Wiki Contributions


"[I]s a traditional education sequence the best way to prepare myself for [...?]"

This is hard to answer because in some ways the foundation of a broad education in all subjects is absolutely necessary.  And some of them (math, for example), are a lot harder to patch in later if you are bad at them at say, 28.

However, the other side of this is once some foundation is laid and someone has some breadth and depth, the answer to the above question, with regards to nearly anything, is often (perhaps usually) "Absolutely Not."

So, for a 17 year old, Yes.  For a 25 year old, you should be skipping as many pre-reqs and hoops as possible to do precisely what you want.  You should not spend too much time on the traditional pedagogical steps as once you know enough, a lot can be learned along the way and bootstrapped to what you need while working on harder or more cutting-edge projects or coursework.  To do this type of learning, you have to be "all in" and it feels exceedingly hard, but you get to high level.  Also, you should not spend too much time on books and curricula that are not very good.

Somewhere in the middle of these two points though, are things that are just being done badly (math, for example, in the USA).

"I drew a bunch of sketches after coming round to see how it affected my ability to draw."

What was the result?

The comment being referenced may be of a very rare type.  I have never been on Lesswrong, and rushed down to the comments section to type something, and found someone else having said it more eloquently than I wanted to.  Normally we have a lot of entropy in the group thinking (which I love).  This may just be a rare type of case.

Jiao Bu30

I am perfectly happy that the patriarchal roles are no longer shackling women.  I would not like to roll back time, personally, on these matters.  I hope my question doesn't come across this way -- it is just that I am confused about expectations.

Jiao Bu72

There is something I have been exploring, being back into the dating market in the USA after more than a decade of blessed expatriatism, and am currently seeing people and exploring all this.

Culturally, what are women supposed to do for men?  No stative verbs (am/is/are/was/were/be/being/been), no nouns, no adjectives, but like what are the top 5 action verbs that women should be doing for a man and if she isn't, there should be a good reason or maybe he's going to leave?  Or even 5 or 6 important ones or even mundane-but-expected ones?  I can think of a list with regard to men, some of which are simple like hold the door or bring flowers, some of which are complex (like the thing above about flowing well with money)...  but what verbs are like totally important and expected for women to do?

I think it's a disservice to women to not have some explicit expectations or even setting bars.  But the answers could also just be in my own blindspot.  I'm curious and I hope the question is appropriate here.

Jiao Bu42

Are you familiar at all with the works of Christopher Alexander?  He spent about 50 years exploring the objectivity of aesthetics in Architecture (and was highly influential across several fields, including software design).  His book "The Timeless Way of Building" is available as an Audiobook and is approachable.  It is also the closest thing I have ever read to the teachings of my Tantric Teachers in India.

Basically, the book is about a "Pattern Language" by which beautiful things happen.  The hard part though is getting people to be honest about their feelings rather than lost in the intellectual games of taste.  Alexander did weird experiments like asking people "Between these two buildings, which one makes you more whole?"  People, being sophisticated and not woo, would typically say it's a stupid question.  So he would agree with them and say, "Okay, but if you had to pick one on that term, which would it be?"  He would get about 90% agreement on what is aesthetically right and what isn't.  Whereas if you get into matters of taste, you'll maybe get 10% agreement, because people need to be sophisticated and express interesting opinions about modern art, modular walls, other such things.

At the very least, he's striving to find ways to test these rather hard things, and separate points that seem impossible to tease out otherwise, such as actual feeling rather than intellectualizing.  And he was highly influential on the development of software patterns.  Most people who read the books seem to find them impactful and useful.  The downside is the thing he is finger-pointing-at-the-moon at for you is definitely "nameless" or perhaps even ineffable, yet also extremely obvious.

The book dances closely to the "Obviousness" in true creativity that the author of Impro talks about.  Another very recommendable book on both aesthetics and human dynamics in general.

Edit:  All this is related to human factors engineering, where self-reporting of perceptions is considered secondary information.  Testing perceptions more directly can be elusive, and is thus the whole art in much of that human subject research.

Jiao Bu30

It is also possible that the scope of evangelists would need to be sufficient to convince people who matter.  Some people who can make decisions might listen to someone with an Exotic-Sounding PhD from Berkeley.  Others who matter might not.  Just as an example, I think some politicians and wealthy powerful types may be more willing to listen to engineers than mathematicians or pure theoreticians.  And a normal engineer might also carry more clout than someone from such exotica as silicon valley communities where people are into open relationships and go to burning man.  

