14 objections against AI/Friendly AI/The Singularity answered

What it says. Not really an essay, but I didn't want to create a new category just for this.

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Adult children make mistakes, too

There’s a lot of blame and guilt in many people’s lives. We often think of people in terms of good or bad, and feel unworthy or miserable if we fail at things we think we should be able to do. When we don’t do quite as well as we could, because we’re tired or unwell or distracted, we blame and belittle ourselves. Let’s take a different approach. Think of a young...

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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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AI thought process visualization

I started thinking about all the original computer science CGI stuff you could do in a sci-fi movie or TV series.

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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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Applied cognitive science: learning from a faux pas

Yesterday evening, I pasted to two IRC channels an excerpt of what someone had written. In the context of the original text, that excerpt had seemed to me like harmless if somewhat raunchy humor. What I didn’t realize at the time was that by removing the context, the person writing it came off looking like a jerk, and by laughing at it I came off looking as something of a jerk as well. Two...

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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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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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Depressed due to a lack of accomplishments?

Don't be. You still have plenty of time.

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Dissecting edugames: iCivics.org

The Serious Games Market blog showcases a number of interesting edugames, and I thought that I should try some. One of the posts linked to an interesting-sounding site called iCivics.org, which has a number of educational games that are designed to teach kids about the way the US government works. Some of the games were relatively good. Others were dreadful enough that even with a designed...

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Doing Good in the Addiction Economy

The world is becoming ever-more addictive and distracting, showering us with short-term rewards. But we can still take control of those mechanisms in order to do good in the world, and make ourselves into better people.

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Don’t trust people, trust their components

I used to think that people were either trustworthy, semi-trustworthy, or unreliable. Basically, there was a single scale, and if you were high enough on that scale, you could be counted on when it came to anything important. My model wasn’t quite this simplistic – for instance, I did acknowledge that someone like my mother could be trustworthy for me but less motivated in helping out...

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Jasen Murray on tranquility meditation

Since the page that I previously used to link to for a description of how to do tranquility meditation has died, I’m reposting the instructions here. I found them very useful in getting started with meditation, and they seemed to work better for me than any other instructions. Original credit for writing them goes to Jasen Murray. —- Very brief summary: Use either the breath or metta...

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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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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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Less Wrong posts

Less Wrong is “a community blog devoted to the art of human rationality”. In practice, there are all kinds of fascinating discussions on the site, on topics ranging from psychology to game theory and from futurism to self-improvement. I regularly post and comment on the site. Of the pieces that I’ve written, here are some of my favorites: Thoughts on moral intuitions. Attempts...

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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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My knowledge as anti-knowledge

During my more pessimistic moments, I grow increasingly skeptical about our ability to know anything. Science, governmental institutions, the media, the Internet... all of these mostly fail.

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Political logic 101

Sometimes, seeing somebody you disagree with make both silly and insightful claims can help reduce your own biases.

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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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