 1.  Distributed Cooperation   post by Alex Appel 454 days ago  Abram Demski and Scott Garrabrant like this  2 comments  
 Reflective oracles can be approximated by computing Nash equilibria. But is there some procedure that produces a Paretooptimal equilibrium in a game, aka, a point produced by a Cooperative oracle? It turns out there is. There are some interesting philosophical aspects to it, which will be typed up in the next post.
The result is not original to me, it’s been floating around MIRI for a while. I think Scott, Sam, and Abram worked on it, but there might have been others. All I did was formalize it a bit, and generalize from the 2player 2move case to the nplayer nmove case. With the formalism here, it’s a bit hard to intuitively understand what’s going on, so I’ll indicate where to visualize an appropriate 3dimensional object.
 
   3.  An Untrollable Mathematician   post by Abram Demski 508 days ago  Alex Appel, Sam Eisenstat, Vanessa Kosoy, Jack Gallagher, Jessica Taylor, Paul Christiano, Scott Garrabrant and Vladimir Slepnev like this  1 comment  
 Followup to All Mathematicians are Trollable.
It is relatively easy to see that no computable Bayesian prior on logic can converge to a single coherent probability distribution as we update it on logical statements. Furthermore, the nonconvergence behavior is about as bad as could be: someone selecting the ordering of provable statements to update on can drive the Bayesian’s beliefs arbitrarily up or down, arbitrarily many times, despite only saying true things. I called this wild nonconvergence behavior “trollability”. Previously, I showed that if the Bayesian updates on the provabilily of a sentence rather than updating on the sentence itself, it is still trollable. I left open the question of whether some other side information could save us. Sam Eisenstat has closed this question, providing a simple logical prior and a way of doing a Bayesian update on it which (1) cannot be trolled, and (2) converges to a coherent distribution.
 
   5.  The Happy Dance Problem   post by Abram Demski 576 days ago  Scott Garrabrant and Stuart Armstrong like this  1 comment  
 Since the invention of logical induction, people have been trying to figure out what logically updateless reasoning could be. This is motivated by the idea that, in the realm of Bayesian uncertainty (IE, empirical uncertainty), updateless decision theory is the simple solution to the problem of reflective consistency. Naturally, we’d like to import this success to logically uncertain decision theory.
At a research retreat during the summer, we realized that updateless decision theory wasn’t so easy to define even in the seemingly simple Bayesian case. A possible solution was written up in Conditioning on Conditionals. However, that didn’t end up being especially satisfying.
Here, I introduce the happy dance problem, which more clearly illustrates the difficulty in defining updateless reasoning in the Bayesian case. I also outline Scott’s current thoughts about the correct way of reasoning about this problem.
 
  6.  Reflective oracles as a solution to the converse Lawvere problem   post by Sam Eisenstat 576 days ago  Alex Mennen, Alex Appel, Vanessa Kosoy, Abram Demski, Jessica Taylor, Scott Garrabrant and Vladimir Slepnev like this  discuss  
 1 Introduction
Before the work of Turing, one could justifiably be skeptical of the idea of a universal computable function. After all, there is no computable function \(f\colon\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}\) such that for all computable \(g\colon\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}\) there is some index \(i_{g}\) such that \(f\left(i_{g},n\right)=g\left(n\right)\) for all \(n\). If there were, we could pick \(g\left(n\right)=f\left(n,n\right)+1\), and then \[g\left(i_{g}\right)=f\left(i_{g},i_{g}\right)+1=g\left(i_{g}\right)+1,\] a contradiction. Of course, universal Turing machines don’t run into this obstacle; as Gödel put it, “By a kind of miracle it is not necessary to distinguish orders, and the diagonal procedure does not lead outside the defined notion.” [1]
The miracle of Turing machines is that there is a partial computable function \(f\colon\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}\cup\left\{ \bot\right\}\) such that for all partial computable \(g\colon\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}\cup\left\{ \bot\right\}\) there is an index \(i\) such that \(f\left(i,n\right)=g\left(n\right)\) for all \(n\). Here, we look at a different “miracle”, that of reflective oracles [2,3]. As we will see in Theorem 1, given a reflective oracle \(O\), there is a (stochastic) \(O\)computable function \(f\colon\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}\to\left\{ 0,1\right\}\) such that for any (stochastic) \(O\)computable function \(g\colon\mathbb{N}\to\left\{ 0,1\right\}\), there is some index \(i\) such that \(f\left(i,n\right)\) and \(g\left(n\right)\) have the same distribution for all \(n\). This existence theorem seems to skirt even closer to the contradiction mentioned above.
We use this idea to answer “in spirit” the converse Lawvere problem posed in [4]. These methods also generalize to prove a similar analogue of the ubiquitous converse Lawvere problem from [5]. The original questions, stated in terms of topology, remain open, but I find that the model proposed here, using computability, is equally satisfying from the point of view of studying reflective agents. Those references can be consulted for more motivation on these problems from the perspective of reflective agency.
Section 3 proves the main lemma, and proves the converse Lawvere theorem for reflective oracles. In section 4, we use that to give a (circular) proof of Brouwer’s fixed point theorem, as mentioned in [4]. In section 5, we prove the ubiquitous converse Lawvere theorem for reflective oracles.
 
   8.  Smoking Lesion Steelman II   post by Abram Demski 623 days ago  Tom Everitt and Scott Garrabrant like this  1 comment  
 After Johannes Treutlein’s comment on Smoking Lesion Steelman, and a number of other considerations, I had almost entirely given up on CDT. However, there were still nagging questions about whether the kind of selfignorance needed in Smoking Lesion Steelman could arise naturally, how it should be dealt with if so, and what role counterfactuals ought to play in decision theory if CDTlike behavior is incorrect. Today I sat down to collect all the arguments which have been rolling around in my head on this and related issues, and arrived at a place much closer to CDT than I expected.
 
     12.  Smoking Lesion Steelman   post by Abram Demski 713 days ago  Tom Everitt, Sam Eisenstat, Vanessa Kosoy, Paul Christiano and Scott Garrabrant like this  10 comments  
 It seems plausible to me that any example I’ve seen so far which seems to require causal/counterfactual reasoning is more properly solved by taking the right updateless perspective, and taking the action or policy which achieves maximum expected utility from that perspective. If this were the right view, then the aim would be to construct something like updateless EDT.
I give a variant of the smoking lesion problem which overcomes an objection to the classic smoking lesion, and which is solved correctly by CDT, but which is not solved by updateless EDT.
 
   14.  Futarchy Fix   post by Abram Demski 746 days ago  Scott Garrabrant and Stuart Armstrong like this  9 comments  
 Robin Hanson’s Futarchy is a proposal to let prediction markets make governmental decisions. We can view an operating Futarchy as an agent, and ask if it is aligned with the interests of its constituents. I am aware of two main failures of alignment: (1) since predicting rare events is rewarded in proportion to their rareness, prediction markets heavily incentivise causing rare events to happen (I’ll call this the entropymarket problem); (2) it seems prediction markets would not be able to assign probability to existential risk, since you can’t collect on bets after everyone’s dead (I’ll call this the existential risk problem). I provide three formulations of (1) and solve two of them, and make some comments on (2). (Thanks to Scott for pointing out the second of these problems to me; I don’t remember who originally told me about the first problem, but also thanks.)
 
            
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