Yes, I'm aware it's not universal. I can't really explain why it's so bothersome - it's similar to occasional words being in a bright colour, or someone poking me every so often while I'm trying to read. It's probably a pity because, combined with my laziness, it just means that I avoid reading writing with lots of italics. If I'm feeling particularly motivated I'll modify the text to remove all the italics before reading it.
I strongly agree. I find Eliezer's italics so off-putting that I avoid reading his writing in formatted text. I don't know why, and I'm sure not everyone has the same reaction, but excess italics just make me twitch.
I am not from Mudd, but I went to a talk by Maria Klawe on this very topic. I feel suddenly potentially useful. Warning: this is all only from memory. I thought I had the slides somewhere, but cannot find them. I'll email Maria, and if I hear back from her, I'll pass it on.
First off, here's the abstract for her talk:
In 2006, much like at many other institutions, about 10% of HMC’s CS majors were female. At that time only a third of HMC’s students were female, but CS was an aberration. About 20% of the Physics majors and close to 30% of... (read more)
As an academicish person, I suggest a few questions that bothered me at first: Why aren't more artificial intelligence research groups at universities working on FAI? Why doesn't the Singularity Institute publish all of its literature reviews and other work?
I'm curious: if you're a person interested in "benevolence training", why do you want to have more benevolence or empathy for others? I generally want to be less empathetic, and I'd love to be convinced that I'm wrong.
If you had lots of end states, and lots of non-end states, and we want to assume the game ends when someone's won, and
that a player only moves into an end state if he's won (neither of these last two are necessarily true even in nice pretty games), then you could treat it like a classification problem. In that case, you could throw your favourite classifier learning algorithm at it. I can't think of any publications on someone machine learning a winning condition, but that doesn't mean it's not out there.
Dr. David Silver used temporal difference lea... (read more)
Your first paragraph rings true to me: the complaints I've heard are basically those you mentioned.
My friends are mostly fairly contrarian late-twenties male engineering, computing science and math people. I think that apart from not enjoying Methods, they're pretty much the usual LW demographic. That's part of the reason I was surprised when they didn't like Methods. There are lots of possible reasons for this (to me) surprising result. Maybe they thought I didn't like it, and wanted to mirror that back. Maybe they're a group already biased agains... (read more)
I've had mostly negative reactions to Methods of Rationality from 20-something males (and a few females) who are nerdy and geeky and mostly already like GEB, so I agree that this community needs other methods of marketing.