PhD in math. MIRI Summer Fellow in 2016. Worked as a professor for a while, now I run my family’s business.
Since nobody has called it . . . I spotted the (intentional?) linguistic joke in one of the section headers. The Hebrew word that sounds like Llama means “why.”
Honesty, Openness, Trustworthiness, and Secrets
I’ve met humans who are unable to recognize blatant inconsistencies. Not quite to the same extent as Bing Chat, but still. Also, I’m pretty sure monkeys are unable to recognize blatant inconsistencies, and monkeys are intelligent.
I agree that this is a risk, but I’m not sure whether it’s the main risk. Another risk is that if somebody gets access to the encrypted store, they can use it to steal all your passwords.
I read a lot of Derek Lowe early in the pandemic and regard him highly, but in this case I think he’s wrong. Going through the comments of Lowe’s post, I came across a link to this essay by a distinguished biologist, Stephen Salzberg, at Johns Hopkins agreeing with Zvi’s perspective.
Salzberg is a computational biologist, not a virologist, but he’s a distinguished professor at a prestigious school and does not seem to be on the fringe politically as far as I can tell If anybody knows more about him, please let me know.
Overall, experts seem to be split on this matter. Which is strong enough evidence for me that the research should have been disallowed or at least regulated to the highest security level. The risks are just too great relative to what was learned from the research.
I have written a letter to my representative in the House encouraging her to legislate more restrictions on gain of function research and referencing the article linked above.
This is a fascinating essay that made me think of some of my personal experiences with having my boundaries violated in a new light. Thank you.
You pointed out that just asking for consent can be costly. I think an important social/communication/culture technology to consider is how to make consent requests less costly and/or less frequently necessary, while still allowing a strong social norm around consent.. For instance, having meta-discussions about consent with your friends or meta-rules about consent in your social group or community, that are organized in such a way that asking for consent is seen as easy. Giving close friends broad consent to a wide range of acts, and occasionally checking in on that over time. Etc.
I agree that living conditions are better today than several decades ago and worse today than 3 years ago.
That being said, I have seen a lot of mixed evidence and arguments about long covid and haven’t figured out how to best think about it.
I’m confused by your use of “no longer” above. I don’t believe we have ever lived in such a world., even before covid. We live in such a world to less of an extent now than we did before. Covid is one more thing that sometimes doesn’t turn out ok in the end. But there are many other such thing, including many other diseases.
Could you provide more details on getting Paxlovid? My understanding was that it was only authorized for people with certain health conditions.
I agree that the degree of air circulation within the terminal is an important factor. I’m not certain that the terminal is safer than the plane, but I think more likely than not the terminal is safer.
This link from my previous comment is not exactly a peer reviewed article, but it suggests that the difference in air replacement rate in a well-ventilated versus poorly-ventilated space (the terms they use for mixture of the air, not for air change rate) is only about a factor of 3. Of course, there are different degrees of poor ventilation.
I would be really interested to hear the perspective of somebody with greater expertise in the relevant engineering and physics.
Airplanes do an excellent job circulating air, and are relatively safe places to be. Your risk in the terminal and the taxi greatly exceeds your risk on the plane.
I used to agree with this. But I recently realized it likely isn’t true. Consider the following:
The time to remove an airborne contaminant depends on the Air Change Rate (measured in Air Changes per Hour, or ACH) and how well the air is mixed in the space.
Air in an airplane cabin has an air change rate of about 13 to 15 ACH. (Actually, the one paper linked in this bullet makes my overall argument pretty well, though it doesn’t reference airport terminals)
Based on this paper, I’d say that an air change rate 0.5 ACH is a fairly low estimate for an airport terminal.
So if the airport terminal is about 30 times less crowded than an airplane (as measured by number of people per unit volume of air), then all else being equal, the risk of covid for each hour spent in the terminal would be comparable to that in the airplane. It’s more complicated because the air in the airplane is mixed better than in the terminal most likely. But I think the airplane is actually way more crowded than the terminal, by a factor orders of magnitude larger than 30. Airport terminals typically have high ceilings. Overall, I think the terminal is much safer per unit time than the airplane, even considering the better ventilation on the airplane.
On top of that, the air filtration on an airplane is often turned off while the airplane is sitting at the gate.
Regarding more people declining the second shot than the first shot, my best guess would be that people took the first shot, and either they themselves or one of their acquaintances had an extremely bad side effect, either actual or perceived, so they decided not to take the second shot. I know one person who followed this reasoning. Her husband fell ill after his vaccination with unclear causes, and she attributed it to the vaccine. She finally did decide to get her second shot and booster recently.
Another possibility could be that some financial incentives incentivized the first shot but not the second shot.
Well, the electric eraser was maybe a slight improvement over my manual eraser when I use both together, but not enough to really solve my problem. I went back to using mostly the manual one as it’s more convenient.
I just found out that electric erasers are a thing. (Similar to an electric toothbrush, but an eraser.) I have ordered a high-end electric eraser, going to see whether it helps me to do better using my current paper and pencil setup.
Anecdotal, but similar—when I used to play in chess tournaments, I had a sense that I performed better and made fewer errors when I had more sleep, to the point of aiming for 9 or so hours of sleep the night before a tournament.
Cool idea, I like the historic and low-tech aspect. I will look into it.
I love blackboards, I was a research mathematician for many years and they have a special place in my heart along with a stick of Hagoromo chalk. But they don’t fit my purposes here for much the same reasons as dry erase boards—they erase accidentally and don’t allow for small writing.
I just downloaded MS Edge so that I could use Bing AI and ask it to find me a Brazillian hammock more than 6 feet wide. After repeated questioning, it kept giving me hammocks less than 6 feet wide (but more than 6 feet long). Even after I pointed out its error explicitly it kept making the same error and finally Bing gave up and told me it couldn’t help. Like it would list two possibilities for me, state the length and width of each, and the width was less than 6 feet in each case.
Given all the amazing stuff we’ve seen out of AI lately, I’m kind of amazed it wasn’t more successful. I’m guessing they don’t make Brazillian hammocks in that size. (not sure why, as they make Mayan hammocks much wider than that, but anyway . . . )
Is this a blind spot for Bing? Or does Microsoft prefer for it to turn up bad results rather than say that no such thing exists?