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Comment author: Brian_Tomasik 15 December 2014 05:03:27AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for the correction! I changed "endorsed" to "discussed" in the OP. What I meant to convey was that these authors endorsed the logic of the argument given the premises (ignoring sim scenarios), rather than that they agreed with the argument all things considered.

Comment author: CarlShulman 15 December 2014 05:16:13AM 1 point [-]

Thanks Brian.

Comment author: CarlShulman 15 December 2014 04:59:07AM *  1 point [-]

It has been endorsed by Robin Hanson, Carl Shulman, and Nick Bostrom.

The article you cite for Shulman and Bostrom does not endorse the SIA-doomsday argument. It describes it, but:

  • Doesn't take a stance on the SIA; it does an analysis of alternatives including SIA
  • Argues that the interaction with the Simulation Argument changes the conclusion of the Fermi Paradox SIA Doomsday argument given the assumption of SIA.
Comment author: examachine 17 November 2014 02:23:48PM 0 points [-]

We believe we can achieve trans-sapient performance by 2018, he is not that off the mark. But dangers as such, those are highly over-blown, exaggerated, pseudo-scientific fears, as always.

Comment author: CarlShulman 17 November 2014 05:37:49PM *  4 points [-]

By "we" do you mean Gök Us Sibernetik Ar & Ge in Turkey? How many people work there?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 07 October 2014 11:05:27PM 1 point [-]

It would be better than nothing. I am grinding one of my favorite axes more than I probably should. But those numbers make my case. My intuition says it would be hard to mine a few million SNPs, pick the most strongly associated 9500, and have them account for less than .29 of the variance, even if there were no relationship at all. And height is probably a very simple property, which may depend mainly on the intensity and duration of expression of a single growth program, minus interference from deficiencies or programs competing for resources.

Comment author: CarlShulman 07 October 2014 11:41:54PM 3 points [-]

"My intuition says it would be hard to mine a few million SNPs, pick the most strongly associated 9500, and have them account for less than .29 of the variance, even if there were no relationship at all."

With sample sizes of thousands or low tens of thousands you'd get almost nothing. Going from 130k to 250k subjects took it from 0.13 to 0.29 (where the total contribution of all common additive effects is around 0.5).

Most of the top 9500 are false positives (the top 697 are genome-wide significant and contribute most of the variance explained). Larger sample sizes let you overcome noise and correctly weight the alleles with actual effects. The approach looks set to explain everything you can get (and the bulk of heritability for height and IQ) without whole genome sequencing for rare variants just by scaling up another order of magnitude.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 07 October 2014 11:56:19AM *  1 point [-]

One problem is that for that approach, you would need, say, standardized IQ tests and genomes for a large number of people, and then to identify genome properties correlated with high IQ.

First, all biologists everywhere are still obsessed with "one gene" answers. Even when they use big-data tools, they use them to come up with lists of genes, each of which they say has a measurable independent contribution to whatever it is they're studying. This is looking for your keys under the lamppost. The effect of one gene allele depends on what alleles of other genes are present. But try to find anything in the literature acknowledging that. (Admittedly we have probably evolved for high independence of genes, so that we can reproduce thru sex.)

Second, as soon as you start identifying genome properties associated with IQ, you'll get accused of racism.

Comment author: CarlShulman 07 October 2014 11:32:24PM *  3 points [-]

You can deal with epistasis using the techniques Hsu discusses and big datasets, and in any case additive variance terms account for most of the heritability even without doing that. There is much more about epistasis (and why it is of secondary importance for characterizing the variation) in the linked preprint.

Comment author: KatjaGrace 07 October 2014 02:49:06AM 2 points [-]

If parents had strong embryo selection available to them, how would the world be different, other than via increased intelligence?

Comment author: CarlShulman 07 October 2014 11:29:21PM 5 points [-]

A lot of negative-sum selection for height perhaps. The genetic architecture is already known well enough for major embryo selection, and the rest is coming quickly.

Height's contribution to CEO status is perhaps half of IQ's, and in addition to substantial effects on income it is also very helpful in the marriage market for men.

But many of the benefits are likely positional, reflecting the social status gains of being taller than others in one's social environment, and there are physiological costs (as well as use of selective power that could be used on health, cognition, and other less positional goods).

Choices at actual sperm banks suggests parents would use a mix that placed serious non-exclusive weight on each of height, attractiveness, health, education/intelligence, and anything contributing to professional success. Selection on personality might be for traits that improve individual success or for compatibility with parents, but I'm not sure about the net.

Selection for similarity on political and religious orientation might come into use, and could have disturbing and important consequences.

Comment author: paulfchristiano 07 October 2014 03:18:06PM *  2 points [-]

Looks good to me, with the same set of caveats as the original claim. Though note that both arguments are bolstered if "improvement of people" or "design of machines" in the second sentence is replaced by a more exhaustive inventory. Would be good to think more about the differences.

Comment author: CarlShulman 07 October 2014 11:20:14PM 2 points [-]

This application highlights a problem in that definition, namely gains of specialization. Say you produced humans with superhuman general intelligence as measured by IQ tests, maybe the equivalent of 3 SD above von Neumann. Such a human still could not be an expert in each and every field of intellectual activity simultaneously due to time and storage constraints.

The superhuman could perhaps master any given field better than any human given some time for study and practice, but could not so master all of them without really ridiculously superhuman prowess. This overkill requirement is somewhat like the way a rigorous Turing Test requires not only humanlike reasoning, but tremendous ability to tell a coherent fake story about biographical details, etc.

Comment author: peaigr 07 October 2014 04:19:39AM *  10 points [-]

As of July 30, GiveWell considers the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders Global Network (ICCIDD) a contender for their 2014 recommendation, according to their ongoing review. They also mention that they're considering the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), which they've had their eye on for a few years. They describe some remaining uncertainties -- this has been a major philanthropic success for the past couple decades, so why is there a funding gap now, well before the work is finished? Is it some sort of donor fatigue, or are the remaining countries that need iodization harder to work in, or is it something else?

(Also, average gains from intervention seem to be more like 3-4 IQ points.)

Comment author: CarlShulman 07 October 2014 11:10:12PM 5 points [-]

Part of their reason for funding deworming is also improvements in cognitive skills, for which the evidence base just got some boost.

Comment author: Baughn 08 September 2014 08:26:21PM 0 points [-]

True, but somewhat besides the point; it's the asymptotic speedup that's interesting.

...you know, assuming the thing actually does what they claim it does. sigh

Comment author: CarlShulman 09 September 2014 03:15:55AM 0 points [-]

Also no asymptotic speedup.

Comment author: Baughn 24 January 2013 12:20:50AM *  0 points [-]

The G+ post explains what it's good for pretty well, doesn't it?

It's not a dramatic improvement (yet), but it's a larger potential speedup than anything else I've seen on the protein-folding problem lately.

Comment author: CarlShulman 08 September 2014 04:22:04AM 0 points [-]

You can duplicate that D-Wave machine on a laptop.

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