Posts

Comment by brilliand on How Much Evidence Does It Take? · 2019-05-09T05:04:29.864Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You need *at least* 26.9 bits. Since the boxes he talked about provide 2 bits each, you need 14 boxes to get *at least* 26.9 bits (13 boxes would only be 26 bits, not enough). 14 boxes happens to be 28 bits.

Comment by brilliand on No Anthropic Evidence · 2016-02-05T04:08:01.536Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not getting the same result... let's see if I have this right.

If you quit if the first coin is heads: 50%*75% death rate from quitting on heads, 50%*50% death rate from tails

If you never quit: 50% death rate from eventually getting tails (minus epsilon from branches where you never get tails)

These deathrates are fixed rather than a distribution, so switching to a logarithm isn't going to change which of them is larger.

I don't think the formula you link to is appropriate for this problem... it's dominated by the log(2^-n) factor, which fails to account for 50% of your possible branches being immune to death by tails. Similarly, your term for quitting damage fails to account for some of your branches already being dead when you quit. I propose this formula as more applicable.

Comment by brilliand on Nash Equilibria and Schelling Points · 2015-09-30T22:08:02.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In every case of the pirates game, the decision-maker assigns one coin to every pirate an even number of steps away from himself, and the rest of the coins to himself (with more gold than pirates, anyway; things can get weird with large numbers of pirates). See the Wikipedia article Kawoomba linked to for an explanation of why.

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-09-28T19:25:41.254Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Seeing as how what I was saying was basically "let the poor starve", this ending seems strangely appropriate.

Comment by brilliand on Dreams of Friendliness · 2015-09-23T17:52:22.151Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm trying to interpret this in a way that makes it true, but I can't make "AI researchers" a well-defined set in that case. There are plenty of people working on AI who aren't capable of creating a strong AI, but it's hard to know in advance exactly which few researchers are the exception.

I don't think we know yet which people will need to cooperate for FAI to succeed.

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-09-15T21:50:10.638Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've just made the unpleasant discovery that being downvoted to -4 makes it impossible to reply to those who replied to me (or to edit my comment). I'll state for the record that I disagree with that policy... and proceed to shut up.

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-09-14T23:08:36.991Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

When someone is born who is a net-negative contributor to the world... it was their parents' doing. They carry their parents' genes; it's a very appropriate punishment for their parents' misdeed to let the child die. It comes very close to being a direct reversal of the original mistake, in fact.

It does sometimes happen that someone otherwise capable of being productive is accidentally stripped of their resources, and ideally they should get some help to get back on their feet - this seems like an ideal use case for a loan. In general, someone will have to make the call that they're worth saving, and I do grant that some people in dire straits are worth saving.

In your example of the old man, it appears to me that he was cheated earlier in life; you postulate that he actually produced a very great benefit to others, and it seems to me that he deserves to have a very great amount of money to show for it. Without government support, he might still have friends to fall back on... if not, then this is clearly a case where welfare does some good, but it doesn't come close to reversing the injustice here. I see the benefit of welfare in this case as mostly accidental, and would prefer that something more targeted be done to repay him, while recognizing his actual contribution.

I just took a brief look at current U.S. welfare law, and it looks like there are some provisions in there to exclude the most obvious cases of people who don't deserve support (able-bodied people who aren't even trying to be productive).

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-09-09T23:02:04.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[I've written two different responses to your comment. This one is more true to my state of mind when I wrote the comment you replied to.]

Consider this: a man gets a woman pregnant, the man leaves. The woman carries the child to birth, hands it over to an adoption agency. Raising the child to maturity is now someone else's problem, but it has those parents' genes. I do not want this to be a viable strategy. If some people choose this strategy, that only makes it more important to stop letting them cheat.

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-09-09T23:01:57.579Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's a lot of resources from the perspective of a single person, but I was thinking at a slightly larger scale. By "easy", I mean that manageable groups of people can do it repeatedly and be confident of success. Really, the fact that sentient minds can be valued in terms of resources at all is sufficient for my argument. (That value can then be ignored when assessing productivity, as it's a sunk cost.)

