Is MIRI actually hiring and does Buck Shlegeris still work for you? 2021-02-13T10:26:23.362Z
Babble challenge: 50 ways to stop torture 2020-10-27T19:38:22.141Z


Comment by seed on Wisdom Cannot Be Unzipped · 2022-10-22T17:23:15.786Z · LW · GW

I think you're zeroing in on the hypothesis that your list had a problem too early. There are many possible reasons to fail college, like having a mental health issue or not being very motivated to succeed in the first place. Do you know that he actually read your list?

In my experience the biggest predictor of teaching success is whether the person asked to be taught)

Comment by seed on PSA: if you are in Russia, probably move out ASAP · 2022-03-04T11:02:45.120Z · LW · GW

If you are leaving relatives or friends behind, consider developing some kind of code language, because people in Russia might be afraid to tell you their real opinions over the phone in plain speech.

Comment by seed on PSA: if you are in Russia, probably move out ASAP · 2022-03-04T10:07:03.952Z · LW · GW

I believe there is nothing wrong or irrational about taking collective action or calling to it. On the contrary, a culture that prohibited collective action has failed at instrumental rationality and is about to be conquered by a culture that didn't. So I am strongly opposed to your first suggested rule.

Yes, I believe we shouldn't get involved in politics if it endangers alignment research efforts or otherwise hurts the community for little gain. But we should take collective actions which carry negligible risks and huge expected benefits. Rationality is about winning. Being divided makes us weak and less likely to win. Let's not do this.

Comment by seed on Late 2021 MIRI Conversations: AMA / Discussion · 2022-03-03T03:26:45.348Z · LW · GW

Will MIRI want to hire programmers once the pandemic is over? What kind of programmers? What other kinds of people do you seek to hire?

Comment by seed on Ukraine Situation Report 2022/03/01 · 2022-03-02T22:59:54.732Z · LW · GW

I agree that this statement could be understood this way, and I don't find your interpretation objectionable. It also could be understood to mean that Russian POWs say what they say to stop torture, there is no disclaimer against this interpretation. I should probably have interpreted everything in the most charitable way possible, if it was one thing. I am pushing back because several things made me feel paranoid.
Advising Ukrainans to flee while banning commenters from giving any advice to Western powers or discussing morality and justice seemed not neutral. (Russian people remaining nonviolent is not in Ukrainians' interest either.) Comparing Putin's situation to a trolley problem frames him as someone selflessly trying to do what's best for others. I am not saying that these posts are pretending to objectivity while secretly being kremlin propaganda, it just looks to me like lsusr is trying to be neutral and falling short.

Comment by seed on Ukraine Situation Report 2022/03/01 · 2022-03-02T11:01:39.308Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the report.

If I was captured by America's enemies I'd happily shout "Death to America!" on camera in exchange for humane treatment.

You're implying that Russian POWs are treated inhumanely unless they say what the captors want. That assertion needs proof.

Comment by seed on Ukraine Situation Report 2022/03/01 · 2022-03-02T10:59:08.258Z · LW · GW

There is also this isolating effect when the media tells a lie, e.g. denies some true fact X, and most people don't buy it, but they decide "this is what we're all conspiring to tell our enemies". And while you're busy trying to "convince" your opponent that X actually happened, you never get to discuss whether X is the right thing to do.

Comment by seed on [deleted post] 2022-03-01T09:11:50.392Z

Wait, I thought EA already had 46$ billion they didn't know where to spend, so I should prioritize direct work over earning to give?

Comment by seed on Tears Must Flow · 2021-12-02T14:44:12.741Z · LW · GW

It seems like the source of your disagreement is that you do not believe turkeys actually suffer (as you write "suffer" in scare quotes), while the OP clearly believes they do. I think this question needs to be settled first before we decide which emotional reactions are reasonable. (I myself have no idea what the answer is.)

