Better air is the easiest way not to die 2021-04-28T10:24:37.344Z
More Questions about Trees 2020-10-09T08:35:20.354Z
The Neuroscience of Anxiety 2019-12-18T14:20:07.957Z


Comment by digital_carver on [Book Review] "The Alignment Problem" by Brian Christian · 2021-09-28T19:46:06.058Z · LW · GW

I believe there's a conflict-vs-mistake thing going on here. I saw this as a specific case where the probabilities don't line up the way your comment assumes they do. You seem to be from the beginning assuming I'm opposing an entire worldview and seeing it as some attack.

where a Twitter screenshot calling out Google is incontrovertible 'disinterested' evidence never to be questioned

Behold, the Straw Man! Today for his trick, he turns "However small X's level of evidence is, Y has even weaker evidence" into "X is incontrovertible evidence never to be questioned".

I considered the original tweet, the fact that Google did not refute it, and the claim that Google blocked ape-related tags from Photos for years afterwards (with its own attached probability), and updated my inner measure of probability of this being true. And I find that the statement from the ex-Googler provides even weaker evidence to update based on. Nothing is "never to be questioned" here.

any objection is instead required to be multiple independent third-party studies?

Again a thing I didn't say, and you keep repeating.

They were not disinterested in the least! They were specifically 'calling out' and shaming Google for it

A "claim from a disinterested party" means someone previously disinterested, someone where our prior assumptions can be close to assuming they are disinterested. A police officer is considered disinterested in a case if their family and friends are not involved in the case, and so can be assigned the case. It makes no sense to say "they've been assigned to the case now, so they're not a disinterested party"!

They were specifically 'calling out' and shaming Google for it and it worked brilliantly in earning them huge fake internet points.

This is the original tweet pointing out the issue. To me it just looks like a user casually pointing out a problem with a tool they use. Not everyone is obsessed all the time with culture wars and internet points.

(Someone who left Google and is mentioning it in an aside years later which no one noticed, that's much closer to disinterested.)

Oh by the way, I found evidence that this author tweeted this seals claim back at the time as part of the Twitter thread about this. Still without any links or images, but that helped update my probabilities a little bit (as I had believed that part of the problem might be that it came two years later, as mentioned before). I wish that's what this conversation had consisted of, actual evidence to try to arrive at the truth, instead of straw men and outright false claims.

The last paragraph has little to do with the claims here, unless you're dumping an entire opposing worldview on me, and arguing against that imaginary person. For the record, I am much closer to your worldview regarding these issues and have noticed most of the things you mentioned. It's just that in this instance even with that background there isn't good enough evidence to believe the media suppressed some narrative.

My original comment has served its purpose to provide additional context for those who want it, and I don't think further discussion with you here will be productive. Thanks for all the fish.

Comment by digital_carver on [Book Review] "The Alignment Problem" by Brian Christian · 2021-09-27T08:49:04.688Z · LW · GW

I'm writing this rather nitpicky comment because this is the top comment replying with rather strong wording about sourcing and studies and double standards for reporting...

This is an unnecessarily snarky addition to the comment that's disappointing to see (and doesn't even make sense, since mine is neither a top comment, nor does it mention studies). In case you interpreted the "especially if I'd seen it was from gwern" in a negative way, I meant it as a factual statement that I saw you as a person with high respect and trust and hence assigned high prior confidence to things from you.

So, how many third parties reported about the classification and how trustworthy were they?

The original post was by a disinterested third party sharing a screenshot. However small the level of evidence provided by that is, an offhand statement by someone literally involved in the project and with no attached evidence at all is obviously much weaker.

What should we make of an ecosystem which tells us on a literally daily to weekly basis (google the term) about the gorillas, but never, ever tells you about the seals (I only learned about that one because I was reading the Google expert's post for other reasons)? What should we infer about the epistemics and justifications of the various experts and reporting here?

Let's simulate two worlds:

In world (A), Google's PR team were so incompetent that they did not mention this "white people misidentified as seals" at the time, even to say "our system sometimes misidentifies people as animals, for eg. <photo of white people with seal tag>, and we are improving the system" - which would have softened the PR blow significantly. Users see white people tagged as animals, but they never ever share it; or they do, but no one bothers to report it, not even a tabloid with space to fill and low standards, not even contrarian media that carries "All Lives Matter" articles and would love to use any "attack on whiteness"; and the screenshot doesn't go viral either (despite "bots are funnily dumb" being a favourite meme category).

