All of SilentCal's Comments + Replies

The Mind: Board Game Review

I haven't played this, but I've watched a video of Japanese comedians playing it, which actually does give a sense of how it works.

There's a (IMO very obvious) algorithm for winning this with literally zero communication: play card N after N seconds have elapsed. I don't know how easy it is to precisely count double-digit-second intervals, but it doesn't seem that interesting to find out. It seems pretty clear that steelmanning the rules means not counting seconds.

So what you end up with is a game of reading precise system-2 inform... (read more)

1PatrickDFarley1yThank you! I and two other players landed on this strategy independently within like 20 minutes. And then the group's performance obviously improved, but it was no longer a game, it was "count accurately."
2MakoYass1yYeah my feeling is... I know that we would develop some synchronization protocol and I'm not really curious about how that would happen. Developing protocols is more interesting when you can use words (because we always can, in life), or when there really is no communication at all (in which case we must sit and meditate only on the dao).
2Richard_Kennaway2yI came up with a related strategy that avoids estimating times. Take turns starting from the dealer's left. If you can play the next card in sequence, do, otherwise pass. The player on your left will eventually realise you're passing. If the pass goes all the way round the table, that card isn't in anyone's hand, so you test in the same way to see if anyone has the next card. Of course, this also trivialises the game, so it wouldn't be used.
Coordination Problems in Evolution: The Rise of Eukaryotes

Re: cells defecting by becoming gametes, I think you were maybe a bit too terse. I believe I've figured out what's going on, but let me run it by you:

*Within the organism*, there's no selection pressure for cells to become gametes--mutations are random variations, not strategic actors, so a leaf is no more likely to 'decide' to become a flower than the reverse (which would also be harmful overall). The organism *does* have an incentive to keep the random mutation rate down, but no reason to *specifically* combat cells 'defecti... (read more)

Coordination Problems in Evolution: Eigen's Paradox

This makes a lot more sense with some background on what a ribozyme is, which I lacked before reading this. AIUI certain sequences of RNA fold up in a way that makes them act as enzymes.

Though the real point isn't about biology, but rather generic coordination mechanisms...

3Martin Sustrik3yGood point. I shall edit the article to make that clear.
Anti-social Punishment

FWIW I first read this post before this comment was written, then happened to think about it again today and had this idea, and came here to post it.

I do think it's a dangerous fallacy to assume mutually-altruistic equilibria are optimal--'I take care of me, you take care of you' is sometimes more efficient than 'you take care of me, I take care of you'.

Maybe someone needs to study whether Western countries ever exhibit "antisocial cooperation," that is, an equilibrium of enforced public contributions in an "ineffici... (read more)

3jmh2yI'll lump two thoughts in here -- one relates to SilentCat the other elsewhere but... Like others I think this is a great insight and should be looked at by the authors, or other interested social scientists. I think it relates to a question I ask myself from time to time, though generally don't get too far in answering. Where do we draw the line between public and private spheres of action? I don't think that is a fixed/static division over time and seems to have important implication for public policy. I'm tempted to say it might with the above proposed efficiency division. I'm not sure though. The over-all results and some of the other comments also made me wonder if history -- particularly as most of these locations seem to have been former USSR members. I'm just wondering if perhaps the culture legacy would support the behavior if innocent people were just as likely to be punished for what might be actions of other attempting to make everyone's lives better (but often I suspect viewed as a threat to the authorities and government powers).
3Martin Sustrik3yNice idea. Maybe all the tokens should start in the pool and the players should have an option to withdraw them. I guess that would make people feel more explicitly "anti-social" if they did so.
5Raemon3yOoh, I like this (while being aware that there's a decent chance I'd be the sort of person who'd unreflectively do it)
Zetetic explanation

So the big question here is, why are zetetic explanations good? Why do we need or want them when civilization will happily supply us with finished bread, or industrial yeast, or rote instructions for how to make sourdough from scratch? The paragraph beginning "Zetetic explanations are empowering" starts to answer, but a little bit vaguely for my tastes. Here's my list of possible answers:

