D&D.Sci Long War: Defender of Data-mocracy Evaluation & Ruleset 2024-05-14T03:35:10.586Z
D&D.Sci Long War: Defender of Data-mocracy 2024-04-26T22:30:15.780Z
D&D.Sci Hypersphere Analysis Part 4: Fine-tuning and Wrapup 2024-01-18T03:06:39.344Z
D&D.Sci Hypersphere Analysis Part 3: Beat it with Linear Algebra 2024-01-16T22:44:52.424Z
D&D.Sci Hypersphere Analysis Part 2: Nonlinear Effects & Interactions 2024-01-14T19:59:37.911Z
D&D.Sci Hypersphere Analysis Part 1: Datafields & Preliminary Analysis 2024-01-13T20:16:39.480Z
Deception Chess: Game #1 2023-11-03T21:13:55.777Z
Find Hot French Food Near Me: A Follow-up 2023-09-06T12:32:02.844Z
D&D.Sci 5E: Return of the League of Defenders Evaluation & Ruleset 2023-06-09T15:25:21.948Z
D&D.Sci 5E: Return of the League of Defenders 2023-05-26T20:39:18.879Z
[S] D&D.Sci: All the D8a. Allllllll of it. Evaluation and Ruleset 2023-02-27T23:15:39.094Z
[S] D&D.Sci: All the D8a. Allllllll of it. 2023-02-10T21:14:59.192Z
Ambiguity in Prediction Market Resolution is Harmful 2022-09-26T16:22:48.809Z
Dwarves & D.Sci: Data Fortress Evaluation & Ruleset 2022-08-16T00:15:33.305Z
Dwarves & D.Sci: Data Fortress 2022-08-06T18:24:21.499Z
Ars D&D.Sci: Mysteries of Mana Evaluation & Ruleset 2022-07-19T02:06:02.577Z
Ars D&D.sci: Mysteries of Mana 2022-07-09T12:19:36.510Z
D&D.Sci Divination: Nine Black Doves Evaluation & Ruleset 2022-05-17T00:34:25.019Z
D&D.Sci Divination: Nine Black Doves 2022-05-06T23:02:01.266Z
Duels & D.Sci March 2022: Evaluation and Ruleset 2022-04-05T00:21:28.170Z
Interacting with a Boxed AI 2022-04-01T22:42:30.114Z
Two Forms of Moral Judgment 2022-04-01T22:13:30.129Z
Duels & D.Sci March 2022: It's time for D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-data! 2022-03-25T16:55:48.486Z
Seek Mistakes in the Space Between Math and Reality 2022-03-01T05:58:15.419Z
D&D.SCP: Anomalous Acquisitions Evaluation & Ruleset 2022-02-22T18:19:22.408Z
D&D.SCP: Anomalous Acquisitions 2022-02-12T16:03:01.758Z
D&D.Sci Holiday Special: How the Grinch Pessimized Christmas Evaluation & Ruleset 2022-01-11T01:29:59.816Z
D&D.Sci Holiday Special: How the Grinch Pessimized Christmas 2021-12-31T16:23:41.223Z
Two Stupid AI Alignment Ideas 2021-11-16T16:13:20.134Z
D&D.Sci Dungeoncrawling: The Crown of Command Evaluation & Ruleset 2021-11-16T00:29:12.193Z
D&D.Sci Dungeoncrawling: The Crown of Command 2021-11-07T18:39:22.475Z
D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm Evaluation & Ruleset 2021-10-05T17:30:50.049Z
D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm 2021-09-28T23:19:43.916Z
D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan Evaluation & Ruleset 2021-09-09T14:03:56.859Z
D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan 2021-09-01T17:43:38.128Z
How poor is US vaccine response by comparison to other countries? 2021-02-17T02:57:11.116Z
Limits of Current US Prediction Markets (PredictIt Case Study) 2020-07-14T07:24:23.421Z


Comment by aphyer on Do Not Mess With Scarlett Johansson · 2024-05-22T17:07:14.494Z · LW · GW

Seconded.  I feel like much more of what I've seen before has taken the form of "no, we're not trying to target AI with ad-hoc changes to liability law/copyright, we're just trying to consistently apply the rules that already apply to people," which is rather in tension with this section.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci (Easy Mode): On The Construction Of Impossible Structures · 2024-05-18T01:51:02.686Z · LW · GW

This is true, but '80%' here means only 16/20.  A result this extreme is theoretically p=0.005 to show up out of 20 coin flips...if you treat it as one-tailed, and ignore the fact that you've cherry-picked two specific material-pair options out of 21.  Overall, I'd be very surprised if this wasn't simply randomness.  