In world (B), the "white people tagged as seals" happens either only in obviously-distorted or blurry photos, or only in an internal test system that never even got out of Google, or in some other not-usable-for-PR way. Journalists do not report on it because they don't see it. A Googler writes a non-official Medium article that's not focused on this, two years after the fact, and mentions it in a couple of sentences offhandedly. Perhaps one or two journalists happen to read it for other reasons, just like you, but it's mentioned as a past bug that's likely fixed, and there's no supporting evidence, nothing to show their editor as a potential article, so they move on.

With the evidence available to us, something similar to world (B) seems much more likely than world (A).

Comment by digital_carver on [Book Review] "The Alignment Problem" by Brian Christian · 2021-09-25T22:50:50.662Z · LW · GW

For anyone not clicking to read the article: its author "was technical leader for Google’s social efforts (including photos)" at the time, and doesn't cite any public sources for the information. So we should at least consider how that's going to colour their interpretation/representation of the information.

They don't mention how often black people were classified as gorillas, and how that compared to white people being classified as dogs or seals. It could be that for every thousand cases of the former, there was one of the latter, or it may be one for one. My sibling comment says "The dataset had a good mix of races in it" (which I take to mean there was some reasonable proportional representation of races) - the article doesn't claim that. It says "the training data included a wide range of people of all races and colors", contrasting that with HP webcams where "the training data for “faces” had been composed exclusively of white people" - so it clears the bar of not being exclusively white, but we don't know by how much. In fact, the article goes on to say (due to photography practices) "our standards for what constitute “good images” still overwhelmingly favor white faces rather than black ones."

I'm writing this rather nitpicky comment because this is the top comment with rather strong wording ("no journalists bothered reporting this, but that system classified white people as 'dogs' and 'seals'"), that on another day I might have just taken on faith (especially if I'd seen it was from gwern, which I didn't at first) - I would have assumed the link contained a study, or at least images of results pages, and contained solid additional information about these results from a third party.

Comment by digital_carver on The Best Software For Every Need · 2021-09-13T19:53:18.959Z · LW · GW

I used the other Anki add-on for Incremental reading enough to be convinced of IR's potential, but unfortunately that addon has enough issues that it's not really usable for me. I've had the one you linked to installed for a while (based on many recommendations on Anki website and reddit), but I never figured out how the UI actually works. For now, SuperMemo definitely seems to have a lead when it comes to IR.

Comment by digital_carver on Better air is the easiest way not to die · 2021-04-29T19:43:55.966Z · LW · GW

As far as I know, it's just a random person on the Internet saying things that seem well thought-out and with enough research to at least serve as a good starting point. There's also a Hacker News page with critical discussion and other semi-related information, for those interested.

Comment by digital_carver on Estimating COVID cases & deaths in India over the coming months · 2021-04-25T22:50:50.010Z · LW · GW

The policy briefing file is pretty useful, a useful summary and then a bunch of neat graphs. (I've been jealous of Zvi's posts on Covid-19 in the US for quite some while, and this is probably the closest we'll get for India.) They also include comparison with other model projections from different groups at the end, which gives some other possible projections to look at.

Comment by digital_carver on Leaky Delegation: You are not a Commodity · 2021-01-25T07:37:09.661Z · LW · GW

"knowledge compilation" or "production compilation," which serves only to specialize knowledge: turning a general operation like "recall the next digit of my phone number and then say it" into a specialized one like "say 'seven.'"

This is a great concept to add to my mental vocabulary, thanks for mentioning it.

(Going off-topic from the main point of the post here.) It helps me understand, for eg., the pattern of success and failure in teaching my dad how to use a smartphone. Originally, I kept trying to directly transfer the general knowledge I had, about what to expect from mobile UIs, the dark patterns websites and apps use, etc., and found very little of it stuck. It turns out that, if I instead give him the compiled knowledge, specific to each instance - which intuitively feels like a bad way to teach things - he's able to reverse engineer a "good enough" part of the general knowledge from that, given enough examples. (Insert comparison to the success of just-give-it-lots-of-samples ML over symbolic top-down AI here.)

