Sequences

Gravity Turn
Murphy's Quest
Hammertime
Babble and Prune

Wiki Contributions

Comments

In the territory, bad event happens [husband hits wife, missile hits child, car hits pedestrian]. There is no confusion about the territory: everyone understands the trajectories of particles that led to the catastrophe. But somehow there is a long and tortuous debate about who is responsible/to blame ["She was wearing a dark hoodie that night," "He should have come to a complete stop at the stop sign", "Why did she jaywalk when the crosswalk was just 10 feet away!"].

The problem is that we mean a bunch of different things simultaneously by blame/responsibility:

  1. Causality. The actual causal structure of the event. ["If she'd worn a reflective vest this wouldn't have happened," "If your left headlight wasn't broken you'd have seen her."]
  2. Blame. Who should be punished/shamed in this situation. This question already branches into a bunch of cruxes about the purpose and effectiveness of punishment.
  3. Responsibility. What is the most effective way of preventing such events in the future? ["If we passed a law that all pedestrians wear reflective vests it would halve incidents like this", "How about we institute mandatory pedestrian-sighting courses for drivers, and not blame the victim?"]

People argue about the same event with different causal models, different definitions of blame, and different notions of responsibility, and the conversation collapses. Fill in your own politically-charged example. 

Setting the zero point seems to be one "move" in this blame game [if the default is that all drivers take pedestrian-sighting courses, then you're to blame if you skipped it. if the default is that all pedestrians must wear reflective vests, then you're to blame if you didn't wear one.]

I don't have a complete reply to this yet, but wanted to clarify if it was not clear that the position in this dialogue was written with the audience (a particularly circumspect broad-map-building audience) in mind. I certainly think that the vast majority of young people outside this community would benefit from spending more time building broad maps of reality before committing to career/identity/community choices. So I certainly don't prescribe giving up entirely.

ETA: Maybe a useful analogy is that for Amazon shopping I have found doing serious research into products (past looking at purchase volume and average ratings) largely unhelpful. Usually if I read reviews carefully, I end up more confused than anything else as a large list of tail risks and second-order considerations are brought to my attention. Career choice I suspect is similar with much higher stakes.

Seeing patterns where there are none is also part of my writing process.

This paper of mine answers exactly this question (nonconstructively, using the minimax theorem).

I feel there is an important thing here but [setting the zero point] is either not the right frame, or a special case of the real thing, [blame and responsibility are often part of the map and not part of the territory] closely related to asymmetric justice and the copenhagen interpretation of ethics

Afaict, the first simple game is not the prisoner's dilemma, nor is it zero-sum, nor is the prisoner's dilemma zero-sum.

This is not intended as a criticism in any way, but this post seems to overlap largely with https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/k9dsbn8LZ6tTesDS3/sazen. 

[Edit: After looking at the timestamps it looks like that post actually came out after, anyway it might be an helpful alternative perspective on the same phenomenon.]

Is it just me or are alignment-related post titles getting longer and longer?

This post has a lot of particular charms, but also touches on a generally under-represented subject in LessWrong: the simple power of deliberate practice and competence. The community seems saturated with the kind of thinking that goes [let's reason about this endeavor from all angles and meta-angles and find the exact cheat code to game reality] at the expense of the simple [git gud scrub]. Of course, gitting gud at reason is one very important aspect of gitting gud in general, but only one aspect.

The fixation on calibration and correctness in this community trades off heavily against general competence. Being correct is just a very special case of being good at things in general. Part of Duncan's ethos is that it's possible to learn [the pattern of gitting gud], and furthermore this is more important and consistent than learning how to be good at one particular arbitrary skill.

It seems important to notice that we don't have control over when these "shimmying" strategies work, or how. I don't know the implication of that yet. But it seems awfully important.

A related move is when applying force to sort of push the adaptive entropy out of a certain subsystem so that that subsystem can untangle some of the entropy. Some kinds of meditation are like this: intentionally clearing the mind and settling the body so that there's a pocket of calmness in defiance of everything relying on non-calmness, precisely because that creates clarity from which you can meaningfully change things and net decrease adaptive entropy.

Two further comments: 
(a) The main distinction I wanted to get across is while many behaviors fall under the "addiction from" umbrella, there is a whole spectrum of how more or less productive they are, both on their own terms and with respect to the original root cause.
(b) I think, but am not sure, I understand what you mean by [let go of the outcome], and my interpretation is different from how the words are received by default. At least for me I cannot actually let go of the outcome psychologically, but what I can do is [expect direct efforts to fail miserably and indirect efforts to be surprisingly fruitful]. 

Yeah… for some reason, on this particular point, it always does, no matter how I present it. Then people go on to say things that seem related but importantly aren't. It's a detail of how this whole dimension works that I've never seen how to communicate without it somehow coming across like an attempt to hijack people. Maybe secretly to me some part of me is trying. But FWIW, hijacking is quite explicitly the opposite of what I want. Alas, spelling that out doesn't help and sometimes just causes people to say they flat-out don't believe me. So… here we are.

Sure, seems like the issue is not a substantive disagreement, but some combination of a rhetorical tic of yours and the topic itself being hard to talk about.

Load More