Wiki Contributions


Could you explain what made you change your mind and update back to zero? It's nice to write down your beliefs but it would be much more helpful for the rest of us if you could share what information actually helped you update. 

Thank you for the kind words. I do think that the probability is too low, especially given the new revelations, but I believe that this is also due to the choice of wording. The "alien technology has visited our solar system" part smuggles in a few assumptions which "uncorrelate" the question a bit from the recent evidence. To clarify:

The "alien technology" part makes this refer to extraterrestrials and the "solar system" part seems to indicate that said extraterrestrials originate from outside our solar system.  So the question alludes to the  category of cases where "aliens advanced enough to cross interstellar distances come all the way here only to crash on our planet and to fail at observing us without being noticed" which, as Eliezer notes, does have strong arguments against it. So, I do think it should be higher, but imo the (hypothetical) question that would warrant the largest jump in probability after the publication of the UAP disclosure act, would be something along the lines of "Will this current UAP situation turn out to have an ontologically-shocking explanation?". 

You are right in saying that the UAP topic has been discussed on Lesswrong. I acknowledge this in the introduction of my post. Could you indicate which post you want me to find by "using the search function"?

I also think it is unfair to say that nothing in my post is worth updating over. Has there been any other document where serious politicians so strongly signal towards a connection of UAPs and non-human intelligence?

Thank you for taking the time to clarify! With this new info I think I can now give a stronger outline of my argument.  

First, let me say that I do agree to a high degree with what Eliezer is saying in his tweet. Based on this, I can see why your prior for specifically "Aliens with visible craft" is so low. However, I strongly believe that his argument is focusing too much on a specific case, namely of "extraterrestrials with advanced technology coming from far far away", which is why I also think he is overconfident in his bet. My point is similar to what you are saying about the breadth of Something Else but this time applied to your priors. Notice that I have been trying to refer to non-human intelligence and not aliens, exactly because I believe we have to be careful with our assumptions. For example, I could argue that what we are observing are malfunctioning Von Neumann probes from a long-extinct civilization, or glitches in the simulation, or aliens that are not actually super advanced, they just happened to invent warp drives early in their development and are now clumsily trying to observe other civilizations. I could even go as far as to suggest that our reality is created by our collective consciousness and UAPs are observed because some of us believe in them. I am not saying all this because I believe one such option is true, I am just trying to illustrate that in such topics, our priors should be selected carefully because there are many options that we could argue as likely using rhetorical arguments. Now my reading of what Eliezer is doing is that he is taking the most probable "incredible" explanation, namely "aliens with visible craft" and then he is giving strong counterarguments. However, the unspoken assumption is that this "most probable" explanation stems from our current ontology. If this ontology is wrong, for example, if consciousness is the fundamental substrate of our reality, then all these assumptions go out the window. What I am trying to say with all this is that, when we are trying to reason about events that would challenge our ontology if they were true and especially when there is credible evidence for such events, it is a bit of a shaky move to choose priors based on our current ontology and to hold on to them too strongly. 

Another way to say this is that if you notice some evidence A,B, C and P(A|non-human intelligence (NHI)) is high, P(B|NHI) is high, P(C|NHI) is high but in the end you get that the probability of NHI given A,B and C is really low because your prior for P(NHI) is absurdly low, then maybe your choice of prior should be reconsidered. This is the crux of my disagreement. Because it seems to me that the community is doing the opposite, in that a low prior is used to subconsciously dismiss evidence which I believe to be strong and which, if considered carefully by itself, would indicate that maybe said priors should be reconsidered.

I would argue that two pieces of strong evidence exist in the current situation:

