Posts

Paul Crowley's Shortform 2020-05-28T13:39:55.241Z
Why no total winner? 2017-10-15T22:01:37.920Z
Circles of discussion 2016-12-16T04:35:28.086Z
Bill Gates: problem of strong AI with conflicting goals "very worthy of study and time" 2015-01-22T20:21:48.539Z
Slides online from "The Future of AI: Opportunities and Challenges" 2015-01-16T11:17:23.647Z
Elon Musk donates $10M to the Future of Life Institute to keep AI beneficial 2015-01-15T16:33:48.640Z
Robin Hanson's "Overcoming Bias" posts as an e-book. 2014-08-31T13:26:24.555Z
Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 2013-12-17T20:45:00.004Z
A diagram for a simple two-player game 2013-11-10T08:59:35.069Z
Meetup : London social 2013-10-07T11:45:57.286Z
Meetup : London meetup: thought experiments 2013-09-19T20:29:33.168Z
Meetup : London social meetup 2013-09-07T15:22:04.693Z
Nick Beckstead: On the Overwhelming Importance of Shaping the Far Future 2013-06-26T13:17:54.357Z
Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012) 2012-07-18T17:24:51.381Z
Useful maxims 2012-07-11T11:56:57.489Z
Quantified Self recommendations 2012-05-18T10:16:07.740Z
Holden Karnofsky's Singularity Institute critique: Is SI the kind of organization we want to bet on? 2012-05-11T07:25:56.637Z
Holden Karnofsky's Singularity Institute critique: other objections 2012-05-11T07:22:13.699Z
Holden Karnofsky's Singularity Institute Objection 3 2012-05-11T07:19:18.688Z
Holden Karnofsky's Singularity Institute Objection 2 2012-05-11T07:18:05.379Z
Holden Karnofsky's Singularity Institute Objection 1 2012-05-11T07:16:29.696Z
Meetup : London 2012-04-26T20:03:09.209Z
How accurate is the quantum physics sequence? 2012-04-17T06:54:18.488Z
How was your meetup? 2012-04-16T06:11:24.129Z
Meetup : London 2012-04-06T16:42:02.277Z
Statistical error in half of neuroscience papers 2011-09-09T23:07:33.743Z
An EPub of Eliezer's blog posts 2011-08-11T14:20:31.512Z
Unknown unknowns 2011-08-05T12:55:37.560Z
Martinenaite and Tavenier on cryonics 2011-08-04T07:39:02.702Z
Meetup : London mini-meetup 2011-08-03T18:17:15.313Z
Robert Ettinger, founder of cryonics, now CIs 106th patient 2011-07-25T12:11:52.631Z
Free holiday reading? 2011-06-28T08:59:01.845Z
The Ideological Turing Test 2011-06-25T22:17:25.746Z
Charles Stross: Three arguments against the singularity 2011-06-22T09:52:08.250Z
London meetup, Sunday 2011-05-15 14:00, near London Bridge 2011-05-13T20:54:32.138Z
GiveWell.org interviews SIAI 2011-05-05T16:29:09.944Z
Reminder: London meetup, Sunday 2pm, near Holborn 2011-04-28T09:26:04.851Z
London meetup, Sunday 1 May, 2pm, near Holborn 2011-04-03T09:47:23.852Z
London meetup, Sunday 2011-03-06 14:00, near Holborn (reminder) 2011-02-26T08:10:02.466Z
Open Thread, January 2011 2011-01-10T11:14:49.179Z
London meetup, Shakespeare's Head, Sunday 2011-03-06 14:00 2011-01-09T15:43:35.015Z
Weird characters in the Sequences 2010-11-18T08:27:20.737Z
Ben Goertzel: The Singularity Institute's Scary Idea (and Why I Don't Buy It) 2010-10-30T09:31:29.456Z
London UK, Saturday 2010-07-03: "How to think rationally about the future" 2010-05-31T15:23:20.972Z
LessWrong meetup, London UK, 2010-06-06 16:00 2010-05-23T13:46:44.536Z
A LessWrong poster for the Humanity+ conference next Saturday 2010-04-14T21:38:46.831Z
Meetup after Humanity+ , London, Saturday 2010-04-24? 2010-04-10T12:54:01.601Z
Less Wrong London meetup, tomorrow (Sunday 2010-04-04) 16:00 2010-04-03T09:36:05.289Z
A survey of anti-cryonics writing 2010-02-07T23:26:52.715Z
Beware of WEIRD psychological samples 2009-09-13T11:28:05.581Z

