Comment by Martin-2 on When (Not) To Use Probabilities · 2017-04-08T06:51:39.753Z · LW · GW

Good question. I didn't have an answer right away. I think it's useful because it gives structure to the act of updating beliefs. When I encounter evidence for some H I immediately know to estimate P(E|H) and P(E|~H) and I know that this ratio alone determines the direction and degree of the update. Even if the numbers are vague and ad hoc this structure precludes a lot of clever arguing I could be doing, leads to productive lines of inquiry, and is immensely helpful for modeling my disagreement with others. Before reading LW I could have told you, if asked, that P(H), P(E|H), and P(E|~H) were worth considering; but becoming acutely aware that these are THE three quantities I need, no more and no less, has made a huge difference in my thinking for the better (not to sound dogmatic; I'll use different paradigms when I think they're more appropriate e.g. when doing math).

Comment by Martin-2 on What's up with Arbital? · 2017-03-29T22:04:53.487Z · LW · GW

What were some specific ideas you had for "solving debates"? I was hoping Arbital would take the debate around a given topic and organize it into a tree. You start with an assertion that branches into supporting and opposing arguments, then those branch into rebuttals, then those branch into counter-rebuttals, etc.

Comment by Martin-2 on When (Not) To Use Probabilities · 2015-08-06T08:27:23.617Z · LW · GW

One of my favorite lessons from Bayesianism is that the task of calculating the probability of an event can be broken down into simpler calculations, so that even if you have no basis for assigning a number to P(H) you might still have success estimating the likelihood ratio.

Comment by Martin-2 on No, Seriously. Just Try It. · 2015-03-11T14:52:07.190Z · LW · GW

In the spirit of OP, since there's no guaranteed way to overcome this form of social anxiety and the afflictee will need to try many things to see what works for them, listening to a good evpsych story is as good a thing to try as any.

Comment by Martin-2 on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-11-12T07:02:15.239Z · LW · GW


Comment by Martin-2 on Probability puzzles · 2014-08-12T01:04:55.803Z · LW · GW

This post is not evidence for that lesson. When OP's puzzle is stated as intended it indeed has a wonderful and strange answer. The meta-puzzle: "Are these two puzzles essentially the same?" referring to the puzzle as intended and as presented also has a wonderful and strange answer; in fact, John Baez and maybe all of his commenters have been getting it wrong for several years. Our intuition is imperfect, and whether the puzzles you come across tend to use this fact or just trick you with sneaky framing depends on where you get your puzzles.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes April 2014 · 2014-04-18T01:32:36.213Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure how much to trust these meta-meta analyses. If only someone would aggregate them and test their accuracy against a control.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes March 2014 · 2014-03-10T19:18:54.301Z · LW · GW

I can't do anything on purpose.

  • Professor Utonium, realizing he has a problem
Comment by Martin-2 on Dark Arts of Rationality · 2014-02-14T14:50:22.533Z · LW · GW

Also, since cars are now quite integrated with computers this person might have lots of fun stealing them. And if ze watches Breaking Bad there's a whole lot of inspiration there for intellectuals looking to turn to a life of blue-collar crime.

Maybe I should be steel-manning Locaha's argument but my point is I don't think the limits of this sort of self-mod are well understood, so it's premature to declare which mods are or aren't "real world".

Comment by Martin-2 on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-27T01:19:45.024Z · LW · GW

I'm a musician if that's any hint.

Comment by Martin-2 on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-26T20:23:03.138Z · LW · GW

Done. I hate to get karma without posting something insightful, so here's a song about how we didn't land on the moon.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-06T05:13:16.778Z · LW · GW

One of the penalties for participating in politics is that your superiors end up being governed by their inferiors.

Comment by Martin-2 on The 50 Shades of Grey Book Club · 2013-08-29T14:04:07.540Z · LW · GW

I believe that is the point of the exercise.

Comment by Martin-2 on Scientific misconduct misdiagnosed because of scientific misconduct · 2013-08-06T14:31:22.669Z · LW · GW

Further reading suggests Gould is not representative of scientists. My confidence has gone back down.

Comment by Martin-2 on Scientific misconduct misdiagnosed because of scientific misconduct · 2013-08-06T14:00:35.119Z · LW · GW

''unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth''

Somehow this post has actually increased my confidence in Gould's claim here.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-03T09:14:00.293Z · LW · GW

Maybe, since arguments have component parts that can be individually right or wrong; or maybe not, since chains of reasoning rely on every single link; or maybe, since my argument improves (along with my beliefs) as I toss out and replace the old one.

