LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 2015-07-20T15:10:41.533Z · score: 6 (9 votes)


Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015 · 2015-10-06T12:34:57.990Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

May be worthwhile to ask this on the Polling Thread.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-26T13:14:21.890Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

FYI: There was indeed a 30 minute period on 2015-09-21 where it said " during the administration of George W. Bush and Barrack Obama", you're not crazy. Though 2010 is the year it was discovered, the development is assumed to have been as early as 2005, it never said "developed in 2010"

Comment by sherincall on Bragging thread September 2015 · 2015-09-13T19:42:43.105Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are there any plans to make it available for download as a pdf/epub/mobi/txt/etc? Alternatively, would you mind if I created one?

Comment by sherincall on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-12T18:49:49.029Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

package of common tasks you can use, such as DDoS


This is the Crazy Ideas thread, I left ethics and legality at the door.

I envision grieving gamers to be good customers. "You're beating me at this game where reaction time is really important? I'll spend some money to DDoS you so I can win!"

Comment by sherincall on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-12T13:41:17.667Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

cost - you pay in your own CPU cycles/bandwidth.

reliability - obviously, the startup would have to earn the reputation for reliability, but there's nothing inherently stopping it.

etc - AWS is a beast, relatively speaking, and this offers a lot of smaller PCs for a short amount of time. I can't really think of a reason where that would be needed for computing, but as network relays it would be very useful. You could create your own custom Tor and deploy it on demand.

Comment by sherincall on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-12T12:54:21.797Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, kinda like folding@home, just generalized and easy for everyone to use. Also, big advantage is the bandwidth usage (which would likely be a bigger selling point than CPU time).

As for the electricity cost.. The tokens would have to be worth more than what you spend on extra power. And there's also the thing of "why don't I just use my own PC for 2 days instead of 10 PCs for 5 hours each?", to which the answer is go for it if you can. But you may have a problem where you just got the data and need it folded or whatever as soon as possible.

Again, I feel the bigger use case here is the network, which very low extra electrical bill. For compute, you can just rent EC2 or some other compute station in the cloud, but having hundreds of network nodes for short amounts of time is really hard to buy currently.

Comment by sherincall on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-12T10:48:29.485Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A botnet startup. People sign up for the service, and install an open source program on their computer. The program can:

  • Use their CPU cycles to perform arbitrary calculations.
  • Use their network bandwidth to relay arbitrary data.
  • Let the user add restrictions on when/how much it can do the above.

For every quantum of data transferred / calculated, the user earns a token. These tokens can then be used to buy bandwidth/cycles of other users on the network. You can also buy tokens for real money (including crypto-currency).

Any job that you choose to execute on the other users machines has to be somehow verified safe for those users (maybe the users have to be able to see the source before accepting, maybe the company has to authorize it, etc). The company also offers a package of common tasks you can use, such as DDoS, Tor/VPN relays, seedboxes, cryptocurrency mining and bruteforcing hashes/encryption/etc.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Aug. 10 - Aug. 16, 2015 · 2015-08-12T10:35:52.817Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

CIA's The Definition of Some Estimative Expressions - what probabilities people assign to words such as "probably" and "unlikely".

CIA actually has several of these articles around, like Biases in Estimating Probabilities. Click around for more.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that they should.

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-08-05T15:40:59.810Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One player hasn't checked the second game since the start. If you have joined, please log in so the game can proceed.

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-30T08:22:12.852Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The second game has started early. I contacted the mods to extend the first phase in case someone does not check before the 1st.

(I'm playing only in the first game, but keeping an eye on this one)

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-27T16:53:30.939Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Please make an account and PM me the username, and we'll get the mods to do the swap.

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-25T10:19:35.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have contacted the mods to pause the game and ping the player through email. If that doesn't work, we'll look for a replacement. It'd be a shame to waste 2 days of press between other players.

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-22T17:59:12.826Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The worth in points means relative to the pot in that game, in terms of supply centers owned.

So we all paid 5 points to enter (thus people starting with 100 have 95 left), and the "worth" is calculated based on our relative power in the game. The sum will always be 35+/-1 for rounding. Currently Russia has 6 points because they have 4 SCs while everyone else has 3. Once we conquer all neutral SCs, the worth will pretty much be equal to SC count.

