Physicist and dabbler in wiring fantasy/science fiction.


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Its a matter of taste maybe. Honestly, I don't think I have ever found it useful (outside refereeing). I was recently reading about how you quantify a particular thing. Instead of providing the equation in a self-contained way (which would have taken 3 lines of maths, and 2 sentences) the paper explained it sideways by first giving someone else's (wrong) suggestion and then explaining how they have modified that. I really just wanted the right method stated clearly. Providing the whole apparatus of a wrong method then a text explaining what changes will make it right makes it clearer who has discovered what, but its really bad for the useability of the paper.

 I think Academic papers could benefit with more of this classical style (not taken the whole way). Often I see "in section III we address the impact of the RW approximation." I scroll down. The title of Section III is "Impact of the RW approximation". So that was pointless. Often I see "In contrast to the analysis of Whoever et al we here account for foo via a blah blah blah" and similar. These serve to neatly partition the credit, drawing a line in the sand around what is new in this paper. As a reviewer these statements are useful, but as a reader of the paper who is not the reviewer they are a waste of space. I came to learn about apples, not about the division of novelty points between apple studiers. Ideally this kind of meta-data could be contained in a "letter to the referees" which could be linked to the paper online.

Although recommending full-on classical style for anything seems nuts.  "This manual describes the operation of the widget type A27, it is not suitable for other models."-  Forbidden.


Interesting take. I haven't seen this happen on AI, but I do know two people who have an environmentalism  fear spiral thing. My diagnosis was very different: I think the people I know actually have anxiety, or panic attacks or similar for mental health reasons. The environmentalism serves as camouflage. Thought 1: "Why am I depressed/anxious/whatever when things in my life are pretty good?" Then, instead of Thought 2 being "Maybe I should talk to a friend/do something that might cheer me up/see a doctor" they instead get thought 2 "Oh, its because humanity is going to destroy the world and everything will be awful. Man, its great that I am such a well-adjusted, big-picture, caring person that giant planet-scale forces that barely effect me personally have more impact on my emotional state than the actual day to day of my own life." Not only does the camo prevent them addressing the real problem (Ok, the environment is a real problem, but its not the only problem, and its not the problem they are suffering from at the moment), but it also weaponizes all kinds of media against themselves.

Really interesting stuff.

If you (or others) are interested the excellent science fiction books "Hyperion" and "Fall of Hyperion" have a very similar portal setup in the background (its not the focus). It mentions people who chose to place their house's living room on a different planet than the kitchen to get a range of views. 

I don't use twitter or mastodon, and have clearly misunderstood. I thought that the point was you only saw things from people you were following, or maybe things people you follow shared from other people they follow? Presumably this is not right, because if it was you would just not follow any spam-bots.

Humans, in the examples provided, are (I think) applying something like the logic "what if everyone did this" to assess the morality of an action. In my experience that is quite a common way of reasoning about morality, it was presented to me as a child as "common sense", and many years later I learned it was a big deal to Kant , (I am really curious if it was already "common sense" before Kant or if he added it to the common sense pile). But all of this is used when discussing the morality of an action.

As I understand it (which I don't) acausal decision theory is aiming to maximise the effectiveness of actions, not assess their morality. I don't know if this drives a wedge into things or not.

At least with consequentialism the morality of an action only depends on its forward light cone. With average utilitarianism the problem is significantly more extreme.

This doesn't give any real help in guessing the timing. But I think the curve to imagine is much closer to a step function than it is to a linear slope. So not seeing an increase just means we haven't reached the step, not that their is a linear slope that is too small to see.

That is an interesting point. Perhaps I muddied the waters by making the reset take Bob to a time before the experiment was carried out. I did not consider the time of reset to be significant, perhaps foolishly. In your chain of consciousness model are their two branching evens? One at some time before the experiment is carried out where in a bunch of branches Bob finds himself suddenly pulled forwards in time, then a later event at the time of the quantum measurement? We could go down a rabbit hole on this with arguments from Bob like "well, I haven't found myself suddenly pulled into the future, so I must be in the branch where I survive".

My position (like JBlack) is that the experiment was invalid even without the resurrection. The primary aim of the story is to try and be funny, but the secondary aim is to try and sidestep all the arguments about whether the quantum suicide thought experiment actually makes logical sense (which can be quite subtle) by trying to work out if it proves too much. If the argument proves obvious nonsense then we know the logic is somehow flawed, even before we agree on exactly how. At least in my opinion the existence of resurrection technology (so that every Bob has further experiences, even the ones that die) raises serious problems for the thought experiment - as it seems to restore a symmetry between all the branches, so that singling out the one where Bob survives as more significant seems suspect. The (current) non-existence of resurrection technology doesn't seem relevant to me, as the many-worlds interpretation surely does not rule out the possibility of resurrection technology (or life after death). It would seem bizarre to me if our level of certainty on (1) life after death, or technological resurrection should be related to our certainty of (2) the many-worlds interpretation. And thus (2) should be independent of (1). Thus assuming a particular value for (1) (that resurrection is possible) should not move our opinions on (2).

Do you actually want "the most competent" people in the senate though? At least in my mind a government delegates optimization problems to the civil service and the elected officials are more like "alignment". So them being too old could result in issues relating to older people having priorities that are not quite lined up with the overall population, but similar issues could equally arise from them being disproportionately rich/poor male/female minority ethnic. Ideally the senators are setting targets and checking that the civil service is pursuing these goals without simultaneously doing bad things.

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