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

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 24 February 2017 11:03:44PM 0 points [-]

world total and per capita GDP

Did you mean world to modify GDP? If you did, that's really confusing, because GDP ("domestic") is specifically local. If you concatenate "world GDP" is pretty clear what you mean, but if you separate that like this, it is natural to parse it as "world and national," which is probably not what you mean, since that is pretty much the error Phil is talking about. Your links are careful to always concatenate, though.

Comment author: CarlShulman 02 March 2017 01:55:45AM 0 points [-]

I meant GWP without introducing the term. Edited for clarity.

Comment author: CarlShulman 19 February 2017 08:28:29PM *  5 points [-]

If you have a constant population, and GDP increases, productivity per person has increased. But if you have a border on a map enclosing some people, and you move it so it encloses more people, productivity hasn't increased.

Can you give examples of people confirmed to be actually making the mistake this post discusses? I don't recall seeing any.

The standard economist claim (and the only version I've seen promulgated in LW and EA circles) is that it increases gross world product (total and per capita) because migrants are much more productive when they migrate to developed countries. Here is a set of references and counterarguments.

Separately, some people are keen to increase GDP in particular countries to pay off national fixed costs (like already incurred debts, or military spending).

Comment author: Benquo 30 December 2016 10:24:43PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the correction, I'll fix the wording. Seems like Carl should make that clearer in his post too. I took the post to be saying that you'd handled the implementation and Carl had done the writeup.

Comment author: CarlShulman 31 December 2016 01:17:33AM *  4 points [-]

I came up with the idea and basic method, then asked Paul if he would provide a donor lottery facility. He did so, and has been taking in entrants and solving logistical issues as they come up.

I agree that thinking/researching/discussing more dominates the gains in the $1-100k range.

Comment author: CarlShulman 02 December 2016 12:26:05AM 3 points [-]

A different possibility is identifying vectors in Facebook-behavior space, and letting users alter their feeds accordingly, e.g. I might want to see my feed shifted in the direction of more intelligent users, people outside the US, other political views, etc. At the individual level, I might be able to request a shift in my feed in the direction of individual Facebook friends I respect (where they give general or specific permission).

Comment author: James_Miller 22 November 2016 04:42:07AM 2 points [-]

Isn't this insanely dangerous? Couldn't bacteria immune to viruses out-compete all other bacteria and destroy most of earth's biosphere?

Comment author: CarlShulman 24 November 2016 05:08:50AM 3 points [-]

That advantage only goes so far:

  • Plenty of nonviral bacteria-eating entities exist, and would become more numerous
  • Plant and antibacterial defenses aren't viral-based
  • For the bacteria to compete in the same niche as unmodified versions it has to fulfill a similar ecological role: photosynthetic cyanobacteria with altered DNA would still produce oxygen and provide food
  • It couldn't benefit from exchanging genetic material with other kinds of bacteria
Comment author: CellBioGuy 04 October 2016 10:00:49PM *  11 points [-]

Advice solicited. Topics of interest I have lined up for upcoming posts include:

  • The history of life on Earth and its important developments
  • The nature of the last universal common ancestor (REALLY good new research on this just came out)
  • The origin of life and the different schools of thought on it
  • Another exploration of time in which I go over a paper that came out this summer that basically did exactly what I did a few months earlier with my "Space and Time Part II" calculations of our point in star and planet order that showed we are not early and are right around when you would expect to find the average biosphere, but extended it to types of stars and their lifetimes in a way I think I can improve upon.
  • My thoughs on how and why SETI has been sidetracked away from activities that are more likely to be productive towards activities that are all but doomed to fail, with a few theoretical case studies
  • My thoughts on how the Fermi paradox / 'great filter' is an ill-posed concept
  • Interesting recent research on the apparent evolutionary prerequisites for primate intelligence

Any thoughts on which of these are of particular interest, or other ideas to delve into?

Comment author: CarlShulman 07 October 2016 12:19:07AM 5 points [-]

Primates and eukaryotes would be good.

Comment author: CarlShulman 16 July 2016 05:35:24PM *  8 points [-]

Your example has 3 states: vanilla, chocolate, and neither.

But you only explicitly assigned utilities to 2 of them, although you implicitly assigned the state of 'neither' a utility of 0 initially. Then when you applied the transformation to vanilla and chocolate you didn't apply it to the 'neither' state, which altered preferences for gambles over both transformed and untransformed states.

E.g. if we initially assigned u(neither)=0 then after the transformation we have u(neither)=4, u(vanilla)=7, u(chocolate)=12. Then an action with a 50% chance of neither and 50% chance of chocolate has expected utility 8, while the 100% chance of vanilla has expected utility 7.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 18 September 2015 12:01:22PM 0 points [-]

This is supposed to be a toy model of excessive simplicity. Do you have suggestions for improving it (for purposes of presenting to others)?

Comment author: CarlShulman 18 September 2015 03:31:48PM 1 point [-]

Maybe explain how it works when being configured, and then stops working when B gets a better model of the situation/runs more trial-and-error trials?

Comment author: CarlShulman 17 September 2015 07:15:31PM *  6 points [-]

An illustration with a game-playing AI, see 15:50 and after in the video. The system has a reward function based on bytes in memory, which leads it to pause the game forever when it is about to lose.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 17 September 2015 06:34:54AM *  5 points [-]

Maybe the easiest way of generalising this is programming B to put 1 block in the hole, but, because B was trained in a noisy environment, it gives only a 99.9% chance of the block being in the hole if it observes that. Then six blocks in the hole is higher expected utility, and we get the same behaviour.

Comment author: CarlShulman 17 September 2015 06:02:50PM *  1 point [-]

That still involves training it with no negative feedback error term for excess blocks (which would overwhelm a mere 0.1% uncertainty).

View more: Next