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Omicron Variant Post #2

"severe disease" vs. "infected"

Shoulder Advisors 101

"it is a straightforwardly observable fact that, for many people, their shoulder advisors occasionally offer thoughts and insights that the people literally would not have thought of, otherwise."

How can this be observable, let alone straightforwardly?

Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns

Quick question about the NBA snippet- are you saying that someone who has had COVID is certain to be immune at this point? Even from being able to spread it? Or just those confirmed to have antibodies? Or did I misunderstand that segment?

I ask primarily because I've had COVID myself, and have been considering myself likely immune from illness arising from reinfection, but not necessarily from passing the virus on. There don't seem to be many people willing to venture a confident opinion on this, but your implication seems to be that it'd be ridiculous to think that I am able to spread it. Am I misinterpreting you, or is there evidence I'm not aware of?

Sorting Pebbles Into Correct Heaps

Whether or not you were able to suspend disbelief seems irrelevant, as the purpose of the post is not to tell a plausible story. It's to illustrate certain concepts. In fact, if you had been able to suspend your disbelief entirely then the post would have failed, as your attention would have been on the story, rather than the underlying points being made.

Criticising a parable such as this for its implausibility is rather like doing the same for the trolley problem, or the utility monster. I think it misses the point.

Universal Love, Said The Cactus Person

So assuming there is an autobiographical element to this, I'm surprised. As a very clever person who knows a lot about what drugs people should or should not take, do you recommend trying DMT? I had it, without actually looking at the evidence myself, in the 'has permanent negative effects on the mind so never ever do it' category.

Highlights from the Blackmail Debate (Robin Hanson vs Zvi Mowshowitz)

I sort of went the other way from most people, in that while I came in thinking blackmail should be illegal (which I think is true of almost everyone who hasn't really considered it in depth), I immediately was sympathetic to Robin's argument.

But actually, by the end, I was more firmly convinced of the desirability of illegality. Zwi's point about incentives is the most important consideration, I think: the prohibition of the most powerful material incentive to obtain and release information will make the average information release much likelier to be morally motivated, which in turns makes it more likely to be the kind of information release we want. Robin's main contention, that it it's a strange, arbitrarily one-sided sort of a rule, seems comparatively unimportant if it produces better outcomes.

The Presumptuous Philosopher, self-locating information, and Solomonoff induction

I'm no expert on this sort of thing, but if I understood correctly this seems exactly right. The complexity of the expression of each observer case shouldn't differ based on the assigned position of the observer in an imaginary order. They're all observer 1a, 1b, 1c, surely?

Sorting Pebbles Into Correct Heaps

It does remove the flaw, because it's a thought experiment. It doesn't have to be plausible. It merely tests our evaluative judgements and intuitions.

Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization

But for most people, those drivers are not the result of abstracted thought to the point where they could not be satisfied by an artificial child. Most people, it seems to me, just experience the symptoms of the biological imperative, as opposed to any higher-order desire to propagate their genetic material. So I would expect it to be possible to overcome the preference for genuine biological offspring by, for example, designing the artificial replacements to look like the "parents"- especially if that resemblance was actually derived *from* the parent e.g. by scanning their features- thereby satisfying one of the symptoms of the imperative.

Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided

I think you need to read more of the writings here re: scepticism of one's own beliefs

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