TL;DR — As SOON as a *voluntary* Brain Scan is reliable, it will be a Social Expectation. If you don’t want to show your cred, it’s because you don’t got it! Justice ensues, to the chagrin of every blowhard charmer and douche. Applause!

We can already put a rubber cap over your hair, and scan the magnetic fields coming off of your noggin, to let Ai regenerate your mental imagery. If you are watching a video of a Parrot Fish swimming the tropics, then the Ai imagines a Parrot Fish swimming in blue waters! Not an exact match, but darn good, already. In five years, you’ll prefer the match-making service that requires a Scan from male applicants, right? THAT is why you won’t need a government imposing it; we filter fine on our own.

That doesn’t even need to happen in this (or your) country! Go ahead and BAN it — because folks will FLY to those locales, just to wave their cred and get that right-swipe! People will pay exorbitant fees on the Dark Web to smuggle EEG kits, running their own hot-server just to pull bank when neighbors realize they can get scanned in your hobby-garage for $200 a pop. You cannot STOP this freight-train. And a creepy CGI Tom Hanks IS the Conductor!

Claiming that ‘women wouldn’t really…’ is like claiming that men would never want to get a Paternity Test. Do NOT doubt the demand for an Honest Man! And thus, we all got swiped under the loving eye of EEG, to tell if we are Loving and Just. I’ll go gladly — I know my choices. :)

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3 Africans raped a child in Utah and got sentenced to probation (from 2022): https://www.ksl.com/article/50364761/3-men-who-raped-or-filmed-14-year-old-sentenced-to-probation

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OC ACXLW Sat Feb 24 Moral Reality Check (story)

Hello Folks!

We are excited to announce the 57th Orange County ACX/LW meetup, happening this Saturday and most Saturdays after that.

Host: Michael Michalchik

Email: michaelmichalchik@gmail.com (For questions or requests)

Location: 1970 Port Laurent Place

(949) 375-2045

Date: Saturday, Feb 24 2024

Time 2 pm

Conversation Starters :

Text and Audio

Moral Reality Check (a short story) — LessWrong


Audio Better quality:


Questions from ChatGPT:

Super-Persuasion by AI: What are the ethical implications of AI systems that can use super-persuasion? How should we prepare for the possibility that AI could influence human beliefs and decisions more effectively than humans themselves?

Cooperation and Orthogonality in AI: How does the principle of cooperation relate to the orthogonality thesis in AI? Can an AI designed to be cooperative inherently value human existence, or does this require explicit programming?

AI and the Culture Series: Drawing parallels between the story's AI world and the Culture series by Ian M. Banks, what are the potential risks and benefits of a society governed by superintelligent AI systems? How can we ensure that such AI systems prioritize human values and experiences?

Ethics as an Outer Alignment Goal: Is aiming to make AGI systems "ethical" by human standards a viable alignment strategy? What challenges arise from our imperfect understanding of ethics, and how might these impact the development of sovereign AGI?

Complexity of Values in AI Alignment: How does the complexity of human values affect the challenge of aligning AI with these values? Is there a risk that simplifying these values for the sake of AI alignment could lead to undesirable outcomes?

AI, Sociopathy, and Empathy: Can an AI system that strictly adheres to moral protocols be considered sociopathic if it lacks genuine empathy for human values? What distinguishes true ethical understanding from mere adherence to programmed rules in AI?

Learning from Ethics for AI Development: What can the field of ethics contribute to the development of AI systems that are aligned with human values? How can ethical theories inform the creation of AI that is beneficial and not harmful to humanity?

Universal Ethics and AI Interpretation: If there were a universal ethics, how could we ensure that AI interprets it in a way that is beneficial to humanity? What safeguards could be put in place to prevent misinterpretation or misuse of ethical principles by AI?

Human-AI Coexistence and Value Alignment: What strategies can be employed to ensure that AI systems not only understand but also value human existence and welfare? How can we foster a future where humans and AI coexist harmoniously, with mutual respect and understanding?

Walk & Talk: We usually have an hour-long walk and talk after the meeting starts. Two mini-malls with hot takeout food are readily accessible nearby. Search for Gelson's or Pavilions in the zip code 92660.

Share a Surprise: Tell the group about something unexpected that changed your perspective on the universe.

