All of PipFoweraker's Comments + Replies

I'm not sure that this mental line of defence would necessarily hold, us humans are easily manipulated by things that we know to be extremely simple agents that are definitely trying to manipulate us all the time: babies, puppies, kittens, etc. 

This still holds true a significant amount of the time even if we pre-warn ourselves against the pending manipulation - there is a recurrent meme of, eg, dads in families not ostensibly not wanting a pet, only to relent when presented with one.

This implies your timelines for any large impact from AI would span multiple future generations, is that correct?

If you extrapolate the trends it implies no impact at all, as humanity continues to decline in every way like it currently is doing. 

Dropping my plans of earning to give, which only really made sense before the recent flood of funding and the compression of timelines.

Increasing the amount of study I'm doing in Alignment and adjacent safety spaces. I have low confident I'll be able to help in any meaningful fashion given my native abilities and timelines, but not trying seems both foolish and psychologically damaging.

Reconsidering my plans to have children - it's more likely I'll spend time and resources on children already existing (or planned) inside my circle of caring. 

Relatively small behavioural changes on your end may address some of the causes of these frustrations. It sounds like you might be overstocked with things of relatively low long-term utility, which is why it's hard to immediately pass them on. Have you scanned your spending patterns for hyperbolic discounting, for example?

Comics are a great example - if you have the willpower to hold off until you can but a TPB, they're cheaper, more economic, more durable, take up less storage space, and are much easier to pass on or pass around than individual comics. If... (read more)

Today's SMBC will drag a smile out of many people here if thy haven't read it already.

Also see this one and this one.

Whoah. That gets many points. What an excellent layout! We need to know what boots are for it to translate, but that's a lot closer to an ideal solution than I've worked through.

Edit - I thought the diagram looked familiar!

In your situation, in Australia, it's mostly about forward planning. Do you have any foreknowledge of likely changes in your health or family situation?

The insurance market in Australia has historically been pretty poor in terms of transparency and easy comparisons. I'm sure you've found the various compare-policy tools online. I'm assuming you don't want to piggyback on a family policy.

Are you looking for more data, or a list of considerations for insurance planning? If it's the latter, try browsing around insurance industry planner websites for their policy documents. I can probably get some friends in the industry to email me more comprehensive things if you want to work of their approaches.

will continue via PM.

Thanks! I've been playing around with it for a week or so but can't elegantly find a way to do it that meets my arbitrary standards of elegance and cool design :-)

Becomes easier when using non-circular shapes for Venn-ing, but my efforts look a little hacky.

I prefer a diagram like this with just overlapping circles. And you can kind of see how the portion of the hypothesis that exists in the evidence circle represents it's probability. Arbital also has some nice visualizations: and Fivethirtyeight also made a neat graphic:

Reminiscing over one of my favourite passages from Anathem, I've been enjoying looking through visual, wordless proofs of late. The low-hanging fruit is mostly classical geomety, but a few examples of logical proofs have popped up as well.

This got me wondering if it's possible to communicate the fundamental idea of Bayes' Theorem in an entirely visual format, without written language or symbols needing translation. I'd welcome thoughts from anyone else on this.

Challenge accepted.
The issue with Bayes theorem isn't the derivation or proof. Nobody seriously debates the validity of the theorem as a mathematical statement. The debate, or conceptual roadblock, or whatever you want to call it, is whether researchers should apply the theorem as the fundamental approach to statistical inference.
Was considering something like a tshirt of p(smoke|fire) and p(fire|smoke). never came to fruition; feel free to take the idea if you like.
Bayes is mostly about conditioning, and so I think you can draw a Venn Diagram that makes it fairly clear.

In any particular geographical or topical area?

Australia, NSW. I am a young and healthy person with no existing conditions, also good vision and no wisdom teeth. (looking to get health insurance) It seems that it varies from just hospital, through to full associated cover including money back for having a gym membership, massage and more. I am hesitant because it seems that I would pay more for that than I would otherwise pay for services that I would use (as a healthy young person right now).

I ran into this issue as well, being relatively well credentialed professionally and through the TAFE / AQF framework. It's hard to know where to put the scale, so I normally do an equivalence of hours-studied-full-time-loading in my head and use that.

Unfortunately, this. I did coverage work for WoTC for a few years and my custom dictionary is ridiculous.

For bonus points, I've also reviewed 200+ Spec Fic novels, so the amount of weird pronouns in the list is spectacular.

I have a non-specific recollection that, generally speaking, phrasing directions in the positive imperative ("Treat dogs well") rather than a negative imperative ("Do not treat dogs badly") leads to better rates of recall / compliance.

If it interests you I'll ask around and find a proper reference.

