I unfortunately have very little of substance to add, but a strong upvote was not quite enough.
There is something in here of Iron Hufflepuff, and I'm exceedingly grateful to Eliezer for dignifying and validating it so unequivocally in this meta-parable. I expect to link to this fairly frequently over the next decade.
TBC it easily may also be that CFAR made strategic shifts during COVID that make the statement true in a non-trivial way; I simply wouldn't know that fact and so can't speak to it.
I think Anna was saying "it is true that in the 2018 - 2020 era, CFAR was about 60% a hiring ground and only 40% something else, but that is not true currently."
In the era 2015 - 2018, CFAR served mostly as not a funnel into MIRI in terms of total effort, programs, the curriculum of those programs, etc., but also:
Toward the 2018 - 2020 era, some CFAR staff incubated the AIRCS program, which was a lot like CFAR workshops except geared toward bridging between the... (read more)
In the last two years, CFAR hasn't done much outward-facing work at all, due to COVID, and so has neither been a MIRI funnel nor definitively not a MIRI funnel.
In the last two years, CFAR hasn't done much outward-facing work at all, due to COVID, and so has neither been a MIRI funnel nor definitively not a MIRI funnel.
Yes, but I would predict that we won't be the same sort of MIRI funnel going forward. This is because MIRI used to have specific research programs that it needed to hire for, and it it was sponsoring AIRCS (covering direct expenses plus loaning us some researchers to help run the thing) in order to recruit for that, and those research programs have been discontinued and so AIRCS won't be so much... (read more)
You have by far more information than me about what it's like on the ground as a MIRI researcher.
But one thing missing so far is that my sense was that a lot of researchers preferred the described level of secretiveness as a simplifying move?
e.g. "It seems like I could say more without violating any norms, but I have a hard time tracking where the norms are and it's easier for me to just be quiet as a general principle. I'm going to just be quiet as a general principle rather than being the-maximum-cooperative-amount-of-open, which would be a burden on me to track with the level of conscientiousness I would want to apply."
Endorsed, but that means when we're talking about setting group norms and community standards, what we're really shooting for is stuff that makes all the options available to everyone, and which helps people figure out what would be good for them as individuals.
Where one attractor near what you were proposing (i.e. not what you were proposing but what people might hear in your proposal, or what your proposal might amount to in practice) is "new way good, old way bad."
Instead of "old way insufficient, new way more all-encompassing and cosmopolitan."
I note that the things which you're resonating with, which Connor proposes and which you expect would have helped you, or helped protect you...
...protect you from things which were not problems for me.
Which is not to say that those things are bad. Like, saving people from problems they have (that I do not have) sounds good to me.
But it does mean that there is [a good thing] for at least [some people] already, and while it may be right to trade off against that, I would want us to be eyes-open that it might be a tradeoff, rather than assuming that sliding in the Connor-Unreal direction is strictly and costlessly good.
Hmm, I want to point out I did not say anything about what I expected would have helped me or helped 'protect' me. I don't see anything on that in my comment...
I also don't think it'd be good for me to be saved from my problems...? but maybe I'm misunderstanding what you meant.
I definitely like Connor's post. My "hear hear" was a kind of friendly encouragement for him speaking to something that felt real. I like the totalization concept. Was a good comment imo.
I do not particularly endorse his proposal... It seems like a non-starter. A be... (read more)
Strong approval for the way this comment goes about making its point, and trying to bridge the inferential gap.
When I wrote the parent comment, I attempted to include some neutral observations on the reasoning of the grandparent (e.g. "I don't believe 'cursing' acts as a valid item of evidence in favor of any assertion in particular"). And I'm quite confident that, had this remark been made by a third party, it would be interpreted for the most part as a neutral observation.
I'm happy to endorse the content of the parent comment. I'm a fan of (constructive, gentle-but-firm) pushback against people making large assertions about the contents of other people's thoughts and intentions, without much more substantial evidence.
