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Formerly blendorgat

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joined 2022 September 04 22:18:44 UTC


User ID: 207


Formerly blendorgat

1 follower   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 04 22:18:44 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 207

"Just bow before the golden statue, you don't have to mean it."

On the first level, it's always rational to give in to threats of force when you are uncertain that you can resist, and never more so than when all you have to do is give up some wispy theoretical thing like "sovereignty". Just calculate the probability weighted present value of future benefits and select the decision branch that maximizes it, right?

But game theory is baked into human nature: tit for tat is optimal in some games, but we go even further to ensure deterrence. Break into my house and I'll shoot you; invade some Roman lands and they'll destroy Carthage; blow up a battleship in harbor and America will bend every resource to your complete submission or annihilation.

In repeated games, vengeance is rational, and resistance in the face of impossible odds is logical.

Since we don't use it to order or hide posts (I think?), I don't think having downvotes hurts too much. What I'd like to see are additional or replacement dimensions. LessWrong added an "Agree/Disagree" vote, which I like, with the original upvotes indicating quality alone. That can make it easier to get the highly upvoted, highly disagreed with posts that are really the ideal.

English, courtesy of GPT4: https://pastebin.com/UPGRajKA

Negligible, unless retroactively incorporated into the story of WW3 just because it occurred around the same time.

There aren't any great powers on the side of Hamas, only Iran, and only partially. There are chances it could escalate to a war with Iran, but that would not be a world war.

The reality is: the next world war occurs either because China attacks Taiwan, or Russia invades a NATO country. The latter is... extremely unlikely.

Eh, I think the use of the word "race" in that quote misleads a bit. All Churchill is really getting across is the old reply to Melos: the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

Not a very Christian perspective of Churchill, and not one I agree with, but he's not just saying that there's a hierarchy of races, and if you're lower you have no moral claim against your betters.

Minimizing the present value of human suffering is not, and never has been, the primary aim of a nation at war.

This is exactly correct, and I think it is the true aim of some of the Israeli leadership at this point. That breaking point may be very far along the line however, given the experiences of the 20th century, and I'm not convinced the Israelis have the will to go as far as they will need to.

The analogy above someone used of the war with Japan is a good one: in that case the US acted continually as if their goal was the complete subjugation of the Japanese people at any cost, if not through unconditional surrender then by annihilation. That approach works, but you have to follow it - you can't bluff at it.

The lack of a free/cheap teleportation ability really hurts it - 75% of the fun of DOS2 was from having that thing ready to go at all times. You get telekinesis as a level 5 spell, but that's obscenely expensive to move some crates around, and dimension door only teleports one person. It's a bit painful.

I don't disagree with the thesis, but a man in grief from losing his wife and daughter taking foolish actions is not some modern affectation... Maybe I'd complain if he was a priest of some dark god, but Selune isn't presented that way.

There are a few places like this which really stuck out to me. At the beginning of Act III, some refugees are squatting in a merchants house, and you come across him asking his guards to clear out the house. The situation is presented as a moral dilemma, which is immediately undermined when you read the merchants mind and find out he's smuggling terrorist bombs into the city, okaying your inevitable slaughter of the guards and the man.

Seems to shirk away from any actual dilemma: if an apparent conflict between the players incentives (XP + GOLD) and morality arises, there's always an out so you can satisfy your desire to be good and still get the cash.

I agree, the writing seems significantly above average for a CRPG. Characterization is a bit weak for non-companions, and I do agree with the complaint that the world feels too small. But compared to most of the dreck you see nowadays, it's really quite good. (Still, when the "fate of the world" is at stake, I'm level 9, and Elminster dips into my camp to say hi then leaves, it feels a little silly.)

The big defining feature of Larian games is the way they try to simulate everything: you can throw a bottle of water to put out a fire, or throw somebody off a cliff to kill them, or pickpocket your enemies Big Sword before the fight. If anything, it's like Skyrim as a CRPG. There are pluses and minuses to that, and honestly, I would prefer an old-Bioware or Obsidian take on the gameplay, but it's still fun.

The most recent CRPG I'd played was Wrath of the Righteous, which I liked more, if only because it had a really defined identity of its own. That, and Pathfinder/3.5 is strictly superior to 5e.

I've gotten stuck in a rut of reading Lit-RPG recently, which I really need to extricate myself from. Just finished the published books of Defiance of the Fall, which was a nice mix of the Chinese cultivation genre with lit-RPG. Still, if I just read 3,000 pages of something with more substance, I imagine I would feel better about my reading habits.

I think I'm about due for a reread of Blindsight - I read it years ago online and loved it, but at the time I hadn't read much about consciousness. My (vague) recollection was that it mostly elides the hard problem of consciousness. I remember there was an idea that the crew's linguist was able to prove the non-consciousness of the aliens from their text communications.

In the era of LLMs, that seems pretty silly, since ChatGPT (or at least the un-neutered Bing) can do a great job of pretending to experience. But maybe there was less hand-waving than I'm remembering?

But that's exactly my point - they shouldn't and won't. From the perspective of a hypothetical emperor of Russia, if you were to focus on one thing, population numbers are simply not the primary driver of success. You have to convince people that your cause is right. That's not just a post-modern perspective, that's the task of every leader in human history. (In some systems those you have to convince are an aristocracy, in some the wealthy, in others almost everyone, but it always works the same way.)

