Roko’s basilisk is a thought experiment proposed in 2010 by the user Roko on the Less Wrong community blog. Roko used ideas in decision theory to argue that a sufficiently powerful AI agent would have an incentive to torture anyone who imagined the agent but didn’t work to bring the agent into existence. The argument was called a “basilisk” because merely hearing the argument would supposedly put you at risk of torture from this hypothetical agent — a basilisk in this context is any information that harms or endangers the people who hear it. —

Roko’s basilisk is an…

Or: The 20 Percent Paradox.

The Pareto principle states that:

[F]or many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes (the “vital few”). Other names for this principle are the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity. — Wiki

This principle is observed in various different fields and aspects of those fields. For example, it’s often the case that 80% of sales come from roughly 20% of clients. The wiki article gives a few examples of this principle. The important one to note is how this applies to computer engineering. …

Good enough is not good enough.

The Good Enough fallacy is an example of, what I call, The Causality Inversion fallacy applied against the Pareto principle.

The Causality Inversion fallacy is where an actor, desiring a certain outcome, misattributes correlation for causality and actively applies the correlative condition, thinking that it is causal to the desired outcome. An common example of misapplied correlation is wind and wind turbines. One may inappropriately conclude that wind turbines produce wind because there is wind wherever there are wind turbines. …

I heard recently about the low efficacy rates of the vaccines made in China. In the sources where I heard this news, it was framed in a way to suggest that it was obvious that Chinese made vaccines would be substandard.

As someone who wanted to verify the veracity of the statements, it was really hard to find any objective reporting of the vaccine technologies China used. Querying for “Chinese vaccine” returns articles talking about the low efficacy rate of Chinese vaccines as if they’re all the same. Querying for the individual vaccines by name only returned news articles about…

Mary’s Room( wiki, TEDEd video) is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson. The experiment is summarized as:

Mary, a scientist who exists in a black and white world where she has extensive access to physical descriptions of color, but no actual human perceptual experience of color. The central question of the thought experiment is whether Mary will gain new knowledge when she goes outside the black and white world and experiences seeing in color.

Some believe that Mary does gain new knowledge, and the knowledge is the experience of what it is like to experience seeing color…

We all know the trolley problem. It goes:

There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track.

You have two options:

(1) Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track;(2)…

I have a (hopefully) great example that highlights the disconnect between those who feel like we should have reacted sooner and those who don’t. I think it’s a matter of perception of time.

In our research into explaining what makes humans sentient, we discovered that the ability to plan for the future is a key factor in contributing to sentience. We’ve empirically shown that some animals are seen to exhibit the ability to tell apart time whereas some can’t. However, I think this factor goes further than simply being able to recognize that something happened in the past; I think…

Objectively Subjective

Director, Philosopher, Engineer. Read more at: Follow me on Twitter: @objctvlysubjctv

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