This concept of general uncompiled knowledge vs specific compiled action is a good tool for thinking about pedagogy and learning, applicable in many ways.

Comment by digital_carver on [U.S. specific] PPP: free money for self-employed & orgs (time-sensitive) · 2021-01-16T15:14:12.360Z · LW · GW

I didn't read the post, but thank you for saying '[U.S. specific]' right in the title. I wish this was a norm more widely across the Internet.

Comment by digital_carver on Great minds might not think alike · 2021-01-03T11:38:38.284Z · LW · GW

Related: Career advice from Scott Adams (Dilbert's creator) suggests becoming "very good (top 25%) at two or more things." (He even goes on to suggest: "At least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal. ")

Being a translator is often a natural outcome of this; when you have two or more mental spaces to pick ideas and metaphors from, it becomes easier to describe complex things in one field without resorting to jargon, using the language of a different field. Trying to be a translator can also be useful to clarify your own understanding, for this reason - you can't hide behind jargon or "common knowledge" beliefs any more, and so have to go through, clarify, and perhaps reconstruct your mental models for what you're trying to translate.

Comment by digital_carver on Give it a google · 2020-12-30T18:32:22.516Z · LW · GW

An addendum to this, perhaps as a next level, is to give it a non-google search.

  • DuckDuckGo helps me avoid the SEO-driven spammy results more easily than with Google, which is particularly apparent when searching about products, or terms that could be construed as product-related. My hypothesis is that the SEOptimizers have learnt the specifics of what Google's algorithm looks for and so have refined techniques to get their less-deserving clients rise to the top, and (thankfully) those techniques don't work with whatever alternate algorithms DDG uses. (To be clear, it's not a strict "DDG is always better than Google" thing, rather that they're surprisingly good at complementing each other, one being good when the other gives weak results.)

  • Million short is useful when I'm searching for something that's had a lot of media attention, but I want to avoid the mainstream media pieces on it. It excludes the top 100/1000/.../million websites on the Internet (as ranked by Alexa) from its results, which is sometimes exactly what you want.

For the sake of completion, some other alternate search engines are Metager , Qwant , and Mojeek (all of which claim privacy as their primary benefit). And I love me a bit of wiby when I'm feeling nostalgic about the old, simpler, 90s Internet of plain personal pages, and want to experience some of that again.

Comment by digital_carver on How Lesswrong helped me make $25K: A rational pricing strategy · 2020-12-23T07:32:23.099Z · LW · GW

But job seekers have a lot of consultants/agencies/headhunters they can turn to and I'd imagine your price mostly depends on the competition

This is true, but also often overrated, especially when it comes to individual customers. If you're selling to businesses, do consider that they'd be willing to shop around and optimize to some extent, so differences from your competitors matter a lot. Individual customers however really hate having to search around, compare options, and risk choice overload; if they've found OP as a provider of this service, they'd really prefer to be able to choose them. At this point, OP is not in equal footing with the rest of the competition, and thinking so would lose them income.

I run a similar kind of business to OP, and what I've learnt over the years is that unless your prices are outrageously higher (as in an order of magnitude or more), pricing higher than your competition doesn't significantly affect your business, and often results in higher earnings (i.e. what you lose in raw customer numbers, you more than earn back with the larger individual revenues).

Comment by digital_carver on Logistics for the 2020 online Secular Solstice* · 2020-12-09T17:27:43.867Z · LW · GW

but we will have no resource margin for properly testing anything but Chrome. (I also sort of expect that the kind of person who uses an uncommon browser will be the kind of person to try it anyway.)

I live in such a tech (especially FOSS) bubble that I feel sad faced with the reality that anything other than Chrome counts as an "uncommon browser".

(Although, checking the stats, it looks like even on desktop, Chrome's browser share is only around 65%, which isn't as monopolistically high as I expected.)

(PS: this isn't meant to be a criticism of your decision at all, to be clear.)

Comment by digital_carver on The AI Safety Game (UPDATED) · 2020-12-08T20:27:01.337Z · LW · GW

Then, you try to think of how you could save the world, given the stuff written on the cards.

