Mark Xu


Training Regime


Coincidences are Improbable

I am using the word "causal" to mean d-connected, which means not d-seperated. I prefer the term "directly causal" to mean A->B or B->A.

In the case of non-effects, the improbable events are "taking Benadryl" and "not reacting after consuming an allergy"

DanielFilan's Shortform Feed

I agree market returns are equal in expectation, but you're exposing. yourself to more risk for the same expected returns in the "I pick stocks" world, so risk-adjusted returns will be lower.

Ways to be more agenty?

I sometimes roleplay as someone role playing as myself, then take the action that I would obviously want to take, e.g. "wow sleeping regularly gives my character +1 INT!" and "using anki every day makes me level up 1% faster!"

Collider bias as a cognitive blindspot?

If X->Z<-Y, then X and Y are independent unless you're conditioning on Z. A relevant TAP might thus be:

  • Trigger: I notice that X and Y seem statistically dependent
  • Action: Ask yourself "what am I conditioning on?". Follow up with "Are any of these factors causally downstream of both X and Y?" Alternatively, you could list salient things causally downstream of either X or Y and check the others.

This TAP unfortunately abstract because "things I'm currently conditioning on" isn't an easy thing to list, but it might help.

Great minds might not think alike

Here are some possibilities:

  • great minds might not think alike
  • untranslated thinking sounds untrustworthy
  • disagreement as a lack of translation
Open & Welcome Thread - December 2020

Transferring money is usually done via ACH bank transfer, which is usually accessed in the "deposit" tab of the "transfers" tab of your investment account.

I'm not sure how to be confident in the investment in general. One simple way is to double-check the ticker symbol, e.g. MSFT for Microsoft, actually corresponds to the company you want. For instance, ZOOM does not correspond to Zoom Technologies, rather ZM is the correct ticker.

Talking to a financial advisor might be helpful. I have been told r/personalfinance is a reasonable source for advice, although I've never checked it out thoroughly.

Defusing AGI Danger

My opposite intuition is suggested by the fact that if you're trying to guess correctly a series of random digits with 80% "1" and 20% "0", then you should always guess "1".

I don't quite know how to model cross-pollination and diminishing sort of returns. I think working on both for the information value is likely going to be very good. It seems hard to imagine a scenario where you're robustly confident that one project is 80% better taking diminishing returns into account without being able to create a 3rd project with the best features of both, but if you're in that scenario I think just spending all your efforts on the 80% project seems correct.

One example is deciding between 2 fundamentally different products your startup could be making. We also supposed that creating an MVP of either product that would provide information would take a really long time. In this situation, if you suspect one of them is 60% likely to be better than the other it would be less useful to spend your time in a 60/40 split rather than building the MVP of the one likely to be better and reevaluating after getting more information.

The version of your claim that I agree with is "In your current epistemic state, you should spend all your time pursuing the 80% project, but the 80% probably isn't that robust, working on a project has diminishing returns, and other projects will give more information value, globally the amount of time you expect to spend on the 80% project is about 80%."

Defusing AGI Danger

I absolutely agree that I'm not arguing for "safety by default".

I don't quite agree that you should split effort between strategies, i.e. it seems likely that if you think 80% disaster by default, you should dedicate 100% of your efforts to that world.

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