Uninformed Elevation of Trust 2020-12-28T08:18:07.357Z
Learning is (Asymptotically) Computationally Inefficient, Choose Your Exponents Wisely 2020-10-22T05:30:18.648Z
Mask wearing: do the opposite of what the CDC/WHO has been saying? 2020-04-02T22:10:31.126Z
Good News: the Containment Measures are Working 2020-03-17T05:49:12.516Z
(Double-)Inverse Embedded Agency Problem 2020-01-08T04:30:24.842Z
Since figuring out human values is hard, what about, say, monkey values? 2020-01-01T21:56:28.787Z
A basic probability question 2019-08-23T07:13:10.995Z
Inspection Paradox as a Driver of Group Separation 2019-08-17T21:47:35.812Z
Religion as Goodhart 2019-07-08T00:38:36.852Z
Does the Higgs-boson exist? 2019-05-23T01:53:21.580Z
A Numerical Model of View Clusters: Results 2019-04-14T04:21:00.947Z
Quantitative Philosophy: Why Simulate Ideas Numerically? 2019-04-14T03:53:11.926Z
Boeing 737 MAX MCAS as an agent corrigibility failure 2019-03-16T01:46:44.455Z
To understand, study edge cases 2019-03-02T21:18:41.198Z
How to notice being mind-hacked 2019-02-02T23:13:48.812Z
Electrons don’t think (or suffer) 2019-01-02T16:27:13.159Z
Sabine "Bee" Hossenfelder (and Robin Hanson) on How to fix Academia with Prediction Markets 2018-12-16T06:37:13.623Z
Aligned AI, The Scientist 2018-11-12T06:36:30.972Z
Logical Counterfactuals are low-res 2018-10-15T03:36:32.380Z
Decisions are not about changing the world, they are about learning what world you live in 2018-07-28T08:41:26.465Z
Probability is a model, frequency is an observation: Why both halfers and thirders are correct in the Sleeping Beauty problem. 2018-07-12T06:52:19.440Z
The Fermi Paradox: What did Sandberg, Drexler and Ord Really Dissolve? 2018-07-08T21:18:20.358Z
Wirehead your Chickens 2018-06-20T05:49:29.344Z
Order from Randomness: Ordering the Universe of Random Numbers 2018-06-19T05:37:42.404Z
Physics has laws, the Universe might not 2018-06-09T05:33:29.122Z
[LINK] The Bayesian Second Law of Thermodynamics 2015-08-12T16:52:48.556Z
Philosophy professors fail on basic philosophy problems 2015-07-15T18:41:06.473Z
Agency is bugs and uncertainty 2015-06-06T04:53:19.307Z
A simple exercise in rationality: rephrase an objective statement as subjective and explore the caveats 2015-04-18T23:46:49.750Z
[LINK] Scott Adam's "Rationality Engine". Part III: Assisted Dying 2015-04-02T16:55:29.684Z
In memory of Leonard Nimoy, most famous for playing the (straw) rationalist Spock, what are your top 3 ST:TOS episodes with him? 2015-02-27T20:57:19.777Z
We live in an unbreakable simulation: a mathematical proof. 2015-02-09T04:01:48.531Z
Calibrating your probability estimates of world events: Russia vs Ukraine, 6 months later. 2014-08-28T23:37:06.430Z
[LINK] Could a Quantum Computer Have Subjective Experience? 2014-08-26T18:55:43.420Z
[LINK] Physicist Carlo Rovelli on Modern Physics Research 2014-08-22T21:46:01.254Z
[LINK] "Harry Potter And The Cryptocurrency of Stars" 2014-08-05T20:57:27.644Z
[LINK] Claustrum Stimulation Temporarily Turns Off Consciousness in an otherwise Awake Patient 2014-07-04T20:00:48.176Z
[LINK] Why Talk to Philosophers: Physicist Sean Carroll Discusses "Common Misunderstandings" about Philosophy 2014-06-23T19:09:54.047Z
[LINK] Scott Aaronson on Google, Breaking Circularity and Eigenmorality 2014-06-19T20:17:14.063Z
List a few posts in Main and/or Discussion which actually made you change your mind 2014-06-13T02:42:59.433Z
Mathematics as a lossy compression algorithm gone wild 2014-06-06T23:53:46.887Z
Reflective Mini-Tasking against Procrastination 2014-06-06T00:20:30.692Z
[LINK] No Boltzmann Brains in an Empty Expanding Universe 2014-05-08T00:37:38.525Z
[LINK] Sean Carroll Against Afterlife 2014-05-07T21:47:37.752Z
[LINK] Sean Carrol's reflections on his debate with WL Craig on "God and Cosmology" 2014-02-25T00:56:34.368Z
Are you a virtue ethicist at heart? 2014-01-27T22:20:25.189Z
LINK: AI Researcher Yann LeCun on AI function 2013-12-11T00:29:52.608Z
As an upload, would you join the society of full telepaths/empaths? 2013-10-15T20:59:30.879Z
[LINK] Larry = Harry sans magic? Google vs. Death 2013-09-18T16:49:17.876Z
[Link] AI advances: computers can be almost as funny as people 2013-08-02T18:41:08.410Z


