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So was the launch code really 000000?
A fun lesson on the scientific method: A few days ago, OpenAI announced a rollout of "Advanced Voice Mode". Confused by the messaging, I ran a test to see if their phone app could respond to an interruption:
Nisan: Can you count to 10, and then I'll interrupt you in the middle and see how that works.
ChatGPT 4o: Sure! I'll start counting now: One, two, three, four, fiv—
Nisan: Stop. Interruption.
ChatGPT 4o: How'd the interruption go?
Nisan: Oh, that went great. You stopped at five.
ChatGPT 4o: Awesome! Glad it worked smoothly. Do you want to try another test or experiment?
Nisan: Yeah, let's do another interruption test. This time, please count to 20.
ChatGPT 4o: Got it! Starting now: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirt—
Nisan: Stop. Interruption.
ChatGPT 4o: How was that?
Nisan: Wow. [Thinks: It seemed to stop slightly before I interrupted it!]
ChatGPT 4o: Glad that impressed you! Want to try something else?
Nisan: Uh, hold on.
ChatGPT 4o: Take your time!
Nisan: [Generates a random number.] Okay, please count to 30, and I'll interrupt at a random point.
ChatGPT 4o: Alright, starting now: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen—
[Nisan interrupts at some point, I forgot exactly where.]
ChatGPT 4o: —sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twentyone, twentytwo, twentythree, twentyfour, twentyfive, twentysix, twentyseven, twentyeight, twentynine, thirty. Looks like I made it to the end! Did you mean to interrupt somewhere?
Nisan: Yeah, I did. It must not have worked. Let's try that again. [Generates a random number.] Please count up to 30.
ChatGPT 4o: No problem, let's try again! Starting now: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen—
[Nisan interrupts at some point.]
ChatGPT 4o: —sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twentyone, twentytwo, twentythree, twentyfour, twentyfiv— Did it work this time?
Nisan: Uh, no.
I believe ChatGPT can't hear me when it's talking. But it correctly guessed when I would interrupt on the first two trials!
The coin flip is a brilliant piece of technology for generating trustworthy random noise:
 Making a twoheaded coin is forgery, which is a crime.
 Such trick coins can be foiled anyways by calling the toss in the air.
Thus when teaching the concept of a Bernoulli variable, we use the example of coin flips, because everyone already knows what they are. This is unfortunate because the very next concept we introduce is a biased Bernoulli variable, which corresponds to a "weighted" coin. But weighted coins don't exist! If it were practical to manufacture trick coins with arbitrary biases, coin flipping wouldn't be as popular as it is.
If there was a consensus among the 8 as to which tuning is better, that would be significant, right? Since the chance of that is 1/128 if they can't tell the difference. You can even get p < 0.05 with one dissenter if you use a onetailed test (which is maybe dubious). Of course we don't know what the data look like, so I'm just being pedantic here.
Progress towards a robotic piano tuner: Entropy piano tuner attempts to accommodate "variations in string thickness, stretching, corrosion, dents, the harp flexing", etc. by minimizing the entropy of the power spectrum. Using it should be better than mindlessly tuning to a digital guitar tuner.
According to the website, professional pianists still prefer a humantuned piano, but no one else can tell the difference. And the general opinion on piano tuner message boards seems to be that it's not quite good enough to replace a professional tuner's judgment.
This post is wrong. Thanks to SymplecticMan for the thought experiment demonstrating that a mixture of ideal gases follows a law rather than my proposed law. (It's also different from Newton's law.)
I made a pretty but unjustified assumption — that a cooling baking sheet can be modeled as a dynamical system where each possible transition is equally likely and in which heat is transferred in fixed quanta, one at a time. This contradicted Newton's law, and I got excited when I realized that Newton's law was merely a firstorder approximation.
My mistake was not noticing that Newton's law is a firstorder approximation to any model of cooling where heat transfer increases with temperature difference, so I had not observed any reason to favor my model over any other.
In penance I have acquired a copy of NonEquilibrium Thermodynamics by de Groot and Mazur, with the intention of eventually reading it.
This is the perfect time to start an AI + education project. AI today is not quite reliable enough to be a trustworthy teacher; and in the near future generic AI assistants will likely be smart enough to teach anything well (if they want to).
In the meantime, Eureka Labs faces an interesting alignment problem: Can they ensure that their AI teachers teach only true things? It will be tempting to make teachers that only seem to teach well. I hope they figure out how to navigate that!