Comments

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on The Point of Trade · 2021-06-22T19:33:13.251Z · LW · GW

I think this is diminishing marginal returns of consumption, not production.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Affordances · 2021-04-03T13:29:04.763Z · LW · GW

I would guess a lot of us picked the term up from Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Direct effects matter! · 2021-03-14T07:41:47.437Z · LW · GW

The image of this tweet isn't present here, only on Substack.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-12T12:24:46.118Z · LW · GW

True; in addition, places vary a lot in their freak-tolerance.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-10T22:18:24.697Z · LW · GW

If I lived in Wyoming and wanted to go to a fetish event, I guess I'm driving to maybe Denver, around 3h40 away? I know this isn't a consideration for everyone but it's important to me.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on A simple device for indoor air management · 2020-10-02T16:20:29.318Z · LW · GW

Why the 6in fan rather than the 8in one? Would seem to move a lot more air for nearly the same price.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on A diagram for a simple two-player game · 2020-09-28T01:05:23.050Z · LW · GW

Thank you!

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on The Goldbach conjecture is probably correct; so was Fermat's last theorem · 2020-07-15T03:36:00.867Z · LW · GW

Reminiscent of Freeman Dyson's 2005 answer to the question: "what do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?":

Since I am a mathematician, I give a precise answer to this question. Thanks to Kurt Gödel, we know that there are true mathematical statements that cannot be proved. But I want a little more than this. I want a statement that is true, unprovable, and simple enough to be understood by people who are not mathematicians. Here it is.
Numbers that are exact powers of two are 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and so on. Numbers that are exact powers of five are 5, 25, 125, 625 and so on. Given any number such as 131072 (which happens to be a power of two), the reverse of it is 270131, with the same digits taken in the opposite order. Now my statement is: it never happens that the reverse of a power of two is a power of five.
The digits in a big power of two seem to occur in a random way without any regular pattern. If it ever happened that the reverse of a power of two was a power of five, this would be an unlikely accident, and the chance of it happening grows rapidly smaller as the numbers grow bigger. If we assume that the digits occur at random, then the chance of the accident happening for any power of two greater than a billion is less than one in a billion. It is easy to check that it does not happen for powers of two smaller than a billion. So the chance that it ever happens at all is less than one in a billion. That is why I believe the statement is true.
But the assumption that digits in a big power of two occur at random also implies that the statement is unprovable. Any proof of the statement would have to be based on some non-random property of the digits. The assumption of randomness means that the statement is true just because the odds are in its favor. It cannot be proved because there is no deep mathematical reason why it has to be true. (Note for experts: this argument does not work if we use powers of three instead of powers of five. In that case the statement is easy to prove because the reverse of a number divisible by three is also divisible by three. Divisibility by three happens to be a non-random property of the digits).
It is easy to find other examples of statements that are likely to be true but unprovable. The essential trick is to find an infinite sequence of events, each of which might happen by accident, but with a small total probability for even one of them happening. Then the statement that none of the events ever happens is probably true but cannot be proved.
Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Paul Crowley's Shortform · 2020-06-17T18:19:17.175Z · LW · GW

No sarcasm.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Covid-19: My Current Model · 2020-06-02T03:40:59.241Z · LW · GW

You're not able to directly edit it yourself?

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Paul Crowley's Shortform · 2020-06-01T15:13:02.095Z · LW · GW

On Twitter I linked to this saying

Basic skills of decision making under uncertainty have been sorely lacking in this crisis. Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute is building up its Epidemic Forecasting project, and needs a project manager.

Response:

I'm honestly struggling with a polite response to this. Here in the UK, Dominic Cummings has tried a Less Wrong approach to policy making, and our death rate is terrible. This idea that a solution will somehow spring from left-field maverick thinking is actually lethal.
Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Paul Crowley's Shortform · 2020-05-28T13:39:55.828Z · LW · GW

For the foreseeable future, it seems that anything I might try to say to my UK friends about anything to do with LW-style thinking is going to be met with "but Dominic Cummings". Three separate instances of this in just the last few days.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on New Year's Predictions Thread · 2020-05-05T05:48:52.181Z · LW · GW

I look back and say "I wish he had been right!"

