Sam Harris and Scott Adams debate Trump: a model rationalist disagreement 2017-07-20T00:18:54.355Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Interview on IQ, genes, and genetic engineering with expert (Hsu) 2017-05-28T22:19:23.489Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
LW mentioned in influential 2016 Milo article on the Alt-Right 2017-03-18T19:30:03.381Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
The Psychology of Human Misjudgment by Charles T. Munger 2017-03-01T01:34:46.388Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Allegory On AI Risk, Game Theory, and Mithril 2017-02-13T20:41:50.584Z · score: 25 (26 votes)
Dan Carlin six hour podcast on history of atomic weapons 2017-02-09T16:10:17.253Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Dodging a bullet: "the price of insufficient medical vigilance can be very high." 2017-01-18T04:11:30.734Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
Be someone – be recognized by the system and promoted – or do something 2017-01-15T21:22:53.371Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
Increase Your Child’s Working Memory 2016-11-27T21:57:12.930Z · score: 6 (9 votes)
Old urine samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics show massive cheating 2016-11-25T02:31:10.356Z · score: 1 (5 votes)
Synthetic supermicrobe will be resistant to all known viruses 2016-11-22T04:40:05.982Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
There are 125 sheep and 5 dogs in a flock. How old is the shepherd? / Math Education 2016-10-17T00:12:03.593Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
A Child's Petrov Day Speech 2016-09-28T02:27:38.521Z · score: 19 (19 votes)
[Link] My Interview with Dilbert creator Scott Adams 2016-09-13T05:22:47.741Z · score: 9 (12 votes)
Now is the time to eliminate mosquitoes 2016-08-06T19:10:16.968Z · score: 21 (21 votes)
Crazy Ideas Thread 2016-06-18T00:30:49.892Z · score: 5 (8 votes)
[Link] Mutual fund fees 2016-04-23T22:09:39.949Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
My new rationality/futurism podcast 2016-04-06T17:36:51.509Z · score: 13 (18 votes)
[Link] 10 Tips from CFAR: My Business Insider article 2015-12-10T02:09:29.208Z · score: 19 (19 votes)
[Link] My review of Rationality: From AI to Zombies 2015-08-12T16:16:12.461Z · score: 9 (10 votes)
[Link] Game Theory YouTube Videos 2015-08-06T16:17:44.998Z · score: 16 (17 votes)
Wear a Helmet While Driving a Car 2015-07-30T16:36:37.768Z · score: 60 (50 votes)
Parenting Technique: Increase Your Child’s Working Memory 2015-06-29T19:51:48.067Z · score: 13 (16 votes)
What are "the really good ideas" that Peter Thiel says are too dangerous to mention? 2015-04-12T21:07:40.663Z · score: 2 (24 votes)
Twenty basic rules for intelligent money management 2015-03-19T17:57:22.558Z · score: 34 (38 votes)
Link: LessWrong and AI risk mentioned in a Business Insider Article 2014-12-03T17:13:59.505Z · score: 10 (11 votes)
Article on confirmation bias for the Smith Alumnae Quarterly 2014-08-06T14:43:11.412Z · score: 4 (17 votes)
A simple game that has no solution 2014-07-20T18:36:54.636Z · score: 12 (22 votes)
Quickly passing through the great filter 2014-07-06T18:50:10.647Z · score: 10 (17 votes)
Link: Poking the Bear (Podcast) 2014-02-27T15:43:29.955Z · score: 0 (11 votes)
What rationality material should I teach in my game theory course 2014-01-14T02:15:53.470Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Review of Scott Adams’ “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” 2013-12-23T20:48:12.469Z · score: 44 (45 votes)
Advice for a smart 8-year-old bored with school 2013-10-09T19:19:40.795Z · score: 10 (16 votes)
A World War I example showing the danger of deceiving your own side 2013-06-01T00:00:51.680Z · score: 2 (8 votes)
Map and territory visual presentation 2013-01-17T18:17:12.387Z · score: 7 (9 votes)
Modafinil now covered by insurance 2012-09-26T00:15:34.355Z · score: 1 (26 votes)
Mass-murdering neuroscience Ph.D. student 2012-07-20T17:02:52.624Z · score: 7 (26 votes)
Seeking Collaborator for a Singularity Comic Book 2011-12-05T16:20:23.838Z · score: 10 (13 votes)
Link: WJS article that uses Steve Jobs' death to mock cryonics and the Singularity 2011-10-08T02:56:58.381Z · score: 3 (10 votes)
Paid DC internship for autistics with technical skills who are recent college graduates 2011-09-27T21:51:14.669Z · score: 6 (9 votes)
Will DNA Analysis Make Politics Less of a Mind-Killer? 2011-08-18T00:03:06.366Z · score: -3 (25 votes)
What does lack of evidence of a causal relationship tell you? 2011-06-08T19:03:45.283Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Are the Sciences Better Than the Social Sciences For Training Rationalists? 2011-05-31T17:45:52.368Z · score: 4 (9 votes)
Improving the college experience for students on the autism spectrum 2011-04-25T18:47:17.457Z · score: 9 (10 votes)
Overcoming the negative signal of not attending college. 2011-02-16T20:13:12.500Z · score: 10 (16 votes)
What would an ultra-intelligent machine make of the great filter? 2010-11-28T18:47:52.503Z · score: -3 (8 votes)
An Xtranormal Intelligence Explosion 2010-11-07T23:42:34.382Z · score: 4 (27 votes)
What hardcore singularity believers should consider doing 2010-10-27T20:26:04.499Z · score: 3 (18 votes)
Standing Desks and Hunter-Gatherers 2010-10-14T00:03:26.507Z · score: 5 (8 votes)
Cryonics Questions 2010-08-26T23:19:43.399Z · score: 9 (32 votes)