Future Direction Ideas: Contribute ideas for the group's future direction, including topics, meeting types, activities, etc.

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A little something I wrote about how labor unions operate in Finland, in case someone's interested. https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2024/02/21/understanding-labor-unions-in-finland/

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Further experiments with ChatGPT, some simple cerium chemistry: https://chat.openai.com/share/7faacb6b-a487-494f-b0b7-4a071798fb1c

After seeing the second equation in its third response:

(attempting to copy-and-paste here, formatting will probably be garbled)


I can now confidently describe ChatGPT's output as unbalanced. :-)

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Just wanted to say: yay us - US - we're back on the moon!

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Can someone please explain to me how it's even possible for substack to take longer to load than literally any other website I've ever seen?

Sketchy HD video streaming sites t(hat probably mine crypto in the background )don't even take an order of magnitude as long. It doesn't matter what device I use to view substack. A

Also if I click away from the tab for even a fraction of a second, then when I return to tab it will be a blank page, and reloading the content of the page takes often as long as it did to load the first time. And sometimes it never loafs and you have to reload the page.

As for why my comment has a bunch od minor errors, well don't even get me started on how bad it is to writing a comment on substack. It takes so long to change something That it's not worth it. It's only usable if you write your comment elsewhere and just copy paste it into the text box then wait multiple minutes for that to load.

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Useless knowledge of the day: the word "cock" used to refer to the vagina in the American south, and some Black communities continue to use the word with its old meaning. The more you know.


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Every once in a while I try to figure out how AGIs are going to cause the economy to grow at super high rates and can’t. The trouble is I can’t figure out how the demand side of the equation works.

Imagine that tomorrow all humans at existing companies are replaced by AGIs. So companies that make cars, TVs, furniture, films, video games, clothes, provide electricity, water, garbage service, etc..,etc., make products at 100 times the speed, and provide services at amazing efficiency.

The price of everything should drop because the supply of goods and services will increase but also because everyone will be out of work and demand will collapse. The government could try giving everyone a UBI, but where is the government going to get money? The majority of the tax base has no income, and will quickly be out of cash to pay any other type of taxes.

So the large shareholders of the companies might discover that it makes more sense to simply produce goods and services for themselves, since almost nobody can afford to buy them. At that point we probably get a revolution. Perhaps this would be when AIs kill the majority of humans.

But note that in this scenario the economy never grows much.

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Feb 21 is Nina Simone's birthday. I love this flippin' song.

'I wish I knew how it feels to be free'


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An interesting theory for sibling order effects. Younger siblings get sick more. Could the older siblings be bringing more illnesses home and that hampers the younger sibling’s development?

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I think this is an intriguing idea:

'Comedian John Oliver has offered Justice Clarence Thomas $1 million a year and a $2.4 million motor coach to 'get the f**k off the Supreme Court'.

Oliver made his offer on Sunday’s episode of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, and warned the justice he had just 30 days to accept or the offer would expire. '

What if someone started a GoFundMe intended to pay off Supreme Court Justices or elected representatives to resign? National-level figures like Clarence Thomas might get jackpots of tens of millions of dollars. Maybe even Presidents could be convinced to quit.

Would it be legal?

What would be the consequences of allowing it?

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Feb 20·edited Feb 20

Well, here's a spicy topic of discussion: why do feminine men and trans women get a disproportionate amount of hate directed at them? Now, pretty much every minority (and even majority) group gets plenty of hate thrown at them, but there is a sense that the groups mentioned have been a major target of culture wars for the last century or so. What's interesting is when you compare them to their AFAB equivalents: tomboys don't prompt anywhere near as big of a reaction as a man in a dress, and trans men pretty much never come up in arguments about trans issues. (Even TERFS see trans men as victims instead of oppressors.) So what's going on here?

I tried to consider biological explanations, but it doesn't make sense. There's no reason for males to see "emasculated" males as competition, and while females are much harsher judges of males than vice versa, I don't see why feminine males would prompt a particularly aggressive response. And considering there is a big difference in the level of acceptance of feminine males between cultures, the source of the hostility is likely cultural. Japan, for example, has consistently had drag queens on mainstream TV for the last few decades. Heck, one of the most popular celebrities in Japan is Matsuko Deluxe, a drag queen with a very... monumental presence (here's a picture of him https://bunshun.ismcdn.jp/mwimgs/2/4/750wm/img_241f58d51847cc3b247cafd9f05798e33509039.jpg ). At one point, he hosted a show for every day of the week.

