The Value of Uncertainty Reduction - references to academic literature appreciated 2014-04-29T13:51:04.437Z
Seeking examples of people smarter than me who got hung up 2013-01-13T16:40:31.028Z
Test your forecasting ability, contribute to the science of human judgment 2012-05-05T15:07:45.655Z
Software for Critical Thinking, Prof. Geoff Cumming 2011-03-30T17:13:07.976Z


Comment by MichaelBishop on Covid 9/24: Until Morale Improves · 2020-09-28T13:42:35.193Z · LW · GW

Researchers should 1) survey participants regarding their possible exposure risks, and 2) ask them whether they think they got the placebo, and with what degree of confidence. Adjusting for these should reduce the problem.

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem · 2020-07-05T20:17:21.375Z · LW · GW

This postmortem is so impressive. Someone should collect all the pandemic related postmortems. I'd be particularly interested in those written by people in the field (broadly construed).

Comment by MichaelBishop on Hammer and Mask - Wide spread use of reusable particle filtering masks as a SARS-CoV-2 eradication strategy · 2020-04-20T16:07:19.193Z · LW · GW

Note: the CDC now recommends public mask-wearing, even DIY cloth masks, (reversing their previous advice):

Please promote #Masks4All wherever you can:

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Hammer and the Mask - A call to action · 2020-04-20T15:46:10.477Z · LW · GW

Is this more (or less) comfortable than cloth masks? I support any/all masks but my inclination is to focus on whatever we can get people to adopt. I doubt I'm doing what I can, including tweeting #Masks4All once per day

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Hammer and the Mask - A call to action · 2020-04-20T14:21:51.979Z · LW · GW

You have experience wearing a mask like above and are telling us it's awful to wear more than 30 minutes?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-16T14:09:07.457Z · LW · GW

Is there any reason to worry copper tape might be less effective than the copper used in experiments? (I haven't read methods to see if they describe the source of the copper) For example, a lot of copper is designed to be resistant to oxidation - does that matter?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-11T15:02:19.767Z · LW · GW

[UPDATED, thanks to various people who caught errors in V1 and pointed out V2] New NIH study of COVID half-life in aerosol or on surfaces V1 with errors: , V2 hopefully error free: (H/T @AndyBioTech)

2.4-5.11 hours on copper, in contrast to 10.5-16.1 on steel or 13-19.2 on plastic

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Value of Uncertainty Reduction - references to academic literature appreciated · 2014-04-30T13:16:23.581Z · LW · GW

What does it mean for a probability not to be well defined in this context? I mean, I think I share the intuition, but I'm not really comfortable with it either. Doesn't it seem strange that a probability could be well defined until I start learning more about it and trying to change it? How little do I have to care about the probability before it becomes well defined again?

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Value of Uncertainty Reduction - references to academic literature appreciated · 2014-04-29T21:22:43.506Z · LW · GW

+1 and many thanks for wading into this with me... I've been working all day and I'm still at work so can't necessarily respond in full...

I agree that these problems are a lot simpler if reducing my uncertainty about X cannot help me affect X. This is not a minor class of problems. I'd love to have better information for a lot of problems in this class. That said, many of the problems that it seems most worthwhile for me to spend my time and money reducing my uncertainty about are of the type where I have a non-trivial role in how they play out. Assuming I do have some causal power over X, I think I'd pay a lot more to know the "equilibrium" probability of X after I've digested the information the oracle gave me - anything else seems like stale information... but learning that equilibrium probability seems weird as well. If I'm surprised by what the oracle says, then I imagine I'd ask myself questions like: how am I likely to react in regard to this information... what was the probability before I knew this information such that the current probability is what it is... It feels like I'm losing freedom... to what extent is the experience of uncertainty tied to the experience of freedom?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Test your forecasting ability, contribute to the science of human judgment · 2012-05-05T20:18:22.430Z · LW · GW

hmmm, I guess I missed that. Should I remove this post?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-29T15:04:44.341Z · LW · GW

Economist Jeff Ely recently blogged an interesting example of a slippery slope.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2012-03-28T17:38:57.646Z · LW · GW

Woh, I did allow myself to misread/misremember your initial comment a bit so I'll dial it back slightly. The fact that even at the highest levels IQ is still positively correlated to income is important, and its what I would have expected, so the overall story does not undermine my support for the hypothesis that at the highest IQ levels, higher IQ individuals produce more positive externalities. I apologize for getting a bit sloppy there.

I would guess that if you had data from people with the same job description at the same company the correlation between IQ, patents, and income would be even higher.

