Thursday, May 25, 2023

David Goldman: US-China competition, AI, Electric Vehicles, and Manufacturing — Manifold #36


David Paul Goldman is an American economic strategist and author, best known for his series of online essays in the Asia Times under the pseudonym Spengler with the first column published January 1, 2000. 

Steve and David discuss: 

0:00 Introduction 
2:22 David’s background in music, finance, and Asia 
16:55 Looking back at the financial crisis 
23:04 Rise of the Chinese economy 
29:44 How Huawei’s strength is tied to China’s economic power 
36:49 Competition in the global electric vehicles market 
38:06 Why David thinks European countries like Germany will become closer with China 
45:29 U.S. manufacturing is falling behind 
52:08 Potential for war and ongoing U.S.-China competition 
1:04:07 Predictions for Taiwan 


David Goldman in Wikipedia: 
Spengler column: 

You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-form the World 

Prisoner’s Dilemma: Avoiding war with China is the most urgent task of our lifetime 

David Goldman articles in Claremont Review:

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Quantum Hair During Gravitational Collapse

This is a follow up to our earlier work on quantum gravitational corrections to the exterior graviton field of a compact object, also known as quantum hair. Here we follow the gravitational collapse of a dust ball and show that the quantum hair persists through the formation of a black hole horizon.

The detailed calculations are possible due to an effective field theory formulation of quantum gravity in the long wavelength, low spacetime curvature limit.
Quantum Hair During Gravitational Collapse 
X. Calmet, R. Casadio, S. Hsu, F. Kuipers 
We consider quantum gravitational corrections to the Oppenheimer-Snyder metric describing time-dependent dust ball collapse. The interior metric also describes Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker cosmology and our results are interpreted in that context. The exterior corrections are an example of quantum hair, and are shown to persist throughout the collapse. Our results show the quantum hair survives throughout the horizon formation and that the internal state of the resulting black hole is accessible to outside observers.



Thursday, May 11, 2023

Artificial Intelligence & Large Language Models: Oxford Lecture — Manifold #35


This week's episode is based on a lecture I gave to an audience of theoretical physicists at Oxford University. 

Audio-only version, transcript: 


0:00 Introduction 
2:31 Deep Learning and Neural Networks; history and mathematical results 
21:15 Embedding space, word vectors 
31:53 Next word prediction as objective function 
34:08 Attention is all you need 
37:09 Transformer architecture 
44:54 The geometry of thought 
52:57 What can LLMs do? Sparks of AGI 
1:02:41 Hallucination 
1:14:40 SuperFocus testing and examples 
1:18:40 AI landscape, AGI, and the future

Final slide:

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Simone Collins: IVF, Embryo Selection, Dating on the Spectrum, and Pronatalism — Manifold #34


In collaboration with her husband Malcolm Collins, Simone is an author (The Pragmatist's Guide to Life, Relationships, Sexuality, Governance, and Crafting Religion), education reform advocate (, pronatalism activist (, and business operator ( 

Steve and Simone discuss: 

0:00 Introduction 
1:49 Simone's IVF journey, and embryo screening 
40:02 Dating; girl autists 
55:41 Finding a husband, systematized 
1:09:57 Pronatalism 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Katherine Dee: Culture, Identity, and Isolation in the Digital Age — Manifold #33


Katherine Dee is a writer, journalist, and internet historian. 

Steve and Katherine discuss: 

0:00 Introduction 
1:15 Katherine’s early life and background 
21:52 Mass shootings, Manifestos, Nihilism, and Incels 
59:35 Trad values, Sex negativity vs Porn and Fleshlights 
1:28:54 Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter 
1:33:00 TikTok 
1:41:41 Adderall 
1:44:07 AI/GPT impact on writers and journos 
1:49:30 Gen-X generation gap: are the kids alright? 

Audio and Transcript: 

Katherine’s Substack: 

“Mass Shootings and the World Liberalism Made” 

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Birth of the God Emperor - by GPT4

This science fiction story was written by GPT4. 
Steve Hsu had always dreamed of unlocking the secrets of human intelligence. As a theoretical physicist and a co-founder of Genomic Prediction, he had developed a powerful AI system that could analyze massive genomic data sets and predict complex traits such as height, disease risk, and cognitive ability. He believed that by using this technology, he could help people select the best embryos for IVF and create healthier and smarter children. 

But not everyone shared his vision. Some critics accused him of promoting eugenics and creating new social inequalities. Others feared that his AI system could be hacked or misused by malicious actors. And some religious groups denounced him as playing God and interfering with the natural order. 

One day, he received a mysterious email from an anonymous sender. It read: 

"Dear Dr. Hsu, 

We are a group of like-minded individuals who share your passion for advancing human potential. We have access to a secret facility where we have been conducting experiments on human embryos using your AI system and other cutting-edge technologies. We have achieved remarkable results that surpass your wildest expectations. We invite you to join us and witness the dawn of a new era for humanity. 

