CFAR's "Adjust Your Seat" principle and associated story is probably one of my most frequently referenced concepts when teaching rationality techniques.
I wish there was a LW post about it.
I used to think that slower takeoff implied shorter timelines, because slow takeoff means that pre-AGI AI is more economically valuable, which means that economy advances faster, which means that we get AGI sooner. But there's a countervailing consideration, which is that in slow takeoff worlds, you can make arguments like ‘it’s unlikely that we’re close to AGI, because AI can’t do X yet’, where X might be ‘make a trillion dollars a year’ or ‘be as competent as a bee’. I now overall think ... (read more)
Because I'm dumb, I would have found it easier to interpret the graph if the takeoff curves crossed at "current capabilities" (and thus get to high levels of capabilities at different times)
Normative Realism by Degrees
Normative Anti-realism is self-defeating
Normativity and recursive justification
'Realism about rationality' discussed in the context of AI safety and some of its driving assumptions may already have a name in existing philosophy literature. I think that what it's really referring to is 'normative realism' overall - the notion that there are any facts about what we have most reason to believe or do. Moral fa... (read more)
So, the mountain disanalogy: sometimes there are things we have opinions about, and yet there is no clean separation between us and the thing. We don't perceive it in a way that we can agree is trusted or privileged. We receive vague, sparse data about it, and the subject is plagued by disagreement, self-doubt, and claims that other people are doing it all wrong.
This isn't to say that we should give up entirely, but it means that we might have to shift our expectations of what sort of explanation or justification we are "entitled"
These are currently in reverse-chronological order.
Some thoughts on deference and inside-view models - Buck Shlegeris
Epistemic learned helplessness - Scott Alexander, 2019
AI, global coordination, and epistemic humility - Jaan Tallinn, 2018
In defence of epistemic modesty - Greg Lewis, 2017
Inadequate Equilibria - Eliezer Yudkowsky, 2017
Common sense as a prior - Nick Beckstead, 2013
From memory, I think a decent amount of Rationality: A-Z by Eliezer Yudkowsk... (read more)
See also EA reading list: cluelessness and epistemic modesty.
It seems like there's room for the theory of logical-inductor-like agents with limited computational resources, and I'm not sure if this has already been figured out. The entire trick seems to be that when you try to build a logical inductor agent, it's got some estimation process for math problems like "what does my model predict will happen?" and it's got some search process to find good actions, and you don't want the search process to be more powerful than the estimator because then it will find edge cases. In fact, you want them to be linked somehow, ... (read more)
Half-baked idea for low-impact AI:
As an example, imagine a board that's lodged directly by the wall (no other support structures). If you make it twice as wide, then it will be twice as stiff, but if you make it twice as thick, then it will be eight times as stiff. On the other hand, if you make it twice as long, it will be eight times more compliant.
In a similar way, different action parameters will have scaling exponents (or more generally, functions). So one way to decrease the risk of high-impact actions would be to make sure that the scaling expo... (read more)
Somewhat delighted to see that google scholar now includes direct links to PDFs when it can find them instead of making you figure out how to use a given journal website.
There's a plug in that will look for PDFs for you that match the page you're on or the text you have highlighted.
The results of Bob Jacob's LessWrong survey are quite interesting. It's a pity the sample is so small.
The visualized results (link in his post) are univariate, but I would like to highlight some things:
49 out of 56 respondents identifying as "White",53 out of 59 respondents born male and 46 out of 58 identifying male cisgender47 of 59 identifying as heterosexual (comparison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_sexual_orientation)1 out of 55 working in a "blue collar" professionMost people identify as "left of c... (read more)
Thanks for the history overview! Very interesting. Concerning the wikipedia dynamics, I agree that this is plausible, as it is a plausible development of nearly every volunteer organization, in particular if they try to be grassroots-democratic. The wikipedia-media problem is known (https://xkcd.com/978/) though in this particular case I was a bit surprised about the "original research" and "reliable source" distinction. Many articles there did not seem very "serious". On the other hand, during this whole "lost in hypersp... (read more)
It's happened again: I've realized that one of my old beliefs (pre-LW) is just plain dumb.
I used to look around at all the various diet (Paleo, Keto, low carb, low fat, etc.) and feel angry at people for having such low epistemic standards. Like, there's a new theory of nutrition every two years, and people still put faith in them every time? Everybody swears by a different diet and this is common knowledge, but people still swear by diets? And the reasoning is that "fat" (the nutrient) has the same name as "fat" (the body part people are trying to get rid... (read more)
The basic claim of a top down universe is a short string that doesn't contain much information. About the same amount as a basic claim of reductionism.
The top down claim doesnt imply a universe of immutable physical law, but it doesn't contradict it either.
The same goes for the bottom-up claim. A universe of randomly moving high entropy gas is useless for science and technology, but compatible with reductionism.
But all this is rather beside the point. Even if supernaturalism is indefensible, you can't refute it by changing it into something else.
Are rationalist ideas always going to be offensive to just about everybody who doesn’t self-select in?
One loved one was quite receptive to Chesterton’s Fence the other day. Like, it stopped their rant in the middle of its tracks and got them on board with a different way of looking at things immediately.
On the other hand, I routinely feel this weird tension. Like to explain why I think as I do, I‘d need to go through some basic rational concepts. But I expect most people I know would hate it.
I wish we could figure out ways of getting this stuff across that... (read more)
You're both assuming that you have a set of correct ideas coupled with bad PR...but how well are Bayes, Aumann and MWI (eg.) actually doing?
The term for the "fear of truth" is alethophobia. I'm not familiar of many other great terms in this area (curious to hear suggestions).