1) Subjective reasons. They're fun or aesthetically pleasing. This feels like a throwaway reason, and doesn't get listed explicitly in the OP unle... (read more)

8Raemon3yI think your list is roughly correct. But, put another way that feels oriented better to me: It might or might not be that zetetic explanations are good. But what are the problems that Benquo is trying to solve here and how can we tell if they got solved? * People often learn bits of knowledge as isolated facts that that don't fit together into a cohesive world-model. This is a problem when: * people are confronted with problems that they have the knowledge to solve, but aren't aware that they dopeople are confronted with situations they don't even realize are problems, or worth considering as problems, because they were so disconnected from how their world fits together that they didn't see it as gears.a stronger claim may be that there exists a longterm, high level payoff for having a highly developed ability to integrate knowledge. (Partly because you have a whole lot of accumulated knowledge that fits together usefully, but moreover, because you have the ability to reflexively form theories and test them and use them effectively, which is built out of several subskills. (See Sunset at Noon [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/2x7fwbwb35sG8QmEt/sunset-at-noon] middle sections for my take on that) So the hypothesis here is that: * Most people's pedagogy has room for improvement, in the domain of helping people to connect facts into an integrated world-model, and to build the skill of doing so. * Explanations that include cross domains, historical content, and connecting a concept to anchors that a person can clearly see and understand are a good way to improve pedagogy in this way * I'd perhaps add that that style of pedagogy may be good for the teacher as well as the student.
Bottle Caps Aren't Optimisers

I think what we need is some notion of mediation. That is, a way to recognize that your liver's effects on your bank account are mediated by effects on your health and it's therefore better thought of as a health optimizer.

This has to be counteracted by some kind of complexity penalty, though, or else you can only ever call a thing a [its-specific-physical-effects-on-the-world]-maximizer.

I wonder if we might define this complexity penalty relative to our own ontology. That is, to me, a description of what specifically the liver does requires lots... (read more)

1FeepingCreature3yThe model of the bank account compresses the target function of the brain, even when expressed in terms of specific physical effects on the world. Further, the model of health compresses the target function of the liver better than the bank account.
ISO: Name of Problem
if there's a sufficiently large amount of sufficiently precise data, then the physically-correct model's high accuracy is going to swamp the complexity penalty

I don't think that's necessarily true?

1johnswentworth4yBernstein-Von Mises Theorem [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernstein%E2%80%93von_Mises_theorem]. It is indeed not always true, the theorem has some conditions. An intuitive example of where it would fail: suppose we are rolling a (possibly weighted) die, but we model it as drawing numbered balls from a box without replacement. If we roll a bunch of sixes, then the model thinks the box now contains fewer sixes, so the chance of a six is lower. If we modeled the weighted die correctly, then a bunch of sixes is evidence that's it's weighted toward six, so the chance of six should be higher. Takeaway: Bernstein-Von Mises typically fails in cases where we're restricting ourselves to a badly inaccurate model. You can look at the exact conditions yourself; as a general rule, we want those conditions to hold. I don't think it's a significant issue for my argument. We could set up the IRL algorithm so that atom-level simulation is outside the space of models it considers. That would break my argument. But a limitation on the model space like that raises other issues, especially for FAI.
2avturchin4ySo what is the difference between probutility and "expected utility"? is it just another name for well-known idea? (The comment was edited as at first I read "probutility" as "probability" in your comment.)
Expressive Vocabulary

Perceived chemical-ness is a very rough heuristic for the degree of optimization a food has undergone for being sold in a modern economy (see http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/04/25/book-review-the-hungry-brain/ for why this might be something you want to avoid). Very, very rough--you could no doubt list examples of 'non-chemicals' that are more optimized than 'chemicals' all day, as well as optimizations that are almost certainly not harmful. And yet I'd wager the correlation is there.

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

Okay, I think I see where you're coming from. I've definitely updated towards considering the OP proposal scarier. Thanks for spelling things out.