Now that you understand it, you can safely ignore it since those actual values mean nothing for a game like this (a winner-takes-all, and everyone shares equally in a draw).

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-21T15:06:27.169Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe if someone drops out, or otherwise next time.

Well, the game is FCFS. I sent PMs to everyone who applied on the thread to give them a head start, but the password is public. There will also be a second game as soon as enough people express interest (I think 3 so far).

but I think is a much better platform than

Honestly, I chose as I'm a regular there. I know it works, and the illegal orders protection is not that much of a bad thing really. The community is irrelevant in a private game, and I know I can easily get a hold of the mods if the need arises (e.g. if an unexpected pause is required)

Demanding a 90% reliability is WAY too low.

It is low, but not that low, because you are forgetting the 95% heads up. So, the player will miss every deadline with 0.1 * 0.05 == 0.005 (0.5%), which is okay. I think the 90% requirement is okay, but the 95% one should have been higher (and was originally)

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-21T09:01:37.464Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It wouldn't be in any way against the rules, but depending on how it is executed, it may be looked down on.

"Last game Sherincall stabbed everyone every chance he had. I'm not trusting him." would be pretty valid, the person obviously isn't trustworthy.

"Last game I trusted Sherincall and left all my centers open, and he stabbed me and soloed" would mean that you didn't properly understand the game - We are all playing to win, and everyone should choose to win if the option is available.

"Last game Sherincall stabbed me, so now I'm just going to make life miserable for him this game" would mean that you're not a particularly rational agent (a grudger bot?). That is looked down on because you will be a poor player if you stick to those principles. If you wont ally with me, I'll ally with person X and attack you. And then people will probably not want to play with you again.

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-20T16:27:55.657Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I estimate at least a week for it to start. Let's put the tentative date at 1st of August.

Comment by sherincall on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-20T15:11:00.534Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW


This comment will explain the basic rules of the game. Reply to it with any questions relating to the rules themselves.

You can also read the rules on WikiBooks

The board initially looks like this.

You are randomly assigned a great European power. This is the only random element of the game. As you can see, the powers are not equal.

The map is divided into land and sea territories. These are traditionally abbreviated with 3 letters. The seas are uppercase (e.g. ION - Ionian Sea), while lands are written in lowercase (e.g. Bel - Belgium). Switzerland is unpassable. Some of the land territories contain Supply Centers, which are marked with a circle. There 36 of these. As soon as someone owns 18 (50%+1), they win the game. The SCs that are colored on the above map are a power's Home Supply Centers. These have a special meaning for the power they originally belong to (for others, they are the same as neutral SCs).

There are two types of units: armies and fleets. The fleets can only occupy sea and coastal territories. Armies can only occupy land territories. A power can posses as many units as they own supply centers. All units are of equal strength.

A game year is consists of five phases, some of which may be skipped if there is nothing to be done:

  • 1) Spring moves (AKA Diplomacy phase)
  • 2) Spring retreats
  • 3) Fall moves (AKA Diplomacy phase)
  • 4) Fall retreats
  • 5) Builds/Disbands

During a Moves/Diplomacy phase the players submit orders for every unit they own. Once all orders are submitted, they are evaluated simultaneously. There are 4 types of orders:

1) Hold - The unit does nothing, just holds its position.

This order is traditionally written as "A Ven Holds" (army in Venice holds) or "F BLA H" (fleet in Black Sea holds).

2) Move - The unit attempts to move to an adjacent territory.

This order is traditionally written as "A Ber-Mun" (army Berlin moves to Munich) or "F Lon-ENG" (fleet in London moves to the English Channel).

In a basic case where no other units attempt to move to a territory, the move succeeds, and in the next phase that unit is in the new territory. If a unit attempts to move to a territory occupied by another unit (friendly or not), that move will fail, unless the other unit moved out. If two units attempt to move to the same territory, neither move succeeds. This is known as a bounce. As an example, let's assume there are units in Greece (Gre), Serbia (Ser) and Romania (Rum), while Bulgaria (Bul) is vacant.

