Posts

The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster 2020-09-01T21:41:50.143Z
Thomas Kwa's Bounty List 2020-06-13T00:03:41.301Z
What past highly-upvoted posts are overrated today? 2020-06-09T21:25:56.152Z
How to learn from a stronger rationalist in daily life? 2020-05-20T04:55:51.794Z
My experience with the "rationalist uncanny valley" 2020-04-23T20:27:50.448Z
Thomas Kwa's Shortform 2020-03-22T23:19:01.335Z

Comments

Comment by thomas-kwa on Cowering To Genocide: Uighur Persecution And The World’s Last Hope · 2020-11-02T21:24:24.961Z · LW · GW

It has been noted that Uighurs are Muslims, and the reeducation camps (or whatever they are) are largely aimed at eradicating religious extremism (along with ethnic separatism), and yet the countries that are complaining about their situation are the post-Christian countries of the American bloc, not the Muslim countries of the OIC.

I agree that OP's plan is unlikely to do much good, but I strongly disagree with both the direct meaning and implications of the above sentence. My understanding is that "eradicating religious extremism" is simply the CCP party line and nobody really believes it. Also, whatever the aims of the CCP, we have nearly incontrovertible evidence that their actions include severe human rights violations on a large scale. I've also heard that the fact that the OIC supports China's actions in Xinjiang is response to Chinese bullying, not a reflection that they think such actions are good.

I'm downvoting this comment because it either (a) shows a lack of caring about human rights, or more likely (b) is needlessly unhelpful because it doesn't start the brainstorm of ways to do good that realistically mesh with the CCP's strategic concerns.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-10-29T21:38:10.766Z · LW · GW

Is there software that would let me automatically switch between microphones on my computer when I put on my headset?

I imagine this might work as a piece of software that integrates all microphones connected to my computer into a single input device, then transmits the audio stream from the best-quality source.

A partial solution would be something that automatically switches to the headset microphone when I switch to the headset speakers.

Comment by thomas-kwa on [Link] "Where are all the successful rationalists?" · 2020-10-18T20:17:26.539Z · LW · GW

I'm planning to write a sequence on all positive and negative effects the practice of rationality has had on my life, and I already have one post on pitfalls. Future posts will probably be about things like

  • forming realistic expectations
  • reading LW in a way that's less reality-masking
  • a list of all the low-hanging fruit I've found
  • a list of interventions I've tried
  • weird effects from learning some rationality techniques but not others
  • the benefits of diversifying one's sources of knowledge
  • re-learning how to interact with non-rationalist society

These will take a while to gestate and write up, but I expect to have a significant amount of content out before this time next year. Of course, this doesn't replace a community survey, but I think a case study with emphasis on the practical will contribute significantly.

Comment by thomas-kwa on throwaway_time's Shortform · 2020-10-16T17:36:25.769Z · LW · GW

Thank you for writing this post. It can be hard to realize that one is in a persistent rut and harder to write it up publicly.

As someone similar to you (math competitions during high school, CS major, ambition often outruns my capacity, trying to avoid reverting to the mean during my adult years), I believe that I'm susceptible to failure modes like this. DM me if you want to video call to exchange advice or something; this would be valuable enough to me that I'm willing to pay a fair rate if you need funding.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Alpha α and Beta β · 2020-10-12T21:41:01.020Z · LW · GW

As another example, suppose you knew Tesla will go up 1% in value over the next month. If you are a normal human being then you might consider buying Tesla stock. But if you have been following along so far then you understand why “buying Tesla stock” is almost completely wrong. What should you do instead?

Technically, you maximize profit by buying a short strangle expiring in a month with strike price 1% over the current price.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Shouldn't there be a Chinese translation of Human Compatible? · 2020-10-10T03:55:27.791Z · LW · GW

I've talked with someone in EA Hong Kong who follows the progress of translation of effective altruism into Chinese language and culture; it is not trivial to do so optimally, and suboptimal translations carry substantial risks. Some excerpts mentioned in the linked post:

Doing mass outreach in another language creates irreversible “lock in” [...] China faces especially high risk of lock in, because you also face the risk of government censorship

Likewise, one of the possible translations of “existential risk” (生存危机) is very close to the the name of a computer game (生化危机), so doesn’t have the credibility one might want.