Comment by shminux on Heuristic: Replace "No Evidence" with "No Reason" · 2021-02-15T22:12:54.009Z · LW · GW

I think it's a useful mental check of what you really mean. It can lead you astray (e.g. "there is no reason to suggest that vaccine cause autism" is not obviously false, not without proper research), but it certainly works in the cases you describe.

Comment by shminux on [deleted post] 2021-02-13T20:30:48.370Z

downvoting on general principles of not giving publicity to forgettable shitty superficial publications.

Comment by shminux on How Should We Respond to Cade Metz? · 2021-02-13T18:43:05.373Z · LW · GW

I don't think an answer is needed, the article is so bad, I'm surprised NYT even published it. Best not even mention it again, lest it gets more publicity than it deserves.

Comment by shminux on Book review: Sleight of Mind (Matt Cook) · 2021-02-08T23:06:44.687Z · LW · GW

Regarding usefulness of infinities in physics: the uncertainty principle requires literally infinite number of eigenstates for both position and momentum operators, and cannot be reproduced in the limit of a finite number of states taken to infinity.

Comment by shminux on Does anyone else sometimes "run out of gas" when trying to think? · 2021-02-03T19:06:07.251Z · LW · GW

I definitely have these experiences. Still can think about other things, but can't even focus on the topic I was fruitfully exploring a moment ago. And yes, not forcing the issue tends to help, can return to the issue some time later.

Comment by shminux on The Lottery Paradox · 2021-02-01T21:05:43.287Z · LW · GW

No, these are completely different. NYC and Equador are not random samples of places where a snowstorm is equally likely. A more charitable comparison would be "It's winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and there was a snowstorm in one of the major cities. Yovanni checks the weather app and says that it's in NYC."

Comment by shminux on The Lottery Paradox · 2021-02-01T07:58:01.091Z · LW · GW

Yovanni tells Zenia, "The winner of the lottery was Xavier Williams of California."

When evaluating the veracity of this statement, Zenia is not evaluating the odds of someone with that name winning a lottery. Someone won the lottery and their name has been made publicly available. What she is evaluating is Yovanni's general trustworthiness in this kind of situations. Does Yovanni like to make stuff up? To play pranks? Has reading comprehension issues? The odds of the lottery have zero to do with this. They would only matter if Yovanni could have some useful additional information, such as if it was a raffle at a party, and you knew that no one named Xavier Williams was invited.

Comment by shminux on [deleted post] 2021-02-01T02:39:35.793Z

What isn't made up?

Comment by shminux on Technological stagnation: Why I came around · 2021-01-24T07:59:14.236Z · LW · GW

While I don't agree with everything, this is a top-quality comment deserving to be its own post, consider posting it as top-level?

