All of M. Y. Zuo's Comments + Replies

So are you planning to convince anyone? 

Because so far this jumble of thoughts seems unlikely to be genuinely convincing, let alone to move folks in Washington to do something.

Can you reformulate your thoughts to be more readable? It's quite hard to make heads or tails out of the points listed. 

I apologize. I think the topic is very large, and inferential distances would best be bridged either by the fortuitous coincidence of us having studied similar things (like two multidisciplinary researchers with similar interests accidentally meeting at a conference), or else I'd have to create a non-trivially structured class full of pre-tests and post-tests and micro-lessons, to get someone from "the hodge-podge of high school math and history and biology and econ and civics and cognitive science and theology and computer science that might be in any random literate person's head... through various claims widely considered true in various fields, up to the active interdisciplinary research area where I know that I am confused as I try to figure out if X or not-X (or variations on X that are better formulated) is actually true". Sprawl of words like this is close to the best I can do with my limited public writing budget :-(

What's a realistic reform plan that will get through both Congress, and the White House, and not get struck down by the Supreme court on the first few dozen challenges?

Obamacare had to be watered down many times from its original vision, and encumbered with millions of words of legalese, so much so that it might even have resulted in a net negative to society depending on perspective, and even then it squeaked through by a very slim margin.

I just don't see much of a chance for anything  more ambitious.

I wrote 1843 words in response, but it was a bad essay.

This is a from-scratch second draft focused on linking the specifics of the FDA to the thing I actually care about, which is the platonic form of the Good, and its manifestation in the actual world.

The problem is that I'm basically an albigenisian, or cathar, or manichian, in that I believe that there is a logically coherent thing called Goodness and that it is mostly not physically realized in our world and our world's history.

Most governments are very far from a "Good shape", and one of the ways that... (read more)

I was responding to the requirement to be literally 'the best'. Ranked number 1 out of 8 billion plus human beings. 

'Expertise' is a similar concept, the point is that they are clearly capable of reliably doing whatever the title implies, and are recognized as such by their peers in that field.

At a lower standard I think it's quite reasonable to assume there are many mathematicians cum guitarists cum computer programmers cum biologists. Of course the vast majority of these only dabble in one area or another, like you said with a small time investment.

However to be literally better than every single one of them would require a lot more time, so I picked 10000 as a nice round number.

Being the world's best mathematician/musician is much easier, especially since there are multiple slots; an amazing mathematician who is also a competent musician, someone who is good at both, and a competent mathematician who is also an amazing musician can all find a niche.

Maybe not quite this easy to be literally the best, number 1 out of 8 billion. 

I could see it however for a mixture of three aspects simultaneously, such as being a competent mathematician, an amazing musician, and a competent marine biologist. 

Or perhaps more realistically a... (read more)

I didn't say it was easy, I said it was easier. Being the world's best mathematician/musician is much easier than being the world's best mathematician. If you haven't yet, check out the prerequisite.  I think it takes a lot less than ten thousand hours to reach competence at most skills, though this might be down to our definitions of competence? That's eight hours a day for three or four years, and it usually makes me think of Gladwell's 10,000 Rule from Outliers which is about achieving expertise.  I think riding a bike took me a weekend to learn so maybe ten to twenty hours, learning to play first person shooter videogames took me a weekend or two so about twenty to thirty hours, I picked up massage over a semester or two of class so about eighty hours of class time? I'm not saying I mastered those subjects that fast. I do think I learned enough to make use of them; you likely only need to practice riding a bike for a weekend or two before you can use it to get around town faster than walking. If you have ten thousand hours of practice as a guitarist, your next fifty hours could go into being better at playing guitar. They could go into being better at audio recording, or setting up a great website for your band, or into being a better teacher for people who don't know guitar yet. If you're an amazing biology researcher with thousands of hours in bio, a week or two of intense study on how to write really good grant applications is probably more useful to you than an additional week or two of intense study in biology. My understanding is mathematicians who also know a little computer programming have options even in math that you don't have if you're a pure mathematician.

I still think I understand just fine along with the several other folks expressing skepticism. To be frank your personal opinions can't outweigh anyone else's here so it really isn't a productive line of discussion. 