To do this well, we’ll need people who are both experts in the local culture and effective altruism in the West. We’ll also need people who are excellent writer and communicators in the new language.

Initial efforts to expand effective altruism into new languages should focus on making strong connections with a small number of people who have relevant expertise, via person-to-person outreach instead of mass media.

The arguments about EA being niche and difficult to communicate through low-fidelity means apply just as strongly to EA-style AI safety. However, the author also says:

If written materials are used, then it’s better to focus on books, academic articles and podcasts aimed at a niche audience.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Rationality and Climate Change · 2020-10-06T01:22:15.888Z · LW · GW

That link is from a climate change denier, so it is probably taken grossly out of context or something.

Some actual facts I think most people don't know: Sea level rise is caused by melting glaciers + thermal expansion, not melting sea ice (because physics). Warming oceans might cause a decrease in tropical cyclone frequency and increase in intensity (page 163 of this IPCC report).

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-10-01T22:41:52.382Z · LW · GW

One of my professors says this often happens with circular island chains; populations from any two adjacent islands can interbreed, but not those from islands farther apart. I don't have a source. Presumably this doesn't require an expanding geographic barrier.

Comment by thomas-kwa on What are good rationality exercises? · 2020-09-27T22:48:07.078Z · LW · GW

According to a vague feeling of a couple of people I know, the CFAR handbook is tricky enough that reading it without doing CFAR could be dangerous.

Comment by thomas-kwa on EA Relationship Status · 2020-09-19T03:21:30.453Z · LW · GW

I have two observations from the 2018 EA survey demographic data:

  • 80% of EAs are atheist/agnostic/non-religious and 3% are Buddhist, compared to 15-20% and 1% in the US population. These categories have lower marriage rates than the general population.
  • Because EAs tend to be so young (modal age 25), the median age of EAs in the 25-34 age group appears to be around 28, compared to around 30 for the general US population. Similarly, the median age within the 35-44 age group appears to be around 38, compared to 40. Since marriage rate increases so sharply with age for people 25-34 with at least a bachelor's degree, this makes a sizable difference in the expected marriage rate.
Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-09-19T00:44:57.788Z · LW · GW

Given that social science research often doesn't replicate, is there a good way to search a social science finding or paper and see if it's valid?

Ideally, one would be able to type in e.g. "growth mindset" or a link to Dweck's original research, and see:

  • a statement of the idea e.g. 'When "students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits", they underperform students who "understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence." Carol Dweck initially studied this in 2012, measuring 5th graders on IQ tests.'
  • an opinion from someone reputable
  • any attempted replications, or meta-analyses that mention it
  • the Replication Markets predicted replication probability, if no replications have been attempted.
Comment by thomas-kwa on Is Wirecutter still good? · 2020-09-18T23:50:22.812Z · LW · GW

A glaring omission in Wirecutter's laptop recommendations: they say the HP Envy x360 13 is superior to their top picks, but don't list it. This is ostensibly due to stock shortages, but a slightly different configuration (with the 4700U) has been in stock for a while. This is important because it's $300-400 cheaper than their top picks. 

The 13-inch HP Envy x360 with an AMD Ryzen 5-4500U processor is an excellent ultrabook—it’s compact, light, and had nearly 12 hours of battery life in our tests. It has a great keyboard, a responsive trackpad, and a reliable fingerprint reader, and build quality just as good as our other picks. But the Envy x360 is out of stock everywhere, so we can’t recommend it.

They didn't recommend other laptops with AMD Ryzen 4000 CPUs either, which other reviewers say are significantly better and slightly cheaper than Intel 10th generation CPUs. They also didn't test the LG Gram (with an Intel CPU), whose previous iterations were excellent.

Comment by thomas-kwa on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2020-09-05T22:34:33.278Z · LW · GW

That's more or less right and clearer than how I wrote it up. Two slight nuances to the third point which I don't know if you understand correctly:

(a) the broker allows you to withdraw all but 10-50% of the value of your investments in a margin loan even without a box spread; they just charge exorbitant interest rates since they're financing the loan themselves.

(b) a box spread has two credit legs and two debit legs; if the value of your investments drops, the broker might sell the debit legs of the box spread rather than your other investments, which exposes you to extreme levels of risk.

