Mati_Roy's Shortform

by Mati_Roy17th Mar 202075 comments
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There's the epistemic discount rate (ex.: probability of simulation shut down per year) and the value discount (ex.: you do the funner things first, so life is less valuable per year as you become older).

Asking "What value discount rate should be applied" is a category error. "should" statements are about actions done towards values, not about values themselves.

As for "What epistemic discount rate should be applied", it depends on things like "probability of death/extinction per year".

EtA: moved to a question:

Why do we have offices?

They seem expensive, and not useful for jobs that can apparently be done remotely.


  • Social presence of other people working:
  • Accountability
  • High bandwidth communication
  • Meta communication (knowing who's available to talk to)
  • Status quo bias

status: to integrate

7Dagon8mo* Employee focus (having punctuated behaviors separating work from personal time) * Tax advantages for employers to own workspaces and fixtures rather than employees * Not clear that "can be done remotely" is the right metric. We won't know if "can be done as effectively (or more effectively) remotely" is true for some time.
1Mati_Roy8mothanks for your comment! I just realized I should have used the question feature instead; here it is: []
5mr-hire8moIncreased sense of relatedness seems a big one missed here.
1Mati_Roy8mothanks for your comment! I just realized I should have used the question feature instead; here it is: []
3Viliam8moHigh status feels better when you are near your subordinates (when you can watch them, randomly disrupt them, etc.). High-status people make the decision whether remote work is allowed or not.
1Mati_Roy8mothanks for your comment! I just realized I should have used the question feature instead; here it is: []

epistemic status: a thought I just had

  • the concept of 'moral trade' makes sense to me
  • but I don't think there's such a thing as 'epistemic trade'
  • although maybe agents can "trade" (in that same way) epistemologies and priors, but I don't think they can "trade" evidence

EtA: for those that are not familiar with the concept of moral trade, check out:

4Dagon8moIt's worth being clear what you mean by "trade" in these cases. Does "moral trade" mean "compromising one part of your moral beliefs in order to support another part"? or "negotiate with immoral agents to maximize overall moral value" or just "recognize that morals are preferences and all trade is moral trade"? I think I agree that "trade" is the wrong metaphor for models and priors. There is sharing, and two-way sharing is often called "exchange", but that's misleading. For resources, "trade" implies loss of something and gain of something else, where the utility of the things to each party differ in a way that both are better off. For private epistemology (not in the public sphere where what you say may differ from what you believe), there's nothing you give up or trade away for new updates.
3Pattern8mo(I aimed for non-"political" examples, which ended up sounding ridiculous.) Suppose you believed that the color blue is evil, and want there to be less blue things in the world. Suppose I believed the same as you, except for me the color is red. Perhaps we could agree on a moral trade - we will both be against the colors blue and red! Or perhaps something less extreme - you won't make things red unless they'd look really good red, and I won't make things blue unless they'd look really good blue. Or we trade in some other manner - if we were neighbors and our houses were blue and red we might paint them different colors (neither red nor blue), or trade them.
2Dagon8moHmm, those examples seem to be just "trade". Agreeing to do something dispreferred, in exchange for someone else doing something they disprefer and you prefer, when all things under consideration are permitted and optional under the relevant moral strictures. I wonder if that implies that politics is one of the main areas where the concept applies.
1Mati_Roy8mometa: thanks for your comment; no expectation for you to read this comment; it doesn't even really respond to your comments, just some thoughts that came after reading it; see last paragraph for an answer to your question| quality: didn't spent much time formatting my thoughts I use "moral trade" for non-egoist preferences. The latter is the trivial case that's the most prevalent; we trade resources because I care more about myself and you care more about yourself, and both want something personally out of the trade. Two people that are only different in that one adopts Bentham's utilitarianism and the other adopts Mill's might want to trade. One value the existence of a human more than the existence of a pig. So one might trade their diet (become vegan) for a donation to poverty alleviation. Two people could have the same values, but one think that there's a religious after life and the other not because they processed evidence differently. Someone could propose the following trade: the atheist will pray all their life (the reward massively overweights the cost from the theist person's perspective), and in exchange, the theist will sign up for cryonics (the reward massively overweights the cost from the atheist person's perspective). Hummmm, actually, writing out this example, it now seems to make sense to me to trade. Assuming both people are pure utilitarians (and no opportunity cost), they would both, in expectation, from their relative model of the world, gain a much larger reward than its cost. I guess this could also be called moral trade, but the different in expected value comes from different model of the worlds instead of different values. So you never actually trade epistemologies or priors (as in, I reprogram my mind if you reprogram yours so that we have a more similar way of modelling the world), but you can trade acting as if. (Well, there are also cases were you would actually trade them, but only because it's morally beneficial to both parties.

