New page: Gambler’s and hot-hand fallacies
@November 6, 2023
Both are misinterpretations of statistical independence. They both deal with erroneous beliefs about sequences of independent or nearly independent events. The belief that independent, random events are influenced by past outcomes.
Gambler's Fallacy is about expecting a reversal in a pattern, while the hot-hand fallacy involves expecting a continuation of a pattern.
Excerpt from reading: Book Review: Legal Systems Very Different From Ours
* The Gypsies and Amish will ostracize members who defy the court – but since everyone lives in fear of ostracization, in real life they’ll just pay the fine or make their public confession or whatever. * The English will hang criminals at the drop of a hat – but since the threat of hanging incentivizes them to bribe prosecutors, in reality few people will need to be hanged. The * Icelandic courts could declare offenders outlaws who can be killed without repercussion – but the threat encourages Icelanders to pay the wergeld, and nobody has to get outlawed. * The Somalis are ready to have murderous family feuds – but the possibility of such a feud keeps people willing to go to arbitration. * Even our own legal system works like this. The police can physically drag you to jail, kicking and screaming. But more likely you’re going to plea bargain, or agree to community service, or at least be cooperative and polite while the police take you away. Plea bargains – which are easier for prosecutors, easier for defendants, and easier for taxpayers – seem like a good example of cultural evolution in action; once someone thought them up, there was no way they weren’t going to take over everything despite their very serious costs.
@November 6, 2023
Notes on reading: Decision making and decentralisation in EA by William MacAskill
I liked the following
- communist dictatorships (e.g. North Korea)
- the US army
- most companies (e.g. Apple)
- highly centralised religious groups (e.g. Mormonism)
- franchises (e.g. McDonald’s)
- the Scouts
- mixed economies (the US, UK)
- registered clubs and sports groups (e.g. The United States Golf Association; USA Basketball)
- intergovernmental decision-making
- fairly decentralised religious groups (e.g. Protestantism, Buddhism)
- most social movements (e.g. British Abolitionism, the American Civil Rights Movement)
- the scientific community
- most intellectual movements (e.g. behaviourism)
- the US startup scene
- “Formal responsibility: You’re formally responsible for X if you’ve signed up to X.
- Interaction responsibility: You’re interaction-responsible for X if you’ve interacted with X in some way.
- Negative responsibility: You’re negatively responsible for X if you could alter X with your actions.
To illustrate: You’re formally responsible for saving a child drowning in a shallow pond if you’re a lifeguard at the pond, or if you’ve waded in and said “I’ve got it covered”. You’re interaction-responsible for the child if you waded in and tried to start helping the child. You’re negatively responsible for the child simply if you could help the child in some way — for example, if you could wade in and make things better — even if a lifeguard is looking on, and even if others have already waded in and tried to help.
(There are other generators of responsibility, too. There’s what we could call moral responsibility, for example if you deliberately pushed the child into the pond. Or causal responsibility, for example if you accidentally knocked the child into the pond. These are important, but not as relevant for the main issue I’m identifying.) …
[blocking responsibility] if you wade in and help the child, but in doing so prevent other people from helping the child, and other people would help the child if you didn’t, that generates something much more like formal responsibility than interaction-responsibility.
[Problem] On either of the last two hypotheses, we end up with a dynamic where:
1. Person Y helps with X, does an ok job.
2. Onlooker is critical and annoyed, like "Why aren't you doing X better in such-and-such a way?"
3. Person Y is like, "Man, I'm just trying to do my best here; you're giving me responsibilities that I never signed up for. The alternative is that to one does anything on X, and these criticisms are making that alternative more likely.
Onlooker feels either like they are trying to help, or that they are simply holding accountable people who’ve adopted positions of power. Person Y feels like not only have they taken on a cost in trying to help with X, but now they’re getting criticised for it, too! …
The article I linked to on do-ocracy has some nice examples of this dynamic, suggesting that this is a widespread phenomenon.”
- Decision-making power: To what extent is what the group as a whole does determined by a small group of decision-makers?
- Are these decision-making structures formal or informal?
- Do these decision-makers have control over resources, including financial resources?
- Who is accountable for success or failure? Are these accountability mechanisms formal or informal?
- Ownership: Is there legal ownership of constitutive aspects of the group (e.g. intellectual property, branding)?
- Group membership: How strong is the ability to determine membership in the group: How hard is it for someone in the group to leave? How hard is it for someone outside of the group to enter? And how tightly-defined is group membership?
- Are there formal mechanisms for doing this, or merely informal?
