Posts

Dagon's Shortform 2019-07-31T18:21:43.072Z · score: 3 (1 votes)
Did the recent blackmail discussion change your beliefs? 2019-03-24T16:06:52.811Z · score: 37 (14 votes)

Comments

Comment by dagon on What's an important (new) idea you haven't had time to argue for yet? · 2019-12-10T21:27:58.299Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not new, but possibly more important than it gets credit for. I haven't had time to figure out why it doesn't apply pretty broadly to all optimization-under-constraints problems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_the_second_best


Comment by dagon on Tapping Out In Two · 2019-12-06T01:11:47.328Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Me too: I've never tried pre-announcing my done-ness, or trying to ramp down that slowly. But I can imagine it's more effective than my normal mechanism of being clear in my last response that I'm unlikely to participate further.

I do think that the internal commitment to stop engaging and the external announcement that you're in exit mode are both very important, and the specific form of them probably less so.


Comment by dagon on If giving unsolicited feedback was a social norm, what feedback would you often give? · 2019-12-04T18:51:15.830Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I would be giving a lot of feedback on others' feedback: "your choice of feedback topic and presentation style is unhelpful". But probably with fewer and more impactful words.

Comment by dagon on "Fully" acausal trade · 2019-12-04T16:55:12.901Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'd argue that the next room case is dominated by considerations of future real interactions, so mostly isn't acausal.

Comment by dagon on Why aren't assurance contracts widely used? · 2019-12-02T21:48:14.195Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I wasn't looking for things that an assurance contract could be used for, I was looking for things which are significantly improved by them (unsolvable without). I don't think assurance contracts make any of those things particularly more common/feasible than without such contracts.

The original question was "why aren't they widely used", and my answer is "because they're not that useful on the relevant margins".

[note: I don't believe they're useless, just that I don't think they're important enough to be confused that you don't see them all that much. I do believe that the IDEA of assurance contracts has contributed a lot to getting crowdfunding platforms going, but MOST of their projects are successful due to a functioning payments platform, more than the assurance contract portion of the service.]



Comment by dagon on Why aren't assurance contracts widely used? · 2019-12-02T19:29:39.603Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd argue that there are actually very few problems that are solved by these contracts, and not solved by more traditional mechanisms like taxes, clubs/churches, private investors, etc.

Can you name a few?

Comment by dagon on Open-Box Newcomb's Problem and the limitations of the Erasure framing · 2019-12-02T17:22:53.576Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I may not have gotten to the part where it matters that they're separate (in perfect simulation/alignment cases). But no harm in it. Just please don't obscure the fundamental implication that in such a universe, free will is purely an illusion.

Comment by dagon on Open-Box Newcomb's Problem and the limitations of the Erasure framing · 2019-12-02T15:07:27.963Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I (somewhat) agree that there are cases where you need to keep identity separate between levels of simulation (which "you" may or may not be at the outermost of). But I don't think it matters to this problem. When you add "perfect" to the descriptor, it's pretty much just you. It makes every relevant decision identically.

Comment by dagon on Open-Box Newcomb's Problem and the limitations of the Erasure framing · 2019-11-29T16:43:36.826Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I still don't understand the fascination with this problem. A perfect predictor pretty strongly implies some form of determinism, right? If it predicts one-boxing and it's perfect, you don't actually have a choice - you are going to one-box, and justify it to yourself however you need to.

Comment by dagon on Can you eliminate memetic scarcity, instead of fighting? · 2019-11-26T00:46:09.741Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

good deal - interestingly, that's an aspect of "resource provision" I hadn't connected with your original post - you may not need to find/add resources, you can find more efficient uses of time/attention resources, and still satisfy a lot of needs.

This probably generalizes somewhere on the satisficing/optimizing plane - things close to a satisfy-level can be addressed this way.

Comment by dagon on Can you eliminate memetic scarcity, instead of fighting? · 2019-11-25T23:04:44.915Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I look forward to hearing the scarcities you are able to eliminate for these things. Naively, I'd expect there to be a desire for "significant participation in the activities that resonate with me". Turning it from "a holiday ritual" into "a plethora of ritual-ish activities" doesn't seem like it's going to satisfy.

I hope I'm wrong - please let us know how it works out!

