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Comment author: Viliam 17 August 2016 07:34:59AM 4 points [-]

What’s going on in someone’s head when they encounter something like the trolley problem, and say “you can’t just place a value on a human life”?

Maybe: "Here is someone who is practicing excuses for killing people, using fictional scenarios. Is this some kind of wannabe killer, exploring the terrain to find out under which circumstances would his actions be socially acceptable? I'd better explain him that this approach wouldn't work here."

Comment author: fubarobfusco 17 August 2016 09:27:02PM *  1 point [-]

This seems plausible to me. Also compare "torture vs. dust specks" (intended as a thought experiment about aggregating disutility over hypothetical people) with "the ticking bomb scenario" (intended as an actual justification for actual societies developing torture practices for actually torturing actual people).

Comment author: ChristianKl 23 June 2016 01:21:28PM 2 points [-]

For instance, if the contract is triggered by the delivery of physical goods - how can you define what the goods are, what constitutes delivery, what constitutes possession of them, and so on.

With the internet of things physical goods can treat their owner differently than other people. A car can be programmed to only be driven by their owner.

Reputation and escrow are also mechanisms that can be used. SilkRoad managed delivery of physical goods via reputation and escrew. SilkRoad did however had central servers that could be attacked. An Ethereum based system couldn't be taken down in a similar way.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 23 June 2016 08:07:44PM 1 point [-]

With the internet of things physical goods can treat their owner differently than other people. A car can be programmed to only be driven by their owner.

Theoretically yes, but that doesn't seem to be how "smart" devices are actually being programmed.

In response to Crazy Ideas Thread
Comment author: James_Miller 18 June 2016 12:34:45AM 10 points [-]

Someone should create a free speech Twitter that doesn't censor anything protected by the U.S. 1st amendment.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 18 June 2016 07:20:03AM *  -1 points [-]

Someone should pay to install and maintain a printing press and supply of ink and paper, installed in the public square, for all comers to print pamphlets and disseminate their views, ads, rants, wedding invitations, conspiracy allegations, and so on. Surely this would be an excellent and effective contribution to public discourse... and if not, to the wage of the cleaner who sweeps up litter.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 11 May 2016 01:38:38AM *  2 points [-]
  • Legislating for individuals to be held more accountable for large-scale catastrophic errors that they may make (including by requiring insurance premiums for any risky activities)

If I blow up the planet, neither my insurance nor your lawsuit is going to help anything. Which is to say, this proposal is just a wealth transfer to insurance companies, since they never have to pay out.

Comment author: ChristianKl 06 May 2016 09:58:03PM 5 points [-]

Let's take the best computer programmer. Imagine he tries to write down all his important knowledge in a book. He writes down all statements where he believes that he can justify that they are true in a book.

Then he gives the book to a person who never programmed with equal IQ.

How much of the knowledge of the expert knowledge get's passed down through this process? I grant that some knowledge get's passed down, but I don't think that all knowledge does get passed down. The expert programmer has what's commonly called "unconscious competence".

Allen might call that kind of knowledge part of the best knowledge of our civilization. It's crucial knowledge for our technological progress.

But to get back to the main point, to accept that the contemplative, logocentric approach has flaws is not simply about focusing on it itself but on demonstrating alternatives.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 06 May 2016 10:08:22PM 4 points [-]

This seems to be a complicated, abstruse way of saying "reading statements of knowledge doesn't thereby convey practical skills".

Comment author: morganism 30 April 2016 12:09:07AM 0 points [-]

The first legal ruling for an AI or robot may be in the pipe, and it was filed by the DoJ. this may set a precedent for an AI to have legal standing, as the ruling is filed against an electronic device.

United States of America v. Apple MacPro Computer, et al


Comment author: fubarobfusco 30 April 2016 07:50:18AM *  4 points [-]

The 1916 case United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola did not recognize Coca-Cola as containing an incipient intelligence, nor did 2013's United States v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton contemplate dinosaur necromancy.

Titles like this just represent the legal fiction for in rem cases, in which a case is brought against a piece of property — originally e.g. unclaimed property or contraband.


Comment author: Diadem 26 April 2016 09:46:40AM 8 points [-]

I think that's somewhat missing the point of a lot of advice like that though. Often advice in the form of proverbs or popular quotes is not meant to be taken literally. It's meant to offer you a new angle from which to look at the problem.

Just because two quotes contradict each other, doesn't mean they can't both be good advice. If you think someone is being too rash, quoting a proverb like "discretion is the better part of valour" can be good advice. But if you think they are being too cautious, the opposite ("nothing ventured, nothing gained") can also be good advice.

Most advice is context dependent.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 26 April 2016 06:40:30PM 0 points [-]

"discretion is the better part of valour"

This is a (slight paraphrase of a) quote from a character who is offering a rationalization for cowardice. It wasn't intended as a positive thing in the original work.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 22 April 2016 06:28:42AM 1 point [-]

I didn't know there were supersedes in nntp. Cool.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 22 April 2016 07:51:58AM 0 points [-]

Super pedantic nitpick: the netnews medium predates NNTP.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 22 April 2016 03:32:40AM *  1 point [-]

I'll often find myself snarkily responding to feature requests with "you know, someone wrote something that does that 20 years ago, but no one uses it."

You and me both, buddy.

But you forgot "Now get offa my lawn!"

