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In response to 2014 Survey Results
Comment author: randallsquared 04 January 2015 02:43:41PM 10 points [-]

May is missing from Birth Month.

Comment author: palladias 24 October 2014 02:37:48PM 70 points [-]

I took the survey. Out of curiosity (too late to change now) what should I have answered if I'm not my father's first child, but I'm the first child he had with my mom? (There are kids from my dad's first marriage, but I didn't grow up with them).

I went with "no older siblings" since I assumed this was a question about socialization (or maybe even about uterine environment) but not siring. But I'd like to know for next year.

Comment author: randallsquared 25 October 2014 04:44:29PM 13 points [-]

I would also like to know for next year. I have four older siblings on my father's side, and two on my mother's, and only spent any home time with one (from my mother's side). So, I answered 6 for older, but depending on whether this was a socialization or uterine environment question, the best answer might have been either 1 or 2 for older.

Comment author: VAuroch 01 September 2014 04:54:27AM 2 points [-]

Energy acquisition is a useful subgoal for nearly any final goal and has non-starsystem-local scope. This makes strong AIs which stay local implausible.

Comment author: randallsquared 03 September 2014 03:24:49PM 1 point [-]

Especially if the builders are concerned about unintended consequences, the final goal might be relatively narrow and easily achieved, yet result in the wiping out of the builder species.

Comment author: Lumifer 08 August 2014 03:33:42PM *  0 points [-]

Bertram will soon overtake Albert and that would be a significant threat to Albert's friendly supergoal.

What is that "friendly supergoal"? It looks awfully similar to "I will not tolerate any challenges to my power".

Comment author: randallsquared 08 August 2014 10:09:00PM 7 points [-]

Most goals include "I will not tolerate any challenges to my power" as a subgoal. Tolerating challenges to power to execute goals reduces the likelihood of acheiving them.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 10 July 2014 09:43:09PM 3 points [-]

No-one has spoken up in favour of his activity

Are you serious, or is that some sort of hyperbole?

I am serious. By his activity, I mean specifically his mass downvoting activity. It is possible I have missed someone defending this action. Show me some examples, if there are any.

I have seen people opposing the ban. I have seen people querulously quibbling, "ah, but suppose I find everything a user posts bad and I downvote each of them, is that a bannable offense and if not how are you going to tell, eh?" But I have not yet see anyone saying, Eugine was right to downvote everything that these people posted, regardless of what it was, and everyone else should do the same until they are driven away.

Comment author: randallsquared 11 July 2014 03:35:50AM 3 points [-]

I have seen people querulously quibbling, "ah, but suppose I find everything a user posts bad and I downvote each of them, is that a bannable offense and if not how are you going to tell, eh?" But I have not yet see anyone saying, Eugine was right to downvote everything that these people posted, regardless of what it was, and everyone else should do the same until they are driven away.

Ah, but it's not clear that those are different activities, or if they are, whether there's any way in the database or logs to tell the difference. So, when people "quibble" about the first, they're implying (I think) that they believe that in the future someone might be right to downvote everything someone posts, because that person always posts terrible posts.

Part of the reason this is coming up is a lack or perceived lack of transparency as to exactly what patterns "convicted" Eugine_Nier.

Comment author: Matthew_Opitz 25 May 2014 02:44:41PM *  6 points [-]

Here's a thought experiment:

Let's say evil sadistic scientists kidnap you, bring you into their laboratory, and give you two options:

A: they incinerate your brain.


B: they selectively destroy almost all of the neurons in your brain associated with memories and somehow create new connections to create different memories.

Which option would you choose?

If you see any reason to choose option B over option A, then it would seem to me that you don't really buy into "pattern identity theory" because pattern identity theory would suggest that you have effectively died in scenario B just as much as scenario A. The pattern of you from just before the operation has just had a discontinuously abrupt end.

Yet, I would still choose option B because I would still anticipate waking up as something or somebody that next morning, even if it were someone with a completely different set of memories, preferences, and sense of self, and surely that would be better than death. (Perhaps the evil scientists could even be so kind as to implant happier memories and healthier preferences in my new self).