Comment by MichaelBishop on 6 Tips for Productive Arguments · 2012-03-28T17:07:13.322Z · LW · GW

I wonder whether there's a correlation between depression and being conflict averse. I would guess that there is, and I'm sure there has been at least some academic study of it. This doesn't really address the issue, but its related.

I also think that keeping a blog or writing in odd corners of the internet may be associated with, possibly even caused by, depression.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2012-03-28T17:00:28.729Z · LW · GW

Let me put it this way. Before considering the Terman data on patents you presented, I already thought IQ would be positively correlated with producing positive externalities and that there was a mostly one way causal link from the former to the latter. I expected the correlation between patents and IQ. What was new to me was the lack of correlation between IQ and income, and the lack of correlation between patents and income. Correction added: there was actually a fairly strong correlation between IQ and income, just not between income and patents, (conditional on IQ I think). Surely more productive industrial researchers are generally paid more. Many firms even give explicit bonuses on a per patent basis. So for me, given my priors, the Terman data you presented shifts me slightly against correction: does not shift me for or against the hypothesis that at the highest IQ levels, higher IQ individuals continues to be associated with producing more positive externalities. ref Still, I think increasing people's IQ, even the already gifted, probably has strong positive externalities unless the method for increasing it also has surprising (to me) side-effects.

I agree that measuring open-source contributions requires more than merely counting lines of code written. But I did want to highlight the fact that the patent system is explicitly designed to increase the private returns for a given innovation. I don't think that there is a strong correlation between the companies/industries which are patenting the most, and the companies/industries, which are benefiting the world the most.

Comment by MichaelBishop on 6 Tips for Productive Arguments · 2012-03-28T16:11:14.572Z · LW · GW

It seems someone should link up "Why and How to Debate Charitably." I can't find a copy of the original because the author has taken it down. Here is a discussion of it on LW.. Here are my bulleted summary quotes. ADDED: Original essay I've just learned, and am very saddened to hear, that the author, Chris, committed suicide some time ago.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2012-03-28T15:44:11.265Z · LW · GW

On its own, I don't consider this strong evidence for the greater productivity of the IQ elite. If they were contributions to open-source projects, that would be one thing. But people doing work that generates patents which don't lead to higher income - that raises some questions for me. Is it possible that extremely high IQ is associated with a tendency to become "addicted" to a game like patenting? Added: I think Gwern and I agree more than many people might think reading this comment.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread: February 2010, part 2 · 2012-03-28T14:50:35.262Z · LW · GW

I used cryonics as example because komponisto used it before me. I intended my question to be more general. "If you're trying to market LW, or ideas commonly discussed here, then which celebrities and opinion-leaders should you focus on?"

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread: February 2010, part 2 · 2011-11-02T20:28:06.930Z · LW · GW

Sure, convince those you love. I was asking who you should try to convince if your goal is convincing someone who will themselves convince a lot of other people.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread: February 2010, part 2 · 2011-11-02T16:29:36.706Z · LW · GW

Convincing Dawkins would be a great strategy for promoting cryonics... who else should the community focus on convincing?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Calibrate your self-assessments · 2011-10-10T20:05:12.739Z · LW · GW

broken link on "usually correlate"?

Comment by MichaelBishop on What Direct Instruction is · 2011-09-22T23:42:21.616Z · LW · GW

Project Follow Through, the study most frequently cited as proving the benefits of Direct Instruction is far from perfect. Neither classrooms nor schools, were randomly assigned to curricula. Its not clear how students ended up in treatment vs. comparison groups but it probably happened differently in different communities. See for a bunch of info and more references.

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Physiology of Willpower · 2010-10-20T20:19:04.989Z · LW · GW

Claims that the extent to which will power is exhaustible depends on one's belief about it's exhaustibility:

Comment by MichaelBishop on Experts vs. parents · 2010-10-02T16:55:09.347Z · LW · GW

We should feel good about the fact that some biases of different research designs will cancel each other out, while bad about our inability to weight each study optimally.

Comment by MichaelBishop on What Intelligence Tests Miss: The psychology of rational thought · 2010-07-13T16:33:18.671Z · LW · GW

I take it Stanovich is doing a lot of experiments where he controls for IQ, or compares performance within and across IQ groups. Here is my concern... there is always measurement error, and the more error in his measure of IQ, the more it will appear he's measuring something distinct from IQ which he terms "rationality."