Epistemic status: thinking outloud

The term "weirdness points" puts a different framing on the topic.

I'm thinking maybe I/we should also do this for "recommendation points".

The amount I'm willing to bet depends both on how important it seems to me and how likely I think the other person will appreciate it.

The way I currently try to spend my recommendation points is pretty fat tail, because I see someone's attention as scarce, so I want to keep it for things I think are really important, and the importance I assign to information is pretty fat tail. I'll som... (read more)

current intuitions for personal longevity interventions in order of priority (cryo-first for older people): sleep well, lifelogging, research mind-readers, investing to buy therapies in the future, staying home, sign up for cryo, paying a cook / maintain low weight, hiring Wei Dai to research modal immortality, paying a trainer, preserving stem cells, moving near a cryo facility, having some watch you to detect when you die, funding plastination research

EtA: maybe lucid dreaming to remember your dreams; some drugs (becopa?) to improve memory retention)

also not really important in the long run, but sleeping less to experience more

4William Walker7moNAD+ boosting (NR now, keep an eye on NRH for future). CoQ10, NAC, keep D levels up in winter. Telomerase activation (Centella asiatica, astragalus, eventually synthetics if Sierra Sciences gets its TRAP screen funded again or if the Chinese get tired of waiting on US technology...) NR, C, D, Zinc for SARS-CoV-2 right now, if you're not already. Become billionaire, move out of FDA zone, have some AAV-vector gene modifications... maybe some extra p53 copies, like the Pachyderms? Fund more work on Bowhead Whale comparative genetics. Fund a company to commercially freeze and store transplant organs, to perfect a freezing protocol (I've seen Alcor's...) Main thing we need is a country where it's legal and economically possible to develop and sell anti-agathic technology... even a billionaire can't substitute for the whole market.

Suggestion for retroactive prizes: Pay the most undervalued post on the topic for the prize, whenever it was written, assuming the writer is still alive or cryopreserved (given money is probably not worth much for most dead people). "undervalue" meaning amount the post is worth minus amount the writers received.

Topic: Can we compute back the Universe to revive everyone?

Quality / epistemic status: I'm just noting this here for now. Language might be a bit obscure, and I don't have a super robust/formal understanding of this. Extremely speculative.

This is a reply to:

The map can't be larger than the territory. So you need a larger territory to scan your region of interest: your scanner can't scan themselves... (read more)

3avturchin2moThere are several other (weird) ideas to revive everyone: * send a nanobot via wormhole in the past, it will replicate and collect all data about the brains * find a way to travel between everett branches. For every person there is branch where he is cryopreserved. * use quantum randomness generator to generate every possible mind in different everett branches

Topic: AI adoption dynamic


  • fixed cost: 4.6M USD
  • variable cost: 790 requests/USD source


  • fixed cost: 0-500k USD (depending whether you start from birth and the task they need to be trained)
  • variable cost: 10 - 1000 USD / day (depending whether you count their maintenance cost or the cost they charge)

So an AI currently seems more expensive to train, but less expensive to use (as might be obvious for most of you).

Of course, trained humans are better than GPT-3. And this comparison has other limitations. But I still find it interesting.


... (read more)
7gwern2moAll of which was done on much smaller models and GPT-3 just scaled up existing settings/equations - they did their homework. That was the whole point of the scaling papers, to tell you how to train the largest cost-effective model without having to brute force it! I think OA may well have done a single run and people are substantially inflating the cost because they aren't paying any attention to the background research or how the GPT-3 paper pointedly omits any discussion of hyperparameter tuning and implies only one run (eg the dataset contamination issue).
1Mati_Roy2moGood to know, thanks!

generalising from what a friend proposed me: don't aim at being motivated to do [desirable habit], aim at being addicted (/obsessed) at doing [desirable habit] (ie. having difficulty not to do it). I like this framing; relying on always being motivated feels harder to me

(I like that advice, but it probably doesn't work for everyone)

I can pretty much only think of good reasons for having generally pro-entrapment laws. Not any kind of traps, but some kind of traps seem robustly good. Ex.: I'd put traps for situations that are likely to happen in real life, and that show unambiguous criminal intent.