Anyways, I'm at a complete loss for what's behind this particular brand of intolerance. Why do males consider being "gay" to be an irredeemable character flaw? Why do 55% of Americans think changing gender is MORALLY wrong? https://news.gallup.com/poll/1651/gay-lesbian-rights.aspx Am I missing something here?

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This might be a longshot, but I tried it in the past and it worked :

Do any of you work for or own a company looking to hire remote, entry level data scientists, data analysts or ML engineers ? Anywhere in North America is good as long as its remote. Let me know, would be very helpful and it would be amazing to work with rationalists !

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A year or so ago there was talk here about how Bean, the guy with the great blog about the navy, claimed that a nuclear war wouldn't kill as many people as popularly believe. IIRC, he said something like the blast from a nuclear warhead would only kill people within about a 3 mile radius, radiation would be bigger lethal problem, but we aren't talking about the destruction of large cities or anything like that.

I just listened to the Dwarkesh podcast with guest Richard Rhodes, author of Making of the Atomic Bomb, who said that some of the original physicists forgot to account for the destructiveness of the fire from a hydrogen bomb, which would be much bigger than the blast zone and could destroy an entire city as big as Moscow.


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Have just published an essay: Game Theory, Jaws, and Girard, with an assist from Lévi-Strauss: A quick sketch, https://new-savanna.blogspot.com/2024/02/game-theory-jaws-and-girard-with-assist.html

While thinking about the next installment in my series on great literary critics (which has become another inquiry into the nature of literary criticism), I found myself thinking about that essay in which I offered a Girardian interpretation of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. I smelled an opportunity: Why not add Lévi-Strauss and game theory into the mix?

Lévi-Strauss is obvious since I’d already discussed him in the series, but game theory? How’d I get there? I don’t really know, it just happened.

But I had taken a look at some of Girard’s remarks about Much Ado About Nothing in his Shakespeare book, A Theater of Envy, where he talks of Beatrice and Benedick as playing a game with one another (p. 81):

"Outside observers shrug their shoulders and declare the entire game frivolous. It certainly is, but our condescension itself may well be part of a strategic positioning that is always going on, “just in case” the game might have to be played. The game, perhaps, has already begun. We always try to convince others that we ourselves never play this kind of game, but these disclaimers are necessarily ambiguous; they resemble too much the moves that we could have to make if we were already playing the game."

Girard does not invoke game theory, and games of course are common enough. We talk about them all the time. Back in 1964 Eric Bern had a bestseller with Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, though it's not a game theory book, not in the sense I have in mind in this essay. But Girard was also concerned about who knows what, with what things are public knowledge, and what things are secret, with how public knowledge confirms individual beliefs, those are all matters of importance in game theory. Moreover and after all, game theory is an abstraction over games in the common-sense use of the term and in a way very similar to the way Turing’s account of computation is an abstraction over an activity otherwise performed by people using pencils and paper.

But just how and why I came to think of game theory is not all that important; what’s important is that I thought of it. Once there I thought of the work of Michael Chwe, a brilliant political scientist who published a very interesting book I’d read some years ago, Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge (2001) and has more recently published Jane Austen, Game Theorist (2013), which I’ve not read. But I have skimmed through his article, Rational Choice and the Humanities Excerpts and Folktales (2009). Moreover, if you search on “game theory and literature,” you get hits. The conjunction of game theory and literature is thus not so strange, not so unexplored, as one might think. If literature, why not film?

Since I’ve already done a Girardian analysis of Spielberg’s Jaws, why not revisit the film with game theory in mind? That’s what the rest of this post is about. I don’t actually conduct a game theoretical account. Game theory is a technical discipline, but this is not technical. It is, however, informed by game theory, but it is not technical. It is a long though, so take your time.

Caveat: If you’re looking for Girard and Lévi-Strauss, they’re here. But the essay is mostly about games. You can find more Girard in my original essay on Jaws, linked above.

