If it’s worth saying, but not worth its own post, here's a place to put it. (You can also make a shortform post)
And, if you are new to LessWrong, here's the place to introduce yourself. Personal stories, anecdotes, or just general comments on how you found us and what you hope to get from the site and community are welcome.
If you want to explore the community more, I recommend reading the Library, checking recent Curated posts, seeing if there are any meetups in your area, and checking out the Getting Started section of the LessWrong FAQ.
The Open Thread sequence is here.
How much rioting is actually going on in the US right now?
If you trust leftist (i.e. most US) media, the answer is "almost none, virtually all protesting has been peaceful, nothing to see here, in fact how dare you even ask the question, that sounds suspiciously like something a racist would ask".
If you take a look on the conservative side of the veil, the answer is "RIOTERS EVERYWHERE! MINNEAPOLIS IS IN FLAMES! MANHATTEN IS LOST! TAKE YOUR KIDS AND RUN!"
So...how much rioting has there actually been? How much damage (very roughly)? How many deaths? Are there estimates of the number of rioters vs peaceful protesters?
(I haven't put much effort into actually trying to answer these questions, so no-one should feel much obligation to make the effort for me, but if someone already knows some of these answers, that would be cool.)
Hi, I joined because I was trying to understand Pascal’s Wager, and someone suggested I look up “Pascal’s mugging”... next thing I know I’m a newly minted HPMOR superfan, and halfway through reading every post Yudkowsky has ever written. This place is an incredible wellspring of knowledge, and I look forward to joining in the discussion!
LessWrong warned me two months before it occurred here. The suggested preparedness was clear and concise, and I felt the power on my hands. I had valuable info no one on my tribe had. I alarmed my mom and she listened me, stayed home and safe, when everyone was partying out (carnival). I long-talked with friends, and explained to them what I believed it was happening and why I believed that. I showed the numbers, the math, the predictions to the next week, next week came, and reality presented its metallic taste. Week after week, the light was getting brighter and brigher until it turned really hard to refuse to see it, or to believe on the belief that everything was just fine.
One thing I learned is that it doesn't matter if you just know something really valuable, but can't convince those that do matter for you. I tried to explain my 50 years experienced physician father that he should listen to me. He blamed my low status. But even after weeks, police at the streets forcing citizens to stay at home, he could not believe. He was in denial and my incompetence to change his mind made him to the hospital, 16 days and he isn't still back. Don't worry, he is getting... (read more)
I'm glad you're trying, and am sorry to hear it is so hard; that sounds really hard. You might try the book "How to have Impossible Conversations." I don't endorse every bit of it, but there's some good stuff in there IMO, or at least I got mileage from it.
Please share ideas/articles/resources for immunizing ones' kids against mind viruses.
I think I was lucky myself in that I was partially indoctrinated in Communist China, then moved to the US before middle school, which made it hard for me to strongly believe any particular religion or ideology. Plus the US schools I went to didn't seem to emphasize ideological indoctrination as much as schools currently do. Plus there was no social media pushing students to express the same beliefs as their classmates.
What can I do to help prepare my kids? (If you have specific ideas or advice, please mention what age or grade they are appropriate for.)
Do you think that having your kids consume rationalist and effective altruist content and/or doing homeschooling/unschooling are insufficient for protecting your kids against mind viruses? If so, I want to understand why you think so (maybe you're imagining some sort of AI-powered memetic warfare?).
Eliezer has a Facebook post where he talks about how being socialized by old science fiction was helpful for him.
For myself, I think the biggest factors that helped me become/stay sane were spending a lot of time on the internet (which led to me discovering LessWrong, effective altruism, Cognito Mentoring) and not talking to other kids (I didn't have any friends from US public school during grades 4 to 11).
Homeschooling takes up too much of my time and I don't think I'm very good at being a teacher (having been forced to try it during the current school closure). Unschooling seems too risky. (Maybe it would produce great results, but my wife would kill me if it doesn't. :) "Consume rationalist and effective altruist content" makes sense but some more specific advice would be helpful, like what material to introduce, when, and how to encourage their interest if they're not immediately interested. Have any parents done this and can share their experience?
Yeah that might have been a contributing factor for myself as well, but my kids seem a lot more social than me.
I don't have kids (yet) and I'm planning to delay any potential detailed research until I do have kids, so I don't have specific advice. You could talk to James Miller and his son. Bryan Caplan seems to also be doing well in terms of keeping his sons' views similar to his own; he does homeschool, but maybe you could learn something from looking at what he does anyway. There are a few other rationalist parents, but I haven't seen any detailed info on what they do in terms of introducing rationality/EA stuff. Duncan Sabien has also thought a lot about teaching children, including designing a rationality camp for kids.
