Dr_Manhattan

Dr_Manhattan's Comments

Firming Up Not-Lying Around Its Edge-Cases Is Less Broadly Useful Than One Might Initially Think

On the one hand this post does a great job of connecting to previous work, leaving breadcrumbs and shortening the inferential distance. On the other hand what is this at the end?

But one thing I'm pretty sure won't help much is clever logic puzzles about implausibly sophisticated Nazis.

I have no idea what this is talking about.

T-Shaped Organizations
[edit] It also seems like this is the sort of thing that marketing pretty strongly encourages misrepresentation of. "All children are above-average," in that the restaurant wants to present itself as serving healthy, cheap, tasty food, while also paying its employees well and having good returns for its investors. But several of those variables are in direct tension with each other, and there's not great language for speaking publicly about the tradeoffs you're making. 

Couple of reasons spring to mind:

  • Marketing leverages the Halo Effect
  • Not emphasizing being above average on a particular dimension is a chink in the armor against competitors (who can establish beach head by claiming to be superior in that dimension)

Approval Extraction Advertised as Production

The way I understand the objection it that YC promotes "building great products", which attracts (a lot of) certain kinds of founders, but in fact YC is optimizing for something else (primarily described in Black Swan Farming, confirmed by other sources). I believe they are quite value-additive to the companies they accept, but attract more founders than if they were "honest about their optimization function", where some founders could have been better off engaging with other VCs on possibly better terms.

Rule Thinkers In, Not Out

>> Fiddly puttering with something that fascinates you is the source of most genuine productivity. (Anything from hardware tinkering, to messing about with cost spreadsheets until you find an efficiency, to writing poetry until it “comes out right”.) Sometimes the best work of this kind doesn’t look grandiose or prestigious at the time you’re doing it.
Hmm, I use to spend quite a bit of time fiddling with assembly language implementations of encryption code to try to squeeze out a few more percent of speed. Pretty sure that is not as productive as more "grandiose" or "prestigious" activities like thinking about philosophy or AI safety, at least for me... I think overall I'm more afraid that someone who could be doing productive "grandiose" work chooses not to in favor of "fiddly puttering", than the reverse.

I suspect this might be a subtler point?

http://paulgraham.com/genius.html

suggests really valuable contributions are more bottlenecked on obsession rather than being good at directing attention in a "valuable" direction

For example, for the very ambitious, the bus ticket theory suggests that the way to do great work is to relax a little. Instead of gritting your teeth and diligently pursuing what all your peers agree is the most promising line of research, maybe you should try doing something just for fun. And if you're stuck, that may be the vector along which to break out.
Rule Thinkers In, Not Out

I think in part these could be "lessons relevant to Sarah", a sort of a philosophical therapy that can't be completely taken out of context. Which is why some of these might seem of low relevance or obvious.

Rule Thinkers In, Not Out
Fiddly puttering with something that fascinates you is the source of most genuine productivity. (Anything from hardware tinkering, to messing about with cost spreadsheets until you find an efficiency, to writing poetry until it "comes out right".) Sometimes the best work of this kind doesn't look grandiose or prestigious at the time you're doing it.

http://paulgraham.com/genius.html seems to be promoting a similar idea

Bayesian examination

Ross https://web.stanford.edu/~shachter/ uses something like this to score answers to (appropriately) Decision Analysis homework questions. (Don't remember the exact rule, but the intent was the same)

Ways that China is surpassing the US
What does it imply for things like AI governance and global coordination on x-risks?

I've read the article a while ago, and vaguely concluded there should be some implications here (but largely uncertain about the direction or magnitude, being a non-expert). Interested to hear what people think (esp. people who concentrate on policy)

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