Recent Discussion

I'd like to talk about social host liability. If, as you read that term, you parsed it as 'social' as in social media, 'host' as in webhost, and 'liability' as in if a social media webhost does something negligent that causes harm to come to third parties that they should be held legally liable... then you don't know what social host liability is. You do, however, have an intuitive grasp of the point I'd like to make in this article.

Social host liability means that if you are serving alcohol at a party, and you serve one of your guests to a point of obvious intoxication, and that guest leaves and gets in a car accident or otherwise hurts someone where the proximate cause is determined to be...

Wireheading is expanding rapidly.

At first it was drugs, with packaging and delivery carefully designed to maximize addictiveness.

Then gambling,  social media. 

More recently...

Stock brokers are increasingly leveraging the well-tested wireheading techniques used by casinos to make their customers into gambling addicts.

MIRI is moving (with high probability)!

We haven’t finalized a location yet, but there’s a good chance we’ll make our decision in the next six weeks. I want to solicit:

  • Feedback on our current top location candidates.
  • Ideas for other places that might fit our criteria.

I’m also interested in a more general location-optimizing discussion. What are your general thoughts on where you’d like to live, and have they changed any since the hub conversations Claire Wang began in September and November? If a new rationality community hub sprang up at any of these locations, would you be tempted to join? Is there a different place you’d prefer (either personally, or for the community)?

Anything from 'statements of personal preferences' to 'models of how the rationality community might make humanity's future much...

Agreed. I'm quite bullish on NYC and its culture but 1% seems too low.

2Zvi25mI've been traveling into the city for social reasons and have found good hotels at under $150 / night reliably. You'd want a hotel rather than AirBnB because cleaning fees make AirBnBs bad for one night stays.
2Ben Pace2hThis is a great comment, thanks. (Other people doing comments in this style would also be pretty great.)
4habryka3hIn the comment above you used line-breaks instead of paragraph breaks (probably by pressing shift-enter). This makes everything one big paragraph, and makes formatting paragraph level be quite janky. It also messes up the spacing (since paragraph breaks are a bit smaller than a full empty line). That's probably what caused the pain. I fixed your comment, but seemed useful to leave a note for posterity.

The Biden administration’s latest strategy for the pandemic is to suspend the vaccine patents without compensation. Our life expectancies are lower than they were last week.

It’s a shame. I like the idea of rewarding those who do amazing things for myself and for the world. I like people out there knowing that if they produce amazing things for myself and for the world, they would get rewarded for them. I like the idea of not dying for as long as possible thanks to future developments in medical science. I like being a nation of laws, where the executive doesn’t just take stuff when he feels like it. And I’d like, when nice things are taken away and we mortgage our future, to at least get something out...

3Earl E. Bird1hAfter thinking about this some more, part of the reason I'm having trouble with the point on IP waivers being made in this post is that it assumes that one thing will be done (in this case, IP waivers), and that everything else will remain the same. But that's not usually how things work out. Every change we make has follow-on effects, which also have follow-on effects, and so on. If IP waivers cause biotech companies to not be incentivized to create vaccines, but if there is a huge need for vaccines, public funding will take the place of IP incentives. This could end up being a huge improvement over the current incentives, which prioritize the most profitable investments, rather than the most needed ones.

If IP waivers cause biotech companies to not be incentivized to create vaccines, but if there is a huge need for vaccines, public funding will take the place of IP incentives. 

How well does public funding for antibiotics where selling newly developed one's for profit is effectively outlawed work at the moment?

It seem to me that it works pretty poorly and I see no reason for it to be different with government funded vaccines. 

1maximkazhenkov13hIt's always an emergency, lives are always at stake. That's just the nature of the pharmaceutical business.
1maximkazhenkov13hIt's the perception that matters.

Scott Alexander is out with his (late) 2021 predictions. You know what that means. It’s time to find things to disagree with!

Scott has the tough job here. He’s putting out a hundred plus predictions with probabilities attached. All I’m doing is saying where I definitely disagree with him. 

Epistemic Status: Writing this quickly and off the cuff seems more appropriate and fair. I’m going to explain my reasoning here while also not trying to do a bunch of research on these questions. In general, if something seems reasonable and say or imply that I’m holding, that’s not a strong ‘this is also my probability strongly held’ answer, it’s in the ballpark but likely weakly held. 


1. Biden approval rating (as per 538) is greater than 50%: 80%

Biden’s approval rating...

