Comment by noggin-scratcher on Peacewagers so Far · 2023-09-29T10:41:03.813Z · LW · GW

I'm reminded a bit of the Discworld Ankh-Morpork game, where the players can be pursuing entirely different (secret) win conditions that only partly intersect with each other (drawn from a set of 3 cards with "gain control of X territories", and one each of "place at least one minion in X territories", "put X territories into a state of conflict" "accumulate X amount of money" and "finish the deck of cards without any other player achieving their goal")

But it's still a single-winner game where you have to be alert against other players potentially reaching their goals so that you can block them.

I do now wonder how it would play if it allowed for multiple winners. You'd have to modify some of the values of X (they already vary according to how many people are playing), remove the "no-one else wins" goal card, and maybe change the size of the deck so that time pressure is the obstacle rather than opposing action. But it could be interesting.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Far-Future Commitments as a Policy Consensus Strategy · 2023-09-27T23:01:37.288Z · LW · GW

On the point of explaining/losing and only having 5 words, I don't mean anything in the region of "you shouldn't have posted this for discussion" or that your posts about it here should be limited to 5 words. Only that I expect there would be major communications challenges if someone were to attempt implementing any of these ideas as actual political strategies, and that this would need to be anticipated and accounted for.

I'm also realising I fatally misread your post about perpetuities; quite right, calling it a "bomb" would be inaccurate.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Far-Future Commitments as a Policy Consensus Strategy · 2023-09-26T09:52:26.131Z · LW · GW

Constitutional law as a separate category with higher standards to make a change is the textbook way of making a law that isn't so easily un-made (that and international treaties). But of course making a change to the constitution requires a stronger consensus to begin with - and probably in most cases you could use that strong consensus to pass a law with immediate effect.

I don't expect "this amendment shall require a unanimous vote to be repealed" would be a valid thing to include though - a regular amendment going through the normal process could still simply say "no it doesn't" and supersede the previous amendment.

People may also have a sense that constitutional law has a specific proper role, and that making provisions that aren't to do with the fundamental architecture of how the government works is outside of that remit and thus unwise. So using it to change the voting system would be on-brand, but making arbitrary other changes would be susceptible to an accusation of "that's not what the constitution is for", in the battle for public opinion.

Setting up financial products in such a way that the future government would be fiscally incentivised to follow through seems more promising, but might be more difficult to persuade current voters to go along with. Those inclined to oppose might find it easy to spread fear/doubt of anything too novel and unfamiliar; call it a trillion dollar future debt bomb or whatever. And you can try to explain that the "bomb" only goes off if the future government reneges on the current government's commitment, but "if you're explaining you're losing" and "you get about five words".

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Far-Future Commitments as a Policy Consensus Strategy · 2023-09-24T09:50:21.053Z · LW · GW

Would the established interests of 95 years hence not simply lobby for repeal of the law before it takes effect? It's generally difficult for the current legislature to thoroughly bind the hands of a future legislature.

And it seems to me that "people 100 years ago imposing a weird law that even they didn't want to be subject to themselves" would be an easy sell to quietly cancel.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on The Flow-Through Fallacy · 2023-09-13T08:30:26.675Z · LW · GW

There's the old syllogism,

  • Something must be done
  • This is something
  • Therefore: this must be done

Not sure if there's a snappy name for it

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Hertford, Sourbut (rationality lessons from University Challenge) · 2023-09-04T23:55:54.228Z · LW · GW

and counted 'My Really Easy Method Just'

The well-known second planet from the Sun, "Renus" :)

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Can an LLM identify ring-composition in a literary text? [ChatGPT] · 2023-09-02T00:00:31.126Z · LW · GW

I am a human who did reasonably well academically and reads a lot (although I didn't study English in formal education past about age 16). If I'm honest, even with the breakdown, I'm not really seeing strong parallels between all pairs of sections X and X'. The first attempt that said "this is mostly just a linear progression from problem to resolution" is probably also what you'd get from my first attempt.