Thanks, I heard about this too, so it's OK without a reference. Though in this case "treat your productivity systems well" makes for a poor title :)

There is a continuum that moves from complete dream-obliviousness (not being aware one has dreamed upon waking) all the way up to comprehensively lucid dreaming, where a dreamer is able to create and control their dream environment at will and then retain an accurate memory upon waking.

There are obvious problems with the self-reporting of dreams and dream recall, so the exact definitions of the continuum are fuzzy, but I'm not aware of anyone seriously disputing the continuum exists.

Also making matters more interesting is the mechanics of dreaming in term... (read more)

You may want to spend some time thinking about how you can give your dog the best end of life experience that you can.

Losing a dog is painful. However, and I'm only speaking from personal experience here, you will probably have the opportunity to control to a great extent how your dog dies, its relative level of pain / discomfort, and in what situation and setting the death takes place.

Knowing that my dog - who my parents found abandoned a few weeks before I was born, who I grew up with, and who died in my early adulthood - died at home, surrounded by he... (read more)

Following simple ideas or explanations that are mostly right will still give me good outcomes in a plurality of iterations.

I don't have infinite time to carefully consider those ideas. Being a standardly incompetent human at many things, my ability to discern truthiness by looking is subject to error.

What options do I have for differentiating between simple explanations that are correct and simple explanations that are only mostly correct, and then figuring out whether the latter are worth investigating for corner-casery / quackery / etc?

Well, pretty much by definition you'll do well following the mostly correct ideas. And when things go wrong, you'll have produced exactly the sort of surprise that (gets physicists/should get anyone who calls themselves a scientist) to say 'Oooh, that's interesting'. So if you're lazy, go with the obvious (the world is flat), and only trouble yourself to think if you're (a) curious or (b) confounded by your bad anticipations. Generally speaking 'What the wise ones say is (likely) true' is not a bad heuristic if you don't have the time or reason to be interested.

The thought intrigued me enough to check with a native Korean speaking friend, and they said that cloning doesn't necessarily translate well and it could have been a question about the size of AlphaGo (in terms of copying it or the datasets) or its reproducability / iterations (i.e. are there v1.01, v1.02's floating around).

The recently posted Intelligence Squared video titled Don't Trust the Promise of Artificial Intelligence may be of interest to LW readers, if only because of IQ2's decently sized cultural reach and audience.

When animals are created and destroyed solely for a purpose attributed to them by their human overlords, that reduces their utilisable preferences to zero or near zero. Unless a meat producer had reason to believe that inflicting pain on an animal improved the resulting meat product, that pain would almost certainly be a by-product of whatever the farmer chose rather than an exclusive intent. I personally know no farmers that inflict 'pointless' injury on their livestock.

Given any amount of suffering in the animal stock needed to feed, say the US compared ... (read more)

Does this argument apply to humans created or destroyed solely for purposes of evolutionary pressure or environmental accident? I'd argue that nothing happens solely for any purpose. Measured how? This seems to be the crux of your position. I don't buy it. Let's leave aside (unless you want to try to define terms) the difference between happy, sad, and more common mixed cases. Let's focus on the main inequality of nonexistence vs some temporary happiness. Would you say 'no human' > 'happy human + surprise cancer'? I assert that neither human nor pig really frames things in terms of the farmer's or universe's motivations.
Although I can understand the intuitiveness of this ordering, I think it should be pondered more deeply. It's safe to say that no pig experiences no joy and no suffering, and that sad pig experiences lots of suffering. Also it would seem intuitive that a happy pig dying of natural causes experiences lots of joy. From the point of view of the animal: long lived sad pig < short lived sad pig < no pig < long lived happy pig It is weird not to put short lived happy pig were it seems to belong, and I think it has to do with the fact that killing a happy pig carries a lot of negative moral weight. Would you say the same about a pig genetically engineered to die of natural causes when it's most delicious?

If I'm exclusively limiting myself to animals that are raised in an organised fashion for eventual slaughter, I don't think I need too much data to assign broadly negative values to lives that are unusually brutish, nasty and short compared to either non-existence or a hypothetical natural existence.

In my consideration, simple things like the registering of a pain stimulus and the complexity of behaviour to display distress are good enough indicators.

I don't think you can make that decision so easily. They're protected from predators, well-fed, and probably healthier than they would be in the wild. (About health, the main point against is that diseases spread more rapidly. But farmers have an incentive to prevent that, and they have antibiotics and access to minimal veterinary treatment.) This leads me to conclusions I disagree with - like if a person is murdered, then their life had negative value.
The comparison at hand is only to non-existence; you're not proposing any mechanism to improve such lives or to make them similar to a hypothetical nature, only to eliminate any experience of the life while still providing the meat. As such, you don't need too much data, but you currently have none, nor even a theory about what data you'd want. Trying to determine a preference for non-existince in animals (or vegetables, for that matter, or lumps of vat-meat) when such units don't seem to have the concepts (or at least the communication ability) to make choices for themselves doesn't seem obvious at all to me.

