matthewp

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How to get more academics enthusiastic about doing AI Safety research?

I think it's more of a comment that one would find the number of academics 'excited' about AIS would increase as the number of venues for publication grew.

Gifted $1 million. What to do? (Not hypothetical)

This doesn't seem to have been said, so I will: $1m is enough to live off as an endowment. You can use this to work your entire life on any cause you want to, and then donate as much of it in your will as you wish to. 

Neglected biodiversity protection by EA.

Upvoted because I think that this should not be downvoted without comment. However I think OP will get more engagement and generate a fuller respose here if:

  • The arguments that there is a mass extinction going on are summarized rather than linked to.
  • Some facts about funding levels are given. E.g. how much £ overall goes to eco / wildlife / conservation charities overall versus EA causes. Otherwise some may respond that funding from EA sources is not required, or there are more neglected priorities.
  • The case for impact and why biodiversity loss is worse than other causes the community focuses on. E.g. there will be those happy to concede that it is bad, but meaningless in the event of x-risks coming to pass.

Note: I am sympathetic generally to the need for a diversity of causes, I'm just pointing out some elements I'd expect to see in an argument which proved persuasive.

Who do intellectual prizewinners follow on Twitter?

Would suggest at least forming a 'control group', performing the same analysis and looking at differences in the sets of popular feeds. Following Obama doesn't tell you much about a person.

One would also need to figure out what it is about those accounts that separates them from other , similar accounts 'IPW's could have followed but didn't. 

This Can't Go On

Might get hold of it and confirm my biases :D. 

I feel fairly confident though that this argument doesn't hinge too much on a particular technology such as IoT (as I see in the blurb).  To unnecessarily recapitulate: something like the above argument on GDP falls out as the consequence of marginal costs being driven to zero. By whatever means, and relying only on micro 101 theory. In the limit, GDP will provide very little information about utility. There'll be a lot of good, cool stuff in the world which will be free.

This Can't Go On

GDP is a very leaky measure for growth in this context. To see this, consider a utopian scenario with dirt cheap fusion energy powered Star Trek replicators. The marginal cost of most traded goods drops to near zero and GDP tanks (setting aside services).  You have for traditional industry writ large a similar dynamic to that napster triggered for the music industry.

Assuming we don't all die sometime soon and things 'carry on' the solution is likely to lie at least  in part, eventually, in giving up on trying to summarise all of technology in a scalar value.

On another note, as a piece of futurism we see here that technology / the economy is predicted to either:

  • Get much bigger.
  • Get much smaller.
  • Stay about the same.
  • Do something else.

This covers just about every possibility, so it can't constitute much evidence on which to update.

[edit: tidied up]

Will protests lead to thousands of coronavirus deaths?
But collectively we are all better off if everyone stops holding protests for now.

Who is the 'we' here and by whose yardstick the benefit measured?

Animal rights activists are not turning out in large numbers to get tear gassed and beaten for the cause. This is pretty good evidence that they are not in the set of 'everyone else who thinks their reason is as good as I think this one is'.

As usual, there are better alternatives being neglected here. Those who want more lockdown have, in this situation, two options to get it: more violence or more concessions.

Negotiation is certainly possible. So, a consequentialist might lay additional covid deaths at the step of a government which failed to negotiate.

Add to this the obvious virtue of the demand to end police brutality and recognize that black lives matter. That being an option now, it seems particularly bizarre, and wrong, to delay granting the wish.

[Stats4EA] Uncertain Probabilities

Now that is a big philosophical question.

One answer is that there is no difference between 'orders' of random variables in Bayesian statistics. You've either observed something or you haven't. If you haven't, then you figure out what distribution the variable has.

The relationship between that distribution and the real world is a matter of your assiduousness to scientific method in constructing the model.

Lack of a reported distribution on a probability, e.g. p=0.42, isn't the same as a lack of one. It could be taken as the assertion that the distribution on the probability is a delta function at 0.42. Which is to say the reporter is claiming to be perfectly certain what the probability is.

There is no end to how meta we could go, but the utility of going one order up here is to see that it can actually flip our preferences.

[Stats4EA] Uncertain Probabilities

One of the topics I hope to return to here is the importance of histograms. They're not a universal solvent. However they are easily accessible without background knowledge. And as a summary of results, they require fewer parametric assumptions.

I very much agree about the reporting of means and standard deviations, and how much a paper can sweep under the rug by that method.

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