All of AshwinV's Comments + Replies

I want to upvote this again.

done for you

Well.. I don't think the process is too rigid. You can always discuss it in advance. Also, there are a few things that you do know are better for you, but are still not able to achieve. But yes, there is a risk. I do not think the risk is so great as to not even give this a try though.

Besides, we don't even know if this works yet!

It is. Judgment comes before.

I'm only suggesting this as a trick, once you've already figured out what it is that you need to do. I suppose I could offer my own feedback, but I was hoping that I would at least try and see if it worked over a larger sample space.

My point is that you won't necessarily know whether a change is a completely good idea until you try it out, and your suggestion could make the change more rigid than it should be.

Thanks for the input!

I'm not able to correct the hyperlink part, but I did change the name to Phil Goetz as was due.

It's definitely a check, but not a very good check. There are too many in between facts in this case. It really depends on whether Q is solely dependent on Q' or whether it depends on a number of other things (Q'',Q'''......), provided of course that Q'' and Q''' are not in themselves dependent on A, B and C.

A little obvious (to me perhaps, without adjusting for mind projection), but beautifully written.

To clarify - Yes, this point has been covered in the community aspect section of this post. Just wanted to highlight the importance of this change and increase its priority. Most importantly, work towards a litmus test. One obvious test of course is to simply watch for the inputs coming in and check for their validity as a Bayesian would in any case do.

The problem with this is that you'll probably be stuck in the middle of the argument already. So you'll either have to press your point which you think is correct, or nod along for the sake of avoiding a pa... (read more)

I think we both agree that the Argument virtue is better framed as a very important subpoint of the community virtue. I'd also be interested in developing a way of checking whether an argument is productive or not, that would be a very valuable test!

Empiricism to me always included experimentation. Experimentation was a direct sub-set of the same. But that's probably just me (and maybe a few others.)

The virtue I'm most concerned about is Argument. In my opinion,it can be either extremely productive (especially when people make suggestions that are nowhere near what my stream of consciousness) or extremely frustrating (for rather more obvious reasons).

One important way in which the twelve virtues can be optimized is to develop a sort of litmus test to distinguish between the two. There is a good chance that this has already been done though. Apt links will be appreciated.

To clarify - Yes, this point has been covered in the community aspect section of this post. Just wanted to highlight the importance of this change and increase its priority. Most importantly, work towards a litmus test. One obvious test of course is to simply watch for the inputs coming in and check for their validity as a Bayesian would in any case do. The problem with this is that you'll probably be stuck in the middle of the argument already. So you'll either have to press your point which you think is correct, or nod along for the sake of avoiding a painful argument (this has more to do with being socially acceptable rather than being right). Screening for arguers is one way, but then you run the risk of interacting with a self selecting group. This means the same ideas end up floating around, which in turn means you lose out on the biggest advantage of community - feedback from an outside perspective. This to me seems like an unacceptably high cost.

In my opinion, sort of. Munroe probably left out the reasoning of the Bayesian for comic effect.

But the answer is that the Bayesian would be paying attention to the prior probability that the sun went out. Therefore, he would have concluded that the sun didn't actually go out and that the dice rolled six twice for a completely different reason.

This is fantastic input. Thank you very much.

I am a little skeptical of the first technique of the wheel. I thought that was something I did naturally in any case. Of course, I do need to read the book to really figure out what's happening here though.

Also, I just realised that I didn't quite answer your question. Sorry about that I got carried away in my argument.

But the answer is no, I don't have anything specific in mind. Also, I don't know enough about things like what effects RL will have on memory, preferences etc. But I kind of feel that I could design an experiment if I knew more about it.

Uhm, I kind of felt the pigeon experiment was a little misleading.

Yes, the pigeons did a great job of switching doors and learning through LR.

Human RL however (seems to me) takes place in a more subtle manner. While the pigeons seemed to focus on a more object level prouctivity, human RL would seem to take up a more complicated route.

But even that's kind of besides the point.

