Why aren't we pooling our knowledge-resources yet?

by adamisom1 min read26th Sep 201214 comments

9

Personal Blog

Why aren't we systematically pooling many excellent and relevant academic articles yet?

I'm well aware of the current thread on the best textbooks for any subject, but why only share "the best" "textbooks"? I understand the desire for vetted quality, but I think we're missing an awesome opportunity here. I, for one, have a long (to me) list of fascinating academic articles I'm probably not going to read, but which I think other LessWrongers might very much like to be pointed to. For example:

  • Formalizing Trust as a Computational Concept, a CS dissertation by Stephen Marsh, 1994. From the abstract: "This thesis provides a clarification of trust. We present a formalism for trust which provides us with a tool for precise discussion. The formalism is implementable: it can be embedded in an artificial agent, enabling the agent to make trust-based decisions."
  • Mechanisms of Social Cognition, Frith and Frith, 2012, Annual Review of Psychology, which includes a spectacular table on pages 4 and 5: column 1, the broad areas considered (e.g. reward learning, tracking intentions); column 2, the mechanisms involved; column 3, the brain regions involved; and column 4, the social processes to which the mechanism and/or brain region apply.
  • Peering into the Bias Blind Spot, in which we learn that part of the reason people think themselves to be less biased than the average is because they rely on introspections while looking at behavior in others.
  • Information processing, computation, and cognition (Piccinini and Scarantino, 2009), which argues that there are a number of myths concerning these topics that stand in the way of theoretical progress, myths like 'computation is the same as information processing' or 'the Church-Turing thesis entails that cognition is computation'.
  • Review articles on operant conditioning; implementation intentions, a major new scientific approach to forming habits'; the planning fallacy (and it's "cognitive, motivational, and social origins"); and procrastination (the last one has already been mentioned here in lukeprog's main procrastination article).

We could have a database of some kind. And it could include articles that have already been well-spread here, like the seminal Kahneman & Tversky papers. Or the Singularity Institute's work and related work, such as Asimov's 3 laws of robotics and machine meta-ethics (S.L. Anderson), or the Transhumanist FAQ (Nick Bostrom).

I propose that we do so, and that we seek a balance between (a) quality and quantity and (b) organization (into topics) and simply adding, but that we also not worry too much about that right now and just start something. I envision adding article entries to some kind of simple database with (i) the bibliographic information, (ii) a link to a non-gated pdf if possible, (iii) a brief description detailing why it's bound to be very interesting to some LessWrongers, and (iv) a vote-up/down mechanism to allow fellow LessWrongers to agree that 'yes, this article title+description does seem exceptionally interesting'.

Main issue: determining the best way to share articles with each other, after determining that it's something we'd like to do.

P.S. I am unfamiliar with tagging on LW articles (having not written one before), should I add a tag/tags?

Personal Blog

9