Eliezer Yudkowsky

“But ignorance exists in the map, not in the territory. If I am ignorant about a phenomenon, that is a fact about my own state of mind, not a fact about the phenomenon itself. A phenomenon can seem mysterious to some particular person. There are no phenomena which are mysterious of themselves. To worship a phenomenon because it seems so wonderfully mysterious, is to worship your own ignorance.”


“To confess your fallibility and then do nothing about it is not humble; it is boasting of your modesty.”


“Between hindsight bias, fake causality, positive bias, anchoring/priming, et cetera et cetera, and above all the dreaded confirmation bias, once an idea gets into your head, it’s probably going to stay there.”


“If dragons were common, and you could look at one in the zoo — but zebras were a rare legendary creature that had finally been decided to be mythical — then there’s a certain sort of person who would ignore dragons, who would never bother to look at dragons, and chase after rumors of zebras. The grass is always greener on the other side of reality. Which is rather setting ourselves up for eternal disappointment, eh? If we cannot take joy in the merely real, our lives shall be empty indeed.”

More Eliezer Yudkowsky quotes


Eliezer Shlomo Yudkowsky (born September 11, 1979) is an American artificial intelligence researcher known for popularizing the idea of friendly artificial intelligence.[2][3] He is a co-founder and research fellow at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, a private research nonprofit based in Berkeley, California.[4]   Wikipedia


Eliezer Yudkowsky is the creator of Less Wrong, a blog dedicated to compiling the many ways the human mind makes mistakes, and presenting the research on how to overcome them. The Less Wrong Sequences (now compiled in the e-book Rationality: From AI to Zombies) are the introduction to basic rationality. I personally recommend nothing else so much as I do them.


See the 12 Virtues of Rationality for a quick, beautiful, crystal-clear introduction to rationality.



Eliezer Yudkowsky also wrote the hilarious, insightful, and moving (no, seriously) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Read here.


Quotes from Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality:

“Many boys and girls are heroes in their dreams,” Dumbledore said quietly. He did not look at any of the other girls, only at her. “Fewer in the waking world. Many have stood their ground and faced the darkness when it comes for them. Fewer come for the darkness and force it to face them. It is a hard life, sometimes lonely, often short. I have told none to refuse that calling, but neither would I wish to increase their number.” – Ch. 70


“When you are older, you will learn that the first and foremost thing which any ordinary person does is nothing” – Professor Quirrell in Ch. 73