I like this post and agree that acausal coordination is not weird fringe behavior necessarily. But thinking about it explicitly in the context of making a decision, is. In normal circumstances, we have plenty of non-acausal ways of discussing what’s going on, as you discuss. The explicit consideration is something that becomes important only outside the contexts most people act in.
That said, I disagree with the taxes example in particular, on the grounds that that’s not how government finances work in a world of fiat currency controlled by said government. Extra taxes paid won’t change how much gets spent or on what, it’ll just remove money from circulation with possible downstream effects on inflation. Also, in some states in the US (like Massachusetts this year), where the government doesn’t control the currency, there are rules that surpluses have to get returned in the form of tax refunds. So any extra state taxes I paid, would just get redistributed across the population in proportion to income.
In the ancestral environment, population densities were very low. My understanding is that almost everyone in your band would be at least somewhat related, or have an ambiguous degree of relatedness, and would be someone you’d rely on again and again. How often do we think interactions with true non-relatives actually happened?
I’m not sure there’s anything that needs to be explained here except “evolution didn’t stumble upon a low-cost low-risk reliable way for humans to defect against non-relatives for personal advantage as much as a hypothetical intelligently designed organism could have.” Is there?
Very little of the value I got out of my university degree came from the exams or the textbooks. All of that I could have done on my own. Much of the value of the lectures could have been replicated by lecture videos. The fancy name on my resume is nice for the first few years (especially graduating in the middle of the 2009 recession) and then stops mattering.
But the smaller classes, the ones with actual back and forth with actually interested professors? The offhand comments that illustrate how experts actually approach thinking about their fields? The opportunities to work in actual labs even though anyone sane knew no undergrad was going to offer much more than a useful pair of hands in the 3-4 months they could devote to a project? The insights into how science and academia and industry actually work and what that meant for what kind of career I wanted? Those I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.
Then if it can compute infinite sets as large as the reals, it can handle any set of cardinality beth-1, but not beth-2 or larger. But because the cardinality of the reals is itself formally undecidable by finite logic systems (or by infinite logic systems of size less than aleph-w), I think this doesn’t give us much specificity about the limits of what that means, or where it falls on the kinds of arithmetical hierarchy schemas finite logic systems enable us to define.
For my own sanity this is about where I stop trying to delve too deep for understanding, and resort to handwaving poetic license:
Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.For at the gates that Cantor flung apart (and Hilbert later),Angelic fleas cavort in hosts inordinately greater.
Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.
For at the gates that Cantor flung apart (and Hilbert later),Angelic fleas cavort in hosts inordinately greater.
As I understand it, that point about “somewhat arbitrary choices in how finite logic should be extended to infinitary” would also include, for every one of the infinitely many undecidable-by-a-non-hypercomputer propositions, a free choice of whether to include a proposition or its negation as an axiom. Well, almost. Each freely chosen axiom has infinitely many consequences that are the no longer free choices. But it’s still (countably) infinitely many choices. But if you have countably infinitely many binary choices, that’s like choosing a random real number between 0 and 1, so there are uncountably many ways of making that extension, each of which results in a distinct infinitary system. Your proposed hypercomputer can generate all of these.
Computing uncountably infinite “stuff” is not well defined as stated. So all I can say to if it can “solve undecidable problems” is “Yes, some of them.” Which ones depends on what level of hypercomputer you’ve made, and how high up the arithmetical hierarchy it can take you.
There is a generalized halting problem: no oracle can solve its own halting problem.
Since you mentioned countability, I’ll say I do not know whether any particular type pf hypercomputer would be capable of assigning a specific cardinality (א-n for some n) to the reals.
I can see how that might help me eat less, but unless you chose the seven very carefully to be potentially nutritionally complete, sustaining that seems like a path to the kinds of deficiencies that made the agricultural revolution cost humans half a foot of height for most of the last ten millennia.
