Snyder-Beattie, Sandberg, Drexler & Bonsall (2020): The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life Is Rare

The paper lists "intelligence" as a potentially hard step, which is of extra interest for estimating AI timelines. However, I find all the convergent evolution described in section 5 of this paper (or more shortly described in this blogpost) to be pretty convincing evidence that intelligence was quite likely to emerge after our first common ancestor with octopuses ~800 mya; and as far as I can tell, this paper doesn't contradict that.

Snyder-Beattie, Sandberg, Drexler & Bonsall (2020): The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life Is Rare

We're not licensed to ignore it, and in fact such an update should be done. Ignoring that update represents an implicit assumption that our prior over "how habitable are long-lived planets?" is so weak that the update wouldn't have a big effect on our posterior. In other words, if the beliefs "long-lived planets are habitable" and "Z is much bigger than Y" are contradictory, we should decrease our confidence in both; but if we're much more confident in the latter than the former, we mostly decrease the probability mass we place on the former.

Of course, maybe this could flip around if we get overwhelmingly strong evidence that long-lived planets are habitable. And that's the Popperian point of making the prediction: if it's wrong, the theory making the prediction (ie "Z is much bigger than Y") is (to some extent) falsified.

Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong

Very cool, looking forward to using this!

How does this work with the alignmemt forum? It would be amazing if AFers predictions were tracked on AF, and all LWers predictions were tracked in the LW mirror.

Draft report on AI timelines

I implemented the model for 2020 compute requirements in Guesstimate here. It doesn't do anything that the notebook can't do (and it can't do the update against currently affordable compute), but I find the graphical structure very helpful for understanding how it works (especially with arrows turned on in the "View" menu).

Rationalist Town Hall: Pandemic Edition

Whoa, that's surprisingly specific! How do we know it's shorter than 12 months? Do we know many cases of reinfection?

"Scaling Laws for Autoregressive Generative Modeling", Henighan et al 2020 {OA}

In this case, it seems especially important whether the purported irreducible entropy is below human-level performance (in which case sufficiently scaled models would outperform humans, if the scaling laws holds up) or if they're above human-level (in which case the constant loss isn't irreducible at all, but betrays some limits of the models).

Why indoor lighting is hard to get right and how to fix it

Spectrum and intensity that changes continuously throughout the day. There are lamps that do this, and they seem especially pleasant to me for waking up in the morning, but I think this is particularly hard to get right and less important than other things

My current setup uses a single 800 lumen lifx bulb for continuously changing light in the morning and evening, and 24 normal bulbs to get high amounts of light during the day (that automatically turn on/off with a socket timer). I think that captures the main benefits of continuous lights, without needing more than one special bulb.

The Darwin Game

Using newlines to figure out what happens after "payload" is fine, as far as I can tell. Multicore's exploit relies on newlines being used when comparing stuff before the payload.

Stuff like CRLF vs LF is a bit awkward, but can maybe be handled explicitly?

The Darwin Game

Yeah, if we'd seen the issue, I think we could've gotten around it just by not using splitlines, which would've been smoother.

Though of course, this exploit updates me towards thinking that there are other vulnerabilities as well.

The Darwin Game

Damn, good job. We should've gone with my suggestion that the whole payload needed to fit on one line, separated by ; (though maybe this would've caused us to lose so many clique-members out of annoyance that it wouldn't have been worth it).

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