The most recent episode of the 80k podcast had Andy Weber on it. He was the US Assistant Secretary of Defense, “responsible for biological and other weapons of mass destruction”.
Towards the end of the episode he casually drops quite the bomb:
Well, over time, evidence for natural spread hasn’t been produced, we haven’t found the intermediate species, you know, the pangolin that was talked about last year. I actually think that the odds that this was a laboratory-acquired infection that spread perhaps unwittingly into the community in Wuhan is about a 50% possibility… And we know that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was doing exactly this type of research [gain of function research]. Some of it — which was funded by the NIH for the United States — on bat Coronaviruses. So it is possible that in doing this research, one of the workers at that laboratory got sick and went home. And now that we know about asymptomatic spread, perhaps they didn’t even have symptoms and spread it to a neighbor or a storekeeper. So while it seemed an unlikely hypothesis a year ago, over time, more and more evidence leaning in that direction has come out. And it’s wrong to dismiss that as kind of a baseless conspiracy theory. I mean, very, very serious scientists like David Relman from Stanford think we need to take the possibility of a laboratory accident seriously.
The included link is to a statement from the US Embassy in Georgia, which to me seems surprisingly blunt, calling out the CCP for obfuscation, and documenting events at the WIV, going so far as to speculate that they were doing bio-weapons research there.
I can share observations/thoughts about some similar experiences.
Sometimes I lie.
But let me back up: for a long time, I’ve been aware of two different modes in which I speak—one is fluent and “real-time”; the other is slow, halting, and feels somewhat like wearing mittens, somewhat like trying to squash high-dimensional objects down into a lower-dimensional space, somewhat like.. tasting alternatives for the right connotations and inflections. Sometimes this second mode is evoked when some part of me becomes concerned about doing PR with the person I’m talking to, or if its a topic where I care about nuance or precision. I’d estimate that ~80% of my speech is in the fluent mode.
A few years ago (a few years into my meditation practice) I realized that speech in the fluent mode is, in some, way non-conscious. Sometimes I could become aware of speech just… unspooling through me, without intervention from… “me”. The part of me that calls itself “me”. The “global work space” of consciousness. Sometimes it was sophisticated speech! This has never happened in mittens-mode. Needing to sieve up a new/novel/unusual semantic meaning from the depths of language-space seems to require… “me”.
Once, fluent-mode upset someone and I tried to explain this to them. It… wasn’t well-received.
More than 99.99% of the time, I’m entirely happy with what, fluent mode utters. Very rarely, though (probably on the order of once every year or two) it will just lie. “How do you know X?” “Oh, through my dance community” <I actually met them through OkCupid>.
This tends to happen when I sense that the other person will get a negative emotional charge out of the truth, and/or if I have some negative emotional content around it. @AnnaSalamon, you gave me the model I use for thinking about this years ago: the parent who on picking up the phone angrily asks “Why don’t you call more often?!” and then wonders why their child doesn’t call more often. If a person has shown me systematically in the past that they will have a strong negative emotional reaction to the truth, then I powerfully learn their revealed preference that in some situations they hate the truth. I also learn an upsetting reciprocal lesson about myself and find myself in an awkward to back out of situation.
These moments are particularly vexing because they’re extremely difficult to “train against”—I have to be caught unaware, and in the right mental state for this to happen.
(Conversely, sometimes the babble system which Scott dubs the guf isn’t generative enough in real-time. There have been various babble exercises posted here in the past year; other ideas I’ve had include learning to rap (badly! Badly! I don’t expect to learn to rap well!) and trying comedy or theatre improv (Keith Johnstone’s Impro seemed to be recommended a lot in rationalist circles a few years ago). One thing I wonder about: will training the guf to be more generative increase the risk of the guf make utterances I wouldn’t fully endorse?)
Holy shit, I found some real interesting articles on ether ’sploits by following links off of this write up. Did you know that people sometime write buggy “smart” contracts?
Because I’m a professional DeFi thought leader, I had never actually deployed a contract to Ethereum before.
You mean it’s not a play on LSTM? Boo.
How do we get LCTM from Long-Tailed Capital Management? Is the Tail so long that the T slides right past the C?
Or does it stand for something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT??
Wait, this AGI is just wearing a person as a sock-puppet/love-interest? I hope the dynamics of those relationships/Vi’s motivations are fleshed out more.
It’s not clear that switching to primarily remote work will be a win or stable. Some people seem to find video conferencing really draining, and it’s unclear what sort of impact it’ll have on innovation and team forming. I suspect post covid we’ll be in a world with much more video conferencing—I think that you’re right that certain types of occasional meetings will be much more online, such as meetings with lawyers/accountants. But I suspect that people will still want to be in the same space with the people they work with regularly, at least a few times a week.
This is air launch—using a balloon is just one variant. All of the schemes I’ve seen seem to have fairly small payloads, I assume the trade-offs don’t work well above some threshold.
O! So excited to see this—I haven’t had a chance to more than quickly skim, but will dig in after work tonight. But: what about recent detection of an external field effect??? Chae et al recently found “the EFE is individually detected at 8σ to 11σ [!!] in“golden” galaxies subjected to exceptionally strong external fields, while it is not detected in exceptionally isolated galaxies...”
It seems clear from multiple lines that there IS dark matter, but this also seems like strong evidence for MOND?? DO WE HAVE BOTH????
Their sample size isn’t huge, and they call for more work to increase the confidence: “the EFE is statistically detected at more than 4σ from a blind test of 153 SPARC rotating galaxies, giving a mean value of the external field consistent with an independent estimate from the galaxies’ environments, and we detect a systematic downward trend in the weak gravity part of the radial acceleration relation at the right acceleration predicted by the EFE of the MOND modified gravity,” but even the 4σ results seem pretty compelling, no?
I think there will be more variance with respect to pre-covid.
I’ve been fully remote for the last year and a half or so—well before covid. It’s been… a’ight. Some of my team mates, in my judgement, have not been good collaborators—they probably wouldn’t be good face to face collaborators, but being remote with them added an extra element of unpleasantness. It requires different skills to remote collab well.
I’d guess that I’m more suited to full-time remote work than at least 80% of people (altho maybe not 80% of programmers..)
Will remote be at least 2x what it was previously? Maybe. Could be. I don’t know what it was previously, but I think it was pretty low, so that’s perhaps not a hard threshold to cross.
100% in US stocks gives a SWR of 4.3%;
Are supercomputers the right target to benchmark against? My naive model is that they’ll be heavily optimized for things like FLOPs and bandwidth and not be particularly concerned with power usage or weight. What about systems that are more concerned about power-efficiency or weight?
Capable enough to find them but not to make sure everyone is home before pulling the trigger??
60% that the parents are still alive.
“Honesty is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivation behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.
“The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are for the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.
“Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live without not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.”- David Whyte, from a recent episode of Harris’ Making Sense podcast.
No, worst case is the entire developmental trajectory of infants and children might also get messed up. If gestation in martian G isn’t safe, at what point post delivery is Martian G safe?
Also, on a practical level: can you imagine how unpleasant being stuck in a centrifuge for nine months while pregnant would be?
I’ve reached the same conclusion—it’s likely going to have to be asteroids, not planets.