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Posts posted by Prometheus

  1. It's certainly true of current computers - or more generally AI.

    It'll be interesting to see how deep learning architectures progress. We have reinforcement learning agents that can learn to play one game, then do quite well on another game it has never played - the more similar the games the better it does and current work tries to make the generalisations it draws as broad as possible so it can tackle more disparate tasks. Could be interpreted as learning from past experiences.

    The section indicates though that they are primarily interested in agents in a real lab setting - that might be a little further off, but it doesn't seem to be a different kind of task to playing games.

  2. On 4/9/2022 at 9:29 PM, beecee said:

    Religion = The belief in a super duper omnipotent being/god

    That seems to be the common interpretation on this forum, but is it true? If so, you would have to exclude many belief systems that are generally called religions: Buddhism, Taoism even some forms of Hinduism and Neo-Paganism i've come across.

    Not all even make ontological claims. Buddhism, for instance, describes the Ten Indeterminate questions, such as whether the universe is finite or infinite, whether the soul and body are the same - these questions are considered irrelevant.

    Whether it's rational to believe in religion then may to a large extent depend on which religion (or set of beliefs within a religion). 

    I would ask though why we value rationality so much. Many of the ethical decisions we make are not rational, or only rational once we might a value judgement of some sort. I do not believe our search for meaning, which is integral to being human, is ultimately one based in rationality.

  3. I can understand why he'd be upset, but so easily resorting to violence is a dangerous precedent for a role model of his stature, especially given he's a professional comedian known for his charisma and so has more appropriate, and probably more effective, means of defending his wife's dignity. 

    Apparently the stats on one punch kills are pretty sparse, for instance UK police don't collect that data.

  4. In 3 minutes of searching all i could find was related to vitamin k deficiency rather than excess supplementation. If there is any specific literature out there it's likely to be buried in the vast coagulopathy literature. requiring a formal systematic literature review.  It's a very niche interest, might be best asking a haemotologist who has an interest in dietary concerns. Good luck.

  5. 17 hours ago, Jalopy said:

    Back propogation, according to Prometheus in another thread, is the human ability to learn.

    I said:

    "Probably the biggest difference (between human and artificial intelligence) is that modern machine learning algorithms use back-propagation, whereas there is no such (known) mechanism in brains."

    Hopefully what others have said here and there have cleared up that confusion for you.

    17 hours ago, Jalopy said:

    Maybe the solution is to program robots to learn through value-computation. 

    Modern machine learning algorithms have a function which calculates some distance (in a mathematical sense, not physically) between a predicted outcome and an actual outcome. It's sometimes called a reward function. The aim of the algorithm is to minimise the distance between its predictions and the actual event - it is 'rewarded' for getting its predictions as close to the event as possible.

    As far as i can tell from your example of the alphabet you are proposing some kind of weighted reward function, preferring earlier letters than later ones for some reason. In that case the AI would just learn to always predict As, or maybe Es, as these are very common letters in English and you've assigned them a high value.

    You should learn a little about the machine learning field: there are some excellent tutorials out there, but most assume some level of mathematics, for which there are also excellent tutorials.

  6. 9 hours ago, Doogles31731 said:

    I think some background on my interest in vitamin K will clarify my position.

    I'm afraid it only obfuscates. Try this; give yourself just one sentence in which to express the particular problem you want to investigate. The last sentence of your last sentence seems close.

  7. 7 hours ago, Doogles31731 said:

    It's hard to draw conclusions from the above literature.

    It's not surprising as they are assessing different things: 2 looked at warfarin for thromboembolism (surprised this was still being looked at in 2003), 1 at warfarin risk of arthritis and 2 at particular dosing regimens for peri-operative care in high risk populations. 


    7 hours ago, Doogles31731 said:

    ...but I prefer no-treatment controls.

    You'll be hard pressed to find many such studies as its deemed unethical to have no-treatment controls when there is a known viable treatment. To find such you'll have to look at some very old studies, maybe the clinical trial data submitted to the FDA in the first instance. 


    7 hours ago, Doogles31731 said:

    It is the sort of literature I’ve listed above that makes me question whether anybody has checked on the association between vitamin K supplementation and deep vein thrombosis.

    But what do you actually want to know? This statement makes it seem like you are interested in the role of dietary vitamin K and DVT. If this is the case, pursuing the warfarin literature (though it might be where you got your initial idea, and have implications for it) is a red herring. Isolate the precise clinical question you want to answer, something like does increased vitamin K increase risk of DVT? If so, what is the likely causal mechanism? Restrict your question to as few variables as possible: once you have a handle on that, you might consider another variable and so on...

