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If you’re adding the salt after you turn on the burner then it doesn’t actually add to the heating+cooking time.

To steelman the anti-sex-for-rent case, it could be considered that after the tenant has entered into that arrangement, the tenant could feel pressure to keep having sex with the landlord (even if they would prefer not to and would not at that later point choose to enter the contract) due to the transfer cost of moving to a new home. (Though this also applies to monetary rent, the potential for threatening the boundaries of consent is generally seen as more harmful than threatening the boundaries of one’s budget)

This could also be used as a point of leverage by the landlord to e.g. pressure the tenant to engage in sex acts they would otherwise not want to or else be evicted (unless the contract specifies from the beginning exactly what kind of sex the payment will entail). I think many people would see such actions by the landlord as more of an infringement upon the tenant than e.g. raising the amount of monetary rent (sacredness of sex/consent).

Additionally, this could be seen as a specific manifestation of the modern trend of more general opposition to sexual relationships with a power imbalance between the participants.

(Parenthetically, I also want to thank you for writing this post, as it’s a good expression of a principle I generally agree with)

In terms of similarity between telling the truth and lying, think about how much of a change you would have to make to the mindset of a person at each level to get them to level 1 (truth)

Level 2: they’re already thinking about world models, you just need to get them cooperate with you in seeking the truth rather than trying to manipulate you.

Level 3: you need to get them the idea of words as having some sort of correspondence with the actual world, rather than just as floating tribal signifiers. After doing that, you still have to make sure that they are focusing on the truth of those words, like the level 2 case.

Level 4: the hardest of them all; you need to get them the idea of words having any sort of meaning in the first place, rather than just being certain patterns of mouth movements that one does when it feels like the right time to do so. After doing that, you again still have the whole problem of making sure that they focus on truth instead of manipulation or tribal identity.

For a more detailed treatment of this, see Zvi’s

Re: “best vs better”: claiming that something is the best can be a weaker claim than claiming that it it better than something else. Specifically, if two things are of equal quality (and not surpassed) then both are the best, but neither is better than the other.

Apocryphally, I’ve heard that certain types of goods are regarded by regulatory agencies as being of uniform quality, such that there’s not considered to be an objective basis for claiming that your brand is better than another. However, you can freely claim that yours is the best, as there is similarly no objective basis on which to prove that your product is inferior to another (as would be needed to show that it is not the best).

One other mechanism that would lead to the persistence of e.g. antibiotic resistance would be when the mutation that confers the resistance is not costly (e.g. a mutation which changes the shape of a protein targeted by an antibiotic to a different shape that, while equally functional, is not disrupted by the antibiotic). Note that I don’t actually know whether this mechanism is common in practice.

Thanks for writing this nice article. Also thanks for the “Qualia the Purple” recommendation. I’ve read it now and it really is great.

In the spirit of paying it forward, I can recommend as a nice analysis of themes in PMMM.

It seems like this might be double-counting uncertainty? Normal EV-type decision calculations already (should, at least) account for uncertainty about how our actions affect the future.

Adding explicit time-discounting seems like it would over-adjust in that regard, with the extra adjustment (time) just being an imperfect proxy for the first (uncertainty), when we only really care about the uncertainty to begin with.

Indeed humans are significantly non-aligned. In order for an ASI to be non-catastrophic, it would likely have to be substantially more aligned than humans are. This is probably less-than-impossible due to the fact that the AI can be built from the get-go to be aligned, rather than being a bunch of barely-coherent odds and ends thrown together by natural selection.

Of course, reaching that level of alignedness remains a very hard task, hence the whole AI alignment problem.

I had another thing planned for this week, but turned out I’d already written a version of it back in 2010

What is the post that this is referring to, and what prompted thinking of those particular ideas now?

I see it in a similar light to “would you rather have more or fewer cells in your body?”. If you made me choose I probably would rather have more, but only insofar as having fewer might be associated with certain bad things (e.g. losing a limb).

Correspondingly, I don’t care intrinsically about e.g. how much algae exists except insofar as that amount being too high or low might cause problems in things I actually care about (such as human lives).

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