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Comment author: laofmoonster 08 February 2015 07:14:27PM 1 point [-]

Here's an argument I found that "hyperplastic agents" (i.e.,Strong AI) cannot make use of Schelling Fences: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidRoden/hyperapocalypse-rev

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 06 January 2015 11:35:06PM *  23 points [-]

Being south asian myself - I suspect that the high achieving immigrant-and-immigrant-descended populations gravitate towards technical fields and Ivy leagues for different reasons than American whites do. Coming from hardship and generally being less WEIRD, they psychologically share more in common with the middle class and even blue collar workers than the Ivy League upper class - they see it as a path to success rather than some sort of grand purposeful undertaking. (One of the Asian Professional community I participated in articulated this and other differences in attitude as a reason that Asians often find themselves getting passed over for higher level management positions, as something to be overcome).

Lesswrong tends to appeal to abstract, starry-eyed types. I hate to use the word "privilege", but there is some hard to quantify things, like degree of time talking about lesswrong-y key words like "free will" or "utilitarianism", which are going to influence the numbers here. (Not that asians don't like chatting about philosophy, but they certainly have less time for it and also they tend to focus on somewhat different topics during philosophical discussions and use different words. They've got a somewhat separate religious-philosophical tradition)

Another possibility that might make an even bigger difference is that, lacking an organized religion to revolt against, Asians may less often be militant atheists and skeptics. Lesswrong and Overcoming Bias owe part of their heritage to the skeptic blogosphere.


Comment author: laofmoonster 11 January 2015 07:49:07AM 3 points [-]

East Asian - mostly agreed. I think WEIRDness is the biggest factor. WEIRD thought emphasizes precision and context-independent formalization. I am pretty deracinated myself, but my thinking style is low-precision, tolerant of apparent paradoxes and context-sensitive. The difference is much like the analytic-continental divide in Western philosophy. I recommend Richard Nisbett's book The Geography of Thought, which contrasts WEIRD thought with East Asian thought.

37 Ways Words Can Be Wrong (and LW as a whole) is important because of how brittle WEIRD concepts can be. (I have some crackpot ideas about maps and territories inspired by Jean Baudrillard. He's French, of course...)

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 06 October 2014 10:15:07AM 16 points [-]

Here's a fun game: concepts, ideas, institutions and features of the world we (let's say 21st Century Westerners) think of as obvious, but aren't necessarily so. Extra points for particularly visceral or captivating cases.

For example: at some point in human history, the idea of a false identity or alias wouldn't have even made sense, because everyone you met would be either known to you or a novel outsider. These days, anyone familiar with, say, Batman, understands the concept of an assumed identity, it's that endemic in our culture. But there presumably must have been a time when you would have had to go to great lengths to explain to someone what an assumed identity was.

Comment author: laofmoonster 08 October 2014 12:08:25AM *  8 points [-]

The concept of adolescence:

Although the first use of the word “adolescence” appeared in the 15th century and came from the Latin word “adolescere,” which meant “to grow up or to grow into maturity” (Lerner & Steinberg, 2009, p.1), it wasn’t until 1904 that the first president of the American Psychological Association, G. Stanley Hall, was credited with discovering adolescence (Henig, 2010, p. 4). In his study entitled "Adolescence," he described this new developmental phase that came about due to social changes at the turn of the 20th century. Because of the influence of Child Labor Laws and universal education, youth had newfound time in their teenage years when the responsibilities of adulthood were not forced upon them as quickly as in the past. http://www.massculturalcouncil.org/services/BYAEP_History.asp

With the trend towards an expectation of college education, we will need an extended concept to include the early twenties.

Edit: "Emerging adulthood is a phase of the life span between adolescence and full-fledged adulthood, proposed by Jeffrey Arnett in a 2000 article in the American Psychologist."

Comment author: RichardKennaway 14 September 2013 06:28:58AM *  3 points [-]

I am in the same position: results expected in May (2013), status page now says July. I sent them an email in August but had no reply. As a non-American I don't have a GRE or SAT, but when I volunteered I just listed my educational record and career and waited to see what they said. I am wondering what their actual criteria for inclusion are, defined by who they have actually included.

Have any of their participants, on LW or elsewhere, received their data? Or is this whole thing just a ploy to get free DNA samples from smart Westerners in order to, I dunno, craft a deadly virus that only smart Westerners will succumb to? (Joke.)

