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More "Stupid" Questions

I was confused about Solomonoff induction a while ago. Since code from any part of whatever program is running could produce whatever string is observed, why would shorter programs be more likely to have produced the observed string? My understanding of the answer I received was that, since the Turing machine would produce its output linearly starting from the beginning of the program, a program with extra code before the piece that produced the observed string would have produced a different string. This made sense at the time, but since then I've thought of a variant of the problem involving not knowing the full length of the string, and I don't think that answer addresses it.

Since the code that produces the string can be arbitrarily long, and when trying to apply the principles of Solomonoff induction as a general means of induction outside of computer science we often can't observe the full string that whatever the code producing our observed string may have produced (for example, trying to find laws of physics, or the source of some event that happened in an uncontained / low-surveillance environment), why is a shorter program more likely? The program's length could be a billion times that of the shortest program to produce the string and be producing a ton of unobserved effects. I could wave my hands, say something about Occam's razor, and move on, but I thought Solomonoff induction was supposed to explain Occam's razor.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

I'd wondered why no one used a time-turner the moment they knew a troll was loose. Even if Dumbledore had already used up his hours, another professor could've used some form of priority magical communication to call for aurors to travel six hours into the past, swiftly prepare to deal with a Hogwarts-attacking troll, and teleport to the site. Then I realized that Quirrell could prevent all attempts to stop the troll using time travel by exploiting the restriction against information traveling back more than six hours, i.e. by waiting until six hours after he wanted the attack to start, traveling back six hours, and initiating the attack.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

I thought she mostly understood his sentence (though of course she hadn't known about ELIZA beforehand) and owned a few magical items that could talk to a limited extent.

Confused about Solomonoff induction

Augh, right. I'd forgotten that was there.

What useful skills can be learned in three months?

Where are resources for finding an effective, context-appropriate exercise routine?

What useful skills can be learned in three months?

Career interest: Eventually founding an IT startup, as per recommendation by Carl Shulman. Motivation: Making lots of money to donate to effective charities. Background: My dad is a freelance (Windows) computer assembly and repair guy, and I picked up some troubleshooting and upkeep tricks from that, but nothing impressive. I also took a computer science class where I gained some ability in Java.

What useful skills can be learned in three months?

A basic grasp of Java. I felt like there were other skills, but they're unremarkable in the circles in which I'll spend my time--above average vocabulary, general knowledge base, and dedication to studying for my school's environment, and Less Wrong memes.

Utilitarians probably wasting time on recreation

I simply averaged the four numbers on those countries. I'll edit the post to have a weighted average by number of nets distributed. I don't know how to account for disproportionate early deaths in my calculations, since I don't have data on the typical lifespan of, for instance, a Zambian who survives childhood.

Utilitarians probably wasting time on recreation

I refrained from rounding until the end so that if people were following my calculations starting from partway through they would arrive at the same answers. It wasn't really necessary, and now that you mention it it does raise questions about significant digits, so I'll round midway figures for display in the future.

Good point on the life expectancy being given for people currently born. I'll edit the post to use life expectancy figures from ten years ago.

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