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Peter's COVID Consolidated Brief for 2 April

What would you expect to happen if those experts started participating in Metaculus?

Covid-19 Points of Leverage, Travel Bans and Eradication

Are there any other organizations that should get a reputation boost from this event? I'm thinking about organizations like HEB supermarket and USPS.

How can we estimate how many people are C19 infected in an area?
Answer by ZianMar 20, 20202

A few theoretical data sources that are pretty geographically specific:

  • Hospital patient care records
  • 911 calls
  • Patient records from 911 calls
  • 311 calls
  • 911 detailed questions and answers

In the United States, some more concrete thoughts :

  • 911 calls can be aggregated by asking my day job to integrate with your database.
  • Detailed Q and A in 911 can be aggregated by the Q and A software vendor's partners (hi!) or themselves.
  • Patient data from 911 is aggregated sporadically at the state level (NEMSIS) and my employer
  • Hospital data is aggregated by ESSENCE (CDC and state level) with an unknown delay
  • There are also other sporadic aggregators of hospital data.

If this is too much advertising, you can edit or reject this comment.

To summarize, your question is somewhat technically feasible. It's just a lot of work.

A game designed to beat AI?
Answer by ZianMar 18, 20201

Couldn't you just pick a game that was most similar to the unsolved problems in AI? For example, you could say that the AI box experiment is a game.

LessWrong Coronavirus Link Database

Model: Prevalence in Bay Area & Other Places prompts for me to ask permission to view the document.

Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020

I noticed that even though I may not be as optimized in the matter of investments as others (hi, Wei Dai!), the basic rationality principles still help a lot. This morning, when I went to invest my usual chunk of my paycheck, I reflected on my actions and realized that the following principles were helping me (and had helped me in the past) buy stuff that were likely undervalued:

  • pre-commitment (to a certain fund allocation)
  • think about it for more than 5 min (to putting in the up front leg work and reading to determine my investing approach)
  • use the try harder, Luke (repetitively following the investment plan week after week even in bad times; overcoming changes in brokerages and entire financial firms going away)

It's nice to have dramatic examples of "rationalists should win" from other people. But for me, nothing beats personal experience with even small examples of "winning".

Open & Welcome Thread - January 2020

This week, I noticed that a medical textbook (Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine) explicitly described Bayes Theorem in the first pages of a chapter about diagnostic tests. It went on to describe how strongly you should update your beliefs based on various symptoms/tests (e.g. "Presence of daytime headache" means you should update __this hard__ towards having a sleep problem but if you don't have a headache, you should update __different amount__ in the other direction).

I thought it was neat that this type of thinking is being used in medicine's textbook orthodoxy.

Open Thread May 2019

Am I using the concept of expected value correctly in the following thought experiment?

I have a machine. I currently believe that there is a 50-50 chance it is broken. I know that buying a new one will cost $329.

If I buy a new one right now, there's no chance I'll get evidence out of thin air that the old one is actually fine so the expected value is $329*100%=$329.

If I spend $5.45, I can get enough evidnece to either put an end to the question or give me a 70% chance that the machine is really broken. Now the expected value calculation is $5.45*.5 = $2.73 if the machine was fine all along or ($329+5.45)*.5=$167.23 if I race off and buy a new machine. Adding the two, I get $169.96.

Finally, I can spend $75 on a fancy test that will conclusively say if the machine is broken. The expected value for "machine was fine all along" if I get this far is ($5.45+$75) * .3=$24.14 or $286.62 if my machine turned out to need replacing with a total cost of $310.76.

It feels right to me that the cost of doing the simple test is a much smaller number than assuming the machine is broken but is it really right to say that the cost of all gathering all the extra evidence & buying a new machine is still cheaper than buying the machine without doing the extra testing?

Extra conjecture: The answer is "Yes" because if I do all the extra work, there's lots of chances for me to branch off into the outcome of "Oh, that machine was fine all along" and stop right there.

On Doing the Impossible

has increased in height That is usually where I end up after estimating the amount of time required to do a software project (small or large). But, as EY pointed out, once you do the work to figure out what must be done, then the problem is just 'really hard'.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

We can only infer that something bad has happened. In the worst case scenario (as HPMOR is so fond of recommending), the company has been taken over by hostile aliens and is now pumping out poisons to destroy as many humans as possible.

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