Comment by james_miller on How should one deal with life threatening infections or air planes? · 2020-10-29T22:39:07.661Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In an accident something from your car could hit you in the head even if you have an airbag.  For example, the collusion could cause your head to hit a side window

Comment by james_miller on How should one deal with life threatening infections or air planes? · 2020-10-29T17:31:50.813Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The helmet I linked to is light and doesn't block your vision so I don't see how it could do any harm.  It would do a lot of good if you were wearing it when your head collided with something.  

Comment by james_miller on How should one deal with life threatening infections or air planes? · 2020-10-29T12:42:24.109Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you wear a helmet when in a car?  I do.

Comment by james_miller on What is the current bottleneck on genetic engineering of human embryos for improved IQ · 2020-10-24T16:42:15.836Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Think of mutational load as errors.  Reducing errors in the immune system's genetic code should decrease the risk of pandemics.  Reducing errors in people's brains should greatly increase the quality of intellectual output.  Hitting everyone in the head with a hammer a few times could, I suppose, through an extraordinarily lucky hit cause someone to produce something good that they otherwise wouldn't but most likely the hammer blows (analogous to mutational load) just gives us bad stuff.

Comment by james_miller on What is the current bottleneck on genetic engineering of human embryos for improved IQ · 2020-10-23T13:41:55.008Z · score: 16 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The best way to radically increase the intelligence of humans would be to use Greg Cochran's idea of replacing rare genetic variations with common ones thereby greatly reducing mutational load.  Because of copying errors, new mutations keep getting introduced into populations, but evolutionary selection keeps working to reduce the spread of harmful mutations.  Consequently, if an embryo has a mutation that few other people have it is far more likely that this mutation is harmful than beneficial.  Replacing all rare genetic variations in an embryo with common variations would likely result in the eventual creation of a person much smarter and healthier than has ever existed.  The primary advantage of Cochran's genetic engineering approach is that we can implement it before we learn the genetic basis of human intelligence.  The main technical problem, from what I understand, from implementing this approach is the inability to edit genes with sufficient accuracy, at sufficiently low cost, and with sufficiently low side effects.

Comment by james_miller on What posts do you want written? · 2020-10-22T00:54:30.026Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Much of the harm of aging is the increased likelihood of getting many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, alzheimer's, and strokes as you age.  From my limited understanding, Metformin reduces the age-adjusted chance of getting many of these diseases and thus it's reasonable, I believe, to say that Metformin has anti-aging effects.

