Open Thread 228
1: Correction: the graph on “Against ‘There Are Two X-Wing Parties’” was weird, see this comment for why. I’ve edited the graph to include a link to the comment in the caption, but am stopping short of removing it or listing it as a Mistake for now.
2: Your comments on Which Party Has Gotten More Extreme were mostly terrible, and as promised I deleted all comments of the form “How can you even ask that question when the other party has done X, which is far crazier than anything my party has done?” - for the record, two of those comments were by Democrats and two by Republicans. But I will grudgingly tolerate Crimson Wool’s comment, which links a poll that “asks a bunch of questions which seem to be fairly close to "‘how dumb and goddamn crazy are you?’"
3: Gary Marcus has responded to Somewhat Contra Marcus On AI Scaling on his own Substack: Does AI Really Need A Paradigm Shift. He is unhappy that I described him as thinking GPT’s performance “proves” its paradigm is doomed, whereas he only thinks it provides “evidence” for this. I agree that outside of math it’s generally not worth talking about “proving” things and I was using it colloquially as “provides such strong evidence that someone asserts it is true without any caveats or qualifiers”; I usually think this usage is fine but have edited it in this case since he feels misrepresented. He also gives probability estimates for some of the same statements I did - he thinks there’s only a 10% chance we can get full AGI without any paradigm shift (compared to my 40%), and only a 20% chance we can get it without something symbol-manipulation-y in particular (compared to my 66%). He also accuses me of unfairly focusing on him, rather than the many other people who agree with him. I am focusing on him because he is the person I am having this discussion with right now. He is the person I am having this discussion with right now partly because he tweeted about me 23 times in the past six days and I figured it was worth responding to him in some way. Still, this is probably a sign that I should stop, which I will do immediately.
4: Speaking of me being bad, Alexandros Marinos has another article on my ivermectin piece, this one relating to the work of Dr. Flavio Cadegiani. I consider two of them relevant and problematic, have edited them out of the piece, and have added them to my Mistakes page like so:
First, I noted that he was accused of poorly-fleshed-out “crimes against humanity” by the Brazilian government, and speculated that they might think he was killing his patients (although I said I personally thought this was false). A new source that hadn’t been published at the time I wrote the piece time explains that the “crimes against humanity” accusation is because he didn’t stop a trial when it showed the experimental drug was much more effective than the placebo drug (which is a nonsensical accusation, since the accusers don’t believe this is true anyway), although it also describes other aspects of the trial as “an ethical cesspool”. Second, although I said Cadegiani was “involved in a scandal” where the Brazilian government made a defective app, his only “involvement” was that the app used data he produced; he was not responsible for its scandalous defects. I cannot remember why I made this mistake, but I assume I saw someone else say something about this and didn’t dig deep enough to be fair to him. I regret both errors.
Marinos has other concerns he thinks are relevant, which you can find at the article.