All of wnoise's Comments + Replies

For a trivial example, see any discussion about utility monsters.

Say more about the relevance?

Yet here we have a high-quality and very well received post about politics, and of the ~70 comments only one appears to have been mindkilled.


Being about political mechanisms rather than object-level disagreements helps a lot.  Even though political mechanisms is an object-level disagreement for monarchists vs republicans.

This is one of those "The future is already here — it's just not evenly distributed" situations.  Training is hard and expensive.  Using is not.  Whether you need to retrain for a given target is an architectural decision -- it does make it harder to train (but sublinearly in targets).

A spelling mistake like the wrongly placed comma "please ,I was" is also unlikely for any attack that's sophisticated enough to be a deepfake attempt.

I agree with the other points, but not this:  sophistication is not a scalar.  It's quite possible to have access to sophisticated tools (which replicate and scale easily), but be sloppy or bad at English orthography (and not realize it).  

I don't think this is useful evidence for deep-fake scam over video-replay scam or vice-versa, but it could easily be evidence for either scam over actual help attempt.  It depends entirely on how out of character such a misplaced comma would be for this particular friend.

At the moment deep-fake technology does not replicate and scale easily. Those attacks where it gets used are likely either high-stakes espionage or about stealing a significant amount of money. 

sociopaths by the clinical definition make about 1-4% of population.

smart sociopaths make maybe 0.1% of the population

Are you asserting that "smart" is top decile to 2.5%, or that sociopathy is correlated to intelligence?

I'd consider a sigma away from the mean to be smart, so 0.3-1.3%.

I didn't mean to imply any specific correlation.

A video of Daniel Dennett giving an excellent talk on free will at the Santa Fe Institute: It largely follows the general Less Wrong consensus, but dives into how this construction is useful in the punishment and moral agent contexts more than I've seen developed here.

Altering the structure of divorce alters the payoff-matrix for behaviors inside the marriage itself.

It's helpful to go a bit further for these corrections. What's the reason not to use "uncorrelated" here?

In ordinary English, "uncorrelated" is indeed used for this (and a host of other things, because ordinary English is very vague). The problem is that it means something else in probability theory, namely the much weaker statement E(a-E(a)) E(b-E(b)) = E((a-E(a)(b-E(b)), which is implied by independence (p(a,b) = p(a)p(b)), but not does not imply independence. If we want to speak to those who know some probability theory, this clash of meaning is a pr... (read more)

I know that Eliezer knows quite a lot of mathematics. His article was clearly written for people who are at least a bit comfortable with mathematics. So it's reasonable to suppose (1) that a substantial fraction of readers will have encountered something like the mathematical notion of "uncorrelated" and might therefore be confused by having the word used to denote something else, and (2) that in notifying Eliezer of this it's OK to be pretty terse about it. For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not disagreeing with anything you said, just explaining why I just made the brief statement I did rather than offering more explanation.
E(a-E(a)) and E(b-E(b)) are both identically zero, so this would be more simply put (and restoring some missing parentheses) as E((a-E(a))(b-E(b))) = 0. Or after shifting the means of both variables to zero, E(ab) = 0.

The usual situation is that both detectors actually have some correlation to Q, and thereby have some correlation to each other.

This need not be the case. Consider a random variable Z that is the sum of two random independent variables X and Y. Expert A knows X, and is thus correlated with Z. Expert B knows Y and is thus correlated with Z. Expert A and B can still be uncorrelated. In fact, you can make X and Y slightly anticorrelated, and still have them both be positively correlated with Z.

Just consider the limiting case - both are perfect predictors of Q, with value 1 for Q, and value 0 for not Q. And therefore, perfectly correlated. Consider small deviations from those perfect predictors. The correlation would still be large. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the details of both predictors. Sometimes they will be more correlated with each other than with Q, sometimes more correlated with Q than each other. The degree of correlation with of A and B with Q will impose limits on the degree of correlation between A and B. And of course, correlation isn't really the issue here anyway, much more like mutual information, with the same sort of triangle inequality limits to the mutual information. If someone is feeling energetic and really wants to work this our, I'd recommend looking into triangle inequalities for mutual information measures, and the previously mentioned work by Jaynes on the maximum entropy estimate of a variable from it's known correlation with two other variables, and how that constrains the maximum entropy estimate of the correlation between the other two.