I'm not certain if we need to understand how suffering works if we can simply remove the organs that house it.

It seems less tricky when a technological set of solutions come along that allow delicious engineered meat to be grown without all the unnecessary and un-delicious bits.

I think the in vitro meat industry will have an extraordinarily good time when things develop to the point of being able to synthesis a lazy-person's whole stuffed camel.

In vitro meat -- okay. Modifying animals so they can't scream -- not okay. -- this is the part that IMHO depends on details we may not yet understand sufficiently.
In-vitro meat reduces suffering, but also reduces joy and brain-experienced life in general. I don't know how to evaluate if a current cow or chicken's life is negative value (to the animal) or not.

There is value in having crowds that view you mildly and strongly disfavourably, but much of this value depends on the rule of law in one's immediate environment.

I think that's a reasonable position for a preface to take.

My experience with giving people the data behind squatting to go to the dunny is that their awkwardness about it strongly outweighs, initially, their willingness to experiment.

Which leads to the thought that there are probably some provably life-enhancing things that people don't even consider doing because it is so far outside their social mores that the possibility doesn't occur. I have had an entertaining few minutes trying to think of some that my great-descendants will be bewildered we didn't consider.

Fecal transplants and cryonics.
Seth Roberts nose clips while eating for people who want to lose weight probably falls under strong awkwardness that doesn't let people consider it.

It may be worthwhile to cast a wider net in order to glean more professional opinions and sources of data while reducing any emotional response. Consider spending a useful amount of time exploring mailing lists, forums, and professional bodies. Google indicates there are tons of professional bodies in both the US and overseas that will have members who have dealt with similar experience and questions before. Some have membership requirements which a determined person can get around without too many problems, PM me if you get stuck. You may also consider as... (read more)

Thank you for this idea. I submitted a variant of my post to Health Stack Exchange. I've edited my post to include contact information. I will contact them tomorrow, but I don't expect much from cold-emailing researchers.

One suggestion is to consider having more than one email for the purposes of separating emails from people who email you about personal things and people who email you about work things. This may be useful in addition to the suggestion in OP to have a separate email for subscriptions/mailing lists.

This has been useful to me in the past for being able to effectively segment my 'work life' while on holidays or taking a break without missing out on social updates and emails from friends and family members. Aslo, when I am on holidays in non-urban environments... (read more)

If you are not familiar with Carrico's blog and writing style, this is a feature, not a bug.

Looks like a misfeature.

Thanks! Y'know, I actually spotted the doubling up of the pronoun, checked it, thought "Huh, random egotism, naming a centre after yourself" and went ahead and clicked 'Submit'. Cheers, random brainfart! Edited OP for accuracy.

I mean, Buck did name the centre after herself / her husband, so it's not that far off. :P

I would posit that his actual children have a comfortably non-zero amount of influence over him, and that the rest of us have a non-zero-but-muchcloser-to-zero amount of influence over him.

Replying to clarify my point assigned was entirely for AskClippy :-)

Interested to see one anonymous user posting 97%. Would be interested to know if they receive/d follow-up from the institute.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

Combining the first two would likely result in a more-memorable-than-most experience.

I've reconsidered the first one. It's no longer on my list. Pleasurable as it may be, it sets a precedence that may make me less happy overall. I'm a forward thinking hedonist :) Another goal I forgot to write down was sperm donation, but my friends helped me realise that isn't what I want to do!

Does that not-want take into consideration your changed capacity to influence him if you became his child?

How would I have any more influence than his actual child does?

While browsing the Intelligence Squared upcoming debates, I noticed two things that may be of interest to LW readers.

The first is a debate titled "Lifespans are long enough", with Aubrey De Grey and Brian Kennedy of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging arguing against Paul Root Wolpe from the Emory Centre for Ethics and another panelist TBA. The debate is taking place in early February.

The second, and of potentially more interest to the LW community, is taking place on March 9th and is titled "Artificial Intelligence: The risks outweigh... (read more)

Brian Kennedy. Note that he's on the "Against" side with Aubrey, as makes sense given the Buck Institute's goal to "extend help towards the problems of the aged."

You're entirely right, 'Games Trainers Play' is not at all like Games People Play, but it is a useful book in terms of practical applications of applied human psychology. The amount of value I've observed added to newly-formed teams and temporary groups through the contents - in terms of near-immediate cohesion, bonding, and comfortable introductions to group dynamic discussions - has been tremendous.

If I were going to retitle the two, GPP would become "Communicative Dark Arts and How To Spot Them", whereas GTP would be "Communicative Light ... (read more)

Alice and Bob have precommitted and were unlucky enough to be caught in the situation where following through on the precommitment was harmful.

I suggest that the more Musk influences OpenAI's agenda, the further it moves away from core competition with MIRI.