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Is anyone here has done his PhD and then went into business Development job I wish to know how to transition from PhD to business Domain

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Does anyone know how exactly a liquidity providers make money on polymarket.. has anyone provided liquidity in the past for a poly market and made money

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Taylor Swift is widely known worldwide. Gretchen Peters isn't *nearly* as famous, but over her long career, she shares with Taylor one thing: she writes extraordinary lyrics about the inner lives of women.


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I started using about the time of the Musk Takeover when it filled my inbox with defenses of the poor Royal Family that was being so horribly mistreated by Megan Markel and her husband. :)

I still announce my Substack posts [https://thomaslhutcheson.substack.com] there, as I do on Facebook.

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Feb 19·edited Feb 19

How did the linguistic cliche of describing emotional states as "places" originate in English? I'm talking about phrases like "coming from a place of anxiety" or "I'm not in a good place right now".

Also, is it an effective heuristic to assume that the speaker is (a) american, (b) female or/and (c) politically progressive, based on the usage of this cliche?

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I’d like to know more about this from Freya India.

Gen Z is often described as a sexless generation. We are having less sex than previous generations did at the same age. We are less likely to have been on a date. More of us identify as asexual. In fact, according to this Stonewall report, more Gen Z Brits identify as asexual (5%) than gay (2%) or lesbian (3%).

All kinds of cultural and social influences could explain this. Early exposure and addiction to online porn might be one. I’ve written about risk-aversion and fear of rejection as another. Increased awareness of asexuality too. But there is also, I think, a medical explanation. More specifically: the widespread use of SSRIs and their sexual side-effects.

SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors) are a common class of antidepressants used to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Popular SSRIs include Fluoxetine (Prozac), Escitalopram (Lexapro), and Sertraline (Zoloft). Something well established about these drugs is that they have sexual side-effects. In fact, between 40 and 65% of people who take an SSRI are thought to experience some form of sexual dysfunction. What few people know, though, is these side effects can persist even after coming off of the drugs—a condition called Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD).

This is more than just low libido. It can be a total loss of libido, genital numbness, erectile dysfunction, an inability to orgasm and complete lack of sexual attraction. Emotional blunting is also common, with sufferers describing a numbing of positive emotions, no romantic feelings, and difficulty connecting with others. PSSD can occur immediately—after just a few pills—and persist for years, decades, even permanently. There is no treatment. Despite PSSD being in the medical records since the ‘90s, patients are rarely warned of the risk. A risk thought to be 1 in 216.

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Scott: it's been a little more than a month. Am I unbanished?

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I run a small non-profit makerspace in College Station, Texas, where I go to school. We have a great thing going but we’re constantly struggling for money. Does anyone know of any specific resources we would be able to draw from? We are a registered 501(c)(3) corporation

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Substack Notes is a dumpster fire. An abomination. A wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Today, we have some dude claiming that the British assassinated Navalny. Because ... well, he doesn't have any reasons that aren't transparent bullshit, but that doesn't stop him. And, yet, this is on my feed.

There was incessant talk two months ago about "banning the Nazis" (and, possibly, anyone who is trans-phobic or racist or supports Trump as well). And I was against this.

But, Substack does have a massive problem. Their "Notes" product is repeatedly recommending crap, faster than I can block my way out of it.

Can Substack do anything about this? Or is this indeed another doomed social platform.

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Feb 19·edited Feb 19

So I've suddenly become politically excited by RFK Jr. and his independent run. I'm going to volunteer to get him on the ballot here in NY state. Anyone else with a similar vibe?

(Full disclosure, I've been buying Kennedy yes on the manifold president market.)

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You might recall the name Robespierre from a history class or TV show, but you may not have heard of Danton, and the great contest between them for the heart of the French Revolution. Why did Robespierre win, momentarily? A film from 1983 makes the case: https://falsechoices.substack.com/p/old-stories-danton-and-robespierre

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Men working at or owning fertility clinics slipping in their own sperm isn't news, but this is an overview.

This is evidence that a few people have a pure urge to procreate. I believe that, for the most part, people having children is a combination of liking sex, willingness to raise existing children, and wanting children who will be helpful or just having the satisfaction of having a large or at least ongoing family. There's generally no desire to just have children that aren't connected to oneself, except for these guys. The cruder Darwinian version of life is made flesh.

I think the best strategy to avoid incest would be to choice partners whose parents were too poor for IVF. A strong but less certain strategy would be to choose partners who have both younger and older siblings. I think this indicates that the parents were unlikely to use IVF.

