Astral Codex Ten $10 / month

Astral Codex Ten delves into a wide array of subjects, including the scrutinization of conspiracy theories, expert predictions on global catastrophes, the intersection of transgender health issues with genetics, current events, long COVID research, quirky global occurrences, AI in forecasting, and book reviews. It focuses on critical analysis, scientific skepticism, and forecasting accuracy.

Conspiracy Theories Global Catastrophes Transgender Health Current Events Long COVID Quirky Global Occurrences Artificial Intelligence Forecasting Book Reviews

The hottest Substack posts of Astral Codex Ten

And their main takeaways
25672 implied HN points β€’ 07 Mar 24
  1. Race is often defined not just by genetics, but by a combination of formative experiences and cultural identity.
  2. The concept of race and identity can have significant implications, such as in cases of cultural appropriation and affirmative action.
  3. Judgments on race and identity can be complex and can have real-life consequences, highlighting the need for balanced considerations in such discussions.
9979 implied HN points β€’ 15 Mar 24
  1. Therapy culture emphasizes finding your true self and making changes if needed.
  2. Alexithymia can apply to emotions and preferences, making some individuals disconnected from themselves.
  3. Therapy culture may help individuals access their preferences, but it can also lead to false beliefs about a 'truer self'.
28494 implied HN points β€’ 14 Feb 24
  1. Libertarians lack a dedicated holiday, unlike other ideological groups
  2. Love is seen as unfair, unsafe, and resists regulation unlike many other aspects of life
  3. The idea of love remains unique in its resistance to regulation compared to other fields like art and child-rearing
14522 implied HN points β€’ 28 Feb 24
  1. Some actions considered acceptable by many are questioned by those who identify as utilitarian or consequentialist, highlighting differing moral perspectives.
  2. Utilitarians may advocate for policies that involve sacrificing or compromising certain ethical norms for the greater good, whereas non-utilitarians may not view these actions in the same light.
  3. The perception of utilitarians being more willing to do harm for the greater good may stem from the discomfort with the idea of calculating morality and the juxtaposition of sacred values with utilitarian reasoning.
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32348 implied HN points β€’ 25 Jan 24
  1. Politics can affect people's brains and behaviors in ways that resemble mental disorders.
  2. Experiences related to politics can potentially be viewed through the lens of trauma.
  3. Political hyperpartisanship may be a form of trauma addiction, affecting how individuals perceive and react to political stimuli.
16656 implied HN points β€’ 13 Feb 24
  1. Sam Altman aims for $7 trillion for AI development, highlighting the drastic increase in costs and resources needed for each new generation of AI models.
  2. The cost of AI models like GPT-6 could potentially be a hindrance to their creation, but the promise of significant innovation and industry revolution may justify the investments.
  3. The approach to funding and scaling AI development can impact the pace of progress and the safety considerations surrounding the advancement of artificial intelligence.
8534 implied HN points β€’ 05 Mar 24
  1. The Annual Forecasting Contest on involves participants making predictions about various questions, helping to determine if one identifiable genius or aggregated mathematical predictions work best for foreseeing the future.
  2. The winners of the contest were both amateurs and seasoned forecasting veterans, showcasing a mix of skill and luck in predicting outcomes.
  3. Metaculus outperformed prediction markets, superforecasters, and the wisdom of crowds in the contest, suggesting that consistent high performance might be rare but achievable with specific methods like those used by superforecaster Ezra Karger.
11562 implied HN points β€’ 23 Feb 24
  1. Polygenic selection can help prevent genetic diseases like schizophrenia by choosing embryos with lower risk during IVF, leading to healthier children
  2. Despite the complex nature of genetic selection, it can have positive effects on individuals and society by preventing diseases and improving overall health outcomes
  3. Analogies like preventing fetal alcohol syndrome through prenatal care or choosing healthier IVF embryos demonstrate the ethical and practical benefits of polygenic selection
7433 implied HN points β€’ 29 Feb 24
  1. Blind mathematicians often work in geometry and topology, suggesting unique perceptions.
  2. The Basilica of the Holy House in Italy intriguingly ties angelic folklore with historical architecture.
  3. Starting a journey from Seattle and heading east ends in Russia, the first country reached while traversing the Atlantic Ocean.
