An additional point (discussed intelligence.org/files/TDT.pdf) is that CDT seems to recommend modifying oneself to a non-CDT based decision theory. (For instance, imagine that the CDTer contemplates for a moment the mere possibility of encountering NPs and can cheaply self-modify). After modification, the interest in whether decisions are responsible causally for utility will have been eliminated. So this interest seems extremely brittle. Agents able to modify and informed of the NP scenario will immediately lose the interest. (If the NP seems implausible... (read more)
"why is a causal connection privileged?"
I agree with everything here. What follows is merely history.
Historically, I think that CDT was meant to address the obvious shortcomings of choosing to bring about states that were merely correlated with good outcomes (as in the case of whitening one's teeth to reduce lung cancer risk). When Pearl advocates CDT, he is mainly advocating acting based on robust connections that will survive the perturbation of the system caused by the action itself. (e.g. Don't think you'll cure lung cancer by making your p... (read more)
The LW approach has focused on finding agent types that win on decision problems. Lots of the work has been in trying to formalize TDT/UDT, providing sketches of computer programs that implement these informal ideas. Having read a fair amount of the philosophy literature (including some of the recent stuff by Egan, Hare/Hedden and others), I think that this agent/program approach has been extremely fruitful. It has not only given compelling solutions to a large number of problems in the literature (Newcomb's, trivial coordination problems like Stag Hunt th... (read more)
if from the US, you'll need a visa to visit moscow and i don't think you can obtain this on arrival in russia.
Whether you change beliefs in response to a new case will depend on the nature of the selection or sampling process . If you go through a history of quack medicine, you'd get lots of new case-studies but you might not change your beliefs about typical human epistemic performance at all.
Even if new cases are selected to be examples of human stupidity, they might still be roughly random within that class. So cases that are more extreme than one's expectation will shift your beliefs. But this might leave your beliefs about the frequency of incidence of human... (read more)
I think dreeves background at Yahoo and success in founding Beeminder makes him well-placed to talk about getting things done.
Thanks so much, Robert!
And breaking news: I'm now part of the program!
(I'm really excited about this!)
You make claims that your movement is growing fast and that many people are already involved. These claims would be more credible you presented more evidence for how committed these people are. Joining a facebook group requires minimal commitment. It's even less impressive if THINK was free-riding from existing rational altruism groups.
When I look at the website, I don't see much evidence of 20 serious, well-organized groups being ready to roll-out three weeks from now.
Unrelated point: colleges have complicated restrictions on use of their logo. I'm not ... (read more)
Great post. Arnold Kling has a good discussion of Kurzweil's predictions somewhere, but I haven't been able to find it by Googling.
I agree that Kurzweil did well, making a significant number of specific, non-obvious correct predictions. But how well does Kurzweil's ability here generalize to other predictions? Kurzweil was predicting developments in his own field 10 years into the future. He has an advantage that products often take >4 years to develop, and he has insider knowledge of what kind of products the big tech companies are talking about in-house. (So we could compare him to internal discussions of possible products at Microsoft or Apple, etc.).
I am interested to hear how this is turning out So further updates would be welcome. It seems you might also get some support from LW people if things aren't going well.
In some sports, applied science seems important to improving expert performance. The PhD knowledge is used to guide the sportsperson (who has exceptional physical abilities). Likewise, our skill at making reliably sturdy buildings has dramatically improved due to knowledge of physics and materials science. But the PhDs don't actually put the buildings up, they just tell the builders what to do.
(2) is a useful point, but doesn't generalize fully. To take your own examples, if some theories in astrophysics and particle physics were extremely well supported by the standards of physics, then the lack of spinoffs would not undermine them very much. If the theories are well supported, then they've made lots of novel predictions that have been verified. That a particular spinoff works is just evidence that a particular novel prediction is verified.
Tetlock's political judgment study was a test for macroeconomics, political science and history. Yet people with PhDs in these areas did no better on predicting macro political and economic events than those without any PhD. Maybe macro helps in producing good econometric models, but it doesn't help in making informal predictions. (Whereas one suspects that physics and chemistry would help in a test of quick predictions about a novel physical or chemical system, vs. people without a PhD in these fields).
I was looking for someone to specify a well supported psychological theory that predicts that CBT should be effective. What's the theory, and what's the evidence that people believed it before CBT came along?
I also think Shulman's example of IQ is different from the physics/chemistry case. It was discovered that scores on a short IQ test predicted long-term job performance on a range of tasks. Organizations that used IQ in hiring were then able to obtain better long-term job performance. But IQ was not something that was predicted from a model of how the b... (read more)
Re: your examples successful spin-offs for psychology, to what extent did these therapies come out of well-established theory? Maybe someone can weigh in here. It seems possible that these are good therapies but ones that don't have a strong basis in theory (in contrast to technologies from physics or chemistry).