Apparently "Epistemophobia" is a thing, but that seems quite different; Epistemophobia is more the fear of learning, rather than the fear of facing the truth.
One given definition of alethophobia is, "The inability to accept unflattering facts about your nation, religion, culture, ethnic group, or yourself"
This seems like a incredibly common issue, one that is especially talked about as of recent, but without much spec
Ah, good to know. Do you have recommendations for other words?
An interesting thing about Supernatural Fitness (a VR app kinda like Beat Saber) is that they are leaning hard into being a fitness app rather than a game. You don't currently get to pick songs, you pick workouts, which come with pep talks and stretching and warmups.
This might make you go "ugh, I just wanna play a song" and go play Beat Saber instead. But, Supernatural Fitness is _way_ prettier and has some conceptual advances over Beat Saber.
And... I mostly endorse this and think it was the right call. I am sympathetic to "if you give people the ability t... (read more)
Epistemic status: really shaky, but I think there's something here.
I naturally feel a lot of resistance to the way culture/norm differences are characterized in posts like Ask and Guess and Wait vs Interrupt Culture. I naturally want to give them little pet names, like:
I think this feeling is generated by various negative experiences I've had with people around me, who, no matter where I am, always seem to share b... (read more)
Aha, no, the mind reading part is just one of several cultures I'm mentioning. (Guess Culture, to be exact.) If I default to being an Asker but somebody else is a Guesser, I might have the following interaction with them:
Me: [looking at some cookies they just made] These look delicious! Would it be all right if I ate one?
Them: [obviously uncomfortable] Uhm... uh... I mean, I guess so...
Here, it's retroactively clear that, in their eyes, I've overstepped a boundary just by asking. But I usually can't tell in advance what things I'm allowed to ask and what t... (read more)
I'm experimenting with a format for applying LW tools to personal social-life problems. The goal is to boil down situations so that similar ones will be easy to diagnose and deal with in the future.
To do that, I want to arrive at an acronym that's memorable, defines an action plan and implies when you'd want to use it. Examples:
OSSEE Activity - "One Short Simple Easy-to-Exit Activity." A way to plan dates and hangouts that aren't exhausting or recipes for confusion.
DAHLIA - "Discuss, Assess, Help/Ask, Leave, Intervene, Accept." An action plan for how to de... (read more)
If you measure death-badness from behind the veil of ignorance, you’d naively prioritize well-liked, famous people with large families.
Would you prioritize the young from behind the veil of ignorance?
I'm annoyed that I think so hard about small daily decisions.
Is there a simple and ideally general pattern to not spend 10 minutes doing arithmetic on the cost of making burritos at home vs. buying the equivalent at a restaurant? Or am I actually being smart somehow by spending the time to cost out that sort of thing?
"Spend no more than 1 minute per $25 spent and 2% of the price to find a better product."
This heuristic cashes out to:
I wonder if your problem as a youth was in agonizing over big decisions, rather than learning a productive way to methodically think them through. I have lots of evidence that I underthink big decisions and overthink small ones. I also tend to be slow yet ultimately impulsive in making big changes, and fast yet hyper-analytical in making small changes.
Daily choices have low switching and sunk costs. Everybody's always comparing, so one brand at a given price point tends to be about as good as another.
But big decisions aren't just big spends. They're typica... (read more)
The problem with mansplaining -
Why do men mansplain and why do people (particularly women) hate it? People sometimes struggle to articulate what mansplaining is and why they dislike it, but I'm surely not the discoverer of this argument.
Recently I was talking to a colleage during a strategy game session. He said "You are bad because you made these mistakes" and I said "yes I am bad at these aspects of the game. Alsol, you should have invested more into anti-aircraft guns". He immediately began repeating a list of mistakes I had mad... (read more)
I agree with all of those points.
Depends on whether the specific woman finds dominance attractive. And that probably also depends on the type/degree of dominance, her mood, and how well you know each other. Yes, this "partially agree, partially disagree" strategy seems like the golden middle way between being disagreeable and boring.
I think many women, perhaps a majority, find a more dominant man attractive. Basically ensure any fact-based dominance display doesn't make the other person feel stupid. Good rule for lots of interactions.
"Medium Engagement Activities" are the death of culture creation.
Expecting someone to show up for a ~1-hour or more event every week that helps shape your culture is great for culture creation, or requiring them to wear a dress code - large commitments are good in the early stages.
Removing trivial inconveniences to following your values and rules is great for building culture, doing things that require no or low engagement but help shape group cohesion. Design does a lot here - no commitment tools to shape culture are great during early stages.
But me... (read more)
With some frequency, LW gets a new user writing a post that's sort of... in the middle of having their mind blown by the prospect of quantum immortality and MWI. I'd like to have a single post to link them to that makes a fairly succinct case for "it adds up to normality", and I don't have a clear sense of what to do other that link to the entire Quantum Physics sequence.
Any suggestions? Or, anyone feel like writing said post if it doesn't exist yet?
I wrote a thing about this.
The wavefunctioncollapse algorithm measures whichever tile currently has the lowest entropy. GPT-3 always just measures the next token. Of course in prose those are usually the same, but I expect some qualitative improvements once we get structured data with holes such that any might have low entropy, a transformer trained to fill holes, and the resulting ability to pick which hole to fill next.
Until then, I expect those prompts/GPT protocols to perform well which happen to present the holes in your data in the order that wfc would have picked, ie ask it to show its work, don't ask it to write the bottom line of its reasoning process first.
Long shortform short: Include the sequences in your prompt as instructions :)