That said, I also agree that IQ, and G, are often reified. The point is, I'm not sure Stanovich has succeeded in carving cognition skills at their joints, but I don't have anything better to offer.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread: July 2010 · 2010-07-04T05:01:17.243Z · LW · GW

Andrew Gelman & Cosma Shalizi - Philosophy and the Practice of Bayesian Statistics arXiv

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Rational Education · 2010-06-26T21:59:09.826Z · LW · GW

I don't think we should push too hard on the dichotomy of boy vs. man. I would emphasize that there is individual variation in how well men they can perform/achieve masculinity in their sub-culture. Women face the issue as well.

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Rational Education · 2010-06-25T21:33:08.880Z · LW · GW

For many people, their gender is an incredibly important aspect of their identity. One can think of a given subculture as having an ideal performance of masculinity. Men and women both respect that ideal. Certain occupations have been traditionally seen as very good ways of achieving that ideal. If women enter into such an occupation, the occupation is no longer seen as validating mens' manly virtues.

I oppose sex-discrimination in hiring, but there is no denying that this is a very serious loss for some men. Eventually, norms and ideals evolve in a way which allows men to continue to have their masculinity validated, and/or de-emphasizes gender as a component of one's identity, but this is a slow process. Moreover, with any change in values, there will always be winners and losers.

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Rational Education · 2010-06-25T16:06:44.156Z · LW · GW

If you want to be on the cutting edge scientifically, you need to plan on a graduate degree. Find people doing the sort of research you are interested in and ask them for advice. Better yet, try to get a job in their lab. You'll have to get very specialized and the biggest discoveries will probably be using a different approach than whatever approach you're attempting. But hey, that's life, its honorable to give it a shot.

If you're more interested in the business, legal, or public policy, and/or education issues, then the hard science education probably isn't so important.

Bottom line: I suggest you say much more about the careers that interest you.

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Rational Education · 2010-06-24T15:37:13.672Z · LW · GW

You say almost nothing about long-term career goals, which most people would determine what credentials are most useful, which is many, if not most, people's primary motivation for earning a university degree.

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Rational Education · 2010-06-23T20:39:40.966Z · LW · GW

So you want to do an undergraduate degree but you don't care about earning a helpful credential and you'll attend lectures but not listen to them.

...and I thought I had unusual tastes.

Comment by MichaelBishop on A Rational Education · 2010-06-23T13:37:08.309Z · LW · GW

I plan on devoting very little time studying outside of formal lectures. (This will mean careful use of my time during lectures and all that I know on optimal learning techniques. My philosophy has always been that you either need to attend or you need to study but never both! (Perhaps I should add in IQ and say 'pick two').

Personally, I learn faster studying on my own than by listening to 90% of lectures. I would think this would be especially true for a) classes at the undergraduate level and b) classes where I'm not concerned about my grade so much as I'm concerned about learning what I think is interesting/important.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice · 2010-06-21T16:20:28.095Z · LW · GW

If I had to choose a single piece of evidence off of which to argue that the rationality assumption of neoclassical economics is totally, irretrievably incorrect...

Since this is framed as a hypothetical, its not clear exactly what your thoughts are on the subject, but I always encourage people to ask whether a model aids our thinking, or hinders it, rather then whether it is correct or incorrect.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-20T16:30:45.255Z · LW · GW

care to explain why we should expect sensitivity to initial conditions to matter in the particular example being discussed here?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-17T21:49:20.217Z · LW · GW

I agree that GDP is imperfect. If it were easy to perfect then it would have been done already. Should more resources be devoted to the issue? Probably. I support the use of multiple measures of wealth and well-being. But I do think that when GDP goes up, that usually indicates good things are happening. Other indicators usually track it.

I'm not trying to deny you've noticed a problem, I just think that you're overstating it because even though GDP is imperfect, there is still a lot to be learned from empirical research that uses it.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-17T21:42:13.106Z · LW · GW

We were asked a sort of odd question which was which apartment choice would help the economy when not taking into account the individuals preferences about apartments. Those preferences in fact dominate the overall effect on the economy. I wouldn't recommend anyone personally attempting Keynesian stimulus.

Increasing the amount of money changing hands only helps in certain circumstances, and even then it is not necessarily the dominant effect.

What about the examples of intelligent stimulus I offered?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-17T17:11:30.459Z · LW · GW

I recommend going to an econ textbook for good questions.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-17T16:55:55.840Z · LW · GW

I'm a sociologist*, and there is nothing sociologists like to do more than point out where economists go wrong. So if GDP was a worthless figure, I expect the real world entanglement that one of my fellow sociologists would have convinced me of that already.

I'm not saying economists never overinterpret GDP figures, and I'm not saying the consensus of macroeconomists is always correct.