  • The stronger one is the (imo highly) probable existence of high quality evidence of objects displaying the behaviours given in the definition of UAP, namely "instantaneous acceleration without apparent inertia","transmedium travel", "hypersonic velocity without sonic booms" etc. I am quite confident that this evidence would take the form of recordings on various types of sensors, say radar, optical / infrared video and possibly human testimony. I am fairly certain that such footage exists because:
    • The existence of multisensor data is confirmed for approximately 60% of unidentified aerial phenomena as mentioned in the 2021 UAP report. While this is not about objects with confirmed anomalous behaviour, I think this indicates that the US has the capabilities to track unknown objects with multiple sensors and this should extend to anomalous objects.
    • The wording of the definitions in the UAP disclosure act is extremely specific and care is taken to define UAPs as positively anomalous as opposed to "temporarily non-attributed"
    • Section 2 (4) of the same document  explicitly says that credible evidence exists for the existence of UAP records (with the explicitly anomalous definition) .
    • Rubio and Schumer are in the Gang of Eight. The fact that they are sponsoring a document with such strong language makes me believe that they have seen clear footage, as this would make them confident enough to move forward with the UAP disclosure act.
    • Obama says so (To be fair, we should also take into account the previous statement about not having aliens in labs)
    • The Nimitz encounter (This is a video by Lemmino describing the whole incident. The summary version is that the encounter(s), if the witnesses are to be believed, have been captured in radar, infrared and directly seen by the pilots. The Nimitz encounter was described as unresolved during the  2022 UAP Hearing (see page 48))
    • Cases where UAPs exhibit exactly such behaviour exist in the unresolved incidents from Project Blue Book (see Lemmino link in main text)
    • Of the above, I think the first four are the strongest arguments for the existence of such data. Now, if such clear, multisensor data showing clearly anomalous behaviour does exist, then I think this is a strong indication that either a foreign government has made a technology breakthrough or that something even weirder is going on. 
      • Again, the focus of the UAP disclosure act is clearly not on foreign countries. Also, if foreign governments had such technologies, I would expect they would be using it already.
  • The second one is the existence of the UAP Disclosure Act and the extraordinary wording encountered therein. The document is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of high ranking politicians. Additionally, Rubio alludes to there being multiple witnesses with high clearances. I admit that the whistleblower parts are shaky evidence for me too. But the existence of the amendment is imo a strong signal of something going on.

What you are saying about your prior for  "Actually non-human intelligence (NHI)" being tiny closely agrees with what I said about the community being too certain in its ontology. You have to keep in mind that your choice of prior by default assumes that your ontology is not wrong.  While I agree at surface level with Eliezer's statements, I think this kind of reasoning is used to reject otherwise strong evidence before even thinking about it enough to realize it is strong evidence. 

Having a look at your link, I see you give 3% to the probability that serious politicians would propose the UAP disclosure act if NHI did actually exist. I'm really puzzled by this. Could you explain why, in a world where NHI exists, you wouldn't expect politicians to pass a law disclosing information about it at some point? Do you expect that they would keep it a secret indefinitely or is it something else?

The examples you give sound to me like curiosity-stoppers and I don't find them convincing. Not to say that the reason politicians sponsor this amendment is definitely NHI and not something else, but it seems to me that you are handwaving away a strong signal of something going on. For example:

  • Can you give a gears level example of how a credibility cascade could reasonably lead to this situation we are observing? This term sounds reasonable initially but with a bit more thinking it doesn't seem to explain much.
  • You mention sensor illusions. Does this mean that you disagree with what I say in the main text that it is highly probable that they have clear footage from multiple sensors? Additionally, the amendment goes to great lengths to separate the definition of UAPs from "temporarily non-attributed objects". If you look at these definitions it seems quite clear that UAP means positive evidence that the object is there and it is behaving weirdly and that it is not a sensor illusion.
  • Prosaic human tech is explicitly ruled out in the definition of "temporarily non-attributed objects". As I mention in the text, I don't know if this extends to "physics-defying" human tech, but again the definitions go to great lengths to rule out standard human tech.  If you are referring to unconventional human tech that can explain the five observables such as instantaneous acceleration, transmedium travel etc etc, why wouldn't the US's adversaries use these technologies? Arguably both Russia and China have pressing geopolitical goals that could be much easier to achieve with such technologies.
  • Again the causing confusion and noise point is also covered in the post.


Your comment is an example of what I said initially, that because your prior is ultra-low, you don't  notice confusion and you handwave away the evidence. Again, this is not to say that aliens are here, but at least that this topic warrants more serious discussion.

Maybe I'm naïve, but this lack of engagement has been extremely disappointing. I expected that an official document,  which is sponsored by such high-profile politicians and which explicitly and non-dismissively refers to "non-human intelligence", crash retrievals / reverse engineering  programs and "biological evidence of living or deceased non-human intelligence", would at least generate lively discussion.

It now seems to me that the community is so certain in its ontology that it literally ignores any evidence that goes against the rationalist conception of the world, at least with regard to this topic. My model of what is happening is that people may see the title, think that there is nothing surprising that could possibly be included in the post and they do not even bother reading the (admittedly long) TL;DR. In hindsight maybe I should have made the title and the first few lines of the TL;DR more "flashy".

I thought it was worth taking the time to dig deep into this document as I haven't seen it mentioned here at all, despite it being one-week old at this point. No matter your beliefs on UAPs, I think the contents of this document should be an important part of the equation.