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Comment author: Viliam 22 August 2017 09:24:59PM *  0 points [-]

Maybe this is just me, but it seems to me like there is a "motte and bailey" game being played with "emergence".

The "motte" is the definition provided here by the defenders of "emergence". An emergent property is any property exhibited by a system composed of pieces, where no individual piece has that property alone. Taking this literally, even "distance between two oranges" is an emergent property of those two oranges. I just somehow do not remember anyone using that word in this sense.

The "bailey" of "emergence" is that it is a mysterious process, which will somehow inevitably happen if you put a lot of pieces together and let them interact randomly. It is somehow important for those pieces to not be arranged in any simple/regular way that would allow us to fully understand their interaction, otherwise the expected effect will not happen. But as long as you close your eyes and arrange those pieces randomly, it is simply a question of having enough pieces in the system for the property to emerge.

For example, the "motte" of "consciousness is an emergent property of neurons" is saying that one neuron is not conscious, but there are some systems of neurons (i.e. brains) which are conscious.

The "bailey" of "consciousness is an emergent property of neurons" is that if you simulate a sufficiently large number of randomly connected neurons on your computer, the system is fated to evolve consciousness. If the consciousness does not appear, it must be because there are not enough neurons, or because the simulation is not fast enough.

In other words, if we consider the space of all possible systems composed of 10^11 neurons, the "motte" version merely says that at least one such system is conscious, while the "bailey" version would predict that actually most of them are conscious, because when you have sufficient complexity, the emergent behavior will appear.

The relevance for LW is that for a believer in "emergence", the problem of creating artificial intelligence (although not necessarily friendly one) is simply a question of having enough computing power to simulate a sufficiently large number of neurons.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 23 August 2017 02:19:35AM 1 point [-]

I don't understand what is supposed to be so bad about "mysterious" things. Take the distance between two oranges: if you look at a single orange, it doesn't tell you anything about how far it should be from another. And special relativity implies that there is no difference between a situation where one orange is moving and the other isn't, and the situation where the movements are reversed. So the distance between two oranges can be changing, even though apparently neither one is changing more than the other, or at all, when you just sit and look at one of the oranges. So the distance between two oranges seems pretty mysterious to me.

Also, I'm not sure anyone actually says that emergent things "inevitably happen" due to a large quantity and randomness.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 20 August 2017 09:35:26PM 0 points [-]

Clipdiary is free for personal use and keeps a database of previous clips up to the previous 100,000, set to whatever you want in the options.

Comment author: Bound_up 18 August 2017 06:49:38PM 0 points [-]

Would it be fair to say you don't think the post is inaccurate so much as you think it is unkind?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 19 August 2017 06:25:12PM 0 points [-]

I think it is both. I said before why I think this idea is inaccurate. All human beings use words both for communicating facts and for other purposes, usually with a good deal of mixture. And of course some people are farther towards the side of communicating facts, and others farther towards other purposes, but there absolutely is not a division into two groups, fact communicators and other purpose communicators.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 August 2017 04:10:10PM 1 point [-]

an important fact about reality

The observation that you yourself are part of reality is trivial. Of course anything trivial can be spun as important.

It might be equally prevalent.

Evidence?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 17 August 2017 01:28:15AM 0 points [-]

The observation that you yourself are part of reality is trivial. Of course anything trivial can be spun as important.

It may be trivial, but it is also important, and in practice it is a triviality that people very often ignore, to the detriment of their understanding. Let me give some examples:

  1. What we are talking about. People often make plans which take no account of the fact that they have feelings and desires and beliefs that may entirely prevent those plans from taking place. So they are acting like those things are not part of reality.

  2. The reason people object to the idea that they do not have a soul which is completely separate from their body. It is easy to see that there is nothing specifically horrible about bodily parts which could prevent them from taking care of the functions of a soul. Suppose there was a spiritual part that had those functions: any objection that you could make to the bodily parts doing that function, could be made to the spiritual part doing that function. So the real reason is wanting to think that you are not a part of reality.

  3. In the discussion of the Smoking Lesion, the reason people think it is important to "change the probability" that they are going to get cancer is that they think that they themselves and their decision are not part of reality, but something coming in from outside and changing it. In reality they are just a part of what is there, so there is no need to change anything, but it is fine not to have cancer, by choosing not to smoke.

