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Luke Muehlhauser, or lukeprog, leaves MIRI and takes on a research position at Givewell.
Nate Soares, or So8res, takes over as executive director of MIRI.
The first thing I thought of was the clear advantages to putting Nate in that leadershippy position at the organisation, since he's a college graduate who used to work for google, which is reasonably high status (in a non-controversial, obvious to outsiders way compared to say, Luke/Eliezer's backgrounds).
The second thing I did was remember how huge Luke seemed to be for MIRI - the organisation really got its shit together under his executive direction.
Interesting news, anyhow. I wish everyone luck.
Luke: the wandering get-your-shit-together-er. Making organizations better since 2011.
Luke isn't joining GiveWell as a get-your-shit-together-er, though.
There was a discussion a little while back (I think in another open thread) about the game of looking at the titles of articles linked from the "Recent on rationality blogs" sidebar and guessing who wrote them. Usually this is pretty easy.
Right now, though, the top link in the list is "The Future is Filters", which seems like an obvious Robin Hanson title. But no! It's Scott, not Robin, and it's about "filter bubbles" rather than "great filters".
I wonder whether Scott is aware of the game and deliberately trying to tease...
Here's a blog post about how everyone hates each other over politics more than before. Eliezer commented on it on Facebook, hypothesizing that it's a slow-growing effect of the Internet.
I cursed aloud when I read that comment, because I've had that exact idea and an accompanying sick feeling for a while now, and this is the first time I've seen it repeated.
(it's never a good sign when Eliezer Yudkowsky is the one to express your deepest fears about why everything's and everyone's brokenness is unstoppably accelerating)
I wish to read more about the "The Internet Is Why We Can't Have Even The Few Nice Things We Almost Kind Of Once Had" phenomenon — hopefully from someone who thinks there's a way easier than developing Friendly AI to put even one evil back in Pandora's Box, but that's probably wishful thinking, and I want to read about it in any case.
(Note: I'm aware that the entire LW-affiliated rationalist community writes about how things are broken, and desires to teach people to be less broken. But right now I'm looking specifically for things about how the Internet's massive boon to free speech is way more double-edged than was anticipated.)
Anyone have any good links?
Here's my diagnosis of the problem.
Before the internet: "Hey Bob, here's why you're wrong."
On the internet: "Hey everyone, here's my witty response to Bob, explaining why he's wrong and evil."
You can see how that kind of discussion would make people radicalized.
I've been thinking of an online discussion site based on exchanges of personal messages, which eventually get released to the public only if both participants agree. Maybe that would work. At least there would be no name-calling, because that's useless in a one-on-one setting.
If you went to a party (meaning a social event) and started loudly proclaiming that anyone who does not vote for your favourite political party is a selfish git, people would tell you you were being rude, and you might be asked to leave (unless everyone there shares your views).
But on facebook, this sort of behaviour is perfectly acceptable. And once you get used to this online, it carries over into offline life. Faced with this onslaught, people with descenting views either shut up about it or change their views to match the majority.
I dunno if I use anecdotal evidence too much, but from my experience, five years ago it was possible for people to have different political views, to have a civilised conversation about policies, to agree to disagree. Now virtually everyone I know has the same political views and no-one discusses policies (you can't fit policies into a tweet, its too complex).
More generally I get the impression that even physical violence in the pursuit of political aims seems to be argued as justified more frequently, from rioting to throwing stones at politicians to angry jokes about arson against people who support the wrong party.
Tomorrow its the general election... (read more)
Consequences of being rude to people who disagree with you about something:
in real life -- lose friends
on internet -- gain pageviews
What's his track record with these so far?
So...I suspect my beliefs on this topic are out of step with the rest of LW, and even if I limit myself to the empirical aspects (i.e. set aside my normative differences) it's going to take a bit of effort to explain & justify my disagreements/doubts.
The first thing I notice is that the blog post talks about political polarization, as well as hatred/intolerance. Something I didn't realize until I glanced at the political science literature on polarization is that political polarization is multidimensional, so it's risky to talk about a change in political polarization in general.
To pin things down, we can first ask whom we're talking about: citizens in general, or politicians specifically? Then we can ask, polarization of what: specific policy preferences, or party identification? Finally, we can ask, is the polarization we care about variance in its own right (i.e. has the policy/party preference distribution spread out?) or covariance (e.g. has geographic sorting strengthened, which would be a rise in spatial segregation by political belief?) or attitudes between partisan gro... (read more)
You should be dubious about "unstoppably accelerating"-- prediction is difficult, especially about the future.