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"
Why assume that there is such a thing?

I took Benquo to be saying there was such a qualitative difference. I already agree there are lots of reasons Duncan's proposal would likely do more harm than good.

Unilateral imposition of rules.

What Duncan is proposing is a general societal agreement to allow the Punch Bug game, on a dubious but IMO sincerely-held theory that this would be to the general benefit. It's no more a unilateral imposition than a law you voted against.

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

So I definitely will join you in condemning the no-opt-out rule. The ghettoization proposal... honestly, I think it was too absurd to me to even generate a coherent image, but if I try to force my imagination to produce one it's pretty horrible.

I'm not sure I see the folding-in problem as keenly as you do. I read Duncan as saying "there's a problem in that we freak out too much about accidental micro harms. My proposed solution is a framework of intentional micro-harms". The first part is on firmer ground than the second, but I don... (read more)

The ghettoization proposal… honestly, I think it was too absurd to me to even generate a coherent image, but if I try to force my imagination to produce one it’s pretty horrible.

This is actually a huge part of what I was upset about, and it's really helpful to have you make that explicit: The fact that no one else seems to have bothered to take the initiative to concretely visualize this proposal and respond to the implications of its literal content. And then, when I tried to point out the problem by pointing out a structural analogy to a thing there... (read more)

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

Since I'm in another thread doing a thing that's sort of weirdly adjacent to supporting Duncan's post, let me say what I think of it overall.

I played a bit of Punch Bug as a kid (actually, it was 'Punch Buggy' where I grew up). In my social circles the punches weren't hard, it was basically a token gesture to make spotting a Beetle first into a form of 'winning'. I'd compare it to nonviolent games such as jinx or five minutes to get rid of that word). Personally I found all of these a little fun, a little annoyi... (read more)

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

What I'm trying to figure out is what important qualitative trait Punch Bug shares with a day of pogroms, that an absence of noise ordinances doesn't also share. (All three of these things share the traits of being bad policy, and of hurting some more than others)

'Involvement of physical violence' is one such trait, and you could build a colorable argument that we shouldn't encourage even small amounts of physical violence, but I didn't think that was Benquo's whole argument.

Other than that, there's the no-punch-back... (read more)

1Said Achmiz4yWhy assume that there is such a thing? (Or, even if there is, that it would be relevant to the objections/discussion at hand?) One person’s modus tollens is another’s modus ponens; having loud parties (which is the comparable act, by the way—not “absence of noise ordinances”) is lower on the scale, but I see no reason to presuppose that it’s qualitatively different. (Maybe it is, but the assumption is unwarranted until justified.) The distinction is very simple: Unilateral imposition of rules. It doesn’t matter what specific rule you decide to impose on me, in what specific way you choose to limit my actions; the fact remains that you, unilaterally, at your whim, have decided that you have the right to dictate to me what actions I can and cannot take—taking that right away from me. That cannot be allowed. It is a naked power grab (and its arbitrariness is, of course, not incidental, but in fact central; it demonstrates your ability to impose any rule you like). The only strategically justifiable (from a personal standpoint) and ethical (from a community/societal standpoint) response is to fight back, immediately and forcefully. Failure to do so results in the quick erosion in practice of rights and of autonomy.

The no-punchback rule is really the main thing for me, especially in conjunction the "it sure seems like you're playing" no-opt-out rule and the proposal that "we" ghettoize people who don't want to participate. If Duncan were just saying people should get into friendly fights more often, I wouldn't like the proposal, but I don't think it would be terrifyingly creepy to me.

Additionally sketchy is the way this was folded into a long and otherwise-reasonable discussion of why we should chill out about casual infliction of minor harms on o... (read more)

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

Let me clarify: I believe that if you took all of the people who currently want to play Punch Bug, and put them all in one one community, they would continue to play Punch Bug. They would *not* find that the absence of unwilling victims spoiled the fun, because unwilling victims were never the source of the fun.

