Liam

Passable musician; novice rationalist.

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Open Thread August 2018

I'm nervous about mapping elements from the taxonomy onto existing techniques. You risk rationalising this way. But, for the sake of argument, one could say that internal double crux amounts to application of BCT 1.2 (problem-solving), BCT 4.3 (re-attribution), BCT 13.2 (framing/reframing), and BCT 13.3 (internal inconsistency). There are probably other ways of making it fit; therefore, I agree that the taxonomy, as it stands, isn't very useful.

Now, one of the stated aims of the human behaviour change project is this:

The Knowledge System will continually search publication databases to find behaviour change intervention evaluation reports, extract and synthesise the findings, provide up-to-date answers to questions, and draw inferences about behaviour change. Practitioners, policy makers and researchers will be able to query the system to obtain answers to variants of the key question: ‘What intervention(s) work, compared with what, how well, with what exposure, with what behaviours, for how long, for whom, in what settings and why?’

If the ontology turns out as expected, I think it'll be useful for designing and testing new behaviour change interventions.

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Y Couchinator

Yeah, I agree; still, if you decided that being a host is something you really wanted to do, you'd probably want to do some basic asshole proofing beyond setting the terms of the background check with Alicorn. Just in case Mark's scenario comes up.

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Open Thread August 2018

Researchers at UCL, NICE, Aberdeen, Dublin and IBM are building an ontology of human behavior change techniques (BCTs). A taxonomy has already been created, detailing 93 different hierarchically clustered techniques. This taxonomy is useful in itself; I could see myself using this to try to figure out which techniques work best for me, in fostering desirable habits and eliminating undesirable ones.

The ontology could be an extremely useful instrumental rationality tool, if it helps to identify which techniques work best on average, and in which combinations these BCTs are most effective.

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Y Couchinator

That's an important point to clarify: the above only applies to single family lodgers. It looks like if there is more than one lodger (such as a mother and child) then the usual eviction process must be followed. I also found out that some local police departments don't get involved with lodger disputes as a matter of policy. If you're really concerned that potential lodgers will abuse the rules, then maybe it's safest to take on a single lodger at a time, after finding out whether your local police will deal with any problems? Extra precautionary measures for the paranoid: make sure you meet, get a contract drawn up, and get some candid character references.

BTW, I'm interested if anyone around Berkeley, CA, would be willing to do something like this for me. I'm visiting for a few months (Oct-Jan) to help out with the Secular Solstice but I only know one person well enough to ask around for accommodation.

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Y Couchinator

In most countries, a person sharing accomodation with the owner of a dwelling is classed as a lodger, with limited to no tenancy rights.

The lodger can be evicted with reasonable notice (usually ~30 days), after which they are treated as a trespasser. The police can remove them.

A quick search brought up the relevant sections of the CA civil code and penal code.

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Hammertime Day 5: Comfort Zone Expansion

1) I think it would be absurd to have a comfort zone that dosen't preclude things to which you have a lot of emotional resistance. Anything physically or psychologically traumatising should definitely be outside of the circle for example. My assumption would be that the optimal size is always that small delta beyond your current comfort zone (dipping your toes in the water), up to the fixed point where you think things really become too uncomfortable to consider.

2) Basically covered in (1) by extension. A person who is too comfortable making high-risk-low-value choices, ie. a gambling punter, would likely benefit from the opposite, which is what I think you're implying.

3) I don't know the answer to that question, and it seems like one largely determined by one's ability to make good self-reflective judgements. It could just be whether or not I think that some part of my character could be improved by experimenting with new behaviours.

Bonus Answer: Your last question is a bit imponderable to me, almost impinging on the infinitesimal. I think the important point is that we try not to focus too much on the epistemics of taking tiny risks and thereby constrain our willingless to actually do anything new. Maybe someone else has a better answer?

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Hammertime Day 5: Comfort Zone Expansion

Seems to me that this habit is there to help you be more like the kind of person who will satisfy their harmless curiosity on a whim. Not so much the burning desire to pursue truth that Yudkowsky wrote about; rather, a simulacrum of the same virtue we could (should?) apply to our daily lives in order to prevail over the status quo, as mentioned by another commenter.

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Hammertime Day 4: Design

I'm forcing myself to act on each suggestion in Hammertime as they arise and this one was suprisingly helpful. The biggest time-sink by far for me was the piano I had in my bedroom. I wasted a ridiculous ~20% of my waking hours playing without realising until today; so I've just moved it into the garage to disincentivise my largest waste of time. It's also freed up some space for me to excercise and meditate when I can't go somewhere else, and it lets me access my whiteboards without climbing on top of furniture!(?)

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Hammertime Day 3: TAPs

A further (slightly obvious) suggestion for improving the effectiveness of implementation intentions.

From research by Oettingen/Gollwitzer (I'm thinking of this paper in particular http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/OettingenGollwitzer.pdf) it seems that visualising concrete failure modes before implementing a TAP is a good strategy for improving long term commitment, in that subjects who used both mental contrasting and implementation intentions were better able to resolve bugs than subjects who only used only one technique. Think of ways you have failed to achieve precommited goals in the past; as well as potential obstacles that may prevent you from winning in this instance. (Oettingen herself is fond of framing this as WOOP: make a Wish; visualise the fuzzy-happy Outcome; visualise the Obstacles; make a trigger action Plan.)

By the way, I'm very grateful for a sequence like this, having never been to a CFAR workshop.

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