It's not clear to me why a separate law about fertility fraud is needed. Shouldn't ordinary laws about fraud cover this?

Note from the article-- it seems that fertility fraud has pretty much stopped as a result of common DNA tests.

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Supposedly a lot of fentanyl overdoses are just product contamination- i.e. a batch of 'regular' cocaine or heroin or something else accidentally gets a small but fatal amount of fentanyl mixed in with it somewhere in the illegal drug supply chain. Presumably that supply chain is not exactly very rigorous or have high quality standards.

If so- why does the US have so many more fentanyl ODs than Europe? Why isn't fentanyl mixed in with their illegal drugs, coke etc., as it is in ours?

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Anybody here live in or around Elko, NV? Going to be living there for six months starting around April.

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Here's a question for anyone who has a biological child over the age of five: What do you think of the two Tweets below?

The parenting blackpill is that it's mostly genetics, there's little you can do other than keeping them clothed and fed, and at most you can fuck things up by giving them a bad childhood. The rest is happenstance.

Indeed a hard pill to swallow. Good parenting can only create very limited upside. Bad parenting can create unlimited downside. So the parents’ job is to do our best to avoid that downside & try for any small upside we can enable. Parental ego prevents us from accepting this.

(BTW, the first came from Antonio Garcia Martinez, and the second is a reply to him.)

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Perhaps Scott or an ACX reader may answer the question what prediction markets do, that bookmakers do not already do – and probably do a lot better.

Bookmakers are likely to be better at accurate predictions because they have real skin in the game. If they systematically misjudge the odds of future events, they will go bankrupt. This has the systemic benefit of creating a selection effect: The bookmakers who survive and stay in business, are likely to be those that are good at making accurate predictions.

Compare this the “prediction markets”, which - if I have read Scott’s blog posts on them correctly –deal with toy money or only small amounts of real money, and where any bored teenager or wishful-thinking ideologue count as much as a well-informed person.

For example, if you bet 1000 USD that Biden will win the next US election, you get USD 2500 back (odds 5/2). While if you bet 1000 USD that Trump wins, you only get USD 1100 back (odds 11/10).

…what is the added value of having prediction markets about the US election, that bookies do not already do?

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I expect to have *lots* of conversations from now on where I will be told "AI art is just rubbish, I only like human stuff" and having to reply "but I don't think you can tell the difference" and being scoffed at.

Assuming no XRisk from AI, I expect this for the next decade, perhaps the rest of my life. That's probably true of you, too. I was at a (non-technical) conference recently (link to a panel I was on below, but not that relevant to this) where people were talking about AI. Some very obvious observations:

1. Your average person cares very deeply about their aesthetic preferences

2. Your average person, for one reason or another, reckons they prefer the world where nice things are made by humans

3. Consequently, they strongly feel that there is a fundamental difference (Blegg/Rube like), between things made by AI and things made by humans. They have absolute certainty that that difference exists. If called upon to say what the difference it is, after giving you a pitying look (because again they think you are *obviously* wrong and it's a chore to have to explain so to you), they will say... some words. Their words will be trivially easy to rebut. But the rebuttal won't change anything about their feelings. They may change to saying some *different* words, also easy to rebut, but don't get cocky - they will have forgotten that their first argument was rebutted within 30 minutes or so, and will say it again, to your annoyance. They intuition is so strong for them that the discussion around it doesn't really matter all that much.

It'll make you sad because there are interesting conversations that could theoretically had about the psychology of aesthetics or the future of creative work, but they are beyond these people because they will be forever searching for a non-mechanistic phenomenon that makes them feel special and ineffable, instead of being open to the possibility that art and humanity are not special and amenable to modelling. I am guessing there are researchers from the 80s or 70s who could see this and roll their eyes, because it's just the conversation they've been in most of their careers becoming mainstream. Gives me more respect for some of them!

Anyway, ***something that I think would save us a bit of time would be a website that quizzes its visitor with ten bits of art***, some AI and some human (while obviously being obscure enough to be unrecognizable to most people). By this I mean poetry/painting/eventually animation. Does this already exist? I almost feel like it could be useful, because it could fit into an RLHF loop for AI art.

Or perhaps such a thing wouldn't work because individual AIs like Midjourney or Sora always end up having a distinguishable "look" that gives them away. If so that's quite interesting and something I'd love to hear people here talk about.