In the article that Kaj had posted above, with the Amy Sutherland trying the LRS on her husband, it was an interesting point to note that the RL was happening at a rather unconscious... (read more)

Also, I just realised that I didn't quite answer your question. Sorry about that I got carried away in my argument. But the answer is no, I don't have anything specific in mind. Also, I don't know enough about things like what effects RL will have on memory, preferences etc. But I kind of feel that I could design an experiment if I knew more about it.

I got 6 as the answer, basing it on 1. presence of inner circle 2. outer box apparently following a pattern.

But there's a high chance i'm privileging my observations.

You could also do a row-wise XOR on every feature and get 2. Which for me seemed like a pretty obvious solution to me so I went with it.

Uhm. Is there any known experiment that has been tried which has failed with respect to RL?

In the sense, has there been an experiment where one says RL should predict X, but X did not happen. The lack of such a conclusive experiment would be somewhat evidence in favor of RL. Provided of course that the lack of such an experiment is not due to other reasons such as inability to design a proper test (indicating a lack of understanding of the properties of RL) or lack of the experiment happening to due to real world impracticalities (not enough attention having been cast on RL, not enough funding for a proper experiment to have been conducted etc.)

In general scientists do a lot of experiments where they make predictions about learning and those predictions turn out to be false. That goes for predictions based on RL as well as prediction based on other models. Wikipedia describes RL as: Given that's an area of machine learning you usually don't find psychologists talking about RL. They talk about behaviorism. There are tons of papers published on behaviorism and after a while the cognitive revolution came along and most psychologists moved beyond RL.
It appears to me that ChristianKI just listed four. Did you have something specific in mind?

There is also a work by Julien Smith entitled "The Flinch". It was recommended by Swartz, and I read it to find that it is in fact pretty good.

This post just replaced the third alternative as my all-time favourite.

Just an update - Both "Bangalore,India" parties have decided to unite under one roof. 9pm at Infinitea in Indiranagar.

Oh and congrats on the eulogy Oliver. :)

Your inner simulator is probably more accurate than your explicit models in domains where you have a rich experience base, such as social phenomena, and day-to-day physical phenomena.

Not true. At least not likely. If it were so, then most people would pick up soft skills in a rather automatic fashion without the need for too much conscious effort (actually, any conscious effort, since if the inner simulator is more accurate, your intuitions should lead you on the correct/correct-ish path. Ceterus Paribus, this should hold true for the majority of people... (read more)

People's inner simulator is almost always more accurate than their explicit models. It's just less precise. The thing about your statement of [if it were more accurate, people would be using it more, and be successful at more things] requires a few initial assumptions to be true. The first is that people are able to use their inner simulator on purpose, which is usually not the case from my observation. The second is that people are able and willing to take the path indicated by their inner simulator when it contrasts with their explicit models, which is also usually not the case. Then there is an additional factor where the inner simulator can (and often does) output a result that is contrary to the facade a person is trying to keep up for social reasons, which provides an additional impetus to reject the inner simulator (even if it is indeed more accurate, and dropping the facade would be the best way to produce the desired long-term result). In regards to learning/picking up soft skills. People do indeed pick up soft skills automatically. Soft skills are notoriously difficult to teach. Most people that learn a soft skill learn it on their own, through a long-term automatic process, after taking in information that sparks a complicated processing of that information. I've never met someone who learned a soft skill without it being at least partially automatic. There is additional complexity in this in that people are "born" with an "affinity" for certain types of soft skills, and have an extreme amount of trouble learning any soft skills outside of their affinity range. The actual reason learning soft skills involves reading some amount of "wrong ideas/facts/information" is because the processing of information for soft skill use is different from the processing of information for explicit model use. Or more accurately, the mind has multiple ways of processing information, and is not at all limited to a neuron-only model. The method of processing information for

On an off-note, Adams has also suggested exercise and diet as simple and yet important components of beating Akrasia. For this specific goal, I think they are more important than affirmations.

For overall performance though, I'm not so sure.

Stephen King in his book "On Writing - A memoir of the craft" states that he prefers it when people avoid the passive form of writing.

He also further goes on to "speculate" that people like the passive voice for the same reason that people like to be passive lovers.

That's bovine feces. Each sentence demands its own way of being written.