Comment by shminux on Exercise: Taboo "Should" · 2021-01-23T06:05:39.321Z · LW · GW

It's a great approach, to avoid moral-carrying connotations unless explicitly talking about morals. I've been practicing it for some time, and it makes things clearer. And when explicitly talking about moral judgments, it's good to specify the moral framework first. 

A (much) harder exercise is to taboo the words like "truth", "exist", "real", "fact", and replace them with something like "accurate model", "useful heuristic", "commonly accepted shortcut", etc.

Comment by shminux on How much does it cost to design an app? · 2021-01-20T20:12:26.015Z · LW · GW

You may want to read the tweets by Patrick McKenzie about his call for something similar and how it worked out: VaccinateCA.

Comment by shminux on Austin LW/SSC Movie Discussion: Star Trek Voyager, "Nemesis" · 2021-01-20T07:59:00.131Z · LW · GW

Good choice! That's one of the more memorable Voyager episodes.

Comment by shminux on #3: Choosing a cryonics provider · 2021-01-20T03:58:47.330Z · LW · GW

Thank you for writing this! I'm cryostinating still, despite getting up there in years, but it looks like the doubts raised 8 years ago are still valid, so... 

Comment by shminux on AR Glasses: Much more than you wanted to know · 2021-01-16T04:32:17.781Z · LW · GW

by all means, glad it made sense.

Comment by shminux on AR Glasses: Much more than you wanted to know · 2021-01-16T01:24:14.477Z · LW · GW

To distill your point to something that makes sense to me: 

sensors+context->[AR Device]->stimuli->[brain]->automatic feedback to context+sensors.

Though I doubt that the AR device will be glasses, those are cumbersome and conspicuous. It could be a Scott A's talking jewel in one's ear (can't find the story online now), it could be some combination of always on sensors, a bluetooth connected brick in your pocket with wireless earbuds, a dashcam-like device attached somewhere, a thin bracelet on your arm... Basically sensors processed into stimuli in whatever form that makes the most sense, plus the AR-aware devices that react to the stimuli, your brain being just one of them. 

They’ll let you know where your keys are, and remind you to grab your wallet.

Well, in this particular example, keys and a wallet are redundant, the augmentations and the stimuli-aware environment will perform their function, like locking doors, identifying you to others and others to you, paying for anything you buy, etc. We are part way there already. 

Comment by shminux on Any rationalist judges? · 2021-01-15T00:13:48.875Z · LW · GW

There are definitely practicing lawyers who are familiar with "the sequences", not sure about the judges specifically. Whether it makes them better lawyers compared to those who are not, is not at all clear. I also suspect that there would be plenty of disagreement on which direction is a/the positive one. 

Comment by shminux on Uninformed Elevation of Trust · 2021-01-02T18:48:33.151Z · LW · GW

The bit in the title about the Sequences? Yes.

Comment by shminux on Anti-Aging: State of the Art · 2021-01-01T00:58:55.344Z · LW · GW

Do we understand why cats live longer than dogs?

Comment by shminux on SpaceX will have massive impact in the next decade · 2020-12-31T05:42:29.021Z · LW · GW

In a world where the AGI timelines are far in the future, how would you estimate the SpaceX impact in the next decade or two?

Comment by shminux on To listen well, get curious · 2020-12-29T16:09:50.878Z · LW · GW

Yeah, a lot of those listeners were quite mechanical. It takes quite a few tries, or some luck, to find someone who is genuinely interested and engaging, but still avoids giving unwanted advice. Not sure how the situation is there now, the owner is apparently a sleaze. 

Comment by shminux on Uninformed Elevation of Trust · 2020-12-29T01:12:27.664Z · LW · GW

In retrospect, I should not have mentioned the Sequences as an example, it's a sensitive topic here. I personally learned a lot from them in the areas outside my expertise. 

Comment by shminux on Uninformed Elevation of Trust · 2020-12-28T20:16:28.012Z · LW · GW

I think we are talking about different phenomena here. My point is that, if an average person trusts a source, they tend to assume that the validity of the data are the same as the validity of the source (high!) even if the source themselves takes their own data with the grain of salt, and advises others to do so. You are not an average person by any means, so your approach is different, and much better. 

