Relationship realizations

Learning experiences: just broke up with someone recently. Part of the problem was that I had some very strong, specific and idealized expectations of what a relationship “should” be like – expectations which caused a lot of trouble, but which I hadn’t really consciously realized that I had, until now. Digging up the expectations and beating them into mush with a baseball...

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Software for Moral Enhancement

An algorithm will never slip up in a weak moment. What if we could identify when we are likely to make mistakes, figure out what we’d want to do instead, and then outsource our decisions to a reliable algorithm? In what ways could we use software to make ourselves into better people?

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An appreciation of the Less Wrong Sequences

Ruby Bloom recently posted about the significance of Eliezer Yudkowsky‘s Less Wrong Sequences on his thinking. I felt compelled to do the same.   Several people have explicitly told me that I’m one of the most rational people they know. I can also think of at least one case where I was complimented by someone who was politically “my sworn enemy”, who said something...

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Error in Armstrong and Sotala 2012

Katja Grace has analyzed my and Stuart Armstrong’s 2012 paper “How We’re Predicting AI – or Failing To”. She discovered that one of the conclusions, “predictions made by AI experts were indistinguishable from those of non-experts”, is flawed due to “a spreadsheet construction and interpretation error”. In other words, I coded the data in...

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Smile, You Are On Tumblr.Com

I made a new tumblr blog. It has photos of smiling people! With more to come! Why? Previously I happened to need pictures of smiles for a personal project. After going through an archive of photos for a while, I realized that looking at all the happy people made me feel really happy and good. So I thought that I might make a habit out of looking at photos of smiling people, and sharing...

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Decisive Strategic Advantage without a Hard Takeoff (part 1)

A common question when discussing the social implications of AI is the question of whether to expect a soft takeoff or a hard takeoff. In a hard takeoff, an AI will, within a relatively short time, grow to superhuman levels of intelligence and become impossible for mere humans to control anymore. Essentially, a hard takeoff will allow the AI to achieve what’s a so-called decisive strategic...

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AI risk model: single or multiple AIs?

EDIT April 20th: Replaced original graph with a clearer one. My previous posts have basically been discussing a scenario where a single AI becomes powerful enough to threaten humanity. However, there is no reason to only focus on the scenario with a single AI. Depending on our assumptions, a number of AIs could also emerge at the same time. Here are some considerations. A single AI The classic...

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Disjunctive AI risk scenarios: AIs gaining the power to act autonomously

Previous post in series: AIs gaining a decisive advantage Series summary: Arguments for risks from general AI are sometimes criticized on the grounds that they rely on a series of linear events, each of which has to occur for the proposed scenario to go through. For example, that a sufficiently intelligent AI could escape from containment, that it could then go on to become powerful enough to...

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Disjunctive AI risk scenarios: AIs gaining a decisive advantage

Arguments for risks from general AI are sometimes criticized on the grounds that they rely on a series of linear events, each of which has to occur for the proposed scenario to go through. For example, that a sufficiently intelligent AI could escape from containment, that it could then go on to become powerful enough to take over the world, that it could do this quickly enough without being...

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Reality is broken, or, an XCOM2 review

Yesterday evening I went to the grocery store, and was startled to realize that I was suddenly in a totally different world. Computer games have difficulty grabbing me these days. Many of the genres I used to enjoy as a kid have lost their appeal: point-and-click -style adventure requires patience and careful thought, but I already deal with plenty of things that require patience and careful...

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Me and Star Wars

Unlike the other kids in my neighborhood, who went to the Finnish-speaking elementary school right near our suburban home, I went to a Swedish-speaking school much closer to the inner city. Because of this, my mom would come pick me up from school, and sometimes we would go do things in town, since we were already nearby. At one point we developed a habit of making a video rental store the first...

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Desiderata for a model of human values

Soares (2015) defines the value learning problem as By what methods could an intelligent machine be constructed to reliably learn what to value and to act as its operators intended? There have been a few attempts to formalize this question. Dewey (2011) started from the notion of building an AI that maximized a given utility function, and then moved on to suggest that a value learner should...

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Learning from painful experiences

A model that I've found very useful is that pain is an attention signal. If there's a memory or thing that you find painful, that's an indication that there's something important in that memory that your mind is trying to draw your attention to. Once you properly internalize the lesson in question, the pain will go away.

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Maverick Nannies and Danger Theses

I explain why I think that some of the thought experiments that have previously been used to illustrate the dangers of AI are flawed and should be used very cautiously, why I'm less worried about the dangers of AI than I used to be, and what are some of the remaining reasons for why I do continue to be somewhat worried. ~3500 words.

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Changing language to change thoughts

Three verbal hacks that sound almost trivial, but which I’ve found to have a considerable impact on my thought: 1. Replace the word ‘should’ with either ‘I want’, or a good consequence of doing the thing. Examples: “I should answer that e-mail soon.” -> “If I answered that e-mail, it would make the other person happy and free me from having to...

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Rational approaches to emotions

There are a number of schools of thought that teach what might be called a “rationalist” approach to emotions, i.e. seeing that your emotions are a map that’s good to distinguish from the territory, and giving you tools for both seeing the distinction and for evaluating the map-territory correspondence better. 1) In cognitive behavioral therapy, there is the “ABC...

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Two conversationalist tips for introverts

Two of the biggest mistakes that I used to make that made me a poor conversationalist: 1. Thinking too much about what I was going to say next. If another person is speaking, don’t think about anything else, where “anything else” includes your next words. Instead, just focus on what they’re saying, and the next thing to say will come to mind naturally. If it doesn’t,...

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Change blindness

Antidepressants are awesome. (At least they were for me.) It’s now been about a year since I started on SSRIs. Since my prescription is about to run out, I scheduled a meeting with a psychiatrist to discuss whether to stay on them. Since my health care provider has changed, I went to my previous one and got a copy of my patient records to bring to the new one. And wow. It’s kinda...

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DeepDream: Today psychedelic images, tomorrow unemployed artists

One interesting thing that I noticed about Google’s DeepDream algorithm (which you might also know as “that thing making all pictures look like psychedelic trips“) is that it seems to increase the image quality. For instance, my current Facebook profile picture was ran through DD and looks sharper than the original, which was relatively fuzzy and grainy. If you know how DD...

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Learning to recognize judgmental labels

In the spirit of Non-Violent Communication, I’ve today tried to pay more attention to my thoughts and notice any judgments or labels that I apply to other people that are actually disguised indications of my own needs. The first one that I noticed was this: within a few weeks I’ll be a visiting instructor at a science camp, teaching things to a bunch of teens and preteens. I was...

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