Just to make it explicit, does "save the world" mean things like solve world hunger, create a true utopia, take us on an accelerated path to post-scarcity state, etc.?

Comment by digital_carver on Pain is not the unit of Effort · 2020-11-27T18:13:27.870Z · LW · GW

If anything they found escape and respite in working on their education, and having hope and a direction to work towards increased their subjective well-being.

I think there's a useful distinction to be made here between general mental state and specific moment-to-moment emotional experiences. Working on something, that gives hope and respite from a feeling of helplessness, increases overall well-being in the general sense, but doesn't fully make up for the difficulties and annoyances that crop up while doing the work day after day after day, so in the moment it's still pain that dominates their experience. (So maybe here is part of the answer to applying this advice in these situations - if what you're working on improves general life satisfaction, even if it's painful at the moment, then that's an indication that you're doing it right. Although, caveats: (A) it's often difficult in these situations to tell if your life satisfaction is improving or not, both because -49 to -45 isn't as easily felt as 2 to 6, and your life is unstable and fluctuating enough that there isn't much of a reliable base state to compare to, and (B) this is more an indication of whether you've made the right strategic decisions - right course or career path that you feel good about - whereas I think the original point of the advice, and its maximum effectiveness IMO, is regarding tactical low-level decisions.)

I agree with your final paragraph entirely. Pain isn't a reliable unit of effort beyond a point, even in these contexts. Over time, it starts growing super-linearly for linear effort.

Comment by digital_carver on What Would Advanced Social Technology Look Like? · 2020-11-26T15:00:34.457Z · LW · GW

Since we can't vote on individual suggestions, I'll mention that my vote is mainly for the "Information Indexing" idea.

Even just within science, I believe there are large advances to be made if cross-field knowledge was made more accessible. As science gets more specialised, it becomes harder to make use of useful findings from areas of research outside your own, or even to realize they exist in the first place.

And in reality the use goes far beyond scientific research, this can make a big difference to businesses, to working professionals, and in people's personal lives too.

Comment by digital_carver on What Would Advanced Social Technology Look Like? · 2020-11-26T14:44:38.031Z · LW · GW

Some way to publish a book as an excludable good. For example, you could have a movie theater, but instead of a movie screen, you have temporary access to a book. Someone watches to make sure you don't copy the book.

What's a significant difference between this and a library?

Comment by digital_carver on Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 1 · 2020-11-26T11:30:37.985Z · LW · GW

That was an enjoyable read.

I vaguely remembered seeing this title before, and a search turned up two fanfics with this title, but they're both pretty short so once this has multiple parts this one should be unambiguously the "main" one. (The more popular one has "Chamber of Innocence" instead, which is different enough to not cause confusion.)

Comment by digital_carver on Writing to think · 2020-11-25T14:27:33.601Z · LW · GW

There's elements of both for me. The central thesis or idea always develops from (mostly) nonverbal thinking, but writing helps me define its boundaries and connect it to other mental models I have.

One thing I've learnt regarding that is that, if while writing it seems like my central idea itself needs changing, it's more likely that I've just gotten lost in the weeds and need to expand my view, than that the idea itself is wrong. It's tempting to "change your mind" in the middle of writing, to feel like you're growing and learning, and but (at least for me) that's often a result of availability bias and isolated demands of rigor on myself.

Comment by digital_carver on Pain is not the unit of Effort · 2020-11-25T11:25:17.703Z · LW · GW
  1. If it hurts, you're probably doing it wrong.
  2. You're not trying your best if you're not happy.

I believed this firmly for most of my life, and still think there's some value in it, but I've learnt that this is a pretty privileged take on things. Targeted at a LW audience, it's probably true and useful to a majority, but that's because most of us (I believe) are living better lives than at least 80% of humanity, and thus fall into the truthish region of these ideas.

Most of humanity lives in uncertainty, instability, and the myriad day-to-day pains that are ultimately rooted in those. Most people don't have the privilege of sorting through multiple sources or spending time gaining enough background knowledge, such that learning something becomes the joy it should be.

