Posts

Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 2024-02-18T16:46:42.687Z
How do high-trust societies form? 2024-02-09T01:11:24.201Z
Shankar Sivarajan's Shortform 2023-01-27T05:36:27.677Z

Comments

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Benito's Shortform Feed · 2024-02-27T16:09:22.355Z · LW · GW

Experts are saying people dislike my suggestion because it doesn't sound like it's conveying the desired nuanced view, despite doing so quite effectively.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Rawls's Veil of Ignorance Doesn't Make Any Sense · 2024-02-27T16:05:59.354Z · LW · GW

This is what you sound like: link. You display a perfectly sound understanding of my argument.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Benito's Shortform Feed · 2024-02-26T23:20:47.534Z · LW · GW

"People are saying …"

As in, "The plumber says it's fixed, but people are saying it's not."

This also lends itself to loosely indicating probabilities with "Some people are saying …" or "Many people are saying …."

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Balancing Games · 2024-02-25T23:06:56.357Z · LW · GW

mostly of historical interest in chess

Aren't time handicaps still common in chess?

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on China-AI forecasts · 2024-02-25T19:05:16.435Z · LW · GW

A lot of these comparisons are between China and rich countries as they are now. Would a better comparison not be to rich countries as they were when they got rich?  

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Rawls's Veil of Ignorance Doesn't Make Any Sense · 2024-02-25T05:30:42.325Z · LW · GW

Many (perhaps most) famous "highly recognized" philosophical arguments are nonsensical (zombies, as an example). If one doesn't make sense to you, it is far more likely that it doesn't make sense at all than it is that you're missing something.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on We Need Major, But Not Radical, FDA Reform · 2024-02-25T05:15:45.631Z · LW · GW

I grant that the FDA isn't literally 100% evil

I suppose they do contain organs that might one day be harvested to save a life.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The Gemini Incident · 2024-02-23T23:36:38.119Z · LW · GW

a good thing rather than a bad thing.

Do you believe this answers the question "… for whom?" or are you helpfully illustrating how it typically gets hand-waved away?

The usage of the definite article does not imply there are no other questions, just that they are all subordinate to this one.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The Gemini Incident · 2024-02-23T04:41:22.173Z · LW · GW

Or if they do not choose what you want them to choose? If they want something different than what you want

"Aligned to whom?" remains the question in the field of "AI alignment," and as it has been since the beginning it continues to be hand-waved away.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-22T22:47:36.257Z · LW · GW

because they want to protect their self-image from an association with "censorship"

Aren't there a bunch of Litanies (Tarski, Gendlin, Hodgell) denouncing precisely this kind of self-deception?

If they engage in censorship and believe they are the kind of people who don't, they ought to either stop, or change their belief. 

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The Byronic Hero Always Loses · 2024-02-22T03:25:36.426Z · LW · GW

You'll like A Practical Guide to Evil.

One of my favorite monologues from there expresses an idea similar to yours:

“This once, just this once, I want us to win.

“To spit in the eyes of the Hashmallim. To trample the pride of all those glorious, righteous princes. To scatter their wizards and make their oracles liars. Just to prove that it can be done.”

“So that five hundred years from now, a band of heroes shiver in the dark of night. Because they know that no matter how powerful their sword or righteous their cause, there was once a time it wasn’t enough. That even victories ordained by the Heavens can broken by the will of men.”

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-22T00:27:41.844Z · LW · GW

Who decided that skeptism of popular beliefs should be associated with low social status and prosecuted mercilessly? Who decided that "misinformation" was better combated by censorship than by discussion

Eliezer Yudkowsky: Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-22T00:25:24.091Z · LW · GW

7 people downvoting you in the past 20 comments

… and a net negative (in the last 20 comments). See details: link

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-21T23:59:04.064Z · LW · GW

force the user to choose one of [agree, disagree, neutral]

I bet even just flipping the order of the buttons would do it.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-21T21:15:49.353Z · LW · GW

On the topic of improving the voting mechanism, I propose that strong votes, up or down, be public, like reactions are.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Less Wrong automated systems are inadvertently Censoring me · 2024-02-21T21:03:38.168Z · LW · GW

you just have to accuse them of censorship.

You think he faked the screenshot of being rate-limited? If not, it seems a perfectly reasonable characterization. But more importantly, your observation suggests that most people here don't want to participate in censorship, but are doing so accidentally, and actively work to undo it when it's brought to their notice.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Things I've Grieved · 2024-02-21T03:42:22.533Z · LW · GW

the difference between the Winning Move, and your Current Path, is that there is something really beautiful and good about your current path.