EDIT: Maybe try putting forward actual arguments, or addressing the numerous other comments with substantial points?

I was simply noting it causes a dead weight loss in creative output, which has become much worse by extending copyright to effectively eternity.

How do you know the 'dead weight loss in creative output' outweighs the positive effects in the first place?

It doesn't seem obvious at all to me if there are no such arguments put forward.

I noticed, incidentally via a search, this substantial edit of a brief reply to me, that was politely ignored 5 months ago, and how oddly aggressive the edit sounds. 

If your genuinely writing out these comments yourself and not relying on ChatGPT, I'll be kind and clarify why this misses the point. 

Linking a question somewhere else on LW, and it's completely different topic, does not demonstrate anything of my intelligence or your intelligence or 'constitutionality of a law'. It seems bizarre to try to connect things this way.

Plus, even if the li... (read more)

To actually change the real world in this regard, at least in the US,  there will need to be arguments to cross many hurdles, such as to convince a majority of congressmen, and inevitably many judges when it get's challenged.  And probably even beyond since the USG has ratified most of WIPO, which it can't unilaterally change.

Inevitably there will have to be convincing legal arguments or else this won't get far enough for it to practically matter.

If you don't have any right now, maybe try focusing your efforts on coming up with some?

4Gerald Monroe10d
There are lower hanging fruit with greater ROI. Copyright law doesn't protect scientific facts so progress is able to be made, and it probably doesn't protect authors and artists, so data inefficient AI can be trained. I was simply noting it causes a dead weight loss in creative output, which has become much worse by extending copyright to effectively eternity. Almost everyone alive when steamboat willy hit theaters is not.

What's the actual legal argument against copyright holders from being able to block certain uses they dislike?

2Gerald Monroe10d
There isn't one. Copyright owners can block uses unless certain fair use conditions are met. I am claiming this is wrong, others should be able to build on the ideas others have created so long as they share revenue with the first creator, recursively. Ironically fair use, which llms may turn out to fall under, mean the fair user doesn't need to compensate the original owners a dime. The Google books case, the 2nd circuit agreed that copying the full contents of most books ever published was fair use, and providing search engine services where the full text contents of all those books are searched, and small snippets provided to online users, was fair use, and compensation is not required. I am not a copyright lawyer, but the LLM cases seems to have the same elements as Google books case.

They’ll still need to follow their mother country’s constitution, criminal code, and international treaties, but should otherwise be given the freedom to design their own legal code to encourage the growth of new industries

This seems to be a show stopper.

Couldn't the country's Supreme Court just decide anyways one day that the existing 'legal code' apply regardless of what the original intentions of the founders are or what the founding documents say? 

It would need a constitutional amendment to credibly enshrine its special status. But why would a sup... (read more)

Well I think I do?, so just opining another LW user doesn’t understand “probability theory” is not going to lead anywhere productive.

The point of probabilities is to quantify uncertainty, not to wait until you are omnipotent and have all the data needed to reach certainty

If your confused about something in the prior comment, can you specify the exact issue?

Did you misread the comment? Clearly in the real world you will not have such perfect data sources, hence why I wrote “ And we are very far from even that.”

i.e. A practically zero chance in the ideal world turns into a hopeless endeavour, “Sisyphean Task” in the real world. And that’s also while assuming a level of intelligence way beyond you or anyone else.

I don't think you understand probability theory

Isn’t this an implied possibility of having a physical organization handling anything?

Even if it was fully staffed, if the department offices caught on fire you still would have been delayed by this ‘strange ACH corner case’.

So I’m not really sure how it’s a corner case, since there are an infinite number of possible ways the bank’s internal procedures are not completed within that time window.

I would have to agree with the parent, this line of approach, with this kind of calculation attempt is a 'Sisyphean task'. You, along with everyone else on Earth, simply lack the mental capacity to actually accomplish this. Even if you had access to the millions of perfect data sources required.

And we are very far from even that.

Why not try a different approach? 

The whole point of probability theory is to make decisions when you do not have "perfect data sources" Why even talk about probabilistic reasoning if you won't use it until the data is "perfect" and you are omniscient?

