This is largely discounting the third scenario, advertiser or viewer is actively hostile. Top comment above goes into the first of those two, but ads are frequently a gateway to all manner of scams, cons, and fraud. A cost largely born by those far less clever and more vulnerable than those participating in this discussion. On the other side, you’ve got things like click fraud. While not huge relative to ad volume, the costs and externalities are also huge compared to the money changing hands in these transactions normally and probably tips the scale significantly.
IDK how many repeats you get or if you’re looking for tools, but if so, consider setting DNS to one of the public DNS providers (e.g. OpenDNS) that provide some basic web filtering of malicious websites without otherwise breaking the internet too much. The Ghostery plugin for chrome/edge is also worth a look. Even without setting it to block ads or analytics, it shuts down shady behavior like multiple redirects that many of those bad ads rely on. Can be configured to do more but gets progressively higher touch. Both lowish touch free options.
Also an IT professional here. Google is among the less unsavory players in the ad space, but it’s a cesspool overall. Malicious ads seem to be one of the easiest ways to get that crap in front of a huge number of users. In practice I don’t see “reputable” providers directly serving malware: rather it’s generally a chain of redirects either implemented by the site they land on (that presumably behaves itself under indexing/due diligence), or by exploiting the ads on the landing site to cause a redirect. Ultimately lands either on an attacker-controlled site or just a site running an ad network that gives zero fucks or outright caters to cybercrime.
That said I made up my mind on this a while ago and I’ve been blocking substantially all ads and analytics for 5+ years. The game of cat and mouse may well have moved on.
I have definitely caught AdSense serving those super dishonest software download ads that pretend to be the download button on file sharing and software sites…
As far as you core concern, are you actually causing significant harm with your work, I really doubt it. Google has a decent incentive to crush bad actors lest govt. step in and kill their cash cow, and just getting the industry at large to match the mediocere level of ethical standads Google is upholding would still be a huge win. Ads suck as a solution and cause a fair amount of preventable harm, but harm reduction is a legitimate thing to work on. Bonus points when you can pressure competitors to shape up and not be too evil.
Interesting, though I’d be hesitant to read too much into that. To the extent this rationality project is succeeding, I’d expect people here are more likely to be exposed to the full range (or at least a large range) of human variation, and more likely to correctly determine if they’re actually any particular minority group, with people defaulting to not-a-member on priors without significant reflection.
This seems like a really hard thing to survey consistently that’ll be systemically skewed by degree of prior exposure to the topic in question in the survey population. If you ask someone point blank “do you have [minority quirk they’ve probabably never heard of]?”, they’re unlikely to return a meaningful answer in the time surveys have. Folks spend months or years figuring that out. I don’t see how you avoid measuring P(has unusual quirk & has invested the time and developed self awareness to realize A if true) instead of just P(has unusal quirk). Speaking very generally as I expect this holds outside of the realm of sex/gender/etc identity issues too.
misc: I didn’t check out the specific papers linked. I recall Scott commenting on one or more of his yearly surveys the degree to which the LW and SSC communities end up being outliers on just about every measure like this (much higher than base rate) but didn’t find the specific comments back.
If you’re at all like me, part of that feeling is definitely having not internalized [genes as lego bricks] rather than [genes as fragile tightly coupled organism recipie]. The notion that the Blind Idiot God invented reusable loosly coupled code and is halfway to a functioning package manager is more than a bit of a shocker. And crazier yet has had those capabilities long enough that they’re fixed in substantially all life on Earth (albiet with serious regressions in animals).
Apparently there’s some ideas that are convergent enough substaintially any optimizer finds them eventually.
I think specifically they’re getting at that the “steady state” isn’t stable. As soon as everyone uses the algorithm uniformly it falls apart in a few generations tops. You’d have to never stop A/B testing the importance of various subjects; your control group for “do/don’t teach this subject” could never shrink all the way to zero for roughly the same reason that bayesian probability updates don’t work on probabilities 0 and 1.
It sounds like you’re counting on natural human variation to temper that, but to the extent the alogithm actually worked with large effect size it’s not clear that’d be sufficent. Undeniably good ideas do have a way of eventually getting fixed in a population.
Based on that first chart you’re also looking at the trade volue, and presumably GDP, of the empire dropping to 40% of it’s original value in the span of just 100 years between 200AD and 300AD and continuing to plummet almost as badly after that. That chart seems to show an economic rot starting centuries before Rome started seriously loosing wars.
I’ll note that the inflection point does largely line up with the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. Far from a complete theory, but also easy to imagine something important was lost in the transition—chief candidate among them a formerly strong tradition for not transfering power via military coups and political assassinations. Your question is more concerned with “what reversed the progress” rather than “what finally put Rome out of it’s missery”, so we’re probably looking much much earlier than the actual fall.
Fair point. We should be going for government sponsored insurance. The tax should be inclusive of both the review and premiums for insuring against resonably nessisary disaster cleanup, with the tax expected to pay for this but not generate substantially more revenue than that.
Any reactor does that though, and it doesn’t even have to be a power reactor; hardly a meaninful differentiator.
Dirty bombs just require any reasonably short halflife radioactives (~tens to hundereds of year halflife ideally) that can spread the dust over an area. In some sense the fear is really overblown; they’re only effective in the sense that any first world country will predictably overreact to even trace, harmless, radioactive contamination and spend billions on cleanup and have a massive panic. Thus making it an effective terror weapon even if it was so impotent as to cause no actual harm from radiation.