Reminds me of Asimov's, "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right."

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Abs-E (or, speak only in the positive) · 2024-02-20T02:03:09.632Z · LW · GW

This is a fun idea! I shall refrain from adopting this style myself, but shall commend its use to others. It's reminiscent of "taboo-ing" words, but taken further.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Weighing reputational and moral consequences of leaving Russia or staying · 2024-02-19T05:35:07.452Z · LW · GW

I haven't looked into the Russian tax code in detail, but a cursory look at this list suggests that Russia is among the least bad, beaten mostly by a few small islands, the Gulf monarchies, and Somalia (which, of course, have other problems).

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Weighing reputational and moral consequences of leaving Russia or staying · 2024-02-19T05:18:45.441Z · LW · GW

I don't, no. I doubt it, but suspect that's not due to a lack of people willing to immigrate to Russia.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Weighing reputational and moral consequences of leaving Russia or staying · 2024-02-19T04:58:42.845Z · LW · GW

who would want to move into a sanctioned pariah state that might conscript you for war?

You might be surprised at how desperate some people are.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Weighing reputational and moral consequences of leaving Russia or staying · 2024-02-19T04:52:56.119Z · LW · GW

You are not responsible in the slightest for the actions of those who rule you.

They take your money, yes, but that makes you a victim, not an accomplice.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-19T04:46:43.564Z · LW · GW

This might be a better description: link

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-19T00:42:26.937Z · LW · GW

I did warn about the prereqs.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-18T21:22:25.158Z · LW · GW

Mathematica yields . That probably simplifies though.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-18T20:59:59.307Z · LW · GW

But what justification do you have for thinking that equation holds

I don't have one: this is simply filling in the the pattern. You can say "No, for any  there is no answer," (just like you could reasonably say things like " has no square root") but if you decide to extend the domain of the function  this is not just a possible value, it is the value. (The proof of this claim requires actual rigor, but if you're willing to go along with pattern matching, you get the right answer.)

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-18T20:49:40.504Z · LW · GW

other approaches may give different results

The claim is that they don't: any pattern that points to a finite result points to the same one. If you want proof, then you need a more rigorous formalism.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-18T19:04:37.920Z · LW · GW

The first is simply a shorthand for "the limit of this sum is 2",

It doesn't need to be! It can be more generally something like "the unique value that matches patterns," where what counts is extended first beyond integers, and then to infinite series, and then to divergent infinite series.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-18T18:25:38.862Z · LW · GW

That's fair. What I was trying to convey (in my notation, deliberately annoying to reduce a sense of familiarity) is  . Any ideas for how I could write that better?

I added some actual values for concreteness. Hopefully that helps.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Intuition for 1 + 2 + 3 + … = -1/12 · 2024-02-18T18:20:58.107Z · LW · GW

an abuse of notation by mathematicians in both cases above

Writing things as  or  

The point I was trying to make is that we already have perfectly good notation for sums, namely the + and = signs, that we've already extended well beyond the (apocryphal) original use of adding finite sets of positive integers. As long as there's no conflict in meaning (where saying "there's no answer" or "it's divergent" doesn't count) extending it further is fine.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Evaluating Solar · 2024-02-18T03:55:03.525Z · LW · GW

Sure, that's a reasonable concern. But energy storage might also get much cheaper, making energy prices less time-variant. At any rate, these are still comparisons between buying panels now and buying panels later.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Evaluating Solar · 2024-02-18T00:13:08.783Z · LW · GW

Does it matter that solar panels are getting cheaper? The best comparison might not be against stocks, but rather against future solar panels.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Making the "stance" explicit · 2024-02-17T00:59:52.524Z · LW · GW

While I had seen photos of starling murmurations before, this particular photo where the flock looks like a single large bird is new to me. Thanks!

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The Altman Technocracy · 2024-02-16T14:45:55.796Z · LW · GW

This, but unironically.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on 11 diceware words is enough · 2024-02-15T21:00:28.864Z · LW · GW

Relevant xkcd: link. (No, it's not "correct horse battery staple.")

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on How do high-trust societies form? · 2024-02-15T18:03:34.410Z · LW · GW

There's a small set of obvious answers

Yes, I know them, but are they correct answers? Racial purity, eradication of religious heresy, extermination of sexual degenerates, well-defined and immutable social hierarchy, strict enforcement of female submission, dietary/drug requirements and prohibitions, are all classics, but I'm unsure they actually work.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Where is the Town Square? · 2024-02-14T00:24:14.717Z · LW · GW

bluesky

Really? Or is this trying to wishcast it into relevance/popularity?

