skybrian's recent activity

  1. Comment on Bots on Tildes in ~tildes

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    I think having a bot for each separate instance of this would get annoying, but suppose it were something like a linter used for code? You shouldn’t need to write a bot, just a lint rule, and the...

    I think having a bot for each separate instance of this would get annoying, but suppose it were something like a linter used for code? You shouldn’t need to write a bot, just a lint rule, and the feedback should appear before you publish a new post.

    Having worked on actual linters deployed at pretty large scale, it’s important to beta-test each lint rule and make sure the false positives aren’t too high. (Back in the day, this is apparently what turned Microsoft’s Clippy into a joke.)

  2. Comment on The supply of disinformation will soon be infinite: Disinformation campaigns used to require a lot of human effort to be effective, but now artificial intelligence could take them to a whole new level in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link
    There are ways to mostly-verifiably connect online accounts to real-world identities. This can be done anonymously provided that a trusted entity is willing to vouch for you. Sometimes journalists...

    There are ways to mostly-verifiably connect online accounts to real-world identities. This can be done anonymously provided that a trusted entity is willing to vouch for you. Sometimes journalists do this for their sources.

    I expect that at some point this will have to be done at scale. But who is going to do it?

  3. Comment on Fake authenticity in ~humanities

    skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    It seems like “authenticity” is difficult to define for fields where most fakery is permitted if it works, such as movies. The main goal of a movie is to entertain people and education isn’t...

    It seems like “authenticity” is difficult to define for fields where most fakery is permitted if it works, such as movies. The main goal of a movie is to entertain people and education isn’t really important. Similarly, the main goal of a restaurant is to feed people food they enjoy, and actually learning anything is much less important.

    The desire for authenticity seems to me related to curiosity about other people. You want to know what things are like in other places and in other times. What were they like? What did they wear? What did they cook? But you’re better off reading books about history if that’s what you’re interested in, rather than looking for education in places meant primarily to entertain.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on Here are the browsers iOS 14 now lets you set as default in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    "Force" seems a bit strong. I avoid native apps when possible because websites are usually good enough.

    "Force" seems a bit strong. I avoid native apps when possible because websites are usually good enough.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Digital Socialism by Evgeny Morozov in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Yes, we have a lot more computing power than when the calculation problem was first discussed. However, as we've seen with the big tech companies and social media, having lots of computing power...

    Yes, we have a lot more computing power than when the calculation problem was first discussed. However, as we've seen with the big tech companies and social media, having lots of computing power doesn't necessarily result in good decisions, and opaque algorithms result in distrust.

    I'm doubtful that "calculation" is the right way to frame it. Whenever you make a decision about whether to buy one thing versus another, you are exercising power. So this isn't just a calculation, it's a power game.

    That isn't to say the way people decide things now is all that great, but I think we should be as wary about changes to the "buying algorithm" as we are about changes to the "voting algorithm." Controlling the algorithm is powerful too.

    I don't like most advertising, but in a way, the fact that powerful companies need to advertise to the masses is proof of the power that they (we) collectively have, similarly to the way that political advertising shows that politicians do care what voters think. I would get worried about a system where they don't think they need to advertise anymore because it means we've lost power.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on The possibility of life without money in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Although you’ve touched on it, I would like to see more detail about decision-making with respect to stores. I could see a public network of free soup kitchens mostly working as an alternative...

    Although you’ve touched on it, I would like to see more detail about decision-making with respect to stores. I could see a public network of free soup kitchens mostly working as an alternative food supply, with people who don’t want to stand in line for soup going somewhere else. I don’t see a grocery store working without being perpetually out of the best-quality stuff. The problem is even worse for a large hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes with supplies of lots of different kinds of stuff that people mostly use rarely. It’s not at all clear how you decide who gets the best-quality lumber and for what purpose. Similarly for tools.

    It seems to me that some kind of point system quite similar to money would end up being needed to decide such things.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of September 21 in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
    Link
    In The Vaccine Protocols Derek Lowe describes the design of the three largest US vaccine trials.

    In The Vaccine Protocols Derek Lowe describes the design of the three largest US vaccine trials.