Comment by thomas-kwa on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2020-09-03T19:33:47.182Z · LW · GW

The risk is small, because for most CDs the withdrawal penalty is small. My credit union allows partial withdrawals and charges a fee of 6 months' interest (about 0.625%) on the amount withdrawn, so if the market tanks 30% and you have to redeposit say 20% into the margin account, you have lost a negligible 0.125% and the box spread trick still comes out ahead for the year. 6 months' interest is typical. It's important to choose a bank or credit union that has reasonably lenient terms, though.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Should I floss? · 2020-07-10T19:37:11.577Z · LW · GW

Before October 2019, I didn't floss; as of July 2020 I floss on about 98% of nights. Flossing tends to remove minute amounts of food or plaque in my teeth such that my mouth feels cleaner in the morning and my breath smells better, so I would do it independently of any dental health benefit.

I'm not flossing particularly well, either: I floss both sides of every tooth but with just enough care to barely avoid slamming the floss into my gums every time; I don't unwind the floss to get a fresh piece on every tooth as is recommmended; I floss after brushing my teeth, not before; flossing takes me under a minute.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-07-09T20:54:25.739Z · LW · GW

I'm thinking of a situation where there are subspecies A through (say) H; A can interbreed with B, B with C, etc., and H with A, but no non-adjacent subspecies can produce fertile offspring.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-07-08T22:30:27.358Z · LW · GW

Are there ring species where the first and last populations actually can interbreed? What evolutionary process could feasibly create one?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Prediction = Compression [Transcript] · 2020-06-26T17:40:45.340Z · LW · GW

Videos have irremovable noise, but in some domains there is none and compression is more useful. In my experience, one example where the prediction-compression duality made problems much easier for humans to understand is in code golf (writing the shortest possible programs that perform various tasks). There's a Stack Exchange site dedicated to it, and over the years people have created better and better code-golf languages. Solution sizes shrunk by a factor of >3. Now they're so good that code golf isn't as fun anymore because the tasks are too easy; anyone fluent in a modern golfing language can decompose the average code golf problem into ten or twenty atomic functions.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Requesting feedback/advice: what Type Theory to study for AI safety? · 2020-06-26T16:04:14.164Z · LW · GW

I'm on a very similar path; DM me if you want my thoughts.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-25T01:37:53.736Z · LW · GW

That was it, thanks!

Comment by thomas-kwa on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-24T02:09:48.460Z · LW · GW

"throwing the baby out with the bathwater"?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-24T02:08:10.790Z · LW · GW

I've been searching for a LW post for half an hour. I think it was written within the last few months. It's about how to understand beliefs that stronger people have, without simply deferring to them. It was on the front page while I was reading the comments to this post of mine, which is how I found it. Anyone know which post I'm trying to find?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Do you trust the research on handwriting vs. typing for notes? · 2020-06-24T00:39:22.090Z · LW · GW

Could the mechanism be that your note-taking rate is limited to a certain number of WPM? One way I think about note-taking is that I need to force my brain to "compress" the information to encode it into my memory, which is easier if I'm forced to actually compress the information by taking notes of a limited size.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-18T00:44:41.464Z · LW · GW

It isn't perfect, and it probably won't actually work as a Gömböc either, because the shape is reported to be very sensitive to dimensional tolerances. But I spent quite a bit of time and energy on this and thought somebody might use it as a starting point for improvements. Or better yet, that it would persuade the Gömböc discoverers that it is time to finally publish the details of the commercial Gömböc shape in the open literature.

Thingiverse doesn't appear to have a working 3D model, nor does there appear to be one elsewhere. See this link: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10190

There's a design patent on the particular Gomboc shape, but that doesn't apply to mono-monostatic shapes in general, and it expires in a few years anyway. I've added a bounty on creating/finding a working 3d model of a mono-monostatic shape.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-18T00:31:49.485Z · LW · GW

I just wrote up a quarterly life review and will edit in relevant information soon. For now, I can say that I spend much more of my time feeling busy (e.g. reading LW, writing quarterly life reviews, checking emails) but the vast majority of this time is not highly productive. I want a more regular sleep schedule (already take melatonin at 9:30pm daily), and a way to get exercise that is pleasant, I can do every day, and takes less than an hour (baseline is walking on hilly streets). I occasionally miss important administrative things, but my system is improving fast enough that I might not benefit from suggestions.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments · 2020-06-18T00:27:00.839Z · LW · GW

I've been looking into this and find it not worth my time, though I plan to try it anyway to gain familiarity with investment.