On 20180409, OpenAI said^{[1]}:
OpenAI’s mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) [...] benefits all of humanity.
In contrast, in 2023, OpenAI said^{[2]}:
[...] OpenAI’s mission: to build artificial general intelligence (AGI) that is safe and benefits all of humanity.
This archived snapshot is from 20230517, but the document didn't get much attention until November that year. ↩︎
Another example is risk compensation: You make an activity safer (yay) and participants compensate by taking more risks (oh no).
Interesting, it felt less messy to me than, say, rationalistadjacent research retreats.
lsuser says that as a result of his spiritual journey, "now if there is so much as a cardboard box on my kitchen counter, it bothers me". Has your spiritual practice changed your tolerance of clutter?
In other words, the zeroinformation oblivion that produced you once can produce you again, maybe in a different form.
Huh, that's Epicurus's argument against fearing death. But while Epicurus assumed there is no afterlife, you're using it to argue there is one!
Re: safety, it depends on exactly where you are, your skill in assessing strangers' intentions from a distance, and probably the way you carry yourself.
Speaking of which, I'd be interested in playing some improv games with you at less.online, if you want to do that!
I'd like to know what Holden did while serving on the board, and what OpenAI would have done if he hadn't joined. That's crucial for assessing the grant's impact.
But since board meetings are private, this will remain unknown for a long time. Unfortunately, the best we can do is speculate.
Of course, Karpathy's post could be in the multimodal training data.
12 years ago, in The state of Computer Vision and AI: we are really, really far away, Andrej Karpathy wrote:
The picture above is funny.
But for me it is also one of those examples that make me sad about the outlook for AI and for Computer Vision. What would it take for a computer to understand this image as you or I do? [...]
In any case, we are very, very far and this depresses me. What is the way forward? :(
I just asked gpt4o what's going on in the picture, and it understood most of it:
In this image, a group of men in business attire are seen in a locker room or a similar setting. The focus is on two men, where the taller man is standing on a scale. The shorter man, who appears to be playfully pressing down on the taller man's shoulders to increase his weight on the scale, is creating a humorous situation. Both men and those observing in the background are smiling or laughing, indicating that they are enjoying the lighthearted moment. The man pressing down seems to be taking part in a playful prank or joke, adding a sense of camaraderie and fun to the scene.
That does look like a rough commute, the kind that can use up the mental energy you want to spend on learning. One thing you could consider is staying in a hotel overnight near your school sometimes.
Also, consider wearing ear protection on the Transbay Tube. I wish I had done that when I commuted that way for a year.
I suppose if you had more hidden states than observables, you could distinguish hiddenstate prediction from nexttoken prediction by the dimension of the fractal.
If I understand correctly, the nexttoken prediction of Mess3 is related to the currentstate prediction by a nonsingular linear transformation. So a linear probe showing "the metastructure of an observer's belief updates over the hidden states of the generating structure" is equivalent to one showing "the structure of the nexttoken predictions", no?
The subject of this post appears in the "Did you know..." section of Wikipedia's front page(archived) right now.
I'm saying "transformers" every time I am tempted to write "LLMs" because many modern LLMs also do image processing, so the term "LLM" is not quite right.
"Transformer"'s not quite right either because you can train a transformer on a narrow task. How about foundation model: "models (e.g., BERT, DALLE, GPT3) that are trained on broad data at scale and are adaptable to a wide range of downstream tasks".
I agree 100%. It would be interesting to explore how the term "AGI" has evolved, maybe starting with Goertzel and Pennachin 2007 who define it as:
a software program that can solve a variety of complex problems in a variety of different domains, and that controls itself autonomously, with its own thoughts, worries, feelings, strengths, weaknesses and predispositions
On the other hand, Stuart Russell testified that AGI means
machines that match or exceed human capabilities in every relevant dimension
so the experts seem to disagree. (On the other hand, Stuart & Russell's textbook cite Goertzel and Pennachin 2007 when mentioning AGI. Confusing.)
In any case, I think it's right to say that today's best language models are AGIs for any of these reasons:
 They're not narrow AIs.
 They satisfy the important parts of Goertzel and Pennachin's definition.
 The tasks they can perform are not limited to a "bounded" domain.
In fact, GPT2 is an AGI.
Maybe the right word for this would be corporatism.