Panel I was on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq9PI4gxxbE

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Since last week, the implied probability of various people being the next US president has changed as follows (per Election Betting Odds). The probability per Metaculus follows in square brackets.

Trump, up 0.1% to 50.9% [50%]

Biden, up 0.8% to 31.9% [46%]

Michelle Obama, down 1.5% to 5.6% [1%]

Newsom, down 1.2% to 2.7% [1%]

Harris, up 0.1% to 1.9% [1%]

Kennedy, up 0.1% to 1.5% [1%]

Haley, up 0.1% to 1.3% [1%]

There are considerable divergences between sites, e.g. the bid-offer spread on Betfair for Trump is currently 43.1-43.5%, whereas the spread on Polymarket is 53-55% (all the Polymarket spreads are huge).

Not long ago (https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/mantic-monday-12924) Scott posted a claim (from Jeremiah Johnson) that Metaculus was more accurate (by some margin) than real money markets in the 2020 election. If that were to remain true, the above percentages show there is significant money to be made (in expectation), which is surprising, because people like money. The divergence between the sites only increases this.

That said, something is wrong with the Metaculus predictions: they sum to 111%, because they have a long tail of outsiders at exactly 1% each. I'm not sure how this has happened, but it cannot be right.

Last week we spent some time on the Open Thread discussing Michelle Obama's odds, and while some people felt that there was some plausible path for her to become president, I think we did broadly agree that 7% was much too high. Since then, the market has moved in the right direction, but 5.6% still seems too high. Admittedly, there is a problem with offering very long odds on an event that far in the future, because of the opportunity cost, but that doesn't prevent people offering, say, 999/1 on Rashida Tlaib (you could currently bet as much as £513 at these odds on Betfair, implying someone is willing to put £512k on the other side of the table).

It's perhaps worth noting that the total amount wagered is $67m. While this is higher than in many other markets, it is probably a small fraction of the total amount which will have been wagered by the time the election takes place (which I would expect to be well over $1 bn), so a lot of money is not yet committed. It seems plausible that current market participants are skewed towards highly engaged individuals. In general one would hope that a high level of engagement would lead to accurate predictions, but in the case of politics there is at least some anecdotal reason to suspect that highly engaged individuals can become entrenched in their beliefs.

I would be interested in readers' views as to: (1) why there are such large differences between real money markets and Metaculus (and also Manifold) and (2) why there are (smaller, but still significant) differences between different real money markets. As for (2), part of the explanation must be that getting money on to (and off) Polymarket is a PITA, but I don't think it can be the whole explanation: you still have different pools of prediction agents reaching contrary conclusions.

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I came across a Twitter post yesterday that noted how someone doing a computer science degree in America is required to study the arts and humanities too.

He wondered whether someone studying, say, English Literature, should be similarly required to learn a little computer science.

I reject the premise entirely. In England, if you study computer science, you study computer science. I heard an interview with an admissions tutor who said “If you want to study biology, we don't care how well you did in history.” In fact, English students get to ditch all but three subjects at 16.

I suggest that the US approach does not actually result in more rounded students and wrote about it here:


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Anyone want to play Inflection Point with me? It's a real time turn based military strategy game that my friend made.


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A few years ago (triggered by the start of covid lockdowns) a family member began having strong paranoid delusions that the police are following him and that there's a huge conspiracy against him. He was about 60 years old at the time. The delusions have persisted since then, and he doesn't want to take prescribed psychiatric treatment, because he doesn't acknowledge that the delusions aren't real. (I guess otherwise they wouldn't really be delusions.)

I'd like to describe some of the symptoms, because I've been trying to find information online and in books for years with nothing seeming to be very helpful. My hope is that someone here might recognize this type of behavior/illness.

For at least a couple of decades now, he's had strong conspiratorial tendencies and forms what appear to other to be bizarre conclusions based on available evidence (not only about politics, but also about people at work, behavior of groups of strangers, etc.) He has in adulthood never been able to form social relations outside family. His thinking is very slow and rigid. He's had a slow cognitive decline for years, that has accelerated since around the time his delusions started. Since then, his memory and physical coordination have also worsened - a doctor has suggested dementia, but the main symptom does seem to be delusions (rather than memory issues). He hasn't had hallucinations at all, as far as anyone can tell, though doctors have also suggested a possible schizophrenia diagnosis.