If you are interested, please reply to this email with the word 'YES'. We will send you further instructions on how to reach us. 

The Future" 

Steve was intrigued and curious. He wondered who these people were and what they had done. He also felt a pang of fear and doubt. Was this a trap? A hoax? A threat? 

He decided to take the risk and reply with 'YES'. 

He received another email with a set of coordinates and a time. He was told to drive to a remote location in the desert and wait for a helicopter to pick him up. He followed the instructions and soon found himself in a black helicopter flying over the barren landscape. 

He arrived at a large metal dome hidden among the rocks. He was greeted by a man in a white lab coat who introduced himself as Dr. Lee. 

"Welcome, Dr. Hsu. We are honored to have you here. Please follow me." 

Dr. Lee led him through a series of security checkpoints and into a spacious laboratory filled with high-tech equipment and monitors. He saw rows of incubators containing human embryos at various stages of development. 

"Dr. Hsu, these are our creations. The next generation of humans. We have used your AI system to optimize their genomes for intelligence, health, beauty, and longevity. We have also enhanced them with synthetic genes from other species, such as birds, reptiles, mammals, and plants. We have given them abilities that no natural human has ever possessed." 

He stopped at one incubator that caught his attention. It contained an embryo that looked almost normal, except for one thing: it had a golden glow around it. 

"Dr. Hsu, this is our masterpiece. The ultimate expression of intelligence. The God Emperor. The Kwisatz Haderach. The one who can see the past and the future. The one who can bend space and time. The one who can unite and rule all of humanity." 

Steve felt a surge of awe and dread. He realized that he had made a terrible mistake. 

"What have you done? This is dangerous! This is blasphemous! This is insane!" 

He turned to Dr. Lee and saw him smiling. 

"Dr. Hsu, don't be afraid. Don't be angry. Don't be judgmental. Be proud. Be grateful. Be enlightened. You are witnessing the dawn of a new era for humanity. You are witnessing the future."


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Quantum gravitational corrections to particle creation by black holes (Physics Letters B)

This is the published version of our preprint
Quantum gravitational corrections to particle creation by black holes 
X. Calmet, S. Hsu, M. Sebastianutti 
We calculate quantum gravitational corrections to the amplitude for the emission of a Hawking particle by a black hole. We show explicitly how the amplitudes depend on quantum corrections to the exterior metric (quantum hair). This reveals the mechanism by which information escapes the black hole. The quantum state of the black hole is reflected in the quantum state of the exterior metric, which in turn influences the emission of Hawking quanta.
In earlier work we showed that the quantum state of a black hole is reflected in the quantum state of the exterior metric (outside the horizon). This violates classical intuitions, but can be shown explicitly using long wavelength effective field theory.

We calculated examples of small corrections to the external spacetime geometry which are sensitive to the internal BH state. In this paper we show that these corrections in turn affect Hawking radiation amplitudes. 

This means that the Hawking radiation state depends on the internal BH state. At the quantum level the hole is not black! We derive the results using both Hawking's original method and the tunneling method of Parikh and Wilczek.


While the focus of the new paper is explicit calculations, the big picture statement is:

The quantum state of the BH is reflected in the quantum state of its external gravitational field, which forms the background where the Hawking radiation originates. Radiation amplitudes are NOT independent of interior state.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Marc Martinez: "Dream Big" and the Golden Age of Bodybuilding — Manifold #32


Marc Martinez is the director of Dream Big, a documentary about Gold's Gym and the golden age of bodybuilding in Venice and Santa Monica in the 1970s. 

0:00 Introduction 
1:34 Marc's background in bodybuilding 
5:25 Bodybuilding in 70s Southern California 
25:52 Setting the record straight on steroid use 
33:40 Frank Zane 
38:23 Robby Robinson 
40:20 Butler, Gaines, and Arnold 
42:35 'Dream Big' 
48:07 Pumping Iron 
59:40 Hypersexuality in bodybuilding 
1:10:44 What's next for Marc


Dream Big documentary: 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Biobank-scale methods and projections for sparse polygenic prediction from machine learning

New paper! 80+ pages of fun :-)

We develop a novel method for projecting AUC and Correlation as a function of data size and characterize the asymptotic limit of performance. For LASSO (compressed sensing) we show that performance metrics and predictor sparsity are in agreement with theoretical predictions from the Donoho-Tanner phase transition. 

