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

Comment author: SodaPopinski 03 September 2015 05:11:14PM 0 points [-]

What is the best way to handle police interaction in countries you don't live in? In the US it is generally considered pretty wise to exercise your right to be silent extensively. Now obviously in some really corrupt places your just going to have to go along with whatever they want. But what about the different countries in Europe? My instinct would be to respectfully tell the officer I would like to call my embassy (and have that number with me!).

Comment author: pragmatist 03 September 2015 05:06:16PM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, but what does Genghis Khan's dad say? He is, remarkably, suspected of being a direct ancestor of even more living Asians than Genghis!

Comment author: MattG 03 September 2015 05:05:54PM 0 points [-]

That's a really cool approach to learning programming. Keep it up!

Comment author: MattG 03 September 2015 05:02:33PM 0 points [-]

There's some sense of a social safety net that catches people. Sometimes it doesn't catch them and they die.

Comment author: Morendil 03 September 2015 05:01:40PM 1 point [-]

For six months straight I've kept up a routine of coding a little bit - 10 lines, two lines, just a refactoring - every single day. In the process I've picked up some fluency in the new(ish) language Elm, functional programming in general and functional reactive programming in particular.

Comment author: MattG 03 September 2015 05:01:27PM 0 points [-]

Isn't that how it works right now? I mean, we actually "feel sad" and we actually "have thoughts".

Comment author: SodaPopinski 03 September 2015 05:00:33PM 0 points [-]

Can we use the stock market itself as a useful prediction market in any way? For example can we get useful information about how long Moore's law type growth in microprocessors will likely continue based on how much the market values certain companies? Or are there too many auxiliary factors, so that reverse engineering anything interesting from price information is hopeless?

Comment author: MattG 03 September 2015 04:59:57PM 0 points [-]

Taboo "best". What are you trying to optimize for?

Comment author: MattG 03 September 2015 04:54:43PM 0 points [-]

Gwern has a list here, although I don't believe he's added any of the more recent bitcoin ones.


Comment author: gwern 03 September 2015 04:46:45PM 0 points [-]

Is there some reason punching 'minimalist free personal finance software' into Google did not help you out?

Comment author: Mirzhan_Irkegulov 03 September 2015 04:41:36PM *  0 points [-]

Ok, the idea, that the existing problem doesn't imply the existence of an immediate solution, is very insightful. Thank you for writing all this.

Too bad I don't know much modern cognitive and social psychology to confidently state why I believe that sexual deprivation might not have real psychological effects (under certain conditions) or that these effects may be overcome. So let's have this conversation again in a year or two. :)

What I base my current beliefs about “sex is not a need” is mostly CBT. CBT's core idea is the “cognitive model”, the statement that many of our moods and behaviors are influenced by the beliefs we have. For example, you believe that you're a horrible person, a loser, therefore you feel depressed and unmotivated. You believe that you were responsible for some bad event, therefore you feel guilty and ashamed. You believe that somebody or the world itself was unfair to you, therefore you feel angry and betrayed.

Moreover, the beliefs that cause destructive feelings and behaviors happen to be irrational in one way or another. They may be positivistically meaningless, overgeneralizing, vague, emotionally loaded, arbitrarily judgemental, black-and-white, not supported by evidence and so on. So what CBT researchers found out is that most of the time when people are depressed, anxious, insecure, compulsive and so on, they have corresponding irrational beliefs. But when they are productive and have healthy joy, sadness or remorse, their beliefs happen to be rather rational and grounded in reality.

And CBT works, it treats depression, anxiety, marital problems, drug addiction and many other things. Yes, it doesn't treat them well enough, otherwise we would make people superhuman on a daily basis. And I don't know why it doesn't work fanstastically yet, although I have some hypotheses. But it works somewhat well for some people.

What I hate is that we still treat human psyche as a black box, as magic. Why lack of sex causes psychological problems? Nobody knows, but people treat it as a simple one-step causation: less sex -> more problems. But “lack of sex causes psychological problems” becomes a sort of mysterious answer to mysterious question. Therefore instead of trying to reduce human psyche into smaller blocks and finding the root cause of psychological problem, we just conclude that people must have more sex.

CBT is an attempt at reducing human moods and behaviors. It lays out a causal network. It explains which beliefs cause which moods and actions, what is wrong with these beliefs, how to change them. And suddenly it works, to some extent, in some people.

Allen Carr's quitting smoking method is a good example: it's pure CBT and it demonstrably effective. When you read academic literature on smoking, there's lots of mysterious answers, high-level observations with no causality. Stuff like “when people quit smoking, they experience anxiety, agitation, heartbeat, digestive problems, nausea, etc”. Yes, they do, I don't argue with that. But the same people, who quit smoking using Carr's method, don't experience this. Not all, but many. So there are more factors at work that previously weren't understood. People do feel certain way under certain conditions, but don't under others.

So let me make myself clear. I don't necessarily know the perfect way to make a sexually deprived person fully psychologically healthy, nor do I think that if this way exist it's easy. Except, I can point to a CBT book and promise a significant probability of it helping.

But due to CBT I strongly believe that for people, who hold certain beliefs about women or sex, the best step is to rationally combat their beliefs, not to have more sex. It has much better chance of working, because it already has precedents.

How is this relevant to sexual deprivation? Because CBT works for it too. It worked for me, some people I know, and its underlying mechanism makes sense. It's convincing. Can I point to an authoritative peer-reviewed study that confirms my point? Not yet. Can I at least provide a more complex causal explanation, as to convince you as I am convinced? Probably not until I understand CBT and psychology in general better. So yeah, we can all just agree that we can admit it's all sad without implying any sexual obligation. And hope that science would solve this problem one day.