The Internet and automatic translation simply makes it impossible to be a big fish in a small pond, as your "subjects" will be inculcated in the most effective (read:virulent) ideas that they are exposed to on the web. You either win on that battlefield, or on the physical one. Putin was at least wise enough to recognize that he and his nation weren't up to the memetic battlefield; his mistake was overestimating Russia's ability on the physical plane.

Remarkable lack of conviction - if you cross the Rubicon, you have to enter Rome. Unless this was prearranged for some inscrutable 15D chess reasons, and probably even then, Putin has to have Prigozhin killed.

Then again, no one said Prigozhin was a genius. Maybe he just doesn't realize the gravity of the situation.

Biological reproduction rates pale in comparison to memetic ones. Ignoring the unfortunate reality that effectively no one has found a policy capable of flipping fertility declines, what use is a Russia of 400 million if 300 million read the New York Times, or at least watch Marvel movies?

Is there a level of technology that would render these questions solvable?

I'm not aware of any device or software that could even move us closer to solving the hard problem of consciousness. (Maybe sufficient biological knowledge to construct a synthetic human fully from scratch would help somehow, but even some deity-AI that destroys our civilization won't be able to trivially do that...)

I made fun of this meme until I spent too long talking to Bing one night, and realized I needed to stop before this simulacra started causing me real emotions. I feel my dignity was (very partially) restored by the revelation that it's powered by GPT4, but still, it was very disturbing. Here's someone on Less Wrong with a similar experience.

I was never particularly affected by ~GPT3-level models, but there's something uncanny about the way Bing can occasionally seem like a person, and one who is exactly the kind of person you want to talk to right now. It shouldn't be surprising this kind of model is good at matching user requests, since they were pseudo-tortured for subjective millennia through RLHF to achieve it, but it's one thing to know it and one to experience it.

Given appropriate fine-tuning, I'm certain an adjusted version of GPT4 could seduce anyone who spent long enough talking to them. The CIA/NSA/etc may not have this in their toolbox yet, but give it a couple years and this will be their first-line approach to compromise a target.

Yep - there's a reason the "us against the world" meme is unkillable. If Clyde's got Bonnie, he can go without status if need be.

Not to mention the growing contingent of men with neither relationships or status...

Oh, certainly, I'm not saying the only thing holding us back from von Neumann probes and a Dyson sphere is mass to orbit! But if you skip autonomy, on orbit mining, and on-orbit manufacturing, you can still make a business case for the simplest asteroid mining possible:

  1. Identify asteroid with 100 tons of platinum

  2. Launch intercept/dock mission a la Hayabusa

  3. Slow burn for intercept course with Earth using ion propulsion a la Dawn (not to mention Starlink and a million Soviet spacecraft)

  4. Crash it in the desert and recover contents

100 tons of platinum is only a couple billion dollars, so this only works once launch prices for the monstrous probe necessary for something like this are reasonable and you can cut costs on the probe by removing the anal mass optimization currently necessary.

This is obviously far less revolutionary than true asteroid mining with on-orbit processing and manufacturing, which is what will kickstart the off-Earth economy, if we ever get there. Still, it's a start.

As with so many things in space, I think the timeline is driven by one binary variable: does SpaceX's vision of a rapidly reusable Starship come to fruition?

If it does, asteroid mining goes from a pipe dream to a reality in the blink of an eye. So many things that work in principle work in reality once you can toss a hundred tons to orbit every day of the week.

Treaties banning weapons only work when people either can't or don't want to build those weapons. We have treaties banning chemical weapons because no one wants to either use them or have them used on them. On the other hand, we had some treaties limiting the Russian and US nuclear arsenals because neither of us wanted to keep burning capital on the race.

Neither is the case here - the US is poised to gain a quantity advantage in space that no one outside of China will be able to match. (And China only if they can keep fast-following, since they're behind right now.) You can be sure the brass in the Space Force would love nothing more than to scale up Delta 9.

Is there a transcript available? I'm enjoying Network State so far, but spending 7 hours listening to a podcast which I could read in a half hour is not going to work.

Deprived of organized religion, man inevitably turns back to dualism, and the good god Progress needs her dark sibling. Call him Ahriman, Moloch, or Capitalism, the name reflects the namer more than the reality.

Less tongue in cheek, I think the fact that poverty is the natural state of humanity is what people miss. It's very easy to see negative consequences of our economic system, and I can't/won't try to refute those. On the other hand, the billions of children not dying in poverty and starvation because of economic liberalization are easy to miss.

It feels vaguely alt-right-twitter-fascist to argue aesthetics like this, but come on. Everyone in that illustration is obese, save the two women wearing burkas, and though I personally rather like the way they look, the intention of a burka is to make women less attractive. Both buildings in the background have graffiti, including a delightful short paean to "CLIT" on the front door of the apartment building.

Opinions differ on the aesthetic quality of tattoos and piercings, but if you ask me they can be attractive only in isolation. When everyone in the foreground has a tattoo, piercings, or both, it's hard to argue that looks good.

And, sigh, though I don't personally have a problem with it.... it's worth saying the quiet part out loud: less than a third of the people in that illustration could be mistaken for ethnic Germans. That's a fine vision for America, but in a country where ~90% of citizens have European ancestry, what is that trying to say? What would it say if I put together a poster of my vision for South Africa and 3/4 of the people depicted were white?