When your very survival, barely holding together a family and a home, takes up 15 hours of your day, it's going to hurt if you're trying to advance yourself with education or other self-improvement, it's going to take a necessary toll on your physical and mental health. The reason "pain is the unit of effort" is such a common idea is that it was true for the majority and still is (if to a slightly lesser extent than back then, because of slowly declining poverty rates). For people in bad life situations, almost any extra effort is pain, so if you're supposed to be working and are not experiencing pain, it's a good heuristic that you're most likely avoiding actual work by some means, because that's such a tempting prospect, rather than that you've somehow cleverly worked around the pain.

The post is (likely) a good lens to evaluate your own life, and especially to leave behind baggage from previous less-privileged generations that might not apply any more, but make sure not to misapply it as a lens to view the rest of the world, to whom it likely doesn't apply and may even be counterproductive.

Comment by digital_carver on Stupid Questions October 2020 · 2020-11-08T17:40:29.805Z · LW · GW

I was subscribed to the RSS feed of all posts, but that was a bit overwhelming; so I'm now subscribed to the feed of "posts with 30 or more karma" that they provide, but I'm now finding that LW is much less interesting or useful to me - which I could have predicted, given that I'd already noticed that the karma of a post often turned out a bad indicator of how useful/interesting it would be to me. The posts I found to be the best were most often in the 5-15 karma range - but alas, there's no feed for that.

Now I'm thinking about just unsubscribing from the RSS feed and setting LW as my homepage.

Comment by digital_carver on Covid Covid Covid Covid Covid 10/29: All We Ever Talk About · 2020-11-08T07:27:21.676Z · LW · GW

Good to see a detailed examination of reinfections though - that's the kind of thing I've been hoping to see.

User Annapurna posted a webpage that tracks Covid-19 reinfections, in case you hadn't seen it.

Comment by digital_carver on Attention to snakes not fear of snakes: evolution encoding environmental knowledge in peripheral systems · 2020-10-07T19:50:20.734Z · LW · GW

humans are evolutionarily biased towards paying extra attention to things like spiders and snakes

Only tangentially related, but since the article seems to be treating the fear of snakes and that of spiders equivalently, I looked into something I'd been curious about: how widespread this supposed fear of spiders actually is. It's a common meme on the Internet that everyone is afraid of spiders, but here in India they're generally regarded as curious creatures and minor pests, not even as "scary" as cockroaches, and not at all comparable to snakes.

I looked at the Wikipedia page on cultural depictions of spiders, which said this:

The spider gained an evil reputation from the 1842 Biedermeier novella by Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider. In this allegorical tale which was adapted to various media, the spider symbolizes evil works and represents the moral consequences of making a pact with the devil.

and started forming a story in my head that it's a Western cultural thing started by this one book and proliferated into multiple media from there.

But then I came across this paper "A cross-cultural study of animal fears", which seems to be suggesting (Table 2) that India is the outlier here - Indians were "significantly less fearful than" every other country when it comes to spiders. And there's not a general East-West trend either, Holland is less fearful than Hong Kong, and Japanese are the most fearful of spiders among all tested countries. In general,

Indian subjects reported lower levels of fear to disgust-relevant animals [cockroach, spider, beetle, maggot, worm, leech, bat, wasp, lizard, rat, slug, bee, jellyfish, moth, and snail] than subjects from all other countries, while Japanese subjects reported significantly higher fear ratings to disgust animals than Indian, UK, USA, Korean and Hong Kong subjects.

I wonder if this reduced fear also translates as a corresponding lack of extra attention, or if the attention is still there, just not associated with the fear response.

Comment by digital_carver on On "Not Screwing Up Ritual Candles" · 2020-09-30T12:31:49.588Z · LW · GW

Rituals often use lots of candles.

This sentence clashed with my world model so hard I had to stop here and think. Not only because I didn't have this association between rituals and candles from my own culture, but also that I didn't know candles were so frequent in rituals elsewhere. Rituals here in India also frequently involve flame, but almost always in the form of clay or brass lamps. Candles are more of a functional, utilitarian thing, and I'd subconsciously assumed that was the case worldwide (except a few occasional events like Hanukkah).