I'm surprised to see an application of the Banach fixedpoint theorem as an example of something that's too implicit from the perspective of a computer scientist. After all, real quantities can only be represented in a computer as a sequence of approximations — and that's exactly what the theorem provides.
I would have expected you to use, say, the Brouwer fixedpoint theorem instead, because Brouwer fixed points can't be computed to arbitrary precision in general.
(I come from a mathematical background, fwiw.)
For reference, here's the Gears of Aging sequence.
This article saved me some time just now. Thanks!
Scaling temperature up by a factor of 4 scales up all the velocities by a factor of 2 [...] slowing down the playback of a video has the effect of increasing the time between collisions [....]
Oh, good point! But hm, scaling up temperature by 4x should increase velocities by 2x and energy transfer per collision by 4x. And it should increase the rate of collisions per time by 2x. So the rate of energy transfer per time should increase 8x. But that violates Newton's law as well. What am I missing here?
constant volume
Ah, so I'm working at a level of generality that applies to all sorts of dynamical systems, including ones with no welldefined volume. As long as there's a conserved quantity , we can define the entropy as the log of the number of states with that value of . This is a univariate function of , and temperature can be defined as the multiplicative inverse of the derivative .
if the proportionality depends on thermodynamic variables
By
I mean
for some constant that doesn't vary with time. So it's incompatible with Newton's law.
This asymmetry in the temperature dependence would predict that one subsystem will heat faster than the other subsystem cools
Oh, the asymmetric formula relies on the assumption I made that subsystem 2 is so much bigger than subsystem 1 that its temperature doesn't change appreciably during the cooling process. I wasn't clear about that, sorry.
Yeah, as Shankar says, this is only for conduction (and maybe convection?). The assumption about transition probabilities is abstractly saying there's a lot of contact between the subsystems. If two objects contact each other in a small surface area, this post doesn't apply and you'll need to model the heat flow with the heat equation. I suppose radiative cooling acts abstractly like a narrow contact region, only allowing photons through.
I am suspicious of this "Lambert's law". Suppose the environment is at absolute zero  nothing is moving at all. Then "Lambert's law" says that the rate of cooling should be infinite: our object should itself instantly drop to absolute zero once placed in an absolutezero environment. Can that be right?
We're assuming the environment carries away excess heat instantly. In practice the immediate environment will warm up a bit and the cooling rate will become finite right away.
But in the ideal case, yeah, I think instant cooling makes sense. The environment's coldness is infinite!
Oh neat! Very interesting. I believe your argument is correct for headon collisions. What about glancing blows, though?
Assume two rigid, spherical particles with the same mass and radius.
Pick a coordinate system (at rest) where the collision normal vector is aligned with the xaxis.
Then move the coordinate system along the x axis so that the particles have equal and opposite xvelocities. (The yvelocities will be whatever.) In this frame, the elastic collision will negate the xvelocities and leave the yvelocities untouched.
Back in the rest frame, this means that the collision swaps the xvelocities and keeps the yvelocities the same. Thus the energy transfer is half the difference of the squared xvelocities, .
I'm not sure that's proportional to ? The square of the xvelocity does increase with temperature, but I'm not sure it's linear. If there's a big temperature difference, the collisions are ~uniformly distributed on the cold particle's surface, but not on the hot particle's surface.
I'd love if anyone can point me to anywhere this cooling law (proportional to the difference of coldnesses) has been written up.
Also my assumptions about the dynamical system are kinda ad hoc. I'd like to know assumptions I ought to be using.
We can derive Newton's law of cooling from first principles.
Consider an ergodic discretetime dynamical system and group the microstates into macrostates according to some observable variable . ( might be the temperature of a subsystem.)
Let's assume that if , then in the next timestep can be one of the values , , or .
Let's make the further assumption that the transition probabilities for these three possibilities have the same ratio as the number of microstates.
Then it turns out that the rate of change over time is proportional to , where is the entropy, which is the logarithm of the number of microstates.
Now suppose our system consists of two interacting subsystems with energies and . Total energy is conserved. How fast will energy flow from one system to the other? By the above lemma, is proportional to .
Here and are the coldnesses of the subsystems. Coldness is the inverse of temperature, and is more fundamental than temperature.
Note that Newton's law of cooling says that the rate of heat transfer is proportional to . For a narrow temperature range this will approximate our result.
Wow, that's a lot of kale. Do you eat 500g every day? And 500g is the mass of the cooked, strained kale?
