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In response to P: 0 <= P <= 1
Comment author: DragonGod 27 August 2017 11:27:01PM 0 points [-]

Vaniver and math_viking, it doesn't have to be infinite, I can just call a ridiculously big number like G_64 or something.

In response to comment by DragonGod on P: 0 <= P <= 1
Comment author: math_viking 27 August 2017 11:46:39PM 0 points [-]

So then the probability you assign to their ability to actually affect that change can be assigned a correspondingly small, nonzero number, even if you don't want to assign 0 probability.

In response to P: 0 <= P <= 1
Comment author: math_viking 27 August 2017 11:10:38PM *  3 points [-]

I think this version of Pascal's mugging could be rejected if you think that "infinite negative utility" is not a phrase that means anything, without appealing to probability of 0.

However, I still accept 0 and 1 as valid probabilities, because that is how probability is defined in the mathematical structures and proofs that underpin all of the probability theory we use, and as far as I know no other foundation of probability (up to isophorism)has been rigorously defined and explored.

The fact that measure#measure_space) is nonnegative, instead of positive, is a relevant fact and if you're going to claim 0 and 1 are not probabilities, you had better be ready to re-define all of the relevant terms and re-derive all of the relevant results in probability theory in this new framework. Since no such exposition exists, you should feel free to treat any claims that 0 and 1 are not probabilities as, at best, speculation.

Now, I know those of you who have read Eliezer's post are about to go "But wait! What about Cox's Theorem! Doesn't that imply that odds have to be finite?" No, it does no such thing. If you look at the Wikipedia article on Cox's Theorem, you will see that probability must be represented by real numbers, and that this is an assumption, rather than a result. In other words, any "way of representing uncertainties" must map them to real numbers in order for Cox's Theorem to apply, and so Cox's Theorem only applies to odds or log odds if you assume that odds and log odds are finite to begin with. Obviously, this is circular reasoning, and no more of an argument than simply asserting that probability must be in (0,1) and stopping there.

Moreover, if you look down the page, you will see that the article explicitly states that one of Cox's results is that probability is in... wait for it... [0,1].

Comment author: Alexei 10 August 2017 07:19:56PM 0 points [-]

This will take a long time to load, but it's comprehensive: https://arbital.com/explore/math/

Comment author: math_viking 11 August 2017 04:02:55AM 0 points [-]

I'll take a look, thanks!

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 05 June 2017 01:25:13PM 0 points [-]

I spent five minutes trying to operationalize, but I couldn't come up with anything that seemed workable. For now, we'll just proceed knowing that at least one of us is wrong. =)

Comment author: math_viking 05 June 2017 03:48:52PM 1 point [-]

Either way is fine with me, but if you can express in any way what you think "average" is for some of these skills, I would like to know because now I'm really curious.

Thanks for taking so much time to keep responding to a fairly random commenter!

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 04 June 2017 11:39:34PM 0 points [-]

I'm plausibly interested in betting a few hundred dollars against you, especially if (as seems likely, given your confidence) you were to bet $1000 against my $250 or something like that. If I imagine the hundred closest people I know uttering the above, I think all but one or two of them are wrong/overconfident.

Comment author: math_viking 05 June 2017 05:10:20AM *  1 point [-]

What statement, specifically, would we be betting on? It's certainly plausible that I'm underestimating the difficulty in getting an entire group to above these standards in comparison to getting one person. Though, I think the main issue may be a difference in what we perceive as average, rather than a model of how hard learning these skills is.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 04 June 2017 01:22:56PM 4 points [-]

The problem seems to be to be the tradeoff between going deep and going wide, with the added complexity that going deep on the wrong thing seems strictly worse than going wide, and so we're defaulting to going wide where there's uncertainty.

Put another way, it's unlikely that any of those specific skills are going to be particularly important to any of our longest-term goals, but it also seems counterproductive to just sit there thinking about which direction to go in. I'm usually not the biggest expert in the room, but I usually am the most generally competent in terms of being able to fill holes or solve whatever problem crops up, and it's because I have a habit of just constantly churning and picking up new skills and methods and heuristics wherever I go. I suspect that others would benefit from a similar habit, in particular because once "the right skill" does come along, you have both the affordance to start learning it and a variety of experiences allowing you to learn quickly and efficiently.

