Comment by patrickdfarley on Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns · 2021-01-09T15:33:58.282Z · LW · GW

Sabotage the freezers 👀

Comment by patrickdfarley on Covid 10/15: Playtime is Over · 2020-10-16T22:46:03.063Z · LW · GW

Just go back and skim a couple of them. You wouldn't start a book in the middle and then criticize the author for being hard to follow

Comment by patrickdfarley on Has Eliezer ever retracted his statements about weight loss? · 2020-10-16T06:26:29.087Z · LW · GW
  • Actual bounded experts who are ignorant on other subjects
  • Wholly ignorant people who purport to be experts on subjects you're ignorant of

These are two different things. Gell-Mann amnesia seems to address the latter. You're referring to the former when you warn against assigning general trust values. Assigning general trust values would actual prevent Gell-Mann amnesia. Correct?

Comment by patrickdfarley on Has Eliezer ever retracted his statements about weight loss? · 2020-10-15T02:16:23.097Z · LW · GW

I'm afraid I still don't follow. But I like the blog.

Comment by patrickdfarley on The Sun Room · 2020-10-14T22:37:14.953Z · LW · GW

My smartphone cannot enter the sun room with me.

Comment by patrickdfarley on Has Eliezer ever retracted his statements about weight loss? · 2020-10-14T21:56:31.549Z · LW · GW

Are you serious about the second part? Estimating the credibility of people you read?

Comment by patrickdfarley on Philosophy of Therapy · 2020-10-12T22:43:06.527Z · LW · GW

I found this extremely helpful. I'd known the world of therapy was complex but I had nothing like a broad map of it.

After staring at your chart for a minute I noticed that there are some modalities I'm able to do well for myself, and others that I'm not. When people claim they wouldn't benefit from "therapy," they're likely thinking of one or two modalities (and are likely correct), but may not be aware of the others.

Comment by patrickdfarley on Seek Upside Risk · 2020-10-01T04:16:21.768Z · LW · GW

Would you have preferred the post if framed around E(log(X))?

Technically yes, but I know it'd be harder to use as a mental model in everyday life. And anyway, I have the same initial bias as you

Comment by patrickdfarley on Seek Upside Risk · 2020-09-29T22:01:22.691Z · LW · GW

I love the spirit of this post, but all the focus on expected value raised some alarms in my head. 

Maximizing the expected value in ordinary (financial) betting leads to bad decisions (St. Petersburg paradox), and it can do the same in other areas of life. I can see you know this intuitively, because you mentioned Pascal's Mugging. Just letting you know that there's math that accounts for this, too:

To avoid wasting life on Pascal's Mugging (or going broke on bad bets), we maximize the expected logarithm of value (Kelly Criterion), because we get diminishing utility from higher amounts of the same thing.

Comment by patrickdfarley on is scope insensitivity really a brain error? · 2020-09-29T16:50:10.625Z · LW · GW

No, that's not my position. Read it again and see if there's a nuanced view that better fits my words.

Comment by patrickdfarley on is scope insensitivity really a brain error? · 2020-09-29T06:42:17.883Z · LW · GW

You're right, I did miss that in your last paragraph, my bad.

It shouldn't matter if they care more about human suffering: as long as bird-lives have nonzero value to them (and they revealed this by pledging any money at all), then the money donated should scale with the lives saved.

If they couldn't afford more, then they already made a mistake in donating their maximum to the first arbitrary opportunity presented. That's like a broader kind of scope insensitivity - valuing all large-sounding benefits exactly the same.

And, if they only pledged money to make themselves look good, they still failed due to scope insensitivity, because it looks bad to value 200,000 lives as little as 2000.

Anyway, as jimrandomh said, other examples are easy to find. I wouldn't believe in scope insensitivity if I'd never heard anything like the bird example, but I have.

Comment by patrickdfarley on is scope insensitivity really a brain error? · 2020-09-29T00:21:20.500Z · LW · GW

scope insensitivity would only be irrational if saving birds were the only criteria in play. to save more birds, give more money. but this is almost never the case

The question was designed to isolate those two factors. You can claim the respondents all had secret, rational reasons to answer the way they did, but there's no evidence of that, and you haven't even proposed what those reasons could be.

Comment by patrickdfarley on "The Holy Grail" of portfolio management · 2020-09-24T03:11:03.839Z · LW · GW

In that case consider shorting the index (thus effectively setting β = 0.0) along your investment

Is this assuming you already have other investments with high beta, and you just don't want more beta with your new stock pics?

Comment by patrickdfarley on Charting Is Mostly Superstition · 2020-09-23T18:07:43.450Z · LW · GW

Thanks gilch, I've got a lot to look into but I'm kind of excited to try this stuff out. Your series + some other materials I've been watching has convinced me that finding alpha isn't as impossible as I thought.

Do you currently use any strategies whose edge you've confirmed by automated backtesting?