Comment by seed on Worst Commonsense Concepts? · 2021-11-18T08:02:12.819Z · LW · GW

Radical actions. The word "radical" means someone trying to find and eliminate root causes of social problems, rather than just their symptoms. Many people pursue radical goals through peaceful means (spreading ideas, starting a commune, attending a peaceful protest or boycotting would be examples), yet "radical act" is commonly used as a synonym to "violent act".

Extremism. Means having views far outside the mainstream attitude of society. But also carries a strong negative connotation, in some countries is prohibited by law and mentioned alongside "terrorism" like they're synonyms, and redefined by Wikipedia as "those policies that violate or erode international human rights norms" (but what if one's society is opposed to human rights?!) Someone disagreeing with society is not necessarily bad or violent, so this is a bad concept.

"Outside of politics". Any choice one makes affects the balance of power somehow, so one cannot truly be outside. In practice the phrase often means that supporting the status quo is allowed, but speaking against it is banned.

Comment by seed on Where do you live? · 2021-11-01T13:58:59.433Z · LW · GW

What the heck did I do wrong, why are you downvoting me, guys?

Comment by seed on Where do you live? · 2021-10-31T22:29:21.258Z · LW · GW


Comment by seed on Selfishness, preference falsification, and AI alignment · 2021-10-28T18:00:20.889Z · LW · GW

Are you saying that MIRI enforces altruism in their employees? If so, how do they do that, exactly?

Comment by seed on My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage) · 2021-10-17T08:53:26.109Z · LW · GW

Scott Aaronson, for example, blogs about "blank faced" non-self-explaining authoritarian bureaucrats being a constant problem in academia.  Venkatesh Rao writes about the corporate world, and the picture presented is one of a simulation constantly maintained thorough improv.

Well, I once met a person in academia who was convinced she'd be utterly bored anywhere outside academia. 

If you want an unbiased perspective on what life is like outside the rationality community, you should talk to people not associated with the rationality community. (Yes, Venkatesh Rao doesn't blog here as far as I can tell, but he is repeatedly mentioned on LW, so counts as "associated" for the purpose of this exercise.)

Comment by seed on Great Negotiation MOOC on Coursera · 2021-08-09T20:03:55.462Z · LW · GW

How do you know it's useful though? Did you apply the advice? Did it help?

Comment by seed on Against "Context-Free Integrity" · 2021-04-14T13:22:47.169Z · LW · GW

>> Sometimes I try to tell the people what I can see, and that doesn't always go well. I'm not sure why.
Can you describe a concrete example? Without looking at a few examples, it is hard to tell if a "context-free integrity" fallacy is to blame, or you are just making bad arguments, or something.

Comment by seed on Convict Conditioning Book Review · 2021-04-12T12:34:16.098Z · LW · GW

One benefit is that you can do calisthenics everywhere (even in prison), no need for special equipment.

Comment by seed on Preventing overcharging by prosecutors · 2021-04-06T14:03:50.179Z · LW · GW

What's to stop the prosecutor from lying about their Briers score?

Comment by seed on Center for Applied Postrationality: An Update · 2021-04-01T08:45:32.461Z · LW · GW

We have exercised our innovative technique of meta-honesty to successfully dupe some computer programmers into thinking we want their participation.

Comment by seed on How You Can Gain Self Control Without "Self-Control" · 2021-03-25T15:22:44.020Z · LW · GW

I actually thought Ty was a real person. :)

Comment by seed on What ethical thought experiments can be reversed? · 2021-03-07T09:46:32.544Z · LW · GW

And Y/2 pain, probably? (Or the conclusion doesn't follow.)

Comment by seed on The Median is Less than the Average · 2021-02-23T18:53:27.969Z · LW · GW

How do you measure intelligence though? Obviously you don't mean IQ, since IQ test scores are deliberately calibrated to be normally distributed.

Generally, I feel like all these bold claims need some supporting evidence. E.g.

Increased information makes smart people smarter and stupid people stupider.

Citation needed?

Comment by seed on The art of caring what people think · 2021-02-12T10:09:02.779Z · LW · GW

I totally agree that it's useful to hang out with a diverse set of people.