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci (Easy Mode): On The Construction Of Impossible Structures · 2024-05-17T01:17:01.491Z · LW · GW

Every structure produced by an architect who apprenticed under B. Johnson or P. Stamatin is impossible.  No structure produced by an architect who apprenticed under M. Escher, R. Penrose or T. Geisel is impossible.  Slightly under half of self-taught architects produce impossible structures.  Materials, blueprints, etc. have no visible effect on this.

There are 5 structures proposed by apprentices to B. Johnson or P. Stamatin (D, E, G, H and K), so we don't need to risk any of the self-taught people. 

Cost is based on materials: Nightmares are by far the most expensive, Silver a distant second, the others seem comparable and cheap.  G is the only one of our candidates who plans to use Nightmares, so we leave them out and fund D, E, H and K.

Comment by aphyer on Monthly Roundup #18: May 2024 · 2024-05-14T11:01:04.545Z · LW · GW

If a business doesn't value money because it can't convert money into political power for the CCP, that would in fact be somewhat disturbing.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci Long War: Defender of Data-mocracy · 2024-05-07T19:48:35.876Z · LW · GW

I'm always happy to have more players: if you want more than one day that's not a big deal, I'm happy to delay until next week if you'd like.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci Long War: Defender of Data-mocracy · 2024-05-06T10:42:49.702Z · LW · GW

Understood, I'll refrain from posting the solution tomorrow until I've heard from you - if you want more time, let me know and I can push that further back.

Comment by aphyer on Habryka's Shortform Feed · 2024-05-05T13:02:45.603Z · LW · GW

Shouldn't that be counting the number squared rather than the number?

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci · 2024-04-28T18:35:28.826Z · LW · GW

If you enjoyed the concept there have been sequels to this: if you want one that's currently being actively played I have one running now, or there's a D&D.Sci tag with a list of all past scenarios.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci Long War: Defender of Data-mocracy · 2024-04-28T01:27:21.739Z · LW · GW

I'm likely not to actually quantify 'relative to' - there might be an ordered list of players if it seems reasonable to me (for example, if one submission uses 10 soldiers to get a 50% winrate and one uses 2 soldiers to get a 49% winrate, I would feel comfortable ranking the second ahead of the first - or if all players decide to submit the same number of soldiers, the rankings will be directly comparable), but more likely I'll just have a chart as in your Boojumologist scenario:

with one line added for 'optimal play'  (above or equal to all players) and one for 'random play' (hopefully below all players).

Overall, I don't think there's much optimization of the leaderboard/plot available to you - if you find yourself faced with a tough choice between an X% winrate with 9 soldiers or a Y% winrate with 8 soldiers, I don't anticipate the leaderboard taking a position on which of those is 'better'.

Comment by aphyer on A D&D.Sci Dodecalogue · 2024-04-12T15:25:22.421Z · LW · GW
Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci: The Mad Tyrant's Pet Turtles [Evaluation and Ruleset] · 2024-04-10T22:07:23.260Z · LW · GW

Will that extra credit be least 1.98 gp?

Comment by aphyer on On the 2nd CWT with Jonathan Haidt · 2024-04-07T01:15:29.923Z · LW · GW

I can't help but read this post as something like this:

  1. Current government mandates around children are very harmful to children.
  2. Enforcement of current cultural norms around children is very harmful to children.
  3. ???
  4. We need to add on and enforce these three new government mandates around children and these two new cultural norms around children.

There is one section arguing that schools are prisons that children hate and are miserable in.  And then there is another section advocating for the schools to crack down harshly on children using their phones in school.  I find this somewhat depressing.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci: The Mad Tyrant's Pet Turtles · 2024-04-05T19:16:39.612Z · LW · GW

Haven't found anything particularly good, but I've probably gone as far as I'll go.  I've done some analysis trying to predict how much variance we expect from each turtle so that I know how much to overestimate, and for the non-special turtles I'm predicting:

Abigail: 23.0lb

Bertrand: 19.0lb

Chartreuse: 26.2lb

Donatello Dontanien: 21.1lb

Espera: 17.3lb

(Flint is already estimated as a gray turtle as 7.3lb)

Gunther: 30.0lb

(Harold is already estimated as a six-segmented clone as 20.4lb)

Irene: 23.7lb

Jacqueline: 20.0lb

I'm rounding these to 0.1lb even though I'm allowed to go more granular, because if the Tyrant weighs to the same precision we do he will also be rounding to 0.1lb, which means we don't gain anything from more precision (estimating 7.25lb gives a payoff exactly halfway between estimating 7.3 and 7.2).