But yeah, sexual obligation is just wrong, and this idea should be explicit.

Comment author: gwern 03 September 2015 04:38:37PM *  0 points [-]

If MIRI doesn't publish reasonably frequently (via peer review), how do you know they aren't wasting donor money?

How did science get done for the centuries before peer review? Why do you place such weight on such a recently invented construct like peer review (you may remember Einstein being so enraged by the first and only time he tried out this new thing called 'peer review' that he vowed to never again submit anything to a 'peer reviewed' journal), a construct which routinely fails anytime it's evaluated and has been shown to be extremely unreliable where the same paper can be accepted and rejected based on chance? If peer-review is so good, why do so many terrible papers get published and great Nobel-prize-winning work rejected repeatedly? If peer review is such an effective method of divining quality, why do many communities seem to get along fine with desultory use of peer review where it's barely used or left as the final step long after the results have been disseminated and evaluated and people don't even bother to read the final peer-reviewed version (particularly in economics, I get the impression that everyone reads the preprints & working papers and the final publication comes as a non-event; which has caused me serious trouble in the past in trying to figure out what to cite and whether one cite is the same as another; and of course, I'm not always clear on where various statistics or machine learning papers get published, or if they are published in any sense beyond posting to ArXiv)? And why does all the real criticism and debate and refutations seem to take place on blogs & Twitter if peer-review is such an acid test of whether papers are gold or dross, leading to the growing need for altmetrics and other ways of dealing with the 'post-publication peer review' problem as journals increasingly fail to reflect where scientific debates actually are?

I've said it before and I'll said it again: 'peer review' is not a core element of science. It's barely even peripheral and unclear it adds anything on net. For the most part, calls for 'peer review' are cargo culting. What makes science work is replication and putting your work out there for community evaluation. Those are the real review by peers.

If you are a donor who wants to evaluate MIRI, whether some arbitrary reviewers pass or fail its papers is not very important. There are better measures of impact: is anyone building on their work? have MIRI-specific claims begun filtering out? are non-affiliated academics starting to move into the AI risk field? Heck, even citation counts would probably be better here.

Comment author: gwern 03 September 2015 04:26:26PM 0 points [-]

What would you expect to get out of copy-pasting code to do a ML competition?

Comment author: gwern 03 September 2015 04:18:45PM *  0 points [-]

Yes; informal and crowdsourced ones where you can download and use without restriction include:

Probably a lot of overlap between them, though, so you would need to de-duplicate.

Various scientific/professional genome datasets are available; for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1000_Genomes_Project makes their 1k genomes available (but lacks any phenotype data). I don't have a complete list of those and probably a lot of them would put a lot of barriers in the way of access. You could look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Human_genome_projects but don't expect much: privacy and 'medical ethics' and 'publish or perish' are why we can't have nice things, and why there's only a few thousand public genotypes even though we must be well past the million mark by now, considering 23andMe has done 700k+.

(I compiled this list of open DNA sources because I was curious about the possibility of checking for dysgenic trends by downloading all of them and then correlating the Rietveld SNP hits with reported age; as they have some of the largest effects and there's 7+ of them now, I figure that if the postulated dysgenics effect of the better educated reproducing less was true, then it almost surely has been decreasing their frequency over the past few generations. 1000 Genomes is useless because they deliberately omit phenotype data like age, but I've already verified that there are a few hundred genomes in PGP with age/birthdate data, which may be enough. Still need to do a power analysis/simulation to see if it's worth bothering.)

Comment author: username2 03 September 2015 04:17:01PM 0 points [-]

Are index funds still a good idea if you don't live in the US? In Australia for example, due to differences in things like capital gains tax rates, the existence of franking credits, tax exempt options like your main residence, and whatever else I'm not aware of, I'm not sure.

Comment author: Pfft 03 September 2015 04:14:00PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: leplen 03 September 2015 04:11:22PM 0 points [-]

it's not obvious to me that children are a good investment

I think you're engaging in nirvana fallacy. Children are not a good investment compared to what?

Again -- let's take a medieval European peasant. He has no ability to accumulate capital because he's poor, because his lord will just take his money if he notices it, and because once in a while an army passes through and basically grabs everything that isn't nailed down. He doesn't have any apprentices because peasants don't have apprentices (and apprentices leave once they learn the craft, anyway). He certainly has friends, but even his friends will feed their family before him when the next famine comes. So, what kind of investments into a non-starving old age should he make?

He can buy jars of salt and bury them. His children, if they survive, may feed their own children rather than him in the next famine. A network of friends and a high standing in the community are at least as valuable to him as investing resources in birthing and raising children who probably won't see adulthood. He can become an active and respected member of the church. The church is probably a better bet overall since there's a decent chance his own kids will die, but the church will probably survive.

I'm not an expert on 14th century investment opportunities, I just find the idea that children are clearly the best selfish investment incredible. If children are such a good investment, why did we need a modest proposal? And why are the rich, who retirements are not in doubt, so desirous of children? Why does king Priam need 50 sons? He's the king of a city. What fears does he have about retirement?

I don't know that we have access to facts. Everything is interpreted. Everything is a model.

OK. There were 3,932,181 births in the US in 2013 giving the birth rate of 12.4 / 1000 population (source). Tell me what kind of model is that, which theory does this piece of information critically depends on.

The ones digit of that number is almost certainly wrong and I'm not particularly confident about the next two. Believing that number relies on an enormous number of assumptions about the bureaucracy that generated it. Now my model of the world tells me that the bureaucratic system that calculates the birth rate in the U.S. is fairly trustworthy, compared to say the system that manages elections in Russia, but that trust is totally a function of my model of the world. The data you gather depends on your methodology. Some methods may be better established and may have more evidence in support of them, and the data they gather may really seem reliable, but we also thought that the earth was standing still for a very long time.

