Changing my life in 2021, halfway through

I have not, but I'll look into it. I hope it goes well for you!

Big picture of phasic dopamine

Very interesting! I don't know much about the brain but I think this post did a good job of explaining the concept and showing it's importance. I wonder how the brain does this with neuroplasticity.  I've read this article from MIT about researchers rewiring eye inputs to the audio processing parts of the brain. Would the hypothalamus have that hyper-prior on what eye data "looks like" and create loops and systems that could de-code that data and reintegrate it with the undamaged processing systems? Could an AI system just as easily create or re-use existing substructures within it's code? I'm too new to ML learning to know if models can add layers during deployment, or how generalizability could be made within neuro networks past training.   

Is driving worth the risk?

I don't want to die, but I also want to live. The future is inherently uncertain, so if I were to take a decreased quality of life (no more driving) to better my chances of surviving to ASI, I had better have strong intuition that ASI would come. 

I'm short on AI timelines (2035 median, right tailed distribution), but I also drive and take more risky activities on covid because I like being in person with my friends and family. The fact that I don't know what a post singularity world would look like helps me feel comfortable taking these risks, it seems almost anything can happen post singularity good (hopefully) and weird.

My main worry about decreasing my quality of life by not driving / decreasing risk is the alignment problem for AI. I can image a counterfactual world where AI is created but it is not aligned, where if I were to take heavy precautions I would suffer decreased quality of life many years just to die to a rouge agent. 

If I am to take this serious and hyperbolic discount my life I would need to be more assured AI is align-able, and I am too new on my journey into AI to feel comfortable talking about that yet. It may seem myopic to take these risks considering the odds, but everything is uncertain, and I could always die one day before ASI anyway.

I live in a more rural place however, if you live in a big city where walking everywhere is feasible, your calculations for quality of life change.  

AMA: Paul Christiano, alignment researcher

If you believe AGI will be created. What would be the median year you think it will be created at? 

Ex. -2046, 2074, etc. 

Borasko's Shortform

I think I am approaching the end game of video gaming.

 I can scroll through Steam and GoG for hours while seeing nothing that slightly interests me. Every once and a while a great game comes and revolutionizes my experience with video games, but like riding a roller coaster its then hard to go back to the Farris wheel after and feel a rush, all games after are discounted on their novelty. The games that did that for me were the Pathologic "series" and Disco Elysium.  Yesterday was a bit different, I went on a site called and they have a lot of old / almost lost media games. I spent a good couple of hours browsing very old games, downloading them and then trying to get them to work. Most were broken and corrupt. But it was fun.

It wasn't the act of playing the games themselves, most were clunky and hardly working even if they did run, it was mostly finding the hidden games that was fun. I was playing a meta game around video-games. But in all reality it was just novelty seeking behavior, which kind of worries me.

I want to enjoy games and get involved in their stories, like books and movies they are a great medium to explore. Meta gaming ruins that by making it a dopamine seeking outlet only. 

I don't know how to solve this, I am thinking of two possible causes right now. 

1. My threshold for novelty is too high, I've seen so many ideas and visual artistry that for something to seem interesting it really has to differentiate itself.

2. My dopamine receptors are fried, I can't just pick a game due to opportunity cost and I seek a greater hit of dopamine from the other options I have.


This does sadly extend past video games, I'm picky with books, movies, art and videos I consume. It's useful somewhat for avoiding Sturgeons Law but it has it's cost of making me become stuck in ruts sometimes. I think that somewhat ironically having heavy novelty seeking behavior is reducing my opportunity to experience novel things.

I'm putting this here as a  "To Do" for my own thinking, hopefully solving this would help me experience better quality of life. 

Convict Conditioning Book Review

It's brushed over in the book but he believes weights put unnatural stress on the body causing it to deteriorate quicker. Little evidence other than his anecdotal experiences is given for this. It is mostly the assert and move on.

Covid 4/9: Another Vaccine Passport Objection

I work at my county's health department helping with the vaccination process and I can confirm that you are scheduled for two weeks out exactly when your first shot is done.  If you miss that date or have to reschedule you are put on a waiting list for a different date in time,  I don't have access to the list, but I also assume it's scheduled for you again with the hopes things will just work out.

