I don’t disagree, but this sure seems to me like something Freud and Jung would say and that Judith Rich Harris would say was nonsense, possibly invoking evolutionary psychology and saying that it would be unfit to optimize for chaotically determined attractors.
Honestly, it seems to me that nerds are far more influenced by childhood and by constructed experiences such as movies, books, TV, religion, and yes, to a more limited extent even classroom experiences than non-nerds are. Partly this is because they consciously choose to try to hold onto their values while non-nerds are content to let their values drift (and “hold onto your values” is an explicit value learned from constructed experiences). Partly this is because nerds tend to simply miss out on many of the less constructed experiences that young people create spontaneously for one another or to get the bad side of those experiences but not the good side. Partly nerds may just be less aware of less processed data and not notice or respond to instincts, impulses, imitative opportunities and assorted influences that would tend to jostle their behavioral patterns into a new equilibrium. They perceive abstractions handed to them explicitly by other people more easily than patterns that show up around them. Oddly, this seems to me to be a respect in which nerds are more feminine rather than being more masculine as they are in many other ways.
Hmm. It seems to me that Eliezer had a plan for the economic crisis, namely to keep his mouth shut about it, and when the crisis actually happened the pressure to talk about it apparently exceeded his expectations and he didn’t follow through. That with the level of agency and unitary identity of a practiced human rationalist. Imagine how much less able to follow through he would be if he fell entirely under the sway of an arbitrary coalition of sub-motivations every 4 years (hmm… he does deny identity with the authors of his earlier papers).
Oh, and I have to ditto “Katrina”.
I’m with Sigivald here: I think that the archetype here is about serenity, not about impartiality, though the selfishly impartial may at times misuse the archetype when claiming it as a justification for their actions.
Personally, I thought that my comment yesterday about the question of whether you should criticize those like or unlike you was more interesting/important.
Answering the question the post posed, I think that the less rhetorical style is superior for every-day use, but it doesn’t hurt to whip out a more intense article from time to time, just preferably to make a better point than this one.
Taking a hint from the babyeaters, I can say that the pro-life people are doing what’s right’ and what’s right‴, the pro choice people are doing what’s right″ and what’s right‴‘, Israel, what’s right‴″ and right‴‴’ and Hamas what’s right‴‴ and right‴‴″. Then I can also say that if they wanted to switch to doing what was right, all groups would turn their efforts to FAI plus sustaining their actual existence.
However, it seems that there may be many situations where fairly intelligent and well intentioned SL1 political commentators in the US, who may identify as broadly conservative or liberal, agree about what is right^, where right^ is closer to right than most actions or preferences are. In this case it often seems to me that the conservative political commentators emphasize opposition to those who are right‴ and right‴″ because those perspectives are farther from their own thus more wrong^, while liberal commentators emphasize the imperfections of those who are right″ and right‴′ because they treat those who are right″ and right‴′ as subject to reasons, as moral agents, and thus as subject to correction/criticism while those who are trying to do what’s right‴ and right‴″ are merely seen as moral subjects beneath reproach. Victims. Children deserving sympathy and protection but not blame.
Of course, this was more the case back when there were fairly intelligent and well intentioned conservative SL1 political commentators in the US, e.g. before about 2004.
Infotropism: Michael (dot) Vassar at gmail
Eliezer: You really should tell people how to reach me as well as telling them that they should do so, either with my email or a link to SIAI’s “about us” page, which now has my contact info.
Psy-Kosh: My guess is that most learning is deeper and more authentic if it is from one’s own experience. Eliezer seems to particularly prize personal learning, favoring secrecy in science in his idea of paradise.
Self Help? Maybe some. I think that most of the most popular self-help can seem DEEPLY cynical to someone of nerdy disposition like myself. The essential message of “how to win friends and influence people” is “don’t try to reason with people, instead flatter them and otherwise manipulate their emotions to create immediate pleasure that they will associate with you”. OTOH, the message is also that if you do this you can have SUCCESS!!!, so whether it’s cynical or idealistic depends on how much you value SUCCESS!!!. When I first read it I didn’t have Something To Protect (TM), which works like soap for dissolving otherwise analyticophobic cynicism into the nerdy soul. Robert Green is famous for being even more cynical than Carnegie. The Secret, more recently successful, tells people that the world is arbitrary, both simple and inscrutable. IIIck! Worse than saying “Look, Cthulhu is standing over there and is about to eat you”. I’d consider suicide if it’s worldview was true and if I could even entertain the impossible possibility. Many members of the PUA community sell books that are cynical about women being people but optimistic about sex being widely available. I’d call that VERY cynical on net.
Weber’s law applies to perceptions. You can’t really perceive time on a span of years. I’m pretty certain that human’s can’t intuitively distinguish 18 years from 20.
My post asserted that people should use rough concepts of age categories but that those categories shouldn’t involve representing age. Those categories should also not correspond precisely to our categories due to improvements in nutrition and disease burden, e.g. we go through puberty earlier, grow taller, etc.
The need for paternal resources for boys seems likely to be a motive. So is the greater ease of recognizing paternal resemblance among boys. Finally, producing boys is a weak signal of fitness by the mother.
My mistake. It should only set marginal costs equal to marginal benefits for each stage in development. Cost and benefit should only be about equal at birth.
I question the evidential value of the statement below. It seems to me that it argues against evolutionary fine tuning.
″ Similarly, the graph that correlates to parental grief is for the future reproductive potential of a child that has survived to a given age, and not the sunk cost of raising the child which has survived to that age. (Could we get an even higher correlation if we tried to take into account the reproductive opportunity cost of raising a child of age X to independent maturity, while discarding all sunk costs to raise a child to age X?)”
