Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

She has joined the Conspiracy

9 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 January 2009 07:48PM


I have no idea whether I had anything to do with this.

Comments (19)

Sort By: Old
Comment author: chesh 13 January 2009 08:54:31PM 1 point [-]

I'd be surprised if you didn't.

Comment author: Tom_McCabe2 13 January 2009 09:00:39PM 1 point [-]

In case that wasn't a rhetorical question, you almost certainly did: your Introduction to Bayesian Reasoning is the fourth Google hit for "Bayesian", the third Google hit for "Bayes", and has a pagerank of 5, the same as the Cryonics Institute's main website.

Comment author: Tom3 13 January 2009 09:03:16PM 5 points [-]

"I am 87% confident you will burst into flames"

Ah, at last a practical application of the observation that bayesians cannot agree to disagree.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 January 2009 09:23:57PM 2 points [-]

I was on a panel with Aaron Diaz (artist) so he certainly knows who I am; the question is whether I actually inspired this in any way. I would hope so, but there are other Bayesians and Diaz has been around for a while.

Comment author: Cassandra2 13 January 2009 09:41:00PM 0 points [-]

That just made my day there. Very funny!

Comment author: Gwern_Branwen 14 January 2009 12:24:56AM 1 point [-]

Tom: I agree. The last _Dungeons & Discourse_ comic merely had Kimiko as a logical positivist.

Comment author: Johnicholas 14 January 2009 02:50:57AM 1 point [-]

Also, her costume has a hood now, which points pretty directly at "Bayesian Conspiracy" rather than Bayesian in general.

Comment author: Silas 14 January 2009 03:10:05AM 0 points [-]

When I saw the picture, I assumed she was the woman you described in one of your Bayesian conspiracy stories that you post here. But then, she was in a pink jumpsuit, and had, I think, blond hair.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 January 2009 06:29:05AM 1 point [-]

Silas, she's also described as non-beisutsukai, and pink isn't a Bayesian color.

Comment author: Aaron_Diaz 14 January 2009 07:17:17AM 21 points [-]

Sadly, I didn't know about the Bayesian conspiracy until after I wrote this comic. In fact, I've had the name "Bayesian Empirimancer" in my sketchbook for about a year now until I found an excuse to put it in something. Mainly I just wanted an RPG character that fought using probabilistic confidence.

Of course, Eliezer and I are both Mega Geniuses™, so it should come to no surprise when parallel ideas emerge.

Comment author: Aron 14 January 2009 07:22:25AM 1 point [-]

There still remains some probability that Aaron's recollection is wrong.

Comment author: Zubon 14 January 2009 01:09:05PM 2 points [-]

There are Bayesian and non-Bayesian colors? How confident are you of that?

Comment author: Gregory_Lemieux 14 January 2009 10:52:07PM 0 points [-]

In addition to Tom's analysis I would add the following: A search for "Yudkowski" at the Octogon returns 86 results (although only 23 for "Bayesian"). I was wondering when a Dresden Codak comic would make its way over here!

Comment author: Jacob_Lyles 15 January 2009 05:59:23AM 2 points [-]

As an aspiring applied mathematician, I often think of myself as a "wizard"(student) learning "spells"(mathematical models).

Perhaps I need to start referring to myself by a cooler word like "expirimancer", though my ear for word coinage has never been good.

Comment author: CannibalSmith2 15 January 2009 09:21:07AM 0 points [-]

So I googled "Bayesian Conspiracy" and found a dozen blog posts all linking to http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes - an overlong article repeating the same thing with numerous examples. I skimmed it in search of the answer to the question "what's the fuss", but didn't find any. So I'll ask here: I get the equation, I get that it's hard to do in your head (what a surprise), but it's just an equation. What's so awe worthy about it? (It's the same with e=mc2, actually.)

Comment author: Jacob_Lyles 15 January 2009 08:30:24PM 0 points [-]


I don't quite get it either. In my line of study, a "Bayesian approach" refers to modeling the conditional posterior probability of the evidence for an event along with the prior probability of the event instead of modeling the conditional likelihood of the event directly. I'm not sure why there is a conspiracy around such a concept.

Comment author: Cyan2 15 January 2009 11:05:38PM 5 points [-]

CannibalSmith, JacobLyles,

The emphasis on Bayesian probability is because it is the simplest way to extend classical logic to propositions with varying degrees of plausibility. Just as all classical logic can be reduced to repeated applications of modus ponens, all manipulations of plausibility can be reduced to applications of Bayes' Theorem (assuming you want results that will line up with classical logic as the plausibilities approach TRUE and FALSE).

Comment author: FiftyTwo 19 December 2011 08:19:14PM 0 points [-]

That is one of the best and simplest explanations I've ever heard.

Comment author: seanearlyaug 12 July 2012 09:28:39PM 0 points [-]

I found this site by following a mangled quote in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Which is a wonderful fanfic.