If you disagree, do not be here. It's that simple. LessWrong is a place established for a purpose, and while it's fine to e.g. think that martial arts are silly and useless, it's not beneficial for either party for one to go into a martial arts studio and start flouting the local norms.
This comment contains a lot that I would ordinarily respond to in normal, cooperative LW spirit.
It also contains a handful of stuff that's false or otherwise outside the norms (such as continued unjustified assertions, or the snark and sarcasm of the last line).
Given that FinalFormal has demonstrated pretty clearly that further engagement is net negative, I'm going to not answer beyond this, even the parts that are worth answering.
What you did to make me regard you so harshly was repeatedly, prior to the joke in question, claim that you knew better than others the contents of their minds and their experiences, via your assertion of universals without any justification.
I think that people often behave badly and then fall back to claiming it was just a joke, and that your previous commentary in this thread does not support the claim "FinalFormal should definitely be given the benefit of the doubt on such things."
I'm saying they involved circling often while I was there but that fact was something like 3-15% of their "character" (and probably closer to 3% imo) and so learning that some other thing also involves circling tells you very little about the overall resemblance of the two things.
Yeah. I am more pointing at "the very fact that Scott seems to think that 'trying to circle more than once' is sufficient to posit substantial resemblance between MIRI research retreats and CFAR staff retreats is strong evidence that Scott has no idea what the space of CFAR staff retreats is like."
I see your response (to the link about the typical mind fallacy) was "let's take this baby out for a spin right now!"
Would you object to that style of speaking?
No, but that's also different from what you were advocating above.
Do you think under a moral system which doesn't allow speech that does not relate to the truth, it would be possible to become a person of power?
Yes, and also that's a strawman of my position anyway.
It would be nice we could expect people to be rational, but you can't. Ironically, it seems that the only way to make people rational is to make them religious about it.
I again invite you to discover the concept of the typical mind fallacy which I previously linked you to and which you clearly do not yet understand.
I endorse Adam's commentary, though I did not feel the frustration Eli and Adam report, possibly because I know Anna well enough that I reflexively did the caveating in my own brain rather than modeling the audience.
If you single out that line, you're correct that it leaves the wrong impression, but definitions elsewhere in the piece are exactly in line with what you describe:
1. Choosing actions that don’t destroy the world
2. Even in the face of pressures otherwise, using one’s judgment to not destroy the world...The default principle might be like “use your own judgment to avoid destructive actions; don’t rely only on your judgment alone to take [potentially] destructive actions.”
I did see those points. I think the ritual as designed does not do a good job of supporting those points because, again, all the pressures are being lined up against pressing the button. I will acknowledge that there is probably no good way to design a ritual to celebrate the virtue of ignoring social pressure and career consequences to do the right thing (At least not one as participatory as this one) but that doesn't mean we should build a ritual with the exact opposite message.
You are very aware of the ambiguity and its purpose. It is possible that if you were casually reading that passage you would be more affected by it than a statement without ambiguity.
Yes, and that's exactly why I object to it. It's not just "failing to be truth-tracking," it's specifically anti-epistemic.
I'm quite good at using ambiguity in conversation. I choose not to, because I don't want to be dragging other people's beliefs around in ways they haven't consented to. It violates my ethics.
The membership of this forum largely agrees, which is why you're getting downvotes (including from me) despite mostly saying true things.
(I agree wholeheartedly with almost everything you've said here, and have strong upvoted, but I want to make space for the fact that some people don't make sense, and some people reflectively endorse not making sense, and so while I will argue against their preference for death over discomfort, I will also fight for their right to make the wrong choice for themselves, just as I fight for your and my right to make the correct choice for ourselves. Unless there is freedom for people to make wrong choices, we can never move beyond a socially-endorsed "right" choice to something Actually Better.)
The argument in favor of the edit is: new readers may not read through the whole thread, and you don't want them stopping at the end of your now-outdated comment and never knowing it was rebutted and that you updated.
