All of MakerOfErrors's Comments + Replies

That Magical Click

Although, Noesis is just the original Greek Philosophy name for That Magic Click, and not an explanation in and of itself. At least, not any more than the "dark matter" or "phlogiston".

However, it seems like if anyone has figured out what actually is in that magic click, Noesis is the magic search term to find that gem of knowledge in the vast ocean of information. It's a Schelling Point for people to discuss possible answers, so if anyone has found an answer, they or someone learning it from them would introduce it to the discussi... (read more)

That Magical Click
Is that really just it?  Is there no special sanity to add, but only ordinary madness to take away?  Where do superclickers come from - are they just born lacking a whole lot of distractions?
What the hell is in that click?

Noesis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nous

1MakerOfErrors2yAlthough, Noesis is just the original Greek Philosophy name for That Magic Click, and not an explanation in and of itself. At least, not any more than the "dark matter" or "phlogiston [https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Phlogiston is an explanation.]". However, it seems like if anyone has figured out what actually is in that magic click, Noesis is the magic search term to find that gem of knowledge in the vast ocean of information. It's a Schelling Point for people to discuss possible answers, so if anyone has found an answer, they or someone learning it from them would introduce it to the discussions using that term. If those discussions are the sort that are especially interested in truth as an end unto itself rather than as a useful tool for winning arguments, then I'd expect the answer to spread broadly and float to the top of things like the Nous Wikipedia article.
Why the tails come apart

This post has been a core part of how I think about Goodhart's Law. However, when I went to search for it just now, I couldn't find it, because I was using Goodhart's Law as a search term, but it doesn't appear anywhere in the text or in the comments.

So, I thought I'd mention the connection, to make this post easier for my future self and others to find. Also, other forms of this include:

... (read more)
Adult Neurogenesis – A Pointed Review

Sorry; normally I try not to make claims like that without a citation, but I was on my phone at the time and couldn't find the source easily. But here it is:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210112

It's a twin study with 5952 participants. Here's the highlight:

In genetically identical twin pairs, the twin who exercised more did not display fewer anxious and depressive symptoms than the co-twin who exercised less. Longitudinal analyses showed that increases in exercise participation did not predict decreases in anx
... (read more)
Adult Neurogenesis – A Pointed Review

I’m sure I’ve made some inexcusable mistakes somewhere in the process of writing this.

Found it. :P (Well, kind of.)

And if exercise has antidepressant effects in humans, then the claim that those effects are neurogenesis-mediated must be wrong too.

Apparently exercise correlates with less depression, but isn't causal. That is, depressed people tend to exercise less, but exercising more doesn't cause you to be less depressed.

Unrelated tangent thought: I'd really like to know if the huge correlation with lifespan/healthspan has the same issue. Like, I'm... (read more)

2Raemon3yThis seems real weird to me. I do not have depression, but exercise seems to have an effect on my mood (and anecdotally appears to have similar affects on friends of mine, depressed or otherwise). Is part of the argument here that exercise doesn't have any reliable effect on mood? (i.e. I'm placeboing myself or not noticing that sometimes exercise doesn't affect my mood or does so negatively or something?). Or just that it doesn't have any longterm effects on depression? (so a depressed person might feel a bit better via the same mechanism I do, but in a dimension that's different from "depression?")
April Fools: Announcing: Karma 2.0

I'm loving this new Karma system!

Metaculus (a community prediction market for tech/science/transhumanist things) has a similar feature, where comments from people with higher prediction rankings have progressively more golden usernames. The end result is that you can quickly pick out the signal from the noise, and good info floats to the top while misinformation and unbalanced rhetoric sinks.

But, karma is more than just a measure of how useful info is. It's also a measure of social standing. So, while I applaud the effort it took to implement thi... (read more)

Are you the rider or the elephant?
Have you seen Richard_Kennaway's comment on the circling thread which compares talking with NVC folks to talking with chatbots?

Went digging, and found it here:

https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/aFyWFwGWBsP5DZbHF/circling#cgtM3SRHyFwbzBa56

Circling

The "fish sell" link isn't working - it just takes me to the top of the circling post.

Also, when I search for "fish sell" on Lesser Wrong, I get a result under "comments" of CronoDAS saying:

The "fish sell" link isn't working - it just takes me to the top of the Circling post.

And that link, itself, just takes me to the top of the circling post. And weirdly, I don't see that comment here anywhere. Is this a error on the website, rather than the way the link was formatted? Like, is it not possible to link to comments yet? I'll poke around a little, but I'm not all that hopeful, since that's a guess in the dark.

1Unreal3yWhat's ridiculous about this is that the solution was actually shared "just below" this comment, BUT it doesn't show up because you would have needed to know the solution first to see it. -_- Anyway, you have to go to the top of the comments and click (show more). Then the link will work.
Tune Your Cognitive Strategies

TL;DR: The core concept is this:

<quote>

Your brain already has the ability to update its cognitive strategies (this is called "meta-cognitive reinforcement learning"). However, the usual mechanism works with unnecessary levels of indirection, as in:

  • Cognitive strategy -> Thought -> Action -> Reward or punishment
    • You get rewarded or punished for what you do (as measured by your brain's chemical responses). Good thoughts are more likely to be followed by good actions. Good cognitive strategies are more likely to generate goo
    ... (read more)
The different types (not sizes!) of infinity

I've been keeping 330 browser tabs open with the intention of getting back to each and every one of them some day. And finally one of those tabs comes in handy! This just proves that I should never close anything.

This is a video explaining the distinctions between cardinals and ordinals. This post may be useful in letting people know that there are different types of infinities, but it does nothing for actually explaining them. There are probably other good resources available online for those who want to know, but this is the only one I've ever seen. (Wikipedia is hopeless here.)

Adequacy as Levels of Play

I completely agree with seriousness and aliveness, but think competitiveness is only applicable in extremely narrow, well-defined circumstances like some games, and that these circumstances aren't present in the real world. Sports is an edge case, since the boundaries are artificial, but not as abstract as the rules of, say, chess, and so have real-world gray area which is exploitable.

So I would argue that, most of the time, competitiveness leads to a much, much lower level of play in individuals, not higher. I see several routes to this:

  1. Goodhart'
... (read more)
1Davis_Kingsley3yExcellent comment! I don't agree completely but I appreciate your taking the time to engage in such detail. I think that concentrating efforts on the meta-game can be useful, and as you say can be one of the best ways to deal with situations that are currently extremely competitive. That being said, to me this seems almost evidence for competitiveness as a relevant aspect; these sorts of approaches become necessary only when applying standard methods won't work because the level of competition is already high. In many fields, you can win by just showing up and "doing it right" - only in fields with serious competition, where you can reasonably expect that people have reached the limits of the current approaches, is the meta approach really necessary. That said