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Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on How common is it for one entity to have a 3+ year technological lead on its nearest competitor? · 2019-11-17T22:25:10.899Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Xerox PARC in the 70s and early 80s had a head start on inventing the personal computer revolution. PARC was well-funded, and they spent a fair amount of money building computers so each researcher had one on their desk. A little later, PCs were made in such quantity that it was no longer possible to stay ahead and have better equipment than businesses and consumers could buy. At PARC, they invented ethernet, the desktop metaphor, WYSIWYG editing, and much else. they didn't invent the mouse, but they built platforms and environments that made really great use of it.


Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on Instant stone (just add water!) · 2019-11-16T18:53:10.140Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The next stage in the evolution of building with concrete is also a wonderful innovation. "pre-stressed" concrete is another solution to the problem that concrete is stronger in compression than in tension. To make pre-stressed concrete, you start by laying out the rebar in sections where you will pour the concrete with the ends of the rebar sticking out. Then, just before pouring the concrete, you put the re-bar under tension, pulling it from the ends. After the concrete sets hard, you release the tension. the re-bar pulls the concrete, putting the entire slab under compression. Then when you use it to bridge over a gap, any resulting tension is partly mitigated by the pre-existing squeeze.

Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on Strategy is the Deconfusion of Action · 2019-01-04T05:02:41.112Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

anything called a strategy will be a causal explanation of how a given action or set of actions will cause success.

This is very helpful. It should be in bold.

Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on Norms of Membership for Voluntary Groups · 2018-12-27T16:14:15.243Z · score: 14 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Elinor Ostrom has written several books that would be informative. Much of her work is from the point of view of the incentives that produced particular patterns of cooperation and keep it going over long periods of time. You'll have to do your own thinking about how to move a particular organization toward a stable norm. Robert Ellicskson's "Order without Law" is more about dispute settlement among neighbors and enforcing different sets of norms than about organizing groups, but there are interesting examples there, too.

James C. Scott's "Thinking like a State" talks more about pathological cases from a self-government viewpoint, and doesn't have much to say about healthy groups.

I would want to expand the taxonomy to include sports leagues for children (children and their parents cycle through on an annual basis, while some core maintains the form of the organization) and HOAs, which are attached to property and have different standard pathologies, since membership is incidental to another goal, but members can impose substantial penalties and incentives on each other,

Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on Realism about rationality · 2018-09-22T16:50:03.657Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
The question is, given a situation in which intuition A demands action X and intuition B demands action Y, what is the morally correct action? The answer might be "X", it might be "Y", it might be "both actions are equally good", or it might be even "Z" for some Z different from both X and Y. But any answer effectively determines a way to remove the contradiction, replacing it by a consistent overarching system. And, if we actually face that situation, we need to actually choose an answer.

This reminds me of my rephrasing of the description of epistemology. The standard description started out as "the science of knowledge" or colloquially, "how do we know what we know". I've maintained, since reading Bartley ("The Retreat to Commitment"), that the right description is "How do we decide what to believe?" So your final sentence seems right to me, but that's different from the rest of your argument, which presumes that there's a "right" answer and our job is finding it. Our job is finding a decision procedure, and studying what differentiates "right" answers from "wrong" answers is useful fodder for that, but it's not the actual goal.

Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on Subsidizing Prediction Markets · 2018-08-26T22:58:26.598Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for writing this up. I agree that subsidies are a crucial ingredient. I don't agree completely with everything else you wrote, so I'm going to write a longish reply.

Having enough interest in the market is the best solution, but this isn't always available, and the markets we want to see don't always coincide with the ones that people are most interested in participating in. There are spillover effects, so hosting popular questions on sports, politics and celebreties can bring in enough people that a few of them will also bet on the questions that provide actionable intelligence on the future, like technology and legislation.

I agree that it's important to have well-defined outcomes, so people can rely on the correct outcome, and a transparent interpretation of the question. This is pretty straightforward when you stick to popular, highly repetitive areas like sports. When you want to support questions in a variety of areas, this means you have to write custom descriptions for each question, and there's a lot more room for the vagaries of the real world to throw curveballs at you.

I worry most about this with systems like Augur, where anyone can write a claim. If the trading platform has no way to ensure consistent quality, the traders will learn to be sceptical of all innovative claims. Foresight Exchange (play money, somewhat moribund) got around this by having an active community that participated in writing the claims. They occasionally still got into disputes, and but I think their approach of having named judges with declarations on how they were going to judge made the most sense. Augur's voting system seems like a bad compromise to me: all questionable outcomes turn into beauty contests. The voters all have an incentive to favor the most popular outcome, which seems unlikely to lead to results that are predictable.

I doubt that paying off both sides on tough judgement calls will induce more participation. I agree that that incentives bettors to raise a stink on any sligthly unusual outcome. You don't want to encourage people to put money on bad claims because they'll be paid off regardless.

I think quick payouts matter much more in the highly repetitive markets (especially sports) than in questions that take a long time to settle. In the case of sports, you're competing with sports books for the attention of bettors who often have several questions open at a time, and want to get their money back into play. If they've invested in a quesion that will be open for 6 months or a year, getting the answer right matters much more, particularly if your interest is in getting the market to be active enough that the prices can be used as guides by people who aren't putting their money on the line.

I'm interested in your ideas about paying off early, and "recognizing when a profit has been locked in, or risk has been hedged". Prediction Markets already do this so much better than other betting venues that I'm not sure what could be added. Markets that support combination claims have been designed, but none have become popular. (Hanson's Combinatorial design, mentioned above; Peter McCloskey's USIFEX; Dave Pennock also developed something at Yahoo) In the absence of these, what can be done?

I agree that getting rid of fees matters a lot. The most frequent betters are the ones that pay the most attention to how much the house's cut is.

The problem with being a market maker, as you alluded to, is that it's hard to do it without being a money pump that can be exploited for unlimited gains. Robin's design (which is demonstrated by my Zocalo) shows how the house can do it. If you aren't the house and mediating all trades, it's hard to write a hard and fast rule for entering bids that can't be exploited, or doesn't lose money just because it doesn't participate sufficiently during rapid price movements. If your program says to enter a bid at a certain price, but the market has already moved, then the opportunity is gone.

Comment by chris-hibbert-1 on Prediction Markets: When Do They Work? · 2018-07-31T05:07:26.543Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The "basically every past attempt"s that have been shut down have been under some kind of central control, or susceptible to government regulation or pressure. Having markets run on a blockchain may make this harder, which would mean that those who want to participate wouldn't be stopped by people who want to stand in the way. If real money markets didn't have to worry about the regulators, they could compete on price, execution certainty and speed, and we could find out what issues matter to the participants.

There are lots of reasons people will give you on why other people won't participate, or what mis-features will be fatal. The biggest problem with past experiments has been the lack of competition, which is driven by the laws and regulations that have made legality and continuity uncertain. The ability to have competing public, real-money markets will allow us to find out what will actually work.

There is a lot of disagreement among practitioners and implementers about what matters. I'd like to see many different things tried.

[something of an expert myself]