7Benquo4yI agree and my objection doesn't rest on those grounds. Thanks for clarifying. Overall your last several comments did a lot to shift my perceptions towards the possibility of being heard, which has updated me towards a higher level of interpretive labor on my end being appropriate.
Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

"A punch" and "a punch in the arm" are quite different, largely in that the latter is unlikely to cause brain injury.

(Posted early by accident, ETA:)

That said, I get the argument about training people to ignore street violence. I'm a bit doubtful of the effect size here, given that I think there are clear markers of a friendly hit, but I could be persuaded otherwise.

As for no loudback: suppose a neighborhood had a policy against loud noise unless you register a party. Only one party can be registered per night. Registration is first com... (read more)

3Benquo4yThat seems like a really weird policy for a neighborhood to have, given diminishing marginal cost of noisy parties, and I'd be really confused about what incentive gradient they were following. I don't currently see a way that would be a problem, though. (NOTE: The interpretive framework I just used is the one that generates the objection to "punch bug." Rules aren't totally arbitrary; they're things particular people institute and enforce for particular reasons in particular contexts, and this - and how they play out - contains important information beyond the formal content of the rule!) Part of the difference is that retaliatory violence is part of how people police their boundaries. If you're not allowed to opt out, and you're not allowed to punch back, then there's no interface by which to do that. Likewise, for something I don't mind so much, and definitely don't consider to be violent for the most part: I'm all for chilling out about casual touch among people who interact repeatedly, but it would be pretty terrible if people who aren't up for that couldn't opt out except in their ghettoes. [ETA: Duncan strongly disputes the "ghetto" characterization. I don't see how else the "safe spaces" proposal would work out, but "ghetto" is an inference I'm drawing, not the literal text of the OP.] I wouldn't like that proposal, I would still object to it, but it wouldn't seem terrifyingly creepy in the same way. It would just seem a bit unpleasant.
Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

Probably best to taboo 'asymmetric' at this point. Based on your example I thought it meant "explicitly discriminatory" and not just "disparately impactful".

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

I get that part. Yes, the Punch Bug game is disparately impactful against those who value not-being-punched more than they value getting-to-punch, especially if they value getting-to-punch at zero. You could say the same about many things, such as throwing loud parties.

That said, I think there's an important difference between a policy chosen in spite of the fact that it harms some people, and one chosen because of that fact. Yes, the latter has been known to masquerade as the former, but I don't think that's what's going on here (this ... (read more)

0Said Achmiz4yYou could indeed, which is why throwing loud parties in residential areas without adequate soundproofing (i.e., disturbing your neighbors with your noise) is also very unethical.
1Benquo4yA friend of mine recently suffered a concussion after being punched on the street. It was cognitively compromising for a couple of weeks. Maybe you just think he's oversensitive and that if he got concussed more often he'd learn to just roll with it, but if you're willing to accept for the sake of argument that perhaps a particularly hard punch can cause substantial physical injury worth worrying about, it seems pretty bad to play a game that trains people not to react to street assault. Also, loud parties generally don't come with a no-loudback rule.
2Benquo4y?
Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

Let me back up. Zvi convinced me there was a big important click to be had here, and I'm bothered that I haven't had the click. My current understanding of your argument is unpersuasive. That probably means it's an incorrect understanding.

Maybe our crux is that I don't think the Punch Bug game was ever significantly about hurting people who don't want to play it?

4Benquo4yI don't think "aboutness" is really a helpful concept here. Strategies might be implemented by minds that don't fully understand the strategy.
6Benquo4yWhy would getting to punch other people be compensation for being punched, then? In what way is someone who doesn't enjoy that deriving a benefit from it?
Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"
If after reading this thread you don't think that, I worry that you haven't groked the thing Benquo is trying to point at.

I definitely haven't grokked the thing Benquo is trying to point at, at all. (I'm plenty Jewish by any anti-semite's definition, fwiw). I don't see what's asymmetric about the 'no punch back' rule at all--the punchee is free to spot the next bug, in which case they will become the beneficiary of the 'no punch back' rule.

