An email from David Wood, organiser of the Humanity+ UK 2010 conference in London on Saturday 2010-04-24:

One of the rooms in Conway Hall on Sat 24th April will be set aside for posters and general socialising.

The posters are opportunities for people to publicise various activities or ideas. We've received half a dozen applications for posters so far, and we have room for one or two more.

We expect that many of the attendees will mingle in this room at lunchtime, during the afternoon break, and (for early birds) before the formal start of activities in the main hall at 9.45am.

Would one of you be interested in creating and displaying a poster about Less Wrong / Overcoming Bias?

Many of the attendees to the H+UK event will have little prior knowledge about Less Wrong, so it's a good chance to reach out to potential new supporters.

Posters can be a number of sheets of paper, stuck onto the wall with bluetack or sellotape. Maximise size in total allowed per poster is A0. Several of the posters will be A1, made up of 4 A3 sheets.

If you are interested in this, please let me know, since we have to control overall numbers of posters.

To be clear, there's no charge for this - consider it as an opportunity for free advertising :-) You're also welcome to bring small pieces of printed literature for interested people to take away.

I plan to make such a poster, and I'd like the advice of people here. Trying to represent what Less Wrong is about in the space of a poster could be challenging. I have maximum space equivalent to sixteen A4 pieces of paper. In the spirit of not proposing a solution until you've had a chance to think about the problem, I'll put my current plans into a comment.

Update: looks like it will be Roko rather than me making the poster, but the same applies, your ideas could doubtless be very useful!


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I'd like to see a poster of a person thinking with the top five heuristics/biases floating around them. I'd buy that poster and keep it right behind my computer on the wall as a reminder.

What are the top five heuristics/biases?

well, the wikipedia article ( on heuristics claims five 'well known' heuristics, which they list as 'Anchoring and adjustment, Availability heuristic, Representativeness heuristic, Naïve diversification, Escalation of commitment.'

Good point, though. Maybe a series of posters would be better for this topic.

I have given David an abstract, which goes as follows:

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has, in conjunction with Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute, pioneered the application of debiasing to predicting the future and making policy suggestions for technology related issues.

The mental skills and traits that everyday folk live their lives with are very different from the skills required to accurately predict the future of technology and human civilization; most importantly prediction of complex future scenarios requires debiasing -- realizing that our brains have in-built weaknesses that prevent us from forming accurate beliefs about the world. 30 years' worth of work on human cognitive biases has been examined and explained on the Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong blogs. Academics from SIAI and FHI have done a significant amount of original work applying our knowledge of human cognitive biases to the issues that futurists and visionaries have traditionally thought about. In particular, Eliezer Yudkowsky and Marcello Herreshoff, Singularity Institute researchers, have outlined the risks that smarter-than-human AI systems pose, and have proposed a research paradigm to counter the risks. SIAI researchers Anna Salamon and Steve Rayhawk have developed computer models, including The Uncertain Future (web application,, to combine various opinions and beliefs that we have about the future. Often simply taking existing beliefs and showing that they are probabilistically inconsistent can generate insight; inability to check one's beliefs for global consistency is a fearsome human cognitive bias as far as predicting the future goes.

I think it's Herreshoff.

Thanks, I like this a lot.

I have a feeling that no matter what the current state of the poster design is, it needs more pictures. More than 50% of the poster should be made up of objects that are not blocks of text.

I don't agree. Text as the primary content can be very visual with good graphic design. It's hard to find pictures that are informative and not merely illustrative. Non-informative pictures just distract and feel condescending.

Maybe non-informative pictures just distract you, and feel condescending to you, but everything I've ever read besides your post indicates pictures are the way to go to attract and keep attention in general.

Could be your reaction is indicative of the target audience's? I doubt it though.

[-][anonymous]12y 1

If we went with a more text-based design... I was thinking maybe incorporating the tag cloud into the design somehow might be cool? Some alterations could be made for visual appeal.

Just throwing out ideas.

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This sounds very desirable, but what pictures can we use? Links would be very much appreciated - thanks!

A start would be the map/territory banner at the top of Less Wrong itself, but you may already be using this.

Oh, so that's what that logo is about.

Somehow, I've only just heard about the H+ summit at Harvard. Does anyone know if there's a similar arrangement there?

I'm imagining one central A3 poster with some information from the "About" page in larger type and perhaps prettied up some if I get time, and printouts of interesting articles in A4 surrounding it, including perhaps "Twelve Virtues of Rationality".

If it's a ton of fine print, the number of people who'll have a chance to read all of it is very small.

just throwing out ideas here - how about structuring it as "mind map" type hierarchical digests?

Building such a map by next Saturday could be tricky!

It's the 24th, not the 17th.

"next Saturday" seems to be ambiguous - I'm used to using "this Saturday" to refer to what would today (14th) be the 17th and "next Saturday" for the subsequent one on the 24th, but it looks like not everyone shares that usage. I could spend some time on it this weekend but I don't want to commit to it because it's hard to estimate how long it will take or how much time I'll have.

Yes, I've found both usages of "next" to have some currency.

I think the least ambiguous is "this Saturday" and "Saturday a week".

Pictures are better than words. I recall that Liron gave a presentation on cognitive biases about a year ago and posted about it -- maybe there are some useful images in the presentation.

Any particular favourite pictures from in there?

Maybe slide 8, with the map and the brain?

I can get A2 for the central poster fairly easily. Printouts of articles is a good idea.