Comment by dagon on Can you eliminate memetic scarcity, instead of fighting? · 2019-11-25T18:15:17.475Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I very much like this line of thinking, but I have to admit that I'm not hopeful that there are very many nontrivial cases where it's actually possible to satisfy everyone. Certainly do so when you can, and don't forget to explore the possibility.

A lot of the cases where this comes up for prioritization, the wants are many orders of magnitude larger than the resources you currently have, so you're really arguing about priority of effort, and that effort is a very limited resource. Worse, expending effort to find clever alternate approaches eats into the effort that's under contention.

Many other cases are about social cohesion and agreement more than about resources, and "let's both be right" is unsatisfying. I don't have a lot of sympathy for these cases, but I do notice that they're abundant.


Comment by dagon on Relevance Norms; Or, Gricean Implicature Queers the Decoupling/Contextualizing Binary · 2019-11-22T22:12:02.047Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

THANK YOU for talking about behaviors and expectations for communications, and recognizing that these are tactics for communication and/or persuasion (and/or signaling), not attributes of a given speaker.

One of my main objections to the previous discussion was that they were saying "contextualizer" as a description of a person's style, rather than "(over-)contextualized interpretation" as a description of a given communication's intent or interpretation.

I use both contextual and decoupled aspects, depending on my audience and intent. Communication style is an an active choice.

Comment by dagon on Historical forecasting: Are there ways I can get lots of data, but only up to a certain date? · 2019-11-21T22:22:56.727Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nope. There's already SUCH a strong selection bias in what actually got recorded and survived, and what's important enough to publish and teach, that you can never disentangle your model from that.

Note that this is true for forecasting the future as well - the data you have and the topics you're considering to forecast are massively constrained, to the point that you're pretty much p-hacking by the time you write down ANY hypothesis.

Comment by dagon on Defining AI wireheading · 2019-11-21T22:01:17.583Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In my usage, "wireheading" is generally about the direct change of a reward value which bypasses the utility function which is supposed to map experience to reward. It's a subset of Goodhart, which also can cover cases of misuse of the of reward mapping (eating ice cream instead of healthier food), or changing of the mapping function itself (intentionally acquiring a taste for something).

But really, what's the purpose of trying to distinguish wireheading from other forms of reward hacking? The mitigations for Goodhart are the same: ensure that there is a reward function that actually matches real goals, or enough functions with declining marginal weight that abusing any of them is self-limiting.

Comment by dagon on The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising · 2019-11-20T22:36:38.316Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

neat graphic, thanks!

Comment by dagon on The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising · 2019-11-20T00:09:01.345Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Side-question: do we have a useful model for whether there WAS a dot-com bubble? Seems like there was a fair bit of churn, and a temporary loss, but the category is bigger than ever. Buying at the peak and holding until now did pretty well, right?

Comment by dagon on The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising · 2019-11-19T21:17:40.060Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What audience is this for? The amount of useless stuff that other people spend their money on is ... overwhelming. A lot of it (say, alcohol and tobacco) don't even have anyone claiming it helps in any way. Pointing out that something which may be helpful (to the advertiser; it's definitely helpful to the ad vendors and arguably helpful to subsidized media consumers) doesn't seem like it'll have any impact on any decision-maker.

Comment by dagon on Impossible moral problems and moral authority · 2019-11-19T00:09:28.172Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you still hit the multidimension comparison problem. One of the branches may be happier, the other more satisfied. One might spend the rest of the evening doing some valuable work, the other didn't have as much time. One consumed a slightly better mix of protein and fat, the other got the right amount of carbs and micronutrients.

Without a utility function to tell you the coefficients, there _IS_ no truth of the matter which is better.

Edit: this problem also hits intertemporally, even if you solve the comparability problem for multiple dimensions of utility. The one that's best when eating may be different than the one that you remember most pleasurably afterward, which may be different than the one you remember most pleasantly a year from now.

Comment by dagon on Chris_Leong's Shortform · 2019-11-18T23:43:03.230Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The best reason to believe in anti-induction is that it's never worked before. Discussed at a bit of depth in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/zmSuDDFE4dicqd4Hg/you-only-need-faith-in-two-things .

Comment by dagon on Arguing about housing · 2019-11-15T14:46:17.516Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This doesn't contradict Wei's point, since he does include:

my guess is that a lot of the reasons people give in public for their opposition to housing are not their actual reasons.

