Andrew Ng dismisses UFAI concerns 2015-03-06T05:26:04.340Z


Comment by OphilaDros on Seeing the Smoke · 2020-03-03T05:24:45.290Z · LW · GW

Eh? no. You didn't need to signal that.

Edited to clarify: I parsed the "meh" in your original comment as referring to what the general population (in India or China or maybe the world at large) will think about 'millions of deaths', and not your personal opinion on the matter. I figured we were discussing larger societal reaction, because that will impact how the economy does, and (in my mind) make a disaster 'major', separate from the sheer number of deaths.

At no point did I think you were 'for the virus'. Whatever that implies, I expect that to be something very few actual people will be?

Comment by OphilaDros on Seeing the Smoke · 2020-03-02T06:16:23.107Z · LW · GW

So in India it doesn't feel like we're paying that price *yearly* because we're also getting more food, more access to better water, healthcare etc for that faster economic growth which reduces the number of deaths?

This one doesn't come with those benefits, I think we wouldn't be "meh" about even thousands of deaths due to a new disease. :)

Comment by OphilaDros on Power Buys You Distance From The Crime · 2019-08-06T09:53:23.684Z · LW · GW

This example looks like yet another instance of conflict theory imputing bad motives where they don't exist and generally leading you wrong.

A large part of this example relies on "Buchanan having racist political agenda and using public choice theory as a vehicle for achieving this agenda" being a true proposition. I can not assign a high degree of credibility to this proposition though, considering Buchanan is the same guy who wrote this:

"Given the state monopoly as it exists, I surely support the introduction of vouchers. And I do support the state financing of vouchers from general tax revenues. However, although I know the evils of state monopoly, I would also want, somehow, to avoid the evils of race-class-cultural segregation that an unregulated voucher scheme might introduce. In principle, there is, after all, much in the ”melting pot“ notion of America. And there is also some merit in the notion that the education of all children should be a commonly shared experience in terms of basic curriculum, etc. We should not want a voucher scheme to reintroduce the elite that qualified for membership only because they have taken Latin and Greek classics. Ideally, and in principle, it should be possible to secure the beneficial effects of competition, in providing education, via voucher support, and at the same time to secure the potential benefits of commonly shared experiences, including exposure to other races, classes and cultures. In practise, we may not be able to accomplish the latter at all. But my main point is, I guess, to warn against dismissing the comprehensive school arguments out of hand too readily. "


Comment by OphilaDros on HPMOR Wrap Parties: Resources, Information and Discussion · 2015-03-13T07:38:53.044Z · LW · GW

Just wanted to update that the two parties in Bangalore have been merged. Either of those links will point to the same location and time details, but just in case you're still editing the list.

Comment by OphilaDros on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T19:24:17.290Z · LW · GW

Mr. Counsel might have been Bartemius Crouch Jr.

Comment by OphilaDros on Meetup : Bangalore meetup + pi-day wrap party · 2015-03-12T18:20:08.545Z · LW · GW

This meetup is updated to 9:00 PM IST on 14th March. Details updated at the link.

Comment by OphilaDros on Andrew Ng dismisses UFAI concerns · 2015-03-07T01:40:48.714Z · LW · GW

Ok, sure. Changed the title in line with Vaniver's suggestion.

I had not understood what the "tribal talk" comment was referring to either and then decided to put only as much effort into understanding it as the commenter had in being understood. :)

Comment by OphilaDros on Andrew Ng dismisses UFAI concerns · 2015-03-06T12:15:19.111Z · LW · GW

I think since he draws an analogy to a problem it would be actually absurd to work on (no point working on overpopulation on Mars unless several other events happen first), he does seem to be suggesting that it's ridiculous worrying about things like UFAI now rather than "hundreds, maybe thousands of years from now".

Anyway, I only thought the post was interesting from a PR point of view. The AI problem has been getting good press lately with Musk/Gates et al suggesting that it is something worth worrying about. Ng hasn't said anything that will move the larger discussion in an interesting direction, but it does have the ability to move the whole problem back very slightly in the direction of 'weird problem only weird people will spend time worrying about' in the minds of the general public.

Comment by OphilaDros on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity · 2014-03-10T06:55:44.114Z · LW · GW

The beeminder team sends "legitimacy check" emails if you've derailed on your goal which explicitly asks if it was a case of forgetting to enter the data. I've written in once or twice when I've derailed on account of not entering the data on time and have had quick responses from them, and haven't been punished. Were you unaware you could do this?

Comment by OphilaDros on More "Stupid" Questions · 2013-08-02T06:27:06.174Z · LW · GW

There are forums like this where you can connect with other adult beginners (or learners at most levels, really) and even upload your recordings and ask for feedback.

