All of Alexei's Comments + Replies

Recently I watched "The Tangle." It's an indie movie written and directed by the main actor from Ink, if that means anything to you. (Ink is also an indie movie, but it's in my top 5 of all time.) Anyway, The Tangle is set in a world right after the singularity (of sorts), but where humans haven't fully gave up control. Don't want to spoil too much here, but I found a lot of the ideas there that were popular 5-10 years ago in the rationalist circles. Quite unexpected for an indie movie. I really enjoyed it and I think you would too.

I’d also post in the “welcome” thread.

Before building a whole website, just try this technique on some students. Whether with just paper or a quickly built web page for a few specific concepts.

Answer by AlexeiMay 11, 20237-1

I’m not using ChatGPT or any of its ilk and plan to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Basically for the rough reasons described by OP.

I see people make the argument that an additional subscriber doesn’t make a big difference on the margin. But as far as individual choices consumer choices go, that’s all the leverage you have!

I think most people would agree that the eventual logical outcome of this technology is highly volatile, potentially including some very very negative outcomes in the mix. I think basic moral logic compels us not to engage ... (read more)

Interest in enrolling in CS, AI, and ML degrees goes up 5-10x from start to end of 2023.

I’m willing to bet it will be less than 2x.

4Julian Bradshaw5mo
CS Bachelor's degrees, unlikely. There's already substantial, growing interest. (they make up roughly 2.5% of awarded degrees in the US right now, roughly 50k of 2M, and for comparison all of engineering makes up ~10% of degrees - though obviously "interest in" is far away from "awarded degree") Master's degrees in ML, also unlikely, but I could imagine a semi-plausible scenario where public opinion in the software industry suddenly decided they would be valuable for repositioning careers going forward. I'd be surprised if that happened, though, especially by the end of 2023, unless the metric is something like Google search trends.
Hah, I read that as 5-10%, which I guess would be realistic. 
I've updated that 5x would be high. There aren't that many candidate people available to switch from other things, is my guess.

I don't think I define it rigorously. Maybe someone with deeper technical understanding of these models could.

But if I had to come up with a hack somehow, you could look at the distribution of probabilities for various words as ChatGPT is predicting the next token. Presumably you'll noticed a certain kind of probability distribution when it's in the "Luigi" mode and another when it's in "Waluigi" mode. Then prodding it in the right direction might be weighing more the tokens that are a lot more frequent in the Luigi mode than Waluigi.

We have no idea how to have a program detect AI-written text in a useful way.

This approach seems very doable: 

3Lone Pine7mo
Why couldn't OpenAI just keep a database of all their outputs?

The tl;dr here is that you can make an AI that fingerprints its output in a way that can be detected later, but this doesn't generalize to output from other AIs.

I suppose you can call me lucky, but my wife and I had about two years of doing “quality of time spent” very well. And then we switched to building a family and that’s going well too. I guess you can have it all. 😊

Yup, I like it! Describes where I am pretty well.

I’ve been in the rationalist community since 2011. I too am focused on the “long path”. And I’d say my timelines are pretty short. But I have two young kids and I do not regret it. In fact we’ll probably have a third one.

Strongly agree with tangren. Try to start interviewing and see if:

  1. Can you even get the interviews? If you can't all, then your resume is probably not good. Also maybe you need to work with a recruiter.
  2. If you can get the interviews but not the offers, then it's probably your interviewing skills. You can study up. (For this reason it's recommended to first interview with companies you don't particularly want to join.)

I will caution that right now is probably a particularly difficult time to find an engineering job. There were a lot of layoffs in big tech companies and a lot of them have a hiring freeze.

Excellent! Maybe there’s a way to pitch this for a Black Mirror episode.

4Alex Beyman1y
I would need an agent for that. I am in the process of sending query letters to agents specializing in the genres I write.

I recently heard that it's possible that long-covid cough cause is actually neurological. Source: (Abstract below)

Has anyone heard about this? Anecdotally, the friend that told me about this took the required medicine and it cured his cough (which lasted 7 weeks up to that point) in half a day.  This happened once he reached the right dose, which for him was 300 mg of gabapentin 2-3 times a day.

