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Lumifer comments on Lesswrong Potential Changes - Less Wrong Discussion

17 Post author: Elo 19 March 2016 12:24PM

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Comment author: Lumifer 29 March 2016 04:06:36PM 1 point [-]

whereas picking a target level of saltiness in your dish and optimizing might work just fine.

The point is that you optimize for taste and let saltiness fall where it may. Similarly, LW should optimize for some metric of "goodness" and let negative karma be whatever it has to be to produce that deliciousness.

Comment author: gjm 29 March 2016 05:55:56PM 0 points [-]

optimize for taste

Of course. But that may be ill-specified and hard to measure, and something else may be a usable proxy.

Your (perfectly correct) point is that optimizing a poorly chosen proxy (e.g., minimizing the amount of salt) can produce very poor results. My point is that even if you have what looks like an excellently chosen proxy, as soon as you start optimizing it your (or others') ingenuity is liable to turn up ways to improve it while making what you care about worse.

(None the less, proxy measurements are really useful. I believe we are agreed that at the very least they're worth keeping an eye on as a rough guide, provided you also keep an eye on whether they're ceasing to be useful proxies.)

Comment author: Lumifer 29 March 2016 06:05:33PM 0 points [-]

even if you have what looks like an excellently chosen proxy

That, however, is not the case here.

Comment author: gjm 29 March 2016 08:28:39PM 0 points [-]

I agree. (Did you expect me not to? If so, I apologize for anything misleading in what I wrote.)