There are also discussions around what pieces to learn next, how to set up a daily practise regimen etc. Does not replace a tutor, but is very useful nevertheless.

Comment by OphilaDros on More "Stupid" Questions · 2013-08-02T04:46:52.530Z · LW · GW

Do you enjoy movies? Does the background score seem distracting?

Comment by OphilaDros on "Stupid" questions thread · 2013-07-14T16:31:39.973Z · LW · GW

Not all animals can be domesticated for meat production. Jared Diamond discusses the question in "Guns, Germs and Steel". He calls it the Anna Karenina principle, and some of the factors influencing this are:

  • Growth rate of the species
  • Breeding habits - do they tend to breed well in closed spaces
  • Nasty disposition
  • Social structure
Comment by OphilaDros on The Zeroth Skillset · 2013-01-31T07:52:35.022Z · LW · GW

Situational awareness is further lauded by elite military units, police trainers, criminals, intelligence analysts, and human factors researchers. In other words, people who have to make very important-- often life-or-death-- decisions based on limited information consider situational awareness a critical skill. This should tell us something-- if those individuals for whom correct decisions are most immediately relevant all stress the importance of situational awareness, it may be a more critical skill than we realize.

While agreeing with the general idea in the post- that SA is important, I think you are slightly overstating the case by calling it the zeroth skill. Where SA helps is in helping you collect more information for your decision making process, but we the world has a lot of data that could be collected. Not all information has the same value for decision making.

In any case, as a person with low SA, I'm interested in seeing the rest of this sequence. What would be helpful, if you've also thought of it is: is this a skill that you can "switch off" when it's not required? If I were in a setting where it's safe to do so, it could be of value to turn off SA and focus more on - a book perhaps, or my own thoughts.

Comment by OphilaDros on Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs · 2012-11-14T11:04:39.215Z · LW · GW

Val explained to me how he changed his diet in order to decouple the relationship between his energy levels and when he last ate.

Have you/has he written about this somewhere? If not, could you expand? This seems potentially very useful.

Comment by OphilaDros on Mentioning cryonics to a dying person · 2012-09-03T11:59:51.520Z · LW · GW

There was this article from a couple of years ago:

"Whether you are aware of your incessantly ticking biological clock or not, the absolute last thing that any woman of steadily advancing childbearing age wants to hear when she flips on the morning news shows is: Women lose 90 percent of their eggs by age 30.

Using a mathematical model and data from 325 women, the researchers found that the average woman is born with around 300,000 eggs and steadily loses them as she ages, with just 12 percent of those eggs remaining at the age of 30, and only 3 percent left by 40.

Also, as another data point, it is possible that the recent change in your "will to parent" might reverse polarity again once you hit your late twenties and early thirties. I've been amazed at this change that has sort of crept up on me over the last few years - from wanting "at least three" in my early to mid twenties to finding the whole enterprise rather frightening (in terms of lifestyle changes and sacrifices needing to be made). It's possible I'm completely atypical since there are no shortage of stories of women in their thirties becoming even more desperate for children.

Comment by OphilaDros on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2012-08-23T16:04:52.412Z · LW · GW

Upvoted. If you want a(n additional) "seed" in India, pls let me know. :)

Comment by OphilaDros on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2012-08-18T02:41:42.059Z · LW · GW

One way to combat extreme poverty is by creating employment opportunities so that people can help themselves, rather than giving them free shoes, or corn, or wells, all of which are suboptimal for meeting their varied pressing needs. So our approach is to hire them to do human computation work.

How are you planning to reach out to the poorest of the poor in developing countries? Will you be tying up with some agencies back there? Because you will not be able to find them over the internet.

You will also need strong mechanisms in place for quality control of the process so that the output is usable. I'm guessing a lot of the problems you will face will be similar to other crowdsourcing ventures like Mechanical Turk.

Comment by OphilaDros on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-14T10:12:46.486Z · LW · GW

Quality and quantity were the only sex-related problems that came to mind?

Hmm? You quoted the rest of my question which talked about other things. It really was a question. :)

In any case, I must admit that unwanted pregnancies and venereal diseases (if these diseases have mostly become treatable then they're really not as much of a problem are they?) did not really spring to mind. I was thinking of effects on marriage and the impact through that on society at large.

However, even your data speaks only about a specific class of people, and not for all of America. Which suggests that certain socioeconomic groups can deal with the change in sexual norms while others can not. So the problem may not be entirely with the change in sexual norms?