6Benquo4yIs it hard for you to imagine that some people might not be violent sadists? ETA: I meant this literally, not as an insult. People who enjoy punching others are going to disproportionately be punch-bug initiators. People who either don't enjoy causing others (ostensibly minor) suffering, or don't enjoy doing so through (ostensibly minor) physical violence, are not beneficiaries of the right to punch with impunity, and are potential beneficiaries of the right to punch back. However, I think SilentCal's subsequent behavior justified more interpretive labor than my initial comment extended. One should sometimes make this sort of false-negative error, but it's important to own up to it when one does. This comment was bad for the commons. I'm sorry. Oops! [Moderation Note: After Ben's most recent edit, I still think this comment is a) crossing important rhetorical lines, and b) making some underlying errors. More thoughts here [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/um3FHuHfcHh98YYs9/duncan-sabien-in-defense-of-punch-bug#srZmauiZEbzn9G54p] . – Ray]
My attempt to explain Looking, insight meditation, and enlightenment in non-mysterious terms

Here's something puzzling me: in terms of abstract description, enlightenment sounds a lot like dissociation. Yet I'm under the impression that those who experience the former tend to find it Very Good, while those who experience the latter tend to find it Very Bad.

5Qiaochu_Yuan4yYeah, it's certainly very easy to confuse defusion and dissociation. Dissociation is something like trying not to let something in at all (a sensory experience or an emotion or a memory), whereas defusion is something like letting it in fully but then - not sure how to describe this part - feeling whatever you feel about it, and feeling calm one meta level up about whatever that is?
4Kaj_Sotala4yThat puzzles me too! I've experienced both this stuff and mild dissociative states on occasion, and yeah, they're indeed different in the way that you describe. And I don't have a model which would explain the difference. My best guess that the pattern of defusion is different, and that in dissociation you're somehow defused from your normal sense of self while still remaining fused with the conceptual structures that say that having a sense of self is important. Or something. :)
A Proper Scoring Rule for Confidence Intervals

Two spins only works for two possible answers. Do you need N spins for N answers?

5Scott Garrabrant4yYou are correct. It doesn't work for more than two answers. I knew that when I thought about this before, but forgot. Corrected above. I dont have a nice algorithm for N answers. I tried a bunch of the obvious simple things, and they dont work.
The Principled Intelligence Hypothesis

Many norm violations have specific victims.

1Chris_Leong4yYes, and it helps the victims, but how does the person who enforces the norms gain a reproductive advantage?
"Backchaining" in Strategy

I don't think it's just a matter of long vs. short term that makes or breaks backwards chaining--it's more a matter of the backwards branching factor.

For chess, this is enormous--you can't disjunctively consider every possible mate, nor can you break them into useful categories to reason about. And for each possible mate, there are too many immediate predecessors to them to get useful informaton. You can try to break the mates into categories and reason about those, but the details are so important here that you're unlikely to get ... (read more)

Announcement: AI alignment prize winners and next round

Datum: The existence of this prize has spurred me to put actual some effort into AI alignment, for reasons I don't fully understand--I'm confident it's not about the money, and even the offer of feedback isn't that strong an incentive, since I think anything worthwhile I posted on LW would get feedback anyway.

My guess is that it sends the message that the Serious Real Researchers actually want input from random amateur LW readers like me.

Also, the first announcement of the prize rules was in one ear and out the other for me. Reading thi... (read more)

Paper Trauma

This. I've decided that I'm done with organizing paper. Anything I'll ever need to read again, I make digital from the start. But I still use paper routinely, in essentially write-only fashion.

This is also a great thing about whiteboards--they foreclose even the option of creating management burden for yourself.

Epiphenomenal Oracles Ignore Holes in the Box

Honestly I'm not sure Oracles are the best approach either, but I'll push the Pareto frontier of safe AI design wherever I can.

Though I'm less worried about the epistemic flaws exacerbating a box-break--it seems an epistemically healthy AI breaking its box would be maximally bad already--but more about the epistemic flaws being prone to self-correction. For instance, if the AI constructs a subagent of the 'try random stuff, repeat whatever works' flavor.

