Lukas_Gloor

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Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

I'm also curious if Oliver or Anna think there's a difference between EA longtermist endeavors vs. the reference class you've drawn from ("scoring very highly on broadly accepted metrics of success"), and if so, how that difference manifests itself for having children. 

How Should We Respond to Cade Metz?

Good points. "How should we respond" is also a strange framing IMO because it unquestioningly assumes that there's a need to coordinate as a community (on Lesswrong of all places, which isn't even a Scott-themed reddit or the commenters on his blog). Personally I think any coordination around this sort of thing is pretty weird and people should just do what they think they should do (and maybe that includes some person writing a personal post on why they want to boycot the newspaper, in the hope to inspire some others, etc.). 

Covid 2/11: As Expected

The fact that the leaderboard has someone with a billion points, because they have been participating for years, is kind-of irrelevant, and misleading.


There are many leaderboards, including ones that only consider questions that opened recently. Or tournaments with a distinct start and end date. 
 

(And this would do a far better job aligning incentives on questions than the current leaderboard system, since for a leaderboard system, proper scoring rules for points are not actually incentive compatible.)


This is true, but you can create leaderboards that minimize the incentive to use variance-increasing strategies (or variance-decreasing ones if you're in the lead). (Basically just include a lot of questions so that variance-increasing strategies will most likely backfire, and then have gradually increasing payouts for better rankings.) 

I agree that what you describe sounds ideal, and maybe it makes sense for Metaculists to think of the points in that way. For making it a reality, I worry that it would cost a lot. (And you'd need a solution against the problem that everyone who wants a few extra dollars could create an account to predict the community median on every question to get some fraction of the total prize pool for just that.)

Covid 2/11: As Expected

Yes, but it doesn't take much time to just predict the community median when you don't have a clue about a question and don't want to take the time for getting into it. However, as another commenter points out, this means that Metaculus is rewarding a combination of time put in + prediction skills, rather than just prediction skills. 

Covid 2/11: As Expected

Metaculus points are not money, so positive points on a question doesn't mean you're a top predictor. However, they aren't meaningless either. It's about winning MORE points than the competition to win on the leaderboards. The incentive system is good for that (though there are some minor issues with variance-increasing strategies or questions with asymmetrical resolution timelines). 

What if we all just stayed at home and didn’t get covid for two weeks?

Building infrastructure and setting up preparations for doing this throughly could be an interesting safeguard against future pandemics worse than Covid. But I think there's a big problem with continuing to run hospitals and care-taking facilities, and care-taking in general. 

What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

I'm similar and haven't found anything that works well. Reading how most EAs talk about their self-improvement "life hacks" always makes me think "fuck you, lol." I constantly alternate between periods where I'm trying lots of good routines at once and I'm somewhat productive and periods where things fell apart and I'm unproductive. In my experience, most of the leverage to be gained is by trying  to reduce the difference between these two states by not punishing myself for falling off the wave, i.e. getting right back into the attempts after a bad day or five. And if I'm on the wave I try to be extra cautious about avoiding things that could derail me.

I took time off from work late last year for personal reasons and used the opportunity to start some deeper-reaching attempts at mindset improvement based on CBT, visualizing my ideal day, and so on. I'm about to start schema therapy. Ideally I'd do the exercises daily but that's already challenging for obvious reasons. I haven't noticed any productivity improvements so far but I'm at least feeling better about myself.

Morality as "Coordination", vs "Do-Gooding"

I agree. I think of myself as a utilitarian in the same subjective sense that I think of myself as (kind of) identifying with voting Democrats (not that I'm a US citizen). I disagree with Republican values, but it wouldn't even occur to me to poison a Republican neighbor's tea so they can't go voting. Sure, there's a sense in which one could interpret "Democrat values" fanatically, so they might imply that I prefer worlds where the neighbor doesn't vote, where then we're tempted to wonder whether ends do justify the means in certain situations. But thinking like that seems like a category error if the sense in which I consider myself a Democrat is just one part of my larger political views, where I also think of things in terms of respecting the political process. So, it's the same with morality and my negative utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is my altruism-inspired life goal, the reason I get up in the morning, the thing I'd vote for and put efforts towards. But it's not what I think is the universal law for everyone. Contractualism is how I deal with the fact that other people have life goals different from mine. Nowadays, whenever I see discussions like "Is classical utilitarianism right or is it negative utilitarianism after all?" – I cringe. 

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

So the emerging wisdom is that the SA variant is less contagious, or are you just using 20% as an example? The fact that SA is currently at the height of summer, and that they went from "things largely under control" to "more hospitalizations and deaths than the 1st wave in their winter" in a short amount of time, makes me suspect that the SA variant is at least as contagious as the UK variant. (I'm largely ignoring politicians bickering at each other over this, and of course if there's already been research on this question then I'll immediately quit speculating!) 

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

It could be the time lag from when antibody-based plasma therapy (if that makes sense, I'm not even sure that's how it works) started to be used somewhat widely, plus the time it takes for a new variant to spread enough to get noticed. 

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