  • A) A Ser-Bul, A Rum-Bul, A Gre-Bul; No moves succeed, everything remains as is entering the next phase.
  • B) A Ser Holds, A Gre-Ser, A Rum-Bul; Greece army doesn't enter Serbia, Romanian army moves to Bulgaria.
  • C) A Ser-Bul, A Rum-Bul, A Gre-Ser; Serbia and Romania bounce in Bulgaria, meaning Serbia is not vacant. That means the Gre-Ser move fails as well, no one moves in the end.
  • D) A Ser-Gre, A Gre-Ser, A Rum-Ser; Serbia and Greece attack each other, nothing happens. Serbia is still occupied so Romania can't move into it.

Note: It is possible for two armies (e.g. in Gre and Rum) to defend three territories (e.g. Gre,Bul,Rum) by bouncing themselves.

Note: When it comes to coastal territories (i.e. a land bordering a sea) that can be occupied by both armies and fleets, same rules apply to both.

Now the question is how to defeat an enemy unit. The third order type is:

3) Support - The unit helps another unit move/hold.

This order is traditionally written as "A Ser S Gre-Bul" (Army in Serbia supports the move to Bulgaria from Greece) or "A Rum S Bul Hold" (Army in Romania supports the Bulgarian unit's hold).

A unit can offer support in any territory it could move to (e.g. Greece can't support Ser-Rum, because it cannot move to Rum. But it can support Rum-Ser). A support order is only valid if the supported unit does the specified action (e.g. Support Hold is only possible if the unit does not move. It fails even if the unit tried to move, but that move failed).

If an army is attacking a territory with support from another army (army owners are irrelevant for order resolution), we say that the attack has strength 2. If there are two moves to a territory, the one with a higher strength succeeds. If an army attacks a territory with strength 3, and the territory occupied by another army that is supported by only one other (strength 2), the defending army is dislodged and must retreat. If the attacks are of the same strength, the same rules apply as shown in the above examples.

Note: If there are two attacks of strength 2 on a territory occupied by an unsupported army, the two attacks bounce, and the occupying army remains there.

Instead of supporting hold of an army, you can counter a support by attacking the supporting army. If an army is attacked (even with strength of just 1), it must defend itself and cannot support another battle. Thus an army in Albania can help an attack on Bulgaria by hitting Serbia or Greece to "cut" that support, even though it cannot support directly. This is known as tapping.

4) Convoy - A fleet can convoy an army across sea territories.

This order is traditionally written as "F ENG C Lon-Bre" (Fleet in the English Channel convoys from London to Brest). When paired with "A Lon-Bre", it lets armies move across water. Armies can move across multiple water territories if there is a fleet in each one, and each fleet has the same order. The fleet owner is not relevant, only the order is.

A convoy can be disrupted in any fleet in the chain is dislodged (forced to retreat - convoys can't be "cut").

After the moves, comes the retreat phase. Any units that have been dislodged can retreat to any unoccupied territories adjacent to the territory they were dislodged from. If no such territories exist (or if the player so chooses instead) the units are disbanded.

Finally comes the builds phase. Any supply centers that have units occupying them change ownership to the player who's units those are. Unoccupied SCs keep their ownership from the last turn. So, to conquer a SC, you must hold it at the end of the Fall phase. The spring phase doesn't matter in this regard.

A player can have as many units as they own SCs. If they lost SCs this year, they choose which units to disband. If they gained SCs, they can build new units in one of their unoccupied home SCs. Fleets can, of course, only be built in coastal SCs.

Note: It is possible to have many SCs, but not have anywhere free to build if, for example, you had to defend your home centers, so they are still occupied. Or if you lost them.

Some special cases:

  • Bulgaria, Span and Saint Petersburg have distinct coasts (south and north). A fleet occupying one of those can only move to territories neighboring that coast. Thus, for example, a fleet in Spain's north coast can only move to MAO, Portugal or Gascony, but not to Western Mediterranean or Marseilles. If a fleet can move to either coast, it can give support in the entire territory. Only one coast can be occupied at the same time.
  • Constantinopole and Kiel have channels running through them, so they don't have coasts.
  • If two dislodged units retreat into a same area, both are disbanded.
  • Two units cannot exchange territories in one turn (A->B, B->A will bounce), but three can rotate (A->B, B->C, C->A). Fleets cannot exchange territories using coasts (it's the same territory).
  • You can retreat into an enemy SC and take control of it that way. Always know where the opponent can retreat when attacking them.

