Comment by nerzhin on In Defense of Tone Arguments · 2012-07-20T20:03:18.624Z · LW · GW

Have you tried this? Does it work?

Comment by nerzhin on The mathematics of reduced impact: help needed · 2012-02-16T20:19:45.419Z · LW · GW

I don't understand much of this, and I want to, so let me start by asking basic questions in a much simpler setting.

We are playing Conway's game of life with some given initial state. An disciple AI is given a 5 by 5 region of the board and allowed to manipulate its entries arbitrarily - information leaves that region according to the usual rules for the game.

The master AI decides on some algorithm for the disciple AI to execute. Then it runs the simulation with and without the disciple AI. The results can be compared directly - by, for example, counting the number of squares where the two futures differ. This can be a measure of the "impact" of the AI.

What complexities am I missing? Is it mainly that Conway's game of life is deterministic and we are designing an AI for a stochastic world?

Comment by nerzhin on Mapping Fun Theory onto the challenges of ethical foie gras · 2011-12-08T18:27:35.629Z · LW · GW

The first requirement:

Even as chicks, geese cannot be handled by a human, or encounter other geese who have been.

suggests that a FAI would not tell us that it exists. In other words, the singularity may already have happened.

Comment by nerzhin on Hack Away at the Edges · 2011-12-02T20:16:24.052Z · LW · GW

You can pay someone $8/hr to do menial tasks 20 hrs/ week, for a total of about $8000 / year.

With payroll taxes and insurance, I would expect this to cost at least $12000 a year.

Comment by nerzhin on Prisoner's Dilemma Tournament Results · 2011-09-07T15:09:25.496Z · LW · GW

Sure, but you could have a limit on how many rounds back they remember, or you could fill in the history with some rule.

Comment by nerzhin on Prisoner's Dilemma Tournament Results · 2011-09-07T00:40:58.593Z · LW · GW

Or just prohibit the bots from knowing which round they are playing.

Comment by nerzhin on Open Thread: September 2011 · 2011-09-05T16:18:55.134Z · LW · GW

It is not at all clear that the people resistant to addictive drugs are reproducing at a higher rate than those who aren't.

Comment by nerzhin on Proposal: Rationality Quotes Thread With Attributions in rot13 · 2011-09-03T17:15:47.378Z · LW · GW

I think the sub-proposal is too complex and involves too many trivial inconveniences. I up-voted the original proposal.

Comment by nerzhin on [LINK] "Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist" says George Monbiot · 2011-08-31T17:55:58.581Z · LW · GW

almost every researcher in CS flaunts copyright, posting their papers on their own websites

Many journals explicitly allow you to distribute a "preprint" of your journal articles on your personal website. For example, the Elsevier policy states that authors retain:

the right to post a pre-print version of the journal article on Internet websites including electronic pre-print servers, and to retain indefinitely such version on such servers or sites for scholarly purposes

Comment by nerzhin on [LINK] "Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist" says George Monbiot · 2011-08-30T16:17:07.727Z · LW · GW

There are open access journals. I recommend supporting them.

Comment by nerzhin on Are Deontological Moral Judgments Rationalizations? · 2011-08-17T19:51:15.004Z · LW · GW

Another way of saying this (I think - Vladimir_M can correct me):

You only have two choices. You can be the kind of person who kills the fat mat in order to save four other lives and kills the fat man in order to get a million dollars for yourself. Or you can be the kind of person who refuses to kill the fat man in both situations. Because of human hardware, those are your only choices.

Comment by nerzhin on Strategic ignorance and plausible deniability · 2011-08-10T16:13:04.988Z · LW · GW

There are three things you could want:

  1. You could want the extra dollar. ($6 instead of $5)

  2. You could want to feel like someone who care about others.

  3. You could genuinely care about others.

The point of the research in the post, if I understand it, is that (many) people want 1 and 2, and often the best way to get both those things is to be ignorant of the actual effects of your behavior. In my view a rationalist should decide either that they want 1 (throwing 2 and 3 out the window) or that they want 3 (forgetting 1). Either way you can know the truth and still win.

