An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.

Wiki Contributions



Another issue with greenwashing and safetywashing is that it gives people who earnestly care a false impression that they are meaningfully contributing.

Despite thousands of green initiatives, we're likely to blow way past the 1.5c mark because the far majority of those initiatives failed to address the core causes of climate change. Each plastic-straw ban and reusable diaper gives people an incorrect impression that they are doing something meaningful to improve the climate.

Similarly I worry that many people will convince themselves that they are doing something meaningful to improve AI Safety, but because they failed to address the core issues they end up contributing nothing. I am not saying this as a pure hypothetical, I think this is already happening to a large extent.

I quit a well paying job to become a policy trainee working with AI in the European Parliament because I was optimizing for "do something which looks like contributing to AI safety", with a strenuous at best model of how my work would actually lead to a world which creates safe AI. What horrified me during this was that a majority of people I spoke to in the field of AI policy seemed to be making similar errors as I was.

Many of us justify our work this by pointing out the second-order benefits such as "policy work is field-building", "This policy will help create better norms" or "I'm skilling up / getting myself to a place of influence", and while these second order effects are real and important, we should be very sceptical of interventions whose first-order effects aren't promising.

I apologize that this became a bit of a rant about AI Policy, but I have been annoyed with myself for making such basic errors and this post helped me put a word on what I was doing.

"A Generalist Agent": New DeepMind Publication

The primary question on my mind is something like this:

How much retraining is needed for Gato to learn a new task? Given a task, such as "Stack objects and compose a relevant poem" which combines skills it has already learned, yet is a fundamentally different task, does it quickly learn how to perform well at it?

If not, then it seems Deepmind 'merely' managed to get a single agent to do a bunch of tasks we were previously only able to do with multiple agents. If it is also quicker at learning new tasks in similar domains, than an agent trained solely to do it, then it seems like a big step towards general intelligence.

Getting GPT-3 to predict Metaculus questions

Hi Niplav, happy to hear you think that.

I just uploaded the pkl files that include the pandas dataframes for the metaculus questions and GPT's completions for the best performing prompt to github. Let me know if you need anything else :)

Beyond micromarriages

I think wife rolls of the tongue uniquely well here due to 'wife' rhyming with 'life', creating the pun. Outside of that I don't buy it. In Denmark, wife-jokes are common despite wife being a two syllable word (kone) and husband-jokes are rare despite husband being a one syllable word (mand).

My model of why we see this has much more to do with gender norms and normalised misogyny than with catchiness of the words.

Beyond micromarriages

Good point, though I would prefer we name it Quality Adjusted Spouse Years :)

5x5 Go Board

Fantastic to see this wonderful game be passed onto a new generation!

Political Office for Beginners?

I can't speak specifically about American politics, but I work for the equivalent of the democrats in the European Parliament and participate actively in municipal politics, which probably carries some resemblance.

The biggest barrier you have to overcome is getting your political party to agree you would be the best person to represent them in office. Join the political party you feel most closely aligned with and start showing up for its local events. You'll be surprised at the influence you can have on local politics just by showing up.

Your most difficult task is to convince your fellow party members to put their trust and weight behind you. Why should I support you? I need to instinctively feel that you'll represent my interests and keep me safe, before I'm spending a minute volunteering for your campaign.

If you can do this, you'll be able to figure out the rest as you go along.

What would you like from How valuable would it be to you?

My analysis was from no exercise to regular high intensity exercise. There's probably an 80/20 in between, but I did not look into it.

What would you like from How valuable would it be to you?

For what it's worth hastily made a spreadsheet and found that regular heavy exercise was by far the largest improvement I could make to my life expectancy. Everything else paled in comparison. That said I only evaluated interventions that were relevant to me. If you smoke, I imagine quitting would score high as well.

Politics is way too meta

For me, this perfectly hits the nail on the head.

This is a somewhat weird question, but like, how do I do that?

I've noticed multiple communities fall into the meta-trap, and even when members notice it can be difficult to escape. While the solution is simply to "stop being meta", that is much harder said than done.

When I noticed this happening in a community I am central in organizing I pushed back by bringing my own focus to output instead of process hoping others would follow suit. This has worked somewhat and we're definitely on a better track. I wonder what dynamics lead to this 'death by meta' syndrome, and if there is a cure.

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