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Omicron Variant Post #2

A few things that were touched on, but I'd like to see further discussion on;

If Omicron is importantly less severe than Delta, does it continue to pose any sort of humanity-wide threat other than the obvious potential overreaction and politicians doing things to seem like they have a handle on the situation? Conditional on Omicron being more vaccine avoidant and less severe, is there any good reason not to simply continue reopening and work on better booster/Paxlovid distribution systems, instead of trying to use mask mandates/lockdowns?

Moreover, how much ... (read more)

6jaspax2moI wished to make a similar point to your #1. If Omicron is both more contagious and less severe than Delta... that seems like a best-case scenario. Rather than being an important worsening of the pandemic, it could effectively end the pandemic by replacing most existing strains with something even less dangerous (and COVID is already not very dangerous). Though even if this is the case, I don't expect our health and government authorities to admit it.
Omicron Variant Post #1: We’re F***ed, It’s Never Over

Until new information comes out which clarifies the infectivity and severity of Omicron, especially against the vaccinated, I'm potentially more worried about outsized and concerning responses to the new variant than I am about Omicron itself. To be clear, this isn't diminishing the potential bad results of Omicron—but in terms of actual infectivity and severity, I don't expect it to be a lot worse than Delta. Vaccine resistance is more concerning, especially considering original antigenic sin.

That being said, my school (and California) has been requiring ... (read more)

3Edward Pascal2moI worry sometimes about burnout effects. What if we do all that and Omikron isn't so bad, but two variants further down the road is 'the one' and no one is willing to do anything about it?

Done! This is a very cool opportunity.

On Raising Awareness

I'm a Davidson YS and have access to the general email list. Is there a somewhat standard intro to EA that I could modify and post there without seeming like I'm proselytizing? 

What would we do if alignment were futile?

There's no way world governments would coordinate around this, especially since it is a) a problem that most people barely understand and b) would completely cut off all human technological progress. No one would support this policy. Hell, even if ridiculously powerful aliens à la God came and told us that we weren't allowed to build AGI on the threat of eternal suffering, I'm not sure world governments would coordinate around this.

If alignment was impossible, we might just be doomed.  

4dkirmani2moYeah. On the off chance that the CIA actually does run the government from the shadows, I really hope some of them lurk on LessWrong.
What would we do if alignment were futile?

Our creator doesn't have a utility function in any meaningful sense of the term. Genes that adapt best for survival and reproduction propagate through the population, but it's competitive. Evolution doesn't have goals, and in fact from the standpoint of individual genes (where evolution works) it is entirely a zero-sum game. 

Covid 11/4: The After Times

Mask mandates for students are ridiculous. Vaccine mandates are significantly more complicated, but honestly, people that are putting others' lives in danger based on misinformation should not be allowed to keep their jobs so they can continue to do so.

3Razied3moDo you think that people's driving license should be revoked after the first time they are caught speeding? Should DUI infractions mean that you automatically get fired from your job? Should convicted violent criminals never be allowed to hold another job? We need to maintain a sense of scale between the crime and the punishment, getting your livelihood taken away for the "crime" of not getting vaccinated is way way too excessive for the current death rate of covid. If you think the current death rate warrants such harsh punishments, what's the death rate where you think the threat of joblessness can be removed?
Covid 11/4: The After Times

Any advice on convincing fully vaccinated family members that we need to stop worrying so much about COVID now? The response I keep getting even after showing them the numbers is that "but COVID keeps changing, there could always be a new variant spreading through the population that is significantly more severe/deadly/evading the vaccines." I'm not an epidemiologist, but that seems like a worry that (with full vaccination) is pretty much on par with "we could have a new pandemic, so we should all mask and constantly take precautions"—especially considerin... (read more)

5tkpwaeub3moRe convincing family to stop worrying - sounds tricky. I know this sounds corny, but try using "I" statements. As for "meaningful differences" between covid and flu - the last remaining meaningful difference is the lack of an antiviral. In a couple months we'll have a choice of two. Feel free to message me if you want to rehearse your convos with your family
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9CraigMichael3moI know I just said this above, but will give some more context. A few months ago I asked a similar question. [] I think the answer is: there is a limit to how transmissible Covid can get. I don’t know that there’s a way to prove that it can’t get worse than Delta, but when I look at [] and consider that Covid has now has been hosted by billions of people, and has had several orders of magnitude more opportunities to replicate and evolve, and as of yet it hasn’t come up with anything much better than Delta.
Covid 10/28: An Unexpected Victory

You're right. I think this is shocking me because it affects so many people I know and generally expect to be more calibrated in their beliefs, and the all-too-common handwaving of "we don't know enough about COVID" is not a free pass to be overcautious. That is, people I expect better from are overestimating the risk of the virus to a similar degree that anti-vaxxers are underestimating the risk of the virus/overestimating the risks of the vaccine, which is genuinely dangerous. Mixed messaging from the CDC and news establishments isn't helping either.

