Re: This is the third time this has happened [WAS Re: Manhattan, Apollo and AI to the Singularity]

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Aug 25 2006 - 15:13:48 MDT

Richard Loosemore wrote:
> In the recent past you have *twice* thrown out insulting challenges in
> response to something I have written, and each time you then disappeared
> when I got back to you:
> On the first occasion:
> Your message:
> My reply:
> you implied that I was completely ignorant of the literature, that I was
> just making things up, and that I should go and read some baby-level
> references. I gave a thorough response, including detailed references
> that showed my knowledge of the literature to be at least as good as
> your own, countered everything you said and backed up the claim that I
> originally made. Hey, what more could I have done?

And your reply showed that you were, still, completely ignorant of the
literature. I will followup to this effect. Please note, all, that my
post cited above is *not* a "challenge" - it does not request any
response from Loosemore.

All it tells Loosemore to do is read the literature on heuristics and
biases, which I still have trouble believing he's ever done. Maybe he
read it and forgot it - I don't do much of that myself, but I understand
that it happens to other people. He certainly did not absorb the basic
concepts in the field.

> But what did you do? You ignored my reply completely. Nada; nothing;
> total silence.

I don't see where your reply contains a specific request that I respond,
let alone a challenge to do a simple thing that I have claimed to be
able to do.

> On the second occasion:
> Your message:
> My reply:
> I again made an immediate reply, in which I pointed out that a proper
> response to your request could go one of two ways, and I invited you to
> choose which direction you preferred it to go (I wanted to give you the
> option of not wasting time on what I thought we would both agree was the
> less interesting line of attack).

You said: "Falsifiable predictions are not the issue."

You offered to:

1) Try to argue me into believing this absurd proposition, or
2) Have me accept that the argument must take place "at the paradigm level".

As far as I was concerned, my point was made. I felt this was evident
to any member of the audience who had followed the thread thus far. I
saw no reason to reply further.

> > I fully expect that Richard Loosemore's response will complain
> > about how dreadfully unfair and unprofessional it is of me to
> > dare say that he has a systematic problem about anything, and
> > what an awful place the SL4 mailing list is...
> References please?

Justin Corwin's post "Offended respondent" is a fairly good case example.

Or, more recently:

> Please bear in mind that many aspects of how to do it are not discussed on this list. Whatever the purpose of SL4 might be, any attempt to talk about real technical issues gets immediately swamped by low-quality noise and vitriol...... as a result of this you might think that there is no serious technical work in existence (about the specific problem of building a coordinated, complete AGI, including all the motivational/moral/ethical aspects, and including considerations of safety and friendliness).
> This impression would be a mistake. To take just the issue of friendliness, for example: there are approaches to this problem that are powerful and viable, but because the list core does not agree with them, you might think that they are not feasible, or outright dangerous and irresponsible. This impression is a result of skewed opinions here, not necessarily a reflection of the actual status of those approaches.

"You might think there is no serious technical work in existence?"

Fine, name just *one*.

"The list core doesn't agree with them"?

That rather implies they were presented to the SL4 list at some point.

It's "a result of skewed opinions here"?

Point us to opinions somewhere else in the online world, somewhere else
we can see them, that evaluate the same proposal a different way.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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