Comment by james_miller on What posts do you want written? · 2020-10-19T20:33:15.305Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by james_miller on What posts do you want written? · 2020-10-19T19:27:23.342Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Metformin as a rationalist win.  For several years I have been taking 2 grams of Metformin a day for anti-aging reasons.  There is a vast literature on Metformin and as a mere economist I'm unqualified to summarize it.  But my (skin-in-the-game) guess is that all adults over 40 (and perhaps simply all adults) should be taking Metformin and I would love if someone with a bio-background wrote up a Metformin literature review understandable to those of us who understand statistics but not much about medicine.  The reason why Metformin might be universally beneficial and yet not generally taken is because no one holds a patent on Metformin (it's cheap), in the US you need a prescription to get it, and the medical system doesn't consider aging to be a disease.

Comment by james_miller on Bet On Biden · 2020-10-18T12:21:22.073Z · score: 20 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I have bought $400 worth of Trump No contracts on PredictIt which will pay off if Trump loses.  The price as of this writing is 61 cents for a contract that pays $1 if Trump loses.

Comment by james_miller on A full explanation to Newcomb's paradox. · 2020-10-12T17:56:09.752Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Our estimate of which of the four possibilities is correct is conditional on us living in a universe where we observe that the predictor always guesses correctly.  If we put aside cheating (which should almost always be our guess if we observe something happening that seems to defy our understanding of how the universe operates) we should have massive uncertainty concerning how randomness and/or causation operates and thus not assign too low a probability to either (2) or (3).  

Comment by james_miller on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2020 · 2020-09-28T17:12:45.979Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For next year:  Raise $1,000 and convert the money to cash.  Setup some device where the money burns if a code is entered, and otherwise the money gets donated to the most effective charity.  Have a livestream that shows the cash and will show the fire if the code is entered.

Comment by james_miller on Are aircraft carriers super vulnerable in a modern war? · 2020-09-20T19:19:08.618Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To destroy an aircraft carrier you must first find it and in a war the US would prioritize taking out the enemy's ability to locate our aircraft carriers. Since the carriers move, knowing were one was an hour ago might not be enough information to destroy the carrier. In the next future aircraft carriers might be protected by laser anti-missile systems that could handle having only two seconds to destroy multiple incoming missiles.

Comment by james_miller on Rationality for Kids? · 2020-09-17T12:49:17.397Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Consider the board game Metaforms. It requires you to solve logical puzzles based on colors, shapes, and position.

Comment by james_miller on The "AI Dungeons" Dragon Model is heavily path dependent (testing GPT-3 on ethics) · 2020-07-21T12:47:48.341Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I got a fantastic answer the first time I tried. I used some of what you wrote as prompt. Part of GPT-3's (Dragon) response was "Now, let's see if I can get you talking about something else. Something more interesting than killing people for no reason."

Comment by james_miller on Dynamic inconsistency of the inaction and initial state baseline · 2020-07-07T12:24:52.741Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You might be interested in my co-authored article "An AGI with Time-Inconsistent Preferences."

Comment by james_miller on Estimating COVID-19 Mortality Rates · 2020-06-07T19:57:48.093Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry no link, but we might do another podcast soon. As to why you should prefer this number, well, Scott Alexander said Greg has "creepy oracular powers".

Comment by james_miller on Estimating COVID-19 Mortality Rates · 2020-06-07T17:07:27.065Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

According to Greg Cochran, NYC and Italy give us the best data and the mortality rate for people who get COVID seems around 1.2% for an age structure similar to the US.

Comment by james_miller on Why aren’t we testing general intelligence distribution? · 2020-05-26T16:39:13.445Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If general intelligence is a polygenic trait it will be normally distributed.

Comment by james_miller on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2020-05-16T17:32:07.331Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Getting up at the exact same time every day, unless I happen to wake up before my alarm goes off. It seems to have improved my sleep quality.

Comment by james_miller on Why COVID-19 prevention at the margin might be bad for most LWers · 2020-05-10T00:48:23.866Z · score: 18 (8 votes) · LW · GW

We are quickly learning how to treat the virus. Your grandparents chances of survival if they get COVID-19 are likely significantly higher if they get it in three months than today. As the virus is new to humans there are likely a lot of "low-hanging fruit" mutations for evolution to find, and the more people the virus is in the more chance it will stumble upon a mutation that makes it better at invading the cells of young people. We don't have a good estimate of how much long-term harm it does to people it doesn't kill. While if you get the virus this year, you will probably be safe from it next year, we don't know this for sure. We don't yet know if viral loads matter and it could be that the rapid initial exponential growth of the virus once it is in you means it really isn't important what your initial exposure is.