In my mind, candles are associated with being poor - having power cuts, not being able to afford emergency backup lights, and so having to endure the slight smoke and poor light of a candle. I'd seen the Twitter conversation above previously, and imagined someone buying $3600 worth of plain white 1¢ candles - I saw it as just weird millenial humour, never did it cross my mind that someone might actually buy expensive candles and spend comparable amounts.

I don't know if I have a point, except to say it's weird to be part of a group that generally has similar interests, and then suddenly get reminded of jarring IRL differences in our lives that this medium can't - usually - convey.

Comment by digital_carver on Surviving Petrov Day · 2020-09-30T09:55:57.018Z · LW · GW

I think 'Improving the Incentives' misses the point of Petrov day. The point of Stanislav Petrov is that he made his decision despite all his personal incentives being aligned the opposite way. It was a very hard thing to do, and creating incentives to not press the button cheapens the decision and takes away the difficulty of the decision - especially when in this circumstance the incentive to press the button is already a weak one (basically just "for the lulz" as far as I can tell), much weaker than the potential dangers to his career and his country that he had to deal with.

I see this Petrov day event as a chance to think about the difficulty of getting multiple people to do the "right thing" despite having little incentive to do so, about creating an environment that nurtures and nourishes such independent decision-making, and about the fragile balance of trust. Creating explicit incentives breaks away from this difficult problem and turns it into a different, often easier one.

Comment by digital_carver on The Wiki is Dead, Long Live the Wiki! [help wanted] · 2020-09-21T06:56:54.923Z · LW · GW

Shouldn't be any confusion.

Famous last words.

(I don't think it matters enough to avoid that name, but there will certainly be small confusions, by search engines and by people familiar with that Twiki and getting into LessWrong as newcomers. I can't imagine that leading to any particular negative consequence other than some little wasted time and brainpower for those, though.)

Comment by digital_carver on Egan's Theorem? · 2020-09-21T06:43:29.822Z · LW · GW

The first paragraph reminded me of the Correspondence principle, which seems close to what you're looking for (if I'm understanding correctly). The Wikipedia article has an "Other scientific theories" section, indicating it does get used more generally than the quantum->classical correspondence Bohr had in mind (although that section doesn't have any citations unfortunately). Perhaps it's worth labeling it "General Correspondence principle" or "Generalized Correspondence principle" in practice, when using it outside of physics.

Comment by digital_carver on Objective Dog Ratings: The Shiba Inu · 2020-09-18T11:25:49.635Z · LW · GW

Shibas do not bark very much, instead preferring to emit terrible, nearly goat-like noise called a "shiba scream," which has been described as "bloodcurdling" and like the "screams of the damned."

Huh, I did not know this was a common Shiba thing. I got recommended a fun little dog channel called 'The Adventures of Mandy and Major' recently where I came across the "shiba scream", but at the time I thought it was just a weirdly pitched howl-attempt by Major. I wouldn't have thought it a breed trait (and in my rating, that would mostly be a negative). Shibas have always been at the top for me in terms of looks though, one of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world.

Rating: ★★★ (Good)

Btw, can you somehow indicate that the rating is out of three stars, in these posts? I was wondering whether this was out of four stars or five, until I went back to the original post to check.

Comment by digital_carver on (Humor) AI Alignment Critical Failure Table · 2020-09-13T07:55:02.296Z · LW · GW

The GURPSFriendlyAI page linked from the message, on the Wayback Machine:

The AI Critical Failure Table linked from there (renumbered and slightly expanded from the version in the message):

Comment by digital_carver on Anthropomorphizing Humans · 2020-08-11T05:44:09.454Z · LW · GW

Scott Adams convinced me of this idea with his writing about us being "moist robots". It simplifies a lot of things in day to day life, by the understanding it gives you of both yourself and others. 

Comment by digital_carver on Where to Start Research? · 2020-07-18T07:34:53.353Z · LW · GW

very short list of authors who’d made it onto my trust list


A pretty late question, but would you mind sharing(/linking to a previously shared copy of) this list? 

Comment by digital_carver on The Adventure: a new Utopia story · 2020-02-19T07:38:45.645Z · LW · GW

Was this post recently updated or something, or are the comment timestamps all wrong? The post says it was posted on "5th Feb 2020" (and it appeared on my RSS feed around that time), but many of the comments are from 2016.