- Information flow: To what extent does information flow merely from decision-makers down to other group members, and to what extent does it flow back up to decision-makers, or horizontally from one non-decision-maker to another?
- Culture: Do people within the group feel empowered to think and act autonomously, or do they feel they ought to defer to the views of high-status individuals within the group, or to the majority view within the group?
- This quote on how conformity can arise in a culture that is too scrupulous
It’s centralised insofar as people are often highly scrupulous, and can feel like they’re being a “bad EA” in some way if they aren’t acting in line with the wider group, and will be negatively judged. I think the highly critical culture, especially online, contributes to pressures towards conformity as a side-effect; people worry that if they say or do something different, they’ll get attacked. Personally, at least, I think that this latter aspect is one of the threads within EA culture I’d most like to see change.
@October 11, 2023
Things that make me think to just write and publish a lot more.
Zvi Mowshowitz portrait on Magic The Gathering hall of fame.
When he finally retired from playing Zvi was in the Top 20 in both lifetime money winnings and Pro Points. Despite his amazing career as a player, Zvi is perhaps better known as a deck designer and Magic columnist. He is easily the most prolific writer in the history of the game and has written for a variety of Magic sites starting with the Magic Dojo and continuing on through Magicthegathering.com. – magic.gg Related:andCreate easilyPublish easily
@October 10, 2023
In a magic laptop I would write
My answer? Vitalik Buterin, Holden Karnofsky, Nick Bostrom, Paul Graham, Philip Tetlock, Scott Alexander, and Julia Galef have launched an accelerator to reshape and pioneer innovative societal coordination mechanisms for a resilient, interconnected, and thriving future.
@October 10, 2023
Local differences are exaggerated and take-off speeds
Listening to Paul Christiano and putting more weights on take-off speeds may be quicker than they seem to him (even though he beliefs on quick take-off speeds, but not as quick as
@October 5, 2023
Self-wiki is the best spaced repetition software
Finding a more effective way to memorize information can be challenging, and while tools like ANKi cards have their merits, they might not be the optimal solution for everyone. I believe there's a method that's not only more efficient but also more enjoyable and less draining on one's willpower.
What I advocate for, and personally use, is creating a self-wiki. Essentially, it's a public knowledge base of information you think is worthwhile and worth remembering.
The approach is simple: Write it down in your own words. Don't just copy and paste; you need to be the author of the content.
So, why does this method work? The social aspect of our brain gets activated when we know others can see and potentially benefit from our notes. This encourages us to regularly revisit and refine our definitions.
Why might this be superior? Spaced repetition, at its core, requires us to review and repeat information regularly. But in trying to nail the "perfect" review intervals, you might be missing the point. The biggest drawback of tools like ANKi is that they can make learning feel like a chore. It's probably not a good idea to reduce something as rewarding as learning to a tedious task. Pushing oneself continuously can be counterproductive. See more on this perspective here:
Another downside? The card decks you curate in typical spaced repetition software might not stand the test of time. In contrast, a self-wiki, being a dynamic platform, can continually evolve and be built upon.
See my wiki and make me horrified something is off.
@September 29, 2023
Why alternate explanations are so hard?
– Why is it so-hard to read and consider alternate explanations? – Why is it so-hellish-hard to read and consider alternate explanations when the source is someone I respect? – Why is it so-hellish-hellish-hard to read and consider alternate explanations when the source is someone I respect and is respected by people I respect?
@May 3, 2023
Bet: David Sinclair is gonna receive a Nobel price someday Probably no (~20%)
@March 11, 2023
Aliens with no scope-neglect
Imagine a possibility of an alien creature with no scope-neglect. We are living in the world where we comprehend things through singular entities. One is understood – but comparing, relating, imagining two things is harder, three even harder, five difficult, ten very very difficult. Difference between things like 1k, 10k, 100k are almost impossible for us to grasp
Imagine a possibility of an alien creature with no scope-neglect. We are living in the world where we comprehend things through singular entities. One is understood – but comparing, relating, imagining two things is harder, three even harder, five difficult, ten very very difficult. Difference between things like 1k, 10k, 100k are almost impossible for us to grasp.
What if there is a possibility of a different mind? A mind with a radically different interface of the reality. Imagine an alien who understand a difference between 1,000,000 people suffering and 1,000,003 people suffering as well as we understand a difference between nobody suffering and three people suffering. Imagine this alien looking at two trees, one with 1,000,002 leaves and another with 1,000,086 leaves – and seeing as sharp of a difference as our ability to sense a couple of orders of magnitude difference between 2 and 86.
@February 12, 2023