Weird things happen in the murky world of human conflicts.

True, but you still need to demonstrate that your suppositions are more credible/reliable/falsifiable/etc... than someone else's suppositions, in this case many someone else's. Which you have not done yet. 

Can you write down something actually rock-solid, (that requires more than a few dozen hours to credibly dismiss)?

Credibly dismiss? What?

It is still true for edge cases like you said--in that case, when there is a severed corpus callous, the model is still there.

Huh? How is the model 'still there' for someone with a severed Corpus callosum?

As far as I'm aware it doesn't grow back within a normal human lifespan...

There just may be systematic overvaluation of what people say instead of what they do, by practically everyone.

For the average person, who is far from producing genuinely original ideas/insights/arguments/etc... Just what they say throughout their entire life might even be worth less, realistically, than a fancy dinner to a random passing reader.

Conversely taking a bit of actual effort in buying said reader a fancy dinner probably more than doubles it, at least in the eyes of the person getting to eat it.

Of course the opposite pretence needs to be maintain... (read more)

It has some other negative side effects, rare for it to be serious, but possible. So it really is just better to 'toughen up' in this case.

"or anyone if they had the equivalent expertise and sensors" includes humans on Earth...

e.g. a lone hunter-gather living in a cave for a long period, coming out to survey the world with the latest tools and then going back into their cave and lifestyle with only the results.

Prediction markets, if they ever become popularized, would practically be redistributing wealth from the below average to the above average. 

So it's a critical disadvantage compared to insurance markets.

But that's also why it sounds so highly appealing.

i.e. Trying to collectively outsmart the bottom sounds like it has better prospects than trying to outsmart the top.

Insurance markets also effectively redistribute wealth from the financially illiterate (people who buy financial products such as endowment life insurance) towards insurance salesmen and owners of the insurance companies. But this pattern-matches "customers buying products from companies", which is a context where it is normal that the money goes from the customers to the companies, so no one objects.

Bingo, the root problem is pretending to have any quasi-judicial structure/authority at all.

People of roughly equal status issuing 'judgements' or 'decisions' on each other really doesn't make sense for that reason, at best you can do so within a private club and its property lines.

A federation of private clubs may decide to do so, very rarely, only for the most serious cases, because as mentioned in the OP there's always the risk of some clubs siding with the accused and then deciding to leave, splitting the federation.

Maybe the situation is complex enough that only actual, bonafide, geniuses need apply. Everyone else will just be adding to the noise.

Sure, but that doesn't matter to the alien observers, or anyone if they had the equivalent expertise and sensors. They can still gleam a super-intelligent equivalent amount of knowledge.

1the gears to ascension2mo
i'm not sure what you're responding to. I don't think I made a claim to which the behavior of aliens would be relevant.

Markets don't need to 'transmit information' at all to the observer, in order to be both useful and intelligent. For example, if aliens, who've never seen a single human or single word of human language, came by and inspected the Earth, left, then came back decades later, the changes physically observable to their sensors and associated derivations, would be.

Maybe not in the sense of an active biological intelligence but certainly in the sense such as 'The pyramids of Giza demonstrates their builder's intelligence'.

2the gears to ascension2mo
but in order to implement a market, information (trade offers and trades) need to be transmitted. that's what I was referring to as an information bottleneck.

So we agree to disagree.

EDIT: I wanted to say it was an interesting discussion to be polite, but the juvenile insults and mud slinging tactics are obvious enough that probably zero passing readers would believe it.

Ie. you are the one just asserting opinions, whereas I made arguments, ...

This is in itself another opinion... Did you genuinely not read my previous comment to the end?

Whether or not they satisfy your own criteria is irrelevant to this point, and just saying it's the truth won't convince the counter-party.

i.e. You need to convince me, not yourself. And the previous opinions are just not convincing, to me, as coherent 'arguments'. Period. 

No amount of futile replies can alter the past, unless you edit the comments, which  would create its own credibility problems. We can agree to disagree and move on.

