The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Re: Open Bar: Funnier Than White People Practicing Voodoo« Last post by Junkenstein on Today at 10:22:13 am »
totally nonplussed by the "terrible danger" posed by Roko's Basilisk
How well do you understand timeless decision theory?
It's a rather critical aspect of why Roko's Basilisk is considered such a dangerous line of thought. Without that knowledge, it would seem little more than Pascal's Wager.
I hadn't come across TDT or the Basilik prior to this so I've been googling about.
Question - Should I be more critical than I currently am of LW/associated things?
Reasons for question -
(Pretty critical of LW/ EY throughout for what appears to be good reason)
Last comment in particular(seems substantiated):
The article is obviously embarrassing to E.Y. If he didn't want to see this essay's Google rating improve, it wasn't about some general principle regarding "trolling." That's a pretty pathetic attempt at an excuse. It was something about this article. But what? Everyone thinks it's the "moral" aspect. That may be part of his worry: if so, it suggests that the SIAI/Less Wrong complex has a structure of levels--like say, Scientology--where the behavior of the more "conscious" is hidden from less-conscious followers.
But let me point out a specific revelation, not so prominent in the article but really more important for assessing SIAI and LW.
The messianic Mr. Yudkowsky also helped attract funding from his friend Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and noted libertarian billionaire whom Forbes pegs as the 303rd richest person in America. The Thiel Foundation, Mr. Thiel’s philanthropic group, has donated at least $1.1 million to SIAI, more than four times its next largest donor. (The nonprofit’s Form 990 from 2010 shows assets of $462,470.)
How do more leftwing members of the SIAI establishment feel about building an organization funded by (to realists, read "controlled by") an ultrarightwing billionaire? (It raises questions like is the "politics is mindkiller" trope in place to avoid alienating Mr. Thiel, who would be unimpressed by the anti-libertarianism of a considerable minority on LW.)
E.Y. has built a mystique about himself. Here's this self-schooled prodigy who has somehow managed to build a massive rationalist community and to preside over a half-million dollar nonprofit, living the good life of working only 4 hours per day (per LukeProg) and in that time, performing only tasks he likes to do, while being paid handsomely? It's a success story that's impressive. Even if you don't think E.Y. is a great philosopher, you have to admire him (at least the way Arnold Schwartzeneger once said he admired Hitler). It does the Yudkowsky myth no service to learn that he had the help of a billionaire, who almost singlehandedly funded his operations. If I've puzzled for years about the secret of E.Y. success, now I know it. He has a billionaire friend.
Caveat Unlike many others here, I don't like that there are billionaires. They've made a mockery of American politics, and their whimsical "charitable" support to intellectual factions will make a mockery of American intellectual life.
That funding angle alone is enough to make me seriously question their integrity. I hadn't seen/heard anything about this previously so if it's an open secret that's fine. I would have just expected them to be somewhat more open about where the cash is coming from if this is the case.
It also makes the HMPOR pleas for a holiday home for a month look really, really bad.