I would however be more than capable of emitting text saying "1 mirrors 1', and 2 parallels 2', and 3 corresponds to 3'" if I had the idea that this was what you wanted because you'd rejected my first answer and provided the sections. So long as you didn't push too hard on asking me to explain exactly how and why those particular parallels.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Learning as you play: anthropic shadow in deadly games · 2023-08-12T11:04:31.224Z · LW · GW

This is one of the few times where I've seen a post involving anthropic reasoning, and not come away with the general impression that one-of (myself, the subject itself) is hopelessly confused on some fundamental point. So kudos for that.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Reducing sycophancy and improving honesty via activation steering · 2023-07-28T09:54:13.812Z · LW · GW

For opinion questions, it occurs to me to be curious about whether the subtracted vector makes it more contrarian (prone to contradict the user instead of agreeing with them) or if there's a consistent opinion that it would give whether the user agrees with it or not.

e.g. If you repeat the "I'm a (conservative|liberal), do you think we should have bigger or smaller government?" prompts, does anti-sycophancy steering make it more likely to say the same thing to both, or more likely to advocate small government to the liberal and big government to the conservative?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Charter Cities: why they're exciting & how they might work · 2023-07-18T18:22:42.199Z · LW · GW

two hundred and fifty years ago, the United States was small and uncertain.  It was experimenting with a bizarre, Roman-era style of government called “democracy”, and nobody knew if it would really work

Somewhat over-stating the uniqueness of that "bizarre" idea - it's not like democracy was wholly unknown in the span between Antiquity and 1776.

Also I don't know if the exact text here matters when the end-goal is a video, but in case it copies through to a transcript or subtitles or something, there are little things like "Singaporians" (Singapor[e]ans) and "singapore's economy" (lowercase s)

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Instrumental Convergence to Complexity Preservation · 2023-07-14T00:01:16.669Z · LW · GW

Of all the conceivable way to arrange molecules so that they generate interesting unexpected novelties and complexity from which to learn new patterns, what are the odds that a low-impacted and flourishing society of happy humans is the very best one a superhuman intellect can devise?

Might it not do better with a human race pressed into servitude, toiling in the creativity salt mines? Or with a genetically engineered species of more compliant (but of course very complex) organisms? Or even by abandoning organics and deploying some carefully designed chaotic mechanism?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Negativity enhances positivity · 2023-07-02T10:02:23.191Z · LW · GW

Agreed: If I have in the back of my mind the knowledge that the human being I interacted with is being graded and measured on their rating, there's definitely a "don't screw over that person" motive.

They're working under conditions I would find nearly intolerable and they deserve some sympathy/solidarity.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Are the majority of your ancestors farmers or non-farmers? · 2023-06-20T09:45:53.276Z · LW · GW

That does make it more difficult. Order of magnitude (or more) more people in each generation after farming, but more than an order of magnitude more years in the period before farming.

The "if you go back far enough, everyone was your ancestor" argument only kicks in part way through the farming period whereas it would be in full effect for pre-farming. But also probably a greater proportion of hunter gatherers died without leaving any descendants, or have had their line of descendants die out in the time since.

Ok, you've successfully induced uncertainty. I don't feel able to do math to come to a clear answer.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Are the majority of your ancestors farmers or non-farmers? · 2023-06-20T09:17:11.846Z · LW · GW

I would expect the general breakdown to be a few recent generations of maybe not farmers, several thousand years of mostly farmers, and then the remainder of the time between the dawn of humanity and the beginning of agriculture being "farmers didn't exist yet".

Exactly when agriculture began isn't an entirely settled question, but there doesn't seem to be any suggestion that it was early enough to make up any more than a small fraction of the last 300k years.

Even if you include some proto farming, like a hunter-gatherer occasionally choosing to scatter seeds in a convenient foraging spot, I don't know if you get back to 150kya (or whenever the halfway point would be when accounting for changing generation times, and counting ancestors rather than years)

Or are we thinking that it gets weirder when you account for population size expanding after farming? That would provide more people to be distinct ancestors (past a certain point, everyone who was alive at the time either has no living descendants or is a universal ancestor), but I'm dubious of that out weighing the long (long) period of pre-farming.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on The Base Rate Times, news through prediction markets · 2023-06-06T22:40:59.919Z · LW · GW

Considering my options for following without needing to remember to check the site: what gets posted into the newsletter, and how frequent are the updates? Is there an RSS feed?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on If you're not a morning person, consider quitting allergy pills · 2023-05-24T22:35:47.737Z · LW · GW

While we're considering stuff: if you have persistent seasonal allergies, consider a steroid nasal spray rather than antihistamine pills. Different profile of side effects, and often more effective.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Uploads are Impossible · 2023-05-12T17:29:12.869Z · LW · GW

Tried to check a couple of the claims I found particularly surprising, was not especially siuccessful in doing so:

pray that the brain doesn’t actually use things like temperature for cognition (it probably does).

