Degrees Of Freedom by Sarah Constantin – Freedoms as indifference vs freedom as arbitrary action.
Airportpourri by Jacob Falkovich – ‘A random grab bag of vacation photos, travel observations, and geopolitical opinions.’
Pre Civilization Egypt by Robin Hanson – A very brief economic and institutional history of Egypt.
The Optimizers Curse Wrong Way Reductions by Christian – ‘I spent about two and a half years as a research analyst at GiveWell. For most of my time there, I was the point person on GiveWell’s main cost-effectiveness analyses. I’ve come to believe there are serious, underappreciated issues with the methods the effective altruism (EA) community at large uses to prioritize causes and programs. While effective altruists approach prioritization in a number of different ways, most approaches involve (a) roughly estimating the possible impacts funding opportunities could have and (b) assessing the probability that possible impacts will be realized if an opportunity is funded. I discuss the phenomenon of the optimizer’s curse: when assessments of activities’ impacts are uncertain, engaging in the activities that look most promising will tend to have a smaller impact than anticipated. I argue that the optimizer’s curse should be extremely concerning when prioritizing among funding opportunities that involve substantial, poorly understood uncertainty. I further argue that proposed Bayesian approaches to avoiding the optimizer’s curse are often unrealistic. I maintain that it is a mistake to try and understand all uncertainty in terms of precise probability estimates.’
Alignment Newsletter 51 by Rohin Shah – Weekly AI alignment newsletter. Featured Review: Towards Characterizing Divergence in Deep Q-Learning