All of Jakob_J's Comments + Replies

Economic security is probably far more important than physical security, and much more difficult to obtain. The reason we don't already see wealthy refugee cities in deserts and other remote areas is that the thing everyone is looking for, a stable income, is simply not available there, and constructing all the required infrastructure and local economy from scratch is a difficult task even for developed nations. Simply put, in the choice between moving to a deserted area of Nevada versus say LA or NY, most if not all would choose the big cities due to the far greater economic opportunities on offer there.

I'm glad I managed to rekindle your interest in TEAM therapy!

Unless you have heard them already, I think the first 15-20 episodes give a pretty good overview of the structure and motivation of TEAM. The episodes with Mark, 29-35, also provide quite a good breakdown of the structure, since they stop and comment on each section before proceeding.

Regarding the podcasts, I agree that they are somewhat confusing and seem out of context, unless you listen to a substantial amount of them. I discovered the podcast before Feeling Great came out, and while the book is great, I think the podcast has helped me more on the "gut level" as it really drives the point home. I can definitely recommend listening to the live sessions in addition to reading the book - I've put together a list of some of the best episodes here

Awesome, really glad that you've found the episodes helpful! I have also found that the live sessions focused on relationship issues to be some of the most enlightening ones.  

If you haven't already found them, there are several more episodes on the same theme. For example, you might be interested in listening to the ones with Mark:
Live Session (Mark) — Introduction & Testing (Part 1)

and the session with Brian:
Anger in Marriage: The Five Secrets Revisited

Thanks for your comment!

Regarding your prior, yes I agree with this, and I also think the effectiveness of TEAM decreases dramatically with an unskilled therapist. All of the recorded live sessions are with David Burns, which might be an indication that it takes extreme practice to fully master it. I have only ever used it for "self-therapy", in order take the edge of some of my most self-critical thoughts as in the example. I think it works quite well for people who are looking for CBT-style therapy.

There are certainly similarities, but TEAM is a bit less "psychoanalytic" in the sense that it doesn't seek to unveil childhood trauma or anything like that. Instead, it focuses more on the here and now, and more on a person's positive qualities. The positive reframing step is meant to bring resistance to conscious awareness, since the patient usually do want to change their negative patterns of thought.

Immigration issues aside, I second the choice of the United Kingdom. Having lived in several European countries, the UK probably has one of the strongest intellectual cultures I've seen. The population is roughly that of California and Texas combined, and yet its combined cultural and scientific outputs is on par with the US as a whole (it has received the second largest number of Nobel prizes in the world, and in terms of Nobel prizes per capita it outperforms the US by a factor ~2). 

However, I would say that Oxford wouldn't be my first choice:

  • Most g
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+1 to everything Jacob said about living near London, plus the advantages of being near an existing AI safety hub (DeepMind, FHI, etc). 

Some reactions:

  • The Oxford/London nexus  seems like a nice combination. It's 38min by train between the two, plus getting to the stations (which in London can be a pain).
  • Re intellectual life "behind the walls of the colleges": I haven't perceived much intellectual life in my college, and much more outside. Maybe the part inside the colleges is for undergraduates?
  • I don't have experience with long-range commuting into Oxford. But you can commute in 10-15 minutes by bike from the surrounding villages like Botley / Headington.
Or just outside London...

Where is the selection effect coming from? You'd think that the human body is large enough to host a range of different bacteria, so unless they have some way of competing within the body, sterilization would just remove some bacterial populations rather than select for those resistant to antibiotics.

