math_viking

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# Wiki Contributions

P: 0 <= P <= 1

So then the probability you assign to their ability to actually affect that change can be assigned a correspondingly small, nonzero number, even if you don't want to assign 0 probability.

P: 0 <= P <= 1

I think this version of Pascal's mugging could be rejected if you think that "infinite negative utility" is not a phrase that means anything, without appealing to probability of 0.

However, I still accept 0 and 1 as valid probabilities, because that is how probability is defined in the mathematical structures and proofs that underpin all of the probability theory we use, and as far as I know no other foundation of probability (up to isophorism)has been rigorously defined and explored.

The fact that measure#measure_space) is nonnegative, instead of positive, is a relevant fact and if you're going to claim 0 and 1 are not probabilities, you had better be ready to re-define all of the relevant terms and re-derive all of the relevant results in probability theory in this new framework. Since no such exposition exists, you should feel free to treat any claims that 0 and 1 are not probabilities as, at best, speculation.

Now, I know those of you who have read Eliezer's post are about to go "But wait! What about Cox's Theorem! Doesn't that imply that odds have to be finite?" No, it does no such thing. If you look at the Wikipedia article on Cox's Theorem, you will see that probability must be represented by real numbers, and that this is an assumption, rather than a result. In other words, any "way of representing uncertainties" must map them to real numbers in order for Cox's Theorem to apply, and so Cox's Theorem only applies to odds or log odds if you assume that odds and log odds are finite to begin with. Obviously, this is circular reasoning, and no more of an argument than simply asserting that probability must be in (0,1) and stopping there.

Moreover, if you look down the page, you will see that the article explicitly states that one of Cox's results is that probability is in... wait for it... [0,1].

What's up with Arbital?

I'll take a look, thanks!

Either way is fine with me, but if you can express in any way what you think "average" is for some of these skills, I would like to know because now I'm really curious.

Thanks for taking so much time to keep responding to a fairly random commenter!

What statement, specifically, would we be betting on? It's certainly plausible that I'm underestimating the difficulty in getting an entire group to above these standards in comparison to getting one person. Though, I think the main issue may be a difference in what we perceive as average, rather than a model of how hard learning these skills is.

. And while competence does tend to cluster (e.g. "G"), so the picture's not quite as bleak as the second half of this sentence, once you've got a dozen different domains and shooting to be above the 50% mark in all of them, you're looking at a person who's approximating one in four thousand,

I don't think these skills are anywhere near independent. It's also not obvious that they're normally distributed. And, being above the 50% mark in a dozen skills by coincidence being unlikely does not at all tell you how hard it is to gain skills if you put in some deliberate work.

I generally am sympathetic to the argument that stuff can be harder than one assumes, but I also am generally cynical about the "average" level of most of these skills. Most people probably don't even know what "calibration" means precisely enough to test their own level of calibration. I'm not trying to be arrogant here, I pretty much have only heard about the idea of writing down your confidence level of a bunch of predictions and seeing what comes true from the rationalist community and rationalist-adjacent ones.

For the sake of avoiding this issue, and because rather than using terms like "above-average," I would attempt to pin down ahead of time requirements that are as specific as possible to measure progress in each of the areas you care about.

For instance, you note that many of these skills require only a few weeks, but I don't know if you added up all of those weeks, compared them to the time commitment, and noted that they're all being practiced off-hours and people have their own jobs and lives as well.

I don't think it should take a few weeks each to exceed average in most of these skills. I expect it to take a few weeks total (or 1 day a week for a few months).

Your original comment, though harsh, at least contained some useful insights. Don't ruin that by posting comments that are nothing more than 6 lines of insults that no one wants to read.

