Bay Area Winter Solstice 2019
Catalyst: a collaborative biosecurity summit
Sorted by Magic (New & Upvoted)
Magic (New & Upvoted)
Show Low Karma
Friday, November 29th 2019
Fri, Nov 29th 2019
Neural Annealing: Toward a Neural Theory of Everything (crosspost)
Michael Edward Johnson
Bangalore SSC/LW meetup #19 - December
2, Church Street, MG ROad, Bengaluru
From my Facebook My life has gotten a lot more insane over the last two years. However, it's also gotten a lot more wonderful, and I want to take time to share how thankful I am for that. Before, life felt like... a thing that you experience, where you score points and accolades and check boxes. It felt kinda fake, but parts of it were nice. I had this nice cozy little box that I lived in, a mental cage circumscribing my entire life. Today, I feel (much more) free. I love how curious I've become, even about "unsophisticated" things. Near dusk, I walked the winter wonderland of Ogden, Utah with my aunt and uncle. I spotted this gorgeous red ornament hanging from a tree, with a hunk of snow stuck to it at north-east orientation. This snow had apparently decided to defy gravity. I just stopped and stared. I was so confused. I'd kinda guessed that the dry snow must induce a huge coefficient of static friction, hence the winter wonderland. But that didn't suffice to explain this. I bounded over and saw the smooth surface was iced, so maybe part of the snow melted in the midday sun, froze as evening advanced, and then the part-ice part-snow chunk stuck much more solidly to the ornament. Maybe that's right, and maybe not. The point is that two years ago, I'd have thought this was just "how the world worked", and it was up to physicists to understand the details. Whatever, right? But now, I'm this starry-eyed kid in a secret shop full of wonderful secrets. Some secrets are already understood by some people, but not by me. A few secrets I am the first to understand. Some secrets remain unknown to all. All of the secrets are enticing. My life isn't always like this; some days are a bit gray and draining. But many days aren't, and I'm so happy about that. Socially, I feel more fascinated by people in general, more eager to hear what's going on in their lives, more curious what it feels like to be them that day. In particular, I've fallen in love with the rationalist and
The most important inversion I know of is cause and effect. Flip them in your model and see if suddenly the world makes more sense.
I've been having fun reading through Signals: Evolution, Learning, & Information [https://www.amazon.com/Signals-Evolution-Information-Brian-Skyrms/dp/0199582947] . Many of the scenarios revolve around variations of the Lewis Signalling Game [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_signaling_game]. It's a nice simple model that lets you talk about communication without having to talk about intentionality (what you "meant" to say). Intention seems to mostly be about self-awareness of the existing signalling equilibrium. When I speak slowly and carefully, I'm constantly checking what I want to say against my understanding of our signalling equilibrium, and reasoning out implications. If I scream when I see a tiger, I'm still signalling, but various facts about the signalling equilibrium are not booted into consciousness. So, claim: Lewis style signalling games are the root of all communication, from humans to dogs to bacteria. The "extra" stuff that humans seem to have which is often called intent as to do with having other/additional reasoning abilities, and being able to load one's signalling equilibrium into that reasoning system to further engage in shenanigans.
Re Mental Mountains [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/JJFphYfMsdFMuprBy/mental-mountains], I think one of the reasons that I get worried when I meet another youngin that is super gung-ho about rationality/"being logical and coherent", is that I don't expect them to have a good Theory of How to Change Your Mind. I worry that they will reason out a bunch of conclusions, succeed in high-level changing their minds, think that they've deeply changed their minds, but instead leave hoards of unresolved emotional memories/models that they learn to ignore [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/qmXqHKpgRfg83Nif9/how-to-ignore-your-emotions-while-also-thinking-you-re] and fuck them up later.