I can also give my own data point: Before discovering LessWrong (age 13-15?), I consumed a bunch of traditional rationality content like Feynman, popular science, online philosophy lectures, and lower quality online discourse like the xkcd forums. I discovered LessWrong when I was 14-16 (... (read more)
People I followed on Twitter for their credible takes on COVID-19 now sound insane. Sigh...
I feel like I should do something to prep (e.g., hedge risk to me and my family) in advance of AI risk being politicized, but I'm not sure what. Obvious idea is to stop writing under my real name, but cost/benefit doesn't seem worth it.
Re hedging, a common technique is having multiple fairly different citizenships and foreign-held assets, i.e. such that if your country become dangerously oppressive you or your assets wouldn't be handed back to it. E.g. many Chinese elites pick up a Western citizenship for them or their children, and wealthy people fearing change in the US sometimes pick up New Zealand or Singapore homes and citizenship.
There are many countries with schemes to sell citizenship, although often you need to live in them for some years after you make your investment. Then emigrate if things are starting to look too scary before emigration is restricted.
My sense, however, is that the current risk of needing this is very low in the US, and the most likely reason for someone with the means to buy citizenship to leave would just be increases in wealth/investment taxes through the ordinary political process, with extremely low chance of a surprise cultural revolution (with large swathes of the population imprisoned, expropriated or killed for claimed ideological offenses) or ban on emigration. If you take enough precautions to deal with changes in tax law I think you'll be taking more than you need to deal with the much less likely cultural revolution story.
Are you saying that you initially followed people for their good thoughts on COVID-19, but (a) now they switched to talking about other topics (George Floyd protests?), and their thoughts are much worse on these other topics, (b) their thoughts on COVID-19 became worse over time, (c) they made some COVID-19-related predictions/statements that now look obviously wrong, so that what they previously said sounds obviously wrong, or (d) something else?
You'll have to infer it from the fact that I didn't explain more and am not giving a straight answer now. Maybe I'm being overly cautious, but my parents and other relatives lived through (and suffered in) the Cultural Revolution and other "political movements", and wouldn't it be silly if I failed to "expect the Spanish Inquisition" despite that?
It's helpful (to me, in understanding the types of concerns you're having) to have mentioned the Cultural Revolution. For this, posting under a pseudonym probably doesn't help - the groups who focus on control rather than thriving have very good data collection and processing capability, and that's going to leak to anyone who gets sufficient power with them. True anonymity is gone forever, except by actually being unimportant to the new authorities/mobs.
I wasn't there, but I had neighbors growing up who'd narrowly escaped and who had friends/relatives killed. Also, a number of friends who relayed family stories from the Nazi Holocaust. The lesson I take is that it takes off quickly, but not quite overnight. There were multi-month windows in both cases where things were locked down, but still porous for those lucky enough to have planned for it, or with assets not yet confiscated, or willing to make sacrifices and take large risks to get out. I suspect those who want to control us have _ALSO_ learned this lesson, and the next time will have a smaller window - perhaps as little as a week. Or perhaps I'm underestimating the slope and it's... (read more)
What would be a good exit plan? If you've thought about this, can you share your plan and/or discuss (privately) my specific situation?
How? I've tried to do this a bit, but it takes a huge amount of time, effort, and personal risk, and whatever gains I manage to eek out seem to be highly ephemeral at best. It doesn't seem like a very good use of my time when I can spend it on something like AI safety instead. Have you been doing this yourself, and if so what has been your experience?
Scott's new post on Problems With Paywalls reminds me to mention the one weird trick I use to get around paywalls. Many places like NYT will make the paywall appear a few seconds after landing on the page, so I reliably hit cmd-a and cmd-c and then paste the whole post into a text editor, and read it there instead of on the site. This works for the majority of paywalled articles I encounter personally.
Or you can use Bypass Paywalls with Firefox or Chrome.
If you use Firefox, there is an extension called Temporary Containers. This allows you to load a site in a temporary container tab, which is effectively like opening the site in a fresh install of a browser or on a new device. For sites with rate limited pay walls like the NYT, this effectively defeats the paywall as it never appears to them that you have gone over their rate limit.
The extension can be configured so that every instance of a particular url is automatically opened in its own temporary container, which defeats these paywalls at very little cost to convenience.
Personal update: Over the last few months, I've become much less worried that I have a tendency to be too pessimistic (because I frequently seem to be the most pessimistic person in a discussion). Things I was worried about more than others (coronavirus pandemic, epistemic conditions getting significantly worse) have come true, and when I was wrong in a pessimistic direction, I updated quickly after coming across a good argument (so I think I was wrong just because I didn't think of that argument, rather than due to a tendency to be pessimistic).
Feedback welcome, in case I've updated too much about this.