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on New Year's Predictions Thread · 2020-05-05T05:33:40.212Z · LW · GW

Britain was in the EU, but it kept Pounds Sterling, it never adopted the Euro.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on New Year's Predictions Thread · 2020-05-05T05:21:28.457Z · LW · GW

How many opportunities do you think we get to hear someone make clearly falsifiable ten-year predictions, and have them turn out to be false, and then have that person have the honour necessary to say "I was very, very wrong?" Not a lot! So any reflections you have to add on this would I think be super valuable. Thanks!

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on New Year's Predictions Thread · 2020-05-05T05:19:01.391Z · LW · GW

Hey, looks like you're still active on the site, would be interested to hear your reflections on these predictions ten years on - thanks!

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Hero Licensing · 2019-12-28T05:15:30.709Z · LW · GW

It is, of course, third-party visible that Eliezer-2010 *says* it's going well. Anyone can say that, but not everyone does.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on A sealed prediction · 2019-12-25T18:12:22.040Z · LW · GW

I note that nearly eight years later, the preimage was never revealed.

Actually, I have seen many hashed predictions, and I have never seen a preimage revealed. At this stage, if someone reveals a preimage to demonstrate a successful prediction, I will be about as impressed as if someone wins a lottery, noting the number of losing lottery tickets lying about.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Why so much variance in human intelligence? · 2019-10-02T00:04:09.804Z · LW · GW

Half formed thoughts towards how I think about this:

Something like Turing completeness is at work, where our intelligence gains the ability to loop in on itself, and build on its former products (eg definitions) to reach new insights. We are at the threshold of the transition to this capability, half god and half beast, so even a small change in the distance we are across that threshold makes a big difference.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Why so much variance in human intelligence? · 2019-10-01T23:46:31.188Z · LW · GW
As such, if you observe yourself to be in a culture that is able to reach technologically maturity, you're probably "the stupidest such culture that could get there, because if it could be done at a stupider level then it would've happened there first."

Who first observed this? I say this a lot, but I'm now not sure if I first thought of it or if I'm just quoting well-understood folklore.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on 2018 AI Alignment Literature Review and Charity Comparison · 2018-12-30T08:32:10.789Z · LW · GW

May I recommend spoiler markup? Just start the line with >!

Another (minor) "Top Donor" opinion. On the MIRI issue: agree with your concerns, but continue donating, for now. I assume they're fully aware of the problem they're presenting to their donors and will address it in some fashion. If they do not might adjust next year. The hard thing is that MIRI still seems most differentiated in approach and talent org that can use funds (vs OpenAI and DeepMind and well-funded academic institutions)

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2018-12-19T19:32:11.895Z · LW · GW

I note that this is now done. As I have for so many things here. Great work team!

Spoiler space test

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on 2018 AI Alignment Literature Review and Charity Comparison · 2018-12-19T19:21:40.503Z · LW · GW

Rot13's content, hidden using spoiler markup:

Despite having donated to MIRI consistently for many years as a result of their highly non-replaceable and groundbreaking work in the field, I cannot in good faith do so this year given their lack of disclosure. Additionally, they already have a larger budget than any other organisation (except perhaps FHI) and a large amount of reserves.

Despite FHI producing very high quality research, GPI having a lot of promising papers in the pipeline, and both having highly qualified and value-aligned researchers, the requirement to pre-fund researchers’ entire contract significantly increases the effective cost of funding research there. On the other hand, hiring people in the bay area isn’t cheap either.

This is the first year I have attempted to review CHAI in detail and I have been impressed with the quality and volume of their work. I also think they have more room for funding than FHI. As such I will be donating some money to CHAI this year.

I think of CSER and GCRI as being relatively comparable organisations, as 1) they both work on a variety of existential risks and 2) both primarily produce strategy pieces. In this comparison I think GCRI looks significantly better; it is not clear their total output, all things considered, is less than CSER’s, but they have done so on a dramatically smaller budget. As such I will be donating some money to GCRI again this year.

ANU, Deepmind and OpenAI have all done good work but I don’t think it is viable for (relatively) small individual donors to meaningfully support their work.

Ought seems like a very valuable project, and I am torn on donating, but I think their need for additional funding is slightly less than some other groups.

AI Impacts is in many ways in a similar position to GCRI, with the exception that GCRI is attempting to scale by hiring its part-time workers to full-time, while AI Impacts is scaling by hiring new people. The former is significantly lower risk, and AI Impacts seems to have enough money to try out the upsizing for 2019 anyway. As such I do not plan to donate to AI Impacts this year, but if they are able to scale effectively I might well do so in 2019.

