This model raises an important question (with implications for the real world): if you’re a detective in the kingdom of the gullible king who is at least somewhat aware of the reality of the situation and the distortonary dynamics, and you want to fix the situation (or at least reduce harm), what are your options?
I suspect that is not the first question to ask. In the spirit of Inadequate Equilibria, a better initial question would be, “Can you take advantage of the apparent irrationality of the situation?”, and “What fraction of the population would have to cooperate to change things for the better?” and if there is no clear answer to either, then the situation is not as irrational as it seems, and the artificial optimism is, in fact, the best policy under the circumstances.
No idea what they will show off, but, however much I would like to have the internet at my nerve tips, it is unlikely to be that.
why is the above comment so badly downvoted?
I guess my point got lost in the shuffle. It’s right there in the OP, though. The adaptation is looking to an external higher power for answers. Initially it would have been where to hunt, but eventually Goodharted into praying and so on.
I see clear parallels with the treatment of Sabine Hossenfelder blowing the whistle on the particle physics community pushing for a new $20B particle accelerator. She has been going through the same adversity as any high-profile defector from a scientific community, and the arguments against her are the same ones you are listing.
Humans are trivial to kill. Physically, chemically, biologically or psychologically. And a combination of those would be even more effective in collapsing the human population. I will not go here into the details, to avoid arguments and negative attention. And if your argument is that humans are tough to kill, then look into the historic data of population collapse, and that was without any adversarial pressure. Or with, if you consider the indigenous population of the American continent.
t seems, based on what you’re saying, that you’re taking “reality” to mean some preferred set of models.
Depending on the meaning of the word preferred. I tend to use “useful” instead.
my belief in an external reality, if we phrase it in the same terms we’ve been using (namely, the language of models and predictions), can be summarized as the belief that there is some (reachable) model within our hypothesis space that can perfectly predict further inputs.
It’s a common belief, but it appears to me quite unfounded, since it hasn’t happened in millennia of trying. So, a direct observation speaks against this model.
I expect that (barring an existential catastrophe that erases us entirely) there will eventually come a point when we have the “full picture” of physics, such that no experiment we perform will produce a result we find surprising.
It’s another common belief, though separate from the belief of reality. It is a belief that this reality is efficiently knowable, a bold prediction that is not supported by evidence and has hints to the contrary from the complexity theory.
If we arrive at such a model, I would be comfortable referring to that model as “true”, and the phenomena it describes as “reality”.
Yes, in this highly hypothetical case I would agree.
Initially, I took you to be asserting the negation of the above statement—namely, that we will never stop being surprised by the universe, and that our models, though they might asymptotically approach a rate of 100% predictive success, will never quite get there.
I make no claims one way or the other. We tend to get better at predicting observations in certain limited areas, though it tends to come at a cost. In high-energy physics the progress has slowed to a standstill, no interesting observations has been predicted since last millennium. General Relativity plus the standard model of the particle physics have stood unchanged and unchallenged for decades, the magic numbers they require remaining unexplained since the Higgs mass was predicted a long time ago. While this suggests that, yes, we will probably never stop being surprised by the -universe- (no strike through markup here?) observations, I make no such claims.
It is this claim that I find implausible, since it seems to imply that there is no model in our hypothesis space capable of predicting further inputs with 100% accuracy—but if that is the case, why do we currently have a model with >99% predictive accuracy?
Yes we do have a good handle on many isolated sets of observations, though what you mean by 99% is not clear to me. Similarly, I don’t know what you mean by 100% accuracy here. I can imagine that in some limited areas 100% accuracy can be achievable, though we often get surprised even there. Say, in math the Hilbert Program had a surprising twist. Feel free to give examples of 100% predictability, and we can discuss them. I find this model (of no universal perfect predictability) very plausible and confirmed by observations. I am still unsure what you mean by coincidence here. The dictionary defines it as “A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.” and that open a whole new can of worms about what “apparent” and “causal” mean in the situation we are describing, and we soon will be back to a circular argument of implying some underlying reality to explain why we need to postulate reality.
Now, perhaps you actually do hold the position described in the above paragraph. (If you do, please let me know.) But based on what you wrote, it doesn’t seem necessary for me to assume that you do. Rather, you seem to be saying something along the lines of, “It may be tempting to take our current set of models as describing how reality ultimately is, but in fact we have no way of knowing this for sure, so it’s best not to assume anything.”
I don’t disagree with the quoted part, it’s a decent description.
If that’s all you’re saying, it doesn’t necessarily conflict with my view (although I’d suggest that “reality doesn’t exist” is a rather poor way to go about expressing this sentiment). Nonetheless, if I’m correct about your position, then I’m curious as to what you think it’s useful for? Presumably it doesn’t help make any predictions (almost by definition), so I assume you’d say it’s useful for dissolving certain kinds of confusion. Any examples, if so?
