Topic Contributions


What’s the theory of change of “Come to the bay over the summer!”?

But note the hidden costs. Climbing the social ladder can trade of against building things. Learning all the Berkeley vibes can trade of against, eg., learning the math actually useful for understanding agency.

This feels like a surprisingly generic counterargument, after the (interesting) point about ladder climbing. "This could have opportunity costs" could be written under every piece of advice for how to spend time.

In fact, it applies less to this posts than to most advice on how to spend time, since the OP claimed that the environment caused them to work harder.

(A hidden cost that's more tied to ladder climbing is Chana's point that some of this can be at least somewhat zero-sum.)

Some potential lessons from Carrick’s Congressional bid

By the way, as an aside, the final chapter here is that Protect our Future PAC went negative in May -- perhaps a direct counter to BoldPAC's spending. (Are folks here proud of that? Is misleading negative campaigning compatible with EA values?)

I wanted to see exactly how misleading these were. I found this example of an attack ad, which (after some searching) I think cites this, this, this, and this. As far as I can tell:

  • The first source says that Salinas "worked for the chemical manufacturers’ trade association for a year", in the 90s.
  • The second source says that she was a "lobbyist for powerful public employee unions SEIU Local 503 and AFSCME Council 75 and other left-leaning groups" around 2013-2014. The video uses this as a citation for the slide "Andrea Salinas — Drug Company Lobbyist".
  • The third source says that insurers' drug costs rose by 23% between 2013-2014. (Doesn't mention Salinas.)
  • The fourth source is just the total list of contributors to Salina's campaigns, and the video doesn't say what company she supposedly lobbied for that gave her money. The best I can find is that this page says she lobbied for Express Scripts in 2014, who is listed as giving her $250.

So my impression is that the situation boils down to: Salinas worked for a year for the chemical manufacturers’ trade association in the 90s, had Express Scripts as 1 out of 11 clients in 2014 (although the video doesn't say they mean Express Scripts, or provide any citation for the claim that Salinas was a drug lobbyist in 2013/2014), and Express Scripts gave her $250 in 2018. (And presumably enough other donors can be categorised as pharmaceutical to add up to $18k.)

So yeah, very misleading.

(Also, what's up with companies giving and campaigns accepting such tiny amounts as $250? Surely that's net-negative for campaigns by enabling accusations like this.)

Replicating and extending the grabby aliens model

(1) maybe doom should be disambiguated between  "the short-lived simulation that I am in is turned of"-doom (which I can't really observe) and "the basement reality Earth I am in is turned into paperclips by an unaligned AGI"-type doom.

Yup, I agree the disambiguation is good. In aliens-context, it's even useful to disambiguate those types of doom from "Intelligence never leaves the basement reality Earth I am on"-doom. Since paperclippers probably would become grabby.

Replicating and extending the grabby aliens model

When I model the existence of simulations like us, SIA does not imply doom (as seen in the marginalised posteriors for  in the appendix here). 

It does imply doom for us, since we're almost certainly in a short-lived simulation.

And if we condition on being outside of a simulation, SIA also implies doom for us, since it's more likely that we'll find ourselves outside of a simulation if there are more basement-level civilizations, which is facilitated by more of them being doomed.

It just implies that there  weren't necessarily a lot of doomed civilizations in the basement-level universe, many basement-level years ago, when our simulators were a young civilization.

Discussion on Thomas Philippon's paper on TFP growth being linear

There's an excellent critique of that paper on LW:

The conclusion is that exponentials look better for longer-run trends, if you do fair comparisons. And that linear being a better fit than exponentials in recent data is more about the error-model than the growth-model, so it shouldn't be a big update against exponential growth.

How about we don't all get COVID in London?

It's table 3 I think you want to look at. For fatigue and other long covid symptoms, belief that you had covid has a higher odds ratio than does confirmed covid

That's exactly what we should expect if long covid is caused by symptomatic covid, and belief-in-covid is a better predictor of symptomatic covid than positive-covid-test. (The latter also picks up asymptomatic covid, so it's a worse predictor of symptomatic covid.)

Announcing What The Future Owes Us

The future's ability to affect the past is truly a crucial consideration for those with high discount rates. You may doubt whether such acausal effects are possible, but in expectation, on e.g. an ultra-neartermist view, even a 10^-100 probability that it works is enough, since anything that happened 100 years ago is >>10^1000 times as important as today is, with an 80%/day discount rate.

Indeed, if we take the MEC approach to moral uncertainty, we can see that this possibility of ultra-neartermism + past influence will dominate our actions for any reasonable credences. Perhaps the future can contain 10^40 lives, but that pales in comparison to the >>10^1000 multiplier we can get by potentially influencing the past.

Future-proof ethics

I think the title of this post doesn't quite match the dialogue. Most of the dialogue is about whether additional good lives is at least somewhat good. But that's different from whether each additional good life is morally equivalent to a prevented death. The former seems more plausible than the latter, to me.

Separating the two will lead to some situations where a life is bad to create but also good to save, once started. That seems more like a feature than a bug. If you ask people in surveys, my impression is that some small fraction of people say that they'd prefer to not have been born and that some larger fraction of people say that they'd not want to relive their life again — without this necessarily implying that they currently want to die.

We're announcing a $100,000 blog prize

I assume it's fine to prominently link to the EA forum or LW as the place to leave comments? Like e.g. cold takes does.

Yonatan Cale's Shortform

2. The best workout game I found is "thrill of the fight", I have some tips before you try it. Also, not everyone will like it

What are your tips?

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