Re: [sl4] greetings

From: Luke (
Date: Mon Oct 12 2009 - 07:59:18 MDT

@Pavitra: you said:
"I don't understand what that last sentence means. At first I thought it
was a recommendation for how to design AI, and was preparing a Party_A
response, but on reflection that doesn't make sense.

Are you talking about some kind of cognitive filters that would yield a
higher quality of discussion?"

my response: In this case, I was referring to methods of discussion and
argument. I meant that we as a group - i.e. scientists, engineers,
singulatarians, humans, intelligent beings, what-have-you - should develop
good methods for sifting and refining ideas. Getting caught up in
me-versus-you, or even Science versus Religion versus Art (yes,
capitalized), will tend to set the wrong granularity for our good-idea

However, I also think that friendly AI design will consist of developing
good methods of saying to the robot: "ouch dude, that hurt - change your
weights or something". I've always envisioned every human gets a red button
and a green button on their iPhone. Press the red button if your life got
worse, press the green button if your life got better. And our AI overlord
treats the green buttons like dopamine. Of course, just like we monkeys
have discovered cigarettes and cocaine, Mr. Jupiter Brain might discover he
can just drop the monkeys and press the green buttons himself and we all
perish and he falls into a druglike stupor until some randomness changes his
programming to not be so satisfied with green-button dopamine.

So that's an example of a "filtering mechanism" (very loose term), one that
has a pretty obvious failure mode. It follows one best practice from
programming, which is to program to an interface, not an implementation.

@Eric B: "Would you rather have a
three-party system like in Canada, or the UK?"

my response: Yes, that would make for a more interesting dynamic.
 Basically I prefer the capitalist system, in which not one or two but
millions of companies compete for my money. Not sure exactly how to
translate that to government. But if I had something like 100 power
allocation votes and I could choose to distribute them any way I wanted over
any number of senators and there were no president I'd be ecstatic.
 Basically I think that yes, technically we can have "third" (and fourth,
fifth, seventy-seventh) parties. But our lack of runoff voting techniques
kicks off what I consider to be a causal chain as follows:

1. plurality voting without runoff voting means optimal strategy is to
squash efforts of third parties to rise, ESPECIALLY if they're similar to
2. game rules and optimal strategy lead to two parties
3. those two parties each have one major enemy: the other party
4. all issues must be interpreted so as to disempower the enemy
5. therefore all political phenomena get exactly TWO
interpretations/prescriptions (no more, no less), which must by necessity be
different from one another
6. constant split of everything into exactly two interpretations leads to
two cultures, two meme-plexes, two philosophies, two populations
7. this leads to (totally arbitrary, erroneous and unfounded) concept of
"political spectrum", which is seen as a one-dimensional line along which
all political ideas fall, just like the one-dimensional line along which all
temperatures fall
8. the political spectrum ("right" versus "left") leads to a system with
three possible states:
       A. power is balanced between RIGHT and LEFT (i.e. no change is
       B. RIGHT has "too much power" (i.e. change happening, country
becoming more "right", less "left")
       C. LEFT has "too much power" (i.e. change happening, country
becoming more "left", less "right")

9. State A is "stagnation" (bad) when viewed from the perspective of the
political spectrum. States B and C are "imbalances of power" (bad).

10. The system only produces bad states! "Politics" cannot be seen, using
the lens of the "political spectrum", as a useful endeavor.

In conclusion, by seeing politics in terms of "left" and "right", one must
naturally come to the conclusion that politics is an evil undertaking and
that society is-and-will-always-be flopping between states of
stagnation/deadlock and imbalance/exploitation. And this "left" versus
"right" model of politics and political philosophy is, I believe, in large
part generated and perpetuated by our "democrat" versus "republican" actual
politics in America.

So yeah, I'd love a three-party system, if only as a stepping stone to a
four-party system, and further.

 - Luke

On Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 12:10 AM, Eric Burton <> wrote:

> >> I've been reading the recent marathon discussion of constraining robots
> to
> >> be our friends. All I have to add is this: conversation can serve more
> >> functions than the defense of two mega-points. The assumption of a
> >> bilateral split between "what I'm saying" and "what you're saying" is
> >> basically completely erroneous. In buddhism this error is known as
> getting
> >> caught up in "I", which does not in reality exist. In logic, it borders
> on
> >> ad-hominem reasoning, in a slightly varied form, essentially saying "if
> I
> >> can get you on one point, I've got you on all of them." Our American
> >> situation with the two parties and how any issue has to have a Party_A
> >> response which must be different than the Party_B response has
> unfortunately
> >> trained us all to habitually lump ALL of a person's points into "that
> >> person's argument", and hence get caught in devoting too much time to
> >> belaboring tiny points, just to have the satisfaction of putting a chink
> >> somewhere, anywhere, in their armor.
> >>
> >> Create good filtering processes, and the rest is gravy.
> I read this and I'm still confused. Would you rather have a
> three-party system like in Canada, or the UK?
> Eric B

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:01:04 MDT