Epiphenomenal Oracles Ignore Holes in the Box

The practical difference is that the counterfactual oracle design doesn't address side-channel attacks, only unsafe answers.

Internally, the counterfactual oracle is implemented via the utility function: it wants to give an answer that would be accurate if it were unread. This puts no constraints on how it gets that answer, and I don't see any way extend the technique to cover the reasoning process.

My proposal is implemented via a constraint on the AI's model of the world. Whether this is actually possible depends on the details of the AI; an... (read more)

Against the Linear Utility Hypothesis and the Leverage Penalty

I'm not sure your refutation of the leverage penalty works. If there really are 3 ↑↑↑ 3 copies of you, your decision conditioned on that may still not be to pay. You have to compare

P(A real mugging will happen) x U(all your copies die)

against

P(fake muggings happen) x U(lose five dollars) x (expected number of copies getting fake-mugged)

where that last term will in fact be proportional to 3 ↑↑↑ 3. Even if there is an incomprehensibly vast matrix, its Dark Lords are pretty unlikely to mug you for petty cash. And this plausibly does make you pay in the Muggle case, since P(fake muggings happen) is way down if 'mugging' involves tearing a hole in the sky.

9AlexMennen4yYes, it looks like you're right. I'll think about this and probably write a follow-up later. Edit: I have finally written that follow-up [https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/mBFqG3xjYazsPiZkH/more-on-the-linear-utility-hypothesis-and-the-leverage-prior] .
Against the Linear Utility Hypothesis and the Leverage Penalty

I think I disagree with your approach here.

I, and I think most people in practice, use reflective equilibrium to decide what our ethics are. This means that we can notice that our ethical intuitions are insensitive to scope, but also that upon reflection it seems like this is wrong, and thus adopt an ethics different from that given by our naive intuition.

When we're trying to use logic to decide whether to accept an ethical conclusion counter to our intuition, it's no good to document what our intuition currently says as if that settles the matte... (read more)

6AlexMennen4yWhen you use philosophical reflection to override naive intuition, you should have explicit reasons for doing so. A reason for valuing 10,000 lives 10 times as much as 1,000 lives is that both of these are tiny compared to the total number of lives, so if you valued them at a different ratio, this would imply an oddly sharp bend in utility as a function of lives, and we can tell that there is no such bend because if we imagine that there were a few thousand more or fewer people on the planet, our intuitions about that that particular tradeoff would not change. This reasoning does not apply to decisions affecting astronomically large numbers of lives, and I have not seen any reasoning that does which I find compelling. It is also not true that people are trying to figure out whether to overrule their intuition when they talk about Pascal's mugging; typically, they are trying to figure out how to justify not overruling their intuition. How else can you explain the preponderence of shaky "resolutions" to Pascal's mugging that accept the Linear Utility Hypothesis and nonetheless conclude that you should not pay Pascal's mugger, when "I tried to estimate the relevent probabilities fairly conservatively, multiplied probabilities times utilities, and paying Pascal's mugger came out far ahead" is usually not considered a resolution?
Thinking as the Crow Flies: Part 1 - Introduction

I get that old formalism isn't viable, but I don't see how that obviates the completeness question. "Is it possible that (e.g.) Goldbach's Conjecture has no counterexamples but cannot be proven using any intuitively satisfying set of axioms?" seems like an interesting* question, and seems to be about the completeness of mathematics-the-social-activity. I can't cash this out in the politics metaphor because there's no real political equivalent to theorem proving.

*Interesting if you don't consider it resolved by Godel, anyway.

Thinking as the Crow Flies: Part 1 - Introduction

>If you don't assume that mathematics is a formal logic, then worrying about mathematics does not lead one to consider completeness of mathematics in the first place.

To make sure I understand this right: This is because there are definitely computationally-intractable problems (e.g. 3^^^^^3-digit multiplication), so mathematics-as-a-social-activity is obviously incomplete?

