Even if you know that signaling is stupid, it doesn't escape the cost of not signaling.
It's a longstanding trope that Eliezer gets a lot of flack for having no formal education. Formal education is not the only way to gain knowledge, but it is a way of signaling knowledge, and it's not very easy to fake (Not so easy to fake that it falls apart as a credential on its own). Has anyone toyed around with the idea of sending him off to get a math degree somewhere? He might learn something, and if not it's a breezy recap of what he already knows. He comes out t... (read more)
Different target groups may use different signals.
For example, for a scientist the citations may be more important than formal education. For an ordinary person with a university diploma who never published anything anywhere, formal education will probably remain the most important signal, because that's what they use. A smart sponsor may instead consider the ability of getting things done. And the New Age fans will debate about how much Eliezer fits the definitions of an "indigo child".
If the goal is to impress people for whom having an universi... (read more)