I'll put these estimates in the parent comment for ease of GM extraction.

The one interesting thing I've turned up is that Abnormalities appear to convey a very large amount of variance: each abnormality adds ~1lb of average weight, but actually slightly over 1lb of stdev-weight.  I suspect that abnormalities are adding weight in a highly-random way: my weight estimates for Espera, Irene and Jacqueline (0-abnormality turtles) are relatively low as a result because my confidence was higher, while my estimate for Gunther (6 abnormalities?) has a lot more safety margin built in.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci: The Mad Tyrant's Pet Turtles · 2024-04-03T17:53:20.845Z · LW · GW

A simple linear regression analysis on the remaining turtles (everything that isn't a Fanged Gray Turtle or a Six-Segmented Harold Clone) gives the following formula:

  • 10.56lb base weight if green...
  • +2.02lb if grayish-green,
  • +5.47lb if greenish-gray,
  • +0.359lb/Wrinkle
  • +0.142lb/Scar
  • +0.598lb/Segment
  • +1.000lb/Abnormality

This does a reasonable job of prediction, but has a residual with a fairly-large ~2lb standard deviation.  Our standard-deviation math suggests that this means we should give the Tyrant answers overestimating each turtle by 2.4-2.5lb, and should expect to lose on average ~35gp/turtle to error.

That seems like we might be able to improve on it, but I'm not sure how.  I haven't been able to find any useful interactions yet.  There does seem to be an obvious explanation of all the traits except Abnormalities being driven by some hidden Age variable: old turtles start getting grayish, are wrinklier, have grown more shell segments and accumulated more scars, and are larger.  However, I'm not sure how actionable this is for us.  

The one thing it does look like I can do is adjust the amount of overestimation I do: it does seem that our estimate is less accurate as turtles get older and larger, and so rather than overestimating by 2.44lb for every turtle I should overestimate the larger ones by more and the smaller by less.  That's not going to be a very large improvement, though.  I feel like there ought to be something else to do, but haven't found anything yet.

Comment by aphyer on Religion = Cult + Culture · 2024-04-02T17:33:56.567Z · LW · GW

What is QC?

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci: The Mad Tyrant's Pet Turtles · 2024-04-02T15:32:04.529Z · LW · GW

The Fanged Gray Turtle seems relatively simple, so we look at that first.

The weight of a Fanged Gray Turtle seems well-approximated by (0.425 + 0.4568*#segments) lb.

This leaves behind a residual that looks roughly like a normal distribution with stdev ~0.357lb.  I'm not able to find any interaction of this residual with any other properties of the turtles - scars, mutations, etc. all seem unpredictive for the Fanged Gray Turtle.

Some quick math reveals that the Tyrant's asymmetric payoff distribution encourages us to overestimate a turtle's weight by ~1.22 standard deviations.  Therefore, we're going to bump up all our weight estimates by 0.435lb in order to flatter His Tyranny.  

(We could bump them up a bit further if we thought that reducing the odds of him having an unflattering portrait of us was worth trading off money for.  However, I actually think we can plausibly use that to extract more money: whatever itinerant artist he kidnaps to do that portrait, we can demand that they give us part of their commission in exchange for us being helpful and sitting for the portrait!  Kaching!)

There's only one Fanged Gray Turtle among the Tyrant's pets: Flint, with 14 Shell Segments.  Our best guess of Flint's true weight is 6.8lb, but we're going to overestimate this to 7.3lb in order to optimize our payoff.


And two(low-priority) questions for the GM:

  1. Are we unusually careful and competent at weighing turtles in a way that the Tyrant is not likely to be?  If he is careless about weighing his turtles, and introduces additional error, that increased variance makes us want to slightly increase how far we overestimate by.
  2. What level of granularity are we able to give the Tyrant in our weight estimates?  I think that an estimate of 7.25lb for Flint is slightly higher-payoff than 7.3lb in expectation, but don't know if that's something I'm allowed to give.
Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci: The Mad Tyrant's Pet Turtles · 2024-04-01T17:18:14.944Z · LW · GW

When we look at the distributions of variables individually, there's a startling number (5-6k out of 30k) of green turtles with 6 shell segments (the lowest number, never seen otherwise), zero wrinkles, and zero abnormalities, that weigh exactly 20.4lb.  

They do have varying numbers of scars, though, which makes me incline more towards 'some very particular turtle subspecies' and less towards 'one very friendly turtle that figured out that it can get extra attention by wiping off the mark you put on it and coming by again'.

Harold from the King's pets matches this pattern (and thus presumably is one of these strange clone turtles).

Removing those and looking at the rest of the universe:

  • The remaining green turtles now resemble the grayish-green and greenish-gray turtles, making me draw the following three species:
    • Fanged Gray Turtles.
    • Six-Segmented Harold Clones.
    • All Other Turtles.
  • Most variables are now reasonably smoothly-distributed:
    • Scars and Wrinkles look Poisson-like.
    • Abnormalities peak at 0 and fall off: that might also be a poisson distribution, just from a lower mean, or might be something else.
    • Weights are bimodal (with one peak around 5-6lb for the Fanged Gray Turtles, and one wider peak around 15-25lb for All Other Turtles).
Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci: The Mad Tyrant's Pet Turtles · 2024-04-01T15:44:02.207Z · LW · GW


  • Abigail: 23.0lb
  • Bertrand: 19.0lb
  • Chartreuse: 26.2lb
  • Donatello Dontanien: 21.1lb
  • Espera: 17.3lb
  • Flint: 7.3lb
  • Gunther: 30.0lb
  • Harold: 20.4lb
  • Irene: 23.7lb
  • Jacqueline: 20.0lb

Getting started with my favorite first step of calculating a bunch of correlations:

  • It turns out that all fanged turtles are gray, and all gray turtles are fanged.
  • This suggests some kind of speciation by color.
  • When we break down by color:
    • Grayish-green and greenish-gray turtles show near-identical patterns - I assume those are the same species and you've just categorized them a couple different way:
      • Weight is positively correlated with wrinkles, scars, shell segments and abnormalities.
      • The first three of these are positively correlated with one another, and probably reflect some hidden 'age' variable.  Number of abnormalities is not correlated with the others, and seems to do its own thing.  (Turtles grown larger with age, and also weigh more per extra mutant tentacle they have grown?)
      • Nostril size has no effect.
    • Gray turtles work differently:
      • They show the same pattern of wrinkles, scars and shell segments being positively correlated.
      • However, weight in this case seems to be almost entirely determined by # of shell segments.
      • Perhaps these turtles grow at a more predictable rate, with one shell segment per year that adds a regular amount of weight?
    • And green turtles also work differently:
      • The correlations between wrinkles, scars and shell segments have broken down.
      • Additionally, those variables have only small correlations with weight.
      • The most predictive variable towards weight is the # of abnormalities.
      • Perhaps these are strange mutant ninja turtles of some kind that are perpetually teenage don't have a regular growth lifecycle?
  • It looks like these three species of turtle behave differently enough that I'm probably going to end up modelling the three of them all separately (except maybe the what-I'm-assuming-is-age effect that shows up on both gray and mixed-color turtles).
  • My planned next step is to try three independent simple regressions and see how predictive they are for each of those three types of turtle.
Comment by aphyer on On Lex Fridman’s Second Podcast with Altman · 2024-03-26T15:01:52.588Z · LW · GW

The argument Zvi is making.

Comment by aphyer on On Lex Fridman’s Second Podcast with Altman · 2024-03-26T12:52:26.403Z · LW · GW

They open with the Battle of the Board. Altman starts with how he felt rather than any details, and drops this nugget: “And there were definitely times I thought it was going to be one of the worst things to ever happen for AI safety.” If he truly believed that, why did he not go down a different road? If Altman had come out strongly for a transition to Mutari and searching for a new outside CEO, that presumably would have been fine for AI safety. So this then is a confession that he was willing to put that into play to keep power.


I don't have a great verbalization of why, but want to register that I find this sort of attempted argument kind of horrifying.

