Cornell Meetup

I am a first year CS PhD student at Cornell, and interested (though not currently working on it).  I will DM you.

2021 Darwin Game - Tundra

Which random factors caused the frostwing snippers to die out? Them migrating out? Competitors or predators migrating in? Or is there some chance of not getting the seed, even if they're the only species left? I didn't get a good look at the source code, but I thought things were fairly deterministic once only one species was left.

The Trolley Problem

In most formulations, the five people are on the track ahead, not in the trolley.

I took a look at the course you mentioned:

It looks like I got some of the answers wrong.

Where am I? 

In the trolley.  You, personally, are not in immediate danger.

Who am I?

A trolley driver.

Who's in the trolley?

You are.  No one in the trolley is in danger.

Who's on the tracks?

Five workers ahead, one to the right.

Do I work for the trolley company?


The problem was not as poorly specified as you implied it to be.

The Trolley Problem

What year is it?

Current year.

Where am I? 

Near a trolley track.

Who am I?


Who's in the trolley?

You don't know.

Who's on the tracks?

You don't know.

Who designed the trolley?

You don't know.

Who is responsible for the brake failure?

You don't know.

Do I work for the trolley company?

Assume that you're the only person who can pull the lever in time, and it wouldn't be difficult or costly for you to do so. If your answer still depends on whether or not you work for the trolley company, you are different from most (WEIRD) people, and should explain both cases explicitly.

If so, what are its standard operating procedures for this situation?

Either there are none, or you're actually not in the situation above, but creating those procedures right now.

What would my family think?

I don't know, maybe you have an idea.

Would either decision affect my future job prospects?


Is there a way for me to fix the systemic problem of trolleys crashing in thought experiments?

Maybe, but not before the trolley crashes.

Can I film the crash and post the video online?


Matryoshka Faraday Box

If Scarlet pressed the PANIC button then she would receive psychiatric counseling, three months mandatory vacation, optional retirement at full salary and disqualification for life from the most elite investigative force in the system.

This sounds familiar, but some quick searching didn't bring anything up.  Is it a reference to something?

Bayes' Theorem

From the old wiki discussion page:

I'm thinking we can leave most of the discussion of probability to Wikipedia. There might be more to say about Bayes as it applies to rationality but that might be best shoved in a separate article, like Bayesian or something. Also, I couldn't actually find any OB or LW articles directly about Bayes' theorem, as opposed to Bayesian rationality--if anyone can think of one, please add it. --A soulless automaton 19:31, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I'd rather go for one article than break out a separate one for Bayesian - we can start splitting things out if the articles start to grow too long. --Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) 22:58, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I added what I thought was the minimal technical information. I lean towards keeping separate concepts separate, even if the articles are sparse. If someone else feels it would be worthwhile to combine them though, go ahead. --BJR 23:07, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I really would prefer to keep the maths and statistics separate from the more nebulous day-to-day rationality stuff, especially since Wikipedia already does an excellent job of covering the former, while the latter is much more OB/LW-specific. --A soulless automaton 21:59, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
The Wiki is Dead, Long Live the Wiki! [help wanted]

For wiki pages which are now tags, should we remove linked LessWrong posts, since they are likely listed below?

What should the convention be for linking to people's names? For example, I have seen the following:

  • LessWrong profile
  • Personal website/blog
  • Wiki/tag page on person
  • Wikipedia article on person
  • No link
  • No name

Finally, should the "see also" section be a comma-separated list after the first paragraph, or a bulleted list at the end of the page?

Tofly's Shortform

Thanks. I had skimmed that paper before, but my impression was that it only briefly acknowledged my main objection regarding computational complexity on page 4. Most of the paper involves analogies with evolution/civilization which I don't think are very useful-my argument is that the difficulty of designing intelligence should grow exponentially at high levels, so the difficulty of relatively low-difficulty tasks like designing human intelligence doesn't seem that important.

On page 35, Eliezer writes:

I am not aware of anyone who has defended an “intelligence fizzle” seriously and at great length.

I will read it again more thoroughly, and see if there's anything I missed.

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