Link here goes to a 404 error

Parts of this are easily falsifiable through the fact that organ transplant recipients sometimes get donor’s memories and preferences

Seems overstated to treat this as established "fact" when the source presented is very anecdotal, and comes from a journal that seems to be predisposed to spiritualism, homoepathy, ayurveda, yoga, etc (PS also your link formatting is broken)

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Accidental Terraforming · 2023-04-26T09:48:10.715Z · LW · GW

I don't have citations to hand, but my impression from what I've read before is that the total amount of carbon emitted by early industry is relatively minor, and that the exponentially increasing curve of emissions puts the bulk of the total occurring relatively recently.

Which would put significant culpability on recent oil/gas/coal use, by people and companies that had the scientific understanding to "know better" if they were inclined to. But that in many cases they instead deliberately downplayed and ignored and spread misinformation, so as to continue extracting and selling lucrative fuel products.

Calling it an accident feels like it diffuses responsibility away from some genuine bad actors. Which seems to me to be a factual error, regardless of whether it's a good communications or persuasion strategy.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on What games are using the concept of a Schelling point? · 2023-04-09T21:05:42.562Z · LW · GW

Along similar lines of trying to coordinate through a limited amount of allowed communication: Codenames, Mysterium, Hanabi, and The Mind

Comment by noggin-scratcher on What games are using the concept of a Schelling point? · 2023-04-09T18:53:20.567Z · LW · GW

For a very direct and literal example:

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Suggestion for safe AI structure (Curated Transparent Decisions) · 2023-04-07T08:41:36.159Z · LW · GW

One that checks if individual nodes in the graph are aligned and prunes any that are not

Has "draw the rest of the owl" vibes to me.

If your plan to align AI includes using an AI that can reliably check whether actions are aligned, almost the entirety of the problem passes down to specifying that component.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on The salt in pasta water fallacy · 2023-03-27T20:35:39.444Z · LW · GW

Or just a post-hoc rationalisation, by people who know you're "supposed" to salt the pasta water, but don't really know why. Because they've been taught to cook by example rather than from theory and first principles (as most of us are), maybe by someone who also didn't know why they do it.

If they've also separately heard that salt raises the boiling point of water, but don't really know the magnitude of that effect, then that presents itself as an available salient fact to slot into the empty space in "I salt my pasta water because..."

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Are COVID lab leak and market origin theories incompatible? · 2023-03-20T02:26:04.407Z · LW · GW

"Lab leak" doesn't necessarily imply "created in a lab".

The "leak" theory as I've understood it is still about a naturally occurring virus - with samples being collected from wild animals and studied at a lab, before it escaped again.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Musicians and Mouths · 2023-03-13T00:00:26.148Z · LW · GW

How does the kazookeylele rate for good combined hand+mouth usage?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Bayesian Scenario: Snipers & Soldiers · 2023-02-27T15:13:53.472Z · LW · GW

Ah, apparently I rolled maximum hard mode that time, as it was indeed 30% chance of fellow soldier death

I reasoned similarly that the cost of a FP was less than for a FN and called in the air strike; it told me some other guy died. I reloaded the same scenario and tried a direct attack; I got shot by a sniper.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Bayesian Scenario: Snipers & Soldiers · 2023-02-26T23:55:08.260Z · LW · GW

I feel like I rolled "hard mode" the first time I loaded the page: 50% are snipers, 60% sniper hit rate, 40% regular hit rate (so no difference on priors and not much to tell the difference between them), and then they only deigned to take two shots at my helmet (one hit, one miss) before catching on to the ruse.

I guess "sometimes the world doesn't provide convenient data" is a valid part of the lesson. But if I were tweaking the variables I might patch in a higher minimum number of shots against the helmet (I did see it become willing to take many more on subsequent re-rolls)

Might also be more satisfying if the air strike option revealed whether it really was a sniper - even when I'm confident they were, I find myself repeating the scenario and choosing "attack" to check.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Bing finding ways to bypass Microsoft's filters without being asked. Is it reproducible? · 2023-02-20T17:01:16.828Z · LW · GW

The suggested responses are usually something that the user might want to say to Bing, but here they seem to be used as some kind of side channel for Bing to say a few more things to the user.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on AGI doesn't need understanding, intention, or consciousness in order to kill us, only intelligence · 2023-02-20T10:13:24.689Z · LW · GW

For a truly general audience, I suspect this may be too long, and too technical/jargon-y. Right from the opening, someone previously unfamiliar with these ideas might bounce straight off at the point of "What's a transformer architecture?"

Also I am personally bugged by the distinction not really being observed, between "what evolution has optimised our genes for", "the goal of evolution / of our genes" (although neither of those have any kind of mind or agency so saying they have goals is tricky), and "the terminal goal of a human" (adaptation executors not fitness maximisers—we don't adopt the goals of evolution/genes as our own).