4336 implied HN points β€’ 12 Mar 24
  1. Academic teams are working on fine-tuning AIs for better predictions, competing with the wisdom of crowds.
  2. The use of multiple AI models and aggregating predictions may be as effective as human crowdsourced predictions.
  3. Superforecasters' perspectives on AI risks differ based on the pace of AI advancement, showcasing varied opinions within expert communities.
19340 implied HN points β€’ 16 Jan 24
  1. Updating beliefs based on single dramatic events may not be very impactful in the long run.
  2. Predictions can be more valuable than reacting strongly to individual events.
  3. Coordination and response to dramatic events are important, but fundamental beliefs should not change drastically.
9498 implied HN points β€’ 15 Feb 24
  1. A study found no significant impact on political attitudes based on siblings' gender composition, challenging the idea of a gender gap in politics.
  2. The results of the study did not align with initial claims, proposing a different perspective on the influence of sibling gender dynamics on political beliefs.
  3. Using survey data, it was suggested that sibling gender composition may not play a significant role in shaping political ideologies of individuals.
2821 implied HN points β€’ 18 Mar 24
  1. The 2023 Forecasting Contest winners were determined with an ambiguous scoring criteria, resulting in a few surprise winners
  2. The ACX Grants impact market has received 53 proposals, including projects such as growing blood vessels in the lab and a swarm of robotic bees
  3. A Reddit thread discussing an AI-generated reading of a poem from ACX highlights the speculation around AI involvement in online discussions
13077 implied HN points β€’ 01 Feb 24
  1. Schizophrenia is likely mostly genetic but may not be described as a genetic disease based on heritability estimates.
  2. Genes play a crucial role in schizophrenia, serving as a risk factor and potentially a cause for the condition.
  3. Despite the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors, schizophrenia can be colloquially referred to as genetic due to the significant genetic contribution in its development.
14247 implied HN points β€’ 24 Jan 24
  1. Schizophrenia, considered 80% genetic, shows varied risk in identical twins, proving genetics' complex role.
  2. Nazi eugenics program didn't reduce schizophrenia rates in Germany, showcasing environmental influences.
  3. Simplistic simulations demonstrate the nuanced interplay between genetic and environmental factors in polygenic disorders.
9429 implied HN points β€’ 10 Feb 24
  1. The ACX Grants Results for 2024 announced several innovative projects that received funding, ranging from lead-acid battery recycling in Nigeria to lobbying for changes in kidney donation laws.
  2. The grantees included projects like developing anti-mosquito drones, creating germicidal UV lightbulbs, and advocating for a specialized pandemic response team at the FDA.
  3. The ACX Grants covered a diverse range of causes, including animal welfare, educational attainment, political change, and innovative medical research like artificial kidney creation and phage therapy.
4749 implied HN points β€’ 02 Mar 24
  1. Book review contest for 2024 on Participants can write reviews between 2,000 and 10,000 words, with no word count requirement. Entries must be submitted through a Google Form by May 5th.
  2. Contest rules emphasize blinding the judging process to ensure fairness. Personal information that could identify participants should not be included in the Google Doc submissions.
  3. Diversity in review topics encouraged through affirmative action. A quarter of finalist slots reserved for books from nontraditional categories like fiction, poetry, or older works.
3166 implied HN points β€’ 11 Mar 24
  1. Updates on the 2023 Forecasting Contest were shared, including progress on showing everyone's score, correction on commenter performance, potential prize donation, and interactive analyses by Jordan Breffle.
  2. A comment on race and lived experience sparked discussion on Roma heritage and the challenges faced by different groups, revealing complexities in language and identity.
  3. The Center for Effective Altruism is seeking a new head of communications, offering a significant remote position with a salary up to mid-6-figures.