  8. 2 minutes ago, Doogles31731 said:

    For anybody to use a vitamin K antagonist (warfarin) in order to prevent post surgical emboli or deep vein thrombosis,

    People will not take warfarin for post-surgical emboli prophylaxis, a low-molecular-weight heparin would be used instead. If people were on warfarin pre-surgery they would be taken off it and reintroduced post-surgery. I'd be interested to see those RCTs that compare post-op use of warfarin vs untreated controls that you found. 

    Where are you searching, what keywords are you using?

  9. The dosing schedule of warfarin is infamously tricky, requiring regular monitoring to ensure levels remain therapeutic without becoming toxic. As you note, warfarin is a vitamin k antagonist: thus the dose of warfarin is only one side of this equation - dietary intake is the other. For this reason it is usually recommended that people remain on a consistent diet, and the warfarin dose adjusted around this. But sometimes it's easier to recommend for people to manage by simply avoiding certain foods rich in vitamin k.

    As for evidence: i imagine you are using google, which will give plenty of results aimed at lay people. If you want the actual evidence base use something like google scholar. Here are the first two papers I came across on scholar: i've only read their abstracts, i share them as an example of what you can find now you know where to look rather than anything definitive.



  10. On 2/23/2022 at 10:35 AM, Intoscience said:

    So to re-iterate, when all other options have been exhausted and you are left with only 2 options - torture or not. Is it ever possible that torture is the right thing to do?

    I understand your position: if various conditions are met (guarantees that no innocents will be tortured, that torture will work, that all other options have been exhausted and that even one-off torture won't give morally dubious individuals and regimes justification for torture) you would act in such and such a way.

    My position is that for any practical consideration you will never know any of these things. Further, I believe it impossible to consider any ethical problem outside these practical considerations. This discussion of an idealised scenario tells us nothing about how we would act in the real world, so any answer i give is irrelevant. 

    My participation in this thread has just been to highlight some of those practicalities, as only one was stated in the OP (guaranteed guilt of the tortured). I understand many people disagree with my position, and that seems to stem from a concept that ethics is something absolute that we discover rather than create, but do you at least understand my position?

  11. 4 hours ago, Intoscience said:

    When all else fails and you are left in a situation where torture or do nothing are your only 2 options left, do nothing results in one outcome. 

    False dichotomy (in the real world, haven't been following the latest unrealistic 'scenario'). Torture is only one interrogation technique. There may be more effective techniques: i know no one here is interested in evidence, but here is some that suggests alternatives to torture actually work better.

  12. On 2/17/2022 at 6:45 PM, Genady said:

    Our ability or inability to prove something or to construct something in math doesn't affect its existence. The same with ethics.

    You make your opinion sound like an established fact, which of course it is not.

    I can understand though, if you take this position, how you can consider an ethical problem as some pure abstraction and give 'definitive' answers. But, like @joigus suggested, many people do not think of ethics like that and we have reached a stalemate; nothing more can be said.


    On 2/17/2022 at 7:37 PM, beecee said:

    I don't accept that we can never know with 100% certainty, the guilt of a person. I gave examples of that in the justice/punishment thread. 

    Hard to debate anyone 100% certain of anything.


    On 2/17/2022 at 7:37 PM, beecee said:

    When thousands of innocent lives are at stake, every possible means need be implemented to at least attempt to save them.

    By the same reasoning, i should go out and murder the next person i meet, because there is a vanishingly small probability they will be the next Hitler. Of course, that is stupid. I say this to highlight that having some idea of how likely torture is to work is important to the decision. If it's as likely as any random person you meet being the next Hitler, would you still do it?


  13. 9 hours ago, iNow said:

    If his troops take Kiev, which they absolutely can do probably within less than a day or 2 given their size and capabilities and backend support from cyber teams, then Ukraine for all intents and purposes will be absorbed as part of Russia effective immediately. 

    I saw a poll that suggested 1/3 of Ukrainians would violently resist Russian occupation. According to the US military one counter insurgent is required per 20 resisting civilians, meaning Russia would need ~325,000 soldiers in Ukraine. Even Russia cannot afford that level of attrition for any extended period of time.

    A much more likely goal would be to force the federation of Ukraine so as to be better able to influence the separate federations. Any full scale invasion would be an attempted lightning strike to take the capital, then sue for peace under these terms. However, this would cost Russia dearly, economically and politically (i.e Finland and Sweden would more likely want to join NATO, and many ex-Soviet countries would become even more hostile to Russia).