Quoting the abstract here:

Cough is one of the most common presenting symptoms of COVID-19, along with fev

... (read more)

This seems like a really good thing to do! I wish I could contribute more to the prize pool.

I'd be up for increasing the prize pool! I checked with a few students who thought it seemed large enough, but I may be mistaken. How large of a prize pool do you think would be ideal?

Wow, excellent advice all around. I’ve gone insane in exactly that way a few times, but later I learned that I have bipolar that gets triggered by stress and/or psychedelics. During the manic phase the mind runs away with whatever it’s thinking / obsessing about. Maybe that could potentially explain some of the other people too.

Great post, I really enjoyed reading it. But there are a lot of small misspellings and grammatical errors. I think LW offers some kind of proofreading service. (Or maybe you can find a friend / volunteer.)

Thanks! (both for the comment and the comment about proofreading) 

Fwiw my dentist told me to floss as well. I tried and noticed obvious improvements on the next appt (so about 3 months). I did it for a year and it was good. Then I stopped and sure enough next appt the gums were sore and bleeding during the test. I didn’t floss for a year. As soon as I started again, the improvement came back. I guess now for me this is one of those things that has been so thoroughly proven and validated by my own experience that it’s easy to do. Oh and also I hate all floss devices except this: Listerine UltraClean Access Flosser WITH Re... (read more)

Thanks for sharing. My wife and I have “dreamed” about a shared housing scenario as well, raising our kids side by side with friends. But yeah, it seems super difficult to arrange and (I imagine) to maintain.

Part of my model is that spiritual students tend to be a lot more prone to wanting to connect in a physical way. Sometimes to the point of almost literally throwing themselves at the teacher.

It could be both. First the students almost literally throw themselves at the teacher. Then the teacher gets used to it and mistakenly assumes the same about a student who was not throwing themselves at the teacher, but was afraid to resist the teacher's advances.

A reply that came to mind for me: “oh yeah. I guess I’m bored. I didn’t realize until you just pointed it out.”

Oh nice, I think that's good. I'd additionally frame this as a friendly interaction by politely (second-order condescendingly) adding, "You should continue though, I'll try to get into it." (Then you can keep using your phone without necessarily trying to listen.) The other person was attempting to put you in the frame of "impolite listener". Your reply is a good way of blocking the attempt to frame you as consciously antagonistic. I would go further and frame myself as someone who is a polite listener and friend to everyone there, but also perfectly within my right to follow where my attention takes me. Regardless, I think the key to both of our approaches is that we can sound first-order chill so that nothing about our first-order words or tone of voice sounds antagonistic. It obeys the highest standard of polite behavior (ideally out-politing the other person), while the logical implication of our behavior is to assert our own frame against the frame control attempt.

I like this a lot! I wish, as they say, that I could give this more than one (strong) upvote! I think if you continue writing, you could definitely make something at least as good at Friendship is Optimal. And if you continue past that, quite possibly even HPMOR.

Let me try to say a bit more about why I liked this so much. 1) As I was reading it, I was connecting the story / seeing parallels with my life. That's always a plus in my book. The story helps me get a different handle on my reality. 2) I could empathize with all of the characters. Even though the... (read more)

5Tomás B.2y
Thanks. I've written enough aborted novels to know I don't like writing novels, but I will probably write a few more short stories at some point.

Thanks for the summary. Just a quick note: I found that multiple headers & jumping between different "lenses" made it much harder to me to read the post. I guess I'd wish that those blocks would be larger, possibly all the way separated.

Thanks for the feedback! It seems like you're saying I should first have done "negotiation techniques" then "do these negotiation techniques have a place in rational discourse?" as separate sections. So if we make a table with rows as techniques and columns as lenses, then I should have traversed it column major instead of row major. Did I misunderstand or miss an angle to what you're saying?

I gotta say the more I read this sequence the more interesting and helpful I find it. Thank you!

Would you recommend it? What’s the website?

If you like candy/sweets and discovering new stuff, it's pretty cool. That's the place I'm using currently, but I dabble with different options several times a year mainly by just googling something like "international candy subscription".

Congrats on the new born!


My cryptocurrency quant hedge fund is looking to hire engineers. If you're curious, PM me. :)

Well, I already tried recruiting you for our hedge fund, so not really. :D Although it's possible with covid there's a larger pool of remote jobs available.

