Rationality: From AI to Zombies

Eliezer Yud­kowsky’s origi­nal Se­quences have been ed­ited, re­ordered, and con­verted into an ebook!

Ra­tion­al­ity: From AI to Zom­bies is now available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI ver­sions on in­tel­li­gence.org (link). You can choose your own price to pay for it (min­i­mum $0.00), or buy it for $4.99 from Ama­zon (link). The con­tents are:

  • 333 es­says from Eliezer’s 2006-2009 writ­ings on Over­com­ing Bias and Less Wrong, in­clud­ing 58 posts that were not origi­nally in­cluded in a named se­quence.

  • 5 sup­ple­men­tal es­says from yud­kowsky.net, writ­ten be­tween 2003 and 2008.

  • 6 new in­tro­duc­tions by me, spaced through­out the book, plus a short pref­ace by Eliezer.

The ebook’s re­lease has been timed to co­in­cide with the end of Eliezer’s other well-known in­tro­duc­tion to ra­tio­nal­ity, Harry Pot­ter and the Meth­ods of Ra­tion­al­ity. The two share many similar themes, and al­though Ra­tion­al­ity: From AI to Zom­bies is (mostly) non­fic­tion, it is de­cid­edly un­con­ven­tional non­fic­tion, freely drift­ing in style from cryp­tic alle­gory to per­sonal vi­gnette to im­pas­sioned man­i­festo.

The 333 posts have been re­or­ga­nized into twenty-six se­quences, let­tered A through Z. In or­der, these are ti­tled:

  • A — Pre­dictably Wrong

  • B — Fake Beliefs

  • C — Notic­ing Confusion

  • D — Mys­te­ri­ous Answers

  • E — Overly Con­ve­nient Excuses

  • F — Poli­tics and Rationality

  • G — Against Rationalization

  • H — Against Doublethink

  • I — See­ing with Fresh Eyes

  • J — Death Spirals

  • K — Let­ting Go

  • L — The Sim­ple Math of Evolution

  • M — Frag­ile Purposes

  • N — A Hu­man’s Guide to Words

  • O — Lawful Truth

  • P — Re­duc­tion­ism 101

  • Q — Joy in the Merely Real

  • R — Phys­i­cal­ism 201

  • S — Quan­tum Physics and Many Worlds

  • T — Science and Rationality

  • U — Fake Preferences

  • V — Value Theory

  • W — Quan­tified Humanism

  • X — Yud­kowsky’s Com­ing of Age

  • Y — Challeng­ing the Difficult

  • Z — The Craft and the Community

Sev­eral se­quences and posts have been re­named, so you’ll need to con­sult the ebook’s table of con­tents to spot all the cor­re­spon­dences. Four of these se­quences (marked in bold) are al­most com­pletely new. They were writ­ten at the same time as Eliezer’s other Over­com­ing Bias posts, but were never or­dered or grouped to­gether. Some of the oth­ers (A, C, L, S, V, Y, Z) have been sub­stan­tially ex­panded, shrunk, or re­ar­ranged, but are still based largely on old con­tent from the Se­quences.

One of the most com­mon com­plaints about the old Se­quences was that there was no canon­i­cal de­fault or­der, es­pe­cially for peo­ple who didn’t want to read the en­tire blog archive chronolog­i­cally. De­spite be­ing called “se­quences,” their struc­ture looked more like a com­pli­cated, loop­ing web than like a line. With Ra­tion­al­ity: From AI to Zom­bies, it will still be pos­si­ble to hop back and forth be­tween differ­ent parts of the book, but this will no longer be re­quired for ba­sic com­pre­hen­sion. The con­tents have been re­viewed for con­sis­tency and in-con­text con­ti­nu­ity, so that they can gen­uinely be read in se­quence. You can sim­ply read the book as a book.

I have also cre­ated a com­mu­nity-ed­ited Glos­sary for Ra­tion­al­ity: From AI to Zom­bies. You’re in­vited to im­prove on the defi­ni­tions and ex­pla­na­tions there, and add new ones if you think of any while read­ing. When we re­lease print ver­sions of the ebook (as a six-vol­ume set), a fu­ture ver­sion of the Glos­sary will prob­a­bly be in­cluded.