And in fact, those two facebook posts (and most NIMBYism) can be read in the "uninsured risk" light - even if they don't own land, they face risk of loss of life-quality if their now-comfortable spaces change very much.

Do you have a better approach to an ITT for those opposed to development?

Comment by dagon on Operationalizing Newcomb's Problem · 2019-11-12T23:42:42.885Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, current lie detector technology isn't that good - it relies on a repetitive and careful mix of calibration and test questions, and even then isn't reliable enough for most real-world uses. The original ambiguity remains that the problem is underspecified: why do I believe that it's accuracy for other people (probably mostly psych students) applies to my actions?


Comment by dagon on The randomness/ignorance model solves many anthropic problems · 2019-11-12T23:24:01.518Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, everyone arguing that there is a correct probability without definition of what that probability is predicting is misguided.

Comment by dagon on Attach Receipts to Credit Card Transactions · 2019-11-12T18:21:18.252Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This used to be common, called "country club billing". most credit cards stopped it in the 70s, American Express continued it through part of the 90s. It's expensive for merchants and card processors, not valued by most customers, and as far as I know nobody is seriously considering bringing it back.

The various contradictory incentives about data privacy and who knows what when are all trivial compared to the amount of work it'd take, for no significant value to customers. The number of humans who bother to keep and categorize receipts is TINY, and it's probably correlated with not spending very much on credit-card fees. Attracting these customers may well be negative-value, but even if it's positive, it's not worth much effort.

Comment by dagon on The randomness/ignorance model solves many anthropic problems · 2019-11-11T19:28:20.580Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think you need to claim that there are different kinds of uncertainty to solve these. If you clearly specify what predicted experiences/outcomes you're applying the probability to, both of these examples dissolve.

"Will you remember an awakening" has a different answer than "how many awakenings will be reported to you by an observer". Uncertainty about these are the same: ignorance.

Comment by dagon on liam_hinzman's Shortform · 2019-11-11T19:25:19.745Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW
think we all recognize that this is a bit of an exaggeration

No, this is mathematically true. A strict 1% improvement over 365 consecutive cycles is 3778% improvement. Compound interest is really that powerful. No exaggeration there.

It's misleading, though. The model doesn't apply to most human improvement. It's almost impossible to improve any metric by 1% in a day, almost impossible to avoid negative growth sometimes, certainly impossible (for any real human) to maintain a rate of improvement - declining marginal return for interventions kicks in quickly.

I think it's worth noting decay, but you also need to recognize that novelty is a different dimension than growth in capability. You can have lots of novelty with zero change (neither improvement nor decay) in your likelihood of furthering any goals.

Comment by dagon on Chris_Leong's Shortform · 2019-11-10T14:43:16.338Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sure. I'm asking about the "we all saw how that worked out" portion of your comment. From what I can see, it worked out fairly well. Are you of the opinion that the French Revolution was an obvious and complete utilitarian failure?

Comment by dagon on Pricing externalities is not necessarily economically efficient · 2019-11-09T16:30:58.736Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Coase basically applied the insight that value is not the same as price, and there's no way to set a price that satisfies all the stakeholders. It's an idea that needs to be more central to thinking about human interaction.

Comment by dagon on Chris_Leong's Shortform · 2019-11-09T16:21:24.732Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
the French revolution was heavily influenced by him and we all saw how that worked out.

Can you make this a little more explicit? France is a pretty nice place - are you saying that the counterfactual world where there was no revolution would be significantly better?

Comment by dagon on Judgment, Punishment, and the Information-Suppression Field · 2019-11-08T18:00:57.268Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe you're not freeloading on them, you're honoring their and your comparative advantages. They're willing to take more risks than you in who and how much to punish, and the fact that you don't want to correct them in either direction indicates you'd rather accept their choices than to try to calculate the proper amount yourself. Or maybe you _should_ be supervising more closely because they're wrong.

How to determine which model (freeloading vs division of labor vs dereliction of duty) fits the situation is the tricky part.

Comment by dagon on Self policing for self doubt · 2019-11-08T00:43:58.667Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

where are we with reacts? Need a :raises hand: emoji.

Comment by dagon on Judgment, Punishment, and the Information-Suppression Field · 2019-11-08T00:19:20.630Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I worry a lot about trying to reason about very complex equilibria when only looking at one force. It's _BOTH_ an adversarial and cooperative game - there are (asymmetric, but usually same sign) benefits to clear, honest communication. And even for adversarial portions, there may be a positive sum even when one player is harmed, if other players gain more than the harm.