But yeah, given all those constraints, it's quite possible you're in a relatively optimal position.

First off, kudos for putting your view up for criticism.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the opportunity cost. Putting the question of whether or not ads are good or bad aside, do you think you can find a job that creates more good in the world and pays about the same?

I think it's pretty unlikely that I could be paid more working for another company given my preferences (I want to stay in Boston, I want to work a reasonable number of hours, I don't like working remotely). I think my pay would be about the same if I switched within Google Cambridge, so that's possible, though I like my team a lot and there's a replaceability argument. Did you have something specific in mind?

Very cool, this sounds a lot like my own story too. Welcome to the club!

I like this format a lot: here’s what I wanted to learn, here’s what I did, here’s my proposed better method. I. A world where we learn things via an amalgamation of blog posts and videos, this seems like an efficient way of helping others learn.

I think there should be a tag for this method!

To be fair, I doubted a bit whether this type of post was really valuable. So some sort of signaling that we as a community are interested by those might be useful.

Thank you, this looks extremely useful. It’s been on my todo list to learn about transformers for a while. And this looks like a great path to follow. I commit to respond with how my learning went once I follow this guide. (Will probably be later this year.)

Glad you liked it! Good luck with your learning, I'm curious to see how my path and recommendations generalize.

What are your thoughts / advice on working as an individual vs joining an existing team / company when it comes to safety research? (For yourself and for others)

I think the main reasons to join teams are either to do collaborative projects or to get mentorship. I think for most people one or both of those will be pretty important, and so individual work is usually a kind of stop-gap---lower barriers to entry, but if it's a good fit the expectation should be to join a larger team after not-that-long. For people who already feel well-oriented and who are interested in projects that can be done by individuals, then I think it's not a big deal either way though it can still be nice to have a closer community of people working on safety.

Thank you for looking into this and posting about it. This question has been on my mind a lot.

4Steven Byrnes2y
You're welcome but I hope you're not taking my word for anything. Note the warning at the top :-)

Strong upvote from me. I appreciate the decently broad source of quotes and I hope you've read some of that material fully. I think the question is interesting and worth serious pondering, though I'm a bit sceptical as to how much progress on it is really possible outside of individualistic discovery via something like meditation.

Father love and mother love is an interesting way of looking at it. Though it's not clear "Father Love" is actually a thing or just something we projected onto actually existing "Mother Love."

To me actually the problem of evil see... (read more)

It’s funny you mention Texas because a lot of Bay Area people in the past few years left for Austin, Texas.

Satvik mentioned you had a way to go from hash to the source code?

2[comment deleted]2y
You can go from hash to source code by saving the source code too in addition to saving the value. You can go from place to source code by treating source code as a value. Otherwise, hashing is a trapdoor function.

Not sure I follow. What prevents republicans from joining democrats?

I think the point is that you get peoples opt into the party and then show during elections that this party can indeed swing votes. That’s the proof of work.

1Timothy Johnson2y
Sorry, let me try again, and be a little more direct. If the New Center starts to actually swing votes, Republicans will join and pretend to be centrists, while trying to co-opt the group into supporting Republicans. Meanwhile, Democrats will join and try to co-opt the group into supporting Democrats. Unless you have a way to ensure that only actual centrists have any influence, you'll end up with a group that's mostly made up of extreme partisans from both sides. And that will make it impossible for the group to function as intended.

No I don’t have time for this unfortunately. I suppose it’s probably worth at the very least publishing this on medium and posting to relevant subreddits.

Some of the other comments have reminded me of your linkpost about digital democracy. Specifically, the idea of seeking surprising agreement which was mentioned.

In the OP, I posited that "the new center" should have a strong, simple set of issues, pre-selected to cater to people who are sick of both sides. But I think Stuart Anderson is right: it shouldn't focus so much on the battle between the two sides; it should focus on the surprising commonality between people.