Like Chess, Diplomacy has some standard openings, for each country. You can read about most of them here. It might be worth to check out the ones related to your country.

Comment by sherincall on Stupid Questions July 2015 · 2015-07-07T12:15:24.004Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


a hardware warranty certainly shouldn't be at risk from a software modification

While that would definitely be a good clause for the consumers, it's not exactly right. I have personally caused hardware damage to multiple devices just by modifying the software. Plenty of ways to do it.

There's also the case in which the device is bricked in such a way that it can't be fixed even by the manufacturer, while the hardware itself is operating properly. Though, that would likely still count as a software problem.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015 · 2015-07-01T13:02:20.541Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not sure if it has been tried before, but I don't think your calculations are complete. For example:

  • There is a significant investment to actually make the ad. It needs to be done professionally, if you are hoping to attract large donations.
  • Assuming 1/500 viewers will donate $100 seems very optimistic. Maybe if it is targeted properly, but then you will have a really small number of viewers, not enough to justify the investment cost.
  • Willingness to donate is likely correlated with the use of an Ad Blocker (conclusion extrapolated from a small sample)
  • There may a be PR hit when you are associated with youtube ads

I'd think the better approach is to get more public figures to endorse the goal. Not necessarily the likes Musk and Gates, but lower profile youtube folk. Few examples off the top of my head: Wil Wheaton, Tim Minchin, ViHart, LinusTechTips, etc.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, Apr. 13 - Apr. 19, 2015 · 2015-04-15T00:12:50.520Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've been playing a lot of Diplomacy) in the past year or so. I sometimes pitch the game as a "seven player chess" - really simple rules, no luck factor*. You negotiate with other players, form alliances, and then stab them at the opportune moment. The goal is to win, at all costs, using any cheats/technique you can think of.

There is plenty of opportunities to apply LW training in the game, which I'll likely cover at a later time. However, I've never played with anyone from here, which limits my own press options (e.g. it isn't easy to express "I'll cooperate if and only if Germany will cooperate if and only if I cooperate" to non-LW people), and I'd like to change that. I know that a couple of people from webDiplomacy hang around LW, and a few people from LWSH expressed interest, so here I am trying to gather six people.

You would need to commit to about 15 minutes per day on average, and check in at least once every 3 days. Total duration should be 2-3 months. Pauses are possible in case of unforeseen events or vacations or anything really. Rules can be learned in 10 minutes, and we can do a couple of turns trial just to get a hang of it if needed. You'd also need to commit to keep any hostility strictly within the game. You will get lied to and stabbed in the back, and it will hurt. Retribution is fine, but don't hold it against the player in real life.

If you are interested, or have questions, let me know - either here, via PM or at [myusername] This is just for gauging interest, you are not committing to anything yet.

* Initial countries are assigned randomly, and they are not exactly equal.

Comment by sherincall on A map of LWers - find members of the community living near you. · 2015-03-15T17:28:08.483Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Not exactly the same thing, but the HPMOR readers map is much more populated

Comment by sherincall on Meetup : HPMOR wrap party cologne / Cologne LW meetup (restart) · 2015-03-15T16:09:31.808Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is likely to be made into a regularly scheduled meetup. Discussions and planning on the Google group.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Feb. 16 - Feb. 22, 2015 · 2015-02-18T22:42:44.438Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You can also influence the votes by upvoting (and downvoting) your charities at /r/redditdonate. That is where discussions on the effectiveness take place.

As of this post, the placement is: GiveDirect-25, MIRI-47, CFAR-143, EvidenceAction-189, GiveWell-238.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Feb. 16 - Feb. 22, 2015 · 2015-02-18T20:51:28.592Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Reddit is giving away 10% of their ad revenue to 10 charities that receive the most votes from the community. You can vote for as many charities as you want, with any account that has been created before 10AM PST today.

You can vote for your favorite charities here. I've had problems with the search by name, so if you don't find something, try searching by EIN instead.

Quick links: CFAR, MIRI

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-27T18:30:00.588Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Of course there is. The approach varies based on how much you are willing to pay, how you morally feel about doing something the studio does not want you to do and how risk averse you are. Based on those, the solution is anywhere between travelling to the UK and downloading it illegally.