I take inbound calls sometimes and many people are worried if they cancel they won't ever get, or since it's been longer than 2 weeks "something" would happen where they wouldn't get full immunity. If you've been reading these posts for a while I don't think it should be surprising that lay people take the knowledge they are given on the covid issue without question. I think for most cases that's reasonable and tends to work well.

Our department is greatly over worked as well. when we register people in our system we try to put their preferred contact information as email since that is sent out automatically when that person is in the available age / priority group. If they sent their preferred method as call they might not ever get a call telling them they can schedule for appointments since we have very few staff (I haven't met any) who do outbound calls or have the time to do them. This has a major impact in our elderly community as they usually can't figure out technology as well as younger people, and the vaccination registration slots will be filled by the people that can work computers.

I have had many times older people call our vaccination line and wonder why they haven't been called to be scheduled after signing up so long ago, only to see they have been sent an email months ago but nobody could call them to tell them to register. When I was working at the vaccine clinic earlier today one guy wondered in, said he never got a confirmation time since nobody called but it had been two weeks since his first dose, sure enough he was scheduled for today and we got him his second dose.

I'm not high enough to know any more logistics or bottleneck issues other than that, but like most massive projects it's chaotic, with information changing rapidly, and little optimizations and setbacks happening all the time. To leave this post on a hopeful note, if they show up to our clinic and are in an eligible group, if we have shots left to give we get them registered and get them the shot that day. We also push through the spouses of the people there getting vaccinated as well. Most other vaccine workers like me try to push through as many people as we can as painlessly as possible, fighting the grinding wheels of bureaucracy as much as we can.  We understand we are here to vaccinate, not pencil push, little formalities are easily overlooked. I hope it's the same for clinics in other parts of the state's as well. 

Covid 4/1: Vaccine Passports

As far as QR code privacy goes, anybody that has their location checked on in their phone is getting tracked much more than that code could ever do. Although I'm sure they wouldn't mind having the 'vaccinated/non-vacinated' categories. If being vaccinated wasn't already inferable by reading the persons emails / listening to their phone calls.

I really like the idea of privacy. But I just assume after Snowden's leaks everybody is being maximally tracked 24/7. I'm not saying its right, but I have no power to stop it. So when I hear of people's privacy concern issues about being tracked the best I can do is be sympathetically supportive, but I believe it's a lost cause and thus usually pre-factor it in to government proposals.

Politics is way too meta

"But the front-page articles really shouldn't be about the controversy, the buzz, the second-order perceptions and spin and perceptions-of-spin."


I totally agree, but this seems like a business optimization problem. Considering all the different news sources that compete against each other for their consumers very limited time, they have to make it click-baity and scandalous if they want people to pick them over a competitor. I think sometimes when we get really close to an election that the election basically does become a tv show or a sports game. Its the talk of the town, the real consequences of what is happening usually get ignored, and people are just sports fanning it up. So assuming the average person probably likes to get their opinions fed back to them, and that political drama and scandal's becomes the stand in for entertainment. It becomes very hard for the news not to optimize towards overdramatic, not objective level cost / benefit analysis.

To be fair, regular cost/benefit analysis of a politician is pretty boring by all accounts. Find the policies of each, see what ones you agree / don't agree with. Find what the perceived costs and benefits of having that individual in office would be, then vote for them. You know what's not boring? Making conspiracies that your opponent is apart of an elite pedophile cabal trying to keep you down, or that your opponent is secret a puppet for foreign opposition sent to destroy America. That's much much more entertaining, and the lack of news about could even support your claims! I worry about how much people's need for escapism and bias for their side in politics fuels the rise of heavy skewed meta news as well.

Considering I agree with your post, and that there is a real chicken or the egg problem to current political reporting,  a good next step now for people politically inclined would probably be to think about the ways to better change election reporting news on the margin so that it eventually becomes more objective.

Borasko's Shortform

That's a good idea, I'll try that.

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