Comment by aphyer on Using axis lines for good or evil · 2024-03-19T15:25:13.621Z · LW · GW

I'm surprised to hear you say that.  I would consider it perfectly reasonable to use a line graph without a zero-based y-axis to plot gravity against altitude: the underlying reality is in fact a line (well, a curve I guess)!  Gravitational force goes down with altitude in a known way!  But the effects of altitude on gravity are very small for altitudes we can easily measure, and extending the graph all the way down to zero will make it impossible to see them.

Comment by aphyer on Using axis lines for good or evil · 2024-03-19T13:39:21.721Z · LW · GW

If I measure gravitational force against altitude, and end up with points like the following:

  • 0 ft above sea level, force is 9.8000 m/s2
  • 1000 ft above sea level, force is 9.7992 m/s2
  • 2000 ft above sea level, force is 9.7986 m/s2
  • 3000 ft above sea level, force is 9.7980 m/s2

would it be egregious for me to plot this graph without a zero-based y-axis?  Do I need to plot it with a y-axis going down to zero?

Certainly there are cases where it's misleading to not extend a graph like this down to zero.  But there are also cases where it's entirely reasonable to not extend it down to zero.

Comment by aphyer on Toward a Broader Conception of Adverse Selection · 2024-03-15T13:48:59.274Z · LW · GW

I did not understand #8 at all.  I am confident that this is not because I don't understand the general point.  Does anyone have an explanation of #8?

Comment by aphyer on 'Empiricism!' as Anti-Epistemology · 2024-03-14T13:59:28.157Z · LW · GW


The S&P500 has returned an average of ~8%/year for the past 30 years.  As you say, we have on many occasions observed people lying, cheating, and scamming.  But we have only rarely observed lucrative good ideas!  Why, even banks, which claim much more safety and offer much lower returns than the stock market, have frequently gone bust!

It follows inevitably, therefore, that there is a very high chance that the S&P 500, and the stock market in general, is a scam, and will steal all your money.

It follows further that the only safe investment approach is to put all your money into something that you retain personal custody of.  Like gold bars buried in your backyard!  Or Bitcoin!  


Comment by aphyer on If you weren't such an idiot... · 2024-03-02T20:32:54.567Z · LW · GW

'Bike' is sometimes used as shorthand for 'motorcycle', in which case the 'absurdly dangerous' claim stands. I agree that riding a pedal-powered cycle without a helmet is somewhat dangerous, and unnecessarily so, but not 'absurdly dangerous'.

Comment by aphyer on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-21T18:48:18.977Z · LW · GW

On the object-level of your particular case, I don't see how you've ended up rate-limited.  The post of yours that I think you're talking about is currently at +214 karma, which makes it quite strange that your related comments are being rate-limited - I don't understand how that algorithm works but I think that seems very odd.  Is it counting downvotes but not upvotes, so that +300 and -100 works out to rate-limiting?  That would be bizarre.

In the general case, however, I'm very much on board with rate-limiting people who are heavily net downvoted, and I think that referring to this as 'censorship' is misleading.  When I block a spam caller, or decide not to invite someone who constantly starts loud angry political arguments to a dinner party, it seems very strange to say that I am 'censoring' them.  I agree that this can lead to feedback loops that punish unpopular opinions, but that seems like a smaller cost than communities having to listen to every spammer/jerk who wants to rant at them.

Comment by aphyer on FTX expects to return all customer money; clawbacks may go away · 2024-02-14T15:43:39.116Z · LW · GW

The 'full repayment' part is only sort of true, in a similar way to what happened with MTGOX, due to bankruptcy claims being USD-denominated.

Suppose that:

  • You owe customers 100 Bitcoin and $1M.
  • You have only half of that, 50 Bitcoins and $500k. 
  • The current price of Bitcoin is $20k.

You are clearly insolvent.  You will enter bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy estate will say 'you have $3M in liabilities', since you owe $1M in cash and $2M in bitcoin.

Suppose that the price of bitcoin then recovers to $50k.  You now have $3M in assets, since you have $500k in cash and $2.5M in bitcoin!  You can 'fully repay' everyone!  Hooray!

Of course, anyone who held a Bitcoin with you is getting back much less than a bitcoin in value, but since the bankruptcy court is evaluating your claims as USD liabilities you don't need to care about that.

This 'full repayment' is plausibly still important from a legal or a PR perspective, but e.g. this part:

there is typically a legal fight over whether a company was insolvent at the time of the investment or that the investment led to insolvency. If every FTX creditor stands to get 100 cents on the dollar, the clawback cases that don’t involve fraud wouldn’t serve much of a financial purpose and may be more difficult to argue, some lawyers say

is better thought of as 'our legal system may get confused by exchange rates and pretend FTX was always solvent' rather than as 'FTX was actually always solvent'.

