All of areiamus's Comments + Replies

Thanks for writing this! I enjoy seeing this kind of practical exploration of a common, everyday problem on lesswrong.

Thanks for this report, Quentin. It's great to see this work in improving evaluation and I especially appreciate you sharing your prompts and findings.

Thanks very much for your work in this area, and for being so willing to engage in this discussion. I'm personally disappointed that the original post got so much engagement and yet this excellent reply and follow up has not.

I also use Feedly and have the exact same issue.

Thanks Nora. Your first example especially resonated for the kind of work I do where we try and understand what the client wants and needs - often with limited background info and when the client often struggles to articulate their wants and needs.

You may find the organisation/network Social Progress Imperative interesting. This network is well established and has done a lot of thinking on similar issues.

Thank you, I'll check it out!

Great post. A naive thought is that this could be a useful analogy for understanding how complex systems are resistant to outside intervention, and why reform can seem so much harder than wholesale reinvention/disruption/destruction.

Thank you! That analogy makes a lot of sense to me - it's almost like complex systems settle into a "low energy" state over time, which makes large scale change difficult within that settled state. Reinvention / disruption / destruction could be viewed as "turning up the temperature" and providing a reset of sorts which allows for more broad changes (with the system then gradually "cooling" to a "low energy" state after the reset). Hadn't thought about annealing in that context before, thanks for sharing :) Also, based on that connection, think you might enjoy another post I recently wrote which uses Conway's Game of Life as an analogy to understand the difficulties associated with changing complex systems.

This cost of rules and restrictions seems highly underestimated. Rules and regulations crowd out a lot of private action. When we ask whether rules or private choices are most responsible for keeping us apart, don’t neglect the full extent to which rules crowd out that private action. Even without that, this new study finds private action is mostly responsible. 

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 

I thought this juxtaposition was interesting. 

The Australian state of Victoria has recently emerged from an 111-day lockdown. On every on... (read more)

Hi Raemon, is there a link to register for this meetup?

It's not necessary to register in advance, but if you'd like to RSVP, you're welcome to do it on the FB version of the event.

This article (open access) provides a useful summary of scope insensitivity as a phenomenon that is well researched and seems robust:

I would caveat that the primary data reported has almost no evidentiary value because of the smalls ample size (n = 41).

I feel that you have a separate issue beyond the existence of scope insensitivity as a phenomenon, and that is that Yudkowsky committed a value judgement when he labelled the phenomenon a production of systematic error. The article linked abo... (read more)

The link doesn't seem to work.
-1Kaarlo Tuomi3y
the existence of scope insensitivity is not in doubt. in my original post I quite specifically said: "the point I want to discuss is whether it is entirely fair to describe scope insensitivity, as defined in this way,  as a "systematic human brain error"? it isn't obvious to me what I should or could have done to make that point any more clear. I think what he did was to claim that he knew the one specific reason why people did not donate more money, and with no data whatsoever he attributed that reason to all persons in the study. this is knowledge he could not possibly possess. his claim is therefore false. and not only that, but he wants to extend that to all cases of scope insensitivity so that he can say of all persons who are insensitive to scope that they have or display a "systematic human brain error." I think it is obvious that his claim cannot possibly be correct. thank you

I appreciate this post, and I think this is an insightful take on these much-discussed books and widely used phrase.

One ongoing (endless) tension in sustainability transitions - ie the study and acceleration of societal changes towards better social, environmental, and economic systems - is the idea of improving our knowledge of "what works" through rigorous and centralised testing and evaluation vs. approaches that emphasise local knowledge, practices and structures.

If youre interested, some of the terms that have been devised to try and grapple with this are "transdisciplinary"; "place-based approaches"; and "community based participatory research".

Thank you for the kind words and flagging some terms to look out for in societal change approaches.

Is there any way to have posts like these hidden from the lesswrong RSS feed?

I think you should be able to set your feed such that it has a karma minimum, which I'm guessing addresses your concerns. (Posts show up with at least 1 karma by default, and then it takes a little while for downvoting to take affect)
It's interesting to try to define "posts like this", assuming you don't just mean "personal blogposts". How would you write such a filter?

I liked this piece quite a lot. Thanks for writing it.