Though I think we might both be better served by quitting conversation and reading actual experts (I don't claim to be one) I would like to make sure we're on the same page about the implications of your criticism. Are you not saying that it is essentially worthless to attempt to study economic growth or business cycles empirically because the data is so poor?

*if you can be one without having completed your dissertation yet.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-17T16:36:39.914Z · LW · GW

I agree that both a) and b) would have a similar effect in that the widget manufacturer puts to work resources (labor, machines) which would otherwise not be utilized. I wouldn't recommend either a) or b) because there are many more efficient ways to stimulate the economy. One that my father, who happens to be an economist, has promoted is a temporary tax credit for new hires. More detail. If there are some roads you were going to build a couple years from now, speeding up that investment is probably a good idea in an economic downturn. I'm not defending legislation that actually got passed... I try not to pay too much attention.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-16T14:11:41.765Z · LW · GW

To be clear, you are suggesting we might not lose anything by giving up measuring and using GDP figures? I'll side with the majority of the economics profession... they aren't perfect but they mostly use GDP data in a reasonable way.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-15T16:33:02.605Z · LW · GW

This is a good point. What happens in this individual case would be dominated by random facts about the individuals directly involved. If you imagine the same situation repeated many times, 100 should be plenty, the randomness cancels out.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-15T16:23:47.265Z · LW · GW

Never once has it occurred to anyone in the mainstream (and very few outside of the mainstream) that it's okay for people to produce less, consume less, and have more leisure.

  1. Really? Because I hear economists talk about the value of leisure time quite frequently.
  2. IMO, most economists don't fetishize GDP the way you suggest they do.
  3. You seem to be denying the benefits of Keynesian stimulus in a downturn. That position is not indefensible, but you're not defending it, you're just claiming it.
Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-15T16:09:04.572Z · LW · GW

It is certainly true that some people make too much of GDP, but those numbers can be pretty helpful for answering certain research questions. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-15T03:30:39.202Z · LW · GW

Of course, gdp only measures goods and services sold, not "household production."

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-15T03:30:32.318Z · LW · GW

I think that a majority of economists agree that in many downturns, it helps the economy if people, on the margin, spend a little more. This justifies Keynesian stimulus. Therefore, the economy would be helped if your choice increases the total amount of money changing hands, presumably if you rent the apartment for $X when X>Y. My impression is that in good economic times, marginal spending is not considered to improve economic welfare.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-14T22:15:03.810Z · LW · GW

There is other information you want to consider. Tax rates for example, and whether or not the economy is in the sort of downturn that would benefit from stimulus or not.

Regardless, the effects on aggregate supply and demand will be tiny. How much you and your parents value these alternatives is what matters most.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-14T16:22:40.374Z · LW · GW

I'd like to share introductory level posts as widely as possible. There are only three with this tag. Can people nominate more of these posts, perhaps messaging the author to encourage them to tag their post "introduction."

We should link to, stumble on, etc. accessible posts as much as possible. The sequences are great, but intimidating for many people.

Added: Are there more refined tags we'd like to use to indicate who the articles are appropriate for?

Comment by MichaelBishop on Open Thread June 2010, Part 3 · 2010-06-14T15:44:53.008Z · LW · GW

Whole Brain Emulation: The Logical Endpoint of Neuroinformatics? (google techtalk by Anders Sandberg)

I assume someone has already linked to this but I didn't see it so I figured I'd post it.

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Tragedy of the Social Epistemology Commons · 2010-05-21T15:41:17.044Z · LW · GW

However, although the comfort that we experience (in the developed world) due to our modern technology is very much a product of the analytic-rational paradigm, that comfort is given roughly equally to everyone and is certainly not given preferentially to the kind of person who most contributed causally to it happening, i.e. to scientists, engineers and great thinkers.

How much have scientists and engineers contributed to our standard of living? Probably a good amount, but why do we have scientists and engineers? My impression is that our current high standard of living is due to the fact that most people are rational, in certain domain specific ways. Namely, they adopt better tools when given the opportunity. They specialize and trade. It seems quite possible that ambitious entrepreneurs, rather than thoughtful rationalists deserve the most credit for past progress.

Comment by MichaelBishop on Chicago Meetup · 2010-05-21T14:47:30.335Z · LW · GW

One vote for the south side (Hyde Park). Is there a meetup or google group? Any way of communicating with other Chicagoans?

Comment by MichaelBishop on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-16T16:36:28.917Z · LW · GW

the "totally missing out" link goes to the wrong place... should go here: