Density for almost-equal numbers of votes is not lower in most high-stakes elections. I’d say 1 in 5 million or so. That’s just a bit more than one order of magnitude and doesn’t substantially change the overall conclusions.
The case would rely on curvature in the sigmoid that describes probability of winning the election as a function of participation. And you’re right, that makes it decidedly a second- or third-order effect; to first order, correlation is irrelevant.
I have no idea if there is such a bound. I will never have any idea if there is such a bound, and I suspect that neither will any entity in this universe. Given that fact, I’d rather make the assumption that doesn’t turn me stupid when Pascal’s Wager comes up.
On (1): if you can’t tell who the better candidate is, voting is working. You shouldn’t use that example to reason about what would happen if you didn’t vote. It’s not a one-off game.
On (2): this is true, but it’s also a fully general argument. Doing anything contributes to mind-kill, as you become attached to the idea that it was the right thing to do.
I’m tempted to erase the following argument because it’s a bit of a cheap shot “gotcha”, but it does also serve the legit purpose of an example, so here goes: For instance, not voting contributes to assuming that anybody who thinks Clinton is an EA cause is mind-killed. (Note: I think that high-profile political campaigns are awash in cash and don’t use it effectively, so I would never recommend high-profile political donations as EA. And you may be right that there’s no argument of sufficient rigor to show that Clinton was better than Trump in x-risk terms. But I strongly suspect that you feel more immediate contempt for somebody who says “donating to Clinton is EA” than for somebody who says “donating to the EFF is EA”, in a way that is slightly mind-killing.)
I am suggesting establishing a policy of voting (“being a voter”) as an x-risk strategy. Once you have that policy, voting is just an everyday action, only indirectly related to x- risk. This distinction makes sense to me but now that you mention it I’m sure there are those for whom it’s nonsense.
When you’re faced with numbers like 3^^^3, scope insensitivity is the correct response. A googolplex is already enough to hold every possible configuration of Life as we know it. “Hamlet, but with extra commas in these three places, performed by intelligent starfish” is in there somewhere in over a googol different varieties. What, then, does 3^^^3 add except more copies of the same?
Lobbying, or campaigning?
I think that there are various distinctions between lobbying, campaigning, and voting. Similar logic may or may not apply across these domains.
I don’t think that normal humans can live on the bleeding edge of maximum effectiveness every waking moment. I don’t presume to give advice to those who aren’t normal humans.
With quantum branching, our universe could have some number like a googolplex of stuff, maybe more. And philosophically, you’re worried about the difference between that and 3^^^3? I get that there’s a big gap there but I’d guess it’s one that we’re definitionally unable to do useful moral reasoning about.
I’m saying that law thinking can seem to forget that the map (model) will never be the territory. The real world has real invariants but these are not simply reproduced in reasonable utility functions.
This doesn’t pass my ITT for anti-law-thinking. The step where law thinking goes wrong is when it assumed that there exists a map that is the territory, and thus systematically underestimates the discrepancies involved in (for instance) optimizing for min Euclidean distance.
I realize that this post addresses that directly, but then it spends a lot of energy on something else which isn’t the real problem in my book.
That was surprisingly good. I’ve never let my inner Pat Modesto be the boss, but I’ve never tried to kick them out either. This makes me consider whether I should. Which is a lot more than I get out of most of Eliezer’s writing.
And here’s what kicking Pat out would let me say: I think that I’ve designed at least 5 voting methods that are each the best solution currently in the world to the problem it solves, and at least 3 of those problems are at least 25% likely to be adequately-posed (including pragmatic considerations) and important (fixing would be roughly order of one-off value of $1e12, with SD 1 in the exponent). I think that if you find this sufficiently plausible you should contact me.
It’s OK to say “I think you’re criticizing me wrong”, and it’s OK to say “the community norms are that you’re criticizing them wrong”, but I’m uncomfortable when this piece says “the community norms are [that is, should be] that you’re criticizing me wrong”. If you’re going to assume the mantle of neutral community arbiter of norms, even tentatively, you have to not only be impartial; you have to appear impartial.
Other than that, well done; I agree with most of it.
I agree with everything in this post, but won’t upvote it, because I think upvotes should signal “I want more like this” not “I agree with this”. I don’t want less like this, but I think this is enough.
(On the same principle, you probably shouldn’t upvote this comment unless its score is negative.)
I’m not sure if “nobody is being creepy” is sufficient for a good vibe, but it’s probably necessary (where “being creepy” means basically “making more than one person uncomfortable in ways that could be avoided and that those people feel should be”). So how do you make sure nobody is being creepy? I think the logical options are: pre-filter people; actively filter people on the spot; and discourage creepiness on the spot. I suspect that there’s a place for all three of these tactics. I have nothing more to say about how to do tactics 1 and 3.
But on tactic 2: if you want active on-the-spot filtering to be viable, I’d suggest that you should get people to pre-commit to leaving without a fuss if certain conditions are met. For instance, you must leave if asked to leave by two people; or possibly, by two of the people pre-selected by the community for this job; or by 1 person selected for this job, who has gotten two anonymous complaints; or something like that. Obviously that wouldn’t solve all possible issues but it would at least allow strong, unanimous social pressure against on-the-spot special pleading, which is absolutely going to spoil the mood if it can’t be nipped in the bud.
A third hypothesis would be a Marxist/Picketty one: wealth accumulates through rent collected on capital and then turned back into capital, and capital is initially distributed through inheritance and/or theft. This is clearly not the whole story, but it also clearly captures part of the story that neither “deserving rich” not “war profiteer” do.
Related, but slightly more political: <”https://email@example.com/ranked-choice-voting-i-support-it-but-679e96b1b5f0″>https://firstname.lastname@example.org/ranked-choice-voting-i-support-it-but-679e96b1b5f0</a>
You’re of course right that even the best voting method doesn’t solve the “semi-evolved house-ape” problem. But I’d argue that the perverse incentives of FPTP give an outcome substantially worse than that. Neither Bush nor Trump (nor, probably, Clinton) would have won with a better voting method; and I’d argue that even the options would be better.
(Re 2016: I’ve done an “MRP” analysis of high-quality cardinal-rated polling data on the eve of the 2016 election. This uses hierarchical logistic regression, which I was able to control for gender, age, income, race, education, region, state, as well as the two largest interactions between those 7 variables. My own preferences very much aside, I can say with high confidence that Bernie would have won if there had been a last-minute change to an improved voting method with 9 candidates. If the entire campaign had been run under those conditions, I can’t of course say what would have happened.)
Mostly agree, but a couple of notes:
“RCV” is combined branding for IRV (single winner) and STV (multi-winner). So it clearly doesn’t refer to Borda count. (I personally hate the “RCV” terminology, because it sounds as if it should include things like Borda count, while blurring the important distinction between IRV and STV. But that battle is pretty much lost right now.)
PAD voting is not “susceptible to the problems with Borda counts”, if by that you mean the issue with encouraging burial strategy and thus leading to a “dark horse” winner who prospers precisely because nobody expects them to. The Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem shows that no voting method (with more than 2 candidates and more than 2 voters, and with the exception of dictatorship/random-ballot) is strategy-free, but in PAD the main possible strategies in practice are “free riding” (rating candidates lower if you expect them to win without your vote), and in PAD that’s risky and self-limiting. I expect that in practice most voters would be risk-averse and expressivity-seeking enough to vote honestly in PAD.