Simplifying Avalon

Avalon has many complexities that become irrelevant given good enough play. If we remove those complexities the game can be played much more quickly (personally I also find the simpler version more aesthetically appealing): Only play the three largest (non-*) quests. (Skip the easier two quests.) The good players win immediately if a quest succeeds. … More Simplifying Avalon


There are many tricky questions in decision theory. In this post, I’ll argue that the choice between CDT and EDT isn’t one of them. Causal decision theory (CDT) evaluates expected utilities under causal interventions, while evidential decision theory (EDT) evaluates conditional expected utilities. Humans tend to have strong intuitions in favor of CDT, but I’ll … More EDT vs CDT

Policy potpourri

Here are ~32 ways in which I think US policy could be better. Many of these are unrealistic changes. In some cases I think there is a corresponding marginal change that we should advocate for, but in some cases it’s just wishful thinking. You should read this post in the same spirit that you’d read … More Policy potpourri

Epistemic incentives and sluggish updating

Summary: We can get better estimates of epistemic virtue by considering changes in people’s beliefs, rather than only comparing their predictions to reality. But if we use this information, people who want to appear virtuous are motivated to lie about their beliefs, resulting in “sluggish” updating in a predictable direction (or a failure to update … More Epistemic incentives and sluggish updating

Eight unusual science fiction plots

Post-apocalyptic 1. Hundreds of millions of years after civilization destroys itself and all complex life on Earth, human-level intelligence emerges again and sophisticated civilizations begin to form. Told as alternate history in which humans actually evolved in the shadow of a much more ancient alien civilization. The protagonist is an archaeologist and intellectual living in the … More Eight unusual science fiction plots