Anyway, it is time for me to confess I am not American, nor familiar with the data trends on America and the effects of the sexual revolution there. I live in a country without too much sexual freedom and its own set of problems. It is interesting to see what problems are expected to happen when things get more laissez-faire around here though. And I wanted to point out the problems of a society with far lower sexual autonomy.

But this is tangential to Vladimir_M's point about some sort of double standards among liberals vis-a-vis sexual norms. For what its worth I don't consider autonomy as absolute and inviolable, and although I do place a high value on individual autonomy in sexual matters, I am not averse to a cost-benefit analysis either.

Since we're on the topic, I'll link one analysis that I'd found interesting:

the very tendencies which make adherence to traditional norms somewhat discomforting on an individual level are necessary in other contexts. Love is an inconvenience when it comes to arranging marriages for your offspring optimally on a social dimension, but it may be necessary for men and women to invest in their offspring due to the love they feel for them so that they live and flourish. In other words, psychological impulses which were inconvenient in one domain were necessary and adaptive on others. Phenotypically I’m implying that there was functional constraint, and genetically it would manifest as pleiotropy. I suspect that a strong tendency toward developing loving bonds with children is a much more important characteristic in these elite lineages than dampening the initial discomfort that may occur when one is paired off with someone with whom one is not particularly enamoured. In a social and biological evolutionary sense romantic love is less important than we might think in our individualist age. But, romantic love remains hard-wired within us because it is biologically impossible to suppress its manifestation so long as we need the emotion of love more importantly to bind us together with children.

Finally, let’s go back to Johnson’s treatment of the disjunction between idealized polyamory and realized polygyny in the ancient environment (at least to a mild extent). By this, he points to the reality that some of the Y chromosomal data point to a reproductive skew, where a few males tend to give rise to a disproportionate number in the next generation. In extreme polygyny you have a Genghis Khan situation, where males of one narrow lineage have an enormous reproductive advantage. The scenario sketched out in Johnson’s post is that females may have had relationships with several males (and the inverse), but there was a tendency toward favoring reproduction with one focal male or female. This does not seem to negate the reality of jealousy and drama. We see this among common chimpanzees, who have a classic mating system in the extreme sense outlined by Johnson (this species has huge testicles to generate viscous sperm the competition is so extreme). And modern polygamorists who have formal relationships all tell tales of enormous time investments necessary to maintain proper relationship equilibrium. This is I think the reason that elite lineages in mass agricultural societies turned toward simpler relationship networks. The older model was simply not sufficiently stable for the purposes of maintaining the social and cultural systems necessary for the proper functioning of the older Malthusian civilizations. This is evident when conflicts within elite lineages are often rooted in questions of paternity and maternity (half siblings; Charles Martel was the bastard son of his father, who superseded the legitimate line), or accusations of false paternity (the first Chinese Emperor was subject to this rumors due to his bad reputation in later generations).

From Gene Expression

Comment by OphilaDros on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T11:07:54.771Z · LW · GW

the sexual norms based on sacralized individual autonomy end up working very badly in practice, so that we end up with the present rather bizarre situation where we see an unprecedented amount of hand-wringing about all sorts of sex-related problems, and at the same time proud insistence that we have reached unprecedented heights of freedom, enlightenment, and moral superiority in sex-related matters.

The unprecedented amount of hand-wringing might not be indicative of an increase in the number or magnitude of sex-related problems if it turns out that previous norms also discouraged public discussions of such problems. What are the other metrics by which we can say that the current set of norms are working badly in practice? Are there fewer people having sex, are they having less enjoyable sex, or are their sexual relationships less fulfilling and of shorter duration or are these norms destabilising society in other ways?

Comment by OphilaDros on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T10:59:12.685Z · LW · GW

Apparently in some parts of India, public toilets charge women (who can ill afford it) but not men.

Heh, was just about to post that I as an Indian woman who has done a fair bit of travelling around the country have NEVER ever seen this, but decided to google just in case. And found a New York Times article agreeing with the claim. Upper class privilege indeed. :)

In any case this doesn't look like an institutional policy, just petty corruption against those who are the least powerless to stop it. Which is sort of your point.

Comment by OphilaDros on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T10:47:12.818Z · LW · GW

The number of instances that a typical American will need to be 'humble and obedient' - such as while getting pulled over by a cop, are possibly far fewer than the number of instances a woman in a traditional society such as the one described by Haidt is required to do so.

Possibly by an order of magnitude.

Comment by OphilaDros on Useful maxims · 2012-07-12T04:47:43.092Z · LW · GW

This helped me to prevent clutter from creeping back into my house after a dedicated decluttering effort: Never put an item on your list of things to buy the first time you feel a need for it. Wait until you feel its absence it 2 or 3 times, because chances are, something you've already got can substitute well enough for the functionality you are missing.