As Steven Byrnes mentioned, swing voters aren't exactly moderate; rather, they tend to have... (read more)

I like this a lot and I think it’s worth serious effort to research some of the assumptions and obvious failure points (brought up by others here, although I think half of them are not addressing the core of your proposal)

9Timothy Johnson2y
I see a few other failure points mentioned, but no one has mentioned what I consider the primary obstacle - if membership in the New Center organization is easy, what prevents partisans from joining purely to influence its decisions? And if membership is hard, how do you find enough people willing to join? The key idea that makes Bitcoin work is that it runs essentially a decentralized voting algorithm. Proof-of-work means that everyone gets a number of votes proportional to the computational power that they're willing to spend. You need something similar to proof-of-work here, but I don't see any good way to implement it.
I don't have time for this. Do you? Is/should it be a priority? I have other ideas which may or may not make it more probable (which I excluded from the post out of an abundance of caution).

Nice post. Haven’t heard of Flesh and Blood before, I’ll check it out. But yeah, poker strikes me as the fastest way to learn this skill since each “match” is so fast, especially online.

I’m curious how brain uploading / intelligence amplification interacts with this scenario. It’s possible we would be able to keep up for longer.

I think the upshot of those technologies (and similarly for ML assistants) is: 1. It takes longer before you actually face a catastrophe. 2. In that time, you can make faster progress towards an "out" By an "out" I mean something like: (i) figuring out how to build competitive aligned optimizers, (ii) coordinating to avoid deploying unaligned AI. Unfortunately I think [1] is a bit less impactful than it initially seems, at least if we live in a world of accelerating growth towards a singularity. For example, if the singularity is in 2045 and it's 2035, and you were going to have catastrophic failure in 2040, you can't really delay it by much calendar time. So [1] helps you by letting you wait until you get fancier technology from the fast outside economy, but doesn't give you too much more time for the slow humane economy to "catch up" on its own terms.

For any given thing you want to do imagine what it would take to do it without Vim and it’s just more & usually more awkward key strokes.

I’d say the only place where I still use mouse is to jump to a completely random place in code.

This reminds me of the person with whom I was arguing about what takes how long on Anki and who was saying that his own judgement of what takes how long is superior to the Anki statistics where I know how the code works and which actually measures the time correctly.  Human imagination is not good at estimating what tasks have how much latency.
I've found that / is still often faster for that. Not always, but often. I still use the mouse sometimes.

I think about ~1year into using vim, I thought the same thing: I’m doing the same thing, just with more quicker steps, so it feels faster. But after that I persisted and now it’s actually faster. Part of it is expanding your repertoire and memorizing it (where you don’t have to think about it at all). Also vim editor by itself I still find very clunky, but using vim shortcuts in something like PyCharm is $$$!

How do you know?

Nice; didn't know about ;

For me it would be: gpt4 would propose a legal next move to all 1000 random chess games.

3Michaël Trazzi2y
Interesting. Apparently GPT-2 could make (up to?) 14 non-invalid moves. Also, this paper mentions a cross-entropy log-loss of 0.7 and make 10% of invalid moves after fine-tuning on 2.8M chess games. So maybe here data is the bottleneck, but assuming it's not, GPT-4's overall loss would be (NGPT−4/NGPT−2)0.076=(175/1.5)2∗0.016≈2x smaller than GPT-2 (cf. Fig1 on parameters), and with the strong assumption of the overall transfering directly to chess loss, and chess invalid move accuracy being inversely proportional to chess loss wins, then it would make 5% of invalid moves

Yeah, I agree with that. But 20% seems within that range for me (especially for very bad crimes). Is 10%? Not sure.

The system as I proposed by design doesn't say "Prosecutors are only allowed to bring charges with at least X%" but works to let an equilibrium play out.  I think this feature is very neat because it's a mechanism that doesn't work through bureaucratic rules and arbitrary cutoffs but through jurors making decisions about what's right in individual cases and the prosecutors learning from the judgements the jurors make. 

I would expect that many juries will automatically throw out a 10% or 20% charges because there will be people on the jury who would argue that the prosecutor thinking that there's only a 20% chance that a charge holds means that there's reasonable doubt against the charge.

So then nobody would assign low likelihood charges? I guess that’s a feature of the proposed system, but it seems like a flaw to me. (Probably minor)

I do think that the legal standard of reasonable doubt means not assigning low likelihood charges. That's how I understand the principle of "reasonable doubt". The feature of this system it that it lets the jurors decide what they think reasonable doubt means and the system doesn't set the meaning for it. 
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