That's a claim. Not necessarily supported, but reasonable, I think, and worth trying out.

I note that I disagree that it's easy to break averages in all of these things at once. People who don't actually check their abilities against a standard tend to be wildly overconfident, and people tend to underestimate how long it will take them to learn X or accomplish Y; these things are solidly documented. And while competence does tend to cluster (e.g. "G"), so the picture's not quite as bleak as the second half of this sentence, once you've got a dozen different domains and shooting to be above the 50% mark in all of them, you're looking at a person who's approximating one in four thousand, and when you try to get a whole group to hit that mark, the challenge is pretty real. I wouldn't be surprised if most people have most of this easy, but I think you're not fully grokking the difficulty of making everybody baseline competent in all of these domains. For instance, you note that many of these skills require only a few weeks, but I don't know if you added up all of those weeks, compared them to the time commitment, and noted that they're all being practiced off-hours and people have their own jobs and lives as well.

It's a floor, though, not a ceiling—we're aiming at "world class skill," we're just not naively expecting that getting there is going to be easy, and initial expectations are meant to be exceeded.

Various additional points ... - The trade skill goal got scaled back in response to another comment; it was the hardest/sketchiest one to begin with. - We will have some ability to practice trade skills at the house, and are adopting a norm of going and seeking professional instruction outside from time to time. - I buy that you meet a large number of these criteria; I meet most of them myself. But the ones I don't have are sticky/tricky.

Comment author: math_viking 04 June 2017 08:48:04PM 1 point [-]

. And while competence does tend to cluster (e.g. "G"), so the picture's not quite as bleak as the second half of this sentence, once you've got a dozen different domains and shooting to be above the 50% mark in all of them, you're looking at a person who's approximating one in four thousand,

I don't think these skills are anywhere near independent. It's also not obvious that they're normally distributed. And, being above the 50% mark in a dozen skills by coincidence being unlikely does not at all tell you how hard it is to gain skills if you put in some deliberate work.

I generally am sympathetic to the argument that stuff can be harder than one assumes, but I also am generally cynical about the "average" level of most of these skills. Most people probably don't even know what "calibration" means precisely enough to test their own level of calibration. I'm not trying to be arrogant here, I pretty much have only heard about the idea of writing down your confidence level of a bunch of predictions and seeing what comes true from the rationalist community and rationalist-adjacent ones.

For the sake of avoiding this issue, and because rather than using terms like "above-average," I would attempt to pin down ahead of time requirements that are as specific as possible to measure progress in each of the areas you care about.

For instance, you note that many of these skills require only a few weeks, but I don't know if you added up all of those weeks, compared them to the time commitment, and noted that they're all being practiced off-hours and people have their own jobs and lives as well.

I don't think it should take a few weeks each to exceed average in most of these skills. I expect it to take a few weeks total (or 1 day a week for a few months).

Comment author: [deleted] 27 May 2017 12:48:06AM *  3 points [-]

a

Comment author: math_viking 04 June 2017 04:01:32AM 6 points [-]

Your original comment, though harsh, at least contained some useful insights. Don't ruin that by posting comments that are nothing more than 6 lines of insults that no one wants to read.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 27 May 2017 01:32:11AM 11 points [-]

Part 2 of 2

Ah, paragraph seven contains the unword "cult," which I think you're using to say something, but I'd rather you just actually said the thing, instead of applying the empty, stretched, multi-interpretation label. Like, I think if you laid out specific, concrete objections, I and others could benefit from them, but just saying cult is lazy name-calling.