It also helps to treat people's opinion of you as an instrumental goal. Every time I'm worried what someone thinks of me, I ask myself if this person's opinion is important, and why - can they hurt me or help me in any way? Sometimes the answer is yes, e.g. I want to impress employers, or I need voters to like me if I'm doing politics. Often, though, the answer is that the person is not going to affect my life in any way, and so their opinion doesn't matter. People's opinions may also matter as an estimate of my own virtue, but if their opinion is based on a misunderstanding, or they're confused about what's virtue and what's vice, then their opinion can be discarded again.

Comment by seed on Democratic Currency · 2021-01-20T17:15:31.258Z · LW · GW

Is starting capital really a bottleneck for entrepreneurs? Don't you just get money from investors? 
Elon Musk and Bill Gates only needed a laptop to start their business. Or, from Warren Buffet's biography: "In 1945, as a high school sophomore, Buffett and a friend spent $25 to purchase a used pinball machine, which they placed in the local barber shop. Within months, they owned several machines in three different barber shops across Omaha. They sold the business later in the year for $1,200 to a war veteran. ... In high school, he invested in a business owned by his father and bought a 40-acre farm worked by a tenant farmer. He bought the land when he was 14 years old with $1,200 of his savings. By the time he finished college, Buffett had accumulated $9,800 in savings".

Comment by seed on Yoda Timers 2 · 2021-01-14T09:25:55.180Z · LW · GW

Were long-standing research problems actually ever presented at IMO? AFAIK, problems featured there already have solutions.

Comment by seed on Blackmail · 2021-01-12T05:41:59.683Z · LW · GW

I feel like I'm missing context. Why did this community come to care about blackmail laws in the first place?

Comment by seed on Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 13 · 2021-01-01T14:49:34.103Z · LW · GW

I'm so confused. How did Luna survive the Killing Curse?

Comment by seed on Perfectionism as depth-first search · 2020-12-29T12:32:25.230Z · LW · GW

Great observation! I was struggling with the same issue when I moved from studying math to graduate ML research. Depth-first search is the right approach to reading a math textbook. Say, you started to learn homology theory and realized you don't know what's an Abelian group. You should stop and go read about Abelian groups, or you won't understand what comes next. 

However, the same approach was getting me in trouble when trying to understand state-of-the-art in voice processing. I would start reading an article in the morning, and by the evening I'd finish no articles and find myself stuck in the middle of a textbook reading about some 50 years outdated method which wasn't relevant to modern research. So, I worked out that the effective approach to this task is breadth-first search: read the article from beginning to end, write down all unknown terms, go on to look up the most important one.

I think another reason why people might default to depth-first search is that BFS requires to store a list of unexplored nodes in memory and people don't have a lot working memory. So a note-taking system like Zettelkasten really helps with applying this approach more broadly in one's life.

Comment by seed on No, Newspeak Won’t Make You Stupid · 2020-12-19T01:17:46.590Z · LW · GW

Do you know anyone who wants such a forum?

Comment by seed on D&D.Sci Evaluation and Ruleset · 2020-12-12T19:25:24.659Z · LW · GW

Cheers to simon, ericf and myself, for offering an optimal solution! And cheers to abstractapplic for organizing the challenge.

The leaderboard (if you're not here, I couldn't figure out what your final decision was, or you added more than 10 points):

simon, ericf 0.9375 

[('CHA', 8), ('CON', 15), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 8), ('WIS', 15)]

seed 0.9375 

[('CHA', 8), ('CON', 14), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 8), ('WIS', 16)]

Samuel Clamons 0.8095 

[('CHA', 8), ('CON', 17), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 7), ('WIS', 14)]

Asgard 0.7857 

[('CHA', 9), ('CON', 16), ('DEX', 14), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 8), ('WIS', 12)]

Measure 0.7308 

[('CHA', 8), ('CON', 14), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 6), ('WIS', 18)]

kiwiakos 0.6774 

[('CHA', 7), ('CON', 15), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 6), ('WIS', 18)]