That's the big one I can think of, and this usually arises in a very different context where it's easy to dehumanize those forced to take such tests: alleged criminals and children.

(Even in these contexts, peeing in a cup or taking a breathalyzer is quite a bit less severe than enduring a forced pregnancy. Mandatory blood draws for DUIs do upset a signifianct number of people. How you feel about employment tests and sports doping might depend on how you feel about economic coercion and whether it's truly "mandatory".)

We don't, for instance, require people to donate redundant organs, nor even blood. Nor is organ donation mandatory even after death (prehaps it should be).

What are some cases where we do require people to give up their bodily autonomy?

Mandatory drug testing?

They essentially have already updated on their own testimony.

Operationally, it's a distinction without a difference.

Since the way this whole nest of comments got started was whether it makes sense to identify entropy with incomplete information, I'd say my reply to you was made with loaded language :P

Likewise, the position "every sperm is sacred" seems mistaken because sperm are by nature fungible (and beyond that, we can complain about the word sacred).

In what way are sperm fungible? There is usually a wide variety of difference between two random ones from the same person. After all, half the genetic variability of two siblings is due to the difference in sperm.

It's true that differences are such that we can't easily tell much difference between any two sperm (of the same sex and chromosome number) -- but the same is true of a just fer... (read more)

Agreed. It mostly seems that way because they're massively overproduced, but you are right to question that. I think I'm going to turn to my claim about future development as important in identifying sperm as more fungible and fertilized eggs and beyond as less fungible, but I agree that claim is weaker than I thought it was when I made it.
  1. Wouldn't Gibbs free energy be more appropriate? pV should be available for work too.

  2. I find myself slightly confused by that definition. Energy in straight quantum mechanics (or classical Newtonian mechanics) is a torsor. There is no preferred origin, and adding any constant to all the states changes the evolution not at all. It therefore must not change the extractable work. So the free energies are clearly incorrectly defined, and must instead be defined relative to the ground state. In which case, yes, you could extract all the energy above that, if you knew the precise state, and could manipulate the system finely enough.

1) Meh. 2) Right. I clarified this two posts down: "the free energy change between two states is the work you can extract by moving between those two states." So just like for energy, the zero point of free energy can be shifted around with no (classical) consequences, and what really matters (like what comes out of engines and stuff) is the relative free energy.

Given a quantum state, you can always tell me the entropy of that specific quantum state. It's 0.

Only for pure states. Any system you have will be mixed.

I believe you mean "you will have incomplete information about any system you could really have."

Some people report that it's easier to remove tonsilloliths as well as a possible reduction in formation. If you don't get them, not a concern, of course.

Every rational number has two infinite decimal expansions.

No. Every terminating number has two infinite decimal expansions, one ending with all zeros, the other with all nines.

1/3, for instance is only representable as 0.333... , while 1/8th is representable as 0.124999... and 0.125.

Oh right, thanks for catching that.

It's a standard joke about mathematicians vs everybody else, and I intended it as such. I can do limited visualization in the 4th dimension (hypercubes and 5-cells (hypertetrahedra), not something as complicated as the 120-cell or even the 24-cell), but it's by extending from a 3-d visualization with math knowledge, rather than specializing n to 4.

Doing specific rotations by breaking it into steps is possible. Rotations by 90 degrees through the higher dimensions is doable with some effort -- it's just coordinate swapping after all. You can make checks that you got it right. Once you have this mastered, you can compose it with rotations that don't touch the higher dimensions. Then compose again with one of these 90 degree rotations, and you have an effective rotation through the higher dimensions.

(Understanding the commutation relations for rotation helps in this breakdown, of course. If you can then go on to understanding how the infinitesimal rotations work, you've got the whole thing down.)

Just visualize n dimensions, and then set n = 4.