Fact just isn't an epistemological category that I have, and it's not one that I find useful. There are only models. Some models are more descriptive and better than others, some are more supported by evidence. But there aren't facts, there are no fixed points that I'm 100% sure are true. I consider my knowledge that 2+2=4 to be close to certain as anything just about anything else I believe, but I hesitate to call it a fact. I have that belief because it's always been true in the past and my brain has learned that induction is reliable. I could be convinced that 2+2=3, and if you believe something only because you have evidence to support it, then you must have a model that translates between the evidence and the belief.

Because the rate of climate change during the Pleistocene would have made long term forecasting difficult.

Huh? Can you, um, provide some links?

I'm hardly an expert on this, but searching for Pleistocene climate variation gives results like this:

"In addition to the well known millennium-scale stadial and interstadial periods, and the previously recognized century-scale climate events that occur during the Allerod and Bolling periods, we detect a still higher frequency of variability associated with abrupt climate change."

"The seasonal time resolution of the ECM record portrays as aspect of the climate system that consistently and frequently chnages between glacial and near-interglacial conditions in periods of less than a decade, and on occassion as rapidly as three years."

Climate Change: Natural climate change: proxy-climate data

The idea that people aren't, by nature, optimal decision makers is one of the core ideas of LW.

We're not talking about optimal decisions. We're talking about not screwing up. Humans are the most successful species on this planet -- they are capable of not screwing up sufficiently well.

We are specifically talking about the claim, "Would you seriously argue that people choose to have children as a reasonably optimal selfish way of guaranteeing that they continue to have enough to eat once they're no longer capable of working?"

I am not making the argument that there are no advantages to having and raising children from a retirement perspective. I am making the argument that it is unlikely that people choose to have children in order to obtain those advantages. I am making the argument that the decline in birthrate in unlikely to be due to people adjusting the number of children they have as part of a retirement plan. The success of a species has very little to do with the ability of individual members of that species to plan in such a way as to maximize their own well-being. Ants are collectively one of the most successful organisms in the world, but they certainly don't engage in long term planning.

Indeed it the success of the human species that I would cite as evidence for my assertion that human behavior is more closely linked to genetic self-interest than to personal self-interest. Cultural and social success is a huge factor in genetic self-interest. There's a reason that humans have large brains and devote so many resources to processing social relationships and facial cues. We have equipment for obeying social mandates. We understand them intuitively. We don't have have intuitive equipment for making long-term predictions, since that was selected for.

status ... it seems to be the thing that people care most about after short term economic incentives

Evidence please. People certainly care about status, but I don't think that people always care about money first, status second, and everything else after that.

I consider the word of a Nobel Prize-winning game theorist and economist to qualify as "evidence" on the topic of aggregate human behavior. If you don't consider the opinions of experts evidence, what qualifies?

Comment author: Dorikka 03 September 2015 04:00:04PM 0 points [-]

I am curious about your terminal goal here.

Comment author: moridinamael 03 September 2015 03:59:11PM 0 points [-]

Thanks, that's surprisingly nice to hear.

Comment author: Lumifer 03 September 2015 03:44:55PM *  0 points [-]

Whatever Open/Libre Office calls their spreadsheet.

Not sure how minimalist you want to go, though. A shell and a filesystem are sufficient, if you want to be really minimalist :-/

Comment author: Lumifer 03 September 2015 03:43:54PM 0 points [-]

Anyone suggested a system based on blockchain yet? X-)

In response to comment by [deleted] on Insufficiently Awesome
Comment author: AlexanderRM 03 September 2015 03:40:16PM 0 points [-]

I'd be interested to hear from other LessWrongians if anyone has bought this and if it lives up to the description (and also if this model produces a faint noise constantly audible to others nearby, like the test belt); I'm the sort of person who measures everything in dead African children so $149... I'm a bit reserved about even if it is exactly as awesome as the article implied.

On the other hand, the "glasses that turn everything upside" interest me somewhat; my perspective on that is rather odd- I'm wondering how that would interact with my mental maps of places. Specifically because I'm a massive geography buff and have an absurdly detailed mental map of the whole world, which I've noticed has a specific north=up direction. Obviously those glasses probably won't help shake the built-in direction (if I just get used to them), but I'd still be interested to see what they do.

In response to comment by ZankerH on Ethical Diets
Comment author: freeze 03 September 2015 03:37:49PM 0 points [-]

Not necessarily. https://xkcd.com/1338/

If you assume that suffering is roughly proportional to number of neurons, then you should care disproportionately about mammal suffering, or even large animals in general; most animals are wild, but they are mostly insects which don't necessarily experience as much suffering each.

In response to comment by MrMind on Ethical Diets
Comment author: freeze 03 September 2015 03:34:46PM -1 points [-]

You seem to allude to the fact that it really isn't that easy. In fact, if it is truly an AGI then by definition we can't just box in its values in that way/make one arbitrary change to its values.

Instead, I would say if you don't want an AI to treat us like we treat cows, then just stop eating cow flesh/bodily fluids. This seems a more robust strategy to shape the values of an AI we create, and furthermore it prevents an enormous amount of suffering and improves our own health.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 03:33:23PM 0 points [-]

Negative things are (mostly) universal, positive things are (mostly) extremely specific to the individual.

In response to comment by Larks on Ethical Diets
Comment author: freeze 03 September 2015 03:32:01PM 0 points [-]

I don't think your example is a conclusion you would come to if you weren't already concerned about property rights.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 03:28:19PM 1 point [-]

This actually isn't a gendered issue. "Fat acceptance" and "Nerd acceptance" are two sides of the same coin, but both sides insist it is gendered.