Hi guys,been a long time lurker here.Wanted to ask this,have you guys ever done rereads for the Sequences so that new guys can engage with he content better and discuss..Just a thought
Hello; just joined; working through the Library. I appreciate the combination of high standards and welcoming tone. I'm a homeschooling (pre-Covid-19) parent in the US South, so among other things I'm looking forward to finding thoughts here on education for children.
I found Slate Star Codex before LessWrong and hope this doxxing/outing situation works out safely.
I noticed that all posts for the last day and a half are still personal blogposts, even though many are more "Frontpage" kind of stuff. Is there a bug in the site, is it a new policy for what makes it to frontpage, or is it just that the moderation team didn't have time to go through the post?
Hi! I've been reading LessWrong and Slate Star Codex for years, but until the today's events commented pretty much exclusively on SSC. Hope everything will resolve to the better, although personally I'm rather pessimistic.
In any case, I've been wondering for a while is there any online places for casual discussions a-la SSC Open Threads, but more closely related to Less Wrong and the Bay Area rationalist community? Threads like this are one such place obviously, but they seem rare and unpopulated. I've tried to fins facebook groups, but with very limited success. Any recommendations?
I'm sure this phenomenon has a name by now, but I'm struggling to find it. What is it called when requirements are applied to an excess of applicants solely for the purpose of whittling them down to a manageable number, but doing so either filters no better than chance or actively eliminates the ideal candidate?
For example, a job may require a college degree, but its best workers would be those without one. Or an apartment complex is rude to applicants knowing there are an excess, scaring off good tenants in favor of those desperate. Or someone finds exceptional luck securing online dating "matches" and begins to fill their profile with requirements that put off worthwhile mates.
Sorry for the outages today (we had two outages, one around 1:00PM PT, one around 3:30PM PT, with intermittent slow requests in the intervening time). As far as I can tell it was caused by a bot that was crawling particularly expensive pages (pages with tons of comments) at a relatively high rate. We've banned the relevant IP range and everything appears back to normal, though I am still watching the logs and server metrics attentively.
Again, sorry for any inconveniences this caused, and please let us know via Intercom if you run into any further problems.
Comment and post text fields default to "LessWrong Docs [beta]" for me, I assume because I have "Opt into experimental features" checked in my user settings. I wonder if the "Activate Markdown Editor" setting should take precedence?—no one who prefers Markdown over the Draft.js WYSIWYG editor is going to switch because our WYSIWYG editor is just that much better, right? (Why are you guys writing an editor, anyway? Like, it looks fun, but I don't understand why you'd do it other than, "It looks fun!")
Since posting this, I've revised my paper, now called "Unbounded utility and axiomatic foundations", and eliminated all the placeholders marking work still to be done. I believe it's now ready to send off to a journal. If anyone wants to read it, and especially if anyone wants to study it and give feedback, just drop me a message. As a taster, here's the introduction.... (read more)
Some good news for the claim public awareness of X risk in general should go up after coronavirus - the economist cover story: https://www.economist.com/node/21788546?frsc=dg|e, https://www.economist.com/node/21788589?frsc=dg|e
I've been searching for a LW post for half an hour. I think it was written within the last few months. It's about how to understand beliefs that stronger people have, without simply deferring to them. It was on the front page while I was reading the comments to this post of mine, which is how I found it. Anyone know which post I'm trying to find?
Is there a name for intuition/fallacy that an advanced AI or alien race must also be morally superior?
Hi, just as a note: https://www.lesswrong.com/allPosts?filter=curated&view=new looks really weird (which you get from googling for curated posts) because the shortform posts are not filtered out.
This is a question about prioritization and to do lists. I find that my affairs can be sorted into:
Due to some of the things in the 2nd category, I have very little time to spend on the latter 2 categories. Therefore, I find that when I have a moment to sit down and ... (read more)
" In 2017, a federal court, the U.S. Southern District Court of New York, sided with Elsevier and ruled Sci-Hub should stop operating and pay $15 million in damages. In a similar lawsuit, the American Chemistry Society won a case against Elbakyan and the right to demand another $4.8 million in damages.
In addition, both courts effectively prohibited any U.S. company from facilitating Sci-Hub’s work. Elbakyan had to migrate the websit... (read more)
This clip (from The Office) reminds me of when people suggest various patches to AI after it violates some safety concern / fails an experiment.
Am I the only one for whom all comments in the Alignment Forum have 0 votes?
Just got a Roam account; is there any good resource on how to use it? I looked into the help page, but most links don't lead anywhere. Thanks.
Mod note: Copied over from one of Zvi's Covid posts to keep the relevant thread on-topic:
I would simply like to point out here 3 things.
1. The definition of homicide from wikipedia "A homicide requires only a volitional act by another person that results in death, and thus a homicide may result from accidental, reckless, or negligent acts even if there is no intent to cause harm" Such a finding in an autopsy report does not imply a crime let alone murder.
2. The autopsy report ordered by his family showed quantities of numerous ... (read more)