Comment by digital_carver on Looking for books about software engineering as a field · 2020-02-17T12:22:09.452Z · LW · GW

Since nobody else seems to have mentioned it: Code Complete is probably part of the answer you're looking for, even if it's several years old by this point - the concepts you're looking to learn aren't as fleeting as the technical details that change all the time. (Although, I don't remember if even the latest edition tackles Agile methodology, so you might need a separate resource for that if it doesn't.)

Comment by digital_carver on UML VIII: Linear Predictors (2) · 2020-02-13T13:55:08.281Z · LW · GW

the distance between a point p and a set of points S is defined as inf{d(p,q)|q∈S}

Is this supposed to be min instead of inf (or am I misunderstanding the notation)?

Comment by digital_carver on 2020's Prediction Thread · 2020-01-24T11:17:26.208Z · LW · GW

India will cease to be a secular state

Do you mean formally (as in changing the wording in constitution, etc.), or by some particular pragmatic measure? I can understand where it's coming from and vaguely even agree, but I'm curious if you have any measurable indicators for this in mind.

and communal violence will become more common.

Care to put any numbers on this, for eg. number of communal incidents in a year or whatever similar measure is available?

Comment by digital_carver on 2020's Prediction Thread · 2020-01-24T11:06:20.593Z · LW · GW
  • Meditation (or, with a small likelihood, some form of it in a different name) will become even more common and widely known. Not (yet) as widely practised as bathing every day, but as widely recommended as flossing is by dentists. (85%)
  • Capital investments in Europe will grow at a faster pace than in the US. In 2019 it seems be in a 1:4 ratio ($34 billion vs $136 billion ), which will have changed to at least 1:3 (70%). (Something similar probably holds in Asia too, but I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, divide up China vs rest of Asia, etc. )
  • Vegetarianism would be more popular. Currently 8% of world population is estimated to be vegetarian (as of 2018), this would increase to at least 20% (artificial meat products, if any, count as vegetarian for this measure). (75%)
Comment by digital_carver on (Reinventing wheels) Maybe our world has become more people-shaped. · 2020-01-02T09:50:07.466Z · LW · GW

Reading this made me think of the vice versa corollary - people's brains have also evolved to be more world-shaped. That's one of the things evolution has been doing for billions of years, encoding the kinds of causal relations that exist in the world around us: from very rudimentary "light -> food (so move towards light)" to creating complex narratives that explain and explore causality.

Comment by digital_carver on How has rationalism helped you? · 2019-08-30T12:22:40.900Z · LW · GW

I thought Team Liquid might win (p = 60%). When I saw Team Secret win a minor skirmish (teamfight) against Team Liquid, I made a new prediction of "Team Secret will win (p = 75%)". However, my original guess was correct: Team Secret eventually won that game.

I think you mean "Team Liquid eventually won the game" here, since that seems to have been your original guess.

Also, it would be interesting to see how the Dota Plus win probabilities at, say 15 minutes into the match, hold up against the actual wins/losses in the games. On the one hand, it seems very difficult to have good predictions in a game like Dota where things can turn around at the drop of a hat, but on the other hand we have OpenAI Five claiming 85% win chance just at the end of the drafting phase.

Comment by digital_carver on Thoughts on Retrieving Knowledge from Neural Networks · 2019-08-30T11:19:58.309Z · LW · GW

The last paragraph about a network discovering GR before we do was enlightening. I had never considered this intersection between super(-human)intelligence and explainable AI before this.

Comment by digital_carver on Walkthrough: The Transformer Architecture [Part 2/2] · 2019-08-20T10:29:41.808Z · LW · GW

nostalgebraist's post and Part 1 of this were pretty useful, but I really appreciate the dive into the actual mathematical and architectural details of the Transformer, makes the knowledge more concrete and easier to remember.

Small errata:

  • "calculating the inner product between their keys and values" should probably be "calculating the inner product between their keys and queries" (based on what I understand from before and based on the math expressions after this)
  • "as inputted from the encoder stack" should probably be "as inputted to the encoder stack"
Comment by digital_carver on Mistake Versus Conflict Theory of Against Billionaire Philanthropy · 2019-08-20T07:10:26.613Z · LW · GW

I disagree with the post (for reasons that have mostly already been spelt out in other comments), but I've upvoted it because this is exactly the kind of reasonable dissent we need in the community.