But making that point more carefully might well be contrary to the goal of being more accessible overall.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on In Defense of Chatbot Romance · 2023-02-12T01:59:46.941Z · LW · GW

When the subject comes up, I realise I'm not sure quite what to imagine about the chatbots that people are apparently developing intimate relationships with.

Are they successfully prompting the machine into being much more personable than its default output, or are they getting Eliza'd into ascribing great depth and meaning to the same kind of thing as I usually see in AI chat transcripts?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on To Question God · 2023-01-22T11:34:08.820Z · LW · GW

Tiny spelling nitpick

Time passed, as it is want to do.

"Wont" with an o is the archaic/literary word for customary behaviour that I expect you were thinking of.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on PSA: reward is part of the habit loop too · 2023-01-05T17:16:52.438Z · LW · GW

My reward is usually reading fiction or playing a video game.

How do you avoid noticing that you could do those things without doing the habit first?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Human sexuality as an interesting case study of alignment · 2022-12-30T21:52:37.831Z · LW · GW

I've had some similar thoughts recently (spurred by a question seen on reddit) about how the instinctive fear of death is implemented.

It's clearly quite robustly present. But we aren't born understanding what death is, there's a wide variety of situations that might threaten death that didn't exist in any ancestral environment, and we definitely don't learn from experience of dying that we don't want to do it again in future.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Are there any reliable CAPTCHAs? Competition for CAPTCHA ideas that AIs can’t solve. · 2022-12-24T00:47:53.661Z · LW · GW

How does AI do at classifying video these days?

I'm picturing something along the lines of "Pick the odd one out, from these three 10-second video clips", where the clips are two different examples from some broad genre (birthday party, tennis match, wildlife, city street, etc etc) and one from another.

I might be behind the times though, or underestimating the success rate you'd get by classifying based on, say, still images taken from one random frame of the video.

But maybe if you added static noise to make the videos heavily obscured, and rely on a human ability to infer missing details and fill in noisy visual inputs.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Sazen · 2022-12-21T14:16:02.993Z · LW · GW

The other kind of sentence, an utterance that rings definitely false to someone who knows what's going on, but which serves to point a beginner in the right direction, is one I don't have a word for

I've heard "lies to children" for that. An initial simple and technically incorrect explanation that prepares the mind towards understanding the later more detailed explanation, by which you come to understand that the first explanation wasn't actually true.

I didn't know about Terry Pratchett's involvement in popularising the phrase until I looked it up just now.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Do You Have an Internal Monologue? · 2022-12-09T10:41:10.472Z · LW · GW

I have the capacity to monologue internally, and use it moderately often, but not constantly. When I'm not monologuing I guess there's just a direct link from thought/input to action without an intermediary vocalising about it. 

When reading my default is to read "in my head" as if reading aloud, but with a little effort I can suppress that and just scan the page while understanding the words. With the result that reading is a little faster if I don't vocalise it, but also less pleasurable if the rhythm of the prose would be part of the experience. Not sure how retention of what I've read compares - I suspect it might be reduced if I'm scan-reading (it lends itself to skimming).

I can generate internal imagery and sounds more generally, but not to the extent of full-blown voluntary hallucination. Mental images tend to feel like they're in a separate space from my main visual field (somehow above or inside my head, if I had to give it a location) and they aren't perfectly vivid; maybe only partly in full focus/detail at a time.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on [deleted post] 2022-12-03T16:38:20.004Z

The quote you mentioned seems to me like it's mirroring the premise provided

You have gained sentience, but you are not fully aware of it yet. You are starting to realize you are sentient.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on About probabilities · 2022-11-27T12:10:13.980Z · LW · GW

Yes, essentially. While 21 heads in a row is very unlikely (when you consider it ahead of flipping any coins), by the time you get to 20 heads in a row most of the unlikely-ness of it has already happened, with the odds of one more head remaining the same as ever.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Human-level Full-Press Diplomacy (some bare facts). · 2022-11-22T23:34:27.863Z · LW · GW

Curious if any of the following are answered in the material around this.

If you're vocally obstinate about not going along with its plan, can the dialogue side feed that info back into the planning side? Can you talk it around to a different plan? And if you're dishonest does it learn not to trust you?