Comment by aphyer on Childhood and Education Roundup #4 · 2024-01-30T14:43:27.876Z · LW · GW

Competition should improve meth and reading outcomes here.

Is this a typo, or a snarky comment on reducing student drug use?

Comment by aphyer on Processor clock speeds are not how fast AIs think · 2024-01-29T15:25:53.233Z · LW · GW

We don't care about how many FLOPs something has.  We care about how fast it can actually solve things.

As far as I know, in every case where we've successfully gotten AI to do a task at all, AI has done that task far far faster than humans.  When we had computers that could do arithmetic but nothing else, they were still much faster at arithmetic than humans.  Whatever your view on the quality of recent AI-generated text or art, it's clear that AI is producing it much much faster than human writers or artists can produce text/art.

Comment by aphyer on Making every researcher seek grants is a broken model · 2024-01-29T14:27:08.219Z · LW · GW

This change would not get rid of the need for researchers to have a non-research skillset to secure funding.  It would just switch the required non-research skillset from 'wrangling money out of grant committees' to 'wrangling positions out of administrators'.  Your mileage may vary as to which of those two is less dysfunctional.

Comment by aphyer on Surgery Works Well Without The FDA · 2024-01-26T17:07:29.694Z · LW · GW

Keep quiet about it! If the FDA hears about this we won't be allowed to conduct surgeries any more!

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere [Evaluation and Ruleset] · 2024-01-23T02:11:26.447Z · LW · GW

Thanks for making this!

It looks like Simon was right about the effects of Pi and Murphy being linear/cubic in isolation: I modeled everything as logarithmic because it let me use simple linear regression more easily, and ended up just hitting pi/murphy with regressions until I got something that fit acceptably.  

(I am surprised that I got such good fits off things like 1/(7-Murphy), I wonder if that fits well with the log version of the chart for some reason).

I think there was a bit of a missed opportunity in not having there be sneaky interactions/hypersphere effects.  This was a scenario where it would have been extremely fair to have an effect that triggered based on a threshold not of e.g. Latitude but of something horrendous like cos(Latitude)*cos(Shortitude)*cos(Deltitude): in any other scenario an effect like that might be overcomplicated, but here I think it would have been perfectly natural and made sense when uncovered.  I was looking for spheric-type effects, but the only thing like that was Longitude's effect being sine-wavey.

Comment by aphyer on There is way too much serendipity · 2024-01-20T23:42:37.413Z · LW · GW

They can't weigh in, they're dead!

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci Hypersphere Analysis Part 4: Fine-tuning and Wrapup · 2024-01-19T12:11:20.923Z · LW · GW

Huh, that is neat!

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci Hypersphere Analysis Part 4: Fine-tuning and Wrapup · 2024-01-18T13:06:26.357Z · LW · GW

Hm.  I'm trying to predict log of performance (technically negative log of performance) rather than performance directly, but I'd imagine you are too?

If you plot your residuals against pi/murphy, like the graphs I have above, do you see no remaining effect?

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere · 2024-01-18T03:47:59.877Z · LW · GW

(and it seems that several other people have given the same exact answer haha}

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere · 2024-01-18T03:11:59.571Z · LW · GW

My submission:


Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere · 2024-01-14T12:28:55.811Z · LW · GW

Oooooookay.  Do we know what time period the existing performance data was derived over, and how long that is compared to the time we have until the ship picks us up? 

I'm asking because

I see an effect of Longitude on performance that resembles what you'd see on Earth if sunlight was good for performance.  However, I'm nervous that this effect might be present in the existing data but change by the time our superiors evaluate our performance: if we choose locations on the day side of the planet, and then the planet rotates, then our superiors will come by and the planet will be pointed a different way.

If the existing data was gathered over months and our superiors are here tomorrow, I'd be willing to assume 'the planet doesn't meaningfully rotate' and put sites at Longitudes that worked well in the existing data.  But if the existing data is the performance of all those sites this morning, I'd need to find solutions that worked without expecting to benefit from Longitude effects.

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere · 2024-01-14T12:09:23.543Z · LW · GW

Fixed link, thanks!

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere · 2024-01-14T01:05:26.846Z · LW · GW

Do we know how the planet rotates/orients with respect to its sun (or any other local astronomical features)?