The Foundational Research Institute have done some very interesting work, but seem to be adequately funded, and I am somewhat more concerned about the danger of risky unilateral action here than with other organisations.

I haven’t had time to evaluate the Foresight Institute, which is a shame because at their small size marginal funding could be very valuable if they are in fact doing useful work. Similarly, Median and Convergence seem too new to really evaluate, though I wish them well.

The Future of Life institute grants for this year seem more valuable to me than the previous batch, on average. However, I prefer to directly evaluate where to donate, rather than outsourcing this decision.

I also plan to start making donations to individual researchers, on a retrospective basis, for doing useful work. The current situation, with a binary employed/not-employed distinction, and upfront payment for uncertain output, seems suboptimal. I also hope to significantly reduce overhead (for everyone but me) by not having an application process or any requirements for grantees beyond having produced good work. This would be somewhat similar to Impact Certificates, while hopefully avoiding some of their issues.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Nyoom · 2018-12-15T19:35:02.798Z · LW · GW

I think the Big Rationalist Lesson is "what adjustment to my circumstances am I not making because I Should Be Able To Do Without?"

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Topological Fixed Point Exercises · 2018-11-17T16:57:43.882Z · LW · GW

Just to get things started, here's a proof for #1:

Proof by induction that the number of bicolor edges is odd iff the ends don't match. Base case: a single node has matching ends and an even number (zero) of bicolor edges. Extending with a non-bicolor edge changes neither condition, and extending with a bicolor edge changes both; in both cases the induction hypothesis is preserved.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Last Chance to Fund the Berkeley REACH · 2018-07-01T00:08:27.703Z · LW · GW

From what I hear, any plan for improving MIRI/CFAR space that involves the collaboration of the landlord is dead in the water; they just always say no to things, even when it's "we will cover all costs to make this lasting improvement to your building".

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2018-06-17T22:53:24.990Z · LW · GW

Of course I should have tested it before commenting! Thanks for doing so.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2018-06-17T17:36:22.576Z · LW · GW

Spoiler markup. This post has lots of comments which use ROT13 to disguise their content. There's a Markdown syntax for this.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2018-06-17T17:31:01.462Z · LW · GW

I note that this is now done.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2018-06-17T17:30:54.379Z · LW · GW

I note that this is now done.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on On the Chatham House Rule · 2018-06-14T14:27:17.868Z · LW · GW

"If you're running an event that has rules, be explicit about what those rules are, don't just refer to an often-misunderstood idea" seems unarguably a big improvement, no matter what you think of the other changes proposed here.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on April Fools: Announcing: Karma 2.0 · 2018-04-01T15:11:53.341Z · LW · GW

I notice your words are now larger thanks to the excellence of this comment!

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on April Fools: Announcing: Karma 2.0 · 2018-04-01T14:31:54.211Z · LW · GW

Excellent, my words will finally get the prominence they deserve!

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to LessWrong.com · 2018-03-13T04:50:34.284Z · LW · GW

When does voting close? EDIT: "This vote will close on Sunday March 18th at midnight PST."

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Making yourself small · 2018-03-08T19:13:50.944Z · LW · GW

I thought of a similar example to you for big-low-status, but I couldn't think of an example I was happy with for small-high-status. Every example I could think of was one where someone is visually small, but you already know they're high status. So I was struck when your example also used someone we all know is high status! Is there a pose or way of looking which both looks small and communicates high status, without relying on some obvious marker like a badge or a crown?

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Two Coordination Styles · 2018-02-17T15:17:38.980Z · LW · GW

Ainslie, not Ainslee. I found this super distracting for some reason, partly because his name is repeated so often.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on A LessWrong Crypto Autopsy · 2018-02-04T01:04:43.353Z · LW · GW

A plausible strategy would be to buy say 100 bitcoins for $1 each, then sell 10 at $10, 10 at $100, and so on. With this strategy you would have made $111,000 and hold 60 bitcoins.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on List of civilisational inadequacy · 2017-12-05T03:55:17.450Z · LW · GW

"Even though gaining too much in pregnancy" is missing the word "weight" I think.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Security Mindset and the Logistic Success Curve · 2017-11-28T05:40:30.188Z · LW · GW

I can't work out where you're going with the Qubes thing. Obviously a secure hypervisor wouldn't imply a secure system, any more than a secure kernel implies a secure system in a non-hypervisor based system.