    I wonder if Germany will reconsider their gas hungry energy policy in the face of this crisis. 

  14. 2 minutes ago, Genady said:

    Nevertheless, it has or it doesn't have a solution, regardless of humans. Same with ethics.

    I disagree it's the same with ethics. We can prove the billionth digit of pi exists - by finding it. How would you prove the absolute rightness of some ethical conundrum with that same precision? Pi can be defined in terms with no reference to humans, or any other agents. How do we define an ethical act without reference to humans (or some other agent).

    To state that ethics has a definitive answer is a common position, especially amongst the religious, but it's not one we can prove either way. Although this may well be at the root of the different positions in this thread, maybe this point is going too far off topic and requires its own thread?

  15. 3 hours ago, joigus said:

    OK. We're reaching a stalemate here. 

    I want to be convinced that torture would be effective so much as to grant consideration to use it as a last resort. I intuit that @dimreepr & @Peterkin agree with this particular point.

    You want to be convinced that torture would fail 100% of the time, as to grant consideration to use it as a last resort.

    If I understood them correctly, @beecee & @zapatos would abide by the latter.

    We've narrowed it down, it seems, to some kind of interesting but difficult burden-of-proof argument.

    This has to be done in such a way that this kind of evidence is obtained without experiments being performed to ascertain the matter. Ethical considerations on which we all agree being the reason.

    Your turn.

    I'd be happy with any attempt to try to quantify the efficacy of torture. I've never claimed torture is 100% ineffective, just that it's efficacy needs to be considered for any practical discussion. If my lighter works 50% of the time, i'll still say it's working. But if my parachute works 50% of the time... i won't be saying anything before long. If people want a purely theoretical discussion, just say we assume torture is effective, in the same manner we have assumed in this thread no innocent people are tortured.



    5 minutes ago, Genady said:

    None of the above. It exists in mathematical sense. Like a solution of an equation exists. Regardless we know it or not. 

    That's consistent with Plato's idea of ethics (apparently it's why he studied mathematics, he was looking for a source of absolute ethics). I see ethics as an entirely human creation. It manifests in the universe only in the relations of humans, (so far as we know. -perhaps other species have a primitive capacity). That should go some way to explain why i 'refuse' to answer the question - i just don't see ethics as something that can exist in isolation like a Platonic ideal. So what if i answer yes or no - it's never going to happen; there will always be doubts of the efficacy of the torture and the possibility that you are torturing an innocent person. All the theoretically pure scenarios i explore will at best not change this, at worst give me an inflated sense of my moral righteousness, and i probably have too much of that already.

  16. Just now, StringJunky said:

    What has 'women being misrepresented in senior roles got to do with pay inequality equality?' Pro rata is what matters. If they are the same, the pay is the same. Same position, same pay =/= 'equivalent' job,  same pay. The latter sems to be what feminists are arguing for... which is a different tree to bark up entirely.

    I agree pro rata is one metric. I think representation at senior levels is also a valid metric, in as far as it might indicate preferential treatment up the career ladder. Whether that is actually the case is worth investigating. That UK nursing review concluded with "The drivers for this are complex and further work is required..."

  17. I've never looked into the data myself so i thought i'd delve a little into my own profession (i'm sure there's national and professional variations). At least for UK nursing the evidence suggests that there is a gender pay gap, due to women becoming less represented in more senior roles and taking up more part-time work. Within pay scales, pro-rata pay was identical as required by law. I can imagine this generalising to at least some other professions, teaching perhaps.

  18. On 2/7/2022 at 5:23 PM, zapatos said:

    I wasn't aware there was evidence that torture did not work in any circumstances. Did I miss something?

    Neither is there evidence that torture will work 100% in the very particular scenarios given here.


    5 minutes ago, zapatos said:


    All the data being shown here is related to extremists, the military, people believed to be extremists, etc....

    I'm starting to think no one followed the links to the abstracts i gave, because they include data other than from these circumstances.


    2 hours ago, mistermack said:

    I find it hard to reconcile the multiple posts of "torture doesn't work" with my own situation....

    Again, incredulity is a poor substitute for evidence. 

    Why not simply change the premise of the OP to include the assumption that the torture will certainly work as intended, or work with probability x. You already have one unrealistic constraint regarding certainty that no innocent person is tortured, why not add another to keep the hypothetical scenario 'pure'.

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