Alexey 0.6500

  [('CHA', 11), ('CON', 14), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 6), ('WIS', 15)]

newcom 0.6471

  [('CHA', 11), ('CON', 16), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 7), ('WIS', 12)]

AABoyles, Pongo, GuySrinivasan 0.6389 

[('CHA', 6), ('CON', 14), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 6), ('WIS', 20)]

Yongee 0.6364 

[('CHA', 5), ('CON', 14), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 20), ('STR', 8), ('WIS', 12)]

Deccludor 0.6098 [('CHA', 5), ('CON', 20), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 6), ('WIS', 15)]

Randomini 0.4688 [('CHA', 4), ('CON', 14), ('DEX', 13), ('INT', 13), ('STR', 16), ('WIS', 12)] 

From plotting the data, I saw that:

  • looked like the stats were independtly randomly generated and cut off at sum >= 60.
  • dexterity was useless
  • looked like there was a big advantage to having stats >= 8. For strengh, strength=8 was almost as good as strength=20

I fit a regularized logistic regression and a neural net, but couldn't get validation accuracy greater than 70%, which was only a little better than the 65% baseline of random guessing. I realized that the data is not very informative and I don't know how results are calculated, so I better stick with a conservative model like Nearest Neighbors classifier, and try a few different models. I fit a KNN classifier, gradient boosting on decision trees, and regularized logistic regression (all with validation accuracy 70%), and chose a point which gave near the top scores for all three classifiers. (It had all stats >=8, too.)

Comment by seed on [deleted post] 2020-12-10T09:48:02.003Z

I wonder if it has something to do with age-related hearing loss. I remember when I was a teen, rock music sounded like antimelodic screeching to me too, but I listened because my friends liked it, and I liked the lyrics. Now the same songs sound like legit music to me. Maybe it's because our hearing range shrinks with age, so the high-pitched sounds become quieter and the song doesn't sound like screeching anymore.

Comment by seed on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-07T20:08:40.278Z · LW · GW

CHA+4, STR+2, WIS+4 

Comment by seed on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-07T12:35:25.631Z · LW · GW

Is it a secret / part of the puzzle, where this data came from?

Comment by seed on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-07T10:47:53.484Z · LW · GW

Do adventurers gain additional status points during their Great Quest, and if yes, are these stats measured at the beginning or at the end of their quest?

Is this data from some real Dungeons and Dragons game results?

Comment by seed on Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 5 · 2020-12-05T08:41:52.814Z · LW · GW

This was very funny and the best HPMOR continuation I've read so far.

Comment by seed on AllAmericanBreakfast's Shortform · 2020-12-04T05:40:16.266Z · LW · GW

Oh, sorry, I've only heard the word used in that context before, I thought that's what it meant. Turns out it has a broader meaning. 

Comment by seed on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2020 · 2020-12-02T17:33:44.901Z · LW · GW
Comment by seed on AllAmericanBreakfast's Shortform · 2020-11-28T09:36:40.090Z · LW · GW

Look, I'm neurotypical and I don't find anything Eliezer writes offensive, will you please stop ostracizing us.

Comment by seed on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-27T11:26:01.917Z · LW · GW

A banana isn't going to banana harder because it is in your hand instead of mine.

I might like bananas more than you, or be hungrier than you. Than a banana has greater value to me.

If you suddenly start to resist a advertisements effect you might realise that you are perfectly happy and content without some kind of experience or good.

It think the left greately exaggerates the extent to which purchasing decisions are a result of some kind of deception or manipulation. For example, there was that movie that criticized consumerism, the Fight Club? The protagonist would spend every evening looking at ads, and then he'd change all furniture in his home all the time. That doesn't remind me of myself, or anyone I know. Last time I bought a couch it was because the old one became uncomfortable to sleep on. Sometimes I make mistakes, like when I bought the "Where is my flying car" book, and it turned out to be deceptive. But these kind of things amount to less than 5% of my expenses. When I look at other people I know, it seems like they, too, are spending most of their income on food, clothes (when old ones get ruined) and other things they obviously need and weren't tricked into buying. So I don't understand why you think advertisements' manipulation is a significant problem. When you look at people you know, do you see them wasting most of their money on worthless things?

