Low hanging fruits (LWCW 2020)

The comment was not about having facebook or any big company/administration knowing your data. I admit there is little advice relevant here. Personally, I share often my notes and don't really check everytime what's in them. It would be too complex, so I avoid to put anything that I should not share in them (and warn the recipient that there may be some NSFW things)

Low hanging fruits (LWCW 2020)

I am honestly not that sure. I know personally I won't apply all of those low-hanging fruit, and I doubt anyone will. Even if some "fruits" may be useful to me, there is so many fruits that it would take far too much time testing all of them. So in my opinion, I need to have a small quantity of fruits at once. A one-hour even with one fruit by person is nice, because it gives a clear time-frame. Going to read list of fruits seems too hard intellectually, since so many fruits are different I need to constantly context-switch.

Furthermore, a live even allow to see each person's enthousiasm, it allow them to explain in details. I have a hard time imagining how that could be done in such a big list, especially if it's one person's fruit.

To be honest, I don't expect this current list to be useful to anybody that was not here, but I expect it to be really cool for people who want to recall the details of what they heard.

Low hanging fruits (LWCW 2020)

I used to give (good quality) harmonica to people wanting to start playing without too much trouble. Tried twice. None of the receiver plays it (one I know because we know live together, the other I only guess, but they may be using it at home maybe. )

Effective altruism and criticism toward activism: Answer to a paradox

thank you for your comment.

I think I don't understand what you mean by

Explain general effective approaches/how they are found

If you mean that they can convince someone easily that they could be cause-agnostic by explaining how to do research, I guess that you're technically right. However, this is really long, because doing actual research work is complex, long, and boring. The reason why I wanted to give a "detrimental" example is because this is a quick explanation. If you say "you need to interview dozens of people, ensure that your metrics and questions are not biased" is something that does not speaks to my guts. If you say "our methods are general, you could try to use them to defends traditional mariage and fight LGBT rights" that speaks really loudly to my me. I get the point that EA gives tools, and that those tools are general, even if they are mostly used by people caring about suffering and death

AIRCS Workshop: How I failed to be recruited at MIRI.

Thank you for your answer Davidad. For some reason, I was pretty sure that I did ask you something as "why did you try to do that if it could leads to AI faster, through em" and that your answer was something like "I probably would not have done if I already knew about AI safety questions". But I guess I did recall badly. I'm honestly started to be effraied by the number of things I did get wrong during those 4 days

Anki (Memorization Software) for Beginners

I certainly do agree that it's worth spending time with anki. I'm not sure why you told it in a comment here. I might be the only person seing this comment (given that it was posted just before the event), and I don't really need to be convinced.

Anki (Memorization Software) for Beginners

I honestly state that I'm not in any way an expert in memory, nor in neuroscience. I am highly skeptical of your claim. In my experience, improving my learning process means that I remember more and more things. It's true that I probably discover new things more slowly, because know, instead of just reading a thing, thinking "how, that was interesting" and forgetting it a week later, I need to take time to add the thing in Anki and review it. However, here, anki means that I can discover things I was not able to discover before. Indeed, since I kept forgetting the fundamentals notions of a domain I wanted to discover, I have never been able to advance and discover more advanced notions. Now I can.

Anyway, I share @Pattern's point of view. Even if you were right, Anki will help you to prioritize and remember what you want to remember, instead of remembering what stayed in your mind for some unknown reason. And, whether you're right or wrong, anki takes time; which is some time you can't spend doing other things. So, you certainly need to decide what you will or won't add to anki, and how much time you want to spend on it. Given your worry, you might want to avoid following my advice about how to learn math with anki, since you believe it'll be useless. My job rely heavily on math, so I just adapted anki to my own priorities, and it makes a lot of sens to assume they are not yours

San Francisco Meetup: Short Talks

Do we register the talk in advance ? Is a talk about an app considered to be a programming related talk ?

AIRCS Workshop: How I failed to be recruited at MIRI.

You are welcome. I won't repeat what I answered to Buck's comment; some part of the answer are certainly relevant here. In particular regarding the above-mentioned "rule". While I did not write about «space» above, I hope my point was clear. You and all the staff were making sure we were able to process things safely. While I would not have been able to state explicitly your goals, I was trying to emphasize that you did care about those questions.

AIRCS [...] is not entirely a MIRI recruiting program I believe that I explicitly stated that a lot of people are here for different reasons than being recruited at MIRI. And that your goal are also to hope that people will work at other place on AI safety. I'm actually surprised that you have to clarify it. I fear I was not as clear as I hoped to be.