1Anthony Hart4yNo. I'm not advocating for some sort of finitism, nor was Brouwer. In fact, I didn't actually mention computability, that's just something gjm brought up. It's irrelevant to my point. Mathematics is a social activity in the same way politics is a social activity. As in, it's an activity which is social, or at least predicated on some sort of society. Saying that mathematics is incomplete is as meaningful as saying that politics is incomplete in the same way a formal logic might be. It just doesn't make sense. Note that the intuitions which justify the usage of a particular axiom is not part of an axiom system, but those intuitions would still be part of mathematics. That's largely the intuitionist critique of "old" formalism. It was also used as a critique of logical positivism by Gödel.
Hero Licensing

Okay, I was kinda bored while reading this, but after reading it I asked myself how much modest epistomology I used in my life. I realized I wasn't even at the level of ignoring my immodest inside-view estimates —I wasn't generating them!

I'm now in the process of seriously evaluating the success chances of the creative ideas I've had over the years, which I'm realizing I never actually did. I put real (though hobby-level) work into one once, and I've long regarded quitting my day job someday as "a serious possibility"... (read more)

Hero Licensing

Agreed with Raemon that this was kinda boring. Chapters/sections weren't part of it for me, either. Just seemed to beat a dead horse a bit, especially after the rest of InEq.

I wouldn't have bothered with this criticism, except that I find the divided reaction interesting.

Mosquito killing begins

Anyone else hearing "Ride of the Valkyries" in their head?

Frequently Asked Questions for Central Banks Undershooting Their Inflation Target

Upvoted because I enjoyed reading it, and therefore personally want more stuff like it. Its shortcomings are real, in particular the concept of "not enough money to facilitate transactions" needs to be fleshed out. I only want more like it on the assumption that this doesn't funge against other Yudkowsky posts.

Moloch's Toolbox (2/2)

I think the Gaffe Theory is approximately correct. My sense is that there are two Overton Windows, one for what serious candidates can say, and one for what a mainstream publication can print an op-ed about.

Typical Minding Guilt/Shame

I think I have a similar problem. I sometimes just fake the signal. Partly I worry that my insincerity shows, but I also suspect that guilt/shame displays are just becoming devalued in general.

My best solution is to display a (genuine) determination to do better in the future--in fact, I've basically made that my personal definition of an apology. The only trouble is that I can't do this when I don't actually feel I've acted wrongly, which is especially a problem insofar as guilt for things that aren't your fault is sometimes expec

... (read more)
Postmodernism for rationalists

Why speak in riddles? Because sometimes solving a puzzle teaches you more than being the solution.

As an observation about coffee, Zizek's statement is true in its way but not especially useful. His broader point is "you should think about history and context more." So he presents you with two physically identical items, coffee without milk and coffee without cream, so that you can be surprised by noticing that there's potentially an important difference, and that surprise will make you update towards considering context and history as w

... (read more)
Multidimensional signaling

Interestingly, this is actually ameliorated by culture being cut along socioeconomic lines. So the people who try to wear a given style mostly have similar wealth, and therefore most of the variation in their stylistic quality is not caused by wealth variation.

Why no total winner?

One point you neglect that would be especially relevant in the AGI scenario is leakiness of accumulated advantage. When the advantage is tech, the leaks take the pretty concrete form of copying the tech. But there's also a sense that in a globalized world, undeveloped nations will often grow faster, catching up to the more prosperous nations.

Leakiness probably explains why Britain was never strong enough to conquer Europe despite having the Industrial Revolution first.

Productive Disagreement Practice Thread: Double Crux

I thought you were suggesting I shouldn't have posted this on frontpage, in which case we'd obviously disagree. If not, then we agree.

1lahwran4yI think the windows repository thread shouldn't have been on the front page.
Productive Disagreement Practice Thread: Double Crux

I don't consider the second point a disagreement, since we're both sort of ambivalent. I'm pretty sure there are people who would think I'm unambiguously wrong not to be signed up, and they're who I was looking for.