Yes, this sounds completely right. One unusually good doctor I had told me, “In the right patient, any drug can have any effect.” It took me another four years to solve that particular problem, ten years in total, and I’m still concerned that when I see my new PCP (previous one retired) he might try to change my meds that’ve been working for 5 years.
Most doctors are too cautious, for whatever (often justified) reasons, to just try things. Most really don’t know how to respect what patients know about themselves or to interact with an actually-intelligent patient. I’ve had doctors tell me, “I don’t know what to do with what you’re telling me. Most patients wouldn’t even be able to notice these kinds details and put them together, so none of the research captures them.” And then they usually decline to try anything based on best guesses after first- and nth-line interventions fail.
It’s also true for veterinarians, btw. My cat gets chronic bacterial UTIs. We spent years having vets and specialists tell us, “Nope, unless you spend hundreds of dollars on a cystocentesis every six weeks, we’ll insist the problem is behavioral and stress related and not give antibiotics. No, it doesn’t matter that the $20 course of amoxicillin worked the last 10 times and that if it did again the symptoms would be mostly gone before the cysto results even come back. No, we don’t count it as evidence that you can tell a flare up is coming a few days in advance by the change in urine smell. Your cat just needs to suffer until the culture comes back and you have to deal with her being completely incontinent and dripping blood,” (we diaper her at night and when she’s infected). “Also, you should have us do a cystoscopy even though we probably can’t because they don’t make a scope small enough for a six pound cat but you’d have to pay anyways if we try and can’t, and you should do an MRI that if it shows anything we almost certainly won’t be able to fix it surgically so it won’t give any new treatment options,” (we’ve done ultrasounds and they don’t find anything). Finally our own vet gave us as many bottles as we wanted and said to use them as needed, and everything was fine for a few years. We also cleaned up her diet and found out a big part of the problem was a prescription gastrointestinal health food she’d been on for a previous condition (or at least, the food interacted with a suspected anatomical defect that no one can find because she’s too tiny for tests to show it) (we think she can’t tolerate brewer’s yeast? maybe?). She only had two infections the whole next year. She’s now 13, and just had to switch antibiotics because she started showing signs of resistance to amoxicillin after 5 years, but we honestly hadn’t thought she’d make it even to 10.
They tell doctors, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. But there are also deer, and elk, and antelope, and buffalo, and lots of other hoofed animals. And sometimes there are zebras!
It’s been years since I’ve talked to anyone working on this technology, but IIRC one of the issues was that in principle you could prevent the lag from leading to bad data that kills you if the pump could also provide glucagon, but there was no way to make glucagon shelf-stable enough to have in a pump. Apparently that changed as of 2019/2020, or is in the process of changing, so maybe someone will make a pump with both.
Thanks! I’ve only just started reading and there’s really good stuff here.
My own take: in order for the zeitgeist to be optimistic on progress, it has to seem possible for things to get better. And for things to get better, it has to be possible for them to be good. But in most forums, I find, it’s almost impossible to call anything good without being torn to shreds from multiple sides. We’ve raised the bar beyond what mere mortals can achieve, and retroactively damn the past’s achievements by applying standards that even now are very far from universal. It’s like Calvinist predestination, but the total number of the elect is zero, so there’s not much social incentive to bother trying to improve things. Thankfully, most people try to be and go good anyway, based on their understanding of what that means.
Well, at some level, most of them. But which may be limiting your own energy is going to vary from person to person. Vitamin D is a common one, I take it too. For me, taking fish oil, zinc, and a B complex (with food, they make me nauseous on an empty stomach, and no mega-doses) are also helpful. So is proper hydration. For me, that means at least 100 oz of fluids a day, and I find it helpful if it has a splash of citrus or other juice in it—the little bit of sugar seems to matter, ditto for it being helpful for me to eat high water content fruits and vegetables.
When, how often, and how much at a time you eat matters too. Some people do well with small meals more often. I have more energy eating keto but have a hard time keeping to it. I also do better intermittent fasting (anywhere from 16:8 to OMAD) with my main meal in mid-afternoon or later with (usually) little to no refined carbs and refined oils, and I’ve been doing that for a couple of years.