Sexual deprivation has real psychological effects. Shit, we should -expect- it to have real psychological effects; you're failing to function as the wind-up toy evolution designed you as. Why do people deny the psychological effects? Why do -you- deny the psychological effects, and insist they can just be overcome?

Because, by the standard morality of our society, problems must be solved. Admitting that it's a genuine issue for these people implies some obligation to do something about it, which implies some obligation by some people to have sex with other people, and that's just wrong.

Personally? I think it's fine to say that it's sad that some people lack what is probably the most fundamental kind of affirmation. And I think it's fine to say that it's sad, and I think it's fine to say that, y'know, the situation sucks for them, and they shouldn't just pretend otherwise. And I can think it's sad, and the situation sucks, without thinking that implies some kind of sexual obligation.

When you can't say there is a problem without also believing the problem can, and should, be solved, the problem to be solved often becomes the problem itself. And either the problem to be solved is that these individuals don't get sex - but the solution to that is both immediately obvious and immediately unacceptable - or the problem is the way these individuals -feel-, as a result of not getting sex. And because they can't acknowledge a problem without believing it can and should be solved, they choose the problem whose solution is acceptable to them: The problem is with the people who are suffering, rather than the suffering itself.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 03:09:29PM 0 points [-]

Yes, they're being sincere, and it wasn't a snide comment, although it may feel that way to you because you're feeling particularly sex-deprived. Being ungrateful for sex? How rude! That's the best thing somebody can do for you!

Being blunt, and those who don't want to read about my sex life should stop reading now:

I can have sex... pretty much whenever I want, as my girlfriend is always up for it. My girlfriend, however, wants more sex than I do, which means - I almost never -want- to have sex, because I just -had- sex (relative to how often I'd choose to have sex), and we're going to have sex again before I'd want to. Relationships involve accommodations, which means she's getting less sex than she'd choose, and I'm getting more. I'm currently working on adjusting my sex drive, with some moderate success, but that particular element seems to be more physiology than psychology, and has proven more resistant than most aspects of myself to adjustment.

Now, all that said: You're apparently desperate for some (any?) sexual intimacy. Go get your penis pierced a few times. A frenum ladder and a few dydoe piercings should do it. It takes a month or so to heal, and you can't have sex during that time, but that's not an issue for you anyways right now. Two major advantages: Once healed, it feels amazing, both for you and your partner. Second, with the assistance of a wingman mentioning the fact (a wingwoman works better for this), most women will ask to see, and will be -very- curious about how it feels. It doesn't take much effort to convert that currency into sex.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 03 September 2015 03:07:31PM 0 points [-]

The web page is here. In previous years they recruited new participants about this time of year, but they don't seem to be doing so this year. They are transitioning off of IARPA funding and much of the page is broken.

This was one of many competitors in the IARPA competition. I didn't include them because their predictions were not public. They couldn't be public, because the whole point was to compare their results. Except Scicast, because it wasn't predicting the same things. Even if you joined GJP, you probably only got aggregated predictions across your team, and maybe not even that.

Comment author: evand 03 September 2015 03:03:07PM 0 points [-]

Yes, I suppose my comment wasn't clear. There are twice as many distinct prices as there should be, not 4x. There should only be one price per candidate (plus an additional price for "other" in many cases). The "buy no" price for a single candidate should be equal to the sum of the "buy yes" prices for all the other candidates, and that relationship should be fully enforced by the exchange.

Comment author: evand 03 September 2015 02:59:23PM 1 point [-]

Perhaps buying coffees for people in line around me?

That seems like a cheap experiment. Have you tried it? What else have you tried for purchasing warm fuzzies?

Comment author: Anders_H 03 September 2015 02:56:31PM 1 point [-]

Also, they have a really dumb system where each candidate has both yes and no shares, instead of each election having shares per candidate. Which means there are more different prices than there should be, and no system-enforced rule that the sum of the probabilities = 1.

Actually, the "yes" and "no" shares are the same contracts: Buying a "yes" contract is exactly the same thing as selling a "no" contract. The best offer for "buy yes" plus the best offer for "sell no" will always equal 1, without requiring arbitrage or any action on the part of the market participants.

For some reason they have chosen a counterintuitive user interface such that these contracts appear to be different from each other, but they are the same.

Comment author: evand 03 September 2015 02:53:36PM 0 points [-]

You can build systems that preserve sum of probabilities = 1. They'll still see bias away from the extremes, because of fees and because of time value of money. But you can do a lot better than PredictIt. (One thing that helps on the fees side is to make fees go down for trades near the extremes; I argued for that in detail on Augur here.

Comment author: roystgnr 03 September 2015 02:51:37PM 0 points [-]

Patrilineal ancestor, not just ancestor. When talking about someone who lived 40 generations ago, there's a huge difference.

Comment author: evand 03 September 2015 02:50:16PM 0 points [-]

Even so, at the moment there are sane interest rates available if you tie up your money that way. It's not just the lack of netting; it's the lack of netting, combined with the small deposit limits, combined with the high withdrawl fees. Fix any of those, and you'd see more arbitrage (I think).

Also, they have a really dumb system where each candidate has both yes and no shares, instead of each election having shares per candidate. Which means there are more different prices than there should be, and no system-enforced rule that the sum of the probabilities = 1.

Comment author: Mirzhan_Irkegulov 03 September 2015 02:46:21PM *  1 point [-]

I wasn't dangerous at 16, nor do I don't think advancedatheist is, not for women, not for anyone else. I don't even think advancedatheist is a bad person or deserve our hatred or anything else. I don't even believe it's appropriate to think there exist bad people or there is someone who “deserves” anything bad. I think it contradicts with consequentialism, and I agree with Yudkowsky, when he said that “Hitler doesn't deserve a stubbed toe” (but it still might've been a very good idea to kill him early, because again consequentialism).