He doesn't have an "official" diagnosis, mostly because he refuses to take tests/see the same doctor enough, though all agree that there is some kind of psychiatric/neurological issue here. I guess it may be common that such issues don't conform to cookie-cutter diagnoses, although all information I can find seems to be geared to such. Has anyone here encountered someone a bit like this? How was it for you?

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Any writers here willing to share their own writing schedules?

Lately I've been experimenting with diffetrent writing schedules and one things I came up with which works for me is to write shorter posts from time to time while having a longer post in the pipeline for several weeks. I used to try and push one article per week but some articles just take more than a week to proprely research (especially if I need to contact someone and wait for their response). The new system I am tryig now is having one of the big articles on the backburner, slowly moving it forwards, which "one-shotting" some small articles along the way, in areas where I feel comfortable to write (because I have done plenty of related research).

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I moved to Northern Michigan to live out my life doing what I enjoy in a quiet and beautiful place. Simply making a new friend changed that, for good possibly. "Make friends carefully," is advice I should have followed; but then again, well, we have to see how this turns out. Here's https://falsechoices.substack.com/p/floater-part-2-caz-pays-a-visit.

If you want to start at the beginning here's https://falsechoices.substack.com/p/floater-part-1-an-introduction

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Feb 19·edited Feb 20

My company is looking for people who can program and more importantly can write well.

We are about a dozen people in our startup, and one of the bottlenecks we discovered is that we have a lot of knowledge floating around in conversations and in people's heads, but we lag behind in writing it down. For the moment, we need help with writing for our internal consumption; in a few months we will also want to write docs for people who want to use our system or build on top of it.

We are fully remote, and can offer part-time work, too.

You can reply here or contact me at m@mozak.com, if you are interested, or if you have some suggestions for how to hire good technical writers.

(Full disclosure: we are working with the bleeding edge technology of 'zero knowledge proofs'. Eventually some of our money will come from the crypto-ecosystem and finance in general. We pay in fiat money, and at the moment don't expect to ever offer our own tokens. Think, selling shovels into a gold rush. Most of our code is in Rust.)

Slight tangent: in principle I'm very in favour of https://sockpuppet.org/blog/2015/03/06/the-hiring-post/ but so far we haven't really gotten around to implementing that. If anyone has experience with using work-sample tests to hire or get hired, please share.

EDIT: we are also looking for people who know their way around with compilers and interpreters. Especially of the 'Types And Programming Languages' variety. Or also someone who can compile from an assembly language that has both registers and memory to one that has only memory, and no registers.

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Call for policy input on reduction in Wealth tax in Norway

I wrote an email to the mayor of my hometown, commending their proposal to remove the municipal element of the Norwegian wealth tax. If they go through with this, Bodø will be the first maior municipality in Norway to remove it: https://www.nrk.no/nordland/lokker-skatteflyktninger-hjem-til-bodo-med-kutt-i-formueskatt-1.16755507 (Article in Norwegian)

I wrote :


Thank you for looking at powerful measures to make Bodø an even more attractive place to make your home, both privately and as a business.

My girlfriend and I are moving from Oslo to Bodø this May, to live close to family - not as a result of a superior job market: But imagine how cool it would be if the best technology jobs were up north!?

When you now look at the reduction in wealth tax, I hope you also have an eye on the problems surrounding startups, which have been thoroughly covered over time by the newspaper Shifter:

https://www.shifter.no/nyheter/jeg-matte-velge-skal-jeg-holde-til-i-norge-eller-vil-jeg-at-selskapet-mitt-skal-lykkes/266945 (Article in Norwegian)

In short, the issue is this: Startup founders can sit with large fortunes on paper, long before they get significant turnover, and years before profits. This means that the most ambitious would do well to leave the country even before they get investors. What if they just had to move a few degrees of longitude north?

My wish is that you can see Bodø's position and opportunities in context when you complete this inquiry, so that this will also be a stimulator for existing and future technology initiatives.

Technology workers are mobile, nature loving people, in search of strong communities. Here, Bodø makes a strong case, and stronger with each passing year, with direct flights to the east via Helsinki, a new UiT location, and an already strong technology sector. If a would-be founder can also calculate that over time he will be left with a larger share of his own company, Bodø is the obvious choice.