What a beautiful illustration of how a Humanist's worldview differs from a Cousin's!
I wonder why Gemini used RLHF instead of Direct Preference Optimization (DPO). DPO was written up 6 months ago; it's simpler and apparently more computeefficient than RLHF.
 Is the Gemini org structure so sclerotic that it couldn't switch to a more efficient training algorithm partway through a project?
 Is DPO inferior to RLHF in some way? Lower quality, less efficient, more sensitive to hyperparameters?
 Maybe they did use DPO, even though they claimed it was RLHF in their technical report?
Another example is the obfuscated arguments problem. As a toy example:
For every cubic centimeter in Texas, your missing earring is not in the cubic centimeter.
Therefore, your missing earring is not in Texas.
Even if the conclusion of the argument is a lie, each premise is spotcheckable and most likely true. The lie has been split up into many statements each of which is only slightly a lie.
Thanks! For convex sets of distributions: If you weaken the definition of fixed point to , then the set has a least element which really is a least fixed point.
Hyperbolic growth
The differential equation , for positive and , has solution
(after changing the units). The Roodman report argues that our economy follows this hyperbolic growth trend, rather than an exponential one.
While exponential growth has a single parameter — the growth rate or interest rate — hyperbolic growth has two parameters: is the time until singularity, and is the "hardness" of the takeoff.
A value of close to zero gives a "soft" takeoff where the derivative gets high well in advance of the singularity. A large value of gives a "hard" takeoff, where explosive growth comes all at once right at the singularity. (Paul Christiano calls these "slow" and "fast" takeoff.)
Paul defines "slow takeoff" as "There will be a complete 4 year interval in which world output doubles, before the first 1 year interval in which world output doubles." This corresponds to . (At , the first fouryear doubling starts at and the first oneyear doubling starts at years before the singularity.)
So the simple hyperbola with counts as "slow takeoff". (This is the "naive model" mentioned in footnote 31 of Intelligence Explosion Microeconomics.)
Roodman's estimates of historical are closer to (see Table 3).
Ah, beginningoflinetext
is nice. It skips over the initial # or // of comments and the initial * of Org headings. I've now bound it to Mm.
Consider seeing a doctor about the panicky and stressed feelings. They may test you for hormone imbalances or prescribe you antianxiety medication.
Conception is a startup trying to do in vitro gametogenesis for humans!
A long reflection requires new institutions, and creating new institutions requires individual agency. Right? I have trouble imagining a long reflection actually happening in a world with the individual agency level dialed down.
A separate point that's perhaps in line with your thinking: I feel better about cultivating agency in people who are intelligent and wise rather than people who are not. When I was working on agencycultivating projects, we targeted those kinds of people.
What's more, even selfish agents with de dicto identical utility functions can trade: If I have two right shoes and you have two left shoes, we'd trade one shoe for another because of decreasing marginal utility.
Recent interviews with Eliezer:
 2023.02.20 Bankless
 2023.02.20 Bankless followup
 2023.03.11 Japan AI Alignment Conference
 2023.03.30 Lex Fridman
 2023.04.06 Dwarkesh Patel
 2023.04.18 TED talk
 2023.04.19 Center for the Future Mind
 2023.05.04 Accursed Farms
 2023.05.06 Logan Bartlett
 2023.05.06 Fox News
 2023.05.08 EconTalk
 2023.07.02 David Pakman
 2023.07.13 AI IRL
 2023.07.13 The Spectator (Edited transcript of the full interview)
 2023.07.13 Dan Crenshaw
 2023.07.28 Coleman Hughes (with Scott Aaronson and Gary Marcus)
 2023.08.16 Dwarkesh Patel (with George Hotz)
 2023.08.23 One Decision
 2023.09.23 Destiny
 2024.06.16 iai
The bug patches / epiphanies / tortoises / wizardry square from Small, Consistent Effort: Uncharted Waters In the Art of Rationality
The nanobots, from the bloodstream, in the parlor, Professor Plum.
You could have written Colonel Mustard!
I did not know about Mm, thanks!

Figure out why it's important to you that your romantic partner agree with you on this. Does your relationship require agreement on all factual questions? Are you contemplating any big life changes because of xrisk that she won't be on board with?

Would you be happy if your partner fully understood your worries but didn't share them? If so, maybe focus on sharing your thoughts, feelings, and uncertainties around xrisk in addition to your reasoning.