I do somewhat agree with your objections to the list of specific skills attained after a year. I had hoped that the large word DRAFT at the top, plus the repeated statements that the whole plan was to iterate, and that I didn't expect to be able to figure out the right stuff on the first try, would've clued you in to the fact that I, too, am aware that the list is inadequate. Do you have specific suggestions for replacements? Keep in mind, the hard problem is to balance things-that-will-be-generally-useful-for-a-medium-sized-group-of-people against the fact that everyone involved has their own specific career and expertise already. Part of the impetus here is social, part of it is becoming well-rounded, part of it is practicing the skill of gaining/improving skills, and all of that is trying to avoid skating into trivial irrelevancy. Got any ideas?

I'm not the originator of this thread, but that part did resonate with me. I don't think there's anything wrong with those skills, but the combination of choice of skills and the desired level of competency does seem to be decidedly mediocre given the effort and people involved.

1) Above-average physical capacity

What is average? In the US, you could probably be somewhat overweight with no strength, speed, endurance, or agility to speak of and still be "above average."

(2) Above-average introspection

I would expect almost all of the people who volunteer to be part of a rationalist group house to be there or pretty close to there already.

(3) Above-average planning & execution skill (4) Above-average communication/facilitation skill (5) Above-average calibration/debiasing/rationality knowledge

I think my previous comment applies here as well. Perhaps you have a different conception of "average" than I do, but I think if you're going to establish a long-term mini-dictatorship of a group house, you should be aiming for quite a bit higher than "above average."

(6) Above-average scientific lab skill/ability to theorize and rigorously investigate claims

I don't really understand this one. Is your group house actually going to have the ability to practice conducting laboratory experiments? That's a very high overhead endeavor.

(7) Average problem-solving/debugging skill (8) Average public speaking skill (9) Average leadership/coordination skill (10) Average teaching and tutoring skill

Average? Your goals are to reach average, after a year of dedicated effort? Getting into the 80th percentile of anything numbered 1-10 on this list should require a minimum of effort on the part of dedicated individuals following strict rules, unless you have some specific medical condition interfering.

(11) Fundamentals of first aid & survival

How fundamental is fundamental? This also shouldn't take very long if you are willing to put in the effort and practice a bit (2 weeks, at the outside, though you could the true basics in a long weekend). I don't know how it's related to the rest of the goals, though, or why it's important enough to be on the rest of the list. Also, you should practice many of these skills in the actual wilderness, which means time away from everything else.

(12) Fundamentals of financial management

Again, I'm not sure what's "fundamental." You could spend 2 days on this, or the entire year.

(13) At least one of: fundamentals of programming, graphic design, writing, A/V/animation, or similar (employable mental skill) (14) At least one of: fundamentals of woodworking, electrical engineering, welding, plumbing, or similar (employable trade skill)

Do you have the ability to teach/practice trade skills at the house? I would expect leaning any of these things, to an employable level, within a year, would require spending time similar to a full-time job somewhere that has infrastructure, in addition to a significant investment of money (at least a few thousand dollars). (I checked some local welding and plumbing classes at community colleges, which is where I'm getting those numbers).

Someone who already has one of these skills (I'm guess you'll have a few coders at least) is going to be at a tremendous advantage in terms of time and possibly money compared to someone who is not. 13 and 14 are going to each represent a greater time investment than the others combined, unless you already have them.

As a meta note, I think that people who cower behind anonymity don't deserve to make concrete claims about their skill sets without backing them up, so until further notice and on a policy level, I'm treating your claim that you meet 11 out of 14 criteria as a flat-out lie (despite its plausibility overall). You're currently nothing and nobody and have no skills; that will change as soon as you a) reveal yourself or b) demonstrate credibility under this pseudonym.

I don't know if you care, but I would say I already meet a similar number of these criteria. The only one I definitely don't meet is 14. I'm willing to tie this account to my real name and explain/prove why I meet them (though some of them would be quite difficult to really prove, I could only argue).

What's up with Arbital?

I rather forgot about this due to being accidentally logged out of this account and not realizing so until later. If I were to try my hand at this, what would be the best place to see what's already been done (without having to click through arbital) and submit my contributions?

What's up with Arbital?

If you're still looking for content, I could be persuaded to start (slowly) working on some set theory/analysis concepts.