I just find it very sad that there are so many men, young and old, who have low self-esteem, bitterness, depression, anxiety, sense of loneliness and many other mental issues and destructive behavior patterns, simply because they have irrational beliefs about women, relationship and sex.

For the record, I don't want to diagnose advancedatheist with any mental issues, it's just he repeats the same trope about women not giving to men what they owe, from comment to comment, and I believe he happens to be wrong.

I am no men-hating feminist lickspittle and I don't want to win brownie points from feminists by saying stuff they want to hear. I view this strictly from male perspective: believing certain things about women, relationship and sex makes you unhappy, bitter, unproductive and sometimes harmful for women. That's stupid and gotta go.

Scott Alexander in his blogpost Untitled called a feminist Amanda Marcotte a “Vogon spy in a skin suit” for lacking any empathy for male nerds who had problems with relationship. I'm not like that, I have empathy, because I was just like that at some point. Maybe, most men, who are happy to describe themselves as feminists, were just like that at some point.

I have empathy for women too. Many of them get crap on a daily basis from some subset of these bitter, insecure men, and I'm not even talking about rape. These beliefs that sex is a need for men, that you can't be happy and self-confident without sex, that women must satisfy men sexually, that men have a say in women sexual behavior, are destructive for both men and women. And even if in some parallel reality, where all women suddenly decided to “altruistically” satisfy all men's sexual desires, I don't believe it would solve any problems.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 02:37:01PM 0 points [-]

By eliminating the necessity of the brothels as an intermediary/broker for sex

Comment author: Vaniver 03 September 2015 02:31:25PM 0 points [-]

The way you usually know is via peer review -- e.g. other people previously declared to have produced good things declare that MIRI produces good things.

I think this isn't really cutting to the heart of things--which seems to be 'reputation among intellectuals,' which is related to 'reputation among academia,' which is related to 'journal articles survive the peer review process.' It seems to me that the peer review process as it exists now is a pretty terrible way of capturing reputation among intellectuals, and that we could do something considerably better with the technology we have now.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 02:25:13PM 0 points [-]

The problem is, I felt this way when I was, like, 16, and I don't feel that way anymore. It frightens me that there are men, who are no longer teenagers, who still live in a constant state of anxiety, that women are there to “get you” by refusing to have sex with you.

Should others have been frightened of you at 16?

Comment author: Dahlen 03 September 2015 02:12:17PM 0 points [-]

met a girl, asked her out, got a date

I thought you said you had a wife?...

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 02:00:11PM 0 points [-]

Notepad/TextEdit. If you want a few more features than that, MySQL. If you want a few more features than that, http://www.gnucash.org/

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 03 September 2015 01:57:04PM 0 points [-]

In a sense, that's what ordinary materialists believe in: Oh look, here's this system which happens to be an instance of conscious thought! That's part of a soul!

It's just pattern-recognition, but that's all a read-only soul is.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 03 September 2015 01:54:28PM 1 point [-]

I think utilitarianism is just the gateway economic philosophy for people who aren't yet comfortable measuring the value of human lives in dollars, and you could eliminate the unnecessary abstraction of "utility" and measure dollar cost/value instead (which has a fairly straightforward translation into other values you may care about, vis a vis the market giving you translation prices), using opportunity costs and revealed preference to consider the issues at hand.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 01:50:36PM 0 points [-]

I bought a $200 prepaid debit card to precommit to getting a beeminder account that won't fuck up my bank balance. I plan to use it to give up pornography and excessive masturbation (<or=1 a week is my goal). However, $200 doesn't have a lot of marginal value to me. I'm thinking of exploiting my irrationality and warm fuzzies by precommiting to donate it to a warm fuzzies charity, or maybe I'll put the money towards potential dates so I can get a girlfriend as substitute if I'm successful in nofapping or watching porn. Ideally there would be a system whereby I could donate to people who would be incentivised to help me stay on the yellow road, at the end of passing the Beeminder test. I hope beeminder will let me do that. Any tips or comments? I've never done beeminder before.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 03 September 2015 01:40:13PM 0 points [-]

Yes, GP's is an extremely myopic and dangerous attitude.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 01:28:09PM 0 points [-]

Are there any good reasons to use hotmail (outlook.com online) instead of gmail apart from switching costs if you already use outlook? Outlook is associated with business and therefore carries higher status and formality, perhaps?

Comment author: Mirzhan_Irkegulov 03 September 2015 01:13:35PM *  1 point [-]

most men don't deserve sexual relationships with women any more

No woman owes sex to no man. If you think that women have any kind of duty to sexually satisfy men, you are deluded and have very unhealthy and dangerous attitudes.

After reading your other comments it becomes clear, that your belief that women as a group should be encouraged to have sex with men against their will stems from your own insecurities. I know how it feels from the inside. It feels like “wrong” men unfairly get more sex than me, like I'm broken or worthless because women specifically choose other men or celibacy, like there is some worldwide women conspiracy to make my life miserable.

The problem is, I felt this way when I was, like, 16, and I don't feel that way anymore. It frightens me that there are men, who are no longer teenagers, who still live in a constant state of anxiety, that women are there to “get you” by refusing to have sex with you.

But you can be happy without sex, and sex is not a need. Of course sex is a good thing, and it's great, when there's more of it (consensual, obviously). But so can be said of video games, or action films, or hiking, or chess playing. People can be happy without them, and these are not needs, and so is true of sex.