First I have to get a margin account. This is not too much trouble. Then I upgrade this to portfolio margin; TD Ameritrade says I need $125k, "full options trading approval, and three years of experience trading options". Investing for myself is out; what about my parents? They have a passing interest in finance, so they can likely pass the test after I discuss it with them for a few hours.

Then I need to figure out how box spreads work. Being justifiably cautious I should first try it on paper, then with 20% before selling the full number of boxes. Finally I need my parents to set up three bank accounts in an online bank to maximize FDIC coverage, adding administrative work.

What do they gain from this? 3-year Treasury yield is 0.23%, but the Facebook thread you linked suggests I should be unlikely to write a box for less than 0.6%. Savings and CD rates are 1.15%, so the difference is 0.65%. I will not go remotely close to 10x margin on someone else's life savings, and puts are expensive. If I keep 40% in the brokerage account, this means they actually gain .65% * .6 = .39%. Interest on savings is taxable as ordinary income, so until they retire, over half of this is eaten up by taxes (assuming the capital loss from the box spread is used to offset long-term capital gains). Considering that this will take a couple of weeks of free time plus intermittently checking in to prevent margin calls, and there's still a risk of screwing up somehow, the after-tax benefit is currently less than what either I or my parents value our time at.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Possible takeaways from the coronavirus pandemic for slow AI takeoff · 2020-06-14T01:17:55.573Z · LW · GW

I haven't heard this. What's the strongest criticism?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-06-13T04:32:57.946Z · LW · GW

Say I need to publish an anonymous essay. If it's long enough, people could plausibly deduce my authorship based on the writing style; this is called stylometry. The only stylometry-defeating tool I can find is Anonymouth; it hasn't been updated in 7 years and it's unclear if it can defeat modern AI. Is there something better?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-13T00:17:09.093Z · LW · GW

$5 for any productivity intervention (mental technique, habit, reasonably priced physical item, etc.) that I think is worth trying. An additional $50*X if it leads to an estimated X% increase in my productivity in the year after trying it.

My current bottleneck areas are sleep, focus/energy, consistency, and self-image in that order, with food and infohazards as additional issues. I have a comprehensive writeup available upon request.

I've already read the LW threads on physical objects and one-shot life improvements, as well as a few others. A list of the physical items I use is here.

Edit 7/2020: This is still in effect, but it may be hard to judge, so I'm planning on supplementing with more specific bounties in the future.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-13T00:08:39.752Z · LW · GW

$800 for a gömböc made of a tungsten alloy with a density greater than 16 g/cm^3 that weighs at least 1000 g. As far as I know, this would be the first such item in the world; if I become aware of others this will decrease. Knowledge of how to create one gets partial award if I decide to create one, depending on how useful it is.

$50 for a 3D model of non-gömböc mono-monostatic shape which has been verified to work. There's a design patent on the gömböc; the European patent may be overturned in court and the American one expires in 2024, but this would be nice anyway.

Edit: fixed typo in weight

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-13T00:05:14.143Z · LW · GW

$20 for writing a Spacechem puzzle that remains unsolved for 14 days when posted publicly and publicized on the Spacechem forums. Add another $20 if you write a detailed post on LW or crossposted from elsewhere explaining how you designed the puzzle and how one would go about solving it. Partial award for impressive attempts.

Some possible approaches:

  • If you're extremely good at space optimization, write a single-reactor puzzle on the edge of your ability. Cram everything into the reactor and hope no one else can.
  • Encode some kind of public-key cryptography in Spacechem. Might be impossible.
  • More inspiration here.
Comment by thomas-kwa on Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments · 2020-06-12T22:58:13.018Z · LW · GW

This seems suspect to me; it violates EMH and AFAICT the backtest was only carried out to 2017 (it should be possible to backtest to at least 1993, when VIX started being tracked).

