Author’s Note, Ch. 99-101

So – I begin by stating that I know Ch. 99 might be a tad controversial.  I apologize for any norms it may have violated and observe that you received 8,500 words immediately after.  (Yes, I wrote that before I read Worm 27b.)

One more one-shot arc (probably one shorter chapter) remains to be written before I start work on the Last Arc of HPMOR which will wrap up all dangling threads and close all open parentheses.  This is not impossible when you have planned everything out in advance.

Meanwhile, I commend to you (for those who haven’t yet read the recommendation in previous Progress Reports) the just-completed story Worm, which is roughly 1.75 million words in 30 volumes. The characters in Worm use their powers so intelligently I didn’t even notice until something like the 10th volume that the alleged geniuses were behaving like actual geniuses and that the flying bricks who would be the primary protagonists and villains of lesser tales were properly playing second fiddle to characters with cognitive, informational, or probability-based powers.  There are stories which are better than Worm, and stories which were written faster than Worm, but I don’t know of any epic which was ever written faster and better than Worm.

Fan art update:

Alongside the cameos from more recent fan art (I managed to squeeze a few more in than I was expecting) is a cameo for Alicorn, author of Luminosity, who donated this piece of fanart a long, long time ago, around the time Ch. 22 was written.  “What do you want for your cameo?” I asked her.  “I want to be a unicorn, or a unicorn’s horn,” she replied.  “I can do that,” said I, “but it’s going to take a really long time for the story to get there.”  “Okay,” she said.  So here’s your cameo, finally.

Please let me know if you got the incredibly obscure and awful math pun in Ch. 100 about the proof-theoretic ordinal of ID so that I’ll know whether at least one reader got it.  (I was uncertain about whether to include it, until I remembered that I was writing this story for fun.)

The Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) has been challenged with $250,000 of matching funds from Peter Thiel.  This match applies threefold to any new major donors – if you give more than $5,000 and have never donated more than $5,000 to MIRI before, your entire donation will be matched three times over!  If your employer matches donations, and you tell us so, the match or new-major-donor match will apply to employee-matched portion as well.  This means that a new $2,500 donor to MIRI with employer match results in us receiving a total of $20,000!

MIRI can accept donations of Bitcoin (BTC), and now also Ripple (XRP).  If you’ve seen recent vast appreciation in your Bitcoin assets, we note that this is a fun thing to do with Bitcoins.  These donations will also be matched.

See here for an overview of what MIRI has done in the second of half 2013.  See here for an overview of the first half.  Neither of these really conveys the excitement of all the workshops we’ve been running, and I can’t convey it either.  Progress is starting to be routine.  Now we have to keep going and speed up.

The Center for Applied Rationality will have up to $150,000 of donations matched by Matthew Wage, Peter McCluskey, Benjamin Hoffman, Janos Kramar & Victoria Krakovna, Liron Shapira, Satvik Beri, Kevin Harrington, and Jonathan Weissman.  (CFAR’s website doesn’t currently show a way to donate via BTC or XRP, but I’m pretty sure that if you wanted to make a large donation they’d quickly set it up.)  CFAR’s fundraising page gives an overview of what they’ve accomplished during 2013, systematizing training in some basic cognitive skills into something repeatable (for, you know, the first time ever); and an overview of what CFAR hopes to do in 2014.  CFAR is near the beginning of its growth curve, and your donations make a tremendous difference in accelerating that growth curve.

The Center for Applied Rationality is also looking for a Director of Operations, though the title should probably be more like God of Operations, Bringer of Workshop Order.  By the way, that’s probably the best-written job ad I’ve ever seen, and anyone else who writes job ads should read it to find out how it’s done.

And remember:  To be a PC, you’ve got to involve yourself in the Plot of the Story.  Which from the standpoint of a hundred million years from now, is much more likely to involve the creation of Artificial Intelligence or the next great advance in human rationality (e.g. Science) than… than all that other stuff.  Sometimes I don’t really understand why so few people try to get involved in the Plot.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that the important things are accomplished not by those best suited to do them, or by those who ought to be responsible for doing them, but by whoever actually shows up.

The next Progress Report (not a story update, a report on writing progress) will appear on Jan 1st, 2014 at 5PM Pacific Time.

Progress Report, Dec 1st

Good news!  I shall be brief.  My employer has allocated some time for me to work on producing the next (1-2 chapter) update of HPMOR!  I can’t make promises because there could always be some immense unanticipated story roadblock, but check for a story update on either Saturday the 7th at 5pm Pacific, or more likely Wednesday the 11th at 7pm.  If I don’t make the 11th I shall at least post a Note to keep you updated.  Look to my coming, at last light, on either the seventh or the eleventh day; at evening look to the West!

My stay in Oxford has been extended by a couple of days, allowing me to appear unto OxTET (Oxford Transhumanism and Emerging Technologies) upon Dec 2nd at 7pm London time, at Keble college, in the Pusey Room.  This shall be open to the public and I shall be speaking on effective altruism and key ideas in Friendly AI.