Cedric and Bertrand want to see a movie. Bertrand wants to see Muscled Duded Blow Stuff Up. Cedric wants to see Quiet Remembrances: Time as Allegory. There's also Middlebrow Space Fantasy. They are rational but not selfish - they care about the other's happiness as much as their own. What should they see?
They decide to write down how much pleasure each movie would provide them:
Since Middlebrow provides the most total pleasure, they see Middlebrow.
A few months later, they are walking in the ... (Read more)
Click here to participate. Entries must be submitted on October 18th, 2020 or earlier.
Entry is now closed.
In 2017, Zvi posted an exciting story about The Darwin Game, a variation of iterated prisoner's dilemma.
I will run my own version of the game in the week following October 18th, 2020. You do not have to know how to program in order to participate. I will code simple bots for non-programmers. If you do know how to program then you may create your own complicated bot.
Here are the rules. Changes from Zvi's original game are in brackets [like this].
... (Read more)
For the first round, each player gets 100
Some background, I was interested in AI before the hype, back when neural networks were just an impractical curiosity in our textbooks. I went through an undergrad in Cognitive Science and decided that there was something to the idea of connectionist bottom up AI having tremendous untapped potential because I saw the working example of the human mind. So I embarked on a Masters in Computer Science focused on ML and eventually graduated at just about the perfect time (2014) to jump into industry and make a splash. It helped that I'd been ambitious and tried to create crazy thi... (Read more)
Cross-posted, as always, from Putanumonit.
The Rationality community was never particularly focused on medicine or epidemiology. And yet, we basically got everything about COVID-19 right and did so months ahead of the majority of government officials, journalists, and supposed experts.
We started discussing the virus and raising the alarm in private back in January. By late February, as American health officials were almost unanimously downplaying the threat, we wrote posts on taking the disease seriously, buying masks, and preparing for quarantine.
Throughout March, the CDC was tel... (Read more)
(Of course, this isn't any serious question.)
I used to walk to my job along a small park area. It is not fenced off, but there are these strange teeth-like posts around it to keep out cars in the rush hours. I liked to watch the plants and how they changed, knowing I'd spend the rest of the day inside.
The sun had not risen high, and the shadows of the posts were long and stark on the lawn on that morning in late October; the air was still crisp, there was a nip in it, even though it promised to be a warm day.
What colour were the shadows?
I've recently been using habits to increase my productivity.
However, I've noticed a downside. If I start the day off by failing
my morning routine (wake up early, exercise) the entire rest
of the day is wasted since I feel off track.
Before habits I was much more flexible. Is there a way to avoid the mental state of
giving up when, for example, I wake up late?
I have many posts that I want written but do not have time to write and I suspect there are other people that feel similarly. This post on the Solomonoff prior was one example, until I got fed up and just wrote it.
Please write one post idea per answer so they can be voted on seperately.
LessWrong was founded in 2009 and relaunched in 2018 with a new codebase and full-time team.
We are a community dedicated to improving our reasoning and decision-making. We seek to hold true beliefs and to be effective at accomplishing our goals. More generally, we work to develop and practice the art of human rationality.
To that end, LessWrong is a place to 1) develop and train rationality, and 2) apply one’s rationality to real-world problems.
Thanks to Rebecca Gorman for co-developing this idea
On the 26th of September 1983, Stanislav Petrov observed the early warning satellites reporting the launch of five nuclear missiles towards the Soviet Union. He decided to disobey orders and not pass on the message to higher command, which could easily have resulted in a nuclear war (since the soviet nuclear position was "launch on warning").
Now, did Petrov have free will when he decided to save the world?
Professional athletes are arguably the most publicly understood meritocracy around. There are public records of thousands of different attributes for each player. When athletes stop performing well, this is discussed at length by enthusiasts, and it's understood when they are kicked off their respective teams. The important stuff is out in the open. There's a culture of honest, open, and candid communication around meritocratic competence and value.
This isn't only valuable to help team decisions. It also helps data scientists learn which sorts of characteristics and records correlate best with... (Read more)
If it’s worth saying, but not worth its own post, here's a place to put it.
If you are new to LessWrong, here's the place to introduce yourself. Personal stories, anecdotes, or just general comments on how you found us and what you hope to get from the site and community are invited.
If you want to explore the community more, I recommend reading the Library, checking recent Curated posts, seeing if there are any meetups in your area, and checking out the Getting Started section of the LessWrong FAQ. If you want to orient to the content on the site, you can also check out the new Concepts section... (Read more)
Economists say free trade is good because of "comparative advantage". But what is comparative advantage? Why is it good?
This is sometimes considered an arcane part of economics. (Wikipedia defines it using "autarky".) But it's really a very simple idea. Anyone can use it to understand the world and make decisions.
Say you live alone on an island.
Each week you gather and eat 10 coconuts and 10 bananas. It takes you five minutes to gather a coconut, and 10 minutes for a banana. Thus, you work 150 minutes per week.
|You Need||Time to gather one||Time You Spend|
This is the third of three sets of fixed point exercises. The first post in this sequence is here, giving context.
Note: Questions 1-5 form a coherent sequence and questions 6-10 form a separate coherent sequence. You can jump between the sequences.
Let be a complete metric space. A function is called a contraction if there exists a such that for all , . Show that if is a contraction, then for any , the sequence converges. Show further that it converges exponentially quickly (i.e. the distance between the th term and the limit point
Related to: Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided
There is a well-known fable which runs thus:
“Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.' People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.”
This gives rise to the common expression ‘sour grapes’, referring to a situation in which one incorrectly claims!--[if>... (Read more)
Previously about PredictIt this election cycle: Free Money at PredictIt: 2020 General Election,
It is important, on occasion, to state the obvious, on the record, at the proper time.
The prediction (alternatively, read: gambling) markets on the 2020 Presidential Election increasingly do not make sense.
In particular, their movements over time do not make any sense.
Nate Silver’s model at 538, which puts Trump at 12.5% or so, does not take into account the possibility of anyone taking extraordinary measures to distort who is physically able to vote or to have their... (Read more)
There’s been a lot of discussion about whether the pandemic lockdowns have been worth it. However, much of the reasoning that we’ve seen has been very motivated and un-nuanced in a way that for us has distorted a lot of the information.
So this is not a thread for taking a position on that. This is a thread for raising individual considerations that are relevant for thinking about the question “Have the pandemic lockdowns, in general, been worth it?”
Every answer to this thread should analyze a single belief that is relevant to whether pandemic lockdowns have been worth it, such as
So you can now drag-and-drop images into comments. (Thanks, LessWrong dev team!)
Hence, this post is an excuse to build a beautiful, inspiring, powerful — and primarily visual — comment section.
Let's celebrate all that is great about the Art of Rationality, with images.
It should be possible to just scroll through the comments and adore the artwork. There shouldn't be any need to click-through to other pages. (Think of it like a Pinterest board, if you've ever seen those.)
Adding text is fine, but consider doing it in... (Read more)
Judging from the upvotes, it seems like people are quite interested in my grandparents' failure to emigrate from Communist China before it was too late, so I thought I'd elaborate here with more details and for greater visibility. They were all actually supporters of the Communist Party at the beginning, and saw it as potential saviors/liberators of the Chinese people and nation. They were also treated well at the beginning - one of them (being one of few people in China with a higher education) was given a high official post, and another retained a manager position at the factory that he used... (Read more)