Comment by patrickdfarley on Market Misconceptions · 2020-09-23T17:57:18.376Z · LW · GW

Thanks, this is very valuable. I'll have to think about this some more; I don't think I've internalized it enough yet:

If a market was 100% efficient, the price moves would be 100% unpredictable

Comment by patrickdfarley on Charting Is Mostly Superstition · 2020-09-23T03:35:07.811Z · LW · GW

I tried out a few of these. Strongest correlation I found was between SPY-1 and NDX, fwiw. It feels like I shouldn't be doing so much of this work in spreadsheets though, because of the time cost. Is this the kind of thing Quantopian is mainly used for?

Comment by patrickdfarley on Market Misconceptions · 2020-09-22T23:10:48.032Z · LW · GW

Also, are you sure your definition of beta matches Wikipedia's? I'm not seeing how they can be the same thing

Comment by patrickdfarley on The Mind: Board Game Review · 2020-09-22T23:08:18.267Z · LW · GW

everyone's sense of "speed" is quite different.

There's an obvious Schelling point for that though ;) once three of us found it, our performance drastically improved, but I think I missed most of the excitement you're describing

Comment by patrickdfarley on The Mind: Board Game Review · 2020-09-22T23:04:08.414Z · LW · GW

Thank you! I and two other players landed on this strategy independently within like 20 minutes. And then the group's performance obviously improved, but it was no longer a game, it was "count accurately."

Comment by patrickdfarley on Market Misconceptions · 2020-09-22T22:18:04.778Z · LW · GW

Because the markets are so efficient, the market doesn't punish you much for being wrong

Could you explain this cause-effect a bit more? My intuition says if I make the wrong choice where the vast majority is making the right choice, my losses will quickly get snapped up into everyone else's gains

Comment by patrickdfarley on The Wrong Side of Risk · 2020-09-22T21:59:44.005Z · LW · GW

It's hard to judge the level of my audience.

Fwiw your posts are exactly appropriate to my level and are motivating me to go and learn more about some of these strategies.

Comment by patrickdfarley on Unifying the Simulacra Definitions · 2020-09-16T04:37:56.981Z · LW · GW

Can you speak more to how higher levels would allow predicting the future better?

I might be mistaken - my understanding of this is that the act of knowing and understanding that other people are on levels 3 and 4 is itself still a level-1 act: it's an object-level belief about the states of human minds in the universe. And therefore you can be aware of the level-3 and level-4 effects of your own actions (and choose them accordingly), without being on 3 or 4 yourself. To be on level-3 or level-4 involves actually missing information (or at least risking missing it). As I've understood it.

And that's why Zvi put the "Pragmatist" at only level 2, even though he "balances impact at all levels they are aware of slash care about." He can lie, or he can tell the truth, and he does whatever will bring his net preferred effect across all levels. I think rationalists are the Pragmatist.

Comment by patrickdfarley on The Four Children of the Seder as the Simulacra Levels · 2020-09-16T03:45:49.507Z · LW · GW

This was fascinating.

I guess this was the intuition pump that finally did it for me. I can't believe this sentence is what got me comfortably understanding the simulacra levels:

The wicked understand, acknowledge and value the Wise—they depend on the Wise for their own cynical gain. The simple don’t see the point of wisdom. Those who do not know how to ask don’t even know wisdom is a thing.

But Zvi, what do we do to prevent the initial progression to the Wicked? Does it actually work to "blunt his teeth / speak harshly to him"? That sounds like the analog of leveling an accusation of dishonesty / bad faith, with all the connoted shame. Does that work, or does it just confirm to them, "Yes, we're making declarative statements only to gain selfish advantage now"? The alternative would be to speak to him as if he's Wise but mistaken - pretending not to see the deception. Any feeling about which approach actually works more often?

Comment by patrickdfarley on Chapter 87: Hedonic Awareness · 2020-09-10T23:18:43.815Z · LW · GW

Lol that was a bloodbath

Comment by patrickdfarley on Repeat Until Broke · 2020-09-02T00:30:01.721Z · LW · GW

I'm loving this content. I wish more LWers wrote about money. Maybe I will someday

Comment by patrickdfarley on You Need More Money · 2020-09-01T23:08:13.872Z · LW · GW

Love this; I like seeing rationalists rise above the meek ineffectual I'm-right-but-no-one-cares quokka stereotype. Rationalists should win.

Comment by patrickdfarley on Status for status sake is a fact of political life · 2020-08-19T02:21:48.767Z · LW · GW

This rings true. And most of us who realize that status is in our utility function can usually just say "Yeah but if I have higher status I'll get XYZ, so it's worth its place in my utility function, if only as a means to get XYZ."

And you've called out some situations where there is no XYZ. In those cases, would we be able to reject status for its own sake? Or is it so embedded in our utility functions that we can't help but feel driven toward it?

Comment by patrickdfarley on No Ultimate Goal and a Small Existential Crisis · 2020-07-27T18:41:28.569Z · LW · GW

It means we'll get better at predicting the net return in pleasure of different choices. And especially, we'll become more aware of long-term consequences (because our system 1 is often biased toward short-term pleasures, which is liable to reduce total net lifetime pleasure).

We verify this process by taking stock of the amount and degree of regret we feel. By "regret" here I mean whenever you wish you could go back in time and choose differently.