Not according to Stephen King

Can you elaborate?

Paul Graham's essays are awesome.

I didnt quite like Kaufman's personal MBA as much as everyone on LW seems to. But I am currently aiming to get admitted into college and was trying to use it to figure out which branch to specialise in, and found that it wasnt as useful (due to lack of detail perhaps?). The book does seem to be generally written honestly though, except that he brags about its simplicity.

Considering how many ways either outcome would result, im not really sure how P(supporter carves a B |obama is evil) would actually measure out

Why has the media privileged these questions? I'd guess that the media is incentivized to ask whatever questions will get them the most views. That's a very different goal from asking the most important questions, and is one reason to stop paying attention to the media.

I don't know exactly how popular he is around these parts, but I have been watching a quite a bit of John Oliver recently. From what I understand, he is relatively free to pick his own content and HBO has supported him through and through. He isn't dependent on sponsorship, so I doubt H... (read more)

What do I mean by ‘ambition’?

I know this is completely outta sync with what you were going for, but I couldnt resist quoting good ol' rational Quirell:

There was a half-smile on Professor Quirrell's face as he replied, "Not really, Miss Davis. In truth I do not care about that sort of thing in the slightest. But it is futile to count the witches among Ministers of Magic and other such ordinary folk leading ordinary existences, when Grindelwald and Dumbledore and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named were all men." The Defense Professor's fingers idly spun

... (read more)

Update: I'm over it now. :D

Thanks Natha! Was hitting higher scores(730-740) in the mocks before the real thing, so was at first a touch upset, then figured that this was ok for practical purposes.

Yes, an MBA. Most probably in finance and/or strategy. I also want to see if there is any particular way to leverage on my existing qualifications (I'm a lawyer, graduated 2 years back from NLUJ in India). My work experience lies in renewable energy.

Any advice would be most welcome. :)

Great score! I'm a test prep guy and the GMAT quant is serious, erm, business. What kind of programs are you applying to? MBA?

I kind of feel that heroic responsibility works better in situations where small individuals have the potential to make a large difference.

For example, in the world of HPMoR, it makes sense for one person to have a sort of heroic responsibility, because a sufficiently powerful wizard can actually make waves, can actually play a keystone role in the shaping of events.

On the other hand, take an imaginary planet where all the inhabitants are of equal size, shape and intelligence and there are well over a zillion inhabitants. On this planet, it is very hard t... (read more)


Hopefully, i'll be able to change a few of my answers regarding the LW meetup frequency by next year. And the answers regarding donations should change drastically within 3 years.

Was pretty happy that I knew a bunch of the answers wrt the calibration section. :)

Now hand over them Karma points.

For whatever reason, the sense I get of Jaynes is one of terrifying swift perfection—something that would arrive at the correct answer by the shortest possible route, tearing all surrounding mistakes to shreds in the same motion. Of course, when you write a book, you get a chance to show only your best side. But still.

Just reminded me of a Lord Acton's quotes : "Judge character at its worst, but talent at its best." (Paraphrased from memory)

The goal behind altruism is to improve the quality of life for the human race. The motivation for altruism maybe due to evolutionary reasons such as propogation of the species etc., but it is not the same as altruism.

This post is however about the latter as you have rightly pointed out. Nevertheless,

When human lives are at stake, we have a duty to maximize, not satisfice

and therefore, the way to go about maximizing is to first ensure that all people currently alive remain alive and well taken care of. After that there's plenty of time to go about having more babies :)

Randomness is a measure of intelligence. The greater one's intelligence, the less randomness there is (to it).

While I agree with the gist of what you're saying, you may wanna rephrase the above sentence (it sounds too general, and is a terrible statement when taken out of context).

The point I'm trying to make is that you can have a low intelligence person/animal/machine/system, which can perceive very little randomness. Therefore, this relation doesn't hold out on either end of the spectrum. There is very little "randomness" to an entity (re... (read more)

Nothing acausal about that; the little grey man is there because we built him in. The notion of an argument that convinces any mind seems to involve a little blue woman who was never built into the system, who climbs out of literally nowhere, and strangles the little grey man, because that transistor has just got to output +3 volts: It's such a compelling argument, you see.