-1Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
I can't possibly hope to convince you when you are engaging in abysmally bad faith. My purpose is to call you out, because you should not be getting away with this shit. On another note, I did in fact "list out actual arguments", exactly as you said. I can only surmise that they didn't satisfy the "criteria of the counter-party", and for some unguessable (/s) reason, you once again will not give even the slightest indication of what you deem to be insufficient about them. How exactly am I supposed to convince an interlocutor who will not even explain why he is unmoved by the arguments provided? Again, this is insane.

Utterly irrelevant since I never asked anybody to take my opinions as outweighing their own.

Again, I have already presented arguments for my case.


This is your own opinion that's being made to sound as if they are incontestable facts... every comment sounds like this.

My opinion is the opposite and at least equally valid.  So anyone can endlessly negate just by expressing the opposite opinion, hence it's unproductive. You need to list out actual arguments, proofs, analysis, or any falsifiable claims, etc... that satisfy the criteria of the counter... (read more)

-3Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
Since you seem to have completely lost track of what actually happened, I will remind you: * Zack made this post and was met with a barrage of abuse * Some of the abusers were blaming Zack for making a post that random passersby might not care about * I pointed out that the people making this critique had in fact interacted much more with the post than somebody who genuinely wouldn't care * You pointed out that these people had interacted with the post in ways beside the one I just mentioned * I pointed out that this obviously corroborates my point rather than detracting from it * Instead of addressing this obvious point, you just called it incoherent and started delivering a barrage of insults instead of making any actual arguments  Ie. you are the one just asserting opinions, whereas I made arguments, and then pointed out the arguments when you denied their existence, and now you seem to be asserting that your opinion is just as valid as mine, a thinly veiled "that's just your opinion, man", while still ignoring the actual arguments rather than actually addressing them. That is insane. 

It's point is, even if humans are not all bad as of themselves, within the larger societies, there tend to arise strong incentives, for the individual, to act in the disinterest of society.

Yes, but how does that equate to it being a serious issue for someone like the OP, who is not a super-genius and can't work a way out of it?

It's like saying black holes are a serious issue to them because there's the  possibility of a rogue one swallowing up the Earth.

Which in one sense, is true, but seems to be entirely futile because to worry about it is just pounding sand.

Yes most people are not exactly overflowing with virtue, and in fact will more likely than not compete in a race to the bottom if given the motivation, but how does that relate?

You had suggested the issues with free-riding/insufficient contributions to public goods, might not be so much of a problem. The linked post suggests otherwise, as it beautifully highlights some of the horrors that come from these issues. It's point is, even if humans are not all bad as of themselves, within the larger societies, there tend to arise strong incentives, for the individual, to act in the disinterest of society.

Assuming actual bonafide geniuses are 1 in a thousand, that's 8 million of them, most of the rest of the population ~8 billion still get through life seemingly fine.

They're public minded enough to not tear down their own hometowns and neighbourhoods at least.

So it doesn't seem that serious of an issue?

Meditations On Moloc

Given the largeness of the world and the public goods nature of the projects you mention, his own action will only marginally change the probability of a a better structure of society in general. That may still be worth it from a fully altruistic standpoint, but it has asymptotically 0 probability to improve his personal material welfare.

Isn't that true for everything with global scale?

The typical moderately-above-average person, by definition, has a very slim chance of moving the needle, in a positive direction, to any noticeable degree.

Absolutely! That's why we have free-rider problems/insufficient contribution to public goods, all over the world. The thing you can do in society's best interest, is not typically in your own (material) best interest, unless you're a perfect altruist.

Amoebas don't 'feel' 'maternal love' yet they have biological reproduction. 

Somewhere along the way from amoebas to chimpanzees, the observed construct known as 'maternal love' must have developed.

And yet eukaryotes have extensive social coordination at times, see quorum sensing. I maintain that biology is necessary for love.

Well technically since it does take energy and time to move the vocal chords, mouth, tongue, etc..., but it's such a low cost action that even doing something as simple as treating someone to lunch will outweigh it by a hundred fold.

