The technical debt of the millennia

[Epistemic status: not serious. Mostly.] In my nightmares, even the rise of machine superintelligence isn’t enough to wipe out technical debt. Suppose the seed to the first true superintelligent agent is based on some fiendish numerical algorithm for supercomputers. Like so many fiendish numerical algorithms for supercomputers, the agent is written in FORTRAN to take advantageContinue reading “The technical debt of the millennia”

As an aside, something should be done about drones

I will pause to note how fantastical all of this sounds. Because even I can’t help but help but think that as I write. But it is not that implausible. Usually the people plotting hard core crimes, the people tinkering in their garages with arduino boards, the people trying to think of a good start-up,Continue reading “As an aside, something should be done about drones”

Rationality: From AI to Zombies

Rationality: From AI to Zombies, by Eliezer Yudkowsky, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, suggested price $5, 1813 pages Christmas 1982, aged eleven, I gave my Dad a copy of Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, and immediately borrowed it and read it myself. Like so many readers, I was captivated, and changed. Martin Gardner said of it:Continue reading “Rationality: From AI to Zombies”

Paying someone to help me learn degree-level maths

I have a plan, but some of the plan is probably wrong, so I’m posting here before executing in the hope that you can set me straight. Thanks! I’m self-taught in most of the maths that I know. This has advantages, but it’s hard work; I can make a lot of progress by myself butContinue reading “Paying someone to help me learn degree-level maths”

Crowley’s Law

As always, laws aren’t named after the people who invent them. In 2011 I remarked: Watching @frasernels use the word “thoughtcrime” to @GeorgeMonbiot, I think there needs to be an Orwell version of Godwin’s Law. — Paul Crowley (@ciphergoth) December 1, 2011 “@frasernels” refers to Fraser Nelson who is now @FraserNelson on Twitter. @palmer1984 immediatelyContinue reading “Crowley’s Law”

The long scale of utility

The way that utilitarianism is normally stated is a terrible way to think about it which leads to real errors. Wikipedia: Utilitarianism [holds] that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility This idea strikes terror into people’s hearts: this is a standard that no-one could possibly live up to. Even Toby OrdContinue reading “The long scale of utility”

Unoriginal and wrong posts ahead

I often hold back from posting first because I’m very unsure whether what I’m saying is right, and secondly because I wonder whether someone else has already said it, and better, and I’d find it if I did more thorough reading. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s much better to err on theContinue reading “Unoriginal and wrong posts ahead”

The size of the Universe and the Great Filter

In a small Universe, an early Great Filter is unlikely, simply because we’re evidence against it. Suppose the Filter is early; how severe must it be for us to observe what we observe? By “severe” I mean: what proportion of worlds must it stop? Our existence is evidence towards an upper bound on the severity ofContinue reading “The size of the Universe and the Great Filter”