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What are good ice breaker questions for meeting people in this community?

by Mati_Roy1 min read28th Sep 20203 comments


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I was praising the Petrov Day event and saying I liked the Icebreaker app.

parsley said:

icebreaker.video allows users to use their own questions. I didn't have the time to come up with my own, so I just resorted to the boilerplate ones provided by the website. I wonder if there's a "rationalist ice breaker" list somewhere.

That's a question I've had in mind for years, and I'm now asking it to y'all ^_^

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Questions from the Wait But Hi event

During the first Wait But Hi event, some ice breaker questions were proposed, including 7 main ones and 6 more in-depth ones (at least some of them seem good for LessWrongs too):

  • What’s the oldest thing you own?

  • When was the last time you changed your mind about something you believed?

­- Everyone’s procrastinating on something in life. What’s something you’re procrastinating on?

­- What was your favorite year of your life so far? What year (that you’ve already lived) will Future You say is their favorite?

  • ­ What’s an unpopular opinion you have?

­- Complete the sentence: I wish more people would _____.

­- You’re launching a startup—what is it?

Some more in-depth topics:

­­- Is consciousness a black and white thing—i.e. some species are conscious and others are not? Or is consciousness a spectrum—i.e. humans are more conscious than chimps, who are more conscious than chickens, who are more conscious than insects? Could AI be as intelligent as we are in every way, but still not conscious? Or is consciousness simply the word we use to describe the feeling of being human-­level intelligent—i.e. a human-­level intelligent AI would be conscious, by definition?

­- Someone who knows the Teletransporter Thought Experiment, explain it to the table (it’s explained in the Wait But Why post What Makes You You). Thoughts? Is teletransporting a form of traveling? Or a form of dying? If you believe it’s a form of dying, does that mean you believe that the particular atoms in your body are what make you you, and not simply their arrangement?

­- Cryonics? Yes or no, and why or why not?

­- Thoughts on Universal Basic Income?

­- Are you excited about an AI future? Why or why not?

­- Is free speech in peril on our campuses and other liberal bastions? Can political correctness go too far? Or is that only what you think when you’re kind of being a bigot and you just don’t realize it?

1 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 10:38 AM

Ways you can use the questions:

  • Put them on Icebreaker.video if you organize an event where people meet each other one on one
  • Print (or write) them on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl; invite people to add their own questions and pick them out whenever they want during a social event

If there's enough interest (let me know), we could also:

  • Make a web app to randomly select a question at an event
  • Have pre-made cards you can order