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Yeah. I'm pretty sure that it's also hinted at that Dragon would not necessarily have humanity's best interests at heart were she allowed to properly mature.

Dragon was a well-intentioned but also well-shackled AI, kept from doing all the good she could do without her bonds and oftentimes forced into doing bad things by her political superiors due to the constraints placed on her by her creator before he died (which were subsequently never removed).

of course, an unfriendly AI, similarly limited, would want to appear to be like Dragon if that helped its cause, so

I'm currently working towards a Master's in Mathematical Data Mining, so I can't apply right now, but this is extremely relevant to both my skillsets and my interests.

Having an algorithm fit a model to some very simple data is not noteworthy either. It's possible that the means by which the "pure mechanical invention" was obtained are interesting, but they are not elaborated on in the slightest.

I'm having difficulty envisioning what problem this solves. Leap years are already defined by a very simple function, and subbing in a cosine for a discrete periodicity adds complexity, does it not?

"The steel ring upon his left pinky finger was yanked off hard enough to scrape skin, taking the Transfigured jewel with it."

I guess we'll see whether Dumbledore knew what he was talking about when he told Harry to carry his father's rock.

That depends -- does it have any other side effects, such as conditioning me against using the skill involved? Deliberate practice is hard, but this machine sounds quite convenient, and some skills that can be extremely useful can be not only inconvenient but also daunting or even dangerous to practice without such a machine.

Introducing a hard mind reset would be a massively negative feature of the vacation, regardless of how I feel about having fun with activities that bring no future benefit.

Depending on how the stats are compiled, the risk of being in an undiagnosed high-risk group is included in the risk for the general population.

If you later are in a situation where you will have greater risk, you can often get the vaccine when that situation arises, and probably won't be any worse off for having waited. Vaccines become less effective as time goes on, so you might have to renew the vaccine when that situation arises anyway.

I am unsure how immune disorders factor into this.

For meningococcal disease, the most volatile risk factor is sleeping in rubbish communal bedding (or living in tropical Africa, or both). In this case, the risk goes from a tenth of a micromort per year up to maybe one micromort per year. Some situations where that might happen may be out of your control, sure. The only plausible non-society-crushing situation I can think of where that might be problematic (i.e. access to the vaccine would decrease) would be if you were to become homeless for lack of money. Feel free to adjust accordingly.

The travel risk is just as you say.

Moreover, which vaccines are worth getting? For example, is it worth getting a meningococcal vaccine if you're not in any of the major risk groups?

Many universities strongly encourage their students to get the meningococcal vaccine (as sleeping in rubbish communal bedding is a risk factor), but for something really rare, even the risk involved in traveling to the clinic to get vaccinated could have more disutility than the protection the vaccine might provide would be worth.

The meningococcal vaccine causes a fever 3% of the time, and a few days of mild to moderate discomfort 60% of the time. If it causes any other problems in healthy people, the CDC hasn't documented it.

Outside of major risk groups, this vaccine decreases your chances of getting meningococcal disease by some low amount, less than one in a million annually. If you get the disease, there's a 10% chance of dying and a further 10% chance of being permanently disabled in some severe way. This is less than a tenth of a micromort.

The bacteria that causes meningoccoal disease is ubiquitous (10% of people are carriers), so other benefits of vaccines, such as herd immunity, would require extreme measures to obtain.

Driving causes about 1.5 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, according to FARS, so this particular vaccine actively averts about as much risk as is involved in driving ten miles a year, which may or may not be worthwhile, but it certainly isn't a low-hanging fruit in terms of risk aversion.

Anyway, let's tally it all up:

Meningococcal vaccine utility:

  • 0.00001% lower individual chance of getting meningococcal disease per year (minus 0.1 micromorts/year = at best a few minutes more of expected healthy lifespan, unless we solve the aging problem)

  • increased herd immunity (negligible due to the nature of this particular disease)

Meningococcal vaccine disutility:

  • mild discomfort

  • 3 to 5% chance of fever

  • whatever risk is involved in traveling to the clinic (could be several minutes less of expected healthy lifespan)

  • whatever time it takes to get the vaccine (a few minutes to over an hour) could be spent doing something else

  • any undocumented risks that the vaccine itself might have (What are these?)

  • risk of physician error (What is this for a simple injection?)

Obviously, a lot of this will vary depending on the vaccine and the disease it's meant to prevent. Some diseases pose higher risk, as do some vaccines. I didn't get all of the standard vaccinations as a child because I was too severely allergic to some of them.

It might be helpful to do this sort of calculation for every available vaccine, but it's a bit tedious. I haven't found anywhere that lists the necessary information in anything resembling a convenient format.

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