The only problem I see with young male virgins in today's world is not lack of sex, but terrible self-esteem, depression and anxiety around the belief that they ought to have sex, but because there's something wrong either with them, or the world, they don't have it. Get rid of that crap from their minds, and you'll make young men happy, confident, self-respecting, motivated and self-reliant. And maybe, just maybe, this might even make them more attractive in eyes of women.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 03 September 2015 01:07:04PM 0 points [-]

I think the primary purpose of peer review isn't PR, but sanity checking. Peer reviewed publications shouldn't be a concession to outsiders, but the primary means of getting work done.

Comment author: redding 03 September 2015 01:03:18PM 0 points [-]

Could we ever get evidence of a "read-only" soul? I'm imagining something that translates biochemical reactions associated with emotions into "actual" emotions. Don't get me wrong, I still consider myself an atheist, but it seems to me that how strongly one believes in a soul that is only affected by physical reality is based purely on their prior probability.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 12:51:16PM 0 points [-]

The LessWrong App!

(Browser, so you can access LessWrong)

Comment author: ciphergoth 03 September 2015 12:50:44PM *  0 points [-]

I've never heard of this book or author before, anyone read it? How does it compare to eg "Smarter Than Us" or "Our Final Invention"?

Calum Chace, "Surviving AI"

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 12:42:33PM 0 points [-]

I'm ashamed to ask but...is there a way I can do machine learning competitions on Kaggle...by just copy pasting code?

Comment author: LizzardWizzard 03 September 2015 12:34:44PM 0 points [-]

There are some kind of forecasting tournaments provided by Phillip Tetlock mainly associated with politics issues, however I've found no info on how to enter one. Here is a short introductory course

In my opinion prediction markets are still very raw concept which doesn't grow and spread very well in its current form and needs capital transformation

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 12:33:07PM *  1 point [-]

While I love your analogy and agree that maths is simplifying

It's also, not. I wish Wikipedia editors and jurors were more sympathetic to the idea that the vast majority of Wikipedia's audience doesn't have have capacity to overcome the cognitive complexity of mathematical formalisms in many technical articles and would appreciate an english in instead as well. Simple english Wikipedia doesn't have its share of technical articles if that's where you'd rather the english went.

Mathsy people, to help you put yourself in our shoes, consider this Wiki article on logic. Imagine that foreign language but all the symbols are highly compressed in an area, like one side of a numerator, with all kinds of relations between them, representing different things. I simply don't have the working memory to make any sense of it by the time I've looked up what a particular thing is and it's relation to a few others.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 11:57:22AM 1 point [-]

I have yet to see a treatise, for strategic managers or from academics of any domain, on the game theoretic implications of data science and data-driven firm behaviour in general.

I for one would expect data driven organisations to be act more rationally and therefore predictable, meaning that game-theoretic optimal strategic behaviour, or rather an approximation of it because many data driven organisations will be stupid like many poker players forming a nash equilbirum would maximise expected utility. However, I don't see how machine learning provides an avenue for firms to inform their strategic multi-agent decisions. They instead need to consider artificial intelligence techniques more broadly and to be able to frame machine learning in that context. This, I suspect, will lead to the goldrush for AGI development. As soon as the potential for this becomes common knowledge, linkedin losers will start 'hailing AI experts as the sexiest job in the 21st century. MIRI, take head of my warning that if you are not more transparent with your research agenda (which to those who don't know, is still secret in part) you may find yourself developing FAI solutions way too slow.

Release your agenda and let others work on your problems cooperateively. Maybe you'll even get a more heterogenous audience at the Intelligent Agents Forum. Maybe mainstream researchers can craft work you can actually use on the mathematical foundations of AI or UAI. I suspect the reason that this community blog, albeit devoted to human rationality and not machine rationality, devolves into topics like 'polygamy' is that we don't have shared problems to solve.

Human rationality is a very, very awkward construct and the problem space is unclear and tangential, albeit related to MIRI's work which let's admit, is the very reason this please exists. Let us run wild and perhaps LessWrongers will start alternative agendas like developing criminal networks and intelligence networks so potential hostile AI could be detected in advance and stopped coersively. I'm just giving the first example I could think of.

My point is, you don't have any significant proprietary hard assets, why shouldn't I or any other particular funder instead create a prize on award for a more transparent FAI research organisation to pivet off your incredible work? I'm not in a position to judge whether or not your ongoing contributions are essential, but this could also be good opportunity for the community to discuss what will happen if or when you die or become incapable of contributing to the community. Same goes for other critical members of the community. Are their intellectual succession proceses in place?

Comment author: ScottL 03 September 2015 11:10:06AM 0 points [-]

There is no doubt that the brain and the body are entwined. I guess that a more explicit title would be: you are implemented on kludgy and limited wetware (a human brain) which is influenced by a myriad of factors, most of which you are unaware of.

Your body does influence you, but then so do a lot of other things. If I changed it to you are implemented on a human body, then someone else will say: "hey, what about the microbes, bacteria and organisms that live in my gut and on my skin". I would then need to acquiesce and add this in. Then, someone will say: "hey, what about social influences". I would then need to add this in. Hopefully, you get the idea that this could potentially go on for a very long time.

I think that you are implemented on a human brain is the best way to convey the ideas in the post.

Would love to see some LW heavy weights weigh in on this topic

Same. I guess it comes down to how much of the causal chain you want to consider. I am happy just considering the brain, but of course there are many other things that influence the neural patterns that get activated in the brain.

Comment author: lmm 03 September 2015 11:05:23AM 0 points [-]

I didn't like Ancillary Justice so much FWIW - I didn't find the culture so compelling, and the lead's morality was jarring to me (she seemed less like someone who was seeing the flaws in the culture she was raised in and more like someone who had always instinctively had a western liberal morality that they'd been suppressing to fit in).