Comment by digital_carver on Bayes' Theorem in three pictures · 2019-08-18T05:20:59.434Z · LW · GW

Another thanks for this post! At some stage I started remembering Bayes' theorem as just the formula and mentally threw out the intuitions behind it. This was a clear, to-the-point post with effective visualizations to help folks like me brush up on it easily.

Comment by digital_carver on Opting into Experimental LW Features · 2019-07-23T19:07:19.425Z · LW · GW

Rather than it being a simple checkbox to opt into the "collapse comments below 10 votes" feature, it might be better to allow the user to choose the threshold themselves. In my experience, except in specific technical topics, comments with karma above 10 are usually expressing popular opinion that is unlikely to lead to an update in my mental model. Because of that, I'm unlikely to opt into this. However, I've also found that comments at 1 karma (no votes) are also often in the same category. So being able to set the threshold at just 2 or 3 would be pretty useful, to both conserve space and also avoid skipping over potentially the most useful content.

Comment by digital_carver on STRUCTURE: A Hazardous Guide to Words · 2019-07-21T04:49:19.196Z · LW · GW

I found this part more meandering and less clear than the previous ones. It's still useful of course, but it seems to jump from topic to topic without a cohesive flow, and it's not clear if there is a central theme to follow (that's distinct from those of previous parts).

Comment by digital_carver on Arbital scrape · 2019-07-05T07:23:27.342Z · LW · GW

For the sake of us newbies, could you explain what the site was/is?

Comment by digital_carver on Two labyrinths - where would you rather be? · 2019-07-05T06:00:20.946Z · LW · GW

This is pretty interesting question with potential for self-insight. To my mind, most people living in difficult conditions treat it as a Babylonian labyrinth, as if salvation could be at the next door any moment; this is also why many people are susceptible to "get rich quick" schemes and astrological "remedies" and such - they've always known they could be next door to riches and fame and all that, and now they finally were. By contrast, those who view it as an Arabian labyrinth either succumb to learned helplessness via depressive realism, or a select few learn to enjoy the desert itself, knowing things to be out of their control.

In case it isn't obvious from the above paragraph, my choice would be for the desert labyrinth, if I had to choose. It's my belief that decision anxiety is one of the greatest sources of pain in our life; so here the choice is between having to choose every day, or once at the beginning - and crucially, the further choices in the Babylonian labyrinth are made with no additional information, so only have the cost of decision anxiety with no benefit of improving the probability of your escape. (Lest this comment get too long, I'll also mention that the desert labyrinth also brings to mind religion and people's tendency to believe in Fate or destiny.)

Comment by digital_carver on Interview with Putanumonit · 2019-05-15T08:56:40.322Z · LW · GW

Non-itunes link that doesn't require DRM:

Comment by digital_carver on StrongerByScience: a rational strength training website · 2019-05-01T05:58:25.538Z · LW · GW

I like the site, but I read the title differently and thought it was a rational-strength training website, i.e. a site to train the strength of your rationality. With increasingly difficult questions perhaps, interpretations of statistics and charts, having to make snap decisions on complex data, etc. That would be cool too!

Comment by digital_carver on Alignment Newsletter One Year Retrospective · 2019-04-16T07:40:34.727Z · LW · GW

This can be another window for feedback, asking readers to add any other relevant papers that they think are missed out from the newsletter. Then, if there are enough ones of sufficient quality, those can be linked to in the next newsletter, which acknowledgement to the commenter who posted it.

Comment by digital_carver on Alignment Newsletter One Year Retrospective · 2019-04-16T07:38:34.940Z · LW · GW

Simply including a line in the newsletter that feedback and comments are welcome can make a difference, letting people know that this is not just something for consumption but something that can be discussed upon and have opinions voiced over. Possibly more effective might be to have a "feedback week" every month, asking people to give feedback on whatever forum they are reading it on - having a specific time to give feedback is more likely to lead to action than leaving a continuously open window for it (even if the window does continue to be open at other times).