New edition of "Rationality: From AI to Zombies"

by RobBensinger15th Dec 20182 comments

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MIRI is releasing a new edition of Rationality: From AI to Zombies, including the first set of R:AZ print books. As of this morning, print versions of Map and Territory (volume 1) and How to Actually Change Your Mind (volume 2) are now available on Amazon (1, 2) and EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions on Gumroad (1, 2). We'll be rolling out the other four volumes of R:AZ over the coming months.

R:AZ is a book version of Eliezer Yudkowsky's Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong writing from November 2006 to September 2009, which focus on topics at the intersection of cognitive science, formal epistemology, and philosophy. From the introduction to Map and Territory:

The philosopher Alfred Korzybski once wrote: "A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness." And what can be said of maps here, as Korzybski noted, can also be said of beliefs, and assertions, and words.

"The map is not the territory." This deceptively simple claim is the organizing idea behind this book, and behind the four sequences of essays collected here: Predictably Wrong, which concerns the systematic ways our beliefs fail to map the real world; Fake Beliefs, on what makes a belief a "map" in the first place; Noticing Confusion, on how this world-mapping thing our brains do actually works; and Mysterious Answers, which collides these points together.

The second volume, How to Actually Change Your Mind, then discusses confirmation bias and the challenge of updating on new evidence. Although Map and Territory technically comes first, we've tried to make both Map and Territory and How to Actually Change Your Mind good starting points, depending on which strikes your interest.

Changes going into the new edition include:

  • The first sequence in Map and Territory, "Predictably Wrong," has been heavily revised, with a goal of making it a much better experience for new readers.
  • More generally, R:AZ is now more optimized for new readers, and less focused on extreme fidelity to the original blog posts, since this was one of the biggest requests we got when we released the previous edition of R:AZ. This isn't a huge change, but it was an update about which option to pick in quite a few textual tradeoffs.
  • A number of posts have been added or removed. E.g., The Robbers Cave Experiment was removed because while it's still an interesting study, the researchers' methods and motives have turned out to be pretty bad, and it isn't particularly essential to HACYM.
  • The length of How to Actually Change Your Mind has been cut down.
  • A glossary has been added to the back of each book.

For more details, see intelligence.org/rationality-ai-zombies.

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I think paper books are an under-appreciated technology these days; very excited that paper versions of Rationality are coming out!

Thanks for making this happen!

I know someone who I think would enjoy HPMOR but refuses to read any book-length text in anything but paper book format. Other than going through the effort of printing out a PDF myself, does anyone know of any way I can get a hard copy? I'd be willing to make a counter-factual donation to MIRI or wherever for the trouble if that would help.