Come to think of it, if "trees grow roots most strongly when wind blows through them" because the trees with weak roots can't survive in those conditions then this would make a very bad metaphor for people.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-03T08:25:13.696Z · LW · GW

If this quote were about people improving through adversity I wouldn't have posted it (I also read that article). But I think it's true for arguments. The last sentence does a better job of fitting the character than illuminating the point so I could have left it out.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-02T20:58:57.361Z · LW · GW

Elayne blinked in shock. “You would have actually done it? Just… left us alone? To fight?”

"Some argued for it," Haman said.

“I myself took that position,” the woman said. “I made the argument, though I did not truly believe it was right.”

“What?” Loial asked [...] “But why did you-“

“An argument must have opposition if it is to prove itself, my son,” she said. “One who argues truly learns the depth of his commitment through adversity. Did you not learn that trees grow roots most strongly when wind blows through them?”

Covril, The Wheel of Time

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-01T22:19:17.653Z · LW · GW

It is not July. It is August.

Comment by Martin-2 on My Bayesian Enlightenment · 2013-07-17T23:36:12.920Z · LW · GW

Keep in mind this is a hypothetical character behaving in an unrealistic and contrived manner. If she doesn't heed social norms or effective communication strategies then there's nothing we can infer from those considerations.

Comment by Martin-2 on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-17T00:53:21.914Z · LW · GW

it seems to me that almost every "The AI is an unfriendly failure" story begin with "The Humans are wasting too many resources, which I can more efficiently use for something else."

Really? I think the one I see most is "I am supposed to make humans happy, but they fight with each other and make themselves unhappy, so I must kill/enslave all of them". At least in Hollywood. You may be looking in more interesting places.

Per your AI, does it have an obvious incentive to help people below the median energy level?

Comment by Martin-2 on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-16T04:33:24.993Z · LW · GW

Here is some verse about steelmanning I wrote to the tune of Keelhauled. Compliments, complaints, and improvements are welcome.


Steelman that shoddy argument

Mend its faults so they can't be seen

Help that bastard make more sense

A reformulation to see what they mean

Comment by Martin-2 on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-07-15T18:12:25.799Z · LW · GW

Steven Landsburg at TBQ has posted a seemingly elementary probability puzzle that has us all scratching our heads! I'll be ignominiously giving Eliezer's explanation of Bayes' Theorem another read, and in the mean time I invite all you Bayes-warriors to come and leave your comments.

Comment by Martin-2 on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-07-09T23:03:07.465Z · LW · GW

At least a few months.

Comment by Martin-2 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-09T21:39:28.465Z · LW · GW

I took "Harry's parents come to Hogwarts" as a completely insane move

I did too at first, but when Harry reads the follow-up letter from his father we see that it turned out for the best.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes July 2013 · 2013-07-09T03:32:12.095Z · LW · GW

I like the premise. Last month's Douglas Hofstadter quote comes to mind. Some problems:

At some point, a young person asks you how some simple loops of electrical signals can engender music and conversations... you insist that your science is about to crack that problem at any moment.

Why would I insist this? I don't even know how the electrical signals (the what?!) change the volume. I just know how to make the wires change the volume, and I know how to make them change the music too.

You would conclude that somehow the right configuration of wires engenders classical music and intelligent conversation. You would not realize that you’re missing an enormous piece of the puzzle.

Some inquisitive Bushman I turned out to be. This is still a very magical radio.

Also, I think a clever Bushman could figure out that the radio is transmitting sounds from somewhere else. It is the reality after all so there are clues. He hears a person talking when no one's there; the circuitry is too simple to write symphonies and simulate most human discussion; the radio doesn't work in caves...

Comment by Martin-2 on The Mystery of the Haunted Rationalist · 2013-06-17T17:54:26.010Z · LW · GW

2) Ask myself what I would differentially expect to observe if ghosts existed or didn't, and look for those things

The tricky part about this is establishing how much weird stuff you'd expect to see in the absence of ghosts. There will always be unexplained phenomena, but how many is too many?

Comment by Martin-2 on Tiling Agents for Self-Modifying AI (OPFAI #2) · 2013-06-06T15:32:57.556Z · LW · GW

"...need to make billions of sequential self-modifications when humans don't need to" to do what? Exist, maximize utility, complete an assignment, fulfill a desire...? Some of those might be better termed as "wants" than "needs" but that info is just as important in predicting behavior.

