Last month I investigated commonalities between recessions of the last 50 years or so. But of course this recession will be different, because (among other things) we will simultaneously have a labor shortage and a lot of people out of work. That’s really weird, and there’s almost no historical precedent- the 1918 pandemic took place during a war, and neither 1957 nor 1968 left enough of an impression to have a single book dedicated to them.
So I expanded out from pandemics, and started looking for recessions that were caused by any kind of exogenous shock. The best one I found was the 1973 Oil... (Read more)
If I wanted to buy things to make my life better, what objects would I buy? What objects do you own that spark joy every time you use them?
I'm looking for statements like "X are the best wireless, noise-canceling headphones" or "Y is the best shirt" with appropriate reasons, if they can be provided.
You can think of buying this object as a weak version of one shot life improvements.
Epistemic Status: Interpreting someone else's work will always be speculative
Valentine has described his experience of a Kenshō (or moment of understanding) from which he took away a lesson that could roughly be summarised by "It's okay". I've read that post and the follow up comments far many times as there were elements of it that I struggled to understand. Kaj Sotala has already written a quite good explication, but I still feel there is more to explore there. If you have time, I strongly recommend reading Valentine's post first, even though you might be ... (Read more)
Epistemic status: just thinking aloud...
Trigger warning: bullying (without details)
I have repeatedly seen the claim that people are egalitarian in nature. It goes roughly like this:
Before invention of agriculture, people didn't have hierarchies. Of course, some people were always stronger or more skilled than others. But when we observe the behavior of hunter-gatherer tribes today, we see that they have strong social norms against bragging. For example, a superior hunter always downplays his success, and attributes it to luck rather than his own skills. (And the rest of the tribe often pl... (Read more)
To build intuition about content vs architecture in AI (which comes up a lot in discussions about AI takeoff that involve Robin Hanson), I've been wondering about content vs architecture size (where size is measured in number of bits).
Here's how I'm operationalizing content and architecture size for ML systems:
Crossposted from AI Impacts.
Epistemic status: I am not a historian, nor have I investigated these case studies in detail. I admit I am still uncertain about how the conquistadors were able to colonize so much of the world so quickly. I think my ignorance is excusable because this is just a blog post; I welcome corrections from people who know more. If it generates sufficient interest I might do a deeper investigation. Even if I’m right, this is just one set of historical case-studies; it doesn’t prove anything about AI, even if it is suggestive. Finally, in describing these conqu... (Read more)
Preferably, follow rules from "Best Textbooks in any Subject." I'm interested in people who have tried 2-3 prediction-recording tools, and can argue why one is better than the others.
I've decided I finally want to get gud at calibration.
I'm personally just interested in tracking my own predictions, often about private things. I'd prefer something very low-friction where I can record my own predictions, mark them as true/false later on using my own judgment, and automatically see a graph of how calibrated I am.
I've made many claims in these posts. All views are my own.
At the LessWrong European Community Weekend 2018, I gave a talk explaining the intuition behind non-adaptive theories of the evolution of ageing. This blog post and its followup are adapted from that presentation.
When people find out that I did my PhD in the biology of ageing, they tend to ask one of two questions. First, they ask what they can do to live longer. Second, they ask why people age in the first place. My answer to the first question is unfortunately fairly boring at present -- don't smoke, eat well, get enough exercise, get enough sleep, et cetera -- but when it comes to the secon... (Read more)
I feel like the heuristics we use to search random tat on the internet are an incredibly larger part of our lives.
I wouldn't make a claim as extended as "googling skills are on the largest determinants of success in life", but I wouldn't look very suspiciously at someone that tried to make it either.
So I'm rather curios what the "search methodology" of people here is.
Let me try to give an example by detailing mine, it's non-ideal since I apply it mainly subconsciously, but that's why I'm looking to improve it, also I'm probably missing som... (Read more)
Frequently, I'll be having an argument with someone. And I'll think "Grr! They are doing Obnoxious Behavior X!" or "Arg, they aren't doing Obviously Good Behavior Y!".
Then I complain at them.
And... sometimes, they make the exact same complaint about me.
And then I think about it, and it turns out to be true.
Another portion of the time, they don't complain back at me, but the argument goes into circles and doesn't resolve, and we both feel frustrated for awhile. And later, independently, I realize "Oh, I was also failing to do Good Thing X, or doing Bad Thing Y."
Often, "Good Th... (Read more)
TL;DR: I used to think the best way to get really good at skill was to specialize by investing lots of time into . I was wrong. Investing lots of time into works only as a first-order approximation. Once becomes large, investing in some other produces greater real-world performance than continued investment in .
I like to think of intelligence as a vector where each is a skill level in a different skill. I think of general intelligence is the Euclidean norm .
I use the Euclidean norm instead of the straight sum because general... (Read more)
I spent a lot of the last two years getting really into categorical logic (as in, using category theory to study logic), because I'm really into logic, and category theory seemed to be able to provide cool alternate foundations of mathematics.
Turns out it doesn't really.
Don't get me wrong, I still think it's interesting and useful, and it did provide me with a very cosmopolitan view of logical systems (more on that later). But category theory is not suitable for foundations or even meant to be foundational. Most category theorists use an extended version of set theory as f... (Read more),,
There has been a lot of discussion of hydroxychloroquine (see the megathread on Effective Altruism Coronavirus Discussion, note you need to answer two questions to gain access). Doctors treating COVID-19 have rated hydroxychloroquine the most effective drug based on their experience. But on the other hand, results have been mixed with a recent RCT showing no effect.
At this stage how strong is the evidence for hydroxychloroquine and if it works, how effective does it appear to be as a treatment?
Disclaimer: Please seek medical advice before taking any substance, particularly those like hydroxych... (Read more)
Spoiler Alert: Contains minor spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has become my quaratine game. A gorgeous tour of ancient Greece is a great antidote to never going outside.
One noteworthy thing in the game is how it deals with plague. You encounter it twice.
On the game’s introductory island of Kefalonia, you can run into a side quest called The Blood Fevor. There is a plague, and priests are attempting to contain it… by killing off the families of the infected.
You can either allow this, or you can forcibly prevent it, in which case you have to kill the priests.
If you ... (Read more)
As I've been posting here on LessWrong for a few months now, I wanted to share two things I've noticed about the karma system. These are ad-hoc observations, not rigorous empirical results, and while they might feel like ways to "cheat" the system, I hope by making them public and known, it serves to make the "market" for karma more efficient instead.
1. [Fairly confident] Posts appear on the front page unevenly throughout the week. As best I can tell there's a lull on Sunday and a spike on Monday/Tuesday. I'm not sure if this is due to unevenness in when... (Read more)
This is a toy language I've been designing, or at least implementing, for about a year.
It's another take on "Haskell with a Lisp syntax". I'm aware of prior art: Hackett, Axel and Liskell. I haven't looked closely at any of them, because doing that seemed like it might make me less likely to keep working on Haskenthetical.
I call it "toy" in the sense of… well, right now it's a toy like an RC plane is a toy. But my vague goal is to make it into a toy like the Wright flyer would have been a toy if it had been built in 2003. I'd like to get it, say, 80% of the way to being a "real" language. I ha... (Read more)
This is a new FAQ written LessWrong 2.0. This is the first version and I apologize if it is a little rough. Please comment or message with further questions, typos, things that are unclear, etc.
The old FAQ on the LessWrong Wiki still contains much excellent information, however it has not been kept up to date.
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The major sections of this FAQ are:(Read more)