Comment by patrickdfarley on No Ultimate Goal and a Small Existential Crisis · 2020-07-26T23:24:23.306Z · LW · GW

I'd argue that they inevitably are the ultimate metric, and all we can do about it is become more conscious of that and pursue them more intentionally.

Comment by patrickdfarley on No Ultimate Goal and a Small Existential Crisis · 2020-07-24T21:13:37.896Z · LW · GW

It sounds like for OP, some "values talk" is due. OP seems to be wondering how to weigh multiple values, and I'm saying weigh them according to how much pleasure can be derived from their indulgence. I don't really see "multiple dimensions of pleasure," I see many different paths to pleasure that are all commensurable.

Comment by patrickdfarley on No Ultimate Goal and a Small Existential Crisis · 2020-07-24T20:32:04.539Z · LW · GW

"for what metric does this goal score well on?"

Pleasure, or the absence of pain (and the relative importances of these two drives depends on your personality). Pleasure and pain are the bedrock you're looking for. They're unmistakable experiences that are motivating in and of themselves. They are motivation itself.

Every course of action you can take will give you a different net return (in pleasure or the absence of pain) over the course of your life. If you're conscientious about long-term planning and making good predictions, you can come closer to maximizing this ultimate metric.

Comment by patrickdfarley on Telling more rational stories · 2020-07-17T23:15:00.576Z · LW · GW

I see what you're saying now. There is a Motte & Bailey of identity politics where:

Motte = identity is just your particular circumstances and personality

Bailey = The most important ways of understanding people and their ideas are along the lines of race/sex/orientation/(other unalterable traits).

Sounds like you didn't actually mean to use that bailey. I've seen it used a lot elsewhere, so that's what I read here (I even wrote about it here).

Comment by patrickdfarley on Telling more rational stories · 2020-07-17T18:54:19.366Z · LW · GW

I don't recognize the connection you're drawing between good storytelling and identity politics. I would've said good storytelling touches people regardless of their identity group.

If Eliezer's stories only matter to people who are Jewish, millennial, and male, then I'd say he's not telling very good stories (or at least not very useful ones).

Comment by patrickdfarley on School Has It Backwards · 2020-07-12T19:53:20.330Z · LW · GW

Isn't this what the Montessori program is about?

Comment by patrickdfarley on When is evolutionary psychology useful? · 2020-07-10T19:59:14.373Z · LW · GW

I'll just add: You can use evopsych to predict present behaviors based on what we actually know of the evolutionary environment (which is what you're doing). AND you can use evopsych to infer the evolutionary environment based on what we know of present behaviors. But you can't do both with the same set of facts. That's what Yud would call "double counting the evidence"

Comment by patrickdfarley on Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious · 2020-07-08T19:13:38.332Z · LW · GW

Do remember that three theories "equally consistent with the data" are not therefore equally likely to be true.

I almost hope it is a false flag though, as you're hinting. If you believe people outside of cancel culture have a better understand of it than those who perpetrate it, then it's the outsiders who are better positioned to manipulate it to their advantage.

Comment by patrickdfarley on What are your thoughts on rational wiki · 2020-07-06T23:22:37.479Z · LW · GW

If I remember correctly, rationalwiki came into being as a response to Conservapedia, which is the American religious right's response to Wikipedia. The main issues originally at play were scientific: climate change, evolution, and the origin of the universe. Conservatives who disagreed with the consensus formed their own wiki.

People on the left formed rationalwiki to tit-for-tat the right. Called it rationalwiki because the denial of scientific consensus was irrational; I don't think the name had any connection whatsoever to the rationality blogosphere.

Rationalwiki admits to taking a "snarky point of view," which to me is an admission that documenting truth is not their primary aim.

Comment by patrickdfarley on God and Moses have a chat · 2020-06-18T01:48:37.328Z · LW · GW

Note that just because "God" is one word in English, doesn't mean it's one single claim. It's thousands.

Do there exist any beings more intelligent than humans? We could imagine conclusive evidence for that. Do there exist any beings that can transcend time and space? We could imagine ways to test that. Do there exist beings that can create non-consuming fire? Again we could easily test that. We'd have to do thousands of these tests to verify something as complex as the Judeo-Christian God.

Comment by patrickdfarley on "No evidence" as a Valley of Bad Rationality · 2020-03-29T00:49:43.231Z · LW · GW

I like this, thanks for posting. I've noticed there's a contrarian thrill in declaring, "Actually there's no evidence for that" / "Actually that doesn't count as evidence."

Academics love it when some application of math/statistics allows them to say the opposite of what people expect. There's this sense that anything that contradicts "common sense" must be the enlightened way of thinking, rising above the "common," "ignorant" thinking of the masses (aka non-coastal America).

Comment by PatrickDFarley on [deleted post] 2019-12-04T00:39:42.742Z

I got largely the same takeaway from the original Conflict vs Mistake Theory post. Mistake theorists can be modeled with mistake theory; conflict theorists can be modeled with conflict theory. Maybe sometimes you can convert people from one to the other, but once you realize that both kinds of people actually exist, you cannot be a hard conflict theorist or a hard mistake theorist anymore.