Do you have a view on The January Dancer? I loved that - modern space opera, with some interesting cultures, but also a compelling plot on the sci-fi side.

Comment author: lmm 03 September 2015 10:54:16AM 1 point [-]

Another tranche of shows watched with my group, though they don't really end up as recommendations:

Blood Blockade Battlefront: Started with some fun action, and a very cool-looking setting, but decayed rapidly - the plot arc it tried to set up towards the end was just dull. Avoid

Knights of Sidonia (season 2): Shifts much more towards the harem antics than the serious sci-fi; also some massive power inflation which could easily have been thematic but... isn't. I greatly enjoyed it, but only recommended to people who enjoy light comedy/romance.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works: Had its moments, and definitely has the production values; when it's good, it's very good. But massively wordy (arguably too faithful an adaptation), slow and self-indulgent. Again only for fans of the genre.

Kyousougiga: This I do recommend. A show that respects the viewer's intelligence; the depths are there if you want to peer into them, but it keeps things interesting - or at least active - on the surface level too. And it's got some wonderfully creative visuals.

Your Lie in April: Romance/melodrama, done reasonably well, and with beautiful visuals and sound - I particularly like the fact that this show is willing to make you sit and listen to a musical performance for minutes at a time. But has no ambition beyond its genre; you know whether you're the target audience for this or not.

Madoka Rebellion: Fun for fans, but far too self-indulgent for anyone else. The plot is awkward and undermines some of the series. I enjoyed seeing beloved characters at play, and there's one very fun fight, but it's all fanservice.

Comment author: Stingray 03 September 2015 10:47:21AM -1 points [-]

Most colonized places were net money-losers for the colonizer for most of their history

But then why did people keep conquering and colonizing new lands?

More importantly, there are a few "control-group" countries which were not colonized while their neighbors were, like Siam (modern Thailand) and Ethiopia, and they don't seem better off than their neighbors.

There is also Japan, which was better off than its neighbors. In 1905 Japan was strong enough to win a war against Russia.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 10:03:53AM -2 points [-]

I'm curious if people who make snide comments like this about their partners are actually being sincere. Is it actually unpleasant to have a secure sexual option, even if it's with all that baggage. The closest analogy I have is that I want to masturbate less cause the calculation is tending in favour or less pleasure if O do it. I love masturbating and porn but I get a sore gouch from all the fapping and porn is a superstimuli so I'm cutting down.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 03 September 2015 10:02:21AM 0 points [-]

Would it be bad if you gave yourself time off for specific durations and/or activities?

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 09:44:47AM *  0 points [-]

Why aren't more LW's public intellectuals in the conventional sense - making appearances on radio or television news bulletins? The benefits seem obvious, if you're okay with fame. And, It's a position of influence and seems relatively easy to contact news organisations to say you have original research for a reputable organisation. Many of us are academics so that's probably true. Perhaps there is even an easier way to contact many news distributes at once to get your name out there and get offers coming to you. Something easier than say manually sending out press releases for instance. Though, they are probably paid PR services, but I mean there's probably a free service somewhere too.

The only existing ways I know are to get listed in expert databases like this one for Australia or for the world. I vaguely remember one run by an institute in Australia that requires experts to have completed meta-analyses or systematic reviews in their area, but it's for consulting work not journalists and the institute gets a cut (but they are prestigious, so it's good affiliation). Their name starts with K if I remember correctly. Don't know why I tend to remember the first names of things, but I tend to be pretty accurate with it. There's probably a menmotechnical explanation out there that some cogpsy LW will inform me about.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 03 September 2015 09:39:43AM 0 points [-]

Is anywhere on Earth inhabited by the descendants of the humans who first moved in?

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 09:39:19AM 1 point [-]

What's a minimalist, free, personal finance software to keep track of what I own, possess, am in invested in, spending my time and budgeting?

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 09:17:17AM *  1 point [-]

Made a daily checklist for myself. It reduces my decision fatigue but makes me a bit more neurotic.

Here it is:

  • bookmarks zero

  • inbox zero

  • sms zero

  • calendar zero

  • business cards zero (get rid of a set of business cards everyday)

  • asssessments zero

  • RSDmotivation

  • brush, floss

  • poop, pee, repeat as needed

  • shower and soap

  • diet as needed

  • stretch

  • run or walk

  • mental skills checklist: scanning, avoidance coping, performance emotions, positive self-talk, acceptance and commitment, theory of mind, euphoric recall, cognitive distortions, memory skills, mnemotechnics, relaxation, forgiveness, flow, self-efficacy, extinction bursts, rationality skills ('the sequences', leave comfort zone optimal anxiety, self-esteem, role models, gratitude, groundedness, decatastrophise, don't victimise, time perspective, selfhandcapping, generic solution space refresher(e.g. economics etc), hypotheseses, modelling and simulation, planning and executive functions, attention, ambition, goal-mindeness, aggression, dominance, compassion, empathy, honesty, personality, mindfulness

  • eat and/or restock: spinach, carrot, eggs, lettuce, quinoa, salt olive oil spread, peanut butter, tortillas, banana, mandarin, strawberries

  • drink water

  • change clothes

  • declutter (e.g. donate stuff you don't use)

Comment author: gjm 03 September 2015 09:12:54AM *  0 points [-]

FWIW, I recognize your name, vaguely think of it as associated with sensible comments, but couldn't offhand say what your areas of special interest, political views, etc., are.

[EDITED to fix a typo.]

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 09:06:42AM 0 points [-]

What are the 'best buys' in warm fuzzies?

I want to satisfice my urges for the least cost. Perhaps there's a kind of GiveWell for warm fuzzies out there.

I feel like 'purchasing status' is part of my warm fuzzies calculation, which complicates things.

