All of Xylitol's Comments + Replies

Xylitol's Shortform

Can we model almost all money choices in our life as ethical offsetting problems?

Example 1: You do not give money to a homeless person on the street, or to a friend who's struggling financially and maybe doesn't show the best sense when it comes to money management. You give the money you save to a homeless shelter or to politicians promoting basic income or housing programs.

Example 2: You buy cheaper clothes from a company that probably treats its workers worse than other companies. You give the money you save to some organization that promotes ethical gl... (read more)

2Dagon17dI think the critical caveat dominates here. Most of the time, it's not "give to a homeless street beggar vs donate additional to a shelter", but "give now vs an undefined use of the money later, probably less charitable than you like to think".
Xylitol's Shortform

There could be knock-on effects of increasing demand for non-AI-generated analogues, increasing harm.

1irarseil1mo(Formato edited) There could also be effects of decreasing demand for non-AI-generated analogues, because of potential consumers of this kind of content being satisfied with these virtual, AI-generated, no-one-was-harmed analogues, hence reducing harm. I can see how sex with real children leads to moral condemnation and to legal punishment. But if no real child is ever involved in this it seems to me that it's an instance of "disgust leads to moral condemnation leads to legal punishment / prohibition of the material".
Xylitol's Shortform

How long will it take until high-fidelity, AI-generated porn becomes an effective substitute for person-generated porn?

Here are some important factors: Is it ethical? Is it legal? Does the output look genuine? Is it cost-effective?

Possible benefits:

  • More Privacy. If significant markets still exist for porn images, the images taken of porn actors will be used for data rather than as-is, which means that their identity can be protected from the consumer.
  • More Boutique Offerings. If massive volumes of fairly derivative AI-generated pornography can be created
... (read more)
4JBlack1moWhy is the really unpleasant case really unpleasant? While I'm not particularly interested in seeking out such material, I'm not averse to the possibility of its mere existence. It might be unpleasant if it were forced in my face in the form of ads, though.
NVIDIA and Microsoft releases 530B parameter transformer model, Megatron-Turing NLG

I'm not sure how relevant the slowdown in compute price decrease is to this chart, since it starts in 2018 and the slowdown started 6-8 years ago; likewise, AlexNet, the breakout moment for deep learning, was 9 years ago. So if compute price is the primary rate-limiter, I'd think it would have a more gradual, consistent effect as models get bigger and bigger. The slowdown may mean that models cost quite a lot to train, but clearly huge companies like Nvidia and Microsoft haven't started shying away yet from spending absurd amounts of money to keep growing their models.

NVIDIA and Microsoft releases 530B parameter transformer model, Megatron-Turing NLG

I'd hesitate to make predictions based on the slowdown of GPT-3 to Megatron-Turing, for two reasons.

First, GPT-3 represents the fastest, largest increase in model size in this whole chart. If you only look at the models before GPT-3, the drawn trend line tracks well. Note how far off the trend GPT-3 itself is.

Second, GPT-3 was released almost exactly when COVID became a serious concern in the world beyond China. I must imagine that this slowed down model development, but it will be less of a factor going forward.

3Quintin Pope1moIf you just look at models before GPT-3, the trend line you’d draw is still noticeably steeper than the actual line on the graph. (ELMO and BERT large are below trend while T5 and Megatron 8.3B are above.) The new Megatron would represent the biggest trend line undershoot. Also, I think any post COVID speedup will be more than drown out by the recent slow down in the rate at which compute prices fall []. They were dropping by an OOM every 4 years, but now it’s every 10-16 years.
(Book Review) The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality

On your question about Hitler getting eugenic ideas from the US—yes, there's some evidence that he did. Although I haven't read it yet, the book "Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law" looks like a readable introduction to this concept.

(Book Review) The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality

Yup, it's a problem. As an American I've had an optometrist not want to give me my prescription!

3Viliam2moThings like this make me wonder... You know, I don't think that USA is dysfunctional as a whole, at least not more than an average developed country. But some details seem deeply dysfunctional. And most Americans probably think it is completely normal, while everyone else is shaking their heads in disbelief. And I suppose other countries have the same problem, except with a different set of details. (Like, in Slovakia, getting a prescription for glasses is trivial. But after we learned about how our system handles childbirth, we decided to have our child born in Austria instead. And our neighbors didn't understand, because all the things we complained about, are just normal from their perspective.) Is there a way to fix this? Like, if I was a dictator of the planet, I would probably make it mandatory for everyone to spend at least one year of their life in a foreign country. And I mean like mingling with the locals, not grudgingly staying in a ghetto with their compatriots. So that people would have a chance to see which things can be done differently, so when they return, they can make an informed choice. Just making a documentary would probably not be enough. The author would probably insert their political biases there (e.g. Michael Moore couldn't criticize American healthcare [] without making some absurd statements about healthcare in Cuba). Also, the point is not to criticize one specific country, but rather to allow people worldwide to learn from each other.
(Book Review) The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality

Indeed! It wasn't rare by any means. A great book about this is Illiberal Reformers.

2Viliam2moIt was a true bipartisan dream. I suppose the Right likes the idea that some people are inherently more valuable than others, and the Left likes the idea that the benefit of the collective is superior to the desires and rights of an individual. The question is, how exactly it fell out of favor -- was it only because Nazis happened to be enemies in WW2? (By the way, did Hitler get this idea from USA?) Does this suggest that in a parallel universe branch where Hitler didn't happen, eugenics is still popular and perhaps considered common sense? Or did it fall out of fashion in some other way? Too bad we have no way of finding out.
(Book Review) The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality

That's definitely fair, though it's plausible that some benefits of education do not depend solely on increases in income or social connections. For example, a meta-analysis by Ritchie et al. suggests that education may itself improve intelligence. I do agree, however, that more fine-grained (and more difficult to measure) metrics than "number of years of education" would help sharpen the argument.