New edition of “Rationality: From AI to Zombies”

MIRI is re­leas­ing a new edi­tion of Ra­tion­al­ity: From AI to Zom­bies, in­clud­ing the first set of R:AZ print books. As of this morn­ing, print ver­sions of Map and Ter­ri­tory (vol­ume 1) and How to Ac­tu­ally Change Your Mind (vol­ume 2) are now available on Ama­zon (1, 2), and we’ll be rol­ling out the other four vol­umes of R:AZ over the com­ing months.

R:AZ is a book ver­sion of Eliezer Yud­kowsky’s origi­nal se­quences, col­lect­ing a bit un­der half of his Over­com­ing Bias and LessWrong writ­ing from Novem­ber 2006 to Septem­ber 2009. Map and Ter­ri­tory is the canon­i­cal place to start, but we’ve tried to make How to Ac­tu­ally Change Your Mind a good jump­ing-on point too, since some peo­ple might pre­fer to dive right into HACYM.

The price for the print books is $6.50 for Map and Ter­ri­tory, and $8 for How to Ac­tu­ally Change Your Mind. The new edi­tion is also available elec­tron­i­cally (in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF ver­sions) on a pay-what-you-want ba­sis: 1, 2. The HACYM ebook is cur­rently available for pre­orders, and should be de­liv­ered in the next day.

The pre­vi­ous edi­tion of R:AZ was a sin­gle sprawl­ing 1800-page ebook. I an­nounced at the time that we were also go­ing to re­lease a pa­per ver­sion di­vided into six more man­age­able chunks; but this ended up tak­ing a lot longer than I ex­pected, and in­volved more sub­stan­tive re­vi­sions to the text.

Changes go­ing into the new edi­tion in­clude:

  • The first se­quence in Map and Ter­ri­tory, “Pre­dictably Wrong,” has been heav­ily re­vised, with a goal of mak­ing it a much bet­ter ex­pe­rience for new read­ers.

  • More gen­er­ally, R:AZ is now more op­ti­mized for new read­ers, and less fo­cused on ex­treme fidelity to the origi­nal blog posts, since this was one of the biggest re­quests from LessWrongers in re­sponse to the pre­vi­ous edi­tion of R:AZ. This isn’t a huge change, but it was an up­date about which op­tion to pick in quite a few tex­tual trade­offs.

  • A bunch of posts have been added or re­moved. E.g., The Rob­bers Cave Ex­per­i­ment was re­moved be­cause while it’s still a cool and in­ter­est­ing study, the re­searchers’ meth­ods and mo­tives have turned out to be pretty bad, and it isn’t par­tic­u­larly es­sen­tial to HACYM.

  • The “Against Dou­ble­think” se­quence in How to Ac­tu­ally Change Your Mind has been re­moved, to re­duce HACYM’s page count (and there­fore its price and its po­ten­tial to in­timi­date read­ers) and im­prove the book’s fo­cus. The first post in “Against Dou­ble­think” (Sin­gle­think) has been kept, and moved to a differ­ent se­quence (“Let­ting Go”).

  • Im­por­tant links and refer­ences are now writ­ten out rather than hid­den be­hind Easter egg hy­per­links, so they’ll show up in print edi­tions too. Easter egg links are kept around if they’re in­ter­est­ing enough to be worth re­tain­ing, but not im­por­tant enough to de­serve a foot­note; so there will still be some digi­tal-only con­tent, but the goal is for this to be pretty minor.

  • A glos­sary has been added to the back of each book.

Oliver and Ben also plan to post the digi­tal ver­sions of M&T and HACYM to R:AZ on LessWrong — ini­tially as new posts, though the URLs and com­ment sec­tions of new and old ver­sions may be merged in the fu­ture if LW adds a fea­ture for tog­gling be­tween post re­vi­sions.