[ExI] AI

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 15 18:46:40 UTC 2021

I dispute a few things about that article, Jason.  I will nod, say that
your argument makes complete sense, and then totally refuse to change my
mind or admit even the slightest possibility that you might be right.

(This is the correct Bayesian action: if I know that a false argument
sounds just as convincing as a true argument, argument convincingness
provides no evidence either way. I should ignore it and stick with my

If a false argument makes as much sense as a true one, the thing to do is
not put your hands over your ears like the monkey, but investigate further
- that is, if knowing the difference is important. Truly absurd-sounding
things have been found to be true, so you suspend your disbelief of new
arguments and research further. If it is some historical fact like an
example he gives, then to me it is not important at all and never has
been.  Whether Polynesians got to South America is immaterial to me, though
it may give historians something to do.

There is a happy medium between never changing and changing every time the
wind changes.

re 'epistemic learned helplessness' - if it turns out that there is no way
of deciding whether to change your mind
then you keep what you have.  But turning a deaf ear to new arguments and
counterarguments seems a recipe for Luddism.

BTW  the medical profession is too conservative.  Drugs and procedures
proven safe and effective in Europe and elsewhere should be available
here.  Some drugs have side effects that are beneficial and should be
approved for off label use.  I'll bet that if you did a survey of
physicians you would find that all of them are very tired of patients
bringing new findings from the web and asking to get those treatments.  The
physicians, overwhelmed as they always are, don't want to investigate every
new claim.  They wait for meta-analyses, and then change  Seems right to
me, but one thing stands in the way of change:  you lose the support of
your profession in some ways.  You are now using nonstandard methods and
your colleagues won't support you in court, should that happen.  Forced
into too much conservatism.    bill w

On Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 9:39 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Bill,
> Good question. Your post reminded me of an article I read recently about
> why it may be a good thing that people are resistant to changing their
> minds so easily:
> https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/06/03/repost-epistemic-learned-helplessness/
> Jason
> On Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 8:05 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> A while back someone said that the AI playing chess would learn from its
>> mistake, and never make that one again.  Fooled me once.......
>> So Take a look at humans:  I learned very quickly when I started teaching
>> that students at all levels were repeating their mistakes.  So often I
>> would caution students about it and write it on their essay exams.
>> How successful was I ?  Some - the better students, of course - the rich
>> get richer.
>> College students average about 107 IQ.  Half a standard deviation is
>> significant.
>> How many college students are poor at changing, I dunno.  One third?  One
>> half?  All of them to some extent?  I would guess a majority of people
>> below 100 IQ would be rather poor.
>> Translation:  repeating mistakes and not changing is a form of
>> conservatism.  The body and mind are conservative - keep what you got till
>> it ain't workin' no mo.
>> If I have learned nothing from Quora but one thing, it is this:  people
>> have a hard time changing anything.  I get questions all the time about how
>> to form constructive and healthy habits.  How much of the self-help
>> industry is devoted to changing and building new habits?  If they were that
>> successful there wouldn't be so many books and talks and seminars and
>> videos etc. on self-help.  People need help with self-help, which I am sure
>> you have noticed.
>> So if you could design future people would you change the ease at which
>> we can change?  People's heads are apparently hard, though I have no direct
>> data.     bill w
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