Is this anticipation correct? I don't see how it could be wrong. Our memories change a little bit each night during sleep, and still we don't NOT wake up as at least someone (a slightly different person than the night before). I fail to see how the magnitude and/or rapidity of the change in memory could produce a qualitative difference in this regard. If it could, then where would the cut-off line be? How much would someone have to change my memories so that I effectively did not wake up the next morning as someone?

Note that this discussion is not just academic. It would determine one's decision to use a teleporter (especially if it was, let's say, a "1st generation" teleporter that still had some kinks in it and didn't quite produce a 100% high-fidelity copy at the other end). Would such a 99% accurate teleporter be a suicide machine, or would your subjective experience continue at the other end?

In any case, pattern identity theory (which says the continuation of my subjective experience is attached to a continuation of a particular pattern of information) seems out the window for me.

Nor does some sort of "physical identity theory" (that posits that the continuation of my subjective experience is attached to the continuation of a particular set of atoms) make any sense because of how patently false that is. (Atoms are constantly getting shuffled out of our brains all the time).

Nor does some sort of "dualism" (that posits that the continuation of my subjective experience is attached to some sort of metaphysical "soul") make any sense to me.

So at this point, I have no idea about under what conditions I will continue to have subjective experiences of some sort. Back to the drawing board....

Comment author: randallsquared 26 May 2014 12:02:06AM 3 points [-]

In fact, people experience this all the time whenever we dream about being someone else, and wake up confused about who we are for a few seconds or whatever. It's definitely important to me that the thread of consciousness of who I am survives, separately from my memories and preferences, since I've experienced being me without those, like everyone else, in dreams.

Comment author: Salemicus 27 February 2014 01:09:54AM 2 points [-]

religions spread by being the religion of the oppressor

This is highly questionable sociology. It would be as true to say that religions spread by being the religion of the oppressed - i.e. people taking on religious identity and practice in opposition to dominant societal forces. This is, for example, how Iraq became majority Shi'i.

But frankly the claim is so vague and value-loaded as hardly to be a claim about the world. "The oppressor"? C'mon. It really just boils down to "boo religion." Your comment has many good points, but too much of it is like this, which means that the interesting parts get lost.

Even so, Christianity around 300 AD was about the same size as Mormonism is today.

Yes, in raw numbers, but the world population was approximately 5% of what it is today, so the comparison is flawed. A significant proportion of the world's population was Christian in 300 AD. The growth is particularly impressive when you consider the much greater difficulties in communication in those days. The article you link is particularly dishonest because it lists various advantages that early Christianity had over present-day Mormonism, but neglects to consider all the many disadvantages. That isn't fair.

This is why Christianity is relatively unsuccessful in parts of the world that aren't directly or indirectly descended from the Roman empire (India, Japan, etc.).

In what way are, say, Scandinavia and Russia descended from the Roman Empire? Never part of the Roman Empire, never colonised by a country in the Roman Empire. In what way are the Philippines an indirect descendant of the Roman Empire that doesn't also apply to India? Even more fatally for your argument, look at England. Christianity died out there after the Romans left and the country went pagan, but then the new people converted to Christianity. It's only after they became Christian that the Anglo-Saxons started seeing the Roman Empire as part of their cultural heritage. It looks to me like your causation is precisely backwards.

Comment author: randallsquared 27 February 2014 10:58:04PM *  -1 points [-]

Russia is a poor counter-argument, given that the ruler of Russia was called Caesar.

Comment author: PDH 21 January 2014 06:14:54AM 0 points [-]

I'm not conflating them, I'm distinguishing between them. It's because they're already conflated that we're having this problem. I'm explicitly saying that the substrate is not what it's important here.

But this works both ways: what is the non-question begging argument that observer slices can only be regarded as older versions of previous slices in the case that the latter and the former are both running on meat-based substrates? As far as I can see, you have to just presuppose that view to say that an upload's observer slice doesn't count as a legitimate continuation.

I don't want to get drawn into a game of burden of proof tennis because I don''t think that we disagree on any relevant physical facts. It's more that my definition of identity just is something like an internally-forward-flowing, indistinguishable-from-the-inside sequence of observer slices and the definition that other people are pushing just...isn't.