You might as well tell me to 'just' grow wings and fly away...

Morals are modeled as axioms in certain formulations.

Without the fnord, of course.

0Paul Crowley11y
What "of course"?

I would be quite interested in seeing such. Unfortunately I don't have any time to look for such in the foreseeable future.

It's actually somewhat tricky to establish that the rules of probability apply to the Frequentist meaning of probability. You have to mess around with long run frequencies and infinite limits. Even once that's done, it hard to make the case that the Frequentist meaning has anything to do with the real world -- there are no such thing as infinitely repeatable experiments.

In contrast, a few simple desiderata for "logical reasoning under uncertainty" establish probability theory as the only consistent way to do so that satisfy those criteria. Sure, other criteria may suggest some other way of doing so, but no one has put forward any such reasonable way.

Could Dempster-Shafer theory [] count? I haven't seen anyone do a Cox-style derivation of it, but I would guess there's something analogous in Shafer's original book.

It's not clear that the effect is really there, and certainly isn't as strong as originally thought:

U.Cal-Santa Barbara psychology professor Jonathan Schooler has a problem. The certitude of a phenomenon that made him a rock star in academic circles — he called it “verbal overshadowing,” and he published the results 20 years ago — is beginning to break down. And its fragility is calling the entire scientific method into question.

This is very interesting, as the concept of verbal overshadowing seems to me to make a lot of sense of a lot of things. Finding it's actually wrong would be useful too. Thank you.

It seems much of our cognitive architecture was developed in the context of social situations. Indeed, the standard experiments on checking modus ponens and modus tollens understanding show sharp increases in ability when they are presented as social rules (e.g. checking whether someone is violating the "minor drinking alcohol" rules, rather than cards gives much higher performance). Testing whether you understand a social rule by deliberately violating your current understanding can be a very, ... (read more)

We're good at reasoning with social situations, and bad with more abstract situations. As such, we can't be doing them the same way. Something that helps in social situations is unlikely to cause a bias in more abstract situations. In other words, our current architecture was developed in the context of social situations, and the fact that we do significantly better in those situations shows that it's the only time we use it. Otherwise, we use different, lousy architecture that won't exhibit the same biases.

It's not a spectral color. That is, no one wavelength of light can reproduce it. But I've seen magenta things, and there is widespread intersubjective agreement about what is magenta and what isn't. It damn well is a color.

Do not confuse concepts when you use a confusing word. There is no wavelength simultaneously above 740nm and below 450nm. There is a vector for monitor pixels. Whatever it is you mean by "color", these two facts explain magenta. Think like the star, not like the starfish.

FWIW, I think my three preferred terms are "Probabilities", "Frequencies", and "Normed Measure Theory". That's what Kolmogorov's formalization amounts to anyway, and as the OP said it truly need not be connected to either probabilities or frequencies in a given use.

I think Normal_Anomaly means "judged according to the old utility function".

EDIT: Incorrect gender imputation corrected.

I do mean that, fixed. By the way, I am female (and support genderless third-person pronouns, FWIW).

I think this works better as "lose an argument with a Bayesian". Because then the Bayesian really does hand you your new belief.

A link to said post would help.

5brazil8412y []

Yeah, pretty much. If it were bigger, I might call it a Culture orbital).

The scale of curvature there makes it clear it's not 1 AU in radius.

Fair enough, I suppose. But then it's not really a ring world so much as a... what? Space station?

I await with bated breath.

I'm glad to know you are so interested in what I have to say. ETA: My blog post is up as of today (11/17/11)

Again, it seems pretty clear to me that you do not understand the case against Knox and Sollecito, which is far more than "slightly odd behavior."

You act as if there is one unified "case against Knox and Sollecito". There is not. There are many, as different people who believe Knox and Sollecito did it find different aspects to be more convincing. We understand plenty of cases against Knox and Sollecito just fine -- the ones we have read that have been made clearly. What is true is that we don't understand the case you have in m... (read more)

Perhaps reasonable people can differ on fine gradations of significance among the more important pieces of evidence, but, for example, anyone who seriously believes that Knox's "mannerisms" are among the best pieces of evidence against her has seriously missed the boat. Anyway, if I have the time I will put together a blog post laying out what I think are the most important pieces of evidence and Knox (and Sollecito).