    So how quickly will these trials hit these readouts? That depends completely on the attack rate of the virus in the study population, as mentioned above. The more you are testing in viral hotspots, the faster you will collect data. If you decide to test in New Zealand, on the other hand, you will probably never hit the cutoffs at all. Pfizer has said several times that they expect to get a first readout by the end of October, and Moderna has said that they expect to get a look by the end of November. AstraZeneca, with only one interim analysis, will probably have to wait a bit longer from the start of their trial, although they did start on the early side. I would expect the companies involved to announce a positive result if they do make any of these interim analysis hurdles, though (wouldn’t you?)

  8. Comment on The possibility of life without money in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link
    I shared this because I have often wondered what socialists think about money and the author gives a partial answer. (Though, he passes over a lot of questions about decision-making in the supply...

    I shared this because I have often wondered what socialists think about money and the author gives a partial answer. (Though, he passes over a lot of questions about decision-making in the supply chain.)

    I sometimes miss having lunch at Google, though it wasn’t always great and declined somewhat over time.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on We don’t know our potential in ~humanities

    skybrian
    Link
    To summarize and oversimplify, Robinson thinks deBoer is wrong because we cannot know anything about genetics, education, and the potential of children until we have tried it in a socialist...

    To summarize and oversimplify, Robinson thinks deBoer is wrong because we cannot know anything about genetics, education, and the potential of children until we have tried it in a socialist utopia.

    I’m exaggerating for effect. It’s actually a good point that all heritability studies are relative to their subjects’ environments. (On average, because statistics is about group tendencies.) Scientists can only study how people do in the environments they are in, and many children are growing up in environments that are far from ideal.

    Usually I’m sympathetic to arguments that we don’t know as much as we think we do, and when in doubt we should default to uncertainty. However I think this goes a little far? I think it’s important to know what can be achieved in environments that aren’t too different than what we have, perhaps modified using interventions that can reasonably be tried. In particular, it’s important to learn from the experiences of parents and teachers in teaching children.

    Generally, this is why I’m more interested in incremental improvements than in vague utopian dreams. A problem with utopias is that it’s hard to say much in advance about how they would work (or whether they would work at all), because they are too different from anything we have experience with.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on Here are the browsers iOS 14 now lets you set as default in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Manually updating Chrome fixed it.

    Manually updating Chrome fixed it.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Here are the browsers iOS 14 now lets you set as default in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Following the directions from various places online, I am not seeing how to do this for Chrome on an iPad mini. The “default browser” setting isn’t there. Hmm.

    Following the directions from various places online, I am not seeing how to do this for Chrome on an iPad mini. The “default browser” setting isn’t there. Hmm.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on The Buzz Aldrin Fallacy in ~humanities

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Yeah, but a syllabus isn’t the same as a personal recommendation. I suspect a lot of “great” philosophical works aren’t read all that much? My current favorite philosophical work isn’t finished,...

    Yeah, but a syllabus isn’t the same as a personal recommendation. I suspect a lot of “great” philosophical works aren’t read all that much?

    My current favorite philosophical work isn’t finished, and its author doesn’t think of it as philosophy, though it talks about philosophical issues. In the Cells of the Eggplant by David Chapman.

    It’s been a while, but I remember Sophie’s World being pretty good as a general overview.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on Here are the browsers iOS 14 now lets you set as default in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article:

    From the article:

    Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and DuckDuckGo

    14 votes
  14. Comment on The Buzz Aldrin Fallacy in ~humanities

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Sure, but I still think specific examples work better than general arguments. (In theory. I’m not setting a good example here, am I?)

    Sure, but I still think specific examples work better than general arguments. (In theory. I’m not setting a good example here, am I?)

    2 votes
  15. Comment on The Buzz Aldrin Fallacy in ~humanities

    skybrian
    Link
    It seems pretty clear that some philosophical works are much better than others and even those that are historically important aren’t necessarily all that good? So I think an effective way to...

    It seems pretty clear that some philosophical works are much better than others and even those that are historically important aren’t necessarily all that good? So I think an effective way to promote philosophy would be to recommend specific books or articles that you actually like, rather than defending it in general.

    2 votes