It's conceivable that people could get sick of the current level of nastiness.
I think the article makes some sweeping and unjustified statements.
This is not true; in many parts of the USA for instance it was (and is) a quite common question to ask someone which church they go to. This might sometimes literally be the third question you get asked right after "what's your name?" and "where do you come from?"
And, of course, many other parts of the world openly debated politics and religion in public and with strangers, and in some places quite often. This is well-documented, and I have personal experience with this since I used to (in the 90's) live in such a country.
Except that I would say this political hatred has taken off over the last five years, correlating far more with social media than with the world becoming safer. Has the world become safer over the last five years?
Is LessWrong interested in Bayesian machine learning introductory articles?
When studying history I sometimes find the hardest thing for me is wrapping my brain around how people actually thought back then. I'm so ingrained with modern Western science-based thinking that it's really hard for me to envision how people outside that box actually think. Can anyone suggest some books or articles that explain the differences in modes of thought between us modern educated Westerners and other cultures / time periods?
Edit 1: I think what I'm looking for is something like the following book, just on current vs. past cultures and/or culture... (read more)
I have an anecdote related to the understanding of historical mindsets.
Firstly, I have spent the majority my evenings the last ten years either inside buildings or along well lit streets in cities. I.e. my description of the night sky would basically go: "it's mostly black, sometimes cloudy". Whenever I have read about celestial navigation, I've thought: "That's clever, but how did they figure out they could do that?"
Come last winter, I took part in a cabin trip. The air was very dry, and the sky was cloudless. When we arrived in the evening, more than an hour's drive from the city, it was pitch dark (you couldn't see your feet). What struck me -- the way a brick strikes one's face -- when carrying stuff from the car to the cabin (walking back and forth, turning around, etc.) was this: "Of course humans have looked at the stars since forever. The stars (and moon and planets) are the only things anyone can look at at night. My eyes are drawn to them whether I want to or not."
And: "When I turn around, the stars stay the same. Of course people could navigate by looking at them --- they should navigate by looking at them!"
And: "Of course t... (read more)
Eric Havelock's Preface to Plato is basically about the differences between pre-literate cultures and literate cultures. It is also a very engaging read. Ditto for Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy. And a very engaging novel about a contemporary pre-literate culture is Mario Vargas Llosa's The Storyteller.
O. Neugebauer's The Exact Sciences in Antiquity is a great overview of mathematical and astronomical thinking in ancient times, particularly in Babylon.
For an exceptionally engaging account of a melding of scientific discovery and religion in ancient times, there is David Ulansey's The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries.
And Karen Armstrong is an engaging writer on religious thought in times past; especially The Great Transformation.
I'm not sure whether books and articles are the best. Talking to people is often more efficient when it comes to understanding people much different from you.
Visiting the Amish would provide you such an opportunity but you might even find people in your own city with radically different modes of thought.
If you go to some New Age event you find a lot of people who don't follow science-based thinking.
Is nominalism pretty much the same thing as the map-terrain divide? Can someone try to steelman conservative anti-nominalism such as Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences or this ?
I mean, non-nominalism i.e. Platonic idealism is just trying to reify parts of the map, trying to project human categories into reality, and this is fairly obvious, isn't it? Or I am missing something? Currently nominalism - if I understand it correctly: the idea that categories are man-made - is a fairly obviously true idea, considered true by anyone who ever heard about a map-terr... (read more)
On Skeptics stackexchange there's an ad election. User can vote which ads are supposed to be shown.
At the moment top scoring entries are about http://stopavn.com and the wayback machine.
There's an entry for LW which is currently at three votes. If you have a Skeptics account voting is just a page away.
What happened to the rationality diaries? It's been a month since the last one officially ended.
What I did at work today: analyzed HPMOR and wrote a blog post, "Harry Potter and the Methods of Latent Dirichlet Allocation".
Starting a story-like object on ems
I'm experimenting with a text in the form of a FAQ that might be usable as a "story" in its own right, based on the idea of an em open-sourcing himself. I would welcome any and all feedback you might care to offer, either at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nRSRWbAqtC48rPv5NG6kzggL3HXSJ1O93jFn3fgu0Rs/edit or here.
I noticed a thing that I do. When I rush; I have a tendency to do clumsier versions of actions I know really well. I have now trained myself to notice moments of rush, and purposefully "slow down to normal speed" on tasks to allow them to happen in the efficient most possible time.
Simple example, searching for a key in a bundle. Where rushing causes fumbling which takes longer, slowing down to "normal speed" makes the finding the right key happen sooner.
