Lol. Not bad for 60% joking.
PS, here's the code actually deployed: https://hamishhuggard.com/misc/fermi.html
I'd love to enter a competition like this.
There's also the possibility that a maximum doesn't exist.
Suppose you had a one-shot utility machine, where you simply punch in a number, and the machine will generate that many utils then self-destruct. The machine has no limit in the number of utils it can generate. How many utils do you select?
"Maximise utility" has no answer to this, because there is no maximum.
In real life, we have a practically infinite number actions available to us. There might be a sense in which due to field quantisation and finite negentropy there are technically finite actions available, but certainly there are more actions available than we could ever enumerate, let alone estimate the expected utility for.
In practice, it seems like the best way to actually maximise value is just to do lots of experimental utility-generating projects, and greedily look for low-effort, high-reward strategies.
I had a crack at doing the Fermi Paradox calculations using vanilla JS for benchmarking. Took maybe 5 minutes to build reusable probabilistic estimation functions from scratch. On that basis, it doesn't look to me like it would be worth the effort of learning a new syntax.
However, what took me almost all day was trying to get a nice visualisation of the probability distribution I came up with. I would like to be able to zoom and pan, hover over different x-values to get the PDF or CDF as a function of x, and maybe vary model parameters by dragging sliders. IMO, this is the real advantage of a probabilistic reasoning web-app.
After like 6 hours, I came up with a janky prototype which has zooming and a hover tooltip on a CDF.
Very messy code here: https://github.com/hamishhuggard/interactive-CDF/blob/main/fermi.html
PS: I hear QURI is hiring? Can I use this as a work trial? :P
Yeah, hard to know what to do with that. I'll make it clear in the post that it is an acknowledged mistake that has been apologised for.
I have a few novel ideas about how to make infinite ethics problems go away (by solving or dissolving them, depending on your perspective), but they would take hours or days to write down. How valuable would it be for me to do this?