On the first point--this actually seems substantial, maybe worth pursuing. I think initial-distribution measures carry a substantial risk of backfiring and making the poor poorer, while redistribution does not--seems hard to expect the same results if this is the case. This isn't necessarily a crux for me, but I

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1panickedapricott4yIf I believed this to be true I think I would take your position. But because you would not change your mind if you believed this was false I too, do not believe this counts as the crux of our disagreement. I'll give it a shot this time. My proposed crux is that much of what we believe about the causes of poverty (crime... ect. ) are likely false in such a way that we are completely missing something conceptual in our models (including the one you stated above) or the causes are more powerful than our greatest operational intitutions can influence. (Age, genetics, ect)
Productive Disagreement Practice Thread: Double Crux

I agree that on LW 1.0, this would belong under discussion rather than main. But as far as I can tell, LW 2.0 non-frontpage posts have much less visibility than old discussion posts, to the point that this type of thread would not be viable.

Perhaps our double crux is "Non-frontpage LW 2.0 posts are a viable platform for open-type threads"? Or maybe it's "It's better to be unable to have open-type threads than to crowd the front page with them"?

1lahwran4yI agree that the policy I propose is annoying and limiting on the site as it is. I'm proposing a policy that would mandate having a new section (one that is already planned, and that I argued for precisely because I value discussions.) I currently suspect we don't actually have a double Crux, and simply agree. does that seem true to you?
Productive Disagreement Practice Thread: Double Crux
  • In economic policy, redistribution measures (e.g. UBI) are a better idea than trying to change the initial distribution (e.g. minimum wage).

  • It is not especially irrational to forego cryonics.

1panickedapricott4yOn your first point. If better is defined as affect on crime, dependency, poverty, and mental-illness I would expect NO to "negligible" difference between the two. It's a minor disagreement I guess. On your second point. I feel like the answer to this question is subjective and depends largely on how much someone values the future. I'm pretty optimistic about it so I think it's worth the 0.05% chance it would give me as opposed.
Productive Disagreement Practice Thread: Meta and Planning

So I was actually considering in-thread discussion to be a valid option--'one-on-one' meaning, in that case, that only two people would participate in a given subthread. If you think that's too optimistic, I might reconsider it. But I will definitely try to make the top point clearer, maybe

Discussions are to be one-on-one. Do not jump into anyone else's thread.

Moderator's Dilemma: The Risks of Partial Intervention

I find this easier to parse from a non-neutral perspective: If all bad comments are (currently) overtly bad, you might think we could ban overt bad comments and win at moderation. But in fact, once the ban is in effect, the bad commenters might switch to covert bad comments instead.

The ban isn't necessarily wrong, but this effect has to be considered in the cost-benefit analysis.

Moderator's Dilemma: The Risks of Partial Intervention

That's the correct solution for food weights, but this is sort of beyond philh's point, which is just that those you govern will adapt their behavior to the rules you put in place.

2AndHisHorse4yThat may be enough: https://xkcd.com/810/
Musings on Double Crux (and "Productive Disagreement")

These differences are so profound and far-reaching—and so especially relevant for people with “our sort” of minds—that I hesitate to even begin enumerating them (though I’ll attempt to, upon request; but they should be obvious, I think!

I request this enumeration, if your offer extends to interlopers and not just Duncan.

(The differences I can think of are instant vs asynchronous communication, nonverbal+verbal vs. verbal only, and speaking only to one another vs. having an audience. But I don't see why these are *inevitably* so profound and far-reachin

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Musings on Double Crux (and "Productive Disagreement")

This makes me want to try it :)

Would anyone else be interested in a (probably recurring if successful) "Productive disagreement practice thread"? Having a wider audience than one meetup's attendance should make it easier to find good disagreements, while being within LW would hopefully secure good faith.

I imagine a format where participants make top-level comments listing beliefs they think likely to generate productive disagreement, then others can pick a belief to debate one-on-one.

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