Is there a name for this process? Has anyone recorded it before? Is this a suggestio... (read more)
A claim that local violence (individual crime and enslavement) is now a primary cause of extreme poverty, and it's crucial and possible to improve police and government enough to make a big difference.
Repost due to lack of reply: I’m a fourth year PhD student in the life sciences, and I need mentorship, preferably from a Slytherin, or at least someone with a Slytherin hat. My advisor doesn’t want me doing “mercenary collaborations”, or quick experiments with researchers outside my field in exchange for secondary authorships. He says I need to focus on my thesis research in the next year so as to publish and graduate. Are there any academics in the LW readership who have the insight to tell me whether this is good advice or whether he just wants me pumping out papers with his name on them so he can get tenure?
Kurz Gesagt explain the Fermi Paradox in a nutshell.
I think this wouldn't be a bad introduction to the concept for people new to it. It seems to be based on Tim Urban's Wait But Why post - maybe they'll do superintelligence next.
Can anyone recommend good sources on the social dynamics of witch-hunts?
Not necessarily about witches, of course. I'm interested in the hand of Moloch in these situations: social incentives to go along, status rewards for being more morally outraged than your fellow citizen, self-protection by avoiding looking insufficiently outraged, the not necessarily intended but still unescapable prosecutorial traps, the social impossibility of denying the actual existence of the outrageous facts...
I'd like to see clearer in the issue of narcissism in the broader, not strictly in the clinical definition sense. It often argued that it is a typical problem in the current age. Lot of young people believe their parents are. But outside the typical stereotypes of narcissism, such as having flashy looks, in the broader sense, even something like being shy can be interpreted as a form of narcissism, as extreme self-consciousness, extreme self-awareness, thinking everybody is looking at you, in a disapproving way.
Can anyone recommend an article or ten to so... (read more)
Has anyone here used fancyhands.com or a similar personal-assistant service? If so, what was your experience like?
(context: I have anxiety issues making phone calls to strangers and certain other ugh fields, and am thinking I may be better off paying someone else to take care of such things rather than trying to bull through the ugh fields.)
Since I am interested in forecasting, anyone has links to good analyses as to why UK pollsters fell straight face into the mud this time?
Link one, mostly mea culpas, a bit of analysis.
Anyone esp. @CellBioGuy having anything interesting to add to new method to predict cancer? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11574893/New-test-can-predict-cancer-up-to-13-years-before-disease-develops.html
Strangely, shorter telomeres is not actually a new idea here AFAIK. I would also be interested in a very rough guess of whether this may be an expensive or cheap test.
One month ago, I started being treated with Humira for my Crohn's disease, which put and end to a roughly three-month period of waking up several times every night to go to the loo, and since then I seem to have needed fewer hours of sleep per night than ever before. In the past it's always seemed like the natural amount of sleep I'd have if it wasn't cut short was about 9 hours, and I've recently seemed to need so much less that on two occasions in the last month I've been almost frightened by how early I've naturally woken up - "I thought I was slee... (read more)
Interested in what you guys think about this. Jayman(hbd blogger) say's parenting has no effect on how children turn out. Seems empirically incorrect to me and it's just probably difficult to encapsulate the results/hard to see non-linearities to make it easy to reference.
He insists on twin-adoption studies contrary to my views.
Thoughts? This sort of seems like the two cultures divide we agree on. I might make a thread just for this.
Argument: Does parenting have any effect on child outcomes?
His view: Zero effect & Breast milk confers no advantage eit
Jayman is correct that adoption studies typically show negligible parental effects. But remember the studies can only talk about the environmental variation present in their data, and are generally done on normal, western, middle class cohorts. In studies where they include stronger environmental variation - e.g. Turkheimer et al 2003, you find that it matters.
So basically, the kind of parenting choices that people typically worry about are probably meaningless, but severe trauma, poverty, abuse etc. do matter. That being said, You can't just say "X is difficult to encapsulate" with studies. This is a fully general counter argument to any evidence you don't like.
That study is observational, not experimental. Maybe genes for disagreeableness make parents abuse their children, and they pass those genes on to their offspring. Probably both nature and nurture contribute.
Can some heroic math-savvy LWer compile a poll about 'the most difficult kind of math I had to learn in high school' and 'in uni'? A separate issue would be 'probable reasons for failure', a multi-choice question (please include 'well-meaning family help'). And somewhere there'd have to be an option 'never experienced this KoM before'. This way we'll get some data about what we struggle(d) with. Also we can do it for 'the clicking' KoM. ... Actually, perhaps it can be better done as a survey, with an additional option allowing people to state the 'intercon... (read more)