It seems like a cheap and effective way to deter crimes and identify people at risk of criminal behaviors.

I've only thought about this for a bit though, so maybe I'm missing something.

x-post with Facebook:

7Dagon4moI think the setup you describe (unambiguously show criminal intent in likely situations) is _already_ allowed in most jurisdictions. "entrapment" implies setting up the situation in such a way that it encourages the criminal behavior, rather than just revealing it.
4G Gordon Worley III4moIANAL, but this sounds right to me. It's fine if, say, the police hide out at a shop that is tempting and easy to rob and encourage the owner not to make their shop less tempting or easy to rob so that it can function as a "honeypot" that lets them nab people in the act of committing crimes. On the other hand, although the courts often decide that it's not entrapment, undercover cops soliciting prostitutes or illegal drugs are much closer to being entrapment, because then the police are actively creating the demand for crime to supply. Depending on how you feel about it, I'd say this suggests the main flaw in your idea, which is that it will be abused on the margin to catch people who otherwise would not have committed crimes, even if you try to circumscribe it such that the traps you can create are far from causing more marginal crime, because incentives will push for expansion of this power. At least, that would be the case in the US, because it already is.
6Viliam4moAren't there already too many people in prisons? Do we need to put there also people who normally wouldn't have done any crime? I guess this depends a lot on your model of crime. If your model is something like -- "some people are inherently criminal, but most are inherently non-criminal; the latter would never commit a crime, and the former will do use every opportunity that seems profitable to them" -- then the honeypot strategy makes sense. You find and eliminate the inherently criminal people before they get an opportunity to actually hurt someone. My model is that most people could be navigated to commit a crime, if someone would spend the energy to understand them and create the proper temptation. Especially when we consider the vast range of things that are considered crimes, so it does not have to be a murder, but something like smoking weed, or even things that you have no idea they could be illegal; then I'd say a potential success rate is 99%. But even if we limit ourselves to the motte of crime; let's say theft and fraud, I'd still say more than 50% of people could be tempted, if someone spent enough resources on it. Of course some people are easier to nudge than others, but we are all on the spectrum. Emotionally speaking, "entrapment" feels to me like "it is too dangerous to fight the real criminals, let's get some innocent but stupid person into trouble instead, and it will look the same in our crime-fighting statistics".
1Mati_Roy3mouh, I didn't say anything about prisons. there are reasons to identify people at high risk of committing crimes. and no, it's not about catching people that wouldn't have committed crimes, it's about catching people that would have committed crimes without being caught (but maybe I misused the word 'entrapment', and that's not what it means) Well, that's (obviously?) not what I mean. I elaborated more on the Facebook post linked above.
2Viliam3moI agree, but that seems to be how the idea is actually used in real life. By people other than you. By people who get paid when they catch criminals... which creates an incentive for them to increase easy-to-solve criminality rather then reduce it, as long as they find plausibly deniable methods to do it. In theory, if you could create "traps" in a way that does not increase temptation (because increased temptation = increased crime), for example on a street already containing hundred unlocked bikes you would add dozen unlocked trap bikes... yeah, there is probably no downside to that. In practice, if you allow this, and if you start rewarding people for catching thieves using the traps, they will get creative. Because a trap that follows the spirit of the law does not maximize the reward.

Philosophical zombies are creatures that are exactly like us, down to the atomic level, except they aren't conscious.

Complete philosophical zombies go further. They too are exactly like us, down to the atomic level, and aren't conscious. But they are also purple spheres (except we see them as if they weren't), they want to maximize paperclips (although they act and think as if they didn't), and they are very intelligent (except they act and think as if they weren't).

I'm just saying this because I find it funny ^^. I think consciousness is harder (for us) to reduce than shapes, preferences, and intelligence.

5Chris_Leong4moIt's actually not hard to find examples of people who are intelligent, but act and think as though they aren't =P

topic: lifelogging as life extension

which formats should we preserve our files in?