I can make a model, even, that outsourcing the punishment so that extra-judgey people get most of the flak for the judgement, but still provide overall value, is optimal for some utility aggregation functions. I don't currently like or claim applicability of this model, but it's not obviously wrong.


Comment by dagon on Randomness vs. Ignorance · 2019-11-08T00:07:06.781Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It could be argued that it's all ignorance. The die will roll the way that physics demands, based on the velocity, roll, pitch, yaw of the die, and the surface properties of the felt. There's only one possible outcome, you just don't know it yet. If you roll a die in an opaque cup, the uncertainty does not change in kind from the time you start shaking it to the time you slam it down - it's all the same ignorance until you actually look.

You can, if you like, believe that there is unknowability at the quantum level, but even that doesn't imply true randomness, just ignorance of which branch you'll find your perceptive trail following.

Luckily (heh), Bayes' Theorem doesn't care. It works for updating predictions on evidence, regardless of where uncertainty comes from.

Comment by dagon on Normative reductionism · 2019-11-07T18:03:10.604Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's roughly how I think of preferences. It's absolutely possible (and, in fact, common) for humans to make choices based on things that have no perceptible existence. It's harmless (but silly (note: I _LIKE_ silly, in part because it's silly to do so)) to have such preferences, and usually harmless to act on them.

In the context of the OP, and world-value comparisons across distinguishable segments of universes, there is simply no impact from unrealized/undetectable preferences across those universe-segments that don't contain any variation on that preference.

Comment by dagon on Toon Alfrink's sketchpad · 2019-11-07T17:29:28.799Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I like this direction of thought. Note that for all of these traps, success is more often a matter of improvement rather than binary change or "escape from trap". And persistence plays a large role - very few improvements come from a single attempt.

Comment by dagon on Normative reductionism · 2019-11-07T17:02:18.281Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I will admit that I find the concept of preferences over indistinguishable / imaginary universes or differences in hypothetical universes to be incoherent. One can have a preference for invisible pink unicorns, but that preference is neither more nor less satisfied by any actual-world time segment.

If you have a pointer to any literature about utility impact of irrelevant preferences, I'd like to take a look. All I've seen in the past is about how preferences irrelevant to a decision should not impact an aggregation result.

Comment by dagon on Normative reductionism · 2019-11-06T18:49:42.325Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Your satisfaction of that preference has nothing to do with their confidence, it's all about whether you actually find out. You could get into philosophy about what "true" even means for something you have no evidence for or against, but that's not necessary to talk about the impact on your utility. Without some perceptible difference, your utility cannot be different.

Comment by dagon on Normative reductionism · 2019-11-06T06:23:43.423Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, yes. Once all evidence (including any impact or detectable difference in the state of the universe) is gone, it CANNOT have a further adverse effect on utility.

Comment by dagon on Normative reductionism · 2019-11-06T00:26:43.985Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Of course it can - the value of that preference is determined by what (counter)evidence is discovered when.

Comment by dagon on Total horse takeover · 2019-11-05T01:00:28.622Z · score: 13 (7 votes) · LW · GW

"take over" is a human, fuzzy concept, the exact application of which is context-dependent. And it's still useful. Any of "determining the direction and speed the horse goes next", "deciding whether to feed or starve the horse", "locking the horse in a barn to prevent it being ridden" or lots of other activities can be put under the heading "taking over".

If the details matter, you probably need to use more words.

Comment by dagon on Drug Policy · 2019-11-04T23:08:09.518Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't disagree with any of this, except the implication that policy is "ours", and makes any sense on any level. IMO, drug (and criminal) policy is a weird mishmash of moralizing, bad social causality theory, top-down control intent, and profiteering. Logical arguments about what a good policy might be are rather irrelevant.

Comment by dagon on Elon Musk is wrong: Robotaxis are stupid. We need standardized rented autonomous tugs to move customized owned unpowered wagons. · 2019-11-04T22:44:19.364Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

According to Kelly Blue Book, the average new light vehicle in the US was $37,185 in May 2019. Replacement pretty much has to happen as a substitution for new car sales, then flowing into the pre-owned markets.