Further update: Happy I bought $100 at $0.31. Even happier I bought more at $0.17 when the market dropped as Netanyahu didn't form a coalition. Of course, Bennett/Lapid might still pull this off, but the market is now at $0.42.

Just like every Monday now, researchers in AI Alignment are invited for a coffee time, to talk about their research and what they're into.

Here is the link

And here is the everytimezone time.

Small change for this second edition: the link to the walled garden now only works for AF members. Anyone who wants to come but isn't an AF member needs to go by me. I'll broadly apply the following criteria for admission:

  • If working in a AI Alignment lab or funded for independent research, automatic admission
  • If recommended by AF member, automatic admission
  • Otherwise, to my discretion

I prefer to not allow people who might have been interesting but who I'm not sure will not derail the conversation, because this is supposed to be the place where AI Alignment researchers can talk about their current research without having to explain everything.

See you then!

This concept is not fully formed.  It is necessary that it is not fully formed, because once I have finished forming it, it won't be something I can communicate any longer; it will become, to borrow a turn of phrase from SMBC, rotten with specificity.

I have noticed a shortcoming in my model of reality.  It isn't a problem with the accuracy of the model, but rather there is an important feature of the model missing.  It is particularly to do with people, and the shortcoming is this: I have no conceptual texture, no conceptual hook, to attach ... (read more)

We can have objects of a given type in a set, and we can have an order defined on those objects in that set.

Some people seem to hold values that positively value increasing the types of object in that set, while negatively valuing an order / large distances between those objects.

Others seem to negative value the increase of object types, favoring a smaller number of types while holding that an ordering between objects in a  set cannot be avoided.

As a teaser here is the visual version of Bayesian updating:


But in order to understand that figure we need to go through the prior and likelihood!

You find me standing in a basketball court ready to shoot some hoops. What do you believe about my performance before I take a shot?. There are no good Null hypothesis here unless you happen to have a lot of knowledge about the average human basket ball performance!, and even so, why do you care whether I am significant different from the average?, You can fall back to the new statistics which is almost as good as the Bayesian approach, it but does not answer what you should believe before I take a shot.

The Beta distribution is a popular prior for binary events, when the two parameter ( and...

2MrGus999hWhat happens if you miss, score, and score in a different order? Will the posterior shape be different?
2Jan Christian Refsgaard5hThe order does not matter, you can see that by focusing on θ=12 which is always equal to 1N2, you can also see it from the conjugation rule where you end with B eta(3,2) no matter the order. If you wanted the order to matter you could down weight earlier shots or widen the uncertainty between the updates, so previous posterior becomes a slightly wider prior to capture the extra uncertainty from the passage of time.
2Raven12hI read all the way through, unfortunately this is pretty mathy for me and I don't have much to say. I did like the visualization of updates as squishing the blob around -- my own introduction to updating was via the sequences which didn't have that.

Mine was the same, I became a bayesian statetisian 4 years ago. I gave a talk about Bayesian Statistics and this figure was what made it click to most students (including myself), so i wanted to share it

You are an apprentice to Carver, the most successful butcher in your tiny, snow-swept village. Today, for the first time since you joined her, she is sending you to buy carcasses at the daily Auction.

(The (first-price, sealed-bid) Monster Carcass Auction began as a collective effort by local shopkeepers to divert Adventurers from trying to sell them random corpses, but has since become an integral part of the village economy, as well as the population’s main protein source.)

Carver thinks you should trust your instincts and bid however feels right. It’s an approach that’s served her well thus far – the record you’ve been compiling of her bids and subsequent sales attests to that, among other things – but you suspect a more data-driven approach would work better. And...

2GuySrinivasan13hYeah I debated that, and some other similar modifications, but in the end my priors on what the natural laws of these worlds look like overrode what looks like it might be a better fit. We shall see... And yes, I was using standard
3simon12hOK, I see such an argument for the die used, but the base value proposed can't be correct with that die.
3GuySrinivasan10h:facepalm: that's what I get for switching at the last minute. You're absolutely right, of course.

OK I calculated the likelihoods of getting the full yeti revenue data set for those distributions and got the following results:

For 78-{age+1}d6 (which is equivalent to 71+1d6-{age}d6):

likelihood ~ 10^-192

For 72 + 1d5 - {age}d6:

likelihood ~10^-189

So the 1d5 version is literally 1000 times better fit to the data, and I doubt that the prior for 1d6 over 1d5 is that strong. Besides, the base value of 72 is a round number in a way, might increase the 1d5 prior a bit. I'd definitely bet on the 1d5 version over the 1d6.