Coding day in and out on LessWrong 2.0. You can reach me at habryka@lesswrong.com


Concepts in formal epistemology


Introduction to Reinforcement Learning

Note: There is a broken image in the post: 

Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

I am pretty confused on this, and as I said above, don't put much weight on this study because I also have some sense that the author isn't super trustworthy (though I haven't found any critique of this specific paper). 

Overall, my current sense is that the effect on women in particular is quite strong, and women who choose to have children will reduce their chance of major achievement by at least 40% or so. For men it's probably weaker, and I am a lot less sure what the data says. 

Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

There is also this paper, which aims to show that as soon as great scientists marry, they very quickly stop producing great achievements, but something about it irks me out and I don't currently put a ton of weight on it: 

Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

I found this analysis one of the most useful I have found: https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/64B/6/767/550078


Compared with married parents, childless married couples tend to have slightly more income and about 5% more wealth. Unmarried childless men enjoy no income advantage over unmarried fathers but have 24%–33% more wealth. Compared with older unmarried mothers, unmarried childless women have 12%–31% more income and about 33% more wealth. The strength of these relationships increases as one moves up the distribution of income or wealth.

At the higher levels of wealth, the effects become quite strong. 

And when I looked at random datasets like "what percentage of famous scientists according to this one random collection of biographies of scientists are married?" I found about 27% of them to be unmarried, which is a stark increase from about 15% population average. Traditional marriage here is used as a proxy for having children, partially because I think they have effects via the same mechanisms, and partially because they are heavily correlated.

Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

Yep, in general about 85% of people have kids, with something like half of the people who don't not doing so because they have fertility problems, or other things that tend to classify them as being "involuntarily childless" in a bunch of studies. So the population to study here (people who voluntarily don't have children) have historically only made up something like 7% of the population. So just looking through successful lists of people and seeing that most of them have kids isn't really going to provide a ton of evidence.

Covid 2/25: Holding Pattern

Just to check, do you want us to reimport, or did you do it yourself?

Utility Maximization = Description Length Minimization

Promoted to curated: As Adele says, this feels related to a bunch of the Jeffery-Bolker rotation ideas, which I've referenced many many times since then, but in a way that feels somewhat independent, which makes me more excited about there being some deeper underlying structure here.

I've also had something like this in my mind for a while, but haven't gotten around to formalizing it, and I think I've seen other people make similar arguments in the past, which makes this a valuable clarification and synthesis that I expect to get referenced a bunch.

Apply to Effective Altruism Funds now

Maybe, but really depends on whether you have a good track record or there is some other reason why it seems like a good idea to fund from an altruistic perspective.

Best way to write a bicolor article on Less Wrong?

If you ever want to do anything particularly weird in an article, you can send me plain HTML via the Intercom and I insert it into the post directly (after doing some basic sanitization). This will make the post usually admin-only editable (if you used any HTML features that are admin only), but works well-enough, and I've done this a few times for articles that really wanted to use color (Beth's AI Safety Debate writeup was one that comes to mind here)

The slopes to common sense

(Mod note: I added the image you linked to inline, since this seemed like it would improve the post and was more like what you intended to happen. But let me know if that was an intentional choice, and I am happy to reverse it)

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