  4. Yudkowsky used to talk about imposing his goals on a supposedly indifferent universe. This of course is impossible: he himself is a PART of the universe, and any goal that he seeks, the universe is seeking, just in that part which happens to be him. It also follows that the universe is not indifferent, since its parts are not indifferent.

  5. In a similar way, people on LW talked about "resisting entropy" and supposedly resisting the "goals" of the universe. But again since people are part of the universe, they can resist it in no way: whatever they do, the universe does. And since they are physical parts of it, resisting entropy is impossible, since they will follow the second law of thermodynamics just like everything else. It is true that people occasionally lower the entropy of some things, but only by increasing the entropy of the whole system more than ever. In other words, far from resisting the universe's supposed goal of entropy, they themselves promote it by everything they do, since they are parts of the universe.

Evidence?

Principle of indifference. I see it very often in both and nothing has convinced me it is more prevalent in one place than in the other.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 August 2017 02:54:47PM 1 point [-]

if you are in a sad mood, it is a fact that you are in a sad mood ... So moods influence facts

Don't be silly.

The result is not that the moods do not influence their beliefs and actions, but that they do not notice the influence of their moods on their beliefs and actions.

I hear what you are saying, but that's more prevalent among normies, if anything. I suspect the nerds are more likely to fight the influence of mood on facts (and usually lose), while the normies just wholeheartedly embrace it.

other elements of your utility function in fact influence your beliefs

Yes, of course they do. But "facts" and "beliefs" are very different things.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 16 August 2017 03:02:54PM 0 points [-]

Don't be silly.

It's not silly, but an important fact about reality. The mood you are in influences your behavior and therefore the consequences of your behavior, and thus the future state of the world and all the facts about it. This is directly related to the other point I made about ignoring moods.

I hear what you are saying, but that's more prevalent among normies, if anything.

It might be equally prevalent.

I suspect the nerds are more likely to fight the influence of mood on facts (and usually lose)

Yes, but quite often with a good deal of ignorance about the mood, and this contributes to the losing.

But "facts" and "beliefs" are very different things.

Sure.

Comment author: tadasdatys 15 August 2017 05:59:40PM 0 points [-]

Well, you used it,.

I can also use"ftoy ljhbxd drgfjh". Is that not meaningless either? Seriously, if you have no arguments, then don't respond.

What happens if a robot pain detector is invented tomorrow?

Let me answer that differently. You said invisible unicorns don't exist. What happens if an invisible unicorn detector is invented tomorrow? To make a detector for a thing, that thing has to have known properties. If they did invent a robot pain detector tomorrow, how would you check that it really detects robot pain? You're supposed to be able to check that somehow.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 16 August 2017 02:55:26PM 0 points [-]

"Seriously, if you have no arguments, then don't respond."

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Comment author: Lumifer 15 August 2017 03:24:53PM 1 point [-]

We nerds have trained ourselves to disregard moods in favor of facts

Nope. These are just separate magisteria: we understand that moods do not influence facts, but it does not follow that moods are not important and can freely be ignored.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 16 August 2017 01:34:43AM 0 points [-]

moods do not influence facts

First of all, if you are in a sad mood, it is a fact that you are in a sad mood, and if you are in a happy mood, it is a fact that you are in a happy mood. So moods influence facts, and these cannot be separate magisteria, but overlapping.

Second, many nerds do ignore their moods, even though this is a bad idea. The result is not that the moods do not influence their beliefs and actions, but that they do not notice the influence of their moods on their beliefs and actions.

In a similar way, if you think that only facts influence your beliefs, and not other elements of your utility function, it will not mean that your beliefs are not influenced by other elements of your utility function. It will just mean that you will not notice that influence. You are better off admitting the truth, namely that other elements of your utility function in fact influence your beliefs.

Comment author: Manfred 15 August 2017 10:16:34PM 0 points [-]

To our best current understanding, it has to have a model of the world (e.g. as a POMDP) that contains a count of the number of paperclips, and that it can use to predict what effect its actions will have on the number of paperclips. Then it chooses a strategy that will, according to the model, lead to lots of paperclips.

This won't want to fool itself because, according to basically any model of the world, fooling yourself does not result in more paperclips.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 16 August 2017 01:30:51AM 0 points [-]

"according to basically any model of the world, fooling yourself does not result in more paperclips."

Paul Almond at one time proposed that every interpretation of a real thing is a real thing. According to that theory, fooling yourself that there are more paperclips does result in more paperclips (although not fooling yourself also has that result.)

Comment author: Elo 15 August 2017 10:28:37PM 0 points [-]

What if you discovered that a part of your brain doesn't like when your friends are happier than you?

What if you discovered a part of your brain just wants to wirehead itself?

What if you discovered a part of your brain that likes to come up with ideas about how horrible you are and then meditation only causes you to pay attention to those thoughts?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 16 August 2017 01:27:43AM 0 points [-]

I have parts of my brain that are like that, and I suspect that most people do. But if "meditation only causes you to pay attention to those thoughts" then you are probably doing it wrong.

Comment author: tadasdatys 05 August 2017 03:03:27PM 0 points [-]

You are correct that "I forgot", in the sense that I don't know exactly what you are referring to

Well, that explains a lot. It's not exactly ancient history, and everything is properly quoted, so you really should know what I'm talking about. Yes, it's about the identical table-chairs question from IKEA discussion, the one that I linked to just a few posts above.

Secondly, what I mean is that there are no determinate boundaries to the meaning of the word.

Why are there no determinate boundaries though? I'm saying that boundaries are unclear only if you haven't yet decided what they should be. But you seem to be saying that the boundaries inherently cannot be clear?

All categories are vague, because they are generated by a process similar to factor analysis

There is nothing vague about the results of factor analysis.

It is false that the meanings are arbitrary, for the reasons I have said.

On this topic, last we seemed to have agreed that "arbitrary" classification means "without reasons related to the properties of the objects classified". I don't recall you ever giving any such reasons.

It is also false that there is some "absolute and natural concept of a chair," and I have never suggested that there is.

For example, you have said '"are tables also chairs" has a definite answer'. Note the word "definite". You also keep insisting that there is factor analysis involved, which would also be an objective and natural way to assign objects to categories. By the way "natural" is the opposite of "arbitrary".

All words are defined either by other words, or by pointing at things, and precise concepts cannot be formed by pointing at things.

Yeah, I recall saying something like that myself. And the rest of your claims don't go well with this one.

you are the one who needs the "language 101" stuff

Well, you decided that I need it, then made some wild and unsupported claims.

You have been confusing the idea "this statement has a meaning" with "this statement is testable."

Yes, the two statements are largely equivalent. Oddly, I don't recall you mentioning testability or measurability anywhere in this thread before (I think there was something in another thread though).

Likewise, you have been confusing "this statement is vague" with "this statement is not testable."

I don't think I've done that. It's unfortunate that after this you spent so much time trying to to prove something I don't really disagree with. Why did you think that I'm confusing these things? Please quote.

Consider a line of stars. The one at the left end is a red giant. The one at the right end is a white dwarf. In between, the stars each differ from the previous one by a single atom. Then you have a question of vagueness. When exactly do we stop calling them white dwarfs and start calling them red giants? There cannot possibly be a precise answer. This has nothing to do with testability; we can test whatever we want. The problem is that the terminology is vague, and there is no precise answer because it is vague.

This is only as vague as you want it to be. If you want, you can cut the line, based on whatever reason, and call all the starts on one side "red giants" and stars on the other side "white dwarfs". It would be pointless, but there is nothing stopping you. You say "cannot possibly" and then give no reasons why.

I however have no problems with the vagueness here, because the two categories are only shorthands for some very specific properties of the starts (like mass). This is not true for "consciousness".

Nonetheless, this proves that testability is entirely separate from vagueness.

It's not a test if "no" is unobservable.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 05 August 2017 05:09:17PM 0 points [-]

This is only as vague as you want it to be. If you want, you can cut the line, based on whatever reason, and call all the starts on one side "red giants" and stars on the other side "white dwarfs". It would be pointless, but there is nothing stopping you.

There is nothing stopping you only in the sense that nothing stops you from asserting falsehoods. (As we see is the case for you personally.)

It is intrinsically vague: "Red giant" does not and cannot have precise boundaries, as is true of all words. The same is true of "White dwarf." If you cut the line, you will indeed be cutting it arbitrarily, as you say yourself, and this has nothing to do with the meaning of those words.

The rest does not respond to the comparison about consciousness, and as I said we won't be discussing the comments on language.

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