Comment by Martin-2 on Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence · 2013-05-31T19:54:36.377Z · LW · GW

based upon the expectation set upon the observance of subsequent facts, at some later date, ~A could also end up being evidence for B

Here's a contradiction with A and ~A both being evidence for the same thing. You could tell your spouse "Go up and check if little Timmy went to bed". Before ze comes back you already have an estimate of how likely Timmy is to go to bed on time (your prior belief). But then your spouse, who was too tired to climb the stairs, comes back and tells you "Little Timmy may or may not have gone to bed". Now, if both of those possibilities would be evidence of Timmy's staying up late then you should update your belief accordingly. But how can you do that without receiving any new information?

Comment by Martin-2 on Being Foreign and Being Sane · 2013-05-28T05:19:51.476Z · LW · GW

Or, if one of the kids is Eliezer Yudkowsky, you can write Maxwell's equations and say "simple", then write a program simulating Thor and say "not simple".

Comment by Martin-2 on Could Robots Take All Our Jobs?: A Philosophical Perspective · 2013-05-26T17:40:21.551Z · LW · GW

Finally, Lucas implicitly assumes that if the mind is a formal systems, then our “seeing” a statement to be true involves the statement being proved in that formal system.

To me this seems like the crux of the issue (in fact, I perceive it to be the crux of the issue, so QED). Of course there are LW posts like Your Intuitions are not Magic, but surely a computer could output something like "arithmetic is probably consistent for the following reasons..." instead of a formal proof attempt if asked the right question.

Comment by Martin-2 on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2013-03-17T18:02:40.792Z · LW · GW

Upvoted; new vocabulary.

Comment by Martin-2 on The Allais Paradox · 2013-03-07T00:32:33.701Z · LW · GW

do the rest of you actually find the choice of 1A clearly intuitive?

I chose 1B. I seem to be an outlier in that I chose 1B and 2B and did no arithmetic.

Comment by Martin-2 on Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization · 2013-03-04T00:14:38.285Z · LW · GW

that's why grocery stores design their floor layouts so that you can't help but notice the delicious rows of candy bars while you're trapped in the checkout line. no escape!

In theory your escape would be a competing supermarket that hides their candy bars to attract your business.

Comment by Martin-2 on Semantic Stopsigns · 2013-02-28T07:25:37.045Z · LW · GW

The number of upvotes indicates popularity, not quality. I just upvoted Doug's comment but that doesn't mean I think it's 8 times better than josh's comment.

Comment by Martin-2 on Bayes' Theorem Illustrated (My Way) · 2013-02-14T04:32:33.204Z · LW · GW

Although it's late, I'd like to say that XiXiDu's approach deserves more credit and I think it would have helped me back when I didn't understand this problem. Eliezer's Bayes' Theorem post cites the percentage of doctors who get the breast cancer problem right when it's presented in different but mathematically equivalent forms. The doctors (and I) had an easier time when the problem was presented with quantities (100 out of 10,000 women) than with explicit probabilities (1% of women).

Likewise, thinking about a large number of trials can make the notion of probability easier to visualize in the Monty Hall problem. That's because running those trials and counting your winnings looks like something. The percent chance of winning once does not look like anything. Introducing the competitor was also a great touch since now the cars I don't win are easy to visualize too; that smug bastard has them!

Or you know what? Maybe none of that visualization stuff mattered. Maybe the key sentence is "[Candidate] A always stays with his first choice". If you commit to a certain door then you might as well wear a blindfold from that point forward. Then Monty can open all 3 doors if he likes and it won't bring your chances any closer to 1/2.

Comment by Martin-2 on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-14T00:58:04.121Z · LW · GW

Suppose I believe strongly that violent crime rates are soaring in my country (Canada), largely because I hear people talking about "crime being on the rise" all the time, and because I hear about murders on the news. I did not reason myself into this position, in other words.

It looks to me like you arrived at this position via weighing the available evidence. In other words, you reasoned yourself into it. Upon second reading I see you don't have a base rate for the amount of violent crime on the news in peaceful countries, and you derived a high absolute level from a high[er than you'd like] rate of change. But you've shown a willingness to reason, even if you reasoned poorly (as poorly as me when I'm not careful. Scary!) So I think jooyus' quote survives.

Comment by Martin-2 on Cult impressions of Less Wrong/Singularity Institute · 2012-10-21T07:33:28.787Z · LW · GW

Eliezer (who appears to only have a single name, like Prince or Jesus)

Mr. Jesus H. Christ is a bad example. Also there's this.

Comment by Martin-2 on Why Don't People Help Others More? · 2012-08-16T20:11:10.369Z · LW · GW

I presume Rokia was able to buy a hybrid and some prime real estate after all this.