I do somewhat agree with your objections to the list of specific skills attained after a year. I had hoped that the large word DRAFT at the top, plus the repeated statements that the whole plan was to iterate, and that I didn't expect to be able to figure out the right stuff on the first try, would've clued you in to the fact that I, too, am aware that the list is inadequate. Do you have specific suggestions for replacements? Keep in mind, the hard problem is to balance things-that-will-be-generally-useful-for-a-medium-sized-group-of-people against the fact that everyone involved has their own specific career and expertise already. Part of the impetus here is social, part of it is becoming well-rounded, part of it is practicing the skill of gaining/improving skills, and all of that is trying to avoid skating into trivial irrelevancy. Got any ideas?

As a meta note, I think that people who cower behind anonymity don't deserve to make concrete claims about their skill sets without backing them up, so until further notice and on a policy level, I'm treating your claim that you meet 11 out of 14 criteria as a flat-out lie (despite its plausibility overall). You're currently nothing and nobody and have no skills; that will change as soon as you a) reveal yourself or b) demonstrate credibility under this pseudonym.

Your next attempt to strawman things takes a sub-point out of context and deliberately ignores the actual requirement being made, which was that people hold their beliefs and models with skepticism/realize that their internal experience does not represent absolute truth, and that they treat one another with a behaviorist's lens, using revealed preferences and past behavior as predictors, rather than relying on mental summations that may be false or straw. I'm curious whether, setting aside your mockery of a subpoint, you agree with that point.

Interestingly enough, I have reasonable credence in your two inferences. In my experience, members of this community do attempt to install norms to compensate for social failings (and do have a somewhat higher-than-average level of social ineptitude). And also, I think many people in this community are low-empathy and embody the bad side of individualism. However, unlike you, I see that a lot of people are trying damn hard to correct this, and I'm curious whether you think they should be written off for not being good enough already, or whether you have specific suggestions that differ from the ones already being tried. I note that a big part of what Dragon Army intends to do is just try a whole bunch of stuff (including stuff already known to work; there's no premium on novelty), and that I think data will be better than armchair ranting.

I suspect you haven't done much in the way of looking in the mirror when you type the words "repressed irritation, interpersonal drama, and general unpleasantness." Certainly you don't meet any of my standards for "how a decent person behaves." I'm going to try to avoid the fundamental attribution error here, though, and assume that we've hit some combination of a) a bad day, b) the problems of online communication, and c) you being unusually triggered or having run out of some important resources.

I'm not going to engage with the ad hominem attack at the end, which, in addition to being wrong as a tactic, also fails in specific. I think that if you compare yourself, who is suggesting suicide as a solution, with OSC, who is definitely wrong about a lot of things but has never gone so far as to claim a fellow human would be better off killing themselves, you'll note that you might be on the wrong side. I'd check my cap for a skull, at least in the context of today's mood.

For anyone else—I welcome calm, reasoned elaboration on any of the on-topic points this person made. When I went through blow-by-blow, there were fewer than I'd hoped, but there are true and valuable and important criticisms here, and I'm glad they've been added to the mix, and I wouldn't mind further discussion of them.

Comment author: math_viking 04 June 2017 03:48:22AM *  3 points [-]

I do somewhat agree with your objections to the list of specific skills attained after a year. I had hoped that the large word DRAFT at the top, plus the repeated statements that the whole plan was to iterate, and that I didn't expect to be able to figure out the right stuff on the first try, would've clued you in to the fact that I, too, am aware that the list is inadequate. Do you have specific suggestions for replacements? Keep in mind, the hard problem is to balance things-that-will-be-generally-useful-for-a-medium-sized-group-of-people against the fact that everyone involved has their own specific career and expertise already. Part of the impetus here is social, part of it is becoming well-rounded, part of it is practicing the skill of gaining/improving skills, and all of that is trying to avoid skating into trivial irrelevancy. Got any ideas?

I'm not the originator of this thread, but that part did resonate with me. I don't think there's anything wrong with those skills, but the combination of choice of skills and the desired level of competency does seem to be decidedly mediocre given the effort and people involved.

1) Above-average physical capacity

What is average? In the US, you could probably be somewhat overweight with no strength, speed, endurance, or agility to speak of and still be "above average."

(2) Above-average introspection

I would expect almost all of the people who volunteer to be part of a rationalist group house to be there or pretty close to there already.