There is one last thing I should have added to the post. I wrote this for myself. More precisely, I wrote what I would have wanted to read before applying at MIRI/attending AIRCS. I wrote what I expect other applicants might find useful eventually. It seems safe to assume that those applicants sometime reads Less Wrong and so might looks for similar posts and fin this one. Currently, all comments had been made by LW/MIRI/CFAR's staff, which means that this is not (yet) a success. Anyway, you were not the intended audience, even if I assumed that somehow, some AIRCS staff would hear about this post. I didn't try to write anything that you would appreciate. After all, you know AIRCS better than me. And it's entirely possible that you might find some critiques to be unfair. I'm happy to read that you do appreciate and found interesting some parts of what I wrote. Note that most of the things I wrote here related to AIRCS were already present in my feed back form. There were some details I omitted in the form (I don't need to tell you that there is a lot of vegan options), and some details I omit here (In particular the one mentioning people by name). So there was already a text in which you were the intended audience.

AIRCS Workshop: How I failed to be recruited at MIRI.


Thank you for your long and detailed answer. I'm amazed that you were able to do it so quickly after the post's publication. Especially since you sent me your answer by email while I just published my post on LW without showing it to anyone first.

Arthur reports a variety of people in this post as saying things that I think are somewhat misinterpreted, and I disagree with several of the things he describes them as saying.

I added a link to this comment in the top of the post. I am not surprised to learn that I misunderstood some things which were said during the workshop honestly. Those were 5 pretty intense days, and there was no way for me to have perfect memory of everything. However, I won't correct the post; this is a text explaining as honestly as possible how I felt about the event. Those kinds of misunderstanding are parts of the events too. I really hope that people reading this kind of posts do understand that it's a personal text and that they should form their own view. Given that it's a LW blog post and not a newspaper/research article, I feel like it's okay.

It's considered good practice to pay people to do work for trials; we paid Arthur a rate which is lower than you'd pay a Bay Area software engineer as a contractor, and I was getting Arthur to do somewhat unusually difficult (though unusually interesting) work.

I do confirm that it was interesting.

I guess that I do not know what is good practice in California or not. I spent hundreds of euros for job interviews in France, when I had to pay for train/plane/hotel to go meet a potential employer, and I kind of assume that looking for a job is an expensive task.

I think this is a substantial misunderstanding of what Anna said. I don't think she was trying to propose a rule that people should follow, and she definitely wasn't explaining a rule of the AIRCS workshop or something; I think she was doing something a lot more like talking about something she thought about how people should relate to AI risk. I might come back and edit this comment later to say more.

I mostly understand it as a common rule, not as an AIRCS rule. This rule seems similar to the rule "do not show pictures of slaughterhouse to people who didn't decide by themselves to check how slaughterhouse are". On the one hand, it can be argued that if people knew how badly animals were treated, things would get better for them. It remains that, even if you believe that, showing slaughterhouse's picture to random people who were not prepared would be an extremely mean thing to do to them.

AFAICT, my level of transparency with applicants is quite unusual. This often isn't sufficient to make everything okay.

Would it be a LW post if I didn't mention a single biais ? I wonder whether there is an illusion of transparency here. There are some informations you write there that would have been helpful to have beforehand, and that I don't recall hearing. For example, "my best guess before the AIRCS workshop was that he wouldn't be a good fit at MIRI immediately because of his insufficient background in AI safety". On the one hand, it could be expected that I understand that I would not be a good fit, given that I don't have AI safety background. That would makes sens in most companies actually. On the other hand, the way I perceive MIRI is that you're quite unusual, so I could assume that you mainly are looking for devs' wanting to work with rationalist, and that it would be okay if those people needs some time to teach themselves everything they need to learn.

Given that both hypothesis are possible, I see how it can seem more transparent to you than it actually was for me. However, I must admit that on my side, I was not totally transparent, since I didn't ask you to clarify immediately. More generally, the point I want to make here is that my goal is not to blame you, nor the MIRI, nor AIRCS, nor myself. I would hate if this post or comment was read as me wanting to complain. When I wrote the post, I thought about what I would have wanted to read before going to AIRCS; and tried to write it. While I do have some negative remarks, I hope that it globally appears as a positive post. I did state it, and I repeat it: I did appreciate coming to AIRCS.

First: they could mention people coming to AIRCS for a future job interview that some things will be awkward for them; but that they have the same workshop as everyone else so they'll have to deal with it. I think I do mention this (and am somewhat surprised that it was a surprise for Arthur)

I may have forgotten then. I don't claim my memory is perfect. It's entirely possible that I did not take this warning seriously enough. If at some point someone read this post before going to AIRCS, I hope it'll help them take this into account. Even if I do not think that what was important for me will actually be important for them, so maybe that'll be useless in the end.

I don't quite understand what Arthur's complaint is here, though I agree that it's awkward having people be at events with people who are considering hiring them.

I honestly can't state exactly what felt wrong. This is actually a paragraph I spent a lot of time, because I didn't find an exact answer. I finally decided to state what I felt, without being able to explain the reason behind it. Which by the way seems a lot what I understood about circling the way it was presented to my group the first day.

Arthur is really smart and it seemed worth getting him more involved in all this stuff.

Thank you.

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