I think it should be:

- open source and popular (to increase chances it's still accessible in the future)

- resistant to data degradation: (thanks to Matthew Barnett for bringing this to my attention)


1DonyChristie5moMati, would you be interested in having a friendly and open (anti-)debate on here (as a new post) about the value of open information, both for life extension purposes and else (such as Facebook group moderation)? I really support the idea of lifelogging for various purposes such as life extension but have a strong disagreement with the general stance of universal access to information as more-or-less always being a public good.
1Mati_Roy5moMeta: This isn't really related to the above comment, so might be better to start a new comment in my shortform next time. Object: I don't want to argue about open information in general for now. I might be open to discussing something more specific and directly actionable, especially if we haven't done so yet and you think it's important. It doesn't currently seem to me that relevant to put one's information public for life extension purposes given you can just backup the information in private, in case you were implying or thinking that. I also don't (at least currently and in the past) advocate for universal access to information in case you were implying or thinking that.
1Mati_Roy5monote to self, to read:

topic: lifelogging as life extension

epistemic status: idea

Backup Day. Day where you commit all your data to blu-rays in a secure location.

When could that be?

Aphelion is at the beginning of the year. But maybe would be better to have it on a day that commemorates some relevant events for us.


3avturchin5moI am now coping a 4 TB HDD and it is taking 50 hours. Blu rays are more time consuming as one need to change the disks, and it may be around 80 disks 50GB each to record the same hard drive. So it could take more than day of work.
3Mati_Roy5mogood point! maybe we should have a 'Backup Week'!:)

I feel like I have slack. I don't need to work much to be able to eat; if I don't work for a day, nothing viscerally bad happens in my immediate surrounding. This allows me to think longer term and take on altruistic projects. But on the other hand, I feel like every movement counts; that there's no loose in the system. Every lost move is costly. A recurrent thought I've had in the past weeks is that: there's no slack in the system.

4Dagon7moEvery move DOES count, and "nothing viscerally bad" doesn't mean it wasn't a lost opportunity for improvement. _on some dimensions_. The problem is that well-being is highly-dimensional, and we only have visibility into a few aspects, and measurements of only a subset of those. It could easily be a huge win on your future capabilities to not work-for-pay that day. The Slack that can be described is not true Slack. Slack is in the mind. Slack is freedom FROM freedom. Slack is the knowledge that every action or inaction changes the course of the future, _AND_ that you control almost none of it. You don't (and probably CAN'T) actually understand all the ways you're affecting your future experiences. Simply give yourself room to try stuff and experience them, without a lot of stress about "causality" or "optimization". But don't fuck it up. True slack is the ability to obsess over plans and executions in order to pick the future you prefer, WHILE YOU SIMULTANEOUSLY know you're wrong about causality and about your own preferences. [ note and warning: my conception of slack has been formed over decades of Subgenius popehood (though I usually consider myself more Discordian), and may diverge significantly from other uses. ]

Today is Schelling Day. You know where and when to meet for the hangout!

imagine having a physical window that allowed you to look directly in the past (but people in the past wouldn't see you / the window). that would be amazing, right? well, that's what videos are. with the window it feels like it's happening now, whereas with videos it feels like it's happening in the past, but it's the same


6Dagon1moThere's a bit of bait-and-switch with the comparison. The magic window is amazing if it sees parts of the past which we're interested in (both time and location control, or event selection). It's much less interesting if it only sees very few parts (well under 0.01%) of the very recent past (last 20-70 years), and only sees the parts that someone happened to capture, which are indexed/promoted enough to come to our attention.
2Mati_Roy1mook yeah, that's fair! (although even controlling for that, I think the analogy still points at something interesting) yeah, I like to see "people just living a normal day"; I sometimes look for that, but even that is likely biased

tattoo idea: I won't die in this body

in Toki Pona: ale pini mi li ala insa e sijelo ni

direct translation: life's end (that is) mine (will) not (be) inside body this

EtA: actually I got the Toki Pona wrong; see:

When you're sufficiently curious, everything feels like a rabbit hole.

Challenge me by saying a very banal statement ^_^


2mr-hire2moI tired because I didn't sleep well.
2Mati_Roy2moSort of smashing both of those saying together: > “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” -Carl Sagan > "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!"-spin of Clarke's third law to get: Sufficiently understanding an apple pie is indistinguishable from understanding the world.

People say we can't bet about the apocalypse. But what about taking debt? The person thinking the probability of apocalypse is higher would accept higher interest rate on their debt, as once at the judgement period their might be no one to whom the money is worth or the money itself might not be worth much.