Thanks Vipul. I agree that the time horizons people who are at low personal risk are working on are very short, eg 2-4 weeks.

I would say that if you are in a highly secure position then also schedule some time to explicitly reflect on your work and life thus far. Are you trying to solve the most important problems in your work? Are you lonely because the people who you would otherwise spend time with aren't reaching out to you, or you don't derive social support or enjoyment sufficient for you to spend the effort reaching out to you? Do you know how to rest if you don't have events and obligations to fill all your time?

I appreciate you raising this issue, Evan. And especially the clarity of the trade off between instrumental and epistemic rationality brings into focus a sense of discomfort I have felt in a lot of the recent activity on LW critical of the CDC.

I think it's especially important to keep our egos small and remember that expertise does not generalise.

expertise does not generalise.

To me it also brings home the difficulty of working out if "experts" are really expert. Or if a given organization is optimized to deliver the benefits of expertise. Many times I have been seriously harmed by 'experts' who didn't know what they were doing.

One indication: The CDC been subject to some trenchant criticism from medical people.

Another: Their problems seem not to be so much in highly technical issues but basic organisational failures.

<Maybe it is better not to speak the truth> pseudo-
... (read more)
Government health authority try to give good one-size-fits-all solutions. Not all solutions scale. There are a given amount of contactless thermometers in stock and it would be impossible to have all events screened with them.

Thanks for this resource, Sam. I can't see it on the EA forum, but it's definitely worth posting there.

Really appreciate you sharing this!

Yes. It was meant to imply a comparison set against which your post should be considered - e.g., if I read about 1-10 articles like yours every day, then your post was among the best of about 100-1000 (possibly an exaggeration for effect).

Please do not post links without any description or context. As an RSS subscriber I am unable to even see (or open) linkposts without opening the LW post in my browser. A description of the link (and ideally a repetition of the link in the post text) is very useful for helping readers understand why you linked it and who may wish to read it.

Huh, it seems likely that we should add the link to the top of the posts in RSS. Will make an issue for that. 

Meta: are you republishing this piece from somewhere else? I subscribe to LW (and EAF) with RSS and over the past few days I've had all of your previous posts inserted into my feed three times. Is this likely to be some issue with LW, or an integration with your personal blog?

It's an issue with LW. Since RSS doesn't provide unique IDs for posts, we are currently determining whether a post is new in an RSS feed on the basis of its link-field, which seems to have changed two times on Katja's blog for some reason in the past two days (a bunch of wordpress settings influence this, so she likely changed some setting somewhere). This definitely isn't Katja's fault, and we should improve our algorithm to figure out whether a post in an RSS feed has already been marked as imported.

Really great to see this sort of work, separate from the typical US centric view.

Thanks for this insightful piece.

It seems to me that there's a third key message, or possibly a reframing of#1, which is that people without power should be considered less morally culpable for their actions -eg the Wells Fargo employees should be judged less harshly.

The concept of "human error" is often invoked to explain system breakdown as resulting from individual deficiencies (eg, early public discussion of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes had an underlying theme of "Ethiopian and Indonesian pilots are just not as skilled as American pilots") - but a human

... (read more)
I strongly disagree with this. People without power often have less impact from their actions, and actions that do less harm should be judged less harshly. But this is a judgement of the degree of wrongness of the action, not the blame-ability of the person. Also, moral culpability is not zero-sum. There's plenty of blame for everyone making harmful decisions, and "just following orders" is not a valid defense. Giving bad orders is clearly more harmful than following, but in fact more followers adds to the total and to the individual blame, rather than distributing it.
I go back and forth on this, and I think the answer might depend on exactly what question you're asking. If what you want to know is "how do we get Wells Fargo to stop defrauding customers?", the answer is obviously to focus on executives, not entry level employees. But if the question is "Do I want to go into business with Dave, who defrauded customers as part of his role as a teller at Wells Fargo? Or Jill, who sliced and diced her data to get her paper count up"? That answer is going to depend a lot on particulars and context.

The best post I have read this quarter. Thank you for wading through these books and filtering the inanity from the insanity.

It was a real waste of energy for both of us (you to research and write; me to read). Excellent work!

What is a quarter? 1/4 of a year?