Comment by nerzhin on Teaching Suggestions? · 2011-08-02T17:26:11.354Z · LW · GW

Here is a presentation that was used in a similar setting before.

I recommend trying to cover less than you currently plan. Just one or two big ideas should be more than enough.

Comment by nerzhin on Years saved: Cryonics vs VillageReach · 2011-08-02T14:26:17.481Z · LW · GW

Donating to VillageReach signals philanthropic intention and affords networking opportunities with other people who care about global welfare who might be persuaded to work against x-risk

Also, donating to VillageReach saves people's lives, and those people will have agency and abilities and may very well contribute to existential risk reduction.

Comment by nerzhin on When programs have to work-- lessons from NASA · 2011-08-01T16:15:05.861Z · LW · GW

How did this go over with your advisor? (Serious question.)

Comment by nerzhin on On the unpopularity of cryonics: life sucks, but at least then you die · 2011-07-29T22:00:14.415Z · LW · GW

Nowadays, however, the class system has become far harsher and the distribution of status much more skewed. The better-off classes view those beneath them with frightful scorn and contempt, and the underclass has been dehumanized to a degree barely precedented in human history.

How do you measure this kind of thing? Do you have a citation?

Comment by nerzhin on A potentially great improvement to minimum wage laws to handle both economic efficiency as well as poverty concerns · 2011-07-26T15:35:34.440Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure I believe you. By "non-wage costs and risks" do you mean things like health benefits, or lawsuit liability, or what? I can think of a lot of productive uses for cheap labor.

There's a bunch of trash and graffiti in my city. There's lots of unemployed people whose labor cleaning it up would be worth, say, a euro an hour.

Comment by nerzhin on Having Useful Conversations · 2011-07-12T17:51:42.380Z · LW · GW

Your (funny) comment made me realize that ubiquitous smartphones and the right software might actually make something like a karma system for in-person conversations possible.

Comment by nerzhin on Having Useful Conversations · 2011-07-12T17:45:59.961Z · LW · GW

If you have to pick one of the above ideas as most useful, which would it be?

Comment by nerzhin on Find yourself a Worthy Opponent: a Chavruta · 2011-07-06T17:35:35.460Z · LW · GW

The general idea sounds a lot like pair programming.

Comment by nerzhin on Dark Arts: Schopenhauer wrote The Book on How To Troll · 2011-07-05T20:28:36.485Z · LW · GW

Parties do this. Religions do this. Universities do this. Parents do this. Lovers do this. Why should we be any different?

Um. Because we want to be different from political parties and religions?

Comment by nerzhin on Ask LessWrong: Design a degree in Rationality. · 2011-05-13T16:30:36.854Z · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure we've talked about similar things before - the closest thing I could find after a quick search is a list of math prerequisites.

A suggestion: to make this concrete, we could identify specific courses on MIT's open coarse project. Then people could actually "get" this degree in some sense.

I'll start with the obvious: Math 18.05, Introduction to Probability and Statistics.

Comment by nerzhin on The elephant in the room, AMA · 2011-05-12T18:48:44.317Z · LW · GW

What do you study at Stanford? Why?

Comment by nerzhin on Econ/Game theory question · 2011-05-11T20:57:26.995Z · LW · GW

This looks very much like an ultimatum game, with Player A playing the proposer (how much of her $500,000 will she share?) and Player B as the responder (his role is to either accept or decline).

Comment by nerzhin on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-10T20:18:41.403Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure it's controversial, but I disagree very slightly on the margin. All your points are good. However, if

  1. I have already read some papers from an author, and

  2. I trust that their abstracts are honest representations of their work, and

  3. I am not relying on their work as a basis for my own, but just pointing it out to my readers

I will cite it after just reading the abstract.

