A beautifully designed collection of books, each small enough to fit in your pocket. The book set contains over forty chapters by more than twenty authors including Eliezer Yudkowsky and Scott Alexander. This is a collection of opinionated essays exploring argument, aesthetics, game theory, artificial intelligence, introspection, markets, and more, as part of LessWrong's mission to understand the laws that govern reasoning and decision-making, and build a map that reflects the territory.
Back in December, I asked how hard it would be to make a vaccine for oneself. Several people pointed to radvac. It was a best-case scenario: an open-source vaccine design, made for self-experimenters, dead simple to make with readily-available materials, well-explained reasoning about the design, and with the name of one of the world’s more competent biologists (who I already knew of beforehand) stamped on the whitepaper. My girlfriend and I made a batch a week ago and took our first booster yesterday.
This post talks a bit about the process, a bit about our plan, and a bit about motivations. Bear in mind that we may have made mistakes - if something seems off, leave a comment.
All of the materials and equipment to make the vaccine...
I wanted to be able to link people to a guide on early retirement that succinctly covered everything I thought was important, but I couldn't find one that I was satisfied with. So I made this.
There are tons of communities and resources out there for anyone who wants to read more about retirement, investing, financial independence, etc -- many of which I'm cribbing from. You might start here: https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/wiki/faq.
This is an opinionated guide, which means a lot of it is kind of made up -- but I think it's ~95% in line with what you'll find in financial independence communities across the internet. Even if some numbers are wrong, I have decent confidence nothing here should lead you too far astray.
Also, disclaimer: I'm a random guy on the...
So e.g. if you think that the modern school system is oppressive and traumatizing, you can describe a world that has something else instead. But you should describe the alternative at least a bit - what kids do with their time instead and how they learn skills and are selected into jobs. Don't just say "no school", give us a positive alternative vision.
Within those constraints, you're allowed to change as much as you like and can think of.
What's your utopia like?
The VIX is a unit of information within the financial market system that investment professionals use to make investment decisions. There are derivatives (options and futures) of that unit of information that market participants can use as tools to trade and / or invest within the financial market ecosystem.
What unit of information does the VIX track? the volatility of the S&P 500 index over the next 30 days, annualized. What does this mean?
Volatility is a measure of the severity of the return of an asset, regardless of whether the return is positive of negative. Lets say that on Monday Apple stock goes down 6%, Tuesday up 5%, Wednesday down 7%, Thursday up 8%, and Friday down 10%. Since Apple stock typically moves under 2% per...
Followup to Dealing with Network Constraints
Epistemic Status: I spent some time trying to check if Mysterious Old Wizards were important, and reality did not clearly tell me one way or another. But, I still believe it and frequently reference it and figured I should lay out the belief.
Three bottlenecks that the EA community faces – easily mistaken for each other, but with important differences:
Mentorship – People who help you learn skills, design your career, and gain important context about the EA landscape that help you figure out how to apply those skills.
Management – Within a given org or existing hierarchy, someone who figures out what needs doing and who should do it. This can involve mentorship of employees who are either new, or need to train in new...
There’s a useful intuitive notion of “optimization” as pushing the world into a small set of states, starting from any of a large number of states. Visually:
This post presents a formalization of optimization-as-compression grounded in information theory. Specifically: to “optimize” a system is to reduce the number of bits required to represent the system state using a particular encoding. In other words, “optimizing” a system means making it compressible (in the information-theoretic sense) by a particular model.
This formalization turns out to be equivalent to expected utility maximization, and allows us to interpret any expected utility maximizer as “trying to make the world look like a particular model”.
Before diving into the formalism,...
By "upside risk" I mean: more upside risk than just holding the market.
By "reasonable" I mean: will not require an arbitrarily long education process to understand/carry out. I work a day job and have other commitments in my life, and I'm not that fundamentally interested in finance/investing. I'm not trying to get anywhere near an efficient frontier, I just want to be able to get upside risk more systematically than "some smart seeming EA/LWer drops a stock/crypto tip in a facebook group".
By "average": I assume I'm close to the LW median: I'm comfortable making kelly bets in the $1k - $100k range, depending on details. Mostly in the $10k range.
Are IPO ETFs a good candidate for this?
SPACE SPAC ETFs? Buy and hold cryptocurrencies that aren't BTC/ETH? Buy and hold BTC/ETH? Sell random call and put options? Something else? Emerging markets ETFs?
This Sunday, Anna Salamon and Oliver Habryka will discuss whether people who care about x-risk should have children.
A short summary of Oliver's position is:
If we want to reduce existential risk and protect the cosmic commons, we have some really tough challenges ahead and need to really succeed at some ambitious and world-scale plans. I have a sense that once people have children, they tend to stop trying to do ambitious things. It also dramatically reduces the flexibility of what plans or experiments they can try.
And a short summary of Anna's position is:
Most human activity is fake (pretends to be about one thing while being micro-governed by a different and unaligned process, e.g. somebody tries to "work on AI risk" while almost all of the micropulls come from
It was a quiet week, with no big news on the Covid front. There was new vaccine data, same as the old vaccine data – once again, vaccines still work. Once again, there is no rush to approve them or even plan for their distribution once approved. Once again, case numbers and positive test percentages declined, but with the worry that the English Strain will soon reverse this, especially as the extent of the drop was disappointing. The death numbers ended up barely budging after creeping back up later in the week, presumably due to reporting time shifts, but that doesn’t make it good or non-worrisome news.
This will be a relatively short update, and if...
In a previous post, I argued for the study of goal-directedness in two steps:
- Defining goal-directedness: depends only on the complete behavior of the system, and probably assumes infinite compute and resources.
- Computing goal-directedness: depends on the internal structure, and more specifically what information about the complete behavior can be extracted from this structure.
Intuitively, understanding goal-directedness should mean knowing which questions to ask about the complete behavior of the system to determine its goal-directedness. Here the “complete” part is crucial; it simplifies the problem by removing the need to infer what the system will do based on limited behavior. Similarly, we don’t care about the tractability/computability of the questions asked; the point is to find what to look for, without worrying (yet) about how to get it.
This post proposes...