I think what I was thinking of is that words can have arbitrary consequences and be arbitrarily high cost. In the apologising case, making the right social API call might be an action of genuine significance. E.g. it might mean taking the hit on lowering onlookers' opinion of my judgement, where if I'd argued instead that the person I wronged was talking nonsense I might have got away with preserving it. John's post is about how you can gain respect for apologising, but it does have often have costs too, and I think the respect is partly for being willing to pay them.

Like I said, one person's opinions regarding the supposed characteristics of another's comments simply cannot outweigh the opinions of anyone else. Plus I imagine on LW many readers can see through the superficial layer of words.

But if you genuinely want to productively engage, I'll give one final chance:

Can you offer some actual proof or substantive backing, not in edited comments, for at least half of all the stuff written so far?

-4Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
Utterly irrelevant since I never asked anybody to take my opinions as outweighing their own. Again, I have already presented arguments for my case. If you do not consider them sufficiently substantive, then I invite you to tell me what you see as the flaw, or why you deem them insufficient.

I'm getting tired of this back and forth. 

Your opinions regarding all these supposed negative characteristics do not outweigh anyone else's, nor my own, so it seems unproductive. 

I acknowledge my own comments may seem to be low quality or 'bad' in your eyes, but to post even lower quality replies is self-defeating.

Where are your manners?

i.e. My manners in comment writing, even though they may be low quality or detestable in your opinion, are still higher quality than what has been demonstrated so far here:


If the outliers are sufficiently many

... (read more)
-4Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
I didn't. Mine at least contained actual arguments. The text you quoted makes a specific argument that you once again chose to simply insult instead of addressing it. Again, your behaviour speaks for itself. At this point it has become abundantly clear that you are simply a troll, so I will not bother to engage with you henceforth.

You are not even pretending to address the argument at this point, you are merely insulting it and me. I think your latest reply here speaks for itself.


There hasn't been a coherent argument presented yet, hence why I directly pointed out the incoherency... 

Since this is the second deflection in a row, I'll give one more chance to answer the previous direct questions:

Are you confused about this terminology?


i.e. If you think my prior comments were somehow low quality or disparaging Zack in any way whatsoever, then why write something even worse

... (read more)
-4Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
No, you did not, you added a fact that further corroborated the argument, as my reply showed. I have already directly answered the first question: no, I am not confused about the terminology. I have also answered the assumptions implicit in the question and shown why the question was irrelevant. Of course, both that one and the subsequent questions were merely insults disguised as questions, and your accusation that I am deflecting is mere hypocrisy and projection.  Where are your manners?
-2Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
You are not even pretending to address the argument at this point, you are merely insulting it and me. I think your latest reply here speaks for itself.

Typically people show genuine sincerity by their actions, not just by words... 

So focusing on the 'right social API calls' seems a bit tangential.

Words are a type of action, and I guess apologising and then immediately moving on to defending yourself is not the sort of action which signals sincerity.

This seems incoherent considering I already addressed Zack's point, in a direct reply, 3d ago, just one comment chain down, along with several other folks weighing in.

So I'll assume you haven't read them. Here's my other comment reposted here:

They might be interested in information presented in a concise, high signal way. 

The way you've presented it practically guarantees that nearly every passing reader will not.

i.e. The average reader  'might be interested' only to an average degree.

The 'random passing reader' refers to all readers within a few... (read more)

0Cornelius Dybdahl2mo
That incoherence you speak of is precisely what my previous comment pointed out, and it pertains to your argument rather than mine. As my previous comment explained, engaging with a post even just to call it uninteresting undermines any proclamation that you do not care about the post. If your engagement is more substantive than this, then that only further calls into question the need to shame the author for making posts that random passing readers might not care about. Edited to add: If the outliers are sufficiently many to generate this much discussion, and they include such notable community members as Said Achmiz, then the critique that random passing readers might not spend hours on it is clearly asinine, regardless of the exact amount of standard deviations you include. I am not "confused about this terminology", I am just calling out your bad faith engagement.

They might be interested in information presented in a concise, high signal way. 

The way you've presented it practically guarantees that nearly every passing reader will not.

i.e. The average reader  'might be interested' only to an average degree.

This still doesn't seem to address the root issue that Villiam raised, of why should a random passing reader care enough about someone's gender self-perceptions/self-declarations/etc... to actually read such long rambling essays?