Comment author: laofmoonster 31 August 2014 02:46:58AM 0 points [-]

USA resident here, I submitted my sample in April 2013 and have not received data. The status page indicates they are still sequencing my genome. I emailed them twice to inquire on the timeframe for completion to no avail.

Comment author: laofmoonster 05 April 2014 02:33:58AM *  2 points [-]

Looks promising, but requiring the graph to be acyclic makes it difficult to model processes where feedback is involved. A workaround would be treat each time stamp of a process as a different event. Have A(0)->B(1), where event A at time 0 affects event B at time 1, B(0)->A(1), A(0)->A(1), B(0)->B(1), A(t)->B(t+1), etc. But this gets unwieldy very quickly.

Comment author: laofmoonster 21 March 2014 05:45:07AM *  0 points [-]

I don't see how phenomenological bridges solve the epistemological problem, instead of just pushing the problem one step further away. Where in the bridge hypothesis is it encoded that one end of the bridge has a "self", in a way that leads to different behavior?

Let me give an example of AIXI, which creates something that is almost a phenomenological bridge, but remains Cartesian. Imagine that an AIXI finds a magnifying glass. It holds the magnifying glass near its camera, and at the correct focal distance, everything in {world − magnifying glass} looks the same, except upside down. Through experimentation and observation, it realizes that gravity hasn't flipped, it's still on the ground, the lights are still 15 feet above it, etc. It will conclude that the magnifying glass filters visual input on the rest of the world flipping the Y axis. Thus AIXI has a hypothesis about the relation of the magnifying glass with the world.

Phenomenal bridge hypotheses are saying there is something like this magnifying glass, except embedded in...where? What's the difference between reading glasses and retinas? I can have 1 "visual filter hypothesis", 2 visual filter hypotheses, n visual filter hypotheses. What's the distinction between internal filters and world filters? Do I have x internal filters and {n − x} external filters? What would that mean?

Comment author: laofmoonster 02 March 2014 04:23:38PM *  1 point [-]

Somebody outside of LW asked how to quantify prior knowledge about a thing. When googling I came across a mathematical definition of surprise, as "the distance between the posterior and prior distributions of beliefs over models". So, high prior knowledge would lead to low expected surprise upon seeing new data. I didn't see this formalization used on LW or the wiki, perhaps it is of interest.

Speaking of the LW wiki, how fundamental is it to LW compared to the sequences, discussion threads, Main articles, hpmor, etc?

In response to Reductionism
Comment author: JulianMorrison 16 March 2008 11:23:09AM 3 points [-]

Reductionism does have a caveat, and this is "a fact about maps" and not "a fact about the territory": the real world level can be below the algorithm. Example: a CD. A chromodynamic model would spend immense computing resources simulating the heat and location and momentum and bonds of a slew of atoms (including those in the surrounding atmosphere, or the plasticizer would boil off). In reality there are about four things that matter in a CD: you can pick it up, it fits into a standard box, it fits into a standard reader tray, and when you measure the pattern of pits they encode a particular blob of binary data. From a human utility perspective, the CD is fully replaceable with a chromodynamically dissimilar other CD that happens to have those same characteristics.

Computers are full of examples of this, where the least important level is not the fundamental level. In in some cases, each level is not just built upon lower levels, but ought to be fully independent of them. If your lisp doesn't implement the lambda calculus because of a silicon fault, an atomic model would correctly represent this, but it would be representing a mathematically unimportant bug. A correct lisp would be representable on any compute substrate, from a Mac to a cranks-and-gears Babbage engine. A model which took account of the substrate would be missing the point.

Comment author: laofmoonster 22 February 2014 06:58:36AM *  1 point [-]

Is it fair to call the CD data a map in this case? (Perhaps that's your point.) The relationship is closer to interface-implementation than map-territory. Reductionism still stands, in that the higher abstraction is a reduction of the lower. (Whereas a map is a compression of the territory, an interface is a construction on top of it). Correct lisp should be implementation-agnostic, but it is not implementation-free.

In response to Feeling Rational
Comment author: laofmoonster 21 November 2013 12:54:33AM 0 points [-]

Emotions, like any sensory input, can serve as a source of information to be rationally inspected and used to form beliefs about the external world. It is only when emotions interfere with the process of interpreting information that they become detrimental to rationality.