You say you’re constantly tired. Does it vary throughout the day? Is it worse at specific times, or times relative to meals, or in response to different types of activities? Timing food and hydration based on mental, physical, and emotional activity can matter a lot.
Beyond nutrition, lots of medications can cause drowsiness in some people (I have allergies and every antihistamine causes me serious mental and energy issues; the least bad for me is Allegra and even then I can only take it once or twice a week at most).
How is your air quality at home/work/wherever? Ambient noise levels? Light levels? (I find brighter indoor light helpful, but conversely, I found that being in the sun makes me tired, and started wearing a sun hat and darker sunglasses when spending a lot of time outside). These can have both physical and mental effects on energy.
Since you mentioned a healthy brain, keep in mind that it’s also very easy for mental health to affect energy levels in ways you might not immediately notice. There are the well known ones like chronic stress, depression (it took me 10 years to realize I was depressed; I spent 5 of them thinking I had a sleep disorder, and was on modafinil for 4 of those), and so on, but also things that vary quite a lot from person to person. For example, I find strong emotions leave me feeling drained, even good ones.
And there are genetic factors: how are the rest of your family’s energy levels? I grew up thinking it was normal to not be able to stay awake throughout a movie even when you’re enjoying it and it’s mid-day, or to fall asleep mid-conversation after a meal, because most of my immediate family has those issues like I do.
In addition to the 23andMe recommendation from ChristianKI, you might want to consider trying Viome, an at-home blood and gut microbiome panel. My wife did it (not for tiredness), and the recommendations were very specific, tried to be explanatory in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm most people, and (with some analysis and research and background knowledge) pointed towards a single underlying cause.
On muscle knots—whatever they are—it isn’t just a difference in the experience of those who have them, but also those massaging them. For me they’ve always been obvious. When giving a massage, there are relaxed muscles, tense muscles, and knots, and these are three very different feelings regardless of whatever I’m massaging with fingers, palms, knuckles, elbows, or otherwise. It’s very clear that a knot-feeling-recipient and I almost always agree on the locations of knots, or their absence (the exception seems to be knots that are “deeper” under an also-otherwise-tense area, in which case massage to remove the tension can make it possible for me to feel the knots). That, to me, is very strong evidence that something real that is being detected.
I only recently learned that this isn’t the case for everyone, and that a non-knot-feeling person may have no idea what the other party means when giving a massage to a knot-feeling person. FWIW I experience this as a kind of nodule (some larger or harder than others) that sort of...clicks?… as my hands move over it, typically causing my movements to be less smooth as I move over that spot.
Is there anything about the way schizophrenia is (or used to be) diagnosed that would make it harder for the congenitally blind to get diagnosed? I ask because I know someone, completely deaf from birth (and who only learned sign language as an adult, not sure if that makes a relevant difference in terms of language processing), who for a long time couldn’t get treatment for (and never got a formal diagnosis of) schizophrenia on account of a lack of auditory hallucinations or hearing voices.
Out of curiosity, how many serious accidents have there been at that intersection at that time? Not that I’d expect that to change the reply you got.
I think stories like this are unfortunately common in many places. Odd-seeming divisions of power and responsibility with no repercussions for failing to act create bizarre-seeming planning decisions. I have a family friend who has spent a decade repeatedly trying to have the city remove or prune a tree in front of their house. It has regularly dropped large branches on their driveway (recently crushing the roof of their car) and into power lines (causing local outages, enough that the city has relocated power lines to route around it). Its roots have caused recurring sewer problems and flooding in their house, and they’ve had to repave the sidewalk multiple times. Each time they report it and request the tree be removed or pruned, they’ve been informed that 1) it won’t be, 2) they, the homeowners, are not allowed do anything about it, 3) they’re responsible for removing branches that fall, 4) they’re responsible for the costs of any damage the tree causes, including injuries to others on the sidewalk, and 5) they’ll get cited and fined if they don’t keep the sidewalk in good repair.
