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December 2019

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53Buck2mo[I'm not sure how good this is, it was interesting to me to think about, idk if it's useful, I wrote it quickly.] Over the last year, I internalized Bayes' Theorem much more than I previously had; this led me to noticing that when I applied it in my life it tended to have counterintuitive results; after thinking about it for a while, I concluded that my intuitions were right and I was using Bayes wrong. (I'm going to call Bayes' Theorem "Bayes" from now on.) Before I can tell you about that, I need to make sure you're thinking about Bayes in terms of ratios rather than fractions. Bayes is enormously easier to understand and use when described in terms of ratios. For example: Suppose that 1% of women have a particular type of breast cancer, and a mammogram is 20 times more likely to return a positive result if you do have breast cancer, and you want to know the probability that you have breast cancer if you got that positive result. The prior probability ratio is 1:99, and the likelihood ratio is 20:1, so the posterior probability is 1∗20:99∗1 = 20:99, so you have probability of 20/(20+99) of having breast cancer. I think that this is absurdly easier than using the fraction formulation. I think that teaching the fraction formulation is the single biggest didactic mistake that I am aware of in any field. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anyway, a year or so ago I got into the habit of calculating things using Bayes whenever they came up in my life, and I quickly noticed that Bayes seemed surprisingly aggressive to me. For example, the first time I went to the Hot Tubs of Berkeley, a hot tub rental place near my house, I saw a friend of mine there. I wondered how regularly he went there. Consider the hypotheses of "he goes here three times a week" and "he goes here once a month". The likelihood ratio is about 12x in favor of the former hypothesis. So if I previously was ten to one against the three-times-a-week hyp
42BrienneYudkowsky1moSome advice to my past self about autism: Learn about what life is like for people with a level 2 or 3 autism diagnosis. Use that reference class to predict the nature of your problems and the strategies that are likely to help. Only after making those predictions, adjust for your own capabilities and circumstances. Try this regardless of how you feel about calling yourself autistic or seeking a diagnosis. Just see what happens. Many stereotypically autistic behaviors are less like symptoms of an illness, and more like excellent strategies for getting shit done and having a good life. It’s just hard to get them all working together. Try leaning into those behaviors and see what’s good about them. For example, you know how when you accidentally do something three times in a row, you then feel compelled to keep doing it the same way at the same time forever? Studying this phenomenon in yourself will lead you to build solid and carefully designed routines that allow you to be a lot more reliably vibrant. You know how some autistic people have one-on-one aides, caretakers, and therapists who assist in their development and day-to-day wellbeing? Read a bit about what those aides do. You’ll notice right away that the state of the art in this area is crap, but try to imagine what professional autism aides might do if they really had things figured out and were spectacular at their jobs. Then devote as many resources as you can spare for a whole year to figuring out how to perform those services for yourself. It seems to me that most of what’s written about autism by neurotypicals severely overemphasizes social stuff. You’ll find almost none of it compelling. Try to understand what’s really going on with autism, and your understanding will immediately start paying off in non-social quality of life improvements. Keep at it, and it’ll eventually start paying off in deep and practical social insights as well (which I know you don’t care about right now, but it’s true). I
40BrienneYudkowsky1moSuppose you wanted to improve your social relationships on the community level. (I think of this as “my ability to take refuge in the sangha”.) What questions might you answer now, and then again in one year, to track your progress? Here’s what’s come to mind for me so far. I’m probably missing a lot and would really like your help mapping things out. I think it’s a part of the territory I can only just barely perceive at my current level of development. * If something tragic happened to you, such as a car crash that partially paralyzed you or the death of a loved one, how many people can you name whom you'd find it easy and natural to ask for help with figuring out your life afterward? * For how many people is it the case that if they were hospitalized for at least a week you would visit them in the hospital? * Over the past month, how lonely have you felt? * In the past two weeks, how often have you collaborated with someone outside of work? * To what degree do you