Imagine the world as fully deterministic. Then there is no “real causality” to speak of, everything is set in stone, and there is no difference between cause and effect.
If causation is understood in terms of counterfactuals — X would have happened if Y had happened — then there is still a difference between cause and effect. A model of a world implies models of hypothetical, counterfactual worlds.
the chance that your vote (along with everyone else’s) would be pivotal because the margin was 1 vote,
I have never understood this criterion for your vote “mattering”. It has the consequence that if (as will almost always be the case for a large electorate) the winner has a majority of at least 3, then no-one’s vote mattered. If a committee of 5 people votes 4 to 1, then no-one’s vote mattered. Two votes mattered, but no-one’s vote mattered. If one of the yes voters had stayed at home that day, then every yes vote would matter, but the no vote wouldn’t matter.
This does not seem like a sensible concept to attach to the word “matter”. If someone on that committee was very anxious that the vote should go they way they would like, they will have done everything they could to persuade every other persuadable member to vote their way. Far from no-one’s vote mattering, every vote in that situation matters. This is a frequent occurrence in parliamentary votes, when there is any doubt beforehand whether the motion will pass, and the result is of great importance to both sides. In the forthcoming US presidential election, both parties will be making tremendous efforts to “get out the vote”. Yet no-one’s vote “matters”?
I once summed up my judgement of RationalWiki as “Rationality is their flag, not their method.” I have paid it no attention since forming that opinion. When I last looked at it, their method was sneering, every article was negative, there was no rational content, and no new ideas. It is not worth even the minutes of my time it would take to look again and see if the leopard has changed its spots.
I think that’s what I had in mind. One of the “image enhancement” demos takes a heavily pixelated face and gives a high quality image of a face — which may look little like the real face. Another takes the top half of a picture and fills in the bottom half. In both cases it’s just making up something which may be plausible given the input, but no more plausible than any of countless possible extrapolations.
Even if my guess is wrong (see other comment), I think this story works well as it is. It has something of the spirit of Mullah Nasreddin.
The internal links on your web site are having the same problem.
I wonder when someone investigating a crime will try feeding all the evidence to something like GPT-3 and asking it to continue the sentence “Therefore the guilty person is...” Then they present this as evidence in court.
Is this about recent demos of Hollywood-level image enhancement, and how they’re not discovering what’s in the image, but making stuff up that’s consistent with it? And similar demos with GPT-3, that one might call “text enhancement”?
Jeffrey wanted to handle the case where you somehow become 90% confident of X, instead of fully confident
How does this differ from a Bayesian update? You can update on a new probability distribution over X just as you can on a point value. In fact, if you’re updating the probabilities in a Bayesian network, like you described, then even if the evidence you are updating on is a point value for some initial variable in the graph, the propagation steps will in general be updates on the new probability distributions for parent variables.
This is saving yourself from the mob by running ahead of it.
I heard it a long long time ago in a physics lecture, but I since verified it. The variation in where a ball is struck is magnified by the ratio of (distance to the next collision) / (radius of a ball), which could be a factor of 30. Seven collisions gives you a factor of about 22 billion.
I also tried the same calculation with the motion of gas molecules. If the ambient gravitational field is varied by an amount corresponding to the displacement of one electron by one Planck length at a distance equal to the radius of the observable universe, I think I got about 30 or 40 collisions before the extrapolation breaks down.
To expand on the billiard ball example, the degree of sensitivity is not always realised. Suppose that the conditions around the billiard table are changed by having a player stand on one side of it rather than the other. The difference in gravitational field is sufficient that after a ball has undergone about 7 collisions, its trajectory will have deviated too far for further extrapolation to be possible — the ball will hit balls it would have missed or vice versa. Because of exponential divergence, if the change were to move just the cue chalk from one edge of the table to another, the prediction horizon would be not much increased.
But if we started with two problems and ended with one, then one of them is solved.