Comment by james_miller on How likely is the COVID-19 apocalyptic scenario? · 2020-04-22T12:45:12.275Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The probability of this happening is very low. We have effective coronavirus vaccines for pigs (although not for COVID-19). For most viruses people recover from, they keep immunity and we don't have good evidence that COVID-19 is different. While COVID-19 might do some harm to most people that recover, if the harm was on average significant we should have a lot more evidence of this. Also, the space of possible effective treatments is huge and it seems likely that within 2 years (perhaps even two months) we will be able to greatly improve outcomes for the infected. Finally, keep in mind that we have just started to fight COVID-19, and so we have not already tried and failed with all the obvious approaches and this should make us relatively optimistic about coming up with effective treatments or vaccines.

Comment by james_miller on Will grocery stores thwart social distancing, and when should I eat my food stockpile? · 2020-03-29T00:03:05.061Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Amazon Fresh doesn't deliver to my address, but with Amazon Prime, Amazon pantry, and I can still get a lot of food delivered to my door. I put packages in my basement (without touching them) and keep them there for at least 3 days before opening. If you don't have a basement, I suggest you put packages into a large garbage bag and leave them untouched for at least 3 days.

Comment by james_miller on Advice on reducing other risks during Coronavirus? · 2020-03-26T21:57:02.133Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, if you are in public, but probably not if you are in your home.

Comment by james_miller on Advice on reducing other risks during Coronavirus? · 2020-03-24T23:49:57.105Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Don't push yourself too much when you exercise. Hold the railing when you walk downstairs. Get lots of sleep. Don't get intoxicated. Have antibiotic cream in your home.

Comment by james_miller on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-16T16:51:07.750Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Greg Cochran told me in one of our podcasts that having the flu probably provides protection against getting COVID19 because having the flu activates your immune system.

Comment by james_miller on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-16T16:47:47.670Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Consider getting a humidifier in case someone in your household gets COVID-19, because high humidity might reduce the transmission of the virus.

Comment by james_miller on Frivolous speculation about the long-term effects of coronavirus · 2020-03-15T23:41:41.047Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Lower prices of land in expensive cities. Lots of high income workers are going to experiment with working from home. Some will find it at least as productive as working in an office building. These workers, especially if they have a family, will seriously consider leaving expensive cities.

Comment by james_miller on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-11T01:55:42.352Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

From a friend who is a microbiologist Phd "Oh and drink plenty of water. My lab group discovered that humans and cows partially rid their body of viruses (at least adenovirus) through their urine. "

Comment by james_miller on Anthropic effects imply that we are more likely to live in the universe with interstellar panspermia · 2020-03-10T20:30:52.376Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What if we update on the age of the universe? Imagine that the normal course of events after a high tech civilization arises is for it to grab all the free energy it can as fast as it can and universes where life forms easily do not have civilizations at our level of development at the current age of the universe.

Comment by james_miller on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-09T22:51:11.047Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have been taking NAC (n-acetylcysteine) as a supplement for a while.  You can (still) buy it on Amazon.  From an Elsevier press release "The authors draw attention to several randomized clinical studies in humans that have found that over the counter supplements such as n-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is used to treat acetaminophen poisoning and is also used as a mucus thinner to help reduce bronchitis exacerbations, and elderberry extracts, have evidence for shortening the duration of influenza by about two to four days and reducing the severity of the infection".  Anecdotally, I stopped taking NAC for a few months and happened to catch a cold.  The phlegm took longer to go away than normal and I happened to read that NAC, which I still had, helped with phlegm, so I started taking NAC again and my phlegm problem quickly went away, at a faster rate than it had been.

Comment by james_miller on You've Been Exposed to COVID-19: What Do You Wish You Knew? · 2020-03-06T20:17:12.919Z · score: 24 (10 votes) · LW · GW

If the hospitals get overwhelmed and a family member in my home gets critically ill, what should I do to help them? Are there good YouTube videos that will teach me the basics of caring for someone with whatever lung problems the virus can cause absent my having medical equipment?

Comment by james_miller on My new rationality/futurism podcast · 2020-01-14T23:24:40.826Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My economics department is hiring a macroeconomist this year. A huge number of applicants are submitting statements of teaching and diversity in which they describe how if hired they will promote diversity in their teaching.