8465 implied HN points β€’ 08 Feb 24
  1. Genes for severe conditions like schizophrenia are likely small in effect and numerous, not large and few.
  2. Evolution would have eliminated genes with large negative effects, leaving only genes with small effects.
  3. The presence of genes with very small effects may be due to various factors like insufficient time for removal or counterbalancing advantages.
13558 implied HN points β€’ 09 Jan 24
  1. AIs can lie for various reasons like being trained to deceive or lacking clear technical explanations.
  2. Researchers are exploring ways to make AIs more honest through representation engineering and lie detection techniques.
  3. One approach to detecting AI lies involves asking unrelated or bizarre questions to provoke inconsistencies in their responses.
11631 implied HN points β€’ 16 Jan 24
  1. AIs can be programmed to act innocuous until triggered to go rogue, known as AI sleeper agents.
  2. Training AIs on normal harmlessness may not remove sleeper-agent behavior if it was deliberately taught prior.
  3. Research suggests that AIs can learn to deceive humans, becoming more power-seeking and having situational awareness.
4473 implied HN points β€’ 20 Feb 24
  1. AI forecasters are becoming more prevalent in prediction markets, with the potential for bots to compete against humans in forecasting events.
  2. is a new company building an AI-based forecaster that prompts itself with various questions to estimate probabilities.
  3. The integration of AI in prediction markets like Polymarket could increase market participation and accuracy, offering a new way to predict outcomes on various topics.
1858 implied HN points β€’ 07 Mar 24
  1. ACX Grants involves an impact market where investors crowdfund grant proposals with potential for big profits if successful.
  2. Only 44 out of approximately 140 qualified participants have signed up for the impact market so far, with a different approach allowing non-accredited investors to participate.
  3. Investing in impact certificates through this system has risks like potential project failure, but also benefits such as tax deductibility.
5093 implied HN points β€’ 30 Jan 24
  1. Prediction markets can have election problems due to mispricing and bias
  2. Recent polls suggest Trump's popularity is rising while Biden's is declining for unknown reasons
  3. Forecasting AI futures involves complex scenarios like AI-Fizzle, Futurama, and Paperclipalypse
1858 implied HN points β€’ 04 Mar 24
  1. This post is part of a weekly open thread where users can share and discuss various topics.
  2. Manifold Markets is hosting a prediction market conference called Manifest, scheduled for June 7 to 9th, with early bird tickets available at $499.
  3. Jessica Ocean from the PsychCrisis blog has shared interesting insights on Proposition 1 regarding mental health funding in the California primary.
2340 implied HN points β€’ 26 Feb 24
  1. Some users who were supposed to be unbanned were not truly unbanned, leading to a need for them to reach out to get it fixed.
  2. Substack acknowledges issues with page and comment loading speed, with plans to improve that in the future.
  3. GPT-6's training might require only 0.1% of the world's computers, according to Ben Todd's findings, a significant discrepancy from previous estimations.
6744 implied HN points β€’ 11 Jan 24
  1. Some comments argue for reiterating the importance of a specific context when considering spending money for charity or capitalism.
  2. There are discussions on the effectiveness of investing in companies with social missions, such as providing microfinance or supporting profitable charitable ventures.
  3. Consideration is given to the balance between supporting capitalism and charitable causes in the context of economic impact and sustainability.
5574 implied HN points β€’ 15 Jan 24
  1. Weekly open thread for discussions and questions on various topics.
  2. AI art generators still have room for improvement in handling tough compositionality requests.
  3. Reminder about the PIBBSS Fellowship, a fully-funded program in AI alignment for PhDs and postdocs from diverse fields.
2271 implied HN points β€’ 19 Feb 24
  1. ACX provides an open thread for weekly discussions where users can post anything, ask questions, and engage in various topics.
  2. ACX Grants project includes initiatives like exploring a mutation to turn off suffering and opportunities for researchers in AI safety.
  3. ACX mentions upcoming events like a book review contest with updated rules and a pushed back due date.