Comment by seed on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-24T22:23:05.680Z · LW · GW

Voluntary exchange only happens when both parties benefit from it. It creates value for both parties, and, if there are no negative externalities, it's a utilitarian good.

Comment by seed on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-24T22:15:30.866Z · LW · GW

If I pay you 100$ for saving 3 lifes, it means I value these lifes at at least 100$. The payment is not equal to the value, it is a lower bound estimate. Granted, I could make a mistake and spend these money on a cure that didn't work, or on a game I didn't enjoy. Then I would give away more than I got in return. But if we're talking about an established company that sells the same goods or services over and over again, people are going to learn what these goods or services are worth and stop making such mistakes.

Comment by seed on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-22T22:59:06.268Z · LW · GW

But that's not what typically happens.
Take a company like Google. Google has about 100000 employees, and their average annual salary is 117 000 $.  Google's yearly net income is 35 billion dollars. An average Google employee is creating value 4 times their salary. The effects of their spending on pollution etc. are negligible in comparison.

Comment by seed on Babble challenge: 50 ways to stop torture · 2020-11-20T08:27:39.363Z · LW · GW

Yes, and it should be actionable for an ordinary citizen like me. So the strategy should also explain how do I get into power or persuade people in power to pass better human rights legislation.

It's doable, I've done it myself, though it took me more than an hour.

Comment by seed on A review of Where Is My Flying Car? by J. Storrs Hall · 2020-11-18T12:38:48.325Z · LW · GW

One of the more contrarian claims of the book is that intermediate level nuclear waste is actually safe. 

The editors of Britain's online tech webzine point out:
"Most intermediate level waste is barely radioactive at all. If you put a completely legal luminous watch in a barrel containing half a tonne of dirt, that dirt would technically be intermediate-level nuclear waste according to the regulations. ... Despite the fact that it is not radiologically dangerous in any realistic way, "intermediate level nuclear waste must nonetheless be expensively processed, packaged, securely stored in a special geological vault." 

Is this true? Seems like this claim needs a stronger backup than an online tech webzine editor opinion.

Comment by seed on Babble challenge: 50 ways to stop torture · 2020-11-17T19:10:17.207Z · LW · GW

The goal is to defend people who are at risk. Mostly third-world country prisoners and dissidents. Here's some reports about my country, for example.

Comment by seed on Stupid Questions - September 2017 · 2020-10-21T00:24:46.240Z · LW · GW

Eliezer mentioned on twitter that MIRI is looking for Haskell programmers. Why is there no mention of Haskell on the vacancy page?

Comment by seed on Stupid Questions - September 2017 · 2020-10-21T00:19:31.433Z · LW · GW

How come MIRI never hired a Living Library in 3 years?

Comment by seed on Open & Welcome Thread – October 2020 · 2020-10-17T10:03:05.283Z · LW · GW

Maybe then discuss it privately with a few people first?

Comment by seed on Knowledge, manipulation, and free will · 2020-10-14T13:03:14.327Z · LW · GW

Scenario 5 sounds like something an aligned AI should do.  Actually, taking Petrov hostage would also be the right thing to do, if there was no better way to save people's lives. It seems fine to me to take away someone's option to start a nuclear war?

I think manipulation is bad when it's used to harm you, but it's good if it's used to help you make better decisions. Like that time when banning lead reduced crime by 50%. Isn't this the kind of thing an AI should do? We hire all kinds of people to manipulate us into becoming better: psychotherapists, fitness instructors, teachers. Why would it be wrong for an AI to fill these roles?

Comment by seed on Industrial literacy · 2020-10-14T08:38:38.704Z · LW · GW

They, um, save time? And also heat up the water?