Following this, I have been invited to meet with the mayor(!) The problem is that I am neither a founder or an economist.

If you want to help me present a strong case either towards the main policy of a reduction or removal of the municipal wealth tax, or towards other actions that could synergize to help make Bodø the tech/ startup capital of Norway, please write below!

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I have been browsing through reddit for some years. In the last few years, the front page seems to have turned into a far-left echo chamber with completely crazy economics and a fair degree of crazy woke-aligned thinking. Tonnes of posts with an 'eat-the-rich', 'America and capitalism and billionaires are teh evil' kinds of energy. Has this trend actually happened or is it just me seeing things? Where have all the sane people gone?

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I'm trying to find a study I read several years ago that seemed to make a breakthrough on lie detection methods. I think they constructed fake border patrol scenarios to test it and the method involved asking the person basic information first, then gradually asking more detailed questions that only a person telling the truth should plausibly know.

The liars would tend to get far less detailed in their answers but truth tellers would maintain their or extend their answer length. Does this ring a bell for anyone? It seemed to stand above other studies on lying at the time in terms of rigor, but it's been a while since I've read it (and can't seem to find it anymore!)

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What might be going on with quantum field theory and 1+2+3... = -1/12, as touched on in this numberphile video?


The paper he discusses is here:


I'm trying to understand how this summing of divergent series stuff might relate to the real world, and he seems pretty excited about something, but describes it too vaguely for me to follow.

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Tucker Carlson recently went to Moscow and said it seemed more orderly than US cities, especially in having no homelessness.

Question for Russian readers: is this true in your experience? What is Russia's homelessness policy? If you don't have enough money to afford a place to stay, what happens to you?

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It's February, and that means it's winter in the US, so it's kind of boring. For high-schoolers who are graduating this year, it also means SENIORITIS. Soooo: if you had a group of mathy, way-way-above-average-ability high-schoolers, and you had, say, about 5 hours of their attention... asychronously.. to present (in a written format, with links, with the potential for discussions) stuff to them... what sorts of links and resources would you want to "point them in the direction of"? What questions would you ask them, and what personal problem-solving tasks (that few others would think to press upon them) would you point out might be significant?

Some I've come up with so far... Point them to Paul Graham essays like "How to do what you love." A few of them should probably read SICP even if they don't know it yet. The game "Robot Odyssey," maybe. A decent percentage of them should read TaoUP even if they don't go specifically programming/UNIX-heavy? At least 1 resource on negotiation. Suggest some of them will want to read "The Strategy of Conflict." Start a discussion asking how they practice "attentional-triage"* ...adblockers, maybe timers and beeminder-y approaches, and just personal habits of having a high threshold below which you don't click. (Some of them probably know way more than you do about obvious-to-them strategies/apps/things-that-exist in that area... except they probably have not all come across the same "obvious" things, and so they can help each-other.) I'd suggest they read Ender's Game, but... mmm, assume most of them already would have, and all will have already heard of it.

That's a start. What else?

* Stole this expression from Leah Libresco Sargeant's husband, from a book review he wrote. Too good not to steal.

[Edited, but not super-significant to direction of the question.]

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What is everyone's thoughts on how to derive meaning in life in a universe that seems to be ultimately purposeless? I posited in my last post that things matter and have meaning in the world “because creatures such as we are graced and burdened with consciousness and the capacity to feel pain and joy—to suffer, as well as to flourish, irrespective of how small we are. Meaning stems from those facts like a flower out of a pot of soil.”

Interested in what ACX readers might have to say about arguments which assert that life is pointless without a God, for instance, or that our infinitesimal smallness in the cosmos means that nothing truly matters.

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Is Richard Hanania moving to a new market niche : Scott Alexander vulgariser? 😆

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Anyone have study resources to learn how to use AI tools in life?

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I adapted Scott Aaronson's post "Five Worlds of AI" into a political compass style chart.

Post: https://scottaaronson.blog/?p=7266

Chart: https://www.reddit.com/r/ChatGPT/s/J7JPjJ5SxJ

The world "AI Surreality" is not related to any world in Scott's classification, but it seems to be the most popular with commenters on Reddit so far, so I think the modification is justified.

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