Rationality: From AI to Zombies

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Rationality Angled Cover WebBetween 2006 and 2009, senior MIRI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote several hundred essays for the blogs Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong, collectively called “the Sequences.” With two days remaining until Yudkowsky concludes his other well-known rationality book, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, we are releasing around 340 of his original blog posts as a series of six books, collected in one ebook volume under the title Rationality: From AI to Zombies.

Yudkowsky’s writings on rationality, which were previously scattered in a constellation of blog posts, have been cleaned up, organized, and collected together for the first time. This new version of the Sequences should serve as a more accessible long-form introduction to formative ideas behind MIRI, CFAR, and substantial parts of the rationalist and effective altruist communities.

While the books’ central focus is on applying probability theory and the sciences of mind to personal dilemmas and philosophical controversies, a considerable range of topics is covered. The six books explore rationality theory and applications from multiple angles:

I. Map and Territory. A lively introduction to the Bayesian conception of rational belief in cognitive science, and how it differs from other kinds of belief.

II. How to Actually Change Your Mind. A guide to overcoming confirmation bias and motivated cognition.

III. The Machine in the Ghost. A collection of essays on the general topic of minds, goals, and concepts.

IV. Mere Reality. Essays on science and the physical world, as they relate to rational inference.

V. Mere Goodness. A wide-ranging discussion of human values and ethics.

VI. Becoming Stronger. An autobiographical account of Yudkowsky’s philosophical mistakes, followed by a discussion of self-improvement and group rationality.

These essays are packaged together as a single electronic text, making it easier to investigate links between essays and search for keywords. The ebook is available on a pay-what-you-want basis (link), and on Amazon.com for $4.99 (link). In the coming months, we will also be releasing print versions of these six books, and Castify will be releasing the official audiobook version.