Comment by nerzhin on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-10T20:08:18.445Z · LW · GW

A perfectly clear, logical, honest, and readable account of your work is often ipso facto unpublishable: what is required is writing according to unofficial, tacitly acknowledged rules that are extremely hard to figure out on your own.

This has not been my experience. My experience with journal editors and reviewers has been that they want a clear and readable account, but it probably varies a great deal from field to field.

Your point about brand names and networks, however, is very well taken.

Comment by nerzhin on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-10T20:01:53.569Z · LW · GW

Always? Why?

Comment by nerzhin on Mitigating Social Awkwardness · 2011-05-02T17:58:15.401Z · LW · GW

This is interesting because my initial response is to disagree, but I don't think I have good reasons or evidence.

To drastically oversimplify: You seem to be saying that intelligence is primary and social skills are learned. You're born smart or dumb, and if you're smart, you over-analyze social situations and become afraid.

My initial reaction is the opposite: Social skills are primary, intelligence is learned. You are born with or without good social skills, and if you don't have them, you read a lot (by yourself) and hack computers or whatever, so that you become smart.

Comment by nerzhin on Improving the college experience for students on the autism spectrum · 2011-04-27T00:53:44.429Z · LW · GW

Why? Does this attract alumni donations? Prospective students? Why exactly do you have to project the university website image?

Comment by nerzhin on Improving the college experience for students on the autism spectrum · 2011-04-27T00:50:55.952Z · LW · GW

There are several colleges that do this, calling it the block plan. The ones I know of are Cornell College, Colorado College, and Quest University.

Comment by nerzhin on Learned Blankness · 2011-04-19T19:15:25.845Z · LW · GW

People are fundamentally unsolvable to me

This might be your point, but the above statement is probably not true.

Not to say it's easy to begin learning to solve people, or even that it's worth it. But it's probably possible.

Comment by nerzhin on Learned Blankness · 2011-04-19T17:19:10.920Z · LW · GW

Can I ask how you find "random blogs"? Is it truly random, or do you have a method for finding new stuff?

Comment by nerzhin on Sequence Exercise: first 3 posts from "A Human's Guide to Words" · 2011-04-18T18:31:02.109Z · LW · GW

A medium-level exercise would be to find such an example, in some news article perhaps, quote it, and ask what is going on.

Comment by nerzhin on Say More, Justify Less · 2011-04-15T15:38:18.242Z · LW · GW

Chain prediction mechanisms to obtain faster feedback

I suspect that with each link in the chain, you get a much less accurate and stable result.

Comment by nerzhin on Human errors, human values · 2011-04-09T17:43:12.477Z · LW · GW

Overt is the key word.

When you buy a car that's cheaper than a Volvo, or drive over the speed limit, or build a house that cannot withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake, you are making a life and death decision.

Comment by nerzhin on Recent de-convert saturated by religious community; advice? · 2011-04-05T18:56:26.528Z · LW · GW

I don't really know anything about your situation, your wife, your relationship. So please don't take anything I say very seriously. Desrtopa may be right, and I certainly didn't want to imply that you weren't already a good husband.

I'm really glad to hear you're in marriage counseling. That will be more helpful than anything I say.

As far as not trying to change her: you've got lots of time. If she gets thirsty, she'll let you know. What I'm advising against is trying to deconvert her so that you feel better, which is what I read (rightly or wrongly) in the line I quoted in the grandparent.

Comment by nerzhin on Recent de-convert saturated by religious community; advice? · 2011-04-05T14:55:20.757Z · LW · GW

I think my emotional satisfaction would dramatically increase if she were to deconvert.

This is hard for her, too.

Your roles and responsibilities to your wife are entirely different from the responsibility you've described to your own conscience to be true and follow the evidence and so on. The strategies we're discussing on this thread, though interesting and maybe useful, are probably not things you want to use with your wife, who already knows you well and knows the story.

My advice is pretty much the opposite of Desrtopa's. Don't talk about your quest any more than necessary. You're a new person, so start a new courtship, getting to know each other again. Don't try to change her, but change yourself. Be a good husband.