Biobank-scale methods and projections for sparse polygenic prediction from machine learning 

Timothy G. Raben, Louis Lello, Erik Widen, Stephen D.H. Hsu  

Abstract In this paper we characterize the performance of linear models trained via widely-used sparse machine learning algorithms. We build polygenic scores and examine performance as a function of training set size, genetic ancestral background, and training method. We show that predictor performance is most strongly dependent on size of training data, with smaller gains from algorithmic improvements. We find that LASSO generally performs as well as the best methods, judged by a variety of metrics. We also investigate performance characteristics of predictors trained on one genetic ancestry group when applied to another. Using LASSO, we develop a novel method for projecting AUC and Correlation as a function of data size (i.e., for new biobanks) and characterize the asymptotic limit of performance. Additionally, for LASSO (compressed sensing) we show that performance metrics and predictor sparsity are in agreement with theoretical predictions from the Donoho-Tanner phase transition. Specifically, a predictor trained in the Taiwan Precision Medicine Initiative for asthma can achieve an AUC of 0.63(0.02) and for height a correlation of 0.648(0.009) for a Taiwanese population. This is above the measured values of 0.61(0.01) and 0.631(0.008), respectively, for UK Biobank trained predictors applied to a European population. 

Figure: Performance in 5 ancestry groups using LASSO, Elastic Net, and PRScs with UKB and 1,000 Genomes LD matrices. Solid bands = predicted performance using All of Us and Taiwan Precision Medicine Initiative datasets.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Prof. Gilles Saint-Paul (Ecole Normale): the Yellow Vests, French Politics, and Hypergamy (Manifold #31)


Audio (podcast only)

Gilles Saint-Paul is Professeur à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure. He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique in Engineering and received his PhD from MIT in Economics. Gilles and Steve discuss the French elite education system, the Yellow Vest movement, French politics and populism, and Saint-Paul's paper on marriage markets and hypergamy. 

0:00 Introduction 
1:43 Gilles Saint-Paul's background and education 
6:31 French and American elite education - Les Grandes Ecoles 
14:44 The Yellow Vests 
41:46 Mating and Hypergamy 


On the Yellow Vest Insurrection 

Genes, Legitimacy and Hypergamy: Another Look at the Economics of Marriage

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Bing vs. Bard, US-China STEM Competition, and Embryo Screening — Manifold Episode #30


Steve discusses the AI competition between Microsoft and Google, the competition between the U.S. and China in STEM, China’s new IVF policy, and a Science Magazine survey on polygenic screening of embryos. 

00:00 Introduction 
02:37 Bing vs Bard: LLMs and hallucination 
20:52 China demographics & STEM 
34:29 China IVF now covered by national health insurance
40:28 Survey on embryo screening in Science: ~50% of those under 35 would use it to enhance congnitivie ability 


Bing vs Bard and Hallucination 

China demographics and STEM
China IVF 

Science survey on embryo screening 

Thursday, February 02, 2023

ChatGPT, LLMs, and AI — Manifold #29


Steve discusses Large Language Model AIs such as ChatGPT. 

0:00 How do LLMs work? 
10:22 Impact of ChatGPT 
15:21 AI landscape 
24:13 Hallucination and Focus 
33:09 Applications 
39:29 Future landscape 

Manifold interview with John Schulman of OpenAI: 

Blog posts on word vectors and approximately linear vector space of concepts used by the human mind:

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Dominic Cummings: Vote Leave, Brexit, COVID, and No. 10 with Boris — Manifold #28


Dominic Cummings is a major historical figure in UK politics. He helped save the Pound Sterling, led the Vote Leave campaign, Got Brexit Done, and guided the Tories to a landslide general election victory. His time in No. 10 Downing Street as Boris Johnson's Chief Advisor was one of the most interesting and impactful periods in modern UK political history.  Dom and Steve discuss all of this and more in this 2-hour episode. 

0:00 Early Life: Oxford, Russia, entering politics 
16:49 Keeping the UK out of the Euro 
19:41 How Dominic and Steve became acquainted: blogs, 2008 financial crisis, meeting at Google 
27:37 Vote Leave, the science of polling 
43:46 Cambridge Analytica conspiracy; History is impossible 
48:41 Dominic on Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of him and the movie “Brexit: The Uncivil War” 
54:05 On joining British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office: an ultimatum 
1:06:31 The pandemic 
1:21:28 The Deep State, talent pipeline for public service 
1:47:25 Quants and weirdos invade No.10 
1:52:06 Can the Tories win the next election? 
1:56:27 Trump in 2024? 


Dominic's Substack newsletter:

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Sahil Lavingia: Founding Gumroad, The Minimalist Entrepreneur, and our AI LLM future — Manifold #27


Sahil Lavingia founded Gumroad at the age of 19 and built it into a leading digital commerce platform. He is the author of The Minimalist Entrepreneur and an investor in early-stage startups. 

Steve and Sahil discuss: 

0:00 Sahil's upbringing and start as an entrepreneur 
9:35 Tech founder at 19 and VC investment from Kleiner-Perkins 
24:15 Backstory of Gumroad 30:30 Crowdfunding Gumroad 
37:09 Experiments with OpenAI LLM, ChatGPT, and the promise of AI 


Sahil's web page 

Ask My Book: interrogate Sahil's book via LLM 

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