All I can say, really, is that I think that Error and Mark et al are demanding an overly strong moment-to-moment connection between observer slices for their conception of identity. My view is easier to reconcile with things like quantum physics, ageing, revived comatose patients etc. and that is the sort of thing I appeal to by way of support.

Comment author: randallsquared 22 January 2014 05:03:29AM 0 points [-]

It's more that my definition of identity just is something like an internally-forward-flowing, indistinguishable-from-the-inside sequence of observer slices and the definition that other people are pushing just...isn't.

Hm. Does "internally-forward-flowing" mean that stateA is a (primary? major? efficient? not sure if there's a technical term, here) cause of stateB, or does it mean only that internally, stateB remembers "being" stateA?

If the former, then I think you and I actually agree.

Comment author: PDH 18 January 2014 03:12:47PM *  3 points [-]

It's not the book, it's the story.

Moby Dick is not a single physical manuscript somewhere. If I buy Moby Dick I'm buying one of millions of copies of it that have been printed out over the years. It's still Moby Dick because Moby Dick is the words, characters, events etc. of the story and that is all preserved via copying.

A slight difference with this analogy is that Moby Dick isn't constantly changing as it ages, gaining new memories and whatnot. So imagine that Melville got half way through his epic and then ran out of space in the notebook that I want you to also imagine he was writing it in. So we have a notebook that contains the first half of Moby Dick (presumably, this is a pretty big notebook). Then he finishes it off in a second notebook.

Some time later he pulls a George Lucas and completely changes his mind about where his story was going ("Kill off Ahab? What was I thinking?") and writes a new version of the story where they go into a profitable, if ethically dubious, whaling business with rather more success than in the first version. This is then written up in a third notebook. Now we have three notebooks, the last two of which are both legitimate continuations of the first, carrying on from the exact same point at which the first notebook was ended.

There is no interesting sense in which one of these is some privileged original, as Eliezer puts it. If you can't get your head around that and want to say that, no, the published (in real life) version is the 'real' one imagine that the published version was actually the third notebook. There is no equivalent of publication for identity that could confer 'realness' onto a copy. In real life, neither or them are notebook 1 but they're both continuations of that story.

If Will Riker discovers that he was non-destructively copied by the Transporter and that there's another version of him running around, he will likely think, 'I don't acknowledge this guy as 'me' in any meaningful sense.' The other guy will think the same thing. Neither of them are the same person they were before they stepped into the Transporter. In fact, you are not the same person you were a few seconds ago, either.

Identify yourself as the book and your concept of identity has big problems with or without uploading. Start by reconciling that notion with things like quantum physics or even simple human ageing and you will find enough challenges to be getting on with without bringing future technology into it.

But you are not some collection of particles somewhere. You are the story, not the book. It's just that you are a story that is still in the process of being written. Uploading is no different that putting Moby Dick on a Kindle. If there's still a meat version of you running around then that is also a copy, also divergent from the original. The 'original' is (or was) you as you were when the copy was made.

Comment author: randallsquared 20 January 2014 12:09:50AM 3 points [-]

Moby Dick is not a single physical manuscript somewhere.

"Moby Dick" can refer either to a specific object, or to a set. Your argument is that people are like a set, and Error's argument is that they are like an object (or a process, possibly; that's my own view). Conflating sets and objects assumes the conclusion.

Comment author: JQuinton 06 January 2014 10:15:54PM *  30 points [-]

Only 3% of LWers surveyed described themselves as conservatives.

Interesting. I wonder why LW has so few conservatives. Surely, just like there isn't masculine rationality and feminine rationality, there shouldn't be conservative rationality and liberal rationality. It also makes me wonder how valid the objections are in the linked post if the political views of LW skew vastly away from conservative topics.

Full disclosure: I'm a black male who grew up in the inner city and I don't find anything particularly offensive about topics on LW. There goes my opposing anecdote to the one(s) presented in the linked blog.

Comment author: randallsquared 07 January 2014 03:36:12AM 10 points [-]

People in the rationality community tend to believe that there's a lot of low-hanging fruit to be had in thinking rationally, and that the average person and the average society is missing out on this. This is difficult to reconcile with arguments for tradition and being cautious about rapid change, which is the heart of (old school) conservatism.

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