feel like your friends have your back? * Describe the roll of community in your life. * How do you feel as you try to describe the roll of community in your life? * When's the last time you got angry with someone and confronted them one on one as a result? * When's the last time you apologized to someone? * How strong is your sense that you're building something of personal value with the people around you? * When's the last time you spent more than ten minutes on something that felt motivated by gratitude? * When a big change happens in your life, such as loosing your job or having a baby, how motivated do you feel to share the experience with others? * When you feel motivated to share an experience with others, how satisfied do you tend to be with your attempts to do that? * Do you know the love languages of your five closest friends? To what extent does that influence how you behave toward them? * Does it seem to you that your friends know your love
39Kaj_Sotala20dOccasionally I find myself nostalgic for the old, optimistic transhumanism of which e.g. this 2006 article [https://web.archive.org/web/20081008121438/http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/michael/blog/2006/09/overpopulation-no-problem/] is a good example. After some people argued that radical life extension would increase our population too much, the author countered that oh, that's not an issue, here are some calculations showing that our planet could support a population of 100 billion with ease! In those days, the ethos seemed to be something like... first, let's apply a straightforward engineering approach to eliminating aging [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategies_for_Engineered_Negligible_Senescence], so that nobody who's alive needs to worry about dying from old age. Then let's get nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing to eliminate scarcity and environmental problems. Then let's re-engineer the biosphere and human psychology for maximum well-being, such as by using genetic engineering to eliminate suffering [https://www.abolitionist.com/] and/or making it a violation of the laws of physics to try to harm or coerce someone [http://www.mitchellhowe.com/sysopfaq.htm]. So something like "let's fix the most urgent pressing problems and stabilize the world, then let's turn into a utopia". X-risk was on the radar, but the prevailing mindset seemed to be something like "oh, x-risk? yeah, we need to get to that too". That whole mindset used to feel really nice. Alas, these days it feels like it was mostly wishful thinking. I haven't really seen that spirit in a long time; the thing that passes for optimism these days is "Moloch hasn't entirely won (yet [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ham9i5wf4JCexXnkN/moloch-hasn-t-won])". If "overpopulation? no problem!" felt like a prototypical article to pick from the Old Optimistic Era, then Today's Era feels more described by Inadequate Equilibria [https://equilibriabook.com/] and a post saying "if you can afford it, c
34BrienneYudkowsky19dI wrote up my shame processing method. I think it comes from some combination of Max (inspired by NVC maybe?), Anna (mostly indirectly), and a lot of trial and error. I've been using it for a couple of years (in various forms), but I don't have much PCK on it yet. If you'd like to try it out, I'd love for you to report back on how it went! Please also ask me questions. What's up with shame? According to me, shame is for keeping your actions in line with what you care about. It happens when you feel motivated to do something that you believe might damage what is valuable (whether or not you actually do the thing). Shame indicates a particular kind of internal conflict. There's something in favor of the motivation, and something else against it. Both parts are fighting for things that matter to you. What is this shame processing method supposed to do? This shame processing method is supposed to aid in the goal of shame itself: staying in contact with what you care about as you act. It's also supposed to develop a clearer awareness of what is at stake in the conflict so you can use your full intelligence to solve the problem. What is the method? The method is basically a series of statements with blanks to fill in. The statements guide you a little at a time toward a more direct way of seeing your conflict. Here's a template; it's meant to be filled out in order. I notice that I feel ashamed. I think I first started feeling it while ___. I care about ___(X). I'm not allowed to want ___ (Y). I worry that if I want Y, ___. What's good about Y is ___(Z). I care about Z, and I also care about X. Example (a real one, from this morning): I notice that I feel ashamed. I think I first started feeling it while reading the first paragraph of a Lesswrong post. I care about being creative. I'm not allowed to want to move at a comfortable pace. I worry that if I move at a comfortable pace, my thoughts will slow down more and more over time and I'll become a vegetable.
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