Comment by thomas-kwa on The Correct Contrarian Cluster · 2020-06-11T22:31:38.911Z · LW · GW

Though, as I also commented, there are some general structures that make me sit up and take note; probably the strongest is "These people have ignored their own carefully gathered experimental evidence for decades in favor of stuff that sounds more intuitive."  (Robyn Dawes/psychoanalysis, Robin Hanson/medical spending, Gary Taubes/dietary science, Eric Falkenstein/risk-return [...])


Eric Falkenstein wrote in 2016 that he converted to Christianity and doesn't believe in evolution via natural selection. This doesn't automatically mean that he was a crank in 1994, but to me it's moderate evidence, plus a warning that we can't trust people who have good excuses for contrarianism on some subject to have a good opinion on any other subject.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Self-Predicting Markets · 2020-06-11T08:19:13.380Z · LW · GW

Whenever we try to evaluate whether the market is/was efficient in a particular situation, I think looking at the option chain is a good idea. Since you can extract an implied probability distribution, it gives a lot more information than the stock price alone.

Comment by thomas-kwa on What past highly-upvoted posts are overrated today? · 2020-06-10T03:18:48.310Z · LW · GW

Thanks. I didn't look closely at the review project before, but it seems to be much of what I need. I wish there were some longer-term review system where we would continue putting LW1 and diaspora era content in a current context.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-06-10T00:56:00.308Z · LW · GW

2.5 million jobs were created in May 2020, according to the jobs report. Metaculus was something like [99.5% or 99.7% confident](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/4184/what-will-the-may-2020-us-nonfarm-payrolls-figure-be/) that the number would be smaller, with the median at -11.0 and 99th percentile at -2.8. This seems like an obvious sign Metaculus is miscalibrated, but we have to consider both tails, making this merely a 1 in 100 or 1 in 150 event, which doesn't seem too bad.

Comment by thomas-kwa on What past highly-upvoted posts are overrated today? · 2020-06-09T23:26:31.566Z · LW · GW

I suspect there are many such criticisms, and that they tend not to get found, especially with older posts. Say that a post from 2017 has a subtle flaw that isn't discovered until 2019. A comment pointing out the flaw probably gets buried under 50 other comments before anyone pays attention. A post directly responding to a 2-year-old post takes hours to write, and probably gets less attention than a new post with equal effort.

I looked at the top 10 posts from 2017; most of them have no criticisms or highly upvoted comments from the last year, and none of them have highly-upvoted criticisms. We've come far enough since 2017 that even if these posts were high-quality at the time, there should still be caveats for today's readers, and I can't find any.

Comment by thomas-kwa on Philosophy in the Darkest Timeline: Basics of the Evolution of Meaning · 2020-06-09T21:16:48.779Z · LW · GW

I notice a version of this comment has +8 karma on /r/rational, but -2 here. Maybe it's worth elaborating, or being nicer?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Understanding is translation · 2020-06-09T21:09:54.071Z · LW · GW

Here's how I understand this post: When we "understand" parts of a skill/framework/encoding X, we can translate it into our own mental model U, then translate anything U captures into any other form Y. Ideally we would just communicate U. But it's more precise and useful to describe Y than to describe U, which may be nebulous from the inside or filled with idiosyncracies, and it's even worse to give up and just say "I understand X".

I think this is a good insight, but it seems less useful in the following cases:

  • Most people understand X the same way up to idiosyncracies of U, so they can do the same thing with the knowledge, and it gives enough information to say they understand X. The typical mind fallacy can persist when people have similar commonly observed abilities, but vastly different subjective experiences.
  • The skill X is made of abstract skills that combine into a whole and don't correspond to translating to different Y. Take X = abstract problem solving. Subskills include factoring into subproblems, gaining intuition, solving subproblems, and combining subproblem solutions into a whole. One could technically say that a person who is good at problem-factoring is good at translating problems into lists of smaller problems, but this doesn't seem meaningful.
Comment by thomas-kwa on Simulate and Defer To More Rational Selves · 2020-06-07T19:13:13.311Z · LW · GW

Does anyone who tried this years ago have an update on the long-term effects?