My personal experience with anything published is that it is 50% lie and 50% exaggeration. And yet I still rely on the news to get a picture of something I have no first-hand access to. But that's the usual Gell-Mann amnesia. I am describing something different: forgetting to account of the source's own uncertainty even if it is spelled out (like in the case of potential life artifacts on Venus) or easily queried or checked (e.g. for a stock tip from a trusted source: "how much did you personally invest in it based on your data?").

Comment by shminux on Uninformed Elevation of Trust · 2020-12-28T20:07:51.794Z · LW · GW

That's not relevant to the subject of the article, but, since you asked, the pattern is that if you talk to a philosopher, they point out a million holes in the philosophical aspects of the Sequences, if you talk to a mathematician, they will point to the various mathematical issues, if you talk to a statistician, they will rant about the made-up divide between Bayesian and frequentist approaches, if you talk to a physicist, they will point out the relevant errors and mischaracterizations in the parts that deal with physics. Basically, pick a subject area and talk to a few experts, and you will see it. 

Comment by shminux on What evidence will tell us about the new strain? How are you updating? · 2020-12-26T03:47:05.293Z · LW · GW

My main worry is whether the usual protection measures, masks and distancing, will prove inadequate against the new strain. Certainly the way the humanity has been behaving, "stay just at the limit of transmission" is favoring more contagious mutations. Or maybe it's less variability and more transmissibility/infectivity. I wonder if there is any data on those. Probably a good idea to increase the margin of safety until we know for sure.

Comment by shminux on How Lesswrong helped me make $25K: A rational pricing strategy · 2020-12-22T01:20:53.597Z · LW · GW

My initial reaction is "22 weeks is an average, but you probably don't deal with a random sample". If you only take on the clients that are promising enough to land a job within 10 weeks on their own (I realize that evaluating it accurately enough is a skill that can make or break a business like yours), then you basically skim free money off the top.

Comment by shminux on Is there a community aligned with the idea of creating species of AGI systems for them to become our successors? · 2020-12-21T04:12:47.022Z · LW · GW

I don't think this is a charitable interpretation of the prevailing views. It's more "let's try to avoid extinction in the hands of those smarter than us". I don't think "slavery" is a useful abstraction here.

Comment by shminux on Would a more deadly virus have induced greater compliance with US lockdown restrictions? · 2020-12-20T20:05:19.488Z · LW · GW

I'll just copy my comment on a Zvi's post:

the Covid-19 mortality rate is in the Goldilocks zone for allowing (bad) choices: 

  • If the mortality rate was 20+%, the choices of herd immunity, doing slow full-scale trials or doing nothing would not be on the table. It would be "let's try everything, anything, now, now, now!" and the vaccines made in February would have been produced and used before summer.
  • If the mortality rate was within an order of magnitude of the annual flu (0.1% or so), "do nothing" would have been the only choice

As it is, 0.5%-3% mortality rate is exactly the wrong number, since the right decision is not immediately obvious to everyone. And so we have the largest number of overall deaths and the largest damage to the economy possible from anything short of Oryx & Crake-style plague.

Comment by shminux on Covid 12/17: The First Dose · 2020-12-18T01:55:24.885Z · LW · GW

Building on "choices are bad": the Covid-19 mortality rate is at the Goldilocks zone for allowing (bad) choices: 

  • If the mortality rate was 20+%, the choices of herd immunity, doing slow full-scale trials or doing nothing would not be on the table. It would be "let's try everything, anything, now, now, now!" and the vaccines made in February would have been produced and used before summer. 
  • If the mortality rate was within an order of magnitude of the annual flu (0.1% or so), "do nothing" would have been the only choice

As it is, 0.5%-3% mortality rate is exactly the wrong number, since the right decision is not immediately obvious to everyone. And so we have the largest number of overall deaths and the largest damage to the economy possible from anything short of Oryx & Crake-style plague.

