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Basilisk blog[edit]

Sweet Jebus, the basilisk has a blog: --Baloney Detection (talk) 22:31, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

That's where Mitchell Porter copied all his comments on the topic - David Gerard (talk) 00:09, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Our explanation of the basilisk is opaque. This adaptable? - David Gerard (talk) 13:36, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
There's my take on sequence of events: Yudkowsky thinks Hofstadter's superrationality is a neat idea to sell as his own 'Timeless Decision Theory'. The club has some sort of made up rules how to fantasise about AIs, with some inspiration by old testament and god only knows what. Roko fantasises in the approved manner and finds out that the artificial insanity based on 'Timeless Decision Theory' would engage in entirely senseless violence (vindictively torture people that did not help it come around), even if it was friendly, according to their own rules of how to fantasize about AIs. This senseless violence is supposed to make you work harder on said AI, out of fear of punishment in the afterlife, which squares perfectly with the religious backgrounds these folks have. Yudkowsky doesn't take very well at losing his own game, hence the outrage. Note that there is no sense what so ever in trying to shield anyone from the knowledge as the AI could torture everyone you care about to get at you, regardless of whenever they know of it or not. They never really justified trying to suppress this, the whole thing is just really embarrassing at some intellectual level. Dmytry (talk) 15:17, 16 November 2012 (UTC) — Unsigned, by: Pibot / talk / contribs 06:32, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

The latest drama[edit]

Luke Muehlhauser suggested that "the sequences" have much content that is not original, but based on established scientific and academic literature. One LWers tweets about it (presumably trying to wash away Youdkowsky's/LW's crackpot image), which made Yudkowsky very upset. Though Muehlhauser defends himself pretty well. The examples Muehlhauser (and others) recounts suggest I'm far from the only one who get crank (and slightly cultish) vibes from LW.--Baloney Detection (talk) 20:41, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

I made the comment. I boggle slightly that you take the fact that we are publicly critical of each other as a bad sign. Ciphergoth (talk) 11:14, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
BD is not the most coherent of critics of LW - David Gerard (talk) 12:04, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah... I wouldn't sweat him.--ADtalkModerator 12:06, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

PoE News guys now at Bo News[edit] - LW still a topic of occasional discussion (and Xiphias, as someone who actually does AI for a living, still punches walls at the mention of them). And RW - David Gerard (talk) 22:32, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

That's fascinating. As someone here said earlier, it seems most professional scientists who work in the fields LW is engaging in view them as nuts.--Baloney Detection (talk) 22:07, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I haven't edited this wiki before and I don't know the etiquette, but I thought I'd let you know that this is wrong. I heard about LessWrong when three different Stanford professors - in formal logic, mathematics, and CS - recommended it. They all mentioned that they disagree with Yudkowsky on various points, but no one said or implied that they thought he was nuts; the strongest criticism I've heard was "I don't like the implications of some of his arguments", or "I don't think the Singularity is at all probable, although it's great that they're encouraging that conversation."

And all of them immediately followed up on that criticism by emphasizing that LW was awesome, and that disagreeing with Yudkowsky on some points should not in the slightest deter us from reading it. (talk) 03:27, 11 November 2012 (UTC)kellyp

Ask them if they think Bayes' theorem is in conflict with the scientific method and what they think about Roko's basilisk. These are IMO the nuttiest things about LW (and of course that it is a one-guy-with-all-the-answers kinda site). The pseudosciences spouted there (like cryonics) are derived from the general transhumanist memes.--Baloney Detection (talk) 21:00, 20 November 2012 (UTC) — Unsigned, by: Pibot / talk / contribs 06:34, 20 January 2013 (UTC)


'"Almost claiming ownership of the word "rationality"' A hypocrite, are you, RationalWiki? Atheoi

The sentence - not well-written, admittedly - is speaking of how the site's understanding of "rational" is more specific than that with which many might be comfortable. It is not intended to simply say that LW is trying to lay a claim to the idea of "rationality." This is more clear when you actually read the whole sentence, rather than that single clause: "Almost claiming ownership of the word "rationality"[37] has been a contentious issue as one cannot say that they're rational unless they're fully on board with Bayesian thinking in a way that adds up to local LessWrong norms, amongst other things." Rewriting will probably benefit the clarity of this sentiment.--ADtalkModerator 11:44, 6 December 2012 (UTC)


I have revised and added to about 2/3 of the whole, and will finish it soon. I cut a lot of stuff that seemed irrelevant, outdated, or untrue - including two whole sections. I apologize if this rubs anyone the wrong way. I do think the article is better.--ADtalkModerator 02:56, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Generally an improvement - good/bad/ugly was getting stretched at the seams. A lot of the stuff in "local tropes" needs restoration, but I'm not sure what's a good format to do so - David Gerard (talk) 15:18, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I agree it makes the article better. I also agree with DG that the local beliefs and tropes should be resurrected in some way. I think that Kruel's critique of the karma system should be included as well. Whatever you do, please keep the basilisk. Making the basilisk public is I think one of the main contributions of RW to the wider web. And this wiki entry is pretty much the only place covering LW overall in cyberspace without pushing certain basilisks under the rug.--Baloney Detection (talk) 20:39, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
This article is pretty much the go-to link for finding out about the basilisk - David Gerard (talk) 21:34, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I am mostly done with my rewrite, although I think the Roko section could be a lot clearer (not every single detail is worth mentioning, so a lot of that can go in a footnote). Next step will be to add back some of the stuff from that "local tropes" section, I guess.--ADtalkModerator 22:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

These two edits[1][2] both seem to simply be a rephrasing to frame things in a slightly more positive light. I don't think they improve it, and am inclined to revert. But because it's all my text, that might just be my feeling of "ownership" kicking in. Any thoughts?--ADtalkModerator 06:44, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

The old version of the para may have been superior - David Gerard (talk) 07:59, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm cool with you reverting the "presented data to suggest" thing, but the "practical" bit just seems factually inaccurate--there's definitely discussion of practical stuff on Less Wrong. See's_How-Tos_and_Recommendations
As you may have guessed, I'm a Less Wrong user. I definitely appreciate RW calling us out on some of our BS, and I'll confess that I detected some vaguely groupthink-ish thought patterns in myself as a result of reading it (like, hm, it does seem like a lot of the interesting stuff I know comes from reading LW--maybe I should try to vary my intellectual diet more--thanks for the insight, RW). But there are also a few things in the article that just seem unfair, and the practical/political substitution is one of them, IMO.
I think you guys may be so political around here that you basically see "practical application of rationality" and "politics" as being equivalent, but that isn't the case, really.-- (talk) 09:19, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
I appreciate this criticism, and I recognize that there are some practical applications discussed. For example, the "Rationality Daily Checklist" of last month, or lukeprog's weird dating tips. However, as far as I can see, almost all of these engagements are in the domain of self-improvement, rather than solving any problem larger than the person. That is to say, this practical engagement seldom goes beyond the person's life. There is also some application in the realm of charity and transhumanism, but I think that's adequately mentioned. Would you agree with that, and - if so - would you be comfortable with the description if we add a caveat to the effect that LW does offer a lot of advice for self-improvement?--ADtalkModerator 20:11, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Sure, that seems like a fair compromise. Thanks for being responsive to my criticism.-- (talk) 06:46, 16 December 2012 (UTC)