I'm not Desrtopa, but I had heard about the call way back in 2009. I dismissed it as essentially irrelevant, because no one who has mentioned it has ever said anything convincing about how it was inculpatory. Apparently it was supposed to be obvious? But it wasn't, not to me, nor apparently to Desrtopa. At best I can make strawman arguments which I find easy to knock down. Having you respond to those would be a waste of everyone's time. So please, just tell me why you found this call suspicious.

I don't speak Italian. I have been limited to secondar... (read more)


That's an entirely reasonable argument that it shouldn't be called that.

But it is called that, and you have to be able to communicate with those who use it thus, or have it heard it this way, even while working to change the nomenclature.

Assuming you are accurately summarizing the contents of the call, it's suggestive of guilt. The fact that you (seem to) have no idea why is telling.

I too have no idea. Yes, it's something a person who has something to hide and doesn't want to involve the police might do. It's also something a confused college kid in a foreign place might do on encountering any hiccup. Completely consistent with either guilt or innocence means it sways me very little.


I don't remember that far back, so I used my earliest comment (imported from Overcoming Bias) as the date.

note the one word that makes this sentence more interesting:

At exactly 10:19 A.M. yesterday, a grandmother's purse on a conveyor belt at Orange Country airport set off an alarm that caused two security guard's to rush to the scene.

Is it the word left out after "guard's"? Because, man, it really makes me want to know what two things of the security guard rushed to the scene.

Typo, it was supposed to be "guards".

The tailbit of Poul Anderson's "Uncleftish Beholding":

Some of the higher samesteads are splitly. That is, when a neitherbit strikes the kernel of one, as for a showdeal ymirstuff-235, it bursts into lesser kernels and free neitherbits; the latter can then split more ymirstuff-235. When this happens, weight shifts into work. It is not much of the whole, but nevertheless it is awesome.

With enough strength, lightweight unclefts can be made to togethermelt. In the s

... (read more)
This is just begging to be a text in an alternative history novel.
In case people want a lot more of this: []
Cute. When I first glanced at it, my 0-th reaction was "what the....???" - and then I saw the "235" Amazing how fast everything fell into place after that...

anonymous internet posters

Pseudonymous. There are many similarities, but having a long-standing name does have significant differences, even if the name isn't tied to one's "real-life" name.

HY = EY is not the Schrödinger equation - it is the energy eigenstate equation.

Which is often called the time-independent Schrödinger equation. The one with the d/dt is then called the time-dependent Schrödinger equation.

What's that Lincoln quote about ducks and calling things? Point is, Schrodinger's Equation contains within it an implication which leads to the energy eigenstate equation. Conflating the two is bad terminology, even if it's common. I would not call the force balance equation from statics "Newton's 2nd Law" - why should I do that in quantum mechanics, calling the Energy Eigenstate Equation "Schrodinger's Equation"? My more recent textbook goes out of its way to separate the two as it was found that conflating them was impeding students' understanding of quantum mechanics (though it does so in part by eliminating the term 'Schrodinger Equation' altogether).
Typo: one instance of "dependent" (the first, if I'm reading Wikipedia [] correctly) needs to be "independent".


I cannot help but be reminded of the following line:

"I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence." -- General Ripper, Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

More seriously, what would be the equivalent for women?

Devices such as the Sybian? There is good reason to believe that this and other such stimulation aids are indeed examples of overstimulus. (Though I have never heard of addiction problems.)

When see the laws of QM, it somehow feels like the kind of quirks I could make in implementing a simulator

It feels like it, but if anything it's the opposite. It's my experience that many people on the border between CS and physics have this thought. However, it's actually much harder to simulate quantum systems than classical systems, and in fact quantum simulation is one of the reasons physicists are interested in quantum computers. (Other people are interested in other problems that quantum computers can do better than classically.)

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