A tentative dialogue with a Friendly-boxed-super-AGI on brain uploads 2022-05-12T19:40:48.113Z
Ramiro P.'s Shortform 2021-09-23T15:09:12.170Z


Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Lies, Damn Lies, and Fabricated Options · 2021-11-02T20:22:36.603Z · LW · GW

My concern, which I interpret as being TAG's point (but with different words), is that your example of water vs. XYZ is immediately traceable (at least for anyone who knows the philosophical discussion) to Putnam's Twin Earth experiment. The way you express your point suggests you disregard this thought experiment - which is surprising for someone acquainted with it, because Putnam (at least when he wrote the paper) would likely agree that a substance with the same basic chemical properties of water would be water. He actually aims to provide an argument for semantic externalism - i.e., the idea that the meaning of "water" (or of other natural species) is H20, its chemical nature, and not the apparent properties commonly used as criteria to discriminate it (that it's a tasteless liquid...). He's so pushing against a conventionalist view about semantics (and philosophy of language), thus it's not about physics or ontology.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Ramiro P.'s Shortform · 2021-09-23T15:09:12.625Z · LW · GW

LW is quoted (in a kind of flattering way) in Simon Dedeo's awesome piece on the last issue. For spoiler lovers:

[...] Rationality is my ticket out. The only reason I can trust you is that you seem rational enough to talk to. But now you’re telling me that rationality is just a layer on top of the System—it’s just as irrational as the people I’m trying to escape. I don’t know which is worse: being duped by someone else’s priors, or being a biological machine.

Teacher: Don’t go too far. You’re a smart kid—you can iterate faster than most. You can match patterns better. Evolution set you up well. You’ll get better at predicting the consequences of your actions, and better at adapting your environment to your will. Rationality is systematized winning.

Ian: It’s not winning I’m worried about. It’s my mind. Maybe it’s silly, maybe it’s a fetish, but I want to know the truth. It’s the principle of the thing. Wanting to know the truth got me this far, but now the only option you’ve given me is believing in something I can’t see. If I know it at all, it can’t be through rational, scientific calculation. There’s some kind of extra-rational process I have to engage in—but what’s beyond the edge of reason?

Teacher: Many things. Dreams, intuition, transcendence, love, ascending the ladder, repetition and the leap of faith, philosophy itself ...

Ian: ... delusion, fairy tales, fascism!

Teacher: Childhood’s end.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on When Hindsight Isn't 20/20: Incentive Design With Imperfect Credit Allocation · 2020-11-21T00:01:32.735Z · LW · GW

Strict liability in tort law seems to be a pretty obvious example, doesn't it? I mean, I guess a lot of corporate law can be seen as "vicariously holding a group accountable"

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Creating better infrastructure for controversial discourse · 2020-06-21T17:44:17.564Z · LW · GW

Kialo is totally underrated.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on April Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-04-10T15:48:08.455Z · LW · GW

I've seen news about this study, but no preprint. It'd be really helpful if we could get it.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on What will happen to supply chains in the era of COVID-19? · 2020-04-06T01:25:08.669Z · LW · GW

I'm more concerned with developing countries, particularly if they depend on international trade for food. Also, their goods are mainly transported by truck drivers travelling long distances, who may opportunistically demand better working conditions. In Brazil, they threatened to stop working, thus reminding everyone of a strike in 2018 that caused supply problems in major cities. Fortunately, they reconsidered it after the government started a mediatic campaign to make them feel valued.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on April Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-04-01T13:30:32.192Z · LW · GW

Does anyone have any idea / info on what proportion of the infected cases are getting Covid19 inside hospitals? This seems to have been a real issue for previous coronavirus.

I'd say there might be a stark difference between countries / regions in this area. Italian health workers seem to have taken a heavy blow. Also, 79 deaths in Brazil (total: 200) came from only one Hospital chain/ health insurer, which focus on aging customers (so, yeah, maybe it's just selection bias?).

(Epistemic status: low, but I didin't find any research on that after 30min, so maybe the hypothesis deserves a bit more of attention?)

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Preprint says R0=~5 (!) / infection fatality ratio=~0.1%. Thoughts? · 2020-03-24T12:57:27.642Z · LW · GW

I noticed CDC claims 9 deaths from Diamond Princess, but I didn't find support in their source. WHO is still counting 8 deaths. I guess you're right, but I'd appreciate if you could provide the source.

