Posts Tagged ‘Games’

Sentences (#95)

More game theory from Fernandez:

It will inevitably occur to someone that the advantage in an escalation trap belongs to the side which cares about America less since there is no point at which it will desist for pity’s sake.

This is how things get cold.

(I’ve adjusted the emphasis from the original, since it looked glitched to me. Apologies if I made a bad call.)

April 7, 2017admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Sentences

Twitter cuts (#116)

Taking his chicken game international probably is dangerous, but it might also be the only thing that works.

February 20, 2017admin 19 Comments »

Sentences (#81)


… institutional media and white nationalists have formed a politically convenient symbiotic relationship.

Is this seriously deniable?

There’s a lot of conspiracy-theorizing underway right now, but it seems implausible, and superfluous. A spontaneous convergence of (perceived) interests is capable of explaining everything. In the end, though, someone is being played. In fact, it’s not only possible, but probable, that both sides of this particular arrangement are being played, and not primarily by each other.

November 23, 2016admin 25 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Coordination

Sentences (#80)

General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis:

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.

(Source (Via))

That someone who said this might be US Secretary of Defense soon is awesome in a way that isn’t easily expressed.

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November 20, 2016admin 21 Comments »

Quote note (#296)

From Cixin Liu’s latest (and perhaps greatest), p.129:

When the deterrent is the complete destruction of the deterrer and the deteree, the system is said to be in a state of ultimate deterrence. […] Compared to other types of deterrence, ultimate deterrence is distinguished by the fact that, should deterrence fail, carrying out the threat would be of no benefit to the deterrer. [..] Thus, the key to the success of ultimate deterrence is the belief by the deteree that the threat will almost certainly be carried out if the deteree thwart’s the deterrer’s goals …

Hence the drive to mechanization of commitments. Trust evo-psych and cultural tradition passes the torch to game-competent machines.

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October 23, 2016admin 10 Comments »

Quote note (#240)


[Lenny] approached a band called Mercenary Coalition and suggested “taking on the Goons”. One of their leaders, Sabre A – a man in a leather jacket with a small 100,000 ISK bounty on his head – told him it was “impossible.” The Goons had been a force of nature within New Eden for as long as anyone could remember. Lenny rephrased his question for the mercenary. How much would it take to go after the Goons? […] Sabre plucked a made-up number out of the air, thinking it didn’t matter. Something like six or seven trillion ISK, he said. […] “Okay,” said Lenny, “I have that.” …

… two years previously another group had the same idea – to take on the Goons. Their name was Pandemic Legion and their campaign ended in disaster, in a battle that is now known as “the Bloodbath of B-R5RB” – a furious fight involving over 7000 players and the destruction of ships worth up to $300,000 in “estimated real-world value”. […] Huge battles in Eve undergo the “time dilation effect”. Time literally slows down during the fight, to 10% of normal time, simply to allow the game servers time to process everything that is happening. This means that battles last hours as gigantic capital ships cycle their weapons and hundreds of hulking spacecraft trundle slowly towards their targets. When the Pandemic Legion lost at the Bloodbath of B-R5RB, they had to watch themselves slowly die for 21 hours.

(Some Eve Online research needed this end, evidently.)

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April 23, 2016admin 11 Comments »

Basking in the Basilisk

Without knowing anything much about what this is going to be (beyond the excerpt here)* it provides an irresistible pretext for citing what has to be among the most gloriously gone texts of modern times, Eliezer Yudkowsky’s response to Roko on the arrival of the Basilisk:

Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 July 2010 05:35:38AM 3 points
One might think that the possibility of CEV punishing people couldn’t possibly be taken seriously enough by anyone to actually motivate them. But in fact one person at SIAI was severely worried by this, to the point of having terrible nightmares, though ve wishes to remain anonymous. I don’t usually talk like this, but I’m going to make an exception for this case.
Listen to me very closely, you idiot.
There’s an obvious equilibrium to this problem where you engage in all positive acausal trades and ignore all attempts at acausal blackmail. Until we have a better worked-out version of TDT and we can prove that formally, it should just be OBVIOUS that you DO NOT THINK ABOUT DISTANT BLACKMAILERS in SUFFICIENT DETAIL that they have a motive toACTUALLY BLACKMAIL YOU.
If there is any part of this acausal trade that is positive-sum and actually worth doing, that is exactly the sort of thing you leave up to an FAI. We probably also have the FAI take actions that cancel out the impact of anyone motivated by true rather than imagined blackmail, so as to obliterate the motive of any superintelligences to engage in blackmail.
Meanwhile I’m banning this post so that it doesn’t (a) give people horrible nightmares and (b) give distant superintelligences a motive to follow through on blackmail against people dumb enough to think about them in sufficient detail, though, thankfully, I doubt anyone dumb enough to do this knows the sufficient detail. (I’m not sure I know the sufficient detail.)
You have to be really clever to come up with a genuinely dangerous thought. I am disheartened that people can be clever enough to do that and not clever enough to do the obvious thing and KEEP THEIR IDIOT MOUTHS SHUT about it, because it is much more important to sound intelligent when talking to your friends. This post was STUPID.
(For those who have no idea why I’m using capital letters for something that just sounds like a random crazy idea, and worry that it means I’m as crazy as Roko, the gist of it was that he just did something that potentially gives superintelligences an increased motive to do extremely evil things in an attempt to blackmail us. It is the sort of thing you want to be EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE about NOT DOING.)

The affect is strong, or simulated with bizarre brilliance. It almost reaches an intensity capable of burning through time and worm-holing into acausal or horroristic communion with this (plus). Which would suggest that the abominable coupling in question is not without occult connective threads (and not for the first time). All the darkness connects around the back.

We were somewhere near here before. (Bryce went further and then — coincidentally — disappeared, taking his records with him.)

* Related post and (especially) comment thread.

ADDED: I think this is the best Basilisk basics source.

April 15, 2016admin 37 Comments »
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Political Chicken

As a preliminary, a little XS background, which I’ll aim not to repeat.

The take on Trump’s advantage that seems under-emphasized: He credibly signals a refusal to swerve. I’m not arguing here that it’s realistic to trust that. The point is only, the Trump candidacy looks to a substantial swathe of the electorate — at least comparatively — like the strategic choice for not losing at chicken games. As noted in the linked post, when democratic party politics becomes highly polarized, that’s the game being played.

Anyone playing chicken through an agent prioritizes certain definite virtues. Trump’s rhetoric reflects these uncannily. “Winning” — for instance — is a word to watch.

To see what it is to be a chicken game loser, there’s no better model than recent GOP presidential candidates. John McCain appeared to positively delight in the honor of being defeated by Barack Obama in 2008, and Mitt Romney followed quite faithfully in his footsteps. In both cases, which can be extended to the GOP establishment generally, respectability is defined by the sentiment: “Sure, winning would be nice, but we’re not going to be crazy about it.” If there’s a single key to winning at chicken, however, ‘crazy’ is it.

The greater the media onslaught against Trump, given only that he doesn’t flinch, the stronger the signal that he’s not a swerve kind of guy. In this respect, the specific content of the attacks is almost irrelevant. The nastier the better. Best of all, if the message gets communicated that this maniac would take us over the cliff, he’s already won. From the perspective of this analysis, there’s simply nothing else he has to get across. It translates to: With Trump we either win, or at least don’t lose. (Objection: “But ‘everyone dies’ is losing isn’t it?” — Thanks GOPe, but you’re not getting this at all.)

Cruz and (to a parodic extent) Rubio look flexible next to Trump. It’s not that people think they might swerve — it’s what they firmly expect. They seem bendy, and specifically prone to compromise, concessions to media-fabricated realities, back-downs, apologies, and pre-emptive cringe.

Never, ever, even for a moment back-down, laugh at demands for ‘disavowal’, double-down on offense, concede nothing, and never swerve. Regardless of what one thinks about this orientation, it’s the one hungered for by the Trump constituency right now. Trump’s instincts, if not perfect in this regard, are impressively sound. We’ll know within 24-hours or so how it’s working out.

ADDED: It’s chicken all the way down.

ADDED: Trump poker.

March 1, 2016admin 26 Comments »

Quote note (#189)

“[C]apitalism in the ribbonfarm sense”:

Capitalism is not an ideology pursued deliberately by some to “defeat” those who live by other ideologies. It is a condition imperfectly closed societies default to in the presence of increasing choice in the environment, usually created either through the actions of outsiders or natural changes.

From a consistently thought-provoking slab of Venkatesh Rao insight porn.

(XS will try its best to get back to it.)

October 7, 2015admin 36 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Extreme Games

Greece’s Varoufakis doubles down on the Bart strategy.

May 18, 2015admin 12 Comments »