As someone who frequently updates his comments: I have felt the lack of this feature, and wished it was implemented.
Prescriptive appropriateness vs. descriptive appropriateness.
ESRogs is pointing out a valuable item in a civilizing peace treaty; an available weapon that, if left unused, allows a greater set of possible cooperations to come into existence. "Not appropriate" as a normative/hopeful statement, signaling his position as a signatory to that disarmament clause and one who hopes LW has already or will also sign on, as a subculture.
Zack is pointing out that, from the inside of a slur, it has precisely the purpose that ESRogs is labeling inappropriate. &nbs... (read more)
I just can't get past what reads to me as tremendous typical mind fallacy in this comment?
Like, I think I would just straightforwardly agree with you, if you had caveatted that you were talking about LWers exclusively, or something similar.
But the whole thing above seems to think it's not about, I dunno, a normal curve of people centered on IQ 125 or something.
So much of what you're arguing falls apart once you look at the set of humans instead of the set of [fiction writers + artists + theorem provers + introspecters + people who do any kind of deliberate... (read more)
Interestingly, if my research is not mistaken, "eat your cake and have it too" was the original form of the phrase and is much clearer imo; I was always confused by "have your cake and eat it too" because that seemed to be just ... describing the normal order of operations?
Upvoted, but I would posit that there's an enormous filter in place before Kaj encounters these twelve people and they ask him to facilitate them in something-like-IFS.
I find the supermajority hypothesis weakly plausible. I don't think it's true, but would not be really surprised to find out that it is.
You're listed as part time at CFAR when I left.
Full-time at CFAR in Oct 2015 when Pete Michaud and I arrived:
Anna Salamon, Val Smith, Kenzi Amodei, Julia Galef, Dan Keys, Davis Kingsley
Full-time at one point or another during my tenure:
Morgan Davis, Renshin Lee, Harmanas Chopra, Adom Hartell, Lyra Sancetta
(Kenzi, Julia, Davis, and Val all left while I was there, in that order.)
Notable part-timers (e.g. welcome at CFAR's weekly colloquium):
Steph Zolayvar, Qiaochu Yuan, Gail Hernandez
At CFAR in Oct 2018 when I left:
Anna Salamon (part time), Tim Telleen-Lawton, Dan Keys, Jack Carroll, El... (read more)
I think "we've attempted to circle at a research retreat more than once" is only a little stronger evidence of overlap than "we also ate food at our retreat."
Fair point about the lunch table, although it's my sense that a strict majority of MIRI employees were almost never at the lunch table and for the first two years of my time at CFAR we didn't share a lunch table.
If you pick a randomly selected academic or hobby conference, I will be much more surprised that they had circling than if they had food.
One thing that has been bothering me a lot is that it seems like it's really likely that people don't realize just how distinct CFAR and MIRI are.
I've worked at each org for about three years total.
Some things which make it reasonable to lump them together and use the label "CFAR/MIRI":
Mostly agree. I especially agree about the organizational structure being very different.
I would not have said ""The median CFAR employee and the median MIRI employee interact frequently." is not even close to true", but it depends on the operationalization of frequently. But according to my operationalization, the lunch table alone makes it close to true.
I would also not have said "I think that a CFAR staff retreat is extremely unlike a MIRI research retreat." (e.g. we have attempted to Circle at a research retreat more than once.) (I haven't actually been to a CFAR staff retreat, but I have been to some things that I imagine are somewhat close, like workshops where a majority of attendees are CFAR staff).
I agree with all of the above. And yet a third thing, which Jessica also discusses in the OP, is the community near MIRI and/or CFAR, whose ideology has been somewhat shaped by the two organizations.
There are some good things to be gained from lumping things together (larger datasets on which to attempt inference) and some things that are confusing.
Thanks for this reply, Jim; I winced a bit at my own "no resemblance whatsoever" and your comment is clearer and more accurate.
