I am deeply confused how someone who is taking decision theory seriously can accept Guaranteed Payoffs as correct. I’m even more confused how it can seem so obvious that anyone violating it has a fatal problem.
Under certainty, this is assuming CDT is correct, when CDT seems to have many problems other than certainty. We can use Vaniver’s examples above, or use a reliable insurance agent to remove any uncertainty, or we also can use any number of classic problems without any uncertainty (or remove it), and see that such an agent loses—e.g. Parfit’s Hitchhiker in the case where he has 100% accuracy.
Exactly. This seems to be a popular model of design, where mostly nothing beyond checking back in periodically will ever be the long term limiting factor if you are playing in any reasonable way. The game that inspired this post does not make this mistake, but it does a similar thing where it offers rewards to everyone over time that dwarf anything a player can otherwise accomplish in their first few weeks—you still have to play to utilize what they give you, but mostly you’re stuck with their gifts until reasonably far in.
Eternal fails the third trade-off by using a Hearthstone economy—your cards can’t be traded. It does a good job with the other two. The most obnoxious thing it has is ‘win one game a day to get a pack’ which is not too bad. Contrast that with e.g. Villiam’s comment above.
In some sense that list is rather exhaustive because it includes “know anything” and “do anything” as goals that are helped, and that pretty much includes everything. But in that sense, the list is not useful. In the sense that the list is useful, it seems woefully incomplete. And it’s tricky to know what level to respond on. Most centrally, this seems like an example of the utilitarian failure mode of reducing the impact of a policy to the measured, proven direct impact of that policy, as a default (while still getting a result that is close to equal to ‘helps with everything, everywhere, that matters at all’).
“Increased ability to think” would be one potential fourth category. If truth is not being told because it’s not in one’s interest to do so, there is strong incentive to destroy one’s own ability to think. If one was looking to essentially accept the error of ‘only point to the measurable/observable directly caused effects.’
Part of me is screaming “do we really need a post explaining why it is good when people say that which is, when they believe that would be relevant or useful, and bad when they fail to do so, or say that which is not?”
Curious how that experiment ended and think this type of rule is healthy in general (e.g. rate limiting how often one checks and responds) and I’m doing my best to follow a similar one.
Special note for the LW copy of this post: This is obviously not written with LW in mind at all. If you want to respond in the full spirit of the post you may consider doing so at the original post instead ( https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/who-to-root-for-2019-college-football-edition/ ). If you have LW-style things to say on the topic or related topics, leaving them here would make more sense. I will strive to check back here every so often, but not too often.
At some point I will write a more fundamentals-level guide on sports. This isn’t it, it does not attempt to explain basic football stuff the sport needs you to know and mostly assumes you know. Encouraging that post and similar posts to exist raises the chances they do exist, without lowering (much) the chances of other posts happening.
Finally, I do have more LW-centric stuff in the pipeline. I’ll get there. I just don’t have the focus/time for it right now, whereas this type of thing can be done in a different mode and trades against entertainment time.
My lord, that’s genius. I’m not sure it’s necessary given I would want to dual wield anyway for other reasons, but if not, seems obviously correct.
Mad respect for this position. I do try to be at zero phones on me whenever it makes sense to do so, but alas my life doesn’t really allow this. Also I listen to a lot of podcasts, which I don’t regret at all.
If you have zero battery life issues, and the other stuff never comes up, then probably not worth it. What I noticed was that worrying about running low takes up brain space long before running out becomes an issue, but if it’s taking up zero brain space? Neat.
I’m guessing you use your phone differently. It’s probably healthy.
Right. Remember that interviews are two-sided! They are evaluating you, and you are evaluating them as well. Go in with the attitude that if they have an issue with you being concerned about whether their thing is real, then it’s not a place you want to work, so you want to be open about your doubts and see if they can prove them wrong.
Clarification question: Is this default to B over A meant to apply to the population at large, or for people who are in our orbits?
It seems like your model here actually views A as more likely than B in general but thinks EA/rationality at higher levels constitutes an exception, despite your observation of many cases of A in that place.
My model of politically motivated reasoning is that it usually feels reasonable to the person at the time. So does reasoning that is not so motivated. Noticing that you feel the view is reasonable isn’t even strong evidence that you weren’t doing this, let alone that others aren’t doing it.
This also matches my experience—the times when I have noticed I used politically motivated reasoning, it seemed reasonable to me until this was pointed out.
How do you figure out good policies, or convince others of the need for such policies, without pointing out the problem with current policies? If that is not possible, how does one point them out without being seen as accusing individuals of wrongdoing?