You won’t escape an excess baggage charge by putting both your suitcases into one big case.
(I also posted this to the Open Thread—I’m not sure which is more likely to be seen.)
Since posting the OP, I’ve revised my paper, now called “Unbounded utility and axiomatic foundations”, and eliminated all the placeholders marking work still to be done. I believe it’s now ready to send off to a journal. If anyone wants to read it, and especially if anyone wants to study it and give feedback, just drop me a message. As a taster, here’s the introduction.
Several axiomatisations have been given of preference among actions, which all lead to the conclusion that these preferences are equivalent to numerical comparison of a real-valued function of these actions, called a “utility function”. Among these are those of Ramsey , von Neumann and Morgenstern , Nash , Marschak , and Savage [13, 14].
These axiomatisations generally lead also to the conclusion that utilities are bounded. (An exception is the Jeffrey-Bolker system [6, 2], which we shall not consider here.) We argue that this conclusion is unnatural, and that it arises from a defect shared by all of these axiom systems in the way that they handle infinite games. Taking the axioms proposed by Savage, we present a simple modification to the system that approaches infinite games in a more principled manner. All models of Savage’s axioms are models of the revised axioms, but the revised axioms additionally have models with unbounded utility. The arguments to bounded utility based on St. Petersburg-like gambles do not apply to the revised system.
Since posting this, I’ve revised my paper, now called “Unbounded utility and axiomatic foundations”, and eliminated all the placeholders marking work still to be done. I believe it’s now ready to send off to a journal. If anyone wants to read it, and especially if anyone wants to study it and give feedback, just drop me a message. As a taster, here’s the introduction.
Few activities are as quintessentially human as being on the cusp of falling asleep and suddenly be assaulted by a memory that has us relive an embarrassing episode that we thought long forgotten.
Really? *does not raise hand*
“Only one thing is serious for all people at all times. A man may be more aware of it or less aware of it but the seriousness of things will not alter on this account.
“If a man could understand all the horror of the lives of ordinary people who are turning round in a circle of insignificant interests and insignificant aims, if he could understand what they are losing, he would understand that there can be only one thing that is serious for him—to escape from the general law, to be free. What can be serious for a man in prison who is condemned to death? Only one thing: How to save himself, how to escape: nothing else is serious.”
Gurdjieff, as quoted in Ouspensky, “In Search of the Miraculous”.
Well, what do you want? What will you do to get it?
Personally, I have no inclination to read trashy novels or watch the Kardashians (or inform myself of who they might be), so the issue of whether to do that does not exist for me.
When is it wrong to click on a cow? When your better self (the one that is smarter and better informed than you, your personal coherent extrapolated volition) would not.
Inferential distance? Or simply knowledge distance.
You lose me at “With portfolio margin”. You’re talking about financial instruments that, so I understand, you have a lot of professional experience in using, but I know nothing about these things. I googled “box spread financing”, and it turns out to be a complicated instrument involving four separate options that, I’m still not sure what the purpose is. No criticism of yourself intended, but if a complete stranger started talking to me about box spread financing, despite it being a real thing I’d assume they were touting a scam. I don’t know what “withdrawing excess “equity” from my margin account” means, nor the quote from Goldman Sachs (which would not come to my attention anyway).
And personally, I’m in the UK and a lot of what you’re talking about is US-specific, but I can’t even tell which parts are and which aren’t. CD? FDIC? I do not know of a UK bank offering more than derisory interest on a savings account (typically 0.01% for instant access, 0.35% if you never withdraw money), but perhaps the banks I know of (retail banks) are not the sort of banks you’re talking about. The Wikipedia page for Goldman Sachs suggests it is not involved in retail banking.
You can’t “make everything be conscious”. The thing we have experience of and call consciousness works however it works. It is present wherever it is present. It takes whatever different forms it takes. How it works, where it is present, and what forms it takes cannot be affected by pointing at everything and saying “it’s conscious!”