Oh for sure (although this isn’t just a ‘first time we discuss it’ response, it happens multiple times with people we’re fairly close with, people who we’ve talked to about it throughout over a year and a half of planning). Most of the people who don’t have that reaction know at least one person who has already done it, so they have a reference point. Many who do have no reference point other than Christmas Vacation or that Robin Williams RVing movie.
And for a lot of people it would be terrible! No arguments there, there are definitely tradeoffs. I find having to maintain a yard and clean rooms I don’t use terrible. For me, I’m a homebody who loves to travel, so now my home is always with me, as are my pets. And in the past six months, I’ve checked 5 more national parks off my list, visited friends I haven’t seen in years, and spent more time with my parents than I have in the past decade, while only taking off a couple of days of work. On any given week I might wake up overlooking a river, or surrounded by palm trees, or high up in the mountains, or surrounded by farm animals, or fifteen minutes outside a city.
I’ve always loved to cook, but for a long time mostly neglected ingredient quality, and gradually gained weight. Cleaning up my diet was a gradual shift over the course of years, with a few big bursts of effort focused on improving specific aspects (most recently in January 2020, I eliminated most refined grains, refined sugar, and processed oils). I do have defined exceptions: I don’t try to apply the same standards to food I don’t make myself at home, for example. Now two years later I’m traveling full time and using a different set of grocery stores every few weeks, and a lot of times none of the products or brands I’m used to are available. I was recently in a town with only one grocery store, and it didn’t carry any lettuce or other leafy vegetables at all. So you improvise, and compromise, and do the best you can with what you’ve got. If you understand why you’re doing things a certain way (in terms of cooking technique, and meal planning strategy, and diet composition), you’ll know which rules are best to bend or break, and how much it’s worth investing in sticking to a plan. I’ve also lost 25 lbs in the six months since hitting the road, so I would say that consistent access to top-quality ingredients is not critical, but knowing how to make use of what’s available is.
On cooking technique, and substituting based on what’s available, I recommend: Anything by Alton Brown, everything by Kenji Lopez-Alt, Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking,” and “The Flavor Bible.” The first two, don’t worry so much about the recipes, instead look to where and how they got to the recipes. Realize there’s a whole spectrum of ways to do things, with differing levels of difficulty, and while they often push to find the best result, there’s an 80⁄20 rule level of making your own cooking life really good and relatively easy with a bit of thought and practice. On the third, it’s basically showing you the organic chemistry of what happens to food during cooking, and once you understand that, recipes stop being black boxes and start making sense. The last one is a reference book that is good for figuring out what flavors and ingredients go together, and can be substituted for each other, and is good for getting ideas to use what you’ve got to make a dish work.
On how to get good quality food: try watching Bobby Parrish/FlavCity. Not because I think you need to eat the way he says, but because he has a philosophy of eating, and puts out videos where he keeps going to different grocery stores, searches the aisles for new products, and highlights the ones that meet his standards. This includes places like Dollar General and Aldi, not just places like Whole Foods, and he makes it a point to remind people that it’s fine to use the best available, or best you can afford, and also highlights what he thinks are the best available options in categories he personally avoids. He also has a series on the least-bad options at different fast food chains, where he talks through his reasoning.
And on what to eat: for me, any diet that demands an all-or-nothing shift is unworkable. In 2017 I lost 20 lbs eating keto, and got a boost in energy and mental clarity. But after six months, a too-carby meal would give me major side effects for the rest of the day. Thanksgiving? Birthday party? Work trip? Too bad! My body couldn’t handle temporary interruptions. So I stopped, and gained most of it back, and tried other ways. Intermittent fasting doesn’t have that problem, and still gets me into ketosis for most of each day, and it’s been working for me for the past year and a half.