Possibly clearer version of what Jessica is saying:
Imagine three levels of explanation: Straightforward to you, straightforward to those without motivated cognition, straightforward even to those with strong motivated cognition.
It is reasonable to say that getting from level 1 to level 2 is often a hard problem, that it is on you to solve that problem.
It is not reasonable, if you want clarity to win, to say that level 2 is insufficient and you must reach level 3. It certainly isn’t reasonable to notice that level 2 has been reached, but level 3 has not, and thus judge the argument insufficient and a failure. It would be reasonable to say that reaching level 3 would be *better* and suggest ways of doing so.
If you don’t want clarity to win, and instead you want to accomplish specific goals that require convincing specific people that have motivated cognition, you’re on a different quest. Obfuscation has already won, because you are being held to higher standards and doing more work, and rewarding those who have no desire to understand for their failure to understand. Maybe you want to pay that price in context, but it’s important to realize what you’ve lost.
Agreed it’s a learned skill and it’s hard. I think it’s also just necessary. I notice that the best conversations I have about difficult to describe things definitely don’t involve making everything explicit, and they involve a lot of ‘do you understand what I’m saying?’ and ‘tell me if this resonates’ and ‘I’m thinking out loud, but maybe’.
And then I have insights that I find helpful, and I can’t figure out how to write them up, because they’d need to be explicit, and they aren’t, so damn. Or even, I try to have a conversation with someone else (in some recent cases, you) and share these types of things, and it feels like I have zero idea how to get into a frame where any of it will make any sense or carry any weight, even when the other person is willing to listen by even what would normally be strong standards.
Sometimes this turns into a post or sequence that ends up explaining some of the thing? I dunno.
Interesting. It seemed in the above exchanges like both Ben and you were acting as if this was a request to make your frames explicit to the other person, rather than a request to know what the frame was yourself and then tell if it seemed like a good idea.
I think for now I still endorse that making my frame fully explicit even to myself is not a reasonable ask slash is effectively a request to simplify my frame in likely to be unhelpful ways. But it’s a lot more plausible as a hypothesis.
I find “keep everything explicit” to often be a power move designed to make non-explicit facts irrelevant and non-admissible. This often goes along with burden of proof. I make a claim (real example of this dynamic happening, at an unconference under Chatham house rules: That pulling people away from their existing community has real costs that hurt those communities), and I was told that, well, that seems possible, but I can point to concrete benefits of taking them away, so you need to be concrete and explicit about what those costs are, or I don’t think we should consider them.
Thus, the burden of proof was put upon me, to show (1) that people central to communities were being taken away, (2) that those people being taken away hurt those communities, (3) in particular measurable ways, (4) that then would impact direct EA causes. And then we would take the magnitude of effect I could prove using only established facts and tangible reasoning, and multiply them together, to see how big this effect was.
I cooperated with this because I felt like the current estimate of this cost for this person was zero, and I could easily raise that, and that was better than nothing, but this simply is not going to get this person to understand my actual model, ever, at all, or properly update. This person is listening on one level, and that’s much better than nothing, but they’re not really listening curiously, or trying to figure the world out. They are holding court to see if they are blameworthy for not being forced off of their position, and doing their duty as someone who presents as listening to arguments, of allowing someone who disagrees with them to make their case under the official rules of utilitarian evidence.
Which, again, is way better than nothing! But is not the thing we’re looking for, at all.
I’ve felt this way in conversations with Ray recently, as well. Where he’s willing and eager to listen to explicit stuff, but if I want to change his mind, then (de facto) I need to do it with explicit statements backed by admissible evidence in this court. Ray’s version is better, because there ways I can at least try to point to some forms of intuition or implicit stuff, and see if it resonates, whereas in the above example, I couldn’t, but it’s still super rough going.
Another problem is that if you have Things One Cannot Explicitly Say Or Consider, but which one believes are important, which I think basically everyone importantly does these days, then being told to only make explicit claims makes it impossible to make many important claims. You can’t both follow ‘ignore unfortunate correlations and awkward facts that exist’ and ‘reach proper Bayesian conclusions.’ The solution of ‘let the considerations be implicit’ isn’t great, but it can often get the job done if allowed to.
My private conversations with Ben have been doing a very good job, especially recently, of doing the dig-around-for-implicit-things and make-explicit-the-exact-thing-that-needs-it jobs.
Given Ray is writing a whole sequence, I’m inclined to wait until that goes up fully before responding in long form, but there seems to be something crucial missing from the explicitness approach.