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Comment author: AlexMennen 24 March 2017 10:51:37PM 0 points [-]

What are the differences between BDT, NDT, and STD?

Comment author: AlexMennen 20 February 2017 07:37:08AM *  4 points [-]

Let's assume prediction markets are efficient and you didn't already possess any relevant information that you weren't trading on beforehand. Then you should treat the market odds as a prior and your die roll as evidence, in exactly the way you always do Bayesian updates. In this case, that means it looks like that gives you a posterior probability of 5/14 each for the die being weighted in favor of 3 or 6, and 1/14 for each of the other possibilities. Contrary to what other commenters were saying, it doesn't matter what information led to the market odds under these assumptions.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 06 January 2017 01:40:26AM 0 points [-]

You are fighting the hypothetical.

In the St Petersburg Paradox the casino is offering a fair bet, the kind that casinos offer. It is generally an error for humans to take these.

In this scenario, the casino is magically tilting the bet in your favor. Yes, you should accept that bet and keep playing until the amount is an appreciable fraction of your net worth. But given that we are assuming the strange behavior of the casino, we could let the casino tilt the bet even farther each time, so that the bet has positive expected utility. Then the problem really is infinity, not utility. (Even agents with unbounded utility functions are unlikely to have them be unbounded as a function of money, but we could imagine a magical wish-granting genie.)

Comment author: AlexMennen 07 January 2017 04:30:21AM 4 points [-]

He's not fighting the hypothetical; he merely responded to the hypothetical with a weaker claim than he should have. That is, he correctly claimed that realistic agents have utility functions that grow too slowly with respect to money to keep betting indefinitely, but this is merely a special case of the fact that realistic agents have bounded utility, and thus will eventually stop betting no matter how great the payoff of winning the next bet is.

Comment author: Anders_H 05 January 2017 10:52:14PM *  3 points [-]

The rational choice depends on your utility function. Your utility function is unlikely to be linear with money. For example, if your utility function is log (X), then you will accept the first bet, be indifferent to the second bet, and reject the third bet. Any risk-averse utility function (i.e. any monotonically increasing function with negative second derivative) reaches a point where the agent stops playing the game.

A VNM-rational agent with a linear utility function over money will indeed always take this bet. From this, we can infer that linear utility functions do not represent the utility of humans.

(EDIT: The comments by Satt and AlexMennen are both correct, and I thank them for the corrections. I note that they do not affect the main point, which is that rational agents with standard utility functions over money will eventually stop playing this game)

Comment author: AlexMennen 05 January 2017 11:47:26PM 3 points [-]

Any risk-averse utility function (i.e. any monotonically increasing function with negative second derivative) reaches a point where the agent stops playing the game.

Not true. It is true, however, that any agent with a bounded utility function eventually stops playing the game.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 03 December 2016 12:59:59PM *  2 points [-]

Also, if we were to pick a leader, Peter Thiel strikes me as an exceptionally terrible choice.

I agree we shouldn't pick a leader, but I'm curious why you think this. He's the only person on the list who's actually got leadership experience (CEO of Paypal), and he did a pretty good job.

Comment author: AlexMennen 03 December 2016 06:26:01PM 6 points [-]

Leading a business and leading a social movement require different skill sets, and Peter Thiel is also the only person on the list who isn't even part of the LW community. Bringing in someone only tangentially associated with a community as its leader doesn't seem like a good idea.

Comment author: James_Miller 03 December 2016 06:21:08AM 2 points [-]

The key to deciding if we need a leader is to look at historically similar situations and see if they benefited from having a leader. Given that we would very much like to influence government policy, Peter Thiel strikes me as the best possible choice if he would accept. I read somewhere that when Julius Caesar was going to attack Rome several Senators approached Pompey the Great, handed him a sword, and said "save Rome." I seriously think we should try something like this with Thiel.

Comment author: AlexMennen 03 December 2016 07:15:03AM 5 points [-]

Given that we would very much like to influence government policy

How would the position of leader of the LW community help Peter Thiel do this? Also, Peter Thiel's policy priorities seem to differ a fair amount from those of the average lesswronger, and I'd be pretty surprised if he agreed to change priorities substantially in order to fit with his role as LW leader.

Comment author: James_Miller 03 December 2016 04:25:01AM *  6 points [-]

To coordinate we need a leader that many of us would sacrifice for. The obvious candidates are Eliezer Yudkowsky, Peter Thiel, and Scott Alexander. Perhaps we should develop a process by which a legitimate, high-quality leader could be chosen.

Edit: I see mankind as walking towards a minefield. We are almost certainly not in the minefield yet, at our current rate we will almost certainly hit the minefield this century, lots of people don't think the minefield exists or think that fate or God will protect us from the minefield, and competitive pressures (Moloch) make lots of people individually better off if they push us a bit faster towards this minefield.

Comment author: AlexMennen 03 December 2016 05:36:13AM 19 points [-]

I disagree. The LW community already has capable high-status people who many others in the community look up to and listen to suggestions from. It's not clear to me what the benefit is from picking a single leader. I'm not sure what kinds of coordination problems you had in mind, but I'd expect that most such problems that could be solved by a leader issuing a decree could also be solved by high-status figures coordinating with each other on how to encourage others to coordinate. High-status people and organizations in the LW community communicate with each other a fair amount, so they should be able to do that.

And there are significant costs to picking a leader. It creates a single point of failure, making the leader's mistakes more costly, and inhibiting innovation in leadership style. It also creates PR problems; in fact, LW already has faced PR problems regarding being an Eliezer Yudkowsky personality cult.

Also, if we were to pick a leader, Peter Thiel strikes me as an exceptionally terrible choice.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 11 November 2016 06:37:03PM 2 points [-]

It doesn't change the narrative about a lot of things, but it does provide new evidence about polling.

Comment author: AlexMennen 12 November 2016 04:40:33AM 1 point [-]

Technically true, but ultimately, it doesn't provide all that much new evidence about polling. The polling error was not abnormally large.

Comment author: AlexMennen 11 November 2016 04:48:19PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: AlexMennen 30 August 2016 12:06:50AM 5 points [-]

Open Phil's write-up on the grant has more details about the project.

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