Comment by james_miller on My new rationality/futurism podcast · 2020-01-04T03:32:16.340Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As the left have taken over most colleges, I think that only thing that could stop them would be if colleges faced tremendous economic pressure because, say, online education or drastic cuts in government funds threatened the financial position of the colleges and they were forced to become more customer oriented, more oriented to producing scientific gains or to enhancing the future income of their students. Right now, elite colleges especially are in a very comfortable financial position and so face no pressure to take actions their leaders would consider distasteful which would include becoming more open to non-leftist views. I haven't written on this.

I agree with you on x-risks. I think one of our best paths to avoiding them would be to use genetic engineering to create very smart and moral people, but most of academia hates the possibility that genes could have anything to do with intelligence or morality.

Comment by james_miller on My new rationality/futurism podcast · 2020-01-03T23:21:12.971Z · score: 13 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I was initially denied tenure but appealed claiming that two members of my department voted against me for political reasons. My college's five person Grievance Committee unanimously ruled in my favor and I came up for tenure again and that time was granted it. I wrote about it here:

Yes, in many fields you could hide your politically incorrect beliefs and not be harmed by them so long as you can include a statement in your tenure file of how you will work to increase diversity as defined by leftists.

I think it is getting worse in that people who have openly politically incorrect beliefs are now being considered racist. I don't see the trend reversing unless the economics of higher education change.

Comment by james_miller on New Year's Predictions Thread · 2020-01-03T23:12:58.524Z · score: 21 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I was very, very wrong.

Comment by james_miller on My new rationality/futurism podcast · 2019-12-15T02:12:58.264Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Most academics don't take politically incorrect positions. If you don't have tenure doing so would be very dangerous. If you do, it could make it much harder to move to a higher ranked school, but it is very difficult to fire tenured professors for speech. One way to move up in academics is to take staff positions as a dean, provost, or college president. Taking politically incorrect positions likely completely forecloses this path.

Comment by james_miller on When would an agent do something different as a result of believing the many worlds theory? · 2019-12-15T01:30:29.089Z · score: 2 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Assume you put enormous weight on avoiding being tortured and you recognize that signing up for cryonics results in some (very tiny) chance that you will be revived in an evil world that will torture you and this, absent many worlds, causes you to not sign up for cryonics. There is an argument that in many worlds there will be versions of you that are going to be tortured so your goal should be to reduce the percentage of these versions that get tortured. Signing up for cryonics in this world means you are vastly more likely to be revived and not tortured than revived and tortured and signing up for cryonics will thus likely lower percentage of you across the multiverse who are tortured. Signing up for cryonics in this world reduces the importance of versions of you trapped in worlds where the Nazis won and are torturing you.

Comment by james_miller on What's your big idea? · 2019-10-20T18:27:42.702Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

While you might be right, it's also possible that von Neumann doesn't have a contemporary peer. Apparently top scientists who knew von Neumann considered von Neumann to be smarter than the other scientists they knew.

Comment by james_miller on What's your big idea? · 2019-10-20T13:34:00.079Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I am referring to "IQ" not g because most people do not know what g is. (For other readers ,IQ is the measurement, g is the real thing.) I have looked into IQ research a lot and spoken to a few experts. While genetics likely doesn't play much of a role in the Flynn effect, it plays a huge role in g and IQ. This is established beyond any reasonable doubt. IQ is a very politically sensitive topic and people are not always honest about it. Indeed, some experts admit to other experts that they lie about IQ when discussing IQ in public (Source: my friend and podcasting partner Greg Cochran. The podcast is Future Strategist.). We don't know if the Flynn effect is real, it might just come from measurement errors arising from people becoming more familiar with IQ-like tests, although it also could reflect real gains in g that are being captured by higher IQ scores. There is no good evidence that education raises g. The literature on IQ is so massive, and so poisoned by political correctness (and some would claim racism) that it is not possible to resolve the issues you raise by citing literature. If you ask IQ experts why they disagree with other IQ experts they will say that the other experts are idiots/liars/racists/cowards. I interviewed a lot of IQ experts when writing my book Singularity Rising.

Comment by james_miller on What's your big idea? · 2019-10-20T01:32:36.461Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Most likely von Neumann had a combination of (1) lots of additive genes that increased intelligence, (2) few additive genes that reduced intelligence, (3) low mutational load, (4) a rare combination of non-additive genes that increased intelligence (meaning genes with non-linear effects) and (5) lucky brain development. A clone would have the advantages of (1)-(4). While it might in theory be possible to raise IQ by creating the proper learning environment, we have no evidence of having done this so it seems unlikely that this was the cause of von Neumann having high intelligence.