By analogy, some of this is kind of along the lines where sometimes people trust a nurse practitioner more deeply than a doctor.  There may be good/bad reasoning behind that, but for some people it just is what it is.  The rest probably comes down to tribal shibboleths.  But these get important when you want people to hear you.  Remember how little it mattered to many people when "1500 people with PhDs all signed this thing saying climate change is real."  I bet one blue-collar Civil Engineer with the education in hydrology to know exactly what he was talking about, would have been more convincing than 1500 PhDs to that whole tribe.  And there could have been (still could be) a campaign to let that voice be heard rather than dismissing vast swaths of people, including those categories you mentioned above, who would have listened to him.

Politicians in general are typically uninformed about and have difficulty with highly-technical matters, even so far as what we all might consider "basic" frequentist statistics, let alone holes in those models.  Let alone "The model has exfiltrated its own network weights!"

So in some sense, if you want the full weight of government involved, we need people who speak common languages with each of those different types you mentioned: Politicians, Military, Wealthy powerful, the public.

To that end, maybe we should be assembling like minded and smart people to talk about this using different languages and different expertise.  Yes, the people from the think tanks.  But also, people who others can really hear.  Maybe we should develop a structure and culture here on LW to evangelize a *broader pool of types of evangelists.*

Jiao Bu10

I think now you're talking more about desired qualities of a system than teachers, which might also be interesting in the other cases.  In some technical sense probably it applies to the farmer, but human use of food is so constant and cyclical, it feels misapplied there.  The doctor may be similar to a farmer in that regard, making money off the nature of humans to occasionally be ill.

However, the lawyer is most like what you are describing above, fully dependent on the system of conflicts for its sustenance, as the Dao De Jing states, "The more laws and ordinances are promulgated, The more thieves and robbers there are."  Hence, perhaps, the general easy animosity towards lawyers.

I wonder if there is a social proportion to a school system having more of factor X and it getting more social animosity.  I suspect it would be the same factor that creates droves of disaffected, burnt-out teachers.  Of course, there is also the illness-industrial-complex system, which most people react badly to, compared to doctors themselves.   What is that factor though?

Jiao Bu10

"Comes from external stumuli" in this case, or more accurately incorporates external information =/= brainwashing into slavery.  To some extent what you're saying is built of correct sentences, but you're keeping things vague enough and unconnected enough to defend.  Above you said, "subset of this scenario is a nightmarish one where humans are brainwashed by their mindless but articulate creations and serve them, kind of like the ancients served the rock idols they created. Enslaved by an LLM, what an irony."

Yes, I have changed my mind based on things I have read and watched.  One should do this based on new information.  As for "happens consistently and feels like your own volition" I think you would need to unpack it a bit.  "Consistently," I don't know.  I'm 44 and an engineer and kind of a jackass, so maybe I don't change my mind as often as I should.  My new partner has a PhD in Nutrition though, so I have changed my mind partly based on studies she has presented (including some of her own research) and input regarding diet in the last several months.

That it "Feels like" "my" "volition" is even more complicated.  I don't know from whence will and volition arise, and they seem stochastic.  I'm not entirely sure what """I""" am or where consciousness is, if the continuity of it is an illusion, or etc.  These questions get really quickly out of what anyone knows for sure.  But having been presented with both the papers and the food, eaten a lot, and noticed improved mood and energy levels, I'm pretty well sold on her approach being sound and the diet being great.

But you jump to service and enslavement?  This is a bit more like someone needs to headbag me and then dump me in the back of their truck and drag me to a hidden site and inject me with LSD for six months or something.  You are jumping scales drastically without discussing concrete anything, really.  It might have emotional salience, but that hardly seems fit for a rationalist board.

Though I welcome discussion of concrete scenarios/possibilities of how you think this might go down.  If those are realistic, this might be more interesting.

Jiao Bu30

"Cause Panic."

Outside of the typical drudgereport level "AI admits it wants to kill and eat people" type of headline, what do you expect?

My prediction, with medium confidence, is there won't be meaningful panic until people see it directly connected with job loss.  There will be handwringing about deepfakes and politics, but unfortunately that is almost a lost cause since I can already make deepfakes on my own expensive GPU computer from 3 years ago with open source GANs.  Anthropic and others will probably make statements about it (I hear the word "safe" so much said by every tech company in this space, it makes me nervous, like saying "Our boys will be home by Christmas" or something).  But as far as meaningful action?  A large number of people will need to first lose economic security/power.

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