Comment by shminux on An argument for personal identity transfer. · 2020-12-13T23:42:14.706Z · LW · GW

Consider reading Scott Aaronson's The God in the Quantum Turing Machine, it goes in considerable depth stating and answering the questions such as

Could there exist a machine, consistent with the laws of physics, that “non-invasively cloned” all the information in a particular human brain that was relevant to behavior—so that the human could emerge from the machine unharmed, but would thereafter be fully probabilistically predictable given his or her future sense-inputs, in much the same sense that a radioactive atom is probabilistically predictable?

The answers are not obvious and certainly not amenable to a "simple proof".

Comment by shminux on To listen well, get curious · 2020-12-13T09:26:06.580Z · LW · GW

I've spent a few years volunteering at an online emotional support site, and the difference between good listeners and the rest was exactly that, a genuine interest in the other person. Reflecting, empathizing, asking questions comes naturally when you want to understand what the other person is going through and where they are coming from. It is only rarely that you can suggest something they didn't already know, but you can certainly help them clear up their own thoughts and feelings and be able to figure things out for themselves. If you just go through the motions of active listening, you come across as robotic and insincere. Then again, some people don't care about curiosity or interest, just the act of someone listening, repeating, recapping and paraphrasing is good enough.

Comment by shminux on The Fermi Paradox has not been dissolved - James Fodor · 2020-12-13T02:17:40.596Z · LW · GW

Estimating Fl and Fi, whether point estimate or a distribution, is basically wild guessing based on a sample of one. Not sure what use it is without doing proper science. Hope that's not indicative of how EA spends money, because it's anything but effective.

Comment by shminux on Where Did You Hear This: How Priming Can Affect Your Everyday Life · 2020-12-10T08:25:16.082Z · LW · GW

And MWI, Bayes and Timelessness are associated with rationalist contrarianism.

Comment by shminux on Unexplored modes of language · 2020-12-10T07:13:16.078Z · LW · GW

A music-based conlang:

Comment by shminux on [deleted post] 2020-12-09T23:46:49.425Z

Comment by shminux on Can we get people to shut up on public transportation? · 2020-11-28T20:04:37.079Z · LW · GW

Would an ordinance do it? Or is the famous German law-abiding nature a myth?

Comment by shminux on Pain is not the unit of Effort · 2020-11-25T00:12:00.429Z · LW · GW

"If sex is pain in the butt, you are doing it wrong!" was a semi-humorous reminder from one of my former coworkers in situations like you describe.

Comment by shminux on (Pseudo) Mathematical Realism Bad? · 2020-11-22T22:16:05.481Z · LW · GW

Have you read Anglophysics?

Comment by shminux on Inner Alignment in Salt-Starved Rats · 2020-11-20T07:29:37.135Z · LW · GW

Well, you are clearly an expert here. And indeed bridging from the neurons to algorithms has been an open problem since forever. What I meant is, assuming you needed to code, say, an NPC in a game, you would code an "urge" certain way, probably in just a few dozen lines of code. Plus the underlying language, plus the compiler, plus the OS, plus the hardware, which is basically gates upon gates upon gates, all alike. There is no reinforcement learning there at all, and yet rows of nearly identical gates become an algorithm. Maybe some parts of the brain work like that, as well?

Comment by shminux on Inner Alignment in Salt-Starved Rats · 2020-11-20T00:35:47.878Z · LW · GW

a comparatively elaborate world-modeling infrastructure is already in place, having been hardcoded by the genome

is an obvious model, given that most of the brain is NOT necortex, but much more ancient structures. Somewhere inside there is an input to the nervous system, SALT_CONTENT_IN_BLOOD which gets translated into less graded and more binary "salt taste GOOD" or "salt taste BAD", and the "Need SALT" on/off urge. When the rat tastes the salt water from the tap for the first time, what gets recorded is not (just) "tastes good"  or "tastes bad" but "tastes SALTY", which is post-processed into a behavior based on whether the salty taste is good or bad. Together with the urge to seek salt when low, and the memory of the salty taste from before, this would explain the rats' behavior pretty well.

