Is Quirrellmort an AI?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Continuing to think about Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, I noticed that the Stanford Prison Experiment continues to confuse me. Just what was Quirrell really thinking here? On no level did this make sense. And then I realized that I had neglected one key event in the story. Bellatrix comes to believe that her master is inside Harry. At the time I just assumed without reflection that this was just a necessary part of the plot to free her, but what if it’s more? In fact, what if it was one of the main purposes of the whole breakout? Voldemort is preparing Bellatrix to be ready for the time when he moves from Monroe/Quirrell’s body to Harry’s.

Now if this were any regular fiction, I’d stop there, but consider the author for a moment: Eliezer Yudkowsky, a man who does research in artificial intelligence and is fascinated with the idea of AIs and the singularity. Hmmm.

Best of 2012

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

An idiosyncratic list of the most intriguing, most mind altering, and just plain fun books/movies/etc. I read in (not necessarily published in) 2012:

Updating on New Evidence

Monday, December 24th, 2012

We now have two-and-a-half more chapters of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality to consider. Chapter 85, while awesome and sad, doesn’t add a lot to the mystery. Nor does Chapter 87, which is primarily further character development for Harry and Hermione. But Chapter 86, now that’s interesting.

Who is Hat-and-Cloak?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

To my mind the big open question in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is the identity of Hat-and-Cloak. I think there are two possibilities:

  1. Hat-and-Cloak is the defense professor.
  2. Hat-and-Cloak is not the defense professor

(Well I suppose there’s a possibility he/she is both of the above, but that seems overly complex, especially if the people who wear the hat and cloak are not working together.)

So which is it?

Who Set Up Hermione?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

I still can’t stop thinking about Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. But as I read it again (up to the original version of Chapter 85, though the new 85 and 86 don’t majorly change my thinking on these points), and the more I think about it, the outline of the plot is becoming clear. There’s only one piece that doesn’t fit now. Who is Hat-and-Cloak and what does he/she want?


What does Quirrellmort Want?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

On rereading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality for the third time, I’m starting to figure out what really happened. Spoilers follow.