JohnBuridan

JohnBuridan's Comments

Explaining why false ideas spread is more fun than why true ones do

I agree with your point that people frequently seem more interested in the spread of enemy ideas than their own. Only a lazy thinker would hold the opinion that bad ideas because of one cause. I saw a paper just yesterday detailing that advocates of religious terrorism tended to have at least some college. That research only just recently seems to have become mainstream. Why so? The causal mechanisms are not simple for single person.

On the other hand, for looking at a group, that doesn't mean the causal mechanism has to be MORE complicated. It might even be more simple. A single person can come to a belief for complex reasons, but perhaps the same belief can propagate through society for a simpler reason than the reason each individual comes to embracing it, such as, "it's included in every 9th grade textbook" or "it allows one to find a spouse more easily." Maybe this begs the question though? How did the idea get included in every textbook? Why does the idea allow one to find a spouse more easily?

Peter Adamson's History of Philosophy without Any Gaps does not discuss the history of how ideas have spread explicitly, but he does deal with the history of the interaction of major philosophical concepts and schools of thought. Beneath the content of the arguments is the story of the history of education, literacy, and evangelization. You pick up any history of Christianity, and it will still go into detail about how different tactics and strategies for the spread of the Christian idea: domestic proselytization, missionaries offering services to kings, centers of literacy, outreach to poor people, conversions of whole households, military force, etc. In some instances we even have the tactics recorded. The Jesuits sent thousands of letters to their superiors detailing their attempts to spread Christianity among Native Americans in the Great Lakes Region.

The Rationalsphere has not even begun to develop a method or programmatic approach to the spread of rationality.

The unexpected difficulty of comparing AlphaStar to humans

Here to say the same thing. Say I want to discover better strategies in SC2 using AlphaStar, it's extremely important that Alphastar be employing some arbitrarily low human achievable level of athleticism.

I was disappointed when the vs TLO videos came out that TLO thought he was playing against one agent AlphaStar. But in fact he played against five different agents which employed five different strategies, not a single agent which was adjusting and choosing among a broad range of strategies.

Prediction markets for internet points?

For subsidy creation would it work to have a market czar (I mean board of directors) who awards additional points for active participation in questions they are most interested in? I suppose you could also just have a timer which just subsidizes low activity markets to increase their activity, but maybe that would create too many externalities...

Prediction Markets Don't Reveal The Territory

Your points are well-taken. And thanks for pointing out the ambiguity about what problems can be overcome. I will clarify that to something more like "problems like x and y can be overcome by subsidizing markets and ensuring the right incentives are in place for the right types of information to be brought to light."

I had already retitled this section in my doc (much expanded and clarified) 'Do Prediction Markets Help Reveal The Map?' which is a much more exact title, I think.

I am curious about what you mean by create 'a collective map', if you mean achieve localized shared understanding of the world, individual fields of inquiry do it with some success. But if you mean to create collective knowledge broad enough that 95% of people share the same models of reality, you are right, forget it. There's just too much difference among the way communities think.

As for the 14th c. John Buridan, the interesting thing about him is that he refused to join one of the schools and instead remained an Arts Master all his life, specializing in philosophy and the application of logic to resolve endless disputes in different subjects. At the time people were expected to join one the religious orders and become a Doctor of Theology. He carved out a more neutral space away from those disputations and refined the use logic to tackle problems in natural philosophy and psychology.

Prediction Markets Don't Reveal The Territory

Good point. But it is not just a cost problem. My conjecture in the above comment is that conditional markets are more prone to market failure because the structure of conditional questions decreases the pool of people who can participate.

I need more examples of conditional markets in action to figure out what the greatest causes of market failure are for conditional markets.

Planned Power Outages

And yes, our society is woefully unprepared to go more than two hours without power. I really think we should be prepared for five days at all times (not that I am, but just saying). To prepare for such things would be massively expensive and radically change communities if they had to undergo regular stress tests lasting 12 hours or so.

Planned Power Outages

You will be disappointed to learn that the electric companies all around the United States have little incentive to care about their poles leading to residential areas, because those areas use half as much power as industrial customers. So outages of a few hours after every thunderstorm are pretty common in Midwestern cities.

Prediction Markets Don't Reveal The Territory

Very good and helpful! These strategies can make prediction markets *super effective*, however getting a working prediction market on conditional statements increases the difficulty of creating a sufficiently liquid market. There exists a difficult to resolve tension between optimizing for market efficiency and optimizing for "gear discovery."

People who want to use markets do need to be wary of this problem.

Prediction Markets Don't Reveal The Territory

Could you say more? Do you mean a prediction market can be on conditional statements?

[Link] Tools for thought (Matuschak & Nielson)

Yes, digital books offer far greater potential for visualization! Books do not offer a way to play with the inputs and outputs of models, and maybe one day even online academic papers will allow us to play with the data more. I look forward to the day when modeling tools are simple enough to use that even humanities people will have no problem creating them to illustrate a point. Although, Excel really is quite good!

Maybe it's part of their excitement for their own research that Andy claims books are a bad medium for learning.

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