More deeply, you seem to imply that someone who has made a security error obviously lacks the security mindset. If only the mindset protected us from all errors; sadly it's not so. But I've often been in the situation of trying to explain something security-related to a smart person, and sensing the gap that seemed wider than a mere lack of knowledge.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Against Modest Epistemology · 2017-11-16T19:17:40.688Z · LW · GW

Please don't bold your whole comment.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Living in an Inadequate World · 2017-11-10T06:04:09.026Z · LW · GW

Looks like this hasn't been marked as part of the "INADEQUATE EQUILIBRIA" sequence: unlike the others, it doesn't carry this banner, and it isn't listed in the TOC.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Why no total winner? · 2017-10-22T01:04:56.956Z · LW · GW

I agree, if the USA had decided to take over the world at the end of WWII, it would have taken absolutely cataclysmic losses. I think it would still have ended up on top of what was left, and the world would have rebuilt, with the USA on top. But not being prepared to make such an awful sacrifice to grasp power probably comes under a different heading than "moral norms".

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Seek Fair Expectations of Others’ Models · 2017-10-20T03:51:36.429Z · LW · GW

There are many ways to then conclude that AGI is far away where far away means decades out. Not that decades out is all that far away. Eliezer conflating the two should freak you out. AGI reliably forty years away would be quite the fire alarm.

I don't think I understand this point. Is the conflation "having a model of the long-term that builds on a short-term model" and "having any model of the long term", in which case the conflation is akin to expecting climate scientists to predict the weather? If so I agree that that's a slip up, but my alarm level isn't raised to "freaked out" yet, what am I missing?

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on The Typical Sex Life Fallacy · 2017-10-15T23:28:51.273Z · LW · GW

I move in circles where asking "why is X bad" is as bad as X itself. So for the avoidance of doubt, I do not think that your comment here makes you a bad person.

I'm trying to imagine a conversation where one person expresses a preference about the other's pubic hair that wouldn't be inappropriate, and I'm struggling a little. Here's what I've come up with:

  • A BDSM context in which that sort of thing is a negotiated part.

  • The two have been playing for a while and are intimate enough for that to be appropriate.

  • The other person asks, and gets an honest answer.

It sounds like none of these are what you have in mind; can you paint me a more detailed example?

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on There's No Fire Alarm for Artificial General Intelligence · 2017-10-15T22:39:50.152Z · LW · GW

Which parts do you think are not needed?

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on There's No Fire Alarm for Artificial General Intelligence · 2017-10-15T22:17:28.070Z · LW · GW

Dawkins's "Middle World" idea seems relevant here. We live in Middle World, but we investigate phenomena across a wide range of scales in space and time. It would at least be a little surprising to discover that the pace at which we do it is special and hard to improve on.

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on Deontologist Envy · 2017-10-02T19:51:54.565Z · LW · GW

Thank you! Hooray for this sort of thing :)

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-15T21:24:35.930Z · LW · GW

Also I have already read them all more than once and don't plan to do so again just to get the badge :)

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2017-09-15T14:15:44.764Z · LW · GW

Facebook-like reactions.

I would like to be able to publicly say eg "hear hear" on a comment or post, without cluttering up the replies. Where the "like" button is absent eg on Livejournal, I sorely miss it. This is nothing to do with voting and should be wholly orthogonal; voting is anonymous and feeds into the ranking algorithm, where this is more like a comment that says very little and takes up minimal screen real estate, but allows people to get a quick feel for who thinks what about a comment.

Starting with "thumbs up" would be a big step forward, but I'd hope that other reactions would become available later, eg "disagree connotationally" or "haha" or "don't like the tone" or "I want to help with this". Each should be associated with a small graphic, with a hover-over to show the meaning as well as who applied the reaction. Like emoji in eg Discord and unlike Facebook, a single user can apply multiple reactions to the same comment, so I can say both "agree" and "don't like the tone".

I apologise for having buried this feature request in the depths of not one but two comment threads before putting it here :)

Comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) on LessWrong 2.0 Feature Roadmap & Feature Suggestions · 2017-09-15T14:03:15.932Z · LW · GW

I think these are two wholly orthogonal functions: anonymous voting, and public comment badges. For badges, I'd like to see something much more like eg Discord where you can apply as many as you think apply, rather than Facebook where you can only apply at most one of the six options (eg both "agree" and "don't like tone").

EDIT: now a feature request.