1cistrane3moThere are two types of antivaxxers. Those who had covid and recovered and those who did not. The ones that had covid and recovered do not underestimate the risk of the virus to themselves.
Covid 10/28: An Unexpected Victory

"I reminded her about the delta variant and how it’s caused so many children her age to end up in the ICU. I told her that she only has to wait a few more months until she’s eligible for the vaccine, and this isn’t the time to become complacent."

I genuinely do not understand how it's possible to so fundamentally not comprehend risk. To be clear, from the best of our calculations, the probability of COVID hospitalizations in eleven-year-olds is substantially less than the probability of flu hospitalization. In fact, even contingent on an eleven-year-old get... (read more)

6Zvi3moYou're not preaching, you're noticing you are confused. Which is good. I am not confused here, because the media is running stories about kids ending up in the ICU and most people don't think about base rates, so it's unsurprising that many parents think like this. Also see satanic child abuse cults, or stranger danger, or poisoned Halloween candy, etc etc.
Covid 10/21: Rogan vs. Gupta

Probably really bad, actually.  The first thing that comes to mind here is the hygiene hypothesis—preventing kids from getting low-strength diseases as children when their immune systems are "being trained" to fight it off is likely going to cause issues in the future, and to solve a relatively small problem anyways (not many kids are hospitalized or die from other pathogens, and there isn't any good evidence that the long-term effects of diseases on children cause fitness or intelligence loss in the general population). Not to mention, masks are a ma... (read more)

7James_Miller3moGiven that we are exposed to a lot more pathogens than were 99%+ of humans who have ever existed, the hygiene hypothesis doesn't make theoretical sense. I can accept that if you are going to be exposed to a lot of pathogens as an adult you might be better off being exposed to them as a kid, but it seems that you would be better off if you are never exposed to them.
Quantifying Risk

Yeah, I think that that's a good point about the one-dimensionality of any unit of measure used to assess risk. It might be possible to effectively start measuring in quality-adjusted life minutes or hours, but that quite quickly becomes a massive headache to calculate, even if it's more accurate to the actual impact on people. I think that using a unit like the mortmile is a good way to effectively make back-of-the-envelope calculations to assess the degree of risk and quickly understand just how risky something is, especially when differences are measured in orders of magnitude (as they usually are).

The S&P 500 Will Drop Below 3029 Before July 16 (65 percent confidence)

Where are you getting a billion to 1 odds for the options bet payoff of the S&P going down 30% in the next year? Because if that's true, I'd invest a thousand dollars in that and have a solid chance at becoming a trillionaire.

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1FCCC4moA billion to 1 chance of a 99 percent drop, not a 30 percent drop.
Using Rationality in Mafia

It's somewhat active, but games take a week or so to begin after signups. Player level is definitely variable.

How do you end up assessing which players are easily manipulated, and how do you "pocket" them without other skilled players catching on to what you're doing?

1Leafcraft4moSkilled players catching on to you is irrelevant. That was exactly my problem after I got a bit of experience: I could easily catch evil but no one would believe me. On the other hand if you can "capture" an enemy player you can pretty much brute force the result regardless of other people's actions (unless there are other good manipulators). Also consider that you'll often have to pocket an allied player just to get them to play "correctly", it's not something you necessarily have to do to an enemy. Assessing players becomes relatively easy after some practice, they basically fall into a handful of categories: * Blanks are troll/AFKers, nothing you can do about them * Noobs either will do nothing or play randomly, ignore them early in the game if you're evil (and don't kill them), if you're Town tell them what to do ONCE then ignore them if they won't follow you (if they ignore you the first time you will never convince them anyway) * Logicals are good at understanding what's going on, if they are on your team they will easily cooperate, if you're an enemy they will believe any lie you tell them as long as the lie is compatible with the info they have (and they will act accordingly). * Socials are good at controlling the stage, they are "loud" and successfully demand attention/action, though they are usually bad at deduction. If they are aligned with you talk to them in whispers only and let them control the public (they are usually "arrogant" and won't share control of the public stage); if they aren't on your team it gets diffcult: try pointing a finger at someone and see if they take the bait, bussing can also work in these cases * Quiets are people that lie low, basically pretending to be Blanks/Noobs. They are the most difficult to control, some of them are really really good. When picking someone to control these should be your last choice.
Vax passports - theory and practice

How strongly are anti-vaxxers incentivised to create fake vaccine passports, anyways? There's a certain aspect that you mentioned—accepting the solemnity of the ritual requires that one submits to the rules, that they agree that they need to show a vaccine card to enter restaurants. Anti-vaxxers by and large either fundamentally object to the vaccine and are proud of that fact, or they are still hesitant to get the vaccine because they're scared of it/think they don't need it/it's too much of an inconvenience/whatever else. For the first group, showing a f... (read more)

4cistrane4moYou may underestimate the second group. People who are convinced that the government is mandating poisonous treatment are pretty paranoid to begin with and as many paranoid people, they will attempt to hide and blend in in any way they can manage to avoid the poisonous treatment.
6tkpwaeub4moExcellent point. I'm reminded of this joke: