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Comment author: V_V 23 October 2014 02:40:26PM 7 points [-]


Comment author: V_V 19 October 2014 03:19:19PM *  2 points [-]

Generally speaking, given a decision problem and a strategy to solve it, one way to measure it''s quality is the "regret"): the difference (or the ratio) between the payoff of the theoretically optimal strategy and the payoff of the strategy under consideration.

If the strategies are algorithms, then you can further refine the concept by including resource constraints (e.g. running in polynomial time, or running within X seconds).

In general, I don't think there is really a definition that fits well all cases in a non-trivial way: a clock optimizes keeping time, a rock optimizes laying around and occasionally falling, but we don't usually think of these things as agents trying to optimize an utility function.

Comment author: Azathoth123 18 October 2014 04:13:54PM 2 points [-]

Um, until recently the various Iraqi militants weren't very organized.

Comment author: V_V 18 October 2014 09:46:59PM 1 point [-]

Kinda. And until recently they sucked at fighting the government.

Comment author: Randaly 17 October 2014 07:06:48PM *  4 points [-]

Maybe, but this is the exact opposite of polymath's claim- not that fighting a modern state is so difficult as to be impossible, but that fighting one is sufficiently simple that starting out without any weapons is not a significant handicap.

(The proposed causal impact of gun ownership on rebellion is more guns -> more willingness to actually fight against a dictator (acquiring a weapon is step that will stop many people who would otherwise rebel from doing so) -> more likelihood that government allies defect -> more likelihood that the government falls. I'm not sure if I endorse this, but polymath's claim is definitely wrong.)

(As an aside, this is historically inaccurate: almost all of the weapons in Syria and Libya came either from defections from their official militaries (especially in Libya), or from foreign donors, not from private purchases. However, private purchases were important in Mexico and Ireland.)

Comment author: V_V 18 October 2014 02:27:32PM 1 point [-]

but that fighting one is sufficiently simple that starting out without any weapons is not a significant handicap.

I didn't claim that fighting a government is simple. My claim is that the hardest part of fighting a government is forming an organized militia with sufficient funds and personnel. If you manage to do that, then acquiring weapons is probably comparatively easy.

Comment author: turchin 17 October 2014 03:13:25PM 1 point [-]

So, do you think that half of the population will be infected?

Comment author: V_V 17 October 2014 03:50:20PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: turchin 17 October 2014 12:59:17PM -1 points [-]

This joke maybe good in any other site but not on Lesswrong which is based on idea of unlimited AI self-improving. Of cause Ebola will end it exponential growth - I just interested to know how and when. Will it burn out in Africa, or we get herd immunity after 100 million victims, or effective vaccine will be created, or we will nuke all places with Ebola?

Comment author: V_V 17 October 2014 02:45:46PM *  1 point [-]

This joke maybe good in any other site but not on Lesswrong which is based on idea of unlimited AI self-improving.

Some people here, including the founder, believe that recursive AI self-improvement is a realistic possibility, but I'm pretty sure that even the most hardcore believers acknowledge that there are physical limits, and that you can't just expect an exponential function to be a good fit for a trend when you get close to the limit.

The basic function you should be looking for modelling this kind of phenomena is the logistic function. It's the basic model for phenomena that include both positive feedback mechanisms (e.g. self-replication) and negative feedback mechanisms (e.g. resource constraints).

If you look at the graph of the logistic function, you may notice that initially, when positive feedback is dominant, it very closely resembles an exponential, then it becomes about linear around the middle point and then, negative feedback is dominant, it becomes close to a negative exponential.

If a disease had a constant basic reproduction number , and it could infect anyone, and infected people never died because of the infection and remained infectious for life, then the prevalence of the disease over time would be well approximated by a logistic function, with the world population size as the supremum value (the "capacity").

In an actual epidemic, of course, people can die or heal, and the R factor varies over time as the disease spreads to different places, people and institution change their behavior, better treatment becomes available, and so on, thus you don't really get an exact logistic trend, but that's the first-order model for forecasting the long-term prevalence disease, not an exponential model that neglects feedback loops.
An exponential model is only useful when the disease prevalence is still quite far from the capacity, that is, when a typical infected person is mostly surrounded by uninfected (and infectable) people.

Comment author: Emile 13 October 2014 07:42:27AM 2 points [-]

If you start strongly punishing countries for revealing data about local epidemics you soon don't have that data anymore.

The effect of "punishing" is not linear, it only matters if it reaches a threshold. So as long as any travel ban comes with more aid (which seems likely), the info will be revealed as before.

Comment author: V_V 17 October 2014 01:09:24PM *  -1 points [-]

So as long as any travel ban comes with more aid (which seems likely), the info will be revealed as before.

Still each decision to reveal critical information would become a though political decision, where politicians would have to assess whether it would cause more harm than good. This could lead to delays and downplaying.

Also, no matter what politicians do, individuals also respond to incentives:
People who visited a blacklisted country might lie about it in order to travel, people from a blacklisted country could travel to a neighboring non-blacklisted country and then travel using forged documents. Once they travelled illegally, they may delay getting medical assistance when they get sick, lie about where they have been, lie about people they have been in contact with, etc.

It looks like an iterated prisoner's dilemma: if you start defecting, then other players will defect against you, yielding a worse outcome for everybody.

Comment author: turchin 14 October 2014 07:27:58AM -1 points [-]

Recent CDC estimates put the amount of possible Ebola cases at around 1.4 million as of January 2015. This is just four months from now; however, they do not say what will happen one year from now based on their own, projective, logic.

If the current rate of transmission persists, with an exponential doubling time around 1 month, the human population will be infected to 2016. This will happen. There will be a thousand more cases in just 10 months… It just grows exponentially from there: five million cases as of Sept 2015; 5 billion cases by Sept 2016, i.e. the total human population. At a 70 % mortality rate, only 2 billion people will survive, but the situation could be even worse if we take into account mutations of the virus and the consequences of a pandemic catastrophe... http://brighterbrains.org/articles/entry/does-the-ebola-virus-constitute-an-existential-risk

Comment author: V_V 17 October 2014 12:32:13PM 2 points [-]

5 billion cases by Sept 2016

...and 40 billion cases by December 2016. Beware exponential extrapolation.

Comment author: Randaly 17 October 2014 06:36:57AM 4 points [-]

The Syrians and Libyans seem to have done OK for themselves. Iraq and likely Afghanistan were technically wins for our nuclear and drone-armed state, but both were only marginal victories, Iraq was a fairly near run thing, and in neither case were significant defections from the US military a plausible scenario.

Comment author: V_V 17 October 2014 12:20:13PM 2 points [-]

The Syrians and Libyans seem to have done OK for themselves.

They are organized paramilitary groups who buy military-grade weapons and issue them to their soldiers, not random gun toters who fight with personally owned handguns and shotguns.

It seems to me that the main issues in setting up a militia are organization, recruitment and funding. Once you sort that out, acquiring weapons isn't much difficult.

Comment author: KatjaGrace 11 October 2014 07:44:08AM 1 point [-]

Do you think AI experts deserve their notoriety at predicting? The several public predictions that I know of prior to 1980 were indeed early (i.e. we have passed the time they predicted) but [Michie's survey] covers about ten times as many people and suggests that in the 70s, most CS researchers thought human-level AI would not arrive by 2014.

Comment author: V_V 11 October 2014 09:57:40AM 2 points [-]

I thought that the main result by Armstrong and Sotala was that most AI experts who made a public prediction, predicted human-level AI within 15 to 20 years in their future, regardless on when they made the prediction.

Is this new data? Can you have some reference on how it was obtained?

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