I like the post. People naturally stick with one of the first few solutions that make sense to them (us), without investing a little more time into investigating the general properties of the problem space. We software designers are very prone to this. A couple more general patterns: working with the duals, working backwards.
How do you know that we do not see them? Or it. We do not know what those instrumental goals might be for these hypothetical agents. Maybe stars are intelligent black hole maximizers.
All finite length sequences exist in any infinite random sequence
Yep. Fortunately, the sequences I played with are quite finite, 1024 samples, see the followup post. And I agree that musing about multiverses, while fun, has not been scientifically fruitful so far.
Thanks for the link! Yep, I had a thought about the 1/f noise right after calculating the spectra above, especially because my original power spectrum slope calculation had an error and the result came out very close to that of the 1/f noise :) I had looked up if sorting can generate it, but nothing came up.
Were I still in academia, I would have been tempted to write a speculative paper resulting in cringy headlines like “Scientists solve several long-standing mysteries at once: the arrow of time is driven by the human quest for order and meaning”
The “mystery” as I see it currently, is the mathematical origin of the pink noise emerging from sorting.
Yeah, most of my suggestions were semi-intentionally outside the Overton window, and the reaction to them is appropriately emotional. A more logical approach from an animal welfare proponent would be something along the lines of “People have researched various non-mainstream ideas before and found them all suboptimal, see this link …” or “This is an interesting approach that has not been investigated much, I see a number of obvious problems with it, but it’s worth investigating further.” etc.
On the one hand, “it’s probably better to pursue strategies for animal suffering reduction that most people in the movement could get behind” is a very reasonable view. On the other hand, a big part of EA is looking into unconventional ways to do good, and focusing on what’s acceptable for the mainstream right off the bat does not match that.
Sorry about the miscommunication. Disengaging, since I do not find focusing on form over substance all that productive. I have accepted your criticism about the tone as valid.
I mean life in the general sense, as discussed, for example here:
Homeostasis: regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature
Organization: being structurally composed of one or more cells – the basic units of life
Metabolism: transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
Growth: maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
Adaptation: the ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism’s heredity, diet, and external factors.
Response to stimuli: a response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
Reproduction: the ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism or sexually from two parent organisms.
If you take a galaxy as a collection of stars, you can easily identify all of those in that system.
As Patrick said, loss aversion is present on the scales small enough for the DMU to not matter. Slightly more mathematically, when, given the utility function x->U(x), the gain vs loss utility ratio for the same change in the argument is small: Δx << U’(x)/U”(x). It does not invalidate the author’s point though, that there exists a phenomenon that is better described as the utility hysteresis: one ends up with less utility after gaining 2x and then losing x than after just gaining x.
Tangential: my personal favorite resolution of the Fermi paradox is that we would not know alien life if it stared us in the face. Literally. If you take something like stars, they satisfy most definition of what constitutes life, as long as one removes the “biological” qualifier. A more dramatic way to phrase it would be
There is no life in the Universe. Not even on Earth. Life is not a thing.
Because there is nothing special about the Earth, from the point of view of physical laws to which we all are reducible.
Re point 2: I agree that vat-grown meat would eventually be a viable approach, and the least controversial one. I am less optimistic about the timeframe, the taste. the acceptance rate and the costs.
Re point 1: See my reply to Ozy and others.
Re point 3: While I disagree with your assessment of “major flaws” (talk about being dismissive!), I accept the critique of the tone of the post sounding dismissive. If I were writing a formal report or a presentation at an EA event, I would take a lot more time and a lot more care to sound appropriately professional. I will endeavor to spend more time on polishing the presentation next time I write a controversial LW post.
I thought I had mentioned “farm animals” enough times to make this unambiguous...
Yep. And I am advocating being honest about caring about something other than animal suffering. Like about human ethics transferred to animals.
Some things we do know, such as how animals, including humans, feel when administered various types of painkillers. There is no speculation about it. But it is of course more tempting to focus on rejecting harder-to-implement suggestions if the intention is to reject the whole approach.
Clearly I have not phrased it well in my post. See my reply to ozy. I am advocating self-honesty about your values, not a particular action.
See my reply to ozy.
That’s not a proxy for suffering; it is caring about more than just suffering
Yes, I agree with all that! I am not advocating that one approach is right and all the others are wrong. I have no prescriptive intentions about animals. I am advocating being honest with oneself about your preferences. If you proclaim to care about the reduction of animal suffering yet really care about many other metrics just as much, spend time reflecting on what your real values are, instead of doing motte-and-bailey when pressed. (This is a generic “you”, not you personally.)
It is that they think those actions are unethical for animals, just like they are for humans.
And this is precisely my point. We optimize a human proxy, not actual suffering.