Use a standardized API that properly models your data and it's usage, and whaddya know, we already have one in NNTP. Let people put whatever clients they want for presentation on top of that.

Sounds about right to me.

Thinking about it, I doubt that NNTP would have modeled edits or karma. I think posts were write once. And looking around a little, I've seen Reddit called Usenet 2.0. Maybe they've made things better. They've probably extended the discussion model beyond what NNTP had.

And as a practical matter, probably the shortest distance to a new client for LW would be to expose the reddit API service, then use existing reddit clients that can be pointed to whatever reddit server you want.

Could LW expose the reddit API as a web service?

Comment author: fubarobfusco 22 April 2016 04:17:26AM *  3 points [-]

I think posts were write once.

The netnews standards allow cancellation and superseding of posts. These were sometimes used by posters to retract or edit their posts. They were often used for spam control and moderation. Cancels and supersedes were occasionally also used for hamhanded attempts at censorship ... by entities clueless enough to think they could get away with it.

Cancels and supersedes are themselves posts, and don't travel through the network any faster than the original post. And as sites can restrict whom they'll accept posts from, they can also restrict whom they'll accept or process cancel or supersede messages from.

Comment author: gjm 13 April 2016 01:25:11PM 1 point [-]

I gravely doubt that anyone has that expression permanently stuck on their face. The image you linked to was obviously created in order to show "SJWs" in a bad light, and I can't imagine that anyone wanting to do that would use typical photos rather than particularly bad-looking photos for that purpose.

(The SJWiest people I know do not generally wear that sort of expression.)

I'm sure you're right that treating impurity and disgustingness as moral is not confined to the political right.

I suspect that the things treated as disgustingly wrong in "social justice" circles tend not to be ones that arouse feelings of disgust, as such, in most people, whereas things treated as disgustingly wrong among traditionalist social conservatives are often more widely felt to be disgusting. To put it differently: I suspect that "moral disgust" takes different forms on the left and on the right: on the left it's usually moral disapproval that has engendered disgust, and on the right it's usually disgust that has engendered moral disapproval.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 13 April 2016 03:12:30PM 1 point [-]

The image you linked to was obviously created in order to show [someone] in a bad light, and I can't imagine that anyone wanting to do that would use typical photos rather than particularly bad-looking photos for that purpose.

This is the most salient conclusion. Photography is — among other things — the art of selectively promoting some visual evidence to the viewer's consciousness.

To put it differently: I suspect that "moral disgust" takes different forms on the left and on the right: on the left it's usually moral disapproval that has engendered disgust, and on the right it's usually disgust that has engendered moral disapproval.

I'm not so sure. For one thing, "the left" and "the right" are concepts far up the ladder of abstraction, whereas a lot of "moral disgust" seems to be trained System 1 responses. Here are some things that might elicit "moral disgust" responses by people with different trained responses:

  • A parent and five-year-old child are in a store. The child picks up a toy from a shelf and does not put it back when the parent tells him to. The parent slaps the child on the face. The child drops the toy, begins quietly crying, and then puts it back on the shelf.
  • A political leader holds a rally in which the symbols of his party and nation are presented alongside one another. In a speech, he denounces the opposition party as corrupted by global business elites.
  • Two women sit on a park bench cuddling and kissing each other.
  • An elderly man dies alone in a nursing-home bed. He hadn't seen his son or daughter in ten years. His death is not noticed by staff for twelve hours.
  • Two fifteen-year-olds have sex. They use a condom, but it breaks. The young woman goes to the neighborhood pharmacy and buys an emergency contraceptive with her own money.
  • A worker completes his federal tax forms and mails a check to the government. He feels proud to have completed a duty to his nation.
  • A family finish dinner and throw away several portions-worth of uneaten food.
  • In a city playground, a man is watching twin girls swing on the swings.
  • A religious denomination, facing declining attendance, combines three parishes into two. They sell the now-abandoned third church building to a commercial developer. The developer has the sanctuary demolished and puts up a pirate-themed sports bar with scantily-clad waitresses. (Arrr.)
  • Outside an open-air market in an affluent suburb, an elderly woman is sitting on the sidewalk with a sign asking for money to pay for food and medicine.
  • An engineering company releases a product that is so successful, their competitors close up shop and lay off tens of thousands of workers.
  • A singer performs on television wearing only a skimpy bikini printed with the national flag.
  • A political leader orders a bombing run on a city block that contains both a terrorist headquarters and a pediatric clinic.
  • A professor asks an undergraduate student to come to the professor's house for dinner. Later, they have sex.
  • An artist uses her own bodily wastes as a medium to paint a representation of a religious figure, seals it in plastic, and exhibits it in a gallery.
  • A business executive contemplates a report on the expected costs of cleaning up a polluted factory site and the likelihood of a successful lawsuit against her firm. She decides not to order the cleanup.
  • A dark-skinned man who was raised Christian, and a light-skinned woman who was raised Muslim, meet at a social event and become romantically involved.
  • A woman accused of murdering her two children is found not guilty and released. The judge cites the fact that a police officer on the case was found to have threatened the woman's neighbor to get the neighbor to testify.
  • A man comes home from work and finds a note from his wife saying that she is out at her boyfriend's house and will be back around 7:30pm. When she gets home, her husband has prepared dinner for the two of them. Later, in bed, they watch the latest episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

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