Caring about someone's sex maybe, since there's a biological basis that is falsifiable.

But gender is just too wishy washy in comparison for some random passing reader to plausibly care so much and spend hours of their time on this. 

See, this is an example of the bad faith engagement that lies close to the core of this controversy.

People who do not care about a post click away from it. They do not make picket signs about how much they don't care and socially shame the poster for making posts that aren't aimed at random passing readers. Whether a post is aimed at random passing readers is an abysmally poor criterion for evaluating the merits of posts in a forum that is already highly technical and full of posts for specialist audiences, and in point of fact several readers did care enough to spend hours of their time on it.

why should a random passing reader care enough [...] to actually read such long rambling essays?

I mean, they probably shouldn't? When I write a blog post, it's because I selfishly had something I wanted to say. Obviously, I understand that people who think it's boring aren't going to read it! Not everyone needs to read every blog post! That's why we have a karma system, to help people make prioritization decisions about what to read.

if government spooks come to you and ask you to do X and Y because terrorism, and it sounds legit, that's probably a strong coordination mechanism.

There's no way that would apply to the people working at a facility intercepting high end Cisco routers by the truckload and planting backdoors on them, likely mostly bound for large enterprises of certain countries. No credible terrorist groups, or even all of them combined, would order so many thousands of high end routers month after month.

Counterpoint: PRISM, which was a very large, very complex operation dispersed over dozens or hundreds of locales, multiple governments, many private companies, etc., that managed to stay secret for at least a decade.

I wouldn't be surprised if something a bit less ambitious could be hidden for at least half a century.

That is an interesting counterpoint, but there's the fact that things like PRISM can exist in at least something like a pseudo-legal space; if government spooks come to you and ask you to do X and Y because terrorism, and it sounds legit, that's probably a strong coordination mechanism. It still came out eventually. To compare with COVID-19, there probably are forms of more or less convergent behaviours that produce a conspiracy like appearance, but no space for real large conspiracies of that sort I can think of. My most nigh-conspiratorial C19 opinions are that early "masks are useless" recommendations were more of a ploy to protect PPE stocks than genuine advice, and that regardless of its truth, a lab leak was discounted way too quickly and too thoroughly for political reasons. Both these though don't require large active conspiracies, but simply convergent interests and biases across specific groups of people.

The 'message' surprised me since it seems to run counter to the whole point of LW. 

That non-super-geniuses, mostly just moderately above average folks, can participate and have some chance of producing genuinely novel insights, that future people will actually care to remember. Based on the principle of the supposed wisdom of the userbase 'masses' rubbing their ideas together enough times. 

Plus a few just-merely-geniuses shepherding them.

But if this method can't produce any meaningful results in the long term...

OpenAI never advocated for the aforementioned so it isn't as surprising if they adopt the everything hinges on the future ubermensch plan.

2Seth Herd2mo
Maybe. But it wouldn't make sense to judge an approach to a technical problem, alignment, based on what philosophy it was produced with. If we tried that philosophy and it didn't work, that's a reasonable thing to say and advocate for. I don't think Eliezer's reasoning for that conclusion is nearly adequate, and we still have almost no idea how hard alignment is, because the conversation has broken down.

My message to humanity is "back off and augment" not "back off and solve it with a clever theory".

Is there a reason why post-'augmented' individuals would even pay attention to the existing writings/opinions/desires/etc... of anyone, or anything, up to now?

Or is this literally suggesting to leave everything in their future hands?

Yep, this is basically OpenAI's alignment plan, but worse. IMO I'm pretty bullish on that plan, but yes this is pretty clearly already done, and I'm rather surprised by Eliezer's comment here.

Making any accusation whatsoever regarding a real, physical, human being, with a known identity, means that they are bringing 'real physical life into the conversation'. Or at least that's how I read the parent.

In which case they can't credibly expect to be protected from getting counter-accused by someone else. 

So pseudonymous accounts can accuse each other, pseudonymously,  all day long, with an expectation of privacy. But the moment they link a real world identity means that the counter-party(s) can do so too.

Load More