alkjash's Shortform

Hey! Could you say more about a causal link between Sequences and writing these papers, please:

I was able to do from muscle memory certain calculations about conditional probability and expectation that might have taken weeks otherwise (if we figured them out at all). I attribute this ability in large part to reading the Sequences.

I think my confusion comes from (a) having enough math background (read some chapters of The Probabilistic Method yers ago); (b) while reading Sequences and more so AF discussions added to my understanding of formal epistemology, I am surprised that your emphasis how Sequences affected your muscle memory and ability to do calculations.

What are Examples of Great Distillers?

As this answer got upvoted, I collected some Dubna's courses read in English, for which recordings are available (look for "Доступны 4 видеозаписи курса.")

What are Examples of Great Distillers?
Models predicting significant violence in the US?

Metaculus 2020 U.S. Election Risks Survey doesn't give >1% for >5000 deaths, but I think it is justified to infer something like that from it:

While large-scale violence and military intervention to quell civil unrest seem unlikely, experts still judged these possibilities to be far from remote. Experts predicted a median of 60 deaths occurring due to election-related violence, with an 80% confidence interval of 0 to 912 fatalities that reflects a high degree of uncertainty. Still, the real possibility of violence is a notable departure from the peaceful transitions that have been the hallmark of past U.S. elections. Results indicate an 8% probability of over 1,000 election-related deaths — suggesting that while widespread sustained clashes are unlikely, this possibility warrants real concern. Experts assigned a 10% median prediction that President Trump will invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize troops during the transition period.

Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

A better example: one might criticize CDC for lack of advice aimed at the vulnerable demographics. But absence might result not from lack of judgment but from political constraints. E.g. jimrandomh writes:

Addendum: A whistleblower claims that CDC wanted to advise elderly and fragile people to not fly on commercial airlines, but removed this advice at the White House's direction.

Upd: this might be indicative of other negative characteristics of CDC (which might contribute to unreliability) but I don't know enough about the US gov to asses it.

Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

While for me it is, indeed, a reason to put less weight on their analysis or expect less useful work/analysis to be done by them in a short/medium-term.

But I think this consideration, also, weakens certain types of arguments about the CDC's lack of judgment/untrustworthiness. For example, arguments like "they did this, but should have done better" loses part of its bayesian weight as the organization likely made a lot of decisions under time pressure and other constraints. And things are more likely to go wrong if you're under-stuffed and hence prioritize more aggressively.

I don't expect to have a good judgment here, but it seems to me that "testing kits the CDC sent to local labs were unreliable" might fall here. It might have been a right call for them to distribute tests quickly and ~skip ensuring that tests didn't have a false positive problem.

Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

Unless there are large enough demographics for which this post looks credible while FB conspiracies do not.

Bucky's Shortform

If the only issue is tone, you could write something like: 'Initially, I was confused/surprised by the core claim you made but reading this, this, and that [or thinking for 15 minutes/further research] made me believe that your position is basically correct'. This looks quite

[...] "Yes, you are correct about that" comes across as quite arrogant [...]
Epistea Workshop Series: Epistemics Workshop, May 2020, UK

I attended Epistea Summer Experiment and greatly enjoyed it. (At the same time I am quite skeptical about value of any rationality workshops for EA-inspired work.)

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