If you ever declutter, you'll find a surprising amount of products that end up in the corners of shelves which were used only once ever and then forgotten. Chances are you'll find 2 or 3 copies of the same thing, because a lot of times you don't even remember you had bought one of them months ago.

Ciphergoth's maxim for purchases of expensive items is excellent. I'm going to be using it, thanks!

Comment by OphilaDros on Cultural norms in choice of mate · 2012-07-11T03:42:59.704Z · LW · GW

I think all of us commenting have different age ranges in our heads for 'older men' and 'younger women'. Anyhow the OP as far as I understand talks about very young women - 'girls who have recently exited puberty', and the discussion in the comments talking about 'power' and 'stature' seems to suggest men who are already fairly well established in their careers - at least the early thirties?

That's anywhere from a 15-20 year age gap. Not a whole lot more common than older woman-younger men pairings.

Comment by OphilaDros on What Is Signaling, Really? · 2012-07-10T13:53:36.784Z · LW · GW

Possibly the the time spent in figuring out which ones are classy as opposed to 'wannabe' or 'cheesy' or 'trying too hard' or 'lower class'. Probably difficult to figure out for any given group to which you are signalling you belong, unless you actually do belong to that group.

Comment by OphilaDros on Cultural norms in choice of mate · 2012-07-10T13:05:01.475Z · LW · GW

Upvoted for saying what I was trying to say with far fewer words. :)

Comment by OphilaDros on Cultural norms in choice of mate · 2012-07-10T12:51:22.763Z · LW · GW

The best solution I’ve heard started by looking at who benefits from this norm [older women] and wondering whether they could have contributed to it.

While this is generally a good question to ask, at this point you would also need to think of a plausible mechanism by which older women could have contributed to the change. What new powers have older women (Would this be women over 30? those over 40?) gained compared to younger women, younger men and older men in this period that they could have used to change the norms so drastically? How would they have cooperated between themselves to thwart the other groups' desires?

A few centuries ago, we did not have the laws against child labour that we do today, and it was common for young children to work and support their families. This norm has changed, and I don't think we need to ask the question of who benefited and posit that there has been an increase in this-or-the-other group's power to explain the shift.

Nowadays in many parts of the world sixteen-year-old girls themselves have a say in who they hook up with, which is something a lot of societies in ancient times (and very many even now) did not grant them. This should definitely be a factor in your analysis!

While not exactly an answer to your question, this Economist article talks about certain situations where social norms and options available in the workplace etc might push younger women away from matrimony altogether, not just matrimony with much older men.

Comment by OphilaDros on What have you recently tried, and failed at? · 2012-07-05T11:53:58.633Z · LW · GW

Attempted 2 online courses on Coursera. Grossly overestimated my own free time and conscientiousness, failed to make it even mid-way through both.

I'm not giving up though. Have signed up for one course this month - the introduction to Quantum Mechanics taught by Umesh Vazirani. Must do better and complete the course this time because if not, I just might start to self-identify as someone who plans, but does not execute!

Comment by OphilaDros on Irrationality Game II · 2012-07-04T16:20:57.058Z · LW · GW

Also all those dramatic technological developments of 6000 years ago, which seem minor now due to the passage of time and further advances in knowledge and technology. As no doubt the discovery of the Higgs Boson or the Voyager leaving the boundary of the solar system would seem in 8012. AD. If anybody even remembers these events then.

Comment by OphilaDros on Irrationality Game II · 2012-07-04T05:15:35.516Z · LW · GW

Upvoted because 10% as an estimate seems too high.

I especially can't imagine why transhuman powers would have used the end of the calendar of a long-dead civilization (one of many comparable civilizations) to foreshadow the end of their game plan.

Comment by OphilaDros on Personality analysis in terms of parameters · 2012-06-21T04:54:57.198Z · LW · GW

Hmm.. Not sure about the etiquette of posting the link in a public forum since it's not meant for redistribution, but will keep it for now.

Comment by OphilaDros on Personality analysis in terms of parameters · 2012-06-21T04:49:06.680Z · LW · GW

You can get the 'author's version' of the paper 'for personal use, not redistribution' by going to this website, and providing your email ID:

Comment by OphilaDros on Thwarting a Catholic conversion? · 2012-06-20T10:19:56.931Z · LW · GW

Is your background Catholic? Asking because although I haven't delved in depth into 'justifications for belief' of various religions recently (I stopped shopping around for a religion 16-17 years ago), I don't remember Catholic justifications as being particularly stronger than that of the others I was reading up about (Islam/Buddhism/Hinduism).