I’m confused by your sentence about “serving”; are you talking about how both soldiers and politicians are said to “serve”? or are you talking about how people get status points for becoming soldiers? (or police or...)
I think the main use of the word “cult” is something like “illegitimate source of authority.” This explains both why “legitimate” sources of authority are similar and why no one wants to call them cults.
But they’ve got a big supply of legitimacy, so they don’t have to do as much nasty stuff as cults. Yes, nations kill a lot of people, but not that many per member. Joining the military is probably a better idea than joining a cult.
If top is by score, then I think popular is by total upvotes, ignoring downvotes.
My understanding is that the best interventions are $1000/life, if everything works as advertised. But big organizations complaining about 10^8 children without bed nets is pretty strong evidence that those particular organizations, at least, do not turn the marginal $2 into a net, which was kebko’s point, I think.
(that’s what I should have said the first time, but it drowned in other detail)
inventing for free:
but don’t bed nets fit that perfectly?
spreading the technology is a big part of the cost. (what did it cost to convince charities that bed nets are a good idea?)
A technology that is so obviously good that people copy their neighbors cuts out this step, but are there examples where this actually happened? (maybe the moneymaker pump?)
kebko & Carl’s comments are largely compatible:
if nets cost $1/person and save 1life/$1000, then giving nets to all billion Africans could save a million lives.
There is a serious problem if there is overlap between the popular interventions and those that are best—popularity should drive the intervention to diminishing returns. At least, I think so, but I don’t know the numbers; I’d guess a billion has been spent on malaria, but not on nets specifically.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t look to the military as a role-model often enough.
I think Eliezer is just wrong in his use of the words. Maybe he means “following the party line” where the party is Eliezer himself. Then it is clear why such books are hard to find.
Beyond that, there’s enough disagreement in everyone’s usage that we should stop using “cynism” and “idealism” for this discussion. Or at least the words should be saved for description of social perception, while more specific terms should be used for, say, describing books.
Bruce K. Britton,
Let’s start with simpler things, like having people make their data and calculations available. (Or to be really simple, journals with such rules should enforce them!) Without this, you can just hide the data-mining in poorly specified protocols, not to mention fraud.
Data-mining is not that bad because it has systematic effects that an outsider can predict and account for; at least you can hope that it will wash out in the meta-analyses. This reminds me of this Robin Hanson post on how to extract experiments from the medical literature you don’t trust.
Perry E. Metzger makes similar recommendations to BKB and RH replies that it’s not going to happen. Actually, the medical community is moving towards things like registering studies. I worry that actions taken with a definite sense of who is the bad guy (drug companies) may make us worse off than the status quo, though I don’t see any downsides to anything that is actually going forward.
read that post.
varied reproductive expectations which should be predictable by fairly early childhood.
What do you make of the claim that boys are good for marriages?
It fits if you assume that the low variance of the daughter’s fitness makes it less responsive to the father’s presence. If the son’s fitness is predictable early, this should be reflected in modern divorces, though I don’t see offhand how to test it.
Are you an old person from the era of Mad Men, shocked at the future of today, in which people drink on the job?
or vice versa?
Most of the variety of Eliezer’s output is useful to some audience, but there’s a serious problem of getting the right people to the right documents.
I think that’s how logic (or math) normally works. You make progress on logic problems by using logic, but understanding another’s solution usually feels completely different to me, completely binary.
Also, it’s hard to say that your unconscious wasn’t working on it. In particular, I don’t know if communicating logic to me is as binary as it feels, whether I go through a search of complete dead ends, or whether intermediate progress is made but not reported.
serial speed limiting Intel makes sense, and is about the only theory I’ve heard that does, but now that we move to parallel machines, it seems to me that this theory predicts either that Moore’s law falls apart, or that parallel software makes it possible to throw lots of money at the problem and it speeds up.
You don’t have to choose one or the other, but it seems to me that you have to raise your error bars. There’s an implausibly small window for the quality of parallel software to rise just fast enough to make Moore’s law continue, if this is the key bottleneck.
Didn’t Robin say in another thread that the rule is that only stars are allowed to be bold? can anyone find this line?
In fact that sounds like the EURISKO.
Could you elaborate? My understanding is that Eurisko never gave up, but Lenat got bored of babysitting it.
One man’s modus ponens is another’s modus tolens.
I don’t see that the stampede is consist with a lack of much use of buffalo. Stampedes are only inefficient if they have great variance. This might explain the conjunction of the stories of inefficient stampedes and efficient use of individual buffalo.
One theory is that farmers displace hunter-gatherers because HG have high variance yields, while farmers don’t. That still requires explanation of why HG don’t displace farmers in booms.
Height in the precolumbian great plains would give an easy to check to your source’s claim that they were on the margins of subsistence. But even if true, that only tells us that farmers displaced HG, which we know happens. It doesn’t address the question of what HG population could exist.
This source looks more authoritative to me. Moreover, it contains figures relevant to what I think is the key figure: miles per person. That generally trends up, from 9k in 1994 to a peak of 10k in 2005. I don’t see any abrupt change in the trend. I’m rather surprised.
of the evidence you mention, the steadiness seems the best to me. But, as michael vassar worries, the data is poor quality and being read by people who want to tell a particular story.
Can you point to actual calorie-counting?
why would a non-friendly AI not use those innovations to trade, instead of war?
The comparative advantage analysis ignores the opportunity cost of not killing and seizing property. Between humans, the usual reason it’s not worth killing is that it destroys human capital, usually the most valuable possession. But an AI or an emulation might be better off seizing all CPU time than trading with others.
Once the limiting resource is not the number of hours in a day, the situation is very different. Trade might still make sense, but it might not.
see the discussion of quicksort on the other thread. Randomness is used to protect against worst-case behavior, but it’s not because we’re afraid of intelligent adversaries. It’s because worst-case behavior for quicksort happens a lot. If we had a good description of naturally occurring lists, we could design a deterministic pivot algorithm, but we don’t. We only have the observation simple guess-the-median algorithms perform badly on real data. It’s not terribly surprising that human-built lists resonate with human-designed pivot algorithms; but the opposite scenario, where the simplex method works well in practice is not surprising either.