Lastly: planning! At the start of a week, before grocery shopping, I try to figure out what things I want to eat. Not for each specific meal. Just “I need to use up [ingredient] by [day], maybe I’ll turn it into [dish], in which case I’ll need to buy [x y z]. I’ll have time to cook on these days and not those.” Then you’ll have to adapt if [x y z aren’t available at the store, but that gets easy with practice. If I can, I lump a bunch of meal prep tasks together (like washing and cutting veggies right after I buy them for the week) to save net time and dishes. And I keep some quick-but-healthy-enough options on hand (figure out what freezes well, and what store-bought boxed or frozen meals are fairly clean and still tasty to you) for when I just don’t wanna eat what I planned, or a recipe doesn’t work out.
you can change the plan again!
This is one point that, while obvious, seems hard for a lot of people to notice in practice. As an example, my wife and I recently sold our house and are RVing full time. We’ve noticed (and are told this is common) that many times we had conversations that went something like this:
“Oh, what’s your destination?”
“We don’t have one, but for the next few months we’re heading vaguely [direction].”
“Oh, so you’re going to [place]?”
“No, it’s not a trip/vacation, it’s just life, and a few weeks after we get to [place] we’ll move on, we just don’t know where yet.”
“Well, how long are you going to travel for?”
“We don’t know, until we feel like doing something else.”
And this just… doesn’t seem to register as a thing you can do/expect to do for a lot of people. They seem to assume you have to at least start out thinking something is forever. Whereas for us, each incremental planning decision is a consideration of a set of potential options, a deliberate choice not to plan too far in advance and to routinely reconvene to see how things are going.
Assuming the relevant area of science already exists, yes. Recurse as needed, and there is some level of goal for which generic rationality is a highly valuable skillset. Where that level is, depends on personal and societal context.
I think you’re right in practice, but the last formal moral philosophy class I took was Michael Sandel’s intro course, Justice, and it definitely left me with the impression that deontologists lean towards simple rules. I do wonder, with the approach you outline here, if there’s a highest-level conflict-resolving rule somewhere in the set of rules, or if it’s an infinite regress. I suspect the conflict-resolving rules end up looking pretty consequentialist a lot of the time.
It doesn’t actually take much time or effort to think to yourself or to bring up in conversation something like “What would the rule consequentialist rules/guidelines say? How much weight do they deserve here?”
I disagree, mostly. Conscious deliberation is costly, and in practice having humans trust their own reasoning on when to follow which rules doesn’t tend to lead to great outcomes, especially when they’re doing the reasoning in real-time either in discussion with other humans they disagree with, or when they are under external pressure to achieve certain outcomes like a release timeline or quarterly earnings. I think having default guidelines, that are different for different layers of an organization, can be good. Basically, you’re guaranteeing regular conflict between the engineers and the managers, so that the kind of effort you’re calling for happens in discussions between the two groups, instead of within a single mind.
One thing that has long surprised me about the strict Kantian rule-following point of view is the seeming certainty that the rule needs to be a short sentence, on the length scale of “Thou shalt not kill.” (And yes, I see it as the same sort of error that many people make who think there’s a simple utility function we could safely give an AGI.) My POV makes more of a distinction on the lines of axiology/morality/law, where if you want a fundamental principal in ethics, one that should never be violated, it’s going to be axiological and also way too complicated for a human mind to consciously grasp, let alone compute and execute in real time. Morality and law are ways of simplifying the fractally complex edges the axiology would have in order to make it possible in principle for a human to follow, or a human society to enforce. (Side note: It looks to me like as society makes moral progress and has more wealth to devote to its ethics, both morals and laws are getting longer and more complicated and harder to follow.)
In short: I think both the engineer and manager classes are making the same sort of choice by simplifying underlying (potentially mutually compatible) ethics models in favor of different kinds of simplified edges. I don’t think either is making a mistake in doing so, per se, but I am looking forward to hearing in more detail what kind of process you think they should follow in the cases when their ideas conflict.