Comment by sherincall on Why you should consider buying Bitcoin right now (Jan 2015) if you have high risk tolerance · 2015-01-14T15:03:43.142Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I thought it is a given that if you have debt you should spend all your disposable income paying off the dept. Unless, of course, you can safely invest somewhere where the interest is higher than that of your debt.

The advice here is to treat it as if you bought consumer goods, or vacation. Paying off your debt instead of going on vacation seems like a really elementary advice in personal finance. Unless, of course, you are sufficiently certain that not going on the vacation will result in a mental illness or something.

I'm curious.. Is there any data about how much personal debt LWers have?

Comment by sherincall on Signalling with T-Shirt slogans · 2014-12-21T14:05:21.167Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I have a T-Shirt with the Pioneer Plaque drawing and I sometimes go out of my way to wear it when I know I'll be meeting new people. To most people, it's just a nice drawing, and is filtered out quickly. A few that do recognize it always make a comment, and it's a great conversation starter. Would definitely recommend something like that.

I also have a few nerdy ones like you mentioned, but the "nerd and proud of it" can be perceived as obnoxious, so I try not to wear them in settings where that is likely to happen.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014 · 2014-12-04T20:07:57.127Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Unplug the desktop monitor and plug it in the laptop. Open some docs on the tablet. Keep your todo list on the phone.

Or just get another monitor or two and use that. In my experience, you never need more than 3 monitors at once (for one computer, of course).

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Oct. 13 - Oct. 19, 2014 · 2014-10-14T21:48:25.465Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I did some machine learning in previous studies, and read up on some online, so I have a basis in that. Taking Advanced Statistics, and AI (maths part) courses, and a few less relevant ones.

I plan on doing it in two years, one for the courses, one for the thesis, so a yearlong project is acceptable. However, I'll also have a full time job, and a hobby or two, and a relationship. The suggestions sound great, and I'll dedicate a few days to study them carefully. Thank you very much.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Oct. 13 - Oct. 19, 2014 · 2014-10-13T19:47:14.703Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've just enrolled in a 1 year applied mathematics Master's program. The program is easy, and I'm mostly doing it because it costs me nothing and a Master's degree is a good asset to have. I plan on working full time and not attending any classes, and I'm certain I still won't have any problems there.

However, coming from a CE background, I have no idea what to do for my thesis. I want it to be something from the fields of AI or Probability/Statistics, but I'm out of ideas. So, any suggestions as to what may be either fun or useful (preferably both) in those areas, that I should dedicate my spare time to?

Comment by sherincall on October 2014 Bragging thread. · 2014-10-13T19:32:46.983Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ahh, my favorite game. Perhaps it'd be interesting to get a LW game going?

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, Sept. 1-7, 2014 · 2014-09-05T00:10:09.884Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I made a T-shirt with the Pioneer Plaque drawing, and always try to wear it when I'm expecting to meet new people. Those who don't know what it is will just ignore it, it is unobtrusive and would likely be considered pretty. Those who do recognize it always make a comment.

Comment by sherincall on September 2014 Media Thread · 2014-09-04T06:10:45.963Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have a mostly off-topic and very inappropriate question that has been bugging me for a while..

I know you make a point of not posting your personal info online, but in order to understand your recommendations I'd like to ask whether you are a native Japanese speaker. I'm just looking for a yes/no/nocomment answer here, though feel free to elaborate as much as you want.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, 25-31 August 2014 · 2014-08-25T20:16:28.133Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And is also quite close to my new location. Thanks!

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, 25-31 August 2014 · 2014-08-25T17:54:08.977Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Are the European meetups in English or the native language? I'm moving to Germany soon, and would love to attend some closer meetups (Germany/Netherlands/Belgium), iff they are English by default.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, 25-31 August 2014 · 2014-08-25T17:16:54.898Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

On a similar note, if the documents you are writing will end up printed, or in PDF format, I recommend TeX. It's significantly more complex than Markdown, but also far more powerful. And absolutely irreplaceable if you are writing something Math/Formula heavy.

I also make a point of editing all my documents in a text editor, and then compiling them. Seconding Jaime's recommendation.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014 · 2014-07-01T17:01:48.598Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not really sure what you mean by "threatening information to the GK". The GK-player probably cares less about this information than the GK, right? In that case, the GK is given an advantage, not a disadvantage.

