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

Comment author: freyley 17 March 2017 11:10:59AM *  16 points [-]

Cohousing, in the US, is the term of art. I spent a while about a decade ago attempting to build a cohousing community, and it's tremendously hard. In the last few months I've moved, with my kids, into a house on a block with friends with kids, and I can now say that it's tremendously worthwhile.

Cohousings in the US are typically built in one of three ways:

  • Condo buildings, each condo sold as a condominium
  • Condo/apartment buildings, each apartment sold as a coop share
  • Separate houses.

The third one doesn't really work in major cities unless you get tremendously lucky.

The major problem with the first plan is, due to the Fair Housing Act in the 1960s, which was passed because at the time realtors literally would not show black people houses in white neighborhoods, you cannot pick your buyers. Any attempt to enforce rationalists moving in is illegal. Cohousings get around this by having voluntary things, but also by accepting that they'll get freeriders and have to live with it. Some cohousings I know of have had major problems with investors deciding cohousing is a good investment, buying condos, and renting them to whoever while they wait for the community to make their investment more valuable.

The major problem with the coop share approach is that, outside of New York City, it's tremendously hard to get a loan to buy a coop share. Very few banks do these, and usually at terrible interest rates.

Some places have gotten around this by having a rich benefactor who buys a big building and rents it, but individuals lose out on the financial benefits of homeownership. In addition, it is probably also illegal under the Fair Housing Act to choose your renters if there are separate units.

The other difficulties with cohousing are largely around community building, which you've probably seen plenty of with rationalist houses, so I won't belabor the point on that.

Comment author: evand 18 March 2017 10:22:17PM 1 point [-]

On the legality of selecting your buyers: What if you simply had a HOA (or equivelent) with high dues, that did rationalist-y things with the dues? Is that legal, and do you think it would provide a relevant selection effect?

Comment author: gjm 17 February 2017 01:33:25PM 11 points [-]

I thought the usual claim was not "immigration increases total GDP" but "immigration increases per-capita GDP". Random example: this paper which, full disclosure, I have not read but only looked at the abstract linked.

I'm not sure any measure of GDP (total or per capita) is a great way of assessing immigration. Consider the following scenarios:

  • A scenario like Phil's: An immigrant moves from a poor country to a rich country. They somehow become less productive when they do this, and earn less than they did before. But their income is positive, so the total GDP of the rich country goes up.
  • A scenario showing the opposite problem: An immigrant moves from a poor country to a rich country. In the rich country they earn less than the average person there, but more than they did before. The immigrant is better off. The other inhabitants of the rich country are (in total) better off. But per capita GDP has gone down.

It seems to me that to avoid Simpson's-Paradox-like confusion what we really want to know is: when some people migrate from country A to country B, what happens to (1) the total "GDP" of just the people who were already in country B and (2) the total "GDP" of just the people who moved from country A? We might also care about (3) the total "GDP" of those who remain in country B. My guess, FWIW, is that #1 and #2 both go up while #3 goes down.

Comment author: evand 19 February 2017 06:35:19PM 1 point [-]

We might also want to compute the sum of the GDP of A and B: does that person moving cause more net productivity growth in B than loss in A?

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 07 February 2017 10:01:59AM 0 points [-]

Your first point is indeed an issue, and I'm thinking about it. The second is less of a problem, because now we have a goal description, so implementing the goal is less of an issue.

Comment author: evand 10 February 2017 03:47:02AM 1 point [-]

Possibly a third adversarial AI? Have an AI that generates the questions based on P, is rewarded if the second AI evaluates their probability as close to 50%, is rewarded for the first AI being able to get them right based on P', and for the human getting them wrong.

That's probably not quite right; we want the AI to generate hard but not impossible questions. Possibly some sort of term about the AIs predicting whether the human will get a question right?

In response to Hacking humans
Comment author: tukabel 01 February 2017 05:15:52PM 1 point [-]

worst case scenario: AI persuades humans to give it half of their income in exchange for totalitarian control and megawars in order to increase its power over more humanimals

ooops, politics and collectivist ideologies are doing this since ages

In response to comment by tukabel on Hacking humans
Comment author: evand 03 February 2017 01:23:30AM 3 points [-]

That seems amazingly far from a worst case scenario.

Comment author: evand 03 February 2017 01:21:30AM *  0 points [-]

Have you read Politics is the Mind-Killer? I get the vague sense you haven't, and I see lots of references here to it but no direct link. If you haven't, you should go read it and every adjacent article.

Edit: actually there is a link below already. Oops.

In response to Project Hufflepuff
Comment author: evand 19 January 2017 06:55:15PM 4 points [-]

I strongly favor this project and would love to read more on the subject. I'm hopeful that its online presence happens here where I'm likely to read it, and that it doesn't vanish onto Tumblr or Facebook or something similarly inaccessible.

Comment author: evand 19 January 2017 06:52:15PM 2 points [-]

I notice that I (personally) feel an ugh response to link posts and don't like being taken away from LW when I'm browsing LW. I'm not sure why.

I do too. I don't know all the reasons, but one is simply web page design. The external page is often slow to load and unpleasant to read in comparison. This often comes with no benefit relative to just having the text in the post on LW.

Additionally, I assume that authors on other sites are a lot less likely to engage in discussion on LW, whether in comments or further posts. That seems like a big minus to me.

Comment author: casebash 05 January 2016 11:36:12PM 0 points [-]

"We can still say, e.g., that one course of action is more rational than another, even in situations where no course of action is most rational." - True.

"But I don't know of any reason to adopt that definition" - perfect rationality means to me more rational than any other agent. I think that is a reasonable definition.

Comment author: evand 29 January 2016 04:23:58AM 0 points [-]

Seeing as this is an entire article about nitpicking and mathematical constructs...

perfect rationality means to me more rational than any other agent. I think that is a reasonable definition.

Surely that should be "at least as rational as any other agent"?

Comment author: evand 30 December 2015 02:12:43AM 1 point [-]

I think you're pessimistic about tech regression.

Assuming survival of some libraries, I think basically any medium-sized functional village (thousands of people, or hundreds with a dash of trade) is adequate to maintain iron age technology. That's valuable enough that any group that survived in a fixed location for more than a couple years could see the value in the investment. (You might not even need the libraries if the right sort of person survived; I suspect I could get a lot of it without that, but it would be a lot less efficient.)

It doesn't take all that much more beyond that to get to some mix of 17th to 19th century tech. Building a useful early 19th-century machine shop is the work of one or two people, full time, for several years. Even in the presence of scavenging, I think such technology is useful enough that it won't take that long to be worth spending time on.

Basically I think anything that's survivable is unlikely to regress to before 17th century tech for a period longer than a few years.

Comment author: evand 08 November 2015 09:30:35PM 2 points [-]

So, this is exactly the sort of thing prediction markets should do well at, right? People without structural incentives to ignore a problem can make accurate predictions and make money. People who care about it can point to the market prices when making their point.

In the black swan case, I think prediction markets will do only somewhat better than alternatives, but here they should do vastly better. Right?

View more: Next