(3) Above-average planning & execution skill (4) Above-average communication/facilitation skill (5) Above-average calibration/debiasing/rationality knowledge

I think my previous comment applies here as well. Perhaps you have a different conception of "average" than I do, but I think if you're going to establish a long-term mini-dictatorship of a group house, you should be aiming for quite a bit higher than "above average."

(6) Above-average scientific lab skill/ability to theorize and rigorously investigate claims

I don't really understand this one. Is your group house actually going to have the ability to practice conducting laboratory experiments? That's a very high overhead endeavor.

(7) Average problem-solving/debugging skill (8) Average public speaking skill (9) Average leadership/coordination skill (10) Average teaching and tutoring skill

Average? Your goals are to reach average, after a year of dedicated effort? Getting into the 80th percentile of anything numbered 1-10 on this list should require a minimum of effort on the part of dedicated individuals following strict rules, unless you have some specific medical condition interfering.

(11) Fundamentals of first aid & survival

How fundamental is fundamental? This also shouldn't take very long if you are willing to put in the effort and practice a bit (2 weeks, at the outside, though you could the true basics in a long weekend). I don't know how it's related to the rest of the goals, though, or why it's important enough to be on the rest of the list. Also, you should practice many of these skills in the actual wilderness, which means time away from everything else.

(12) Fundamentals of financial management

Again, I'm not sure what's "fundamental." You could spend 2 days on this, or the entire year.

(13) At least one of: fundamentals of programming, graphic design, writing, A/V/animation, or similar (employable mental skill) (14) At least one of: fundamentals of woodworking, electrical engineering, welding, plumbing, or similar (employable trade skill)

Do you have the ability to teach/practice trade skills at the house? I would expect leaning any of these things, to an employable level, within a year, would require spending time similar to a full-time job somewhere that has infrastructure, in addition to a significant investment of money (at least a few thousand dollars). (I checked some local welding and plumbing classes at community colleges, which is where I'm getting those numbers).

Someone who already has one of these skills (I'm guess you'll have a few coders at least) is going to be at a tremendous advantage in terms of time and possibly money compared to someone who is not. 13 and 14 are going to each represent a greater time investment than the others combined, unless you already have them.

As a meta note, I think that people who cower behind anonymity don't deserve to make concrete claims about their skill sets without backing them up, so until further notice and on a policy level, I'm treating your claim that you meet 11 out of 14 criteria as a flat-out lie (despite its plausibility overall). You're currently nothing and nobody and have no skills; that will change as soon as you a) reveal yourself or b) demonstrate credibility under this pseudonym.

I don't know if you care, but I would say I already meet a similar number of these criteria. The only one I definitely don't meet is 14. I'm willing to tie this account to my real name and explain/prove why I meet them (though some of them would be quite difficult to really prove, I could only argue).

Comment author: Alexei 01 April 2017 05:01:40PM 0 points [-]

I'm not into persuading people. :) If you want to write, go for it. I still think Arbital is a really good platform for writing up math explanations.

Comment author: math_viking 04 June 2017 03:13:17AM 0 points [-]

I rather forgot about this due to being accidentally logged out of this account and not realizing so until later. If I were to try my hand at this, what would be the best place to see what's already been done (without having to click through arbital) and submit my contributions?

Comment author: Alexei 29 March 2017 08:23:51PM 4 points [-]

That's a very good point. When we were doing math explanations, we did reach out to a lot of people (just not via LW). When we were doing debates, we reached out to a few people, because we didn't quite know what shape we wanted to the debate to take. So we didn't need that many people. (It would be a bit silly to move a community from one platform to another that's basically the same.)

So, yes, there were multiple times where we thought that we should invite more people / throw open the doors. Some of those times we postponed it because we weren't ready; one of the other times we probably should have done it.

You can think of this post as an invitation to use the platform.

Comment author: math_viking 01 April 2017 05:59:36AM 1 point [-]

If you're still looking for content, I could be persuaded to start (slowly) working on some set theory/analysis concepts.

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