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on On the Proposed California SB 1047 · 2024-02-12T18:05:01.748Z · LW · GW

What would happen if there was actually a wolf?

Sticking with Aesop metaphors, wolves come in sheep's clothing.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Constituency-sized AI congress? · 2024-02-09T21:36:38.631Z · LW · GW

Are you trying make plebiscites work with AI? Interesting idea.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Evolution is an observation, not a process · 2024-02-08T19:10:49.594Z · LW · GW

"Evolution" might be too broad a term: you could say things like asteroid impacts or volcanic eruptions, for example, apply no optimizing pressure on anything, and reasonably argue such things are part of evolution. Fair enough, so let's narrowly talk about "natural selection." That is an active force in every reasonable sense of the term, as much so as gravity. As certain as a dog breeder selecting for whatever he wishes, this process selects for … something. Precisely what is being selected for, … well, that's the Alien God aspect: something to do with gene frequencies, "inclusive fitness" or whatever.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The Math of Suspicious Coincidences · 2024-02-07T18:25:42.518Z · LW · GW

"Once is enemy action."

Some things simply aren't happenstance. Anyone trying to use the probability of unrelated events (Pyramids and math/physics constants or whatever) coinciding as part of an explanation is actively trying to deceive you: the obviously correct explanation is that the people who openly said they were trying to do something succeeded.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The impossible problem of due process · 2024-02-05T14:21:43.301Z · LW · GW

For a community that makes a big deal about "Bayesian reasoning," it's amusing and utterly unsurprising that so many here fail utterly to recognize applications of it in practice.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on A sketch of acausal trade in practice · 2024-02-05T05:42:39.524Z · LW · GW

Did you not recognize the Foundation reference?

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on The Journal of Dangerous Ideas · 2024-02-03T18:14:38.195Z · LW · GW

I like this idea! And if you do nothing, the comments here might work to compile a few lists of them. So in a way, with this post, you might have founded something that, while not a journal, might be close enough.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Most experts believe COVID-19 was probably not a lab leak · 2024-02-03T08:11:04.250Z · LW · GW

I'm not going to watch 17 hours of debate over this, but tentatively, I'd say yes, one side convincing mutually-agreed-upon expert judges would be evidence, because I think the judges have already paid most of the reputational cost for participating at all.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Most experts believe COVID-19 was probably not a lab leak · 2024-02-03T03:22:47.578Z · LW · GW

Okay, so this is another instance of plenty of high-status people with a lot to lose declining to say they believe something that would get them fired and/or ostracized. Do you believe it has any bearing on whether or not it is true?

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Drone Wars Endgame · 2024-02-01T07:33:37.180Z · LW · GW

I believe it will, but not in the way described here. What drones facilitate is terrorism, and maybe assassinations. If developed to fruition, they would "rewrite the rules" of irregular, asymmetric warfare.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Control vs Selection: Civilisation is best at control, but navigating AGI requires selection · 2024-01-30T19:52:02.183Z · LW · GW

Your distinction might be close what what is described in Seeing like a State (according to this review): the organic development of local communities vs. the High Modernism of the centralized state.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Don't sleep on Coordination Takeoffs · 2024-01-28T02:44:37.259Z · LW · GW

People strongly prefer the good guys in charge,

Most people in fact just want their bad guys in charge instead, so they can do unto others.

Comment by Shankar Sivarajan (shankar-sivarajan) on Status-oriented spending · 2024-01-26T01:00:31.569Z · LW · GW

It's not just a question of "can I buy this and still make rent and keep the light on?" If one is making luxury purchases like that, he has bigger problems than a "little voice."

That you assess these purchases (typically associated with "rich people") to provide more value to you (more comfortable sleep, the comfort of having an uncluttered apartment, whatever you imagine therapy gets you) than the money they cost or the time it'd take to do it yourself, that's usually what being rich means. 

I question the premise of trying to justify them any more than you'd justify, say, buying the nicer brand of bread at the grocery. (Unless you've criticized people richer than you for spending on things you'd consider extravagant, in which case you're rightly feeling guilty of hypocrisy.)

If your point is just that "some expensive things aren't just status symbols, and worth the price even to the merely middle class," fine, I agree with that in general, though perhaps not in the specifics.