I'm not talking about sterilization of the human body but sterilization of the hospital enviroment. It leads to selection effects for bacteria that are adapted to the hospital enviroment.  If you have plants in a room then part of the room is filled with bacteria that interact with plants and that creates a more diverse microbial enviroment. Having plants in a room makes it more likely that a random bacteria in the room is a plant pathogen compared to a human pathogen. is a paper that for example argues for maintaining microbial diversity in the different environments as an important issue to avoid pathogen outbreaks. I would expect that in 50 years you will have plants with microbiomes in hospitals that are selected for hosting a microbiome that increases the surrounding microbial diversity and not hosting human pathogens. Hospitals will move from the paradigm of "everything should be sterile" to the paradigm of "there should be a lot of microbial diversity without human pathogens". The will regularly test what bacteria are around and when there are problems use a mix of adding new bacteria to the enviroment that contribute to healthy microbial diversity and phage therapy against those bacteria that are unwelcome. Having cheap ways to measure the microbial enviroment via cheaper gene sequencing will lead there but there will be a lot about how to have a good microbial enviroment that we have very little understanding of today.

Thanks, I agree that LW is a good place to start reading. I would add that LW can also be a good source for curated material, i.e. someone might post about the best primary and secondary sources to find out more about a topic. 

I also get your point about "broad" vs "shallow". I do wonder what a good model would look like for reading since broad understanding in itself is relatively useless - it needs to be translated into shallow, technical understanding at some point. 

Thanks, knowing about this game mode makes me want to play Civ again!

I was wondering if you have any thoughts on how we as individuals might act to acquire useful information effectively. A lot of information out there that we normally consume (social media/news etc) is often eye-catching or interesting but not very useful (it doesn't change our plans or outlook in life). Personally I would guess that books might be the best bet, but it can be hard to find the right ones.

This is a very large question; a significant fraction of all the posts on LessWrong are relevant. In particular, the World Modelling tag seems like a good starting point to look for relevant ideas. I would specifically advise against looking for information which directly impacts your plans/outlook in life, and rather try yo obtain strong general-purpose understanding of aspects of the world which are relevant to you. The reason is that it often just isn't possible for a strong understanding to be "shallow" - you need to figure out the big picture of how a system works before it's clear which parts are critical for you specifically.

I wondering if an hint of answer could be found by exploiting the fact that economic growth (which should be closely related to progress?) has been differential across the world over the past century. For example, you might argue that China and India are experiencing the same levels of economic growth as did Europe earlier in the 20th century. If this is the case, I would study how different indicators varies with the economic growth in Asia and Europe to find out if these indicators can explain the growth (or are explained by the growth). You could say lo... (read more)

I agree completely with the sentiment in this post. While I think that AGI would be potentially dangerous, the existing progress towards it is blown completely out of proportion. The problem is that one of the things you'd need for AGI is to be able to reason about the state of the (simulated) world, which we have no clue how to do in a computer program.

I think one ought to be careful with the wording here. What is the proportion of existing AI progress? We could be 90% there on the time axis and only one last key insight is left to be discovered, but still virtually useless compared to humans on the capability axis. It would be a precarious situation. Is the inability of our algorithms to reason the problem, or our only saving grace?

I can very much relate to the sentiment in this post, so would like to add some related thoughts. I think it's nearly impossible not to strive for anything more in life, simply because we are so geared towards always learning and improving and wouldn't be happy otherwise. Now, this doesn't necessarily translate to always strive beyond one's limits and expect nothing less than stellar greatness - this sounds more like perfectionism to me. Instead I prefer to think of it as slow and deliberate progress (or at least variety) in different a... (read more)

I think that many people underestimate the importance of physical appearance (I will concentrate on fashion/clothing here), and overestimate the effort and cost it takes to improve it. Some of the benefits of good physical appearance are that we appear more trustworthy and competent, on average earn a higher salary, and have an easier time getting a job after an interview. Wearing good-fitting, clean, stylish clothes is a strong signal that we care about ourselves and are therefore also capable of caring for others (consider the opposite case - wearing ill... (read more)

A related concept in my view is that of agency, as in how much I feel I am in control of my own life. I am not sure what is the cause and what is the effect, but I have noticed that during periods of depression I feel very little agency and during more happy periods I feel a lot more agency over my life. Often, focusing on the things I can control in my life (exercise, nutrition, social activities) over things I can't (problems at work) allows me to recover from depression a lot faster.