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Anna: Papa, I have a problem: [explains problem in detail]

Me: Is it a problem you can fix?

Anna: Yes! [Fixes problem]

I need to do a better job of asking myself this question.

An important thing that this analysis leaves out is the uncertainty regarding feedback loops. If e.g. warming causes permafrost to melt and release more greenhouse gasses, there is a possibility of a runaway process that results in catastrophic warming. We don't know how bad the tail risks are, and an analysis that looks at the median case doesn't address that issue.

The deadline to post your blind mode predictions is coming up on the 10th. This weekend is a great time to do them if you haven't yet.

His 80000 interview suggests that he thought the chance of FTX blowing up is something between 1% and 10%. There he gives 50% odds for making more than 50 billion dollars that can be donated to EA causes.

If someone is saying that his action was negative in expectation, do they mean, that Sam Bankman-Fried lied about his expectations? Do they mean that a 10% chance of this happening should have been enough to tilt the expectation to be negative under the ethical assumptions of longtermism that puts most of the utility that's produced in the far future? Are you saying something else?

I wish I had any sort of trustworthy stats about the success rate of things in the reference class of steal from one pool of money in order to cover up losses in another pool of money, in the hope of making (and winning) big bets in the second pool of money to eventually make the first pool of money whole. I would expect the success rate to be very low (I would be extremely surprised if it were as high as 10%, somewhat surprised if it were as high as 1%), but it's also the sort of thing where if you do it successfully, probably nobody finds out.

Do Ponzi schemes ever become solvent again? What about insolvent businesses that are hiding their insolvency?

I think approximately no one audits people's books before accepting money from them. It's one thing to refuse to accept money from a known criminal (or other type of undesirable), but if you insist that the people giving you money prove that they obtained it honestly, then they'll simply give that money to someone else instead.

This is basically a Quirrell moment in real life; a massive proportion of people on LW are deferring their entire worldview to obvious supervillains.

Who are the obvious supervillains that they're deferring their entire worldview to? And who's deferring to them?

If in a job that's important for the war effort, be a stickler for following all rules and official procedures. Escalate decisions so that things don't get done without official input from higher-ups.

The majority rent (I've lived in a few, all of which, including the one I live in now, rented).

I believe the main reasons for this are:

  • People who live in rationalist group houses are disproportionately young and live in expensive areas, which makes it hard to buy a house,
  • There's a lot of variability in how long people live in rationalist group houses, and
  • Figuring out the ownership structure is complicated.

The first point is fairly self-explanatory, but I'll say a bit more about the other two.

There are several sorts of people who choose to live in a rationalist group house:

  1. People who would rather live in a rationalist group house than live alone or just with a partner/family,
  2. People who want to live in a rationalist group house until they find a partner and settle down,
  3. People who thought they wanted to live in a rationalist group house but decided it wasn't for them (often because they find out they're more introverted than they realized or want more control over their living space than a group house offers),
  4. People who can't afford to live alone so they live in a group house, and given that they need to live with other people, they'd prefer rationalists, and
  5. People who are moving to or explicitly temporarily living in a particular city (e.g. to study) who want their housing to come with a rationalist-type social circle,
  6. Partners of rationalists who themselves aren't rationalists, and
  7. People in the rationalist community who can live in a rationalist house more cheaply or more conveniently than somewhere else (often but not always because a room is temporarily vacant).

Most of these kinds of people aren't going to stick around very long. That's fine; the temporary (a few months to a year) residents of the rationalist group houses I've lived in have generally been positive additions to the house, so I wouldn't want to exclude them.

Because most of the people who might want to live in a rationalist house won't be sticking around that long, it doesn't make sense for everyone to own it. Which brings us to the question of some subset of the residents owning the house.

Last year, a friend and I looked into buying a house together to turn into a group house (where we would rent the rooms out to other residents). Things I learned from that process were (I expect this to vary a lot by geography, and I know very little about New Zealand's housing market):

  • It can be hard to find something that matches multiple people's constraints (in terms of price, location, size, features).
  • Co-owning a house with someone (other than a spouse) is legally complicated and requires a good contract and a competent lawyer. Especially if there's also a mortgage involved.
  • Touring houses is a lot of work.
  • Most houses for sale have a lot wrong with them and the permitting process for transforming them to be the way you want is slow and unpredictable.
  • Figuring out whether there'd be sufficient interest in a rationalist group house in a particular location is hard.

There were a couple houses that we came close to want to make an offer on (though we still hadn't figured out the legal issues around co-ownership). Then my friend accepted a job offer in another city, which ended that project.

None of this means you shouldn't buy a house for this purpose under the right circumstances. I think those circumstances are:

  • Someone in the group has the ability to buy such a house.
  • Enough people are interested and have sufficiently legible requirements regarding price, location, size, and amenities.
  • The prospective buyer is ok with the house ending up not being a rationalist group house (and either living in themself not as a group house or turning it into a regular rental property).

There's also an asymmetry between gains and losses, partly due to prospect theory, and partly due to decreasing marginal utility. I bet a lot of people would answer differently if they were asked what they would choose if given the choice between receiving the money vs. going back to the way things were before.

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