If you had an interesting Less Wrong meetup recently, but don't have the time to write up a big report to post to Discussion, feel free to write a comment here.  Even if it's just a couple lines about what you did and how people felt about it, it might encourage some people to attend meetups or start meetups in their area.

If you have the time, you can also describe what types of exercises you did, what worked and what didn't.  This could help inspire meetups to try new things and improve themselves in various ways.

If you're inspired by what's posted below and want to organize a meetup, check out this page for some resources to get started!  You can also check FrankAdamek's weekly post on meetups for the week.

Previous Meetup Report Thread: February 2014


Guidelines:  Please post the meetup reports as top-level comments, and debate the specific meetup below its comment.  Anything else goes under the "Meta" top-level comment.  The title of this thread should be interpreted as "up to and including September 2014", which means feel free to post reports of meetups that happened in August, July, June, etc.

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Review about the Rationality Meetup in Vienna on 23.08.2014

People who were there: Marko Thiel, Monika, Andreas, Matthias Brandner, Viliam Búr, Ivan, Manuel Moertelmaier, Pascal, Anna Leptikon, Marianna, Adelheid Gfrast, Jana and Austin Franzoni

We did the "open microphone" idea again and had our first meetup at Andreas' and Moni's place - thank you again for organizing it and all the food and drinks :)

Our (official) topics on Saturday were:

  • "money creation" by Andreas

  • "time" by Lea

  • "remembering and experiencing self" (Kahnemann) by Andreas

  • "money and happiness" by Matthias

We still have this open mic topics open:

absolute morality, antitheism, Esperanto, motivation hacker

We defined this topics for a full meetup in the future:

  • "Superintelligence" (Marko Thiel)

  • maybe Motivation Hacker? (Moni & me)

  • introduction and current research about happiness (me)

I collected this feedback ideas (from me and other people) during and after the meetup:

  • defining "homework" for the next meetup to have a better base for upcoming topics (like reading specific articles)

  • trying more settings in one meetup so it "feels like doing more" (for example going for a walk, changing sitting positions et cetera - we had the idea because of "remembering vs experiencing self")

  • before starting a specific discussion about a topic first thinking about which level of thinking is the best/most important one

  • after each topic or 30 "open mic" minutes -> thinking what this new information means for myself/how I can use it

Review about the Rationality Meetup in Vienna on 19.07.2014:

People who were there: Marko Thiel, Heinrich, Erik Unger, Monika, Andreas, Matthias Brandner, Peter Mühlbacher, Viliam Búr, Axel, Ivan , Manuel Moertelmaier, Anna Leptikon, Andreas Villarreal, Tom Madl, Marianna, Lio Kaufman

We tried the "open microphone" idea by Manuel the first time (which means: we collect topics people have to offer in the beginning, vote which ones we want to hear and every speaker gets 30 minutes - discussion included - for his topic) Donclusion: more information density and variety - so it's a great idea and we should do it more often, but there also is a need for meet ups with just one topic (it's more relaxed and some topics just can't be discussed and explained in 30 minutes)

Our (official) topics on Saturday were:

We didn't have time (officially) for the topics: absolute morality, antitheism, debating, Esperanto and money creation (but I think it was discussed later anyways, some will follow the next meetups)

I already posted my notes in LessWrong Hamburg Meetup Notes - Diet, but I'd like to relay an anecdote that just happend: My two oldest sons (8, 10) participated in our meetup. Actually they were told that it would be boring grow-up talk and didn't need to participate. But they sat in the circle, listened and occassionally commented or asked something. I though they just socialized. But I was wrong. They did listen. This evening one of them came out of his room with his alarm clock and told me:

  • He: "It has a blue light and that's bad for sleeping."

  • Me: "Why?"

  • He: "Because red light is good for getting tired and blue light makes one awake"

  • Me: "How do you know?"

  • He: "I learned it on Friday at the LessWrong get-together"

Obviously he did listen and reflect what we talked about.

Lesson: Don't underestimate your children and better let them participate in any rational discussion. The can just profit from it.


Anything not related to a specific meetup goes here.

Maybe we could have a rule to up-vote meetup notes to encourage more postings. After all the meetups are the flesh or practical rationality. Whatever topis work or don't work as part of a meetup is important, or isn't it?

Review about the Rationality Meetup in Vienna on 27.09.2014

Superintelligence Summary by Marko Thiel

People who were there: Andreas, Matthias Brandner, Manuel K., Monika, Marko, Viliam Bur, Alex, Philip, Anna, Philipp, Tino/Sandy, Austin, Milica, Luka, Ivan, Axel, Lea, Lio, Andreas V., Manuel M. (20 people - awesome! And so many were new!)

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (presented by Marko Thiel)

First announcement: ethics will not be discussed and rather be ignored today, because otherwise he would never finish

Quote "Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,” and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control."


(I sadly didn't take notes here)


  • AI -> strong AI

  • whole brain emulation

  • biological cognition (improve humans, chemical substances/nootropics, embryo selection -> lots of generations in vitro)

  • interface with machine

  • networks and organizations


  • speed Superintellicence (like human but faster)

  • collective Superintelligence (together smarter)

  • quality Superintelligence (totally different to human)

intelligence explosion:

  • there will be a crossover after which the machine itself will go on improving the system

  • graph to show how similar an idiot and Einstein are compared to a mouse or Superintelligence

rate of intelligence change

AI takeover:

  1. precritial

  2. intelligence amplification

  3. cover + preparation

  4. overt implementation

-> arises the question of where the motivation to do so comes from!

the super intelligence will:

  • the orthogonality thesis: any intelligence can build a pair with any motivation (Eliezer would probably call it "anti prediction)


  • oracles

  • genies

  • sovereign

  • tool


  • design

  • convergent instrumental goals (for example: self-preservation, goal-content integrity, cognitive enhancement, technology, resource acquisition -> infrastructure profusion)

other topics: failure modes, control problem, acquire values, choosing who to choose, do what I mean, the strategic picture

Comments I wrote down

by Andreas: "Does SI include self-awareness?" answer: "No"

by Ivan: Has someone tried to breed an human intelligent dog?

by Lio: Is it possible to have something that's good in all the things? -> Viliam: Yes, with a network structure

by Austin: Is there a difference between biological or programmed happiness? -> Manuel: the utility function of a thermostat is to be at 20 degrees, it doesn't WANT to be there

in the evening:

  • We talked about daily things members of the group do which they consider rational/daily effective rituals/personal sleeping duration

for the next meetup:

  • We will vote on the date in the Facebook group

  • we will have three topics and the third one will be to collect personal goals we want to achieve with/in the group/ideas we have for the group