I’ve noticed in consistently good moderation that resists this kind of trolling/power game:
Making drama for the sake of it, even with a pretense, is usually regarded as a more severe infraction that any rudeness or personal attack in the first place. Creating extra work for the moderation team is frowned upon (don’t feed the trolls). Punish every escalation and provocation, not just the first in the thread.
Escalating conflicts and starting flamewars is a seen as more toxic than any specific mildly/moderately offensive post. Starting stuff repeatedly, especially with multiple different people is a fast ticket to a permaban. Anyone consistently and obviously lowering the quality of discussions needs to be removed ASAP.
You’re right again I think. As far as dislike of utilitarianism not entirely without cause in some cases; while “make ethics math” is a really good idea it seems surpisingly difficult to formalize without wierd artifacts—as a not insubstantial volume of posts on this site can attest. I imagine at least some of that resistance goes away as soon as someone perfects a formalism that doesn’t occasionally suggest outlandish behavior and has all the properties we want.
Yeah, that’s pretty on the nose. Even suppose you trust your philosophers and ethicists work through the merits of all the possible ethics frameworks we could use. Let them pick the best one, specify how different utilities should be framed; they’d still never be the right people to implement it in any specific decision. Real world ethics problems are still 95% other problem domains and 5% ethics.
The interview does beg more questions than it answers though. Obviously consequentialist ethics have some traction among philosophy experts. Is bioethics different for some reason? Are the vocal people shouting down these (obviously correct given consequentialist ethics) ideas on twitter and in the news even in any relevant field? Does the consensus of the field, if any, bear any relation to public policy whatsoever, or are experts merely being cherry picked to toe the party line as needed and lend credibility after a decision is made?
Speaking specifically to the difference between the newer and older batch of papers. Neither are good. In my admitedly breif skim, the older ones have an extra layer of dissonance for the same reason 20 year old TV and movies can come across as unexpectedly cringey.
These papers were mostly unoffensive and not that terrible in contrast to expectations. At the same time, I do not get any impression of relevant expertise either such that I feel good about this group being in a privileged position regarding any kind of ethics decision. They aren’t bad, just… not good enough.
I do notice (from comparing to the circa 2000 batch of papers) that value drift makes older papers seem much much worse than they would’ve seemed at the time. I expect 80s or 90s era papers would produce the kind of revulsion many folks were expecting.
Effective blinding is definitely more involved if one’s both experimenter and test subject. It’s not impossible but an assistant would help a lot. Controlling for placebo effect does seem one of the big issues at this scale.
This is insightful. The areas where strong evidence is common are largely those areas we don’t intuitively think of as governed by probability theory and where classic logic performs well.
It seems like someone could take this a little further even and show that the limiting case for strong evidence and huge likelihood ratios would just be logic. This might be fruitful to unpack. I could see it being the case that our instincts for seeking “certainty” make more sense than we give them credit for. Gathering enough evidence sometimes allows reasoning to be performed using propositional logic with acceptable results.
Such logic is many orders of magnitude cheaper to evaluate compute wise vs probabilistic reasoning, especially as we get into larger and larger causal networks. There’s an obvious tradeoff between the cost to obtain more evidence vs more compute – it’s not always a choice that’s available (e.g., spend time investigating vs. spend time thinking/tinkering with models) but is often enough.
When I think about how I’m using the reasoning skills I’ve picked up here that’s roughly what I’m having to do for real-world problems. Use probabilistic reasoning to resolve simpler more object level propositions into true/false/maybe, then propositional logic to follow the implications. Fail back to probabilistic reasoning whenever encountering a paradox or any of the other myriad problems with simple logic – Or just for periodic sanity checking.
Or more completely: In the absence of malice or extreme negligence there’s nothing criminal to punish at all and money damages should suffice. Given a 100x lower occurrence of accidents this should be insurable for ~1% the cost. The default answer is drivers remain financially responsible for damages (but insurance gets cheaper) and driver can’t be criminally negligent short of modifying/damaging the car in an obviously bad way (e.g. failing to fix a safety critical sensor in a reasonable amount of time that would have prevented the crash. Alternately, bypassing one or more safety features that could have prevented the crash). Car companies would be smart to lobby to keep it that way as letting every car accident become a product liability thing would be much more expensive.
While it does seem there was a certain amount of shotgun aproach following a few different lines of reasoning, that critism is difficult to square with actually reading the paper. It looks like the peptide selection was largely empirical and cited. The decisions about how to actually package that info into a vacine is largely educated guesswork (as you say theory, supported by computer modeling).
“Mapping of linear B-cell epitopes by binding antibodies in convalescentsera to a library of peptides representing viral antigens. A strong signal in alinear epitope mapping study does not guarantee that the epitope peptidein the context of a vaccine will trigger the production of an antibody thatbinds to this epitope within the context of the virus. However, it is a goodindicator that this is at least possible.”
Or as I understood from elsewhere: present antibodies from recovered people to every possible short peptide sequence and see which ones they actually attacked. Make the inference that people with less severe infection had better antibodies than those with more severe symptoms in the event antibodies differed. Package a selection of promising looking pepties into a vacine; choose enough that there’s likely multiple effective peptides even if 2/3rds of the choices are duds.
I think it even adds to the horror that this senario is compatible with being a Great Filter that doesn’t generate a meaningfully goal oriented successor that would do anything after destroying or stagnating us. The goal oriented Mesa Optimizer is effectively trapped inside a system that’s objective is simplicity and stagnation.
Seconded; this should really be a reply post and is a good rebuttal. Much (though far from all) of the original argument is down to not really appreciating how much sci-fi tech we do have since the 70′s