty much everyone whose knowledge of Esperanto would make learning Esperanto valuable already speaks English.

Comment author: akvadrako 16 January 2017 01:19:11PM *  0 points [-]

I think you're being too pessimistic about Esperanto:

  • There are about 2 million speakers worldwide [4]. For a language only 100 years old.
  • It was recently added to Duolingo [5], a great resource for learning.
  • The Esperanto wikipedia is ranked #32 in terms of number of articles. [1]
  • It's taught in 69 universities in 24 countries, several offering bachelors or PhD degrees. [7]
  • Prominent people are fluent in Esperanto, like the president of Austria [8]
  • After Britain leaves, only Ireland will speak English in the EU, giving Esperanto an opening. [11]
  • Esperanto is so easy to learn:
  • -> 2000 hours studying German = 1500 English = 1000 Italian = 150 Esperanto [6]
  • -> you can get it for free if you learn it along the way of learning English [9][2][10]

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias
[2] http://www.aaie.us/wordpress/?page_id=42
[4] http://www.esperanto.net/veb/faq-5.html
[5] https://www.duolingo.com/course/eo/en/Learn-Esperanto-Online
[6] http://www.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/rapports-publics/054000678/index.shtml
[7] https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto_en_universitatoj
[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/30/AR2007033000824.html
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto
[10] 'A language teaching experiment', Canadian Modern Language Review 22.1: 26–28
[11] http://e-d-e.org

Comment author: ChristianKl 12 November 2016 01:58:35PM *  4 points [-]

Whether that's a good idea depends on if our current state is overall good or bad.

No, it depends on whether random changes to our current state are an improvement or aren't.

If you would make a change that requires all high level government burocrates to be superforcasters in their domains of expertise, it would likely be a huge improvement and you could speak of the resulting government as being good and the present one as bad.

That doesn't mean that randomly breaking things and creating change improves the bad current state.

A lot of possible changes lead to WW3 or otherwise end civilisation.

Comment author: akvadrako 26 November 2016 02:11:45PM *  0 points [-]

I think you are missing the point. If I have a random variable between 0 and 10, than "random" changes will cause a regression to the mean. Thus, if the current state is bad, say 1, a many "random" changes are likely to be an improvement.

More simply, if our state is bad, we should take more risks.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 November 2016 06:44:13PM 3 points [-]

Saying "we haven't had a nuclear exchange with Russia yet, therefor our foreign policy and diplomatic strategy is good" is an obvious fallacy.

That's a strawman. EY isn't saying that our foreign policy is good.

Comment author: akvadrako 12 November 2016 01:02:56PM 0 points [-]

The argument rests on that assumption, mostly clearly shown in the quote:

"People who voted for Trump are unrealistically optimists, thinking that civilization is robust, the current state is bad, ..."

If we are stuck in a locally optimal valley, then a high-variance candidate is more likely to push us out of it and into another valley. Whether that's a good idea depends on if our current state is overall good or bad.

Personally I think we should be taking more chances and trying to find a better equilibrium. That means occasionally rocking the boat, but if you never do it you're condemning yourself to stagnation.

Comment author: moridinamael 01 August 2016 02:33:23PM 3 points [-]

I've made an app that would greatly benefit from being open source in order to allow users to write their own plugins. How do I make it open source while still satisfying my capitalist rent-seeking exploitative desires?

Comment author: akvadrako 07 August 2016 01:10:40PM *  1 point [-]

You could publish it as GPL3 or something more restrictive. If someone else has a plugin that has commercial potential, they'll need a more permissive license.

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