All of UtilityMonster's Comments + Replies

I think Anubhav is referring to this lecture. I agree it's a helpful, simpler explanation of  VOI too.

If Omicron really is off in a complete different direction than any of the previous dominant strains, then that is importantly good news. It means that Omicron did not take Alpha, Beta or Delta and then add additional changes to make things worse. Instead, it did different things.

If that’s true, then it means the virus has gotten stuck via hill climbing at various points, and there’s a chance we don’t have to worry as much about Variant A → Variant B → Variant C → Variant D.


Why are the odds higher that a new variant that emerges from the current domi... (read more)

I'd say it's rational to maximize expected utility. The small probability of an enormous success could outweigh the larger probability of a failure that won't ruin your life.

I was paraphrasing. I agree it makes sense to trust people when they're talking about things they seem to know more about. 

I meant to convey that I was evaluating my trust in the rationalist community, not rationality itself. 

And I concluded that the opinions of really successful people is only a minor factor affecting my trust in the rationalist community.

Yeah, "Hot girls excite me!" has been interpreted in ways I didn't intend more often than I expected. I've crossed it out on my about page.

I hadn't thought about your second point before. It's possible you're right. My gut says it could've been boredom and/or loneliness too. I can't remember how I was feeling on that day.

As far as I can remember, I haven't done anything else like searching for the Hungary delegate over the past 4.5 years. And, off the top of my head, I can't think of any other potential unintended consequences of not masturbating. So for now, I don't think it's worth spending more time thinking about it.

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't think the word hot would be interpreted that way. 

I felt that the only lesson I learned was that people I interact with are more politically correct than I realized. And they’ll look for ways to misinterpret a statement I meant literally.


The above passage was my initial reaction to Jane's statement. I meant to express that I realized it was reasonable for someone not to take "Hot girls excite me!" as I find some women attractive over the next few paragraphs. I guess I may not have been clear enough.

Also, I didn't mean to convey I preferred underage or immature women by using the term girls.

And in re... (read more)

I'd think of psychology as a more applied version of neuroscience and the "mind science" I don't think there's a name for.

I think having a theoretical definition helps me. But I agree that I can't precisely measure utility in practice.

But it’s not literally impossible to achieve both goals. And I think there are practical ways to improve total utility and reduce utility inequality at the same time. For example, anything that helps make a sad being happy. 

As I said, I don’t know how I’d make tradeoffs between total utility and utility inequality yet. If I did know, I would want society’s existing utility to be distributed in a Pareto efficient way.

I think there are times I’d prefer calmness to what you describe as happiness or satisfaction. But the calm gives me a positive emotional state. 

Granted, I’ve barely meditated. Maybe you’re using calmness to refer to a feeling that I can’t relate to.

I'm not confident I'm understanding everything again.

I can see how a universe could only exist conceptually. I have trouble imagining how base reality would only exist conceptually. So I'm claiming I'm nearly 100% that there's more of an existence than the concept of base reality. 

My epistemic status is extremely low, but I’ll try my best to answer. I’m saying that there was a being that the general human would describe as alive at some point in base reality. 

I think my answer to “do you mean existence in a more real way than a "deterministic cellular automata universe with rules I just created in my head, but which no one has yet simulated?” is no. 

That’s mostly based on my understanding of the term deterministic. I googled it and got "relating to the philosophical doctrine that all events, including human action, are ult... (read more)

I think we have some miscommunication. My point was that if I think about rules and initial state of some deterministic cellular automata, then all events that will happen in it are predetermined whether or not I program and run it. So it's not obvious that existence of universe it describes depends on whether or not it is actually simulated. Actually, why stop here, it may not even be necessary for someone to think about rules and initial state, why not? I read that Stephen Wolfram thinks something similar, I think.

I was wondering if you had updated your thoughts on how much viral loads matter since your April 2020 post on it. I live in a co-living space of over 60 people with poor ventilation. I'm wondering if that means I should worry about getting covid more than the average healthy 30 year old man.

Also, I wanted to more enthusiastically thank you for your feedback on my fantasy sports poker card game in July.  You saved me a lot of time! I decided not to continue doing it.

Happy I could help. My guess is that viral load does matter, but it's on the lower end of levels of importance I would have considered.