Evolution should have set the cost to a given age as approximately equal to the expected benefit. It manifestly failed to do so in establishing an approximately equal gender ratio despite the larger cost of boys than girls… unless hunter gatherers Had/Have very unequal gender ratios (inversely proportional to the cost of children) but modern environments lead to FAR less selective abortion of boys.
When I proposed a study like this a few years ago as the sort of thing that evolutionary psychologists should do if they were to be taken seriously I pointed out that hypothetical grief over girls should show much lower variance than that over boys to reflect varied reproductive expectations which should be predictable by fairly early childhood.
I’m also bothered by the idea that our ancestors even had a concept of “3 years from now” distinct from “5 years from now”. If they didn’t shouldn’t their estimates be based on environmentally impacted physiological factors like age of puberty or height which would vary between Canad and the ancestral environment?
That said, this was my exemplar when I was looking for an example of an experiment that should be done in evolutionary psychology that could boost its credibility. Updating on both its credibility and on the ability of the scientific community to integrate data. Common sense does NOT, IMHO, say that parents would be more unhappy by the death of a 12-year-old than that of an 8-year-old.
A few years ago conscious and subconscious computations could gloom up my day a lot more than they can now. Subsequently I believe I came to understand people a lot better and now I am a lot more aware of personal confusion on this subject but in general at the very least I can say that conscious and subconscious ulterior motivations also only remind me more of what humans are. Broadly, they seem likely to fall under “something to protect”.
Anyway, I’m really glad to see what seems to me like uncommonly effective communication between Eliezer and Robin on this point.
Eliezer: It may be worth noting that SIAI just hired a new president FROM a branch of the film industry who has some familiarity with the sort of tax laws that can make indie movies a good investment even when expected value appears negative, and that SIAI’s largest donor is the producer of an excellent movie about the marketing of cigarettes.
Other than that.
I agree with Kaj
I really like Hugh’s point
I don’t think 3WC or Dragon Tyrant work as movies. I don’t know what Eliezer’s got however WRT stories.
The trouble is that some years later Akon is not a super-happy baby-eating human but rather a hodge-podge of zillions of values. The super-happy population or resources can double in 35 hrs at current tech. Their tech advances much faster than human tech does at current population. This is their first encounter at current tech and population but in a year they will probably encounter and mix with over 2^240 new species!
More practically, severing the human starline system, in addition to being a cliche, seems very positive values utilitarian and very anti-CEV in that it imposes a decision to maintain disunion and thus the continued existence of true humans upon all future human generations. I see the appeal, but it doesn’t seem to minimize the ratio of bad human worlds to good human worlds in a big universe. Really I can’t seem to look away from the instant doom implications of a big universe with superluminal travel and exponentially growing populations of finite starting density.
You know, they aren’t the “Trade Federation”, but I come out of this post with a distinctly East Asian impression of the Super Happy Fun People, which I think probably shouldn’t happen for a truly alien race, since I would expect its variance from humanity to be orthogonal to ethnic and cultural differences. It may just be the names and superlatives, but I think that the shadows of Buddhism are having some of the effect. OTOH, that really might be a fairly strong universal attractor in which case I’m being unfair.
Also, it seems to me that part of the intention of the story is to put us in the middle of a situation where motivations are symmetric in both directions, but that doesn’t really happen. The SHFP values and generally existence call out to humans as plausibly a more proper expression of our values than our own existence is, though we are told that physical ugliness tends to drive us away. The human values do not have the same effect on the baby eaters, thus the humans don’t face a threat to their values analogous to that faced by the baby eaters.
Also, a very important question regards the nature of baby eater children. I’m not sure in what sense they can be a lot like human children but not value “good”, yet if they do value “good” where in their evolution does that value come from.
Given that it’s Carl, and that the nits sound pretty plausible, I’m guessing the latter.
Personally though, given the LARGE number of fantasy assumptions in this story, most importantly FTL and synchronized ascent sentience so perfectly timed that neither humans nor baby-eaters expanded to fill one-another’s space first even given FTL, I think we have to assume the MST3K mantra is in fairly full effect.
likely values for all intelligent beings and optimization processes
likely values for creatures with roughly human-level brain power
Disagree. Maybe we don’t mean the same thing by boredom?
likely values for all creatures under evolutionary competition
(reproduction, survival, family/clan/tribe)
Mostly agree. Depends somewhat on definition of evolution. Some evolved organisms pursue only 1 or 2 of these but all pursue at least one.
likely values for creatures under evolutionary competition who cannot copy their minds
(individual identity, fear of personal death)
Disagree. Genome equivalents which don’t generate terminally valued individual identity in the minds they descrive should outperform those that do.
likely values for creatures under evolutionary competition who cannot wirehead
Disagree. Why not just direct expected utility? Pain and pleasure are easy to find but don’t work nearly as well.
likely values for creatures with sexual reproduction
(beauty, status, sex)
Define sexual. Most sexual creatures are too simple to value the first two. Most plausible posthumans aren’t sexual in a traditional sense.
likely values for intelligent creatures with sexual reproduction
(music, art, literature, humor)
likely values for intelligent creatures who cannot directly prove their beliefs
(honesty, reputation, piety)
Agree assuming that they aren’t singletons. Even then for sub-components.
values caused by idiosyncratic environmental characteristics
values caused by random genetic/memetic drift and co-evolution
(Mozart, Britney Spears, female breasts, devotion to specific religions)
Agree. Some caveats about Mozart.
Dr. Commonsense: I have always been highly interested in the possibility of economic collapse and have spent substantial effort to plan for it while ignoring most futuristic disasters, most of which can’t practically be planned for.
Wow is that NOT how I would characterize my side of the position that I have discussed with Frelkins.
Oh, and it also probably models the minds of onlookers by reference to its own mind when deciding on a shape and color for camouflage, which sounds like empathy.