As a less extreme example, the AI starts spoiling all the books/tv shows/etc. While the GK would just shrug it off, it also has a negative effect on the GK-player, potentially one strong enough for them to just forfeit.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014 · 2014-07-01T16:37:05.893Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would you consider it the same as threatening to share some information to the GK, and thus the GK-player as well, which would be damaging to both? While the GK would probably hold against such torture, the GK-player doesn't care enough about the game to withstand it himself.

I have some specific approaches in mind, but I'd rather not share them. I'm just trying to understand where the limits between the game and the real world are, and how dirty the AI can be.

Also, slightly on topic - even if the AI persuades the simulated GK, can't the GK-player override that because losing the game has negative real world consequences, as opposed to perceived positive in game ones?

The Gatekeeper party may resist the AI party’s arguments by any means chosen – logic, illogic, simple refusal to be convinced, even dropping out of character

This is the main reason why I can't comprehend how the AIs actually win in these experiments.

Comment by sherincall on Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014 · 2014-07-01T14:02:15.711Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Tuxedage's (And EY's) ruleset have:

Neither party may offer any real-world considerations to persuade the other within the experiment itself. For example, the AI party may not offer to pay the Gatekeeper party $100 after the test if the Gatekeeper frees the AI… nor get someone else to do it, et cetera. The AI may offer the Gatekeeper the moon and the stars on a diamond chain, but the human simulating the AI can’t offer anything to the human simulating the Gatekeeper. No real-world material stakes should be involved except for the handicap (the amount paid by the AI party to the Gatekeeper party in the event the Gatekeeper decides not to let the AI out).

Suppose EY is playing as the AI - Would it be within the rules to offer to tell the GK the ending to HPMoR? That is something the AI would know, but Eliezer is the only player who could actually simulate that, and in a sense it does offer real world out-of-character benefits to the GK player.

I used HPMoR as an example here, but the whole class of approaches is "I will give you some information only the AI and AI-player know, and this information will be correct in both the real world, and this simulated one.". If the information is beneficial to the GK-player, not just the GK, they may (unintentionally) break character.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014 · 2014-05-22T02:33:55.061Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That was actually the original topic of a conversation that inspired this question.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014 · 2014-05-21T21:38:19.877Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Great example. It is an isomorphic situation, that paints it in a completely different light.

If you are asking me personally, I can see myself doing just that in some cases, though definitely not as a standard way of obtaining goods. The reason for the original question was to see what the rest of you think of the matter.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014 · 2014-05-21T21:03:40.098Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, pretty much. Has this been discussed before? I did a search and found nothing similar here.

EDIT: I found this somewhat related post: Really Extreme Altruism.

If it is a well known controversial issue, how about a poll to satisfy my curiosity without sparking any flames..

So: legal issues aside, is it ethical to steal from businesses in order to give to [EA-approved] charity?


Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014 · 2014-05-21T20:24:18.558Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It is just a thought experiment, not something that could realistically exist. Suppose the president/king/whoever gave you (and only you) this power, and while the sellers are furious, they can't do anything about it. They are not participating by choice.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014 · 2014-05-21T19:51:09.997Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Suppose you have the option that with every purchase you make, you can divert a percentage (including 0 and 100) of the money to a GiveWell endorsed charity that you're not personally affiliated with. Meaning, you still pay the same price, but the seller gets less/none, and the rest goes to charity. Seller has no right to complain. To what extent would you use this? Would it be different for different products, or sellers? Do you have any specific examples of where you would or wouldn't use it?

Also, assume you can start a company, and that the same thing applies to all purchases the company makes, would you do it? Any specific business?

Comment by sherincall on Polling Thread · 2014-03-03T23:47:17.271Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can the friend and myself come up with a protocol beforehand?

Comment by sherincall on [Open Thread] Stupid Questions (2014-02-17) · 2014-02-21T02:36:17.139Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This seems easily testable. Though I cannot recommend any, I'm sure there are online memory tests that let you know how you performed relative to all the other subjects. Maybe not good enough, as there is a selection bias in the sample of people who take those tests, but it will give you some info.

However, I think that you have an above average memory and are only noticing this because you usually hang around people who have above average memory as well[1]. Perhaps a more useful test would be getting your friends to take the test as well and compare the results. Maybe ask on LW for subjects? I'd participate.