I guess there are also reasons to want more money during a global catastrophe, and there are also reasons to not want to keep money for great futures (see:, so that wouldn't actually work.

meta - LessWrong have people predict whether they will upvote a post just based on the title

1Zachary Robertson7moTangential, but I'd venture to guess there's significant correlation between title-choice (word-vec) and upvotes on this site. I wonder if there'd be a significant difference here as compared with say Reddit?
1Mark Xu7moI think this breaks because it results in people upvoting based on the title. I recall some study about how people did things they predicted they would do with higher than like 60% chance almost 95% of the time (numbers made up, think I remember direction/order of magnitude of effect size roughly correctly, don't know if it survived the replication crises)
1Mati_Roy7moThat's potentially a good point! But it doesn't say how the causality works. Maybe the prediction affects the outcome or maybe they're just bad at predicting / modelling themselves.

There's a post, I think by Robin Hanson on Overcoming Bias, that says people care about what their peers think of them, but we can hack our brains to doing awesome things by making this reference group the elite of the future. I can't find this post. Do you have a link?

Personal Wiki

might be useful for people to have personal wiki where they take note instead of everyone taking notes in private Gdoc

status: to do / to integrate

A Hubble Brain: a brain taking all the resources present in a Hubble-Bubble-equivalent.



5avturchin2moBut it will take 15 billion years for it to finish one thought
3Mati_Roy2mohaha, true ^^

I want to look into roleplay in animals, but Google is giving me animal roleplay, which is interesting too, but not what I'm looking for right now 😅

I'm wonder how much roleplay there is in the animal kingdom. I wouldn't be surprised if there was very few.

Maybe if you're able to roleplay, then you're able to communicate?? Like, roleplay might need to have a theory of mind, because you're imagining yourself in someone else's body.

Maybe you can teach words to an animal without a theory of mind, but they'll be more like levers for them: for them, saying "bana... (read more)

I remember someone in the LessWrong community (I think Eliezer Yudkowsky, but maybe Robin Hanson or someone else, or maybe only Rationalist-adjacent; maybe an article or a podcast) saying that people believing in "UFOs" (or people believing in unproven theories of conspiracy) would stop being so enthusiastic about those if they became actually known as true with good evidence for them. does anyone know what I'm referring to?

4Ruby2moEliezer talks about how dragons wouldn't be exciting if they were real, I recall. I'm not sure that's correct.
1Mati_Roy2moah, someone [] found it:

sometimes I see people say "(doesn't) believe in science" when in fact they should say "(doesn't) believe in scientists"

or actually actually "relative credence in the institutions trying to science"


hummm, I think I prefer the expression 'skinsuit' to 'meatbag'. feels more accurate, but am not sure. what do you think?


I just realized my System 1 was probably anticipating our ascension to the stars to start in something like 75-500 years.

But actually, colonizing the stars could be millions of subjective years away if we go through an em phase ( On the other hand, we could also have finished spreading across the cosmos in only a few subjective decades if I get cryopreserved and the aestivation hypothesis is true (

I created a Facebook group to discuss moral philosophies that value life in and of itself:

How to calculate subjective years of life?

For non-human animal brains, I would compare them to the baseline of individuals in the... (read more)

4avturchin2moInterestingly, an hour in childhood is subjectively equal between a day or a week in adulthood, according to recent poll I made. As a result, the middle of human life in term of subjective experiences is somewhere in teenage. Also, experiences of an adult are more dull and similar to each other. Tin Urban tweeted recently: "Was just talking to my 94-year-old grandmother and I was saying something about how it would be cool if I could be 94 one day, a really long time from now. And she cut me off and said “it’s tomorrow.” The "years go faster as you age" phenomenon is my least favorite phenomenon."

The original Turing test has a human evaluator.

Other evaluators I think would be interesting include: the AI passing the test, a superintelligent AI, and an omniscient maximally-intelligent entity (except without the answer to the test).

Thought while reading this thread.

Blocking one ear canal

Category: Weird life optimization

One of my ear canal is in a different shape. When I was young, my mother would tell me that this one was harder to clean, and that ze couldn't see my ear-drum. This ear gets wax accumulation more easily. A few months ago, I decided to let it block.

Obvious possible cognitive bias is the "just world bias": if something bad happens often enough, I'll start think it's good.

But here are benefits this has for me:

  1. When sleeping, I can put my good ear on the pillow, and this now isolates me from sound prett

... (read more)
3Mati_Roy7mox-posting someone's comment [] from my wall:
[+][comment deleted]2mo 1
[+][comment deleted]3mo 1