Comment by dagon on Elon Musk is wrong: Robotaxis are stupid. We need standardized rented autonomous tugs to move customized owned unpowered wagons. · 2019-11-04T17:08:39.253Z · score: 14 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted for thinking beyond the obvious, but I don't think this will be popular or common. Accommodation and travel are different enough in character that trying to use the same container for both is going to be an ugly compromise. I travel because I _want_ to move to a different, shared, accommodation than my permanent too-large-to-move home.

Making housing pleasant and efficient, and making travel pleasant and efficient can both be done much more completely by not trying to combine them.

Comment by dagon on Shared Cache is Going Away · 2019-11-01T19:55:45.283Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This applies at a lot of levels in networking and computing. Various types of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timing_attack have been used to break memory, process, and virtualization boundaries. And in some cases, even air-gapped separate systems can leak information - cache partitioning doesn't help you if the attacker is timing your page-load time to see if your visit to a page is your first one today.

Comment by dagon on Breaking Group Rock Paper Scissors · 2019-11-01T19:49:53.312Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I'd never seen this at a conference, and I _have_ played in real-money rock-paper-scissors tournaments (which were strict single-elimination, with random assignment), so I figured it was some proposed mechanism for actually deciding something.

As a team-building excercise, there's an additional complication in that the definition of "win" is debatable. If there's no prize and no consequences of early or late elimination, I suspect my utility would be improved by simply not trying to optimize anything, or perhaps by just using https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PoorPredictableRock and being "out" as soon as people realized I was serious.

Comment by dagon on Breaking Group Rock Paper Scissors · 2019-11-01T00:14:55.665Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The cheering squad thing doesn't add anything to the question, does it? Cheering or sitting down has the same lack of impact, correct?

Interestingly (or not), from your initial description I ASSUMED you'd pause and re-acquire opponents for everyone between each contest, so it would be fully single-elimination. Your variant where everyone matches and plays at their own pace seems insane - it's obviously broken for exactly the reason you state: the winning strategy is to pick your opponent as slowly as possible, preferably when they're the only other competitor remaining.

Why would anyone play in such a tourney? I guess it becomes a slow bicycle race if you add that you'll be eliminated if you're noticed to be slow-playing. But then it's a weird game where part of the rules is that not everyone can be aware of the rules.

Comment by dagon on Doing things in a populated world · 2019-11-01T00:05:08.640Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's plenty of things that happen that make many people worse off, with no visible compensation. Justice isn't a real thing. This applies across time for a single person as well: decisions you make now can be pleasant or unpleasant for near-term you and the opposite for future-you. There's no utility or resource flow that makes this happen (unless you include empathy and imagination, but this kind of trade framework is very hard to use with such concepts).

Comment by dagon on Toon Alfrink's sketchpad · 2019-10-31T19:58:58.801Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When exploring things like this, taboo the phrase "really is". No abstraction really is anything. You might ask "how can I use this model", or "what predictions can I make based on this" or "what was that person trying to convey when they said that".

Less philosophically, you're exploring an uncommon use of the word "finance". Much more commonly, it's about choice of mechanism for the transfer, not about the transfer itself. What you describe is usually called "saving" as opposed to "consumption". It's not finance until you're talking about the specific characteristics of the medium of transfer. Optimal savings means good choices of when to consume, regardless of when you earn. Optimal finance is good placement of that savings (or borrowing, in the case of reverse-transfer) in order to maximize the future consumption.



Comment by Dagon on [deleted post] 2019-10-31T05:09:23.399Z

By "weird dualism", I mostly mean "dualism" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind%E2%80%93body_dualism ), which is weird to me in all it's forms. The idea that consciousness is an phenomenon unrelated to brain structure and neural connections, is not helpful.


Comment by Dagon on [deleted post] 2019-10-30T23:37:50.477Z

This description doesn't match my beliefs about cognition. There's a weird dualism embedded in it that comes out incoherent when I try to imagine it or apply the word "possible" to it.

If there were some syndrome which destroyed an individual's ability to predict results of choices, effectively reducing the victim to a reptile or fish-like level of learning and behavior, it would just kill people pretty quickly. I have no reason to believe that a memetically-transmitted disease of this sort makes any sense whatever.

You should definitely read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash if you haven't already. Fiction is not evidence, of course, but it's HIGHLY entertaining.