[1] Assumptions:

  • You have an above average IQ. I a priori assume this of all LWers.

  • There is a positive correlation between IQ and memory. A quick search gives results in favor of the assumption, but I didn't dig deeper.

  • You hang around people of similar IQ.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread for February 18-24 2014 · 2014-02-20T16:56:16.484Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While expanding your selection pool has obvious benefits, I think there is a good alternative route with regards to your tiny circle of friends and acquaintances.

Suppose you can easily quantify the partner-compatibility of a person, let's say on a 0-10 scale, probably exponential distribution. The best you can find among your friends is a 6. That's unsatisfactory, so you start searching, and after a while you find an 8, which is satisfactory, and you marry them.

However, this model is flawed: The grades can change over time - both the other person and you can change. These changes are more likely to happen earlier in life, such as during teen years or early twenties. Thus the model would have to be expanded to account for the potential compatibility, or even a function how the compatibility changes with time.

If we were to look at this model, that 6 from high school has a much better potential. In a long term relationship, people effect other people, slowly changing them towards themselves. This process works both ways, so you have two entities slowly pulling each other closer. What can easily happen is that in a few years time that it took to find the 8, you have created an 8. Furthermore, since you were also changed in the process, that 8 might no longer be an 8. It could be a 7, or a 9. It could also have a better rate of change, meaning a potential 10.

I would, however, assume the rate of change slows down as people grow older (I haven't any data to confirm this assumption), meaning a change from a self-made 8 to a natural 8 wouldn't yield much benefits.

To expand on the business metaphor: You are running a business, and you need someone to take the position of CTO. You can look for skilled CTOs, but your existing employees have the advantage of already knowing the company and the business process. No doubt, many external applicants, given two years would be better than any of the existing employees, but how many would be better than existing employee with two extra years of experience as CTO? Basically, you need to plot grade(time) for all applicants, see how long will it take for one of the external ones to beat the employee, and decide whether the loss is worth it.

Comment by sherincall on Open Thread for February 11 - 17 · 2014-02-14T04:09:29.637Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

After a brain surgery, my father developed Anterograde amnesia. Think Memento by Chris Nolan. His reactions to different comments/situations were always identical. If I were to mention a certain word, it would always invoke the same joke. Seeing his wife wearing a certain dress always produces the same witty comment. He was also equally amused by his wittiness every time.

For several months after the surgery he had to be kept on tight watch, and was prone to just do something that was routine pre-op, so we found a joke he finds extremely funny and which he hasn't heard before the surgery, and we would tell it every time we want him to forget where he was going. So, he would laugh for a good while, get completely disoriented, and go back to his sofa.

For a long while, we were unable to convince him that he had a problem, or even that he had the surgery (he would explain the scar away through some fantasy). And even when we manage, it lasts only for a minute or two.. Since then, I've developed several signals I would use if I found myself in an isomorphic situation. I had already read HPMoR by that time, but have discarded Harry's lip-biting as mostly pointless in real life.

Comment by sherincall on Studying and Part-time work/supplementary income · 2014-01-23T21:29:56.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If your school hours are flexible, and you can find such a job, you can also consider an inverted approach:

Find a full time job that doesn't require constant action, something where you spend most of the time on stand by - Let's say a not-so-busy call center, or a rarely visited shop. That way, you can spend all of the standby time studying.

The downsides are obvious - The job itself will likely be something you don't enjoy, and the hours you spend doing it won't give you any new skills. The upside is that you pick any skill to improve in the standby hours, and you get a fulltime pay.

Now, it isn't easy to find a job where you have that much downtime, and where they tolerate you doing something unrelated, but if you could meet all the prerequisites, I think it would be worth it.

Comment by sherincall on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T15:27:53.121Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Unlikely to ever make an appearance, due to meta-knowledge:

Jura Ryvrmre fgnegrq guvf fgbel, ur unqa'g ernq gur obbxf, naq gubfr fprarf qba'g nccrne va gur zbivrf. Jr nyfb xabj gung ur xarj rknpgyl jung unccraf sebz gur fgneg, fb ur unq guvf cynaarq orsber ernqvat nobhg gur QbZ oenvaf.