You don't need a fancy neural net and reinforcement learning here, the logic seems quite basic.

Comment by shminux on Notes on Honor · 2020-11-17T23:30:11.486Z · LW · GW

To me honor/conscience is an evolutionary adaptation to cooperate in iterated prisoner's dilemmas, plus whatever side effects/lost purposes that ended up piling up on top of that. Just like love is an outgrowth of evolutionary adaptation that improved the odds of genetic material propagation through strategies like (serial) monogamy. Of course, we wax poetic about both, forgetting that they are but a fluke of evolution.

Comment by shminux on Sunday November 15th, 12:00PM (PT) — talks by Abram Demski, Daniel Kokotajlo and (maybe) more! · 2020-11-14T20:05:05.414Z · LW · GW

The link is to itself and shows "closed"... 

Comment by shminux on Multiple Worlds, One Universal Wave Function · 2020-11-05T07:34:39.553Z · LW · GW

Strongly downvoted for basic misunderstanding of how science works (you test your theories! not wax poetic about them), alt-facts (the whole section on falsifiability is nonsense) and citing sus sources like hedweb. But MWI is applause light on this forum, so whatever.

Comment by shminux on What is the right phrase for "theoretical evidence"? · 2020-11-02T06:46:22.524Z · LW · GW

What you are describing is models, not observations. If you confuse the two, you end up with silly statements like "MWI is obviously correct".

Comment by shminux on The Born Rule is Time-Symmetric · 2020-11-02T02:26:52.775Z · LW · GW

I find the title extremely misleading. Projecting always loses information about the full state, so in that sense there no time symmetry, as the arrow of time is irreversible. 

Comment by shminux on Why I Prefer the Copenhagen Interpretation(s) · 2020-10-31T23:54:46.532Z · LW · GW

Every calculation requires a projection postulate, there is no way around it.

Comment by shminux on On the Dangers of Time Travel · 2020-10-28T04:14:03.301Z · LW · GW

it is illegal to buy plutonium in a drugstore and phone booths have been quietly disappeared


Comment by shminux on What is our true life expectancy? · 2020-10-24T01:03:42.891Z · LW · GW

As usual, it pays to extrapolate from the past actuarial data, which should be available somewhere. My guess is that we are approaching saturation, barring extreme breakthroughs in longevity, which I personally find quite unlikely this century. I am also skeptical about AGI in 2075. If you asked experts in 1970 about Moon bases, they would expect it before 2000 with 90%+ confidence. And we already had the technology then. Instead the real progress was in a completely unexpected area. I suspect that there will be some breakthroughs in the next 50 years, but they will come as a surprise.

Comment by shminux on No Causation without Reification · 2020-10-23T21:19:52.643Z · LW · GW

My point is that the entirety of what we think we mean when we say  is ontological, i.e it's in the map. Not once ever has causality existed in the territory.


This means that there's no aspect of the territory that is causality. There's no , there's no , there's no , there's just "is".

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this self-evident. The world indeed just is. You can think of it in timeless terms, or in evolving terms, but it doesn't change anything. You are a part of the world and so you just are, as well. There is no causality in you except for a physical process in your brain doing what feels like reification.

Comment by shminux on When was the term "AI alignment" coined? · 2020-10-22T01:15:10.814Z · LW · GW

Google advanced search sucks, but it's clear that AI friendliness and AI safety became AI alignment some time in 2016.

Comment by shminux on As a Washed Up Former Data Scientist and Machine Learning Researcher What Direction Should I Go In Now? · 2020-10-20T03:16:57.353Z · LW · GW

I am neither in ML nor in math nor in AI alignment, so just throwing it out there. From my reading of the issues facing the alignment research, it looks like the very basics of formalizing embedded agency are still lacking, but easier to make progress on than anything directly related to alignment proper.