eigen's Shortform

Unsong from Scott Alexander is a masterpiece. 

An unexplored land within LessWrong is where the objective world meets the narrative world. Science dedicates its time almost exclusively to objective facts (what is) but this is hardly our everyday life. The world we live is full of emotions, motivations, pain, and joy. This is the world of stories that constrain and inform action. Rather than brush it aside, it should be explored as an important puzzle piece in instrumental rationality (I think this is what Unsong is kind-of about, including other works in the category of the aptly named: "Rational Fiction.")

gwern's Shortform

Funny that you have your great LessWrong whale as I do, and that you recall that it may be from Wei Dai as well (while him not recalling)


eigen's Shortform

One of the things that enticed me about LessWrong is a concrete and easy way to call someone a "rationalist," namely someone who has read the three books from the Library section (Sequences, HPMOR, and The Codex.) 

After that, the curated sequences and the concepts page. I just think is a wonderfully easy way to define concepts, and create a shared vocabulary while building on top of it. I hope that with time it gets expanded to encompass more books and sequences.

  • The term rationalist then falls short but this is how I easily can separate people and am sympathetic to those who want to change the name.
How can we increase the frequency of rare insights?

A talk given by Rogen Penrose is apt here: The Problem of Modelling the Mathematical Mind. He tries to define how the mind of a sufficiently good mathematician may work with emphasis on parallelization of mathematical solutions. And an interesting book may be The Mathematician's Mind: The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field by Jacques Hadamard.

How can we increase the frequency of rare insights?

Mathematician Richard Borcherds said in an interview that he does not have a great memory, that this allows him to come back to a mathematical problem and try solving it in a different way than he did before (because he does not remember how he solved it.)

You Can Now Embed Flashcard Quizzes in Your LessWrong posts!

This is amazing. Incredible execution, it does not go unnoticed!

Mathisco's Shortform

This is a really good comment. If you care to know more about his thinking, he has a book called, "hackers and painters" which I think sums up very well his views. But yes, it's a redistribution of wealth and power from strong people and bureaucrats to what he calls "nerds" as in people who know technology deeply and actually build things.

The idea of instrumental rationality touches at the edges of builders, and you need to if you ever so desire to act in the world.

deluks917's Shortform

The heads of Government and the FDA don't work like you do. Who knows the incentives that they have? It's entirely possible that for them this is just a political play(moving chess pieces) that make sense for them while the well-being of the people take secondary place to a particular political move.

This wouldn't be the first thing that this happens in any kind of government agency, but, at any rate, it's too early to be skeptical. We need to see how this unfolds, may be the pausing don't last as much.

Auctioning Off the Top Slot in Your Reading List

This is a really interesting post. I wonder how implementable this is, it does touches the edges of collective action. Imagine a change.org petition for someone to read something and make a review of it, despite public interest it does miss the incentive structure for one who actually carries the task.

Going further, some people are tokenizing the hours of their day and selling them on the blockchain (this is too broad, but imagine a particular action being tokenized, where people can fund it through sheer interest and then someone like David Deutsch could claim it.) This does not seem so far-fetched to me.

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