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certain number of heads

Do you mean "certain number of wins"? Number of heads is independent of their guesses, and number of correctly-guessed heads is asking a different question than the original experiment

I was going to say that this week marks the end of the Covid posts being majority Covid content.

My ideal future has Zvi posting nationally renowned journalism on all manner of current events, but all articles have the title "Covid <date>: <tagline>" and only the real fans remember why.

now that the masks are mostly gone except for the subway.

I see only about 60% mask compliance in the NYC subway now. I've been maskless myself in the subway for months - doing my part in the preference cascade

Related theory is that they're planning for a more dangerous disease to be released in the future, either accidentally or on purpose, and they feel the need to perfect their zero-[disease] protocol now. They can't accept a superficial failure with covid because that means accepting a critical failure with the next thing, especially if they're not so good at making vaccines.

Paschal's targeted advertising: How can you be against targeted ads when they're showing you deals that have positive EV for you?

  1. There's an attention cost with evaluating whether the deal is in fact positive EV. And effective ads will mostly have a higher attention cost - There's a "valley of difficult choices" where the EV is close to zero. Most ads you see are to the left of the valley: strongly negative-EV deals that you don't really consider. But more effective targeted ads will move the needle to the right on average, forcing you to pay more attention to all ads because now their expected ability to give you good deals is higher. (so basically, "with the changes in attention cost, it's not actually positive EV").
  2. Privacy - most of us value it as a good in itself. We have nothing to hide but we still don't want to show you. We get a bad feeling knowing that some random uncaring stranger knows specific details about us. (so basically, "with the utility cost in privacy, it's not actually positive EV").
  3. Randomized priorities- sure I do actually want the gardening tools, but I was gonna look at that two weeks from now, after my Florida trip. I have to plan my Florida trip right now. - And then I see the ad for exactly the product I want, and my attention is too hijacked to ignore it. The decisions I have to make in the near future are ordered by priority, and it takes some amount of mental effort to enforce that priority. Targeted ads actively fight that order by taking some random thing I want and asking me to make that decision right now. (so basically, "with the increased willpower needed to enforce decision priority, it's not actually positive EV").

All of this stands against a backdrop of: It's actually really easy for a consumer to take initiative to find the product they want. It's never been easier compare alternate products and get a view of the whole market for something. So this is the era in which we least need companies to take the initiative to find us.

Did I manage to actually convey something meaningful to you or did I just wordcel 5,000 nice-sounding words together? How would you be sure?

I think you can actually judge that by the value/effort balance of the communication.

I see a kind of spectrum between teaching and.. let's call it meditation (as in "meditate on X"), where both can convey meaningful ideas and concepts, but the latter takes much more effort to get anything useful, and yields more random results.

With teaching, I'm probably getting all the intended ideas on my first interpretation, and then it's reliably useful to me. With meditation, I have to bring a lot more effort and ideas myself to try to get something meaningful out of it, and I might still be wrong. You can pick any random sentence and ponder it as a koan, free-associating about it until you feel like you learned or realized something useful. But that'll feel very different from just going on wikipedia and learning something useful.

It is a spectrum though. GPT-3 doesn't give random sentences, but when I play around with it and occasionally find something "useful," it feels more like I'm doing the koan thing (more effortful). Reading good blog posts is much less effortful per value added.

Option two is to point out that they’re talking sense now and acting compatibly with life, and one could not reasonably ask for more than that.

I’m mostly in the second camp. The penalty for being late should not be death, so go and sin no more.

Not sure I agree but I'll have to think about it more.

Simulacrum-2 doesn't mean "saying false things" - sometimes S2 says true things. When you discover that someone's lied to you, do you shame them for saying the false thing, or do you shame them for being on S2 toward you? The latter is a kind of meta-lie that they're always committing, even when they say true things. The meta-lie is "I'm saying this cause it's true, not primarily to manipulate you".

In personal relationships, you can forgive and give people chances to stop being S2 toward you. Or you might even tolerate their being on S2, because you're convinced they really care about you (like an overprotective mom whom you love). But for public figures / "Narrative", might it be acceptable to just say "they told a meta-lie, they still haven't explicitly come clean on that meta-lie, so F them no matter what they say in the future, they blew their chance to ever earn my respect."

Agreed and, a broader point - I notice that authoritarians heavily intersect with "people who can't imagine second-order effects of anything". Theoretically we should see some authoritarians who think through everything at multiple levels and mastermind a better society against all odds, but instead we keep seeing that basic thought process of "X is bad. X requires Y. So let's ban Y, boom everything's solved."

As a mistake theorist I suspect "no second order effects" is a mistake that leads many people in power to unwittingly inflict much misery on their societies.

Plenty of "cruelty is the point" signaling stuff going on too though, as Zvi says.

I also think that censoring that kind of statement is a reasonable thing to consider doing. But the rules seem to consistently get written in a way that does not differentiate between this and a similar true or good faith statement, and instead give power the ability to censor whatever they dislike.

This sounds to me a lot like "real X has never been tried," so my response is similar to what I'd usually say. This is what real censorship does. Censorship without falsehood is an unstable system bound to eventually reach equilibrium. Why? Because we live in a sufficiently social world that if you have censorship power, you can succeed without being right about the physical world (and why bother being right if it's slightly inconvenient?). Concentrations of social power attract simulacrum-4 players, and if they have enough power they can live whole happy lives without ever facing that rude awakening that the physical world exists.

“I am not seeing this movie because I don’t have to and you can’t make me.”

My thoughts exactly! And maybe it's because I've been reading these posts all along that I find the premise of that movie so exhausting; our institutions aren't set up to adequately handle crisis? No fucking shit. Apparently to many people this is a novel enough revelation that it makes for an interesting movie, which itself is frustrating.

My personal conversations have reflected what Scott said about the actual meaning being garbled. I haven't heard a real answer to this. So it sounds like some kind of "narcissistic ennui porn": Ennui because everything's fucked and we can't do anything about it; Narcissistic because, by being one of the rare few who recognize this, I'm special (never mind that I won't do anything about it); Porn because it's superstimulating and meaningless.

What's extra frustrating is to see it coming out of Hollywood, ie actual power. If you have 100+ million dollars, I don't want to hear about how "those in power won't listen to me about climate change!" Either you're not trying or you suck at being powerful.

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