Does Bayes' theorem make racial stereotyping okay?Expand full comment
 Quick question on log odds: from what I've read, you calculate the log odds in decibels by treating the odds as a fraction (i.e. dividing one "odd" from the other), taking the base 10 log of that, and multiplying by ten. But at http://www.overcomingbias.c..., it seems that they are calculated using the natural log:But when you transform to odds ratios, 0.502 and .503 go to 1.008 and 1.012, and 0.9999 and 0.99999 go to 9,999 and 99,999. And when you transform to log odds, 0.502 and 0.503 go to 0.08 decibels and 0.12 decibels, but 0.9999 and 0.99999 go to 92 decibels and 115 decibels.Earlier in the same post, base 10 seems to be used:For example, let's say that the prior probability of a proposition is 0.0001 - this corresponds to a log odds of -40 decibels.So my question is, am I mistaken as to the definition of log odds, or was this just a mistake in the post?Also, why multiply by 10? I do not see how that helps out as far as further calculations go.Expand full comment
 One million hits!Expand full comment
 Um, mentally edit "command" to read "receive" in that last sentence.Expand full comment
 Alan, my preferred solution to this problem is to insist on a very strict fact/value, is/ought distinction: ideal rational agents should come to agree on the facts of the matter about how the world is, but they need not value the same things. You can enjoy music more than paintings without making any falsifiable empirical claims.This is a common view, but by no means does it command universal agreement.Expand full comment
 Alan, browse the "disagreement" category of posts, especially this one.Expand full comment
 (If you've already discussed this, just ignore). Suppose you could get everybody to become completely free of bias, as you perceive it. Would people continue to disagree? To disagree as much as they do now? I ask not because I think these questions have answers, but because I suspect that dealing with them might clarify what you (we?) mean by "bias."For instance--I like (some) music a lot, painting, not so much. Is this because I'm "biased" against painting for some reason, or something else? If it's because of something in the way my brain is put together, would that be a kind of "bias," or just a legitimate reason for different preferences? If I were blind and not deaf, no one would take my preference as a bias; same if it's just a less extreme (but still biological) tic?Expand full comment
 Dmitriy, see e.g., "The Bottom Line," "Fake Justification," and "Fake Optimization Criteria."Expand full comment
 You don't actually *die* (as far as I know, you can't reverse death). You are "merely" dying, and the process that leads to death is stopped before you die, until the condition that would kill you can be cured. You may still consider it death, but then you should also regard a person with tuberculosis who doesn't have access to penicilin as dead. Or do you think a prolonged lack of self-awareness is death? Then you probably don't sleep much.Expand full comment
 I wonder if someone could point me to any posts in this blog or other sources of information about post-factum rationalization. I am not sure what the official term for this is, but the phenomenon I am talking about is when a person first intuitively and in a lot of cases subconsciously comes up with a position on some issue and only after that comes up with "rational" arguments to justify the intuitive position.Expand full comment
 PK: I realized it only after it happened -- that everything the guy said was a lie. He went from asking for some kind of rope to asking for \$10. He repeatedly offered his driver's license as a security for anything he wanted to borrow. God[1] only knows what would happen if I had taken him up on that. He even offered to pay interest on money he borrowed, but I turned that down (!).Go to the police? I figured I couldn't give any helpful information except that the crime had happened. I had a burning desire to go where he claimed to work and cause him pain, but realized the claim about where he worked was a lie too.Perhaps it was just a good execution of the "camel's nose in the tent" trick, ask for something trivial and slowly work your way up so they believe you're serious the whole time. That's what the guy did in my scenario and that's what the guy did in Video 1.And PK ... it's a surprise to you that the CIA is using ineffective method?[1] I mean God in the secular sense.Expand full comment
 Back to cryonics;The experience I am trying to avoid happening to me is dying. Therefore cryonics does not help solve my problem, because it involves me dying first. Eliezer’s argument there's no real difference between the trillion trillion trillion trillion (or whatever) Planck instants between successive moments of experience in a life and the thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion Planck instants that might elapse between freezing and thawing, is not valid, since what has happens in between these two different events is different (death in the case of the second event). “I” is (am?) an emergent property and “I” am (is?) path dependent.Likewise the me of 20 years ago is definitely not the same as the me of today, but in terms of the choices that I would have made 20 years ago that is OK, as I didn’t die in between.Now there is an argument that perhaps I should not try to avoid dying if I can be resurrected again. But that is a different argument. My take on that argument is that it is probable that there is a strong genetic drive (for obvious good reasons) to avoid dying, so my desire to avoid dying cannot be subject to rational challenge. I would note that the desire to be resurrected also probably stems from a genetic fear of death as well, so it is equally not subject to logic. In this case it is like morality, which appears to be a subject around which you can have rational debate, but actually comes from genes coding for group survival.My answer on copies of me is also equally simple, the answer is path dependent. If the original me were destroyed to make the copy, then the copy is not me and I think I would be happy to acknowledge that if I were the copy. If an advanced technology machine were to somehow split me into two copies (without destruction) then both of them could be considered me (I have no problem with multiples of me, per multiple universes say).I realise that death of course is subject to the sorites paradox, just like all defintions to some extent, but cryonics definitely seems to me to fall well into the definition.Expand full comment
 Did you realize it only after it happened or did you snap out of it in the middle? Did you go to the police?I'm surprised this is not the topic of conversation more often given how potentially powerful(dangerous) this can be. Most people think this is impossible and just laugh it off. Or maybe there is something about it that makes it rarer/weaker then I think it is. Nobody knows for sure? Bah! Cognitive dissonance again.I also find it strange that there is a debate about waterboarding for interrogation in the US. Seems like such a crude method. They could just drug the prisoner to get him to relax and try hypnosis. So either the CIA is incompetent, or hypnosis doesn't work in those situation since they can't induce trust in the subject(even drugged) or hypnosis isn't nearly as effective as the videos suggest or something else I didn't think of.Expand full comment
 Okay, about hypnosis again: I think I was the victim of almost the exact scam in the first video. Except that a guy came to my door. Fortunately he only got \$10 from me (that I know of...) and when I expected not to be home the next day. It worked out almost exactly the same way: he asked for help at some trivial thing and then somehow I started to trust him and giving \$10 seemed like no big deal.Definitely something worth understanding...Expand full comment