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Faustian bargains and discounting

The integral of 1/t is log(t), thus hyperbolically discounted constant amount of torture over infinite time is still infinite. Hence your intuition about the Faustian bargain is consistent with hyperbolic discounting (but not with exponential discounting).

The cost of universal cryonics

Going from 100 to 150,000 is not 17 doublings, but log(150000/100)/log(2), about 10.5

Lesswrongers from the German-speaking world, unite!

I live in Berlin and would be potentially willing to travel to Munich (on not-to-short notice). However, during July and August I'm going to be in Spain and unable to come to Munich.

When Intuitions Are Useful

I wonder what is the underlying reason why intuition works better than deliberate reasoning in some cases. Maybe its because in those cases considered judgments rely themselves on other intuitions that are less accurate, for example about the importance of certain evidence. In the basketball case, I can imagine that experts who are asked to deliberate carefully take into account information about injured players, or recent "trends", that turn out to be actually much less important than their intuition tells them.

Nonmagical Powers

I am participating in a just-for-fun soccer prediction game with friends, where one gets awarded points for correctly predicted results or tendencies. In the beginning, I relied on gut feeling and information from soccer news sites like everyone else, and performed pretty badly. After a while, I implemented a simple script that takes quotes from, a prediction market for sports, and calculates the prediction with highest expected points. Since then, I steadily climb the ladder.

Lesswrong Meetup in Barcelona?

I'm going to be in Barcelona from July through September and would be happy to participate in a meetup during that time.

Size of the smallest recursively self-improving AI?

Even a FOOM seed only a few hundred bytes would not necessarily have been produced by evolution - there are 2^800 different possibilities for a 100-byte snippet. Only if there are intermediate steps in increasing complexity and fitness, evolution can find a solution in such a large search space. If the shortest possible seed is completely isolated in the search space, there is no way it can be found, neither by evolution nor by deliberate optimization.

The Heilmeier Questions

I think something like question 9 is very helpful. Even more important than having an a priori success criterion, instead of defining it a posteriori to fit whatever one has accomplished (though in science sometimes redefining success criteria does make sense, because one does never know exactly in advance what can be accomplished), is the mental exercise of coming up with such a criterion. If one isn't even able to do this, that's a very bad sign for the project.

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