I assume that this was intended just as a description of mental imagery.

On the off-chance that it's an argument in itself, what exactly is the difference between the construction of... (read more)

Nate Silver has a chapter in his book called Less and Less and Less wrong..... (or something very similar).

PS. I haven't read it, but just happened to flip through the contents once long ago...

Let's say you've got 10 boxes lined up in a row, and you start punching combinations into the boxes. You cannot stop on the first combination that gets beeps from all 10 boxes, saying, "But the odds of that happening for a losing combination are a million to one! I'll just ignore those ivory-tower Bayesian rules and stop here." On average, 131 losing tickets will pass such a test for every winner


In practice, the people I know who seem to make unusual efforts at rationality, are unusually honest, or, failing that, at least have unusually bad social skills.

It's the same "liar circuitry" that you're fighting, or indulging, in the internal or external case - that would be my second guess for why rational people tend to be honest people.

I have another alternate hypotheses: most normal people are such poor rationalists, that it simply isn't worth the effort to develop proper "lying skills" (if that's an acceptable term - yes, i kn... (read more)

Holmes: "What's the matter? You're not looking quite yourself. This Brixton Road affair has upset you."

Watson: "To tell the truth, it has," I said. "I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces in Maiwand without losing my nerve."

Holmes: "I can understand. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror ."

  • From Conan Doyle's "a study in scarlet" (bold added by me for emphasis)

having trouble accessing that page.. maybe it's the office settings, ill go home and try again...

This resonates slightly with the idea that Robert Pirsig put forward in either ZMM or Lila. I don't remember where, but I think it was ZMM.

His hypothesis out there was of course that there is a driving force of quality, which I guess would be rejected by most LW-ers. To be honest, I used to kind of believe in that thing and did identify with being spiritual, till I read the MAMQ sequence.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend both of these books. Pirsig beautifully demonstrates how the feeling , happens before the process of active cognition. If rationality is in... (read more)

Any weekend would make it easier for me.... Does Nov 2nd sound okay?

Can we take these discussions to meetup. Am happy to change dates, as it works for me, but last time there was a mess up due to continuous mess-ups.

Last paragraph, open parentheses missing. (I'm on a typo roll it seems)

Typo: at the bottom of the post, where the previous post is referred. Underconfidence has an extra 'e'

A joke : Move over Nostradamus?

But philosophers share the general human weakness for explanations of what is incomprehensible in terms suited for what is familiar and well understood, though entirely different.

Originally said by Thomas Nagel (I got it from Hofstadter and Dennett here )

addendum: not bored right now at all; crazy crunch time for the other team, which which I am helping)

Single which?

Can anyone tell me whether Jaynes' book can be read and understood without any particular formal training? I do know the basic concepts of probability, and I usually score around the 85th percentile on math tests... And how hard/time-consuming exactly will the book be? I am employed in a somewhat high pressure job on a full time basis...

Try it -- the first three chapters are available online here. The first one is discursive and easy; the math of the second chapter is among of most difficult in the book and can be safely skimmed; if you can follow the third chapter (which is the first one to present extensive probability calculations per se) and you understand probability densities for continuous random variables then you'll be able to understand the rest of the book without formal training.

Eliezer Yudkowsky is a 1001 year old vampire, that grows old faster than you.

The sequences are more advertisements than formalized research. Its papers like the one on Lob's obstacle that get researchers interested in working on these problems.

I think that's up for debate.

And the sequences aren't "just advertisements".

I don't know any LW-ers in person, but I'm sure that at least some people have benefited from reading the sequences.

Can't really speak on behalf of researchers, but their motivations could literally be anything, maybe just finding the work interesting, to altruistic reasons or financial incentives.

You miss my meaning. The stated core goal of MIRI/the old SIAI is to develop friendly AI. With regards to that goal, the sequences are advertising. With regards to their core goal, the sequences matter if 1. they lead to people donating to MIRI 2. they lead to people working on friendly AI. I view point 1 as advertising, and I think research papers are obviously better than the sequences for point 2.
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