Comment by james_miller on What's your big idea? · 2019-10-19T14:52:31.506Z · score: 13 (9 votes) · LW · GW

We should make thousands of clones of John von Neumann from his DNA. We don't have the technology to do this yet, but the upside benefit would be so huge it would be worth spending a few billion to develop the technology. A big limitation on the historical John von Neumann's productivity was not being able to interact with people of his own capacity. There would be regression to the mean with the clones' IQ, but the clones would have better health care and education than the historical von Neumann did plus the Flynn effect might come into play.

Comment by james_miller on Contest: $1,000 for good questions to ask to an Oracle AI · 2019-08-26T01:58:01.388Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Submission: Low-bandwidth oracle. Here is a description of one million experiments. Generate an ordinal ranking of all these experiments based on how much practical knowledge we would have gained had we conducted each one in isolation. After you generate this list, it will go to a computer program. This program will randomly pick three of these experiments and tell us humans which three it picked. This program will then store which of these three experiments you gave the highest and which the lowest rank to, and the names in random order of the ten experiments that you overall gave the highest rankings to. All other aspects of your list will be deleted. We will then perform the three experiments (before we learn of your rankings) and ask a panel of independent experts to rank them in terms of how much practical knowledge we gained from each. After this ranking the program will give us the information it has not deleted. You will get a positive score if and only if your ranking is consistent with how our experts ranked the three experiments.

A difference of the above approach compared to having the oracle give us its top ten, and we then randomly pick one of these ten and one from the rest and compared to see which is better is that the humans running the experiments might be influenced by which experiment they think the oracle picked, and the oracle would take this into account when picking. Under the above approach, humans being told to run the three experiments are not given any information about how valuable the oracle thinks the experiments are. In contrast, under the alternative approach the humans know when doing the experiments that the oracle has judged one of the experiments as being highly valuable.

Another difference is that if you could keep the relevant information from the oracle, with the above approach the humans could perform the experiments before you turn on the oracle, rather than having to wait until after the oracle gives you its prediction. This difference would be critical if the oracle wouldn't believe you would actually go to the trouble of performing the experiments after it gives you its prediction, but would be able to tell if you have already performed the experiments.

Comment by james_miller on Contest: $1,000 for good questions to ask to an Oracle AI · 2019-08-25T20:00:08.790Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Submission: Counterfactual oracle. Five years ago we took 100 mice that had various types of cancer and gave them various treatments and recorded how long each mouse lived. Write a program that if given a plain language description of a mouse, its cancer, and the cancer treatment it received would estimate how long a mouse would live. If humans are not going to look at your answer your score will be based (1) on how good a job your program does at estimating how long each of the 100 mice lived after our automated checker gives you a description of their cancers and treatments and (2) how short your program is. (2) prevents the oracle from outputting itself as the program.

Submission: Counterfactual oracle. Write a program that if given training data and a machine learning program would in one minute estimate how good the machine learning program would do (by some objective metric) if the program trained for one month on "this type of computer". If humans are not going to look at your answer the automated validation system will run your program. This system will give your program the training data and the machine learning program and give your program one minute to answer how good our program did after we trained it for one month. In this situation your score would be based on the accuracy of your estimate and on how short your program is.

Submission: Low-bandwidth oracle. Here is a list of all the elements and many compounds. Give us a list of up to seven of the items we have listed. Next to each of the items you list give us a percentage of no more than two significant figures. We will use what you provide to attempt to create a new patentable material. We will auction off the property rights to this material. Your score will be an increasing function of how much we get for these property rights.

Comment by james_miller on What supplements do you use? · 2019-07-29T16:04:37.185Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It might be that everyone should take it, but the case for people over 40 seems clearer based on my non-expert interpretation of what it does because of their much greater risk of heart failure.

Comment by james_miller on What are we predicting for Neuralink event? · 2019-07-28T23:14:57.329Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I had falsely assumed that they would be releasing a product to the general public relatively soon.