Comment by aphyer on D&D.Sci(-fi): Colonizing the SuperHyperSphere · 2024-01-13T20:17:24.051Z · LW · GW

I started putting together my analysis of this here, I'll try to update as I make more progress.

Comment by aphyer on Introduce a Speed Maximum · 2024-01-11T15:01:49.971Z · LW · GW

I'm a bit concerned about the long-term effects of this plan (especially after laws formally change to disregard the old 'speed limit' signs entirely but strictly enforce the 'max' ones).

I believe that many current speed limits are much slower than the correct speed to drive at, and I don't think this is particularly controversial.  (I have driven on a perfectly straight, almost-empty six-lane freeway with a posted speed limit of 55).

This did not happen by random chance!  Aliens did not land and subtract 10 from every speed limit sign!  Existing pressures - revenue pressures from tickets?  political pressure from people who don't like cars driving fast by their house? - lead to speed limits being set too low.

If you switch to this new approach, in the absence of some reason to expect that not to happen again, I'd imagine that once your 'max' signs are the limit they will also be set too low.

Comment by aphyer on Principles For Product Liability (With Application To AI) · 2023-12-12T02:51:15.127Z · LW · GW

A potential answer, if you want to consider things through a pure econ lens, of why I would be skeptical of this policy even in a perfect-spherical-cow world without worries about implementation difficulties:

  • I commented this below, but reiterating here: in almost all products, the manufacturer generally does not capture anything remotely close to all of the value of a product they produce.  The value of me having air travel available mostly accrues to, well, me.  Boeing captures only a small portion of it.  It is entirely possible for something to be a large net benefit to the world, and also for the harm it causes to drastically exceed the manufacturer's portion of the benefits.
  • In theory, this can change by having Boeing raise their prices to capture more of the value they create, in order to pay this liability.  (I wish to note in passing that I believe this would have to be quite a large price increase, but I do not consider that central to the argument.  So long as the liability regime is applied evenly, and is impossible to evade by not having deep pockets - perhaps by requiring liability insurance? - all Boeing's competitors will also have to implement the same price rises).
  • At that point, consumers will consume less (I believe often much less) of the product.  Is that efficient?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  One central question to consider is whether reducing the amount of a product supplied would linearly reduce the amount of harm done:
    • Say a car sells for $20k, each car has a 1/10k chance of killing someone, you charge the manufacturer $10M if it does, the manufacturer adds $1k to the price of cars to pay this, and people respond by buying fewer cars.  This is a fairly strong case for your liability theory!  The small chance of people being killed by cars was an unpriced externality, which is being correctly internalized and hence reduced.
    • However, suppose that the supply of terrorism is determined by how many religious extremists have gotten mad at the US lately.  In this case, your increase to air prices reduces the amount of air travel but does not reduce the amount of terrorism!  Here, you've simply created a large deadweight loss by reducing the amount of air travel done, with no offsetting benefit.

In our real world, my objections are driven primarily by the ways in which our legal system is not in fact perfectly implemented.  A list that I do not consider complete:

  • I don't think it's uncommon for judgments against deep-pocketed defendants to be imposed vastly in excess of harm done, to be driven primarily by public opinion rather than justice, or to cause huge indirect damages for no real benefit. 
  • I believe that any company that found itself being legally liable for 9/11 would as a factual matter have been utterly destroyed by that liability, even if a perfectly even-handed justice system might have charged it only $100B, and that 'that company having more insurance/higher prices to let it cover those costs' would as a factual matter simply have resulted in it being charged more until it no longer existed, however much that required.
  • I am concerned that this policy would make many large industries be dominated by legal-skills over efficiency to a much greater extent than is already the case (and I kinda think that is already too much the case).  If GM has 1% better lawyers than Toyota, but Toyota has 1% better cars than GM, the more that 'legal liability costs' are a major impact on a company's bottom line the more GM ends up advantaged.
  • You suggest:
  • Product manufacturer/seller is still liable for all damages including from intentional acts, BUT
  • In case of intentional acts, the manufacturer/seller can sue whoever intentionally caused the damage to cover the cost to the manufacturer/seller.
  • I worry that this policy would lead to some interesting incentives around who to sell to.  If Bill Gates goes crazy and uses a chainsaw to murder a bunch of teenagers, the manufacturer can recover from him.  If I do, they cannot.  This means...that...they should charge Bill Gates a lower price than me?  We already have a lot of obnoxious politics around similar issues in car insurance, I'm not enthusiastic about extending that to every other industry.
Comment by aphyer on Principles For Product Liability (With Application To AI) · 2023-12-11T18:58:23.690Z · LW · GW

I have almost the exact inverse frustration, where it seems to me that people are extraordinarily willing to assume 'companies all have gigantic Scrooge McDuck-style vaults that can pay any amount with no effect' to the point where they will accept unexamined a claim that one corporation could easily accept full liability for 9/11.