Perhaps buying coffees for people in line around me?

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 08:28:53AM *  0 points [-]


I say that's an overly specific and under sensitive claim to male: that we are implemented on a human brain.

Rather, we are implemented on a human body!

Everybody here has probably heard of the placebo effect. There are some interesting theories about how it works organically that you can read elsewhere. Though, there are other kinds of somatisation, that is, links from psychological phenomenon to physical phenomenon, which don't have any explanations. One is irritable bowel syndrome which has signicant overlap in suffering populations with individuals that have generalised anxiety disorder. Interestly, it can also be treated with cbt, as described here. Perhaps the microbes in guts control our brains! My imagination runs wild when there is little evidence for a particular line of thought! And, there's evidence for gut to brain associations in autism and mood disorders too! Perhaps one day gastroenterologists will treat half the psychological problems, and neurologists will treat the other half (e.g. psychotic disorders which have neurological organic causes rather than mere 'indicators' of problems down below, perhaps). Would love to see some LW heavy weights weigh in on this topic. I wonder if IBS tends to follow psychiatric medication use, since it's associated with higher serotonon! Though, CBT tends to work for IBS patients even when those with psychiatric diagnoses are excluded. Hm... I wonder if I should get my gut microbiome analysed? Are there any potentially useful interpretations, say for ubiome?

Comment author: Viliam 03 September 2015 08:04:02AM *  2 points [-]

I don't know the details, but from reading the article seems to me that "legalization" is this case simply meant saying "okay, it is no longer illegal", instead of treating it as any other employment.

For example the article mentions prostitutes under 14. Did they have an employment contract? If no, then the whole situation was illegal, even if prostitution per se is legal. Keeping prostitutes locked in the basement; again, would the same situation be legal if the locked "employees" would be e.g. programmers? Etc.

Legalizing prostitution should mean treating the prostitutes as standard employees with standard employee rights (and duties: taxes, insurance), not just ignoring the whole business. The employees should be able to sue their employers, if necessary, and get legal assistance.

Simply the whole situation should be treated exactly the same way as if some organizations would decide that it is cheaper to kidnap programmers and keep them locked in basement, making them write Java code for food, and torturing them if they refuse. We would not have a debate about whether we should make programming illegal, or merely buying Java applications illegal, or any similar frequently proposed "solution".

Comment author: Viliam 03 September 2015 07:22:22AM 0 points [-]

I can.

But PR also plays a role here, and this is how to fix it relatively cheaply. And it would also provide feedback about what people outside of MIRI think about MIRI's research.

Comment author: Strangeattractor 03 September 2015 06:59:11AM 0 points [-]

One approach could be to set priorities. "How important is it if I do this not-optimally? What are the consequences of cognitive biases leading me to a poor choice here?" and to be vigilant on the most important stuff, and let it go for lower priority things.

However, practice can help, and sometimes it is easier to catch oneself on tasks or issues of a smaller scale than on the big importart ones. So practicing on the lower priority ones can be useful.

Vigilance takes energy. Awareness...not as much. Maybe a shift toward developing awareness rather than vigilance could help.

Comment author: Brillyant 03 September 2015 06:40:56AM 0 points [-]

Scope insensitivity seems to be a strong possibility here.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 06:27:13AM 3 points [-]

What hypothesis are you testing, or is gnawing at the back of your mind, in relation to LessWrong, as you surf LessWrong right now? Or perhaps you're just surfing idly.

For me its: Has anyone experimented with replacing their socialising with friends time with LessWrong exclusively? I wonder if the benefits associated with socialising such as increased well-being can be substituted for interaction in online communities.

Though, I suspect the nature of the community would be a strong determinant of the outcome. For instance, facebook would probably be unhealthy, as would IRC exclusively, but the LessWrong community as a whole excl. the IRL meeting community may be great! I feel like I've basically outgrown all my friends who I don't have some sort of professional relationship with anyway, or who I have a codependent/insecure-attachment towards.

Comment author: Strangeattractor 03 September 2015 06:23:34AM 1 point [-]

I think that framing "Imperialism" as belonging to the past is inaccurate.

Many of the problemmatic behaviours grouped together into the term "Imperialism" have not actually stopped. There are Western developed countries that are doing horrible things to non-Western developing countries right now, and doing horrible things to their own people too.

I think a good first step would be to stop doing the horrible stuff now. If the problemmatic behaviour stopped, the topic of redress for past wrongs could be considered from a better vantage point. "I'm sorry I killed your ancestors and stole their stuff 100 years ago" tastes like ashes when coming from someone who is killing your family and stealing your things now, or who is doing something more subtle but equally awful.

"Disadvantaged" is a word that glosses over the damage done. Also, the whole question could benefit from being more specific and defining terms better.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 03 September 2015 06:21:10AM 1 point [-]

foresight exchange. It uses no real dollars though. But it exists for quite some time now.

Comment author: Clarity 03 September 2015 06:14:17AM 1 point [-]

Has anyone in the world published their 23andme data openly?

Comment author: James_Miller 03 September 2015 06:00:37AM 2 points [-]

How long before driverless cars will be for sale in the U.S. outside of big cities? I'm thinking of getting a new car but wondering if I should wait or lease because of the possibility of getting a driverless car in a few years.

Comment author: drethelin 03 September 2015 05:26:48AM 1 point [-]

Time to buy a yacht and convince some supermodels to hang out on it with me!

Comment author: James_Miller 03 September 2015 05:09:59AM -2 points [-]

Look at how people who are rich, attractive, healthy, and smart spend their free time.

Comment author: James_Miller 03 September 2015 05:03:38AM 2 points [-]

Most are elderly and are in nursing homes paid for by the federal government.

View more: Next