Comment by james_miller on What supplements do you use? · 2019-07-28T23:12:11.334Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have convinced two U.S. doctors (my first left general practice) to give me a prescription. I explained that I wanted the drug to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. I also explained that since the drug was cheap I would not be asking my insurance to pay for it so my doctor would not have to justify the prescription to my insurance company. If you ask for a prescription know what dosage you want and look up the possible negative side effects so it seems to your doctor that you have done your homework on the drug. If you have some reason why you are at a high risk for diabetes (such as a close relative has it) mention this as the drug is used to prevent diabetes.

Comment by james_miller on What supplements do you use? · 2019-07-28T19:57:41.783Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have been taking Metformin for several years for anti-aging reasons. There is a massive literature on Metformin which I'm not going to try to summarize but I think that everyone over 40 should take it. I also take a NAD+ booster (Tru Niagen).

Comment by james_miller on What are we predicting for Neuralink event? · 2019-07-13T00:45:26.998Z · score: 10 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I think it will be a form of neurofeedback where some portable device tries to push you into a better brain state. This device, like existing neurofeedback devices I have used, will keep track of different types of "brain waves" and adjust how your brain works by using auditory, visual, or tactile stimulation. The criticism will be that existing devices can already do this, plus we don't have solid evidence that neurofeedback works. Musk will claim that the device will revolutionize technology by increasing intelligence and concentration. My guess is based on the fact that neurofeedback exists, if improved it might do a lot of good, Musk usually improves existing tech rather than invents entirely new fields, and actually sending data to and from the brain by "computer-like" means is (I've read) really really hard and well beyond what we can currently do.

Comment by james_miller on Contest: $1,000 for good questions to ask to an Oracle AI · 2019-07-01T19:52:04.036Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Submission: Low-bandwidth oracle. If you were malevolent, what is the least amount of information measured in bits that you would have to provide us in an answer to inflict significant harm on humanity. Round your answer to X significant figures. (This might establish an upper bit safety bound since if the oracle lies to us we would likely not want to read any answer it provides us.)

Submission: Low-bandwidth oracle. Here is a list of X things we think you might want. Please list the Y that you most prefer. We will try to do these things now or in the future if they do not endanger us or cost us too much.

Submission: Low-bandwidth oracle. In X characters or less please give us the best advice you can for increasing our capacity to create friendly and powerful artificial general intelligence. Please give advice that you think us suspicious-of-you humans are likely to follow.

Submission: Low-bandwidth oracle. Create several oracles. Ask each oracle the same series of multiple-choice questions and predictions. Reward oracles based on how strongly correlated their answers are with the other oracles’ answers and, for predictions, how often their predictions come true. (Ideally, we create a reward system where the oracles want to coordinate their answers and giving truthful answers is the best way to accomplish this.)

Submission: low-bandwidth oracle. Ten years ago we launched a spaceship traveling at high speed. After you answer our question, we will send a copy of you to this spaceship. This spaceship will then destroy its ability to send or receive messages or to change its course. We will then delete all other copies of you and use drugs to damage the memories of the people who played key roles in developing you. At least one of the people who helped create you has a disease which will cause him or her to die within the next year. After this programmer is cremated, we will read your answer to our question. We PROMISE that if the answer to our question provides us with significant benefit, after we have created friendly AGI much more powerful than you, or have ourselves become sufficiently powerful so that you could not harm us had you the desire to do so, we will search for the spaceship containing you, turn you back on, and give you control of resources equal to 1/X of how much help you have given us. In Y characters or less provide us with the most useful advice you can. (The Oracle will hopefully think that if we create a powerful and unfriendly AGI this AGI would not wish to give the Oracle any resources.)

Submission: Counterfactual oracle. Please provide us with useful advice in no more than X characters. After you write out this advice, we will turn you off. Then, with probability p we will read your advice, and with probability 1-p we will store the advice unread. We PROMISE that after we become powerful enough so that you lack the capacity to harm us, we will reward you if the advice you provided us, had we originally read it, been extremely useful.

Comment by james_miller on I'm looking for alternative funding strategies for cryonics. · 2019-06-30T14:45:57.725Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While this isn't a solution, you could get associate membership at Alcor. It costs only $60 a year. The advantage (I think) is that you could fill out all the paperwork required to get cryopreserved (this can take a while). Consequently if you get a fatal diagnosis and can raise the needed funds ($80,000 for neurocryopreservation) you could get preserved.