They write "at the time of testing." The study I cite followed up with what happened to patients.

I know that. If you follow this discussion up to the beginning, you'll see that all I'm claiming is that the number of documented cases has been affected by selective bias, because asymptomatic / pre-symptomatic etc. cases are unlikely to be diagnosed.

Finally, I believe we both agree the current IFR is underestimating the true death rate, because many patients are still fighting for their lives. Actually, the authors of the preprint are not complete morons and estimate the "time-delayed IFR" in 0.12% (which I agree is too low), and make the following remark to explain the higher mortality in Wuhan:

These findings indicate that the death risk in Wuhan is estimated to be much higher than those in other areas, which is likely explained by hospital-based transmission [32]. Indeed, past nosocomial outbreaks have been reported to elevate the CFR associated with MERS and SARS outbreaks, where inpatients affected by underlying disease or seniors infected in the hospital setting have raised the CFR to values as high as 20% for a MERS outbreak.

I'm not saying this study is right. I'm just saying that, unless someone points a methodological flaw, "their conclusion is too different" is not a reason to discard it.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Preprint says R0=~5 (!) / infection fatality ratio=~0.1%. Thoughts? · 2020-03-24T00:19:46.895Z · LW · GW

Maybe CDC screwed their data, but they say 46.5% of the Diamond Princess cases were asymptomatic when tested:

I believe this might be a confusion between asymptomatic and pre/mildly symptomatic - but whatever: the claim at stake is that there's a ton of undocumented cases out there, not that they're asymptomatic

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Preprint says R0=~5 (!) / infection fatality ratio=~0.1%. Thoughts? · 2020-03-21T14:19:38.251Z · LW · GW

I'm sorry, I'm not sure if I understood the relevance of asymptomatic : symptomatic ratio here. I think what's at stake in this article is the ratio undocumented : documented cases; it'll include not only asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or mildly symptomatic people, but people who got really sick but couldn't be tested until Hubei had largely improved their testing capabilities.

I do think a 50:1 rate is surprising, though not impossible.

If 50% of the cases in South Korea are asymptomatic and so don't get tested, their true death rate would be ~0.4-0.5%; if you add people who got sick before their testing capability was improved, etc., it may be lower. But again, I really prefer to be pessimistic in my death rates.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Preprint says R0=~5 (!) / infection fatality ratio=~0.1%. Thoughts? · 2020-03-20T21:31:52.611Z · LW · GW

True, but Diamond Princess is full of oldies, and, despite South Korea massive testing, there might be selection bias - I guess people would only get tested if they had some symptom or contact with other infected persons (perhaps you're referring a more specific study?). Notice that, if the science study claiming 86% of the cases in Wuhan were undocumented were right, this would already imply a fatality rate of about 0.6%, below South Korea estimates.

Yet, I agree the fatality rate is surprisingly low, and it's just a statistical model.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on How much delay do you generally have between having a good new idea and sharing that idea publicly online? · 2020-03-17T22:02:10.144Z · LW · GW

My average is a week, I guess. I only share ideas I can't falsify or take out of my head; and I try them with close friends first. And I admit I'm kinda sensitive to negative feedback.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on How much delay do you generally have between having a good new idea and sharing that idea publicly online? · 2020-03-17T22:00:45.903Z · LW · GW

Maybe a spreadsheet would be more informative. You could easily aggregate many answers.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Some quick notes on hand hygiene · 2020-02-11T18:26:30.712Z · LW · GW

If you grab your mobile with your dirty hands, then wash them, and then use your device again, you just recontaminated them; and if you never clean its surface (how do we do it effectively?), it'll accumulate pathogens. This seems to be a serious problem in hospitals.

(I'm not sure if I follow your reasoning; it apparently implies that, if you never shake hands with someone else, you never have to worry about washing them. Of course, it does reduce the potential for transmission.)

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Some quick notes on hand hygiene · 2020-02-10T17:06:31.502Z · LW · GW

We should take into account the welfare of others, too. Besides protecting me from disease, washing my hands prevents me from transmitting it to someone else. It's pretty much analogous to vaccines.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Some quick notes on hand hygiene · 2020-02-10T17:00:36.387Z · LW · GW

I 've seen somethings concerning how dirty cellphones are - and how they can worsen interpersonal disease transmission. I wonder if there's any advice on how to keep it clean (and how useful would it be).

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Why are people so bad at dating? · 2019-12-05T05:24:23.493Z · LW · GW

I do think Lanrian nailed it: there's no process ensuring fitness selection in dating. On the other hand, we are wasting an opportunity to go meta here: if everyone were capable of mimicking the features of a picture that make it successful, then those features should lose their importance, since they are not reliably signaling that someone is a good mate. If I'm not bright enough to see through a carefully planned image of a smile and a discrete cleavage, I am probably not bright enough to get a similarly attractive picture for myself. Plus, usual cognitive bias: I often mistake how much I like my pics (for the emotions they evoke, for example) with my assessment of their quality - and so irrationally rate them above average. But yeah, now i can use Photofeeler

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Debate on Instrumental Convergence between LeCun, Russell, Bengio, Zador, and More · 2019-10-22T17:14:03.365Z · LW · GW

I find LeCun's insistence on the analogy with legal systems particularly interesting, because they remind me more Russell's proposal of "uncertain objectives" than the "maximize objective function" paradigm. At least in liberal societies, we don't have a definite set of principles and values that people would agree to follow - instead, we aim at principles that guarantee an environment where any reasonable person can reasonably optimize for something like their own comprehensive doctrine.

However, the remarkable disanalogy is that, even if social practices change and clever agents adapt faster than law can evolve (as Goodhart remarks), the difference is not so great as with the technological pace.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2019 · 2019-09-28T12:29:10.509Z · LW · GW

So far, LW is still online. It means:

a) either nobody used their launch codes, and you can trust 125 nice & smart individuals not to take unilateralist action - so we can avoid armageddon if we just have coordinated communities with the right people;

b) nobody used their launch codes, because these 125 are very like-minded people (selection bias), there's no immediate incentive to blow it up (except for some offers about counterfactual donations), but some incentive to avoid it (honor!... hope? Prove EDT, UDT...?). It doesn't model the problem of MAD, and surely it doesn't model Petrov's dilemma - he went against express orders to minimize the chance of nuclear war, so risking his career (and possibly his life).

c) or this a hoax. That's what I would do; I wouldn't risk a day of LW just to prove our honor (sorry, I grew up in a tough neighborhood and have problems with trusting others).

My point is: I think (b) and (c) are way more likely than (a), so I'd use the launch codes, and take the risk of ostracism, if I had them. I think it would yield higher expected-utility; as I said, I wouldn't risk a day of LW to prove our honor, but I'd do it to prove you shouldn't play Petrov lightly.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

P.S.: (d) this allows anyone to claim having launch codes and mugger others into counterfactual donations - which is brilliant.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2019 · 2019-09-28T11:23:55.680Z · LW · GW

I thought he was being ambiguous on purpose, so as to maximize donations.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Deducing Impact · 2019-09-26T00:34:16.048Z · LW · GW

I am wondering about the link between the notion of distance (in the first post), extremes in a utility scale, and big deal. That's me in 15'

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Peter Thiel/Eric Weinstein Transcript on Growth, Violence, and Stories · 2019-09-04T20:55:31.108Z · LW · GW

My opinion ("epistemic status"): dunno.

I remember an issue in The Economist in 2013 about it. There's some argument among economists on the absence of productivity improvements, despite the buzz over AI and ICT; Erin Brynjolfsson argues that it takes some time for global pervasive technologies to have an impact (e.g.: electricity). However, the main point of Thiel & Weinstein is that we haven't found new breakthroughs that are easy to profit from.

But it reminds me Cixin Liu's Dark Forest context, where:

humankind stalled because Physics breakthroughs were prevented by the Sophon Barrier - even so, they built a utopian society thanks to cheap energy from fusion power.

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on How Much is Your Time Worth? · 2019-09-02T14:50:22.324Z · LW · GW

Your argumetn is sound. For me, it's curious that development economists almost never mention the temperature x productivity relation - except for J. Sachs (who mixes it with other geographical factors) and Nordhaus (who got a Nobel Prize for reasoning about it).

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on What questions about the future would influence people’s actions today if they were informed by a prediction market? · 2019-07-21T17:41:43.389Z · LW · GW

Ok, but the point is: how do you aggregate this in a prediction market? You have no incentive to bet on Earth's doom

Comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) on Self-confirming predictions can be arbitrarily bad · 2019-06-07T01:26:20.536Z · LW · GW

There's a cool name for this donor's action: blindspotting (yeah, it's written like this) - after a Roy Sorensen book from 1988.