devils_rights_advocate

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TAISU - Technical AI Safety Unconference

I think you need to fix the days listed on the application form, they say August 17th - 20th.

Micro feedback loops and learning

I don't have a wonderful example of this insta-feedback (which definitely sounds ideal for learning), but I've gotten annoyed lately with any math book that doesn't have exercises. Some of the books on MIRI's Research Guide list are like this, and it really boggles my mind how anyone could learn math from a book when they don't have anything to practice with. So I'm getting more selective.

Even some books with exercises are super hard, and really don't have any kind of walkthrough process. AI: A Modern Approach is a critically-acclaimed textbook, but has little to no build up in the difficulty of its exercises, and little to help you if you get lost. Right now I'm reading How to Prove It, which is *super* good. The whole book is one big walkthrough on mathematical proof, down to how to organize your scratch work. It has tons of exercises with varying difficulty, with some answers and hints. It's much better feedback, and is helping me a lot more, although the material is comparatively simple.

A Rationalist's Guide to...

Well, I tend to throw them onto my general to-read list, so I'm not entirely sure. A few I remember are Godel, Escher, Bach, Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, Influence: Science and Practice, The End of Time, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, The Feynman Lectures, Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman, Probability Theory: The Logic of Science, Probabilistic Inference in Intelligent Systems, and Player of Games. There's a longer list here, but it's marked as outdated.

A Rationalist's Guide to...

Sounds awesome! A meatspace group would be great, I'm sure. One of my issues with self-study is having nobody to go to when I have questions or don't understand something. Having an empirical goal can also tell you if you've succeeded or failed in your attempt to learn the art.

A Rationalist's Guide to...

I definitely agree that there's a bigger issue, but I think this could be a good small-scale test. Can we apply or own individual rationality to pick up skills relevant to us and distinguish between good and bad practices? Are we able to coordinate as a community to distinguish between good and bad science? Rationality should in theory be able to work on big problems, but we're never going to be able to craft the perfect art without being able to test it on smaller problems first and hone the skill.

So yeah. I think a guide putting together good resources and also including practical advice in the posts and comments could be useful. Something like this could be the start of answering Eliezer's questions "how do we test which schools of rationality work" and "how do we fight akrasia". That second question might be easier once we've seen the skills work in practice. Maybe I should make a guide first to get the ball rolling, but I'm not sure I know a topic in-depth enough to craft one just yet.