“reality doesn’t exist” was not my original statement, it was “models all the way down”, a succinct way to express the current state of knowledge, where all we get is observations and layers of models based on them predicting future observations. It is useful to avoid getting astray with questions about existence or non-existence of something, like numbers, multiverse or qualia. If you stick to models, these questions are dissolved as meaningless (not useful for predicting future observations). Just like the question of counting angels on the head of a pin. Tegmark Level X, the hard problem of consciousness, MWI vs Copenhagen, none of these are worth arguing over until and unless you suggest something that can be potentially observable.
As I mentioned there, Jessica was apparently pissed and uncharacteristically uncharitable in her reply. The upvote count in this case seems to reflect tribal affiliations more than anything.
I said “a” not “the”. Yes, you could also quote Tegmark and Deutsch. I tend to favor a pragmatic approach to science, same as Sabine. You don’t have to, but it helps to realize that untestable models still “add up to normality”, to quote The Founder, and so have no bearing on your ethics.
Consider reading a real physicist’s take on the issue: Why the multiverse is religion, not science.
You got it backwards. Faith never recommends randomization, it justifies it. Like trusting the tea leaves to predict the future.
randomness in physics is cheap, and nature uses randomization in many rock-paper-scissors games without requiring religion or even brains.
Yes, randomness in physics is cheap, but I have a hard time finding examples of, say, a uniform or exponential distribution in the behaviors of higher animals. Just because something is cheap at a lower levels (e.g. quantum processes), it does not mean that it is cheap at the higher levels. I welcome examples of higher-levels rock-paper-scissors type of behavior.
Bioeden.com might be similar to what you are looking for. They only deal with baby teeth though.
Ah. I guess a link to the source would be useful.
I couldn’t figure out how your post is related to the subject of your title, guilt.
Not sure I agree with the framing. You are assuming that America prefers weaker Europe, which is not self-evident.
Not sure what you are asking and how it is relevant to the general patterns that could trigger an adverse AI response. Also, how much of your stance is triggered by the “humans are special” belief?
Every behavior is complex when you look into the details. But the general patterns are often quite simple. And humans are no exception. They expand and take over, easy to predict. Sometimes the expansion stalls for a time, but then resumes. What do you think is so different in overall human patterns from the natural phenomena?
I am not sure that a theory of mind is needed here. If one were to treat humans as a natural phenomenon, living, like the tuberculosis bacillus, or non-living like ice spreading over a lake in freezing temperatures, then the overt behavioral aspects is all that is needed to detect a threat to be eliminated. And then it’s trivial to find a means to dispose of the threat, humans are fragile and stupid and have created a lot of ready means of mass destruction.
Probably sudden reduction in profile or outright disappearance from the public view of the prominent experts in the area, as they are recruited to work on the more clandestine research.
A symptom of this missing reformulation is often when people focus on a particular solution to a problem that is implicit in their mind, often without realizing it. I often have an interaction like this at work, which can be summed up as “What problem is this solution for?”:
Technical lead: “What would it take to implement X?”
Me: “Why do you want to do X?”
TL, visibly frustrated: “To achieve Y”
Me: “What is a goal of having Y?”
TL, even more frustrated: “There is a customer request for Z, and Y is how we can implement it”
Me: “What problem is the customer trying to solve?”
TL, now exasperated: “I don’t know for sure, but the customer service asked for Z”
Me: “My guess is that what triggered a request for Z is that they have an issue with A, B or maybe C, and, given their limited understanding of our product, they think that Z will solve it. I am quite sure that there are alternative approaches to solving their issue, whatever it is, and Z is only one of them, likely not the best one. Let’s figure out what they are struggling with, and I can suggest a range of approaches, then we can decide which of those make sense.”
TL: “I need to provide an estimate to the customer service so they can invoice the customer”
Me: “As soon as we figure out what we are implementing, definitely. Or do you want me to just blindly do X?”
TL: “Just give me the estimate for X.” sometimes accompanied by “Let me run the reports and see what’s going on”
Me: “N weeks of my time” [well padded because of the unknowns]
Occasionally some time later, after some basic investigation: the real problem they seem to be facing is actually P, and it has multiple solutions, of which X is one, but it requires more work than X’ or X″ and interferes with the feature F for other customers. Let’s run the latter two by the customer, with a cost and timeline for each, and see what happens.
In the above pattern there were multiple levels of confusing problems with solutions:
The customer asked for Z without explaining or even understanding what ails them
The customer service people didn’t push back for clarification, and just assumed that Z is what needs to be done
The TL decided that Y will solve Z and that X is a way to implement Y
This may or may not be related to the question you are asking, though. Here is a classic example from physics after the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment that showed that the speed of light is constant: “What happens to the medium that light propagates in?” vs “What if we postulate that light propagation does not need a medium?”