Comment by thomas-kwa on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-06-07T00:16:56.797Z · LW · GW

I've put a lot of thought into this since I bumped into the limits of standard Quantified Self (e.g. recording daily mood, productive time, sleep). Doing statistics on myself has limited power already, and this is even worse when what I'm trying to improve is only a moderately strong correlate of what I can measure, or when I want to control for things you can't measure. It throws away all of my human ability to pattern-match.

The best I can do right now is fairly ordinary journaling/mindfulness practices, plus a philosophy of noticing all of the low-hanging fruit. My life has always has more obvious bugs with simple fixes than I notice, and I suspect this is true of most people.

Comment by thomas-kwa on May Gwern.net newsletter (w/GPT-3 commentary) · 2020-06-05T18:19:36.812Z · LW · GW

I'm looking to start a blog for myself. Is it likely I, a fairly strong CS student with no web dev experience, can figure it out in a reasonable amount of time?

Comment by thomas-kwa on Historical mathematicians exhibit a birth order effect too · 2020-06-03T21:54:35.055Z · LW · GW

> So there are slightly more males listed, at least in the sources I could find. But a difference of 10 out of 211 siblings with recorded sex, isn't very large. I'm sure there are some statistics I could do to show it, but I don't think that slight bias is sufficient to account for our observed birth order effect.

Almost all of these mathematicians were male and the sex of successive siblings is [correlated](https://www.biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2015/11/12/031344.full.pdf). Combined with random variation, I don't think we can conclude bias in this sample.

Comment by thomas-kwa on What proportion of US companies would agree to this gross pay deduction / direct donation if asked by an employee? · 2020-06-02T23:01:19.474Z · LW · GW

Not a lawyer, but couldn't this be tax fraud if the employee is working under market rate?

Comment by thomas-kwa on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2020-06-02T18:36:38.357Z · LW · GW

I suspect the best sleep schedule is highly individual.

Comment by thomas-kwa on What are objects that have made your life better? · 2020-06-02T18:16:00.542Z · LW · GW

I've found it useful to set it to grayscale mode (Accessibility -> Display -> Color Filters on iPhones, or in developer settings on Android). Certain apps capture your attention through bright colors, and grayscale mode negates that for me with a surprisingly small effect on usability. I don't have a shortcut to reenable color so as not to tempt myself.

Also, the standard advice is to not use your phone in bed for sleep hygiene reasons, which probably works for almost everyone.

Comment by thomas-kwa on How to learn from a stronger rationalist in daily life? · 2020-06-02T16:08:34.705Z · LW · GW

So you're saying that CFAR exercises suddenly became more valuable once you had the experience of thinking independently? What did the shift subjectively feel like?

Comment by thomas-kwa on What are the best tools for recording predictions? · 2020-05-25T01:17:09.974Z · LW · GW

I've tried Metaculus private questions, Roam, and Google Sheets, and unfortunately find Google Sheets the least tedious. Metaculus questions are best when you revise predictions dozens of times, and Roam can't do much automatically yet.

Columns in the spreadsheet:

  • Date: date I make the prediction
  • Personal?: whether the prediction is about my own actions
  • Prediction: e.g. "I have 1000 LW karma by 2021"
  • Pro, Con: main reasons for/against, in a few words
  • %: predicted probability e.g .60
  • Outcome: 0/1 (haven't tried numerical data yet nor do I think it'll be worthwhile)
  • Hindsight: the probability I would have given in hindsight

I'm working on calibration, but also trying to identify patterns in mispredictions of myself that I can gain self-knowledge from, hence the extra information. It gets slow to load around 200 entries, but entering predictions using Google Forms could mitigate this (though I haven't tried it). The main advantage of a spreadsheet is the ability to customize graphs with relatively little effort.

Comment by thomas-kwa on How to convince Y that X has committed a murder with >0.999999 probability? · 2020-05-21T00:00:33.125Z · LW · GW

+3 for the concrete example.

Comment by thomas-kwa on How to learn from a stronger rationalist in daily life? · 2020-05-20T23:25:48.178Z · LW · GW

My hope is that I can gain more than the average Berkeley rationalist by being willing to commit to deliberate practice, maybe of some technique someone will mention here.

Also, I've never been, but have heard the Berkeley community in particular had problems. Do you think the benefit to living with rationalists depends on how well someone's social needs are met?