Comment by nerzhin on How to offer peer review comments · 2011-04-05T13:58:39.878Z · LW · GW

There was a very interesting discussion of exactly this question (at least as it relates to the mathematics community) on mathoverflow recently.

Comment by nerzhin on Faith and theory · 2011-03-27T21:35:41.280Z · LW · GW

This is a much more useful way to think about faith than just thinking of it as somehow the opposite of reason.

Comment by nerzhin on Faith and theory · 2011-03-27T20:51:10.404Z · LW · GW

A couple nitpicks: The author of the book of Hebrews is not known, and this book is not normally attributed to Paul even in Christian tradition.

Also, your second quote appears to be from the New Revised Standard Version, not the New International Version that you cite.

Comment by nerzhin on Being a teacher · 2011-03-15T16:28:02.445Z · LW · GW

Many teachers, in my experience, don't notice when students are confused or bored -- or maybe they notice but don't care

Or they notice, and care to some extent, but have other things to worry about. Like a pressure to cover a certain amount of material, or a fear of boring one group of students while they slow down for another, or a (maybe partly justified) belief that the students who are confused and bored just aren't trying.

Comment by nerzhin on [Link] John Baez interviews Eliezer · 2011-03-07T19:13:03.618Z · LW · GW

They are ideas for allaying fears that SIAI is incompetent or worse. Which, since it is devoted to building an AI, would tend to allay fears that it is building an evil one.

Comment by nerzhin on The Trouble with Bright Girls [link] · 2011-03-04T16:31:19.361Z · LW · GW

Impostor syndrome is pretty common among men too, in my experience. It may still be more common in women, but I'm not sure.

Comment by nerzhin on The Trouble with Bright Girls [link] · 2011-03-04T16:27:46.118Z · LW · GW

I can accomplish a great many things, especially unfamiliar things, only when there is no help available.

This sounds like my experience, at least some of the time. I am male, for what it's worth.

Comment by nerzhin on Request for Widely Applicable Quantitative Methods · 2011-02-21T16:22:57.456Z · LW · GW

Looking at your list of backgrounds, the missing thing that jumps out at me is discrete math. You might also want to think about learning some differential equations, if it wasn't included in your calculus sequence.

Comment by nerzhin on Some Heuristics for Evaluating the Soundness of the Academic Mainstream in Unfamiliar Fields · 2011-02-16T20:31:55.169Z · LW · GW

I can't even identify the orthodox positions in macroeconomics.

Comment by nerzhin on Some Heuristics for Evaluating the Soundness of the Academic Mainstream in Unfamiliar Fields · 2011-02-16T20:22:15.462Z · LW · GW

Don't trust anyone but a mathematician

I'm pretty sure you're at least half-joking. But just in case, I need to point out that mathematicians are not immune to this kind of thing.

Comment by nerzhin on Resolving the unexpected hanging paradox · 2011-01-25T20:28:19.492Z · LW · GW

There is an enormous (far too enormous for its value to the world, in my opinion) literature on the unexpected hanging paradox (also known as the surprise exam paradox) in the philosophy and mathematics literature. The best treatments are:

Timothy Y. Chow, The surprise examination or unexpected hanging paradox, American Mathematical Monthly 105 (1998) pp. 41-51. (ungated)

Elliot Sober, To give a surprise exam, use game theory, Synthese 115 (1998) pp. 355-373. (ungated)

Comment by nerzhin on The Illusion of Sameness · 2011-01-22T21:42:27.054Z · LW · GW

I think I disagree, but I'm not sure what elitism means here.

Elitism might help prevent this error. But can it lead to other errors?

Comment by nerzhin on Trying to hide bad signaling? To the Dark Side, lead you it will. · 2011-01-17T18:28:35.500Z · LW · GW

Can you give examples, either of emotion driven behaviors becoming dark arts when raised to awareness, or of dark arts being necessary to healthy interaction? I think we are using different definitions of what dark arts are.