A counterexample might be if a series of AI researchers in China announced a formation a clone of MIRI but based out of Shanghai - a more clear-cut intelligence race than what we've currently go, which is an increasing number of institutions all starting down roadmaps that share initial common ground but have divergent ideal end states.

If you have any good (academic for preference) sources for the latter statement, I'd love to see them, mainly to add to my 'Collection of X-refuting hyperlinks' I have easily accessible when browsing the Internet At Large.

Is there a non-obvious reason why I can't create a non-profit entity whose sole purpose is to receive donations for selected effective charities that operate overseas and distribute that money to them, thereby enhancing the usefulness of local donations by allowing them to be tax-deductable?

(Specifically Australia, generally otherwise)

Seconded. Both my parents are well respected communication professionals, and they refer to the mechanics described in this book more than any other. Plus it has some very cute retro cartoons.

Some more healthy ideas can be found in a parallel book, Games Trainers Play, which is more useful for getting adults to engage in communication through (nominally) fun / silly activities as a way of learning about team communication dynamics etc. There are certainly lessons and models in there I have used in useful discussions as well.

I haven't read "Games Trainers Play", but from the online descriptions, it seems to contain icebreakers and fun activities. To avoid possible misunderstanding, "Games People Play" is not like that.

Berne uses the word "game" to mean -- I'll use my own words here -- an insincere human interaction, where people pretend that they try to achieve X as an outcome of the interaction, but they actually want to achieve Y (and they arrange things so that Y actually happens). This insincerity is driven by not fully conscious forces; peopl... (read more)

I am challenged to think of a way that my Newly Minted MIRI Competitor could differentiate itself from MIRI in a way that is both:

a) optimal, and

b) non-divergent from MIRI's goals in such a way as to be functionally different.

I could certainly fund Evilbot Angry AI Development Labs, and we might see a difference in focus away from GAI frameworks and more towards how-to-kill-all-the-humans-as-effectively-as-possible research, but that doesn't let me weed out what 'local parochialism' is.

FHI is a MIRI competitor. OpenAI is now also a MIRI competitor.
No one knows what is optimal, if more people attempted to find it, it would increase probability that at least one of them would succeed.

For me personally, a long career in a particular public service sector has made me surprisingly efficient at smilingly, politely ignoring what people say and digging out information from an unwilling audience. When someone drops a blanket 'You must fulfil condition Y to truly understand foo' statement,I respond by seeing it as an interrogatory challenge :-)

When people try to push me off with a 'I can't explain' or 'You need more experience' type of response, I usually deflect it by nodding, smiling broadly, and saying something along the lines of "I'm... (read more)

I'll second the suggestion of introducing people to overconfidence early on, because (hopefully) it leads to a more questioning mindset.

I would note that the otherwise-awesome Adventures in Cognitive Biases' calibration is heavily geared towards a particular geographic demographic, and that several of my peers that I've introduced this to were a little off-put by it, so consider encouraging them to stick through the calibration into the more meaty subject matter of the Adventure itself.


One normal-world handy use for the phrases 'skill' and 'intuition' is in shortcutting communication, either out of reticence or convenience. For example, if I ask a professional poker player why they made a particular play, if they don't want to get into a meaningful discussion about the sorts of math they work through while playing the game (plus attendant behavioural observations etc) then essentially either of those two responses are a reasonably polite way of brushing me off.

I'm sure you can think of instances where, regardless of the polite good inten... (read more)

I agree with your main point, and I sometimes use the phrases in the same way. But what do you say when they ask you for details anyways? I mostly interact with non-rationalists, and my experience is that after people make a claim about skill or intuition, they're usually unable to explain further (or unwilling to the point of faking ignorance). If I'm talking to someone I trust to be honest with me and I keep trying to pin down an answer, it seems to eventually reduce to the claim that an explanation is impossible. A few people have said exactly that, but a claim like "you'll just know once you have more experience" is more common. In a situation like this, what approach would get you to give more detail? I'd be happy with "you need to understand skills D through I before I answer you," but I'm rarely able to get that.

One area to explore would be the concept of smart contracts, currently best exampled by experiments with blockchain technology - Ethereum and transparency in prediction markets would have places to start. One possible solution to a real-world non-criminal application of that problem would be to hire a neutral third party with appropriate confidentiality trust - like a lawyer - to create an agreement, witness it, and hold it in trust.

This becomes less reliable when you start delving into the ethical problems outlined by other responders if you're trying to create something deniable, but you can probably work around that with an 'if-then' agreement with a lawyer and a pre-sealed envelope.

Anecdotally, all of my matriarchal pre-funeralees have all indicated a strong dislike at both this poem's mild sexism and its somewhat mournful, rather than explicitly celebratory, approach.

Copyright shouldn't matter in these instances.