Jan Czechowski


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What are some triggers that prompt you to do a Fermi estimate, or to pull up a spreadsheet and make a simple/rough quantitative model?

Recent spreadsheet situations:

  • I had a free day and I didn't have much inspiration on how to spend it. So I decided to sit down and rethink my goals, habits. This made me realize that I have a time-tracking record collected from the last 8 months, so it's a good moment to put them in a spreadsheet and analyze
  • I was organizing a birthday party and wanted to invite various groups of friends. I didn't want the party to be too big, but I wanted to know when I still have space to invite something more. So I created a spreadsheet, grouping people in columns with the probability that they will actually show up (got an invitation but no answer: 30%, confirmed no: 0%, confirmed yes: 90%).
  • I was organizing a weekend stag do for a friend, with ~10 participants. There were various activities and costs involved, and different people paid for different things. So I asked everyone to put the costs in a spreadsheet and then made a detailed calculation about who put how much money, who should carry costs for what (not everyone used both nights of accommodation for example), calculated a balance for everyone involved.
What are some triggers that prompt you to do a Fermi estimate, or to pull up a spreadsheet and make a simple/rough quantitative model?

I notice that with regards to many things I always think of at least one of the following aspects:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Risk

As each of those is quantifiable, it prompts me to actually put some numbers on the given problem.

Failing safely is the anomaly

I wonder how much professional sports and general engagement in artificial conflicts are (anti-)correlated with actual conflicts in the given group? I always considered sports club identification a civilizational device to satisfy tribal needs for ingroup vs outgroup conflicts without causing any real conflicts.

Rana Dexsin's Shortform

I happen actually to be in my very specific allocated time for "30 mins of LW reading and writing". But usually, this site is a procrastination hole for me, so thanks. Still, I must say, a very life-improving procrastination hole.

Sherrinford's Shortform

The best book I have ever only read the review of: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids Seems to have a good summary of evidence for upbringing if you're interested in the subject.

Jan Czechowski's Shortform

Video Games protocol: I like video games. Some of them are really life-changing stories. I have some titles on my list that have the potential to be really cool adventures. However, I'm hesitant to try them due to some considerations:

  • They are very immersive experiences and will not let you do anything else at the same time. I like mixing activities
  • A standard AAA RPG playthrough takes around 100 hours. One can argue that the same amount of positive experience can be taken from one good book (~10 hours)
  • Lastly, video games are so addictive it's hard for me to stop playing once I start. I always play longer than planned. When making a break I want to go back to the game as soon as possible.

I'm the most concerned with the last point right now. I have some ideas to manage that better, and I'm open to new ones:

  • When playing make sure there's always wallclock time displayed within eyesight. Preferably integrated on your screen. I think I once found a Skyrim mode especially for that
  • Include some accountability (ask your partner to remind you the game time is over) or time tracking with daily reflection
  • Only play in the mornings, before work. If you want to play longer, you have to get up earlier. And you cannot play too long because, well, you need to get to work.
Jan Czechowski's Shortform

Bayesian Signaling: good way to think about signaling is handcrafting a piece of evidence, that for the other person will be objectively strong evidence for the claim that you're making. Hearing X saying "I'm pretty smart" is a weak evidence for the hypothesis "X is smart". Seeing a Harvard's degree with X's name on it is much stronger evidence. Hearing X saying "I'm a millionaire" is a weak evidence for the hypothesis "X is a millionaire". Receiving a 10000$ gift from them is much stronger evidence.

Is the argument that AI is an xrisk valid?

I didn't read your full paper yet, but from your summary, it's unclear to me how such understanding of intelligence would be inconsistent with the "Singularity" claim

  • Instrumental superintelligence seems to be feasible - a system that is better at achieving a goal than the most intelligent human
  • Such system can also self-modify, to better achieve its goal, leading to an intelligence explosion
How to Sleep Better

I've heard about that, but I think it only make sense to try if you diagnose yourself as a mouth- breather?

How to Sleep Better

Anyone really had good long-term experience with earplugs? I use them during vacations in various conditions and it's usually a life saver, but after a couple of nights my ears get sore and I dread the thought of putting in earplugs AGAIN. Don't really feel it's something I can use at home on regular basis. Also at home I usually don't have problems with noise, so maybe it's not a high priority intervention.

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