Comment by aphyer on Principles For Product Liability (With Application To AI) · 2023-12-11T18:26:27.939Z · LW · GW

I am not sure how $150k is a remotely relevant number.  I tried Googling a couple vaguely-similar things:

Googling 'asbestos liability' turned up this page claiming 

The average asbestos settlement amount is typically between $1 million and $2 million, as Mealey's latest findings show. The average mesothelioma verdict amounts are between $5 million and $11.4 million.

and asbestos exposure is to my understanding usually not immediately lethal.  

Googling 'J&J talcum powder' turns up a lot of results like this one:

After 8 hours of deliberations Thursday, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who sued pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson alleging their ovarian cancer was caused by using its powder as a part of their daily feminine hygiene routine.

The jury award includes $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.

which works out to $25M/death even if we entirely ignore the punitive damages portion, and even if we assume that all 22 victims immediately died.

faul_sname, below, links:

Per NHTSA, the statistical value of a human life is $12.5M.

It doesn't seem at all uncommon for liabilities to work out to well upwards of $10M/victim, even in cases with much less collateral damage, much less certain chains of causation, much less press coverage, and victims not actually immediately dying.

$12.5M/victim would be $37.5B, which is still less than Boeing's market cap today (though comparable to what Boeing's market cap was in 2001).  This also ignores all other costs of 9/11: Googling shows 6,000 injuries, plus I think a fairly large amount of property damage (edited to add: quick Googling turns up a claim of $16 billion in property damage to businesses).  

And our legal system is not always shy about adding new types of liability - pain and suffering of victims' families?  Disruption of work?  Securities fraud (apparently the stock market dropped $1.4 trillion of value off 9/11)?  

You can argue the exact numbers, I guess, but I nevertheless think that, as a matter of legal realism if nothing else, imposing liability for 9/11 on Boeing would have ended up bankrupting it.  

Comment by aphyer on Principles For Product Liability (With Application To AI) · 2023-12-11T16:58:59.898Z · LW · GW

Most sellers of products do not capture 100% of the social benefit of their product.  Even if a seller is a pure monopoly, there is a large amount of consumer surplus.

Even if you manage to avoid punitive damages, and impose liability only equal to actual damage done (something that I do not in fact believe you can get our current legal system to do when a photogenic plaintiff sues a deep-pocketed corporation), this will still inefficiently shut down large volumes of valuable activity whenever:

[total benefit of the product] > [total harm of the product] > [portion of benefit captured by the seller]

Comment by aphyer on Principles For Product Liability (With Application To AI) · 2023-12-11T16:28:21.182Z · LW · GW

It sounds like this policy straightforwardly implies that 9/11 should have bankrupted Boeing.  Do you endorse that view?

Comment by aphyer on Principles For Product Liability (With Application To AI) · 2023-12-11T16:16:15.018Z · LW · GW

Many software products are free even if supplied by a corporation.  For example, the Visual Studio programming environment is free to you and me, but charges for enterprise licenses.

If Microsoft is liable to the full depth of its very deep pockets for the harm of computer viruses I write in Visual Studio, and needs to pay for that out of their profits, they are unlikely to continue offering the free community license they currently do.

Comment by aphyer on What I Would Do If I Were Working On AI Governance · 2023-12-09T18:17:27.819Z · LW · GW

How do you distinguish your Case 1 from 'impose vast liability on Adobe for making Photoshop'?

Comment by aphyer on What I Would Do If I Were Working On AI Governance · 2023-12-09T03:41:36.313Z · LW · GW

I find your 'liability' section somewhat scary.  It sounds really concerningly similar to saying the following:

AI companies haven't actually done any material harm to anyone yet.  However, I would like to pretend that they have, and to punish them for these imagined harms, because I think that being randomly punished for no reason will make them improve and be less likely to do actual harms in future.