You seem to be looking in the wrong place with your "that people ought to earn every resource themselves" example - my opinion is that the people who have resources should not give those resources to people who won't make good use of them. That the people who lack resources will then have to earn them if they're to survive is an unavoidable consequence of that (and is my real goal here), but those aren't the people that I think ought to be changing things.

As for what strategies people actually follow, I think most people do what I'm saying they should do, on an individual level. Most people protect their resources, and share them only with those who they expect to be able to return the favor. On the group level, though, people lose track of how much things actually cost, and support things like welfare that help people regardless of whether they're worth the cost of keeping alive.

Comment by brilliand on Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality · 2015-09-03T21:36:48.078Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you look in box B before deciding whether to choose box A, then you can force Omega to be wrong. That sounds like so much fun that I might choose it over the \$1000.

Comment by brilliand on Semantic Stopsigns · 2015-09-02T17:12:51.336Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

People who knew about that prophecy deliberately helped to fulfill it. That destroys much of its value as evidence.

Comment by brilliand on Semantic Stopsigns · 2015-09-01T17:56:50.574Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This looks like equivocation between the math-like structure of the universe and mathematics itself - mathematics proper is something invented by humans, which happens to resemble the structure of the universe. Whatever is outside the universe is unknown, but probably can be discovered with considerable difficulty (and will probably be describable by mathematics, but will not be mathematics itself).

Comment by brilliand on Can't Unbirth a Child · 2015-08-28T17:26:02.292Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I read that quote as saying "if you formalize this intuition, you wind up with the definition of murder". While not entirely true, that statement does meet the "kill" requirement.

Comment by brilliand on Archimedes's Chronophone · 2015-08-23T06:58:29.658Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd think the few hundred years of changing context there would cause the solution to come back to us as the solution to a different, much less difficult, problem.

Comment by brilliand on Initiation Ceremony · 2015-08-22T05:27:41.277Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do we know that saying "I don't know" is a failure? Clearly accepting the one-sixth answer given by the guide would be a failure, and stubbornly sticking to a different wrong answer is probably a failure as well, but saying "I need more time and equipment to figure this out" might very well be tolerated.

Comment by brilliand on Initiation Ceremony · 2015-08-22T05:06:34.236Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thought of the possibility that Brennan might be counted as one of the people in the room (and thus he has more information than was stated) as a possible reason the one-sixth answer could be correct. From that angle, whether the information given describes the current moment is a very relevant concern.

After doing the math, it works out that if there are exactly 80 people in the room, and Brennar himself belongs to the Heresy of Virtue (highly unlikely), then one-sixth is in fact the correct estimation (based on 45 female virtuists, and 9 male virtuists other than Brennar).

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-08-18T17:31:55.690Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

At least in some cases, yes. I don't agree with the "every sentient mind has value" view that's so common around here; sentient minds are remarkably easy to create, using the reproduction method. Dividing a share of resources to every human according to their needs rewards producing as many children of possible, and not caring if they're a net drain on resources. I would prefer to reward a K-selection strategy, rather than an r-selection strategy.

The various advantages you list aren't simply a matter of chance; they're things I have because my parents earned the right to have children who live.

Comment by brilliand on Dissolving the Question · 2015-08-11T06:03:08.080Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

One method to check if you're dreaming is to hold your nose shut and try to breathe through it - if you're dreaming, your nose will work "normally", whereas if you're awake actual physics will take effect. (Note: every time I've done this while dreaming, I immediately got very excited and woke up.)

Comment by brilliand on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2015-08-11T00:36:49.654Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Diabetics pay for their insulin. If someone needs more resources than others do, they need to earn those extra resources in some way.

Comment by brilliand on Conjunction Fallacy · 2015-07-17T22:19:40.875Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In my experience, the english "and" can also be interpreted as separating two statements that should be evaluated (and given credit for being right/wrong) separately. Under that interpretation, someone who says "A and B" where A is true and B is false is considered half-right, which is better than just saying "B" and being entirely wrong.

Though, looking back at the original question, it doesn't appear to use the word "and", so problems with that word specifically aren't very relevant to this article.