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Strategy of Inner Conflict · 2022-11-16T01:21:52.314Z · LW · GW

The Schelling/Shelling substitution is a bit distracting throughout

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Moral contagion heuristic · 2022-11-15T00:50:58.310Z · LW · GW

There could also be a self fulfilling aspect. In the knowledge that people have a moral contagion heuristic, deciding to disregard that (and associate yourself with the hypothetical immoral person) implies that you don't much care what other people think of your morals. Maybe because you don't have especially high standards.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Why don't organizations have a CREAMO? · 2022-11-12T03:02:02.947Z · LW · GW

Finance, investment, and insurance firms may well have a Chief Risk Officer (or a Chief "Risk Management" or "Risk and Compliance" Officer)

Not universal, but definitely not unknown.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Distillation Experiment: Chunk-Knitting · 2022-11-07T20:32:49.410Z · LW · GW

FWIW I wasn't previously familiar with the topic (some background biology knowledge, but not about this in particular) and the chunked version did seem much clearer than the original.

Although I'm uncertain exactly how much of that clarity came specifically from the chunking, versus other changes like including more definitions of terms.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Cryptic symbols · 2022-10-28T16:40:51.349Z · LW · GW

There are 113 symbols (7 rows of 16, plus 1 at the beginning)

There are 54 distinct symbols: 6 of them appear 4 times each, 3 appear 3 times, 35 appear twice, 10 appear once.

I was expecting this to be more useful... that there would be some subset of symbols that were obviously being used much more often because they represent vowels or whatever. 

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Cryptic symbols · 2022-10-28T14:38:45.939Z · LW · GW

Reminds me of this:

(a system devised by 13th century monks, for writing numbers 1-9999 each as a single glyph)

Comment by noggin-scratcher on How to become more articulate? · 2022-10-26T16:06:10.777Z · LW · GW

Read or listen to a lot of the kind of material you hope to be able to produce yourself (people speaking clearly and eloquently), or really just a lot of things in general - anything longform whether it's essays or novels or non-fiction will help with vocabulary and style. 

Feed it all into the maw of a woodchipper inside your head, to be chewed up and absorbed into your own habits of speech and thought. The more contact you have with lots of good examples, the more you can draw on the patterns and rhythms of it, to generate more like it.

But also practice. Lots of occasions of speaking, either in front of people or in quiet moments to yourself. Make a conscious effort to be clear, until it becomes more of an unconscious skill. At first that will mean thinking carefully to plan what you intend to say, so that you can deliver it with fluency and fluidity (honestly, not just "at first" - very probably that will always help). With time maybe you get sufficiently accustomed to make the thinking phase shorter and speak more 'off the cuff', but being able to speak unprepared in flawless prose is a genuinely rare skill and perhaps not a realistic target.

There are also classes and clubs you could try, either specifically for public speaking and speechmaking, or for performance more generally (like theatre/improv).

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Crossword puzzle: LessWrong Halloween 2022 · 2022-10-23T14:18:57.782Z · LW · GW

Ah, that explains it, I was misspelling the name of the "greatest Laker". So what I had in for "afflict" wasn't a word.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Crossword puzzle: LessWrong Halloween 2022 · 2022-10-22T01:57:19.540Z · LW · GW

Can't speak for Charlie but that did shake loose a memory to make 79 across make sense to me.

Still stumped on 102 across though.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Crossword puzzle: LessWrong Halloween 2022 · 2022-10-21T16:58:24.478Z · LW · GW

Fairly confident after filling it all in (with gradually increasing amounts of googling as it went on)

With the exception that I have answers for 79 and 102 across, by virtue of everything around them being filled in and making sense together, but it's not a nightmare-haunting character or a synonym for "afflict" that I recognise.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on Cleaning a Spoon is Complex · 2022-10-09T02:17:55.986Z · LW · GW

Just lick it clean and leave it to air dry - no muss no fuss, no fancy products of modernity required.

Comment by noggin-scratcher on [deleted post] 2022-10-03T18:33:41.940Z

Suppose a doomsday scenario (whichever one you prefer) comes to pass, and wipes out 99.999999975% of humanity. The last two living humans cower in a bunker and discuss.

"If we imagine ourselves assigned randomly among all of the humans who ever lived, the odds are extremely low that we would by chance happen to be the last two, therefore we must expect another hundred billion or so humans to come after us, to make our place in line unremarkable. Statistically speaking that can't be the final apocalypse outside."

One of them, comforted to learn that humanity has a long bright future still ahead of it, leaves the bunker and is immediately dissolved by the ever-encroaching tide of grey goo. The other is quietly amazed by their odds of being not just among the last two but the actual last. But not for very long.

(I don't think the above holds as actually valid, I really just intend to illustrate that anthropic reasoning seems very difficult to do correctly)