Friday, December 15, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Eliezer Yudkowsky


American artificial intelligence researcher concerned with the Singularity, and an advocate of Friendly Artificial Intelligence.
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Through rationality we shall become awesome, and invent and test systematic methods for making people awesome, and plot to optimize everything in sight, and the more fun we have the more people will want to join us.
Yudkowsky quotes
If dragons were common, and you could look at one in the zoo — but zebras were a rare legendary creature that had finally been decided to be mythical — then there's a certain sort of person who would ignore dragons, who would never bother to look at dragons, and chase after rumors of zebras. The grass is always greener on the other side of reality. Which is rather setting ourselves up for eternal disappointment, eh? If we cannot take joy in the merely real, our lives shall be empty indeed.
Yudkowsky
The human brain cannot release enough neurotransmitters to feel emotion a thousand times as strong as the grief of one funeral. A prospective risk going from 10,000,000 deaths to 100,000,000 deaths does not multiply by ten the strength of our determination to stop it. It adds one more zero on paper for our eyes to glaze over.




Yudkowsky Eliezer quotes
Declaring yourself to be operating by "Crocker's Rules" means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you.  Crocker's Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind — if you're offended, it's your fault. Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor. (Which, in point of fact, they would be.  One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone's afraid to tell you you're wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.)  Two people using Crocker's Rules should be able to communicate all relevant information in the minimum amount of time, without paraphrasing or social formatting.  Obviously, don't declare yourself to be operating by Crocker's Rules unless you have that kind of mental discipline.
Note that Crocker's Rules does not mean you can insult people; it means that other people don't have to worry about whether they are insulting you.  Crocker's Rules are a discipline, not a privilege.  Furthermore, taking advantage of Crocker's Rules does not imply reciprocity.  How could it?  Crocker's Rules are something you do for yourself, to maximize information received — not something you grit your teeth over and do as a favor.
Yudkowsky Eliezer
Lonely dissent doesn't feel like going to school dressed in black. It feels like going to school wearing a clown suit.
Eliezer Yudkowsky quotes
If you want to build a recursively self-improving AI, have it go through a billion sequential self-modifications, become vastly smarter than you, and not die, you've got to work to a pretty precise standard.
Eliezer Yudkowsky
If cryonics were a scam it would have far better marketing and be far more popular.
Yudkowsky Eliezer quotes
Between hindsight bias, fake causality, positive bias, anchoring/priming, et cetera et cetera, and above all the dreaded confirmation bias, once an idea gets into your head, it's probably going to stay there.
Yudkowsky
Crocker's Rules didn't give you the right to say anything offensive, but other people could say potentially offensive things to you, and it was your responsibility not to be offended. This was surprisingly hard to explain to people; many people would read the careful explanation and hear, "Crocker's Rules mean you can say offensive things to other people."
Yudkowsky Eliezer
The strength of a theory is not what it allows, but what it prohibits; if you can invent an equally persuasive explanation for any outcome, you have zero knowledge.
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Physiologically adult humans are not meant to spend an additional 10 years in a school system; their brains map that onto "I have been assigned low tribal status". And so, of course, they plot rebellion—accuse the existing tribal overlords of corruption—plot perhaps to split off their own little tribe in the savanna, not realizing that this is impossible in the Modern World.




Eliezer Yudkowsky quotes
Part of the rationalist ethos is binding yourself emotionally to an absolutely lawful reductionistic universe — a universe containing no ontologically basic mental things such as souls or magic — and pouring all your hope and all your care into that merely real universe and its possibilities, without disappointment.
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Science has heroes, but no gods. The great Names are not our superiors, or even our rivals, they are passed milestones on our road; and the most important milestone is the hero yet to come.
Yudkowsky quotes
The people I know who seem to make unusual efforts at rationality, are unusually honest, or, failing that, at least have unusually bad social skills.
Yudkowsky Eliezer
I am tempted to say that a doctorate in AI would be negatively useful, but I am not one to hold someone’s reckless youth against them – just because you acquired a doctorate in AI doesn’t mean you should be permanently disqualified.
Yudkowsky Eliezer quotes
If you declare Crocker's Rules, other people don't need to worry about being tactful to you.  (You still need to worry about being tactful to them — Crocker's Rules only work one way.)
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Ever since I adopted the rule of "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be," I've also come to realize "That which the truth nourishes should thrive." When something good happens, I am happy, and there is no confusion in my mind about whether it is rational for me to be happy. When something terrible happens, I do not flee my sadness by searching for fake consolations and false silver linings. I visualize the past and future of humankind, the tens of billions of deaths over our history, the misery and fear, the search for answers, the trembling hands reaching upward out of so much blood, what we could become someday when we make the stars our cities, all that darkness and all that light — I know that I can never truly understand it, and I haven't the words to say.
Eliezer Yudkowsky quotes
Mystery exists in the mind, not in reality. If I am ignorant about a phenomenon, that is a fact about my state of mind, not a fact about the phenomenon itself. All the more so, if it seems like no possible answer can exist: Confusion exists in the map, not in the territory. Unanswerable questions do not mark places where magic enters the universe. They mark places where your mind runs skew to reality.
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Rationality is the master lifehack which distinguishes which other lifehacks to use.
Yudkowsky Eliezer
But ignorance exists in the map, not in the territory. If I am ignorant about a phenomenon, that is a fact about my own state of mind, not a fact about the phenomenon itself. A phenomenon can seem mysterious to some particular person. There are no phenomena which are mysterious of themselves. To worship a phenomenon because it seems so wonderfully mysterious, is to worship your own ignorance.


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