I have concrete thoughts about the specific etiquette of such conversations (they're not off the cuff; I've been thinking more-or-less continuously about this sort of thing for about eight years now).
However, I'm going to hold off for a bit because:
a) Like Anna, I was a part of the dynamics surrounding PhoenixFriend's experience, and so I don't want to seize the reins
b) I've also had a hard time coordinating with Anna on conversational norms and practices, both while at CFAR and recently
... so I sort of want to not-pretend-I-don't-have-models-and-opinions-... (read more)
Strong upvote to philh, and strong pushback on FinalFormal.
Not on the fact that FinalFormal is describing a true thing. I think FinalFormal is accurately representing a very common perspective.
But pushback on the normative nature of FinalFormal's comment. FinalFormal seems to me to be saying "come on, play into this dynamic" and N O P E.
(That link is an entire essay on how the ambiguity is bad.)
Look, all experiences take place in the mind, in a very real way that's not just a clever conversational trick.
So whatever your most meaningful and spiritually significant moment, it's going to be "in your head."
But on a set of very reasonable priors, we would expect your most meaningful and spiritually significant head-moment to be correlated with and causally linked to some kind of unusual thing happening outside your head. An activity, an interaction with other people, a novel observation.
Sometimes, a therapist says a few words, and a person has a... (read more)
a) a supermajority of people have the precursors for the just-sitting-there-with-the-therapist moment, or something substantively similar, such that taking the drug allows them to reshuffle all the pieces and make an actual breakthrough
I think that there are structures in the human mind that tend to generate various massive blind spots by default (some of them varying between people, some of them as close to universal as anything in human minds ever is), so I would consider the "a supermajority of people have the precursors for the just-sitting-there-with-... (read more)
PhoenixFriend alleges multiple cases you didn't know about, but so far no one else has affirmed that those cases existed or were closely connected with CFAR/MIRI.
I think it's entirely possible that those cases did exist and will be affirmed, but at the moment my state is "betting on skeptical."
I endorse Unreal's commentary.
I more and more feel like it was a mistake to turn down my invitation to the recent staff reunion/speaking-for-the-dead, but I continue to feel like I could not, at the time, have convinced myself, by telling myself only true things, that it was safe for me to be there or that I was in fact welcome.
I re-mention this here because it accords with and marginally confirms:
going from "Anna is avoidant, afraid, and tries to control more than she ought" to "Anna is in the process of updating, seeking feedback, and has reaffirmed hone
I endorse Anna's commentary.
I endorse Eli's commentary.
This literally happened with Brent; my current model is that I was (EDIT: quite possibly unconsciously/reflexively/non-deliberately) cultivated as a shield by Brent, in that he much-more-consistently-than-one-would-expect-by-random-chance happened to never grossly misbehave in my sight, and other people, assuming I knew lots of things I didn't, never just told me about gross misbehaviors that they had witnessed firsthand.
Trying to do a cooperative, substantive reply. Seems like openness and straightforwardness are the best way here.
I found the above to be a mix of surprising and believable. I was at CFAR full-time from Oct 2015 to Oct 2018, and in charge of the mainline workshops specifically for about the last two of those three years.
At least four people
This surprises me. I don't know what the bar for "worked in some capacity with the CFAR/MIRI team" is. For instance, while at CFAR, I had very little attention on the comings-and-goings at MIRI, a ... (read more)
Like, I want to agree wholeheartedly with the poster's distaste for the described situation, separate from my ability to evaluate whether it took place.
As a general dynamic, no idea if it was happening here but just to have as a hypothesis, sometimes people selectively follow rules of behavior around people that they expect will seriously disapprove of the behavior. This can be well-intentioned, e.g. simply coming from not wanting to harm people by doing things around them that they don't like, but could have the unfortunate effect of producing selected ... (read more)
It's definitely overconfident. Source: twenty years of listening to a wide range of stories from my mother's experiences as a mental health nurse in a psychiatric emergency room. Some of those psychedelic-related cases involved all sorts of confounding factors, and some of them just didn't.
In my culture, it's easy to look at "what happens at the ends of the bell curves" and "where's the middle of the bell curve" and "how tight vs. spread out is the bell curve (i.e. how different are the ends from the middle)" and "are there multiple peaks in the bell curves" and all of that, separately.
Like, +1 for the above, and I join the above in giving a reminder that rounding things off to "thing bad" or "thing good" is not just not required, it's actively unhelpful.
Policies often have to have a clear answer, such as the "blanket ban" policy that Elieze... (read more)
Speaking of highly scrupulous...
I think that the phrases "treated as a contractual obligation" and "any possible misinterpretations or consequences" are both hyperbole, if they are (as they seem) intended as fair summaries or descriptions of what Aella wrote above.
I think there's a skipped step here, where you're trying to say that what Aella wrote above might imply those things, or might result in those things, or might be tantamount to those things, but I think it's quite important to not miss that step.
Before objecting to Aella's [A] by saying "[B] is bad!" I think one should justify or at least explicitly assert [A—>B]
Yes, and to clarify I am not attempting to imply that there is something wrong with Aella's comment. It's more like this is a pattern I have observed and talked about with others. I don't think people playing a part in a pattern that has some negative side effects should necessarily have a responsibility frame around that, especially given that one literally can't track all various possible side effects of actions. I see epistemic statuses as partially attempting to give people more affordance for thinking about possible side effects of the multi context nature of online comms and that was used to good effect here, I likely would have had a more negative reaction to Aella's post if it hadn't included the epistemic status.
Strong downvote for choosing to entirely ignore the points/claims/arguments that Aella laid out, in favor of reiterating your frame with no new detail, as if that were a rebuttal.
Seems like a cheap rhetorical trick designed to say "I'm on the side of the good, and if you disagree with me, well ..."
(Or, more precisely, I predict that if we polled one hundred humans on their takeaway from reading the thread, more than sixty of them would tick "yes" next to "to the best of your ability to judge, was this person being snide/passive-aggressive/trying to imply t... (read more)
More like "better lawmakers require actual unusual effort; they won't just happen by default."
It seems worthwhile to give a little more of the "why" here, lest people just walk away with the confusing feeling that there are invisible electric fences that they need to creep and cringe away from.
I'll try to lay out the why, and if I'm wrong or off, hopefully one of the mods or regular users will elaborate.
Some reasons why this type of comment doesn't fit the LW garden:
Ah, sorry, yeah, I agree my mod notice wasn't specific enough. Most of my mod notice was actually about a mixture of this comment, and this other comment, that felt like it was written by the same generator, but feels more obviously bad to me (and probably to others too).
Like, the other comment that TAG left on this post felt like it was really trying to just be some kind of social flag that is common on the rest of the internet. Like, it felt like some kind of semi-ironic "Boo, outgroup" comment, and this comment felt like it was a parallel "Yay, in... (read more)
I do not doubt Jessica's report here whatsoever.
I also have zero memory of this, and it is not the sort of sentiment I recall holding in any enduring fashion, or putting forth elsewhere.
I suspect I intended my reply pretty casually/metaphorically, and would have similarly answered "yes" if someone had asked me if we were trying to improve ourselves to become any number of shorthand examples of "happy, effective, capable, and sane."
2016 Duncan apparently thought more of Elon Musk than 2021 Duncan does.
"It has been alleged" strikes me as not meeting the bar that LW should strive to clear, when dealing with such high stakes, with this much uncertainty.
Allegations come with an alleger attached. If that alleger is someone else (i.e. if you don't want to tie your own credibility to their account) then it's good to just ... link straight to the source.
If that alleger is you (including if you're repeating someone else's allegations because you found them credible enough that you're adopting them, and repeating them on your own authority), you should be a... (read more)