Rationality: From AI to Zombies online reading group

by [anonymous] 4y21st Mar 201515 comments

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Update: When I posted this announcement I remarkably failed to make the connection that the April 15th is tax day here in the US, and as a prime example of the planning fallacy (a topic of the first sequence!), I failed to anticipate just how complicated my taxes would be this year. The first post of the reading group is basically done but a little rushed, and I want to take an extra day to get it right. Expect it to post on the next day, the 16th

 

On Thursday, 16 April 2015, just under a month out from this posting, I will hold the first session of an online reading group for the ebook Rationality: From AI to Zombies, a compilation of the LessWrong sequences by our own Eliezer Yudkowsky. I would like to model this on the very successful Superintelligence reading group led by KatjaGrace. This is an advanced warning, so that you can have a chance to get the ebook, make a donation to MIRI, and read the first sequence.

The point of this online reading group is to join with others to ask questions, discuss ideas, and probe the arguments more deeply. It is intended to add to the experience of reading the sequences in their new format or for the first time. It is intended to supplement discussion that has already occurred the original postings and the sequence reruns.

The reading group will 'meet' on a semi-monthly post on the LessWrong discussion forum. For each 'meeting' we will read one sequence from the the Rationality book, which contains a total of 26 lettered sequences. A few of the sequences are unusually long, and these might be split into two sessions. If so, advance warning will be given.

In each posting I will briefly summarize the salient points of the essays comprising the sequence, link to the original articles and discussion when possible, attempt to find, link to, and quote one or more related materials or opposing viewpoints from outside the text, and present a half-dozen or so question prompts to get the conversation rolling. Discussion will take place in the comments. Others are encouraged to provide their own question prompts or unprompted commentary as well.

We welcome both newcomers and veterans on the topic. If you've never read the sequences, this is a great opportunity to do so. If you are an old timer from the Overcoming Bias days then this is a chance to share your wisdom and perhaps revisit the material with fresh eyes. All levels of time commitment are welcome.

If this sounds like something you want to participate in, then please grab a copy of the book and get started reading the preface, introduction, and the 10 essays / 42 pages which comprise Part A: Predictably Wrong. The first virtual meeting (forum post) covering this material will go live before 6pm Thursday PDT (1am Friday UTC), 16 April 2015. Successive meetings will start no later than 6pm PDT on the first and third Wednesdays of a month.

Following this schedule it is expected that it will take just over a year to complete the entire book. If you prefer flexibility, come by any time! And if you are coming upon this post from the future, please feel free leave your opinions as well. The discussion period never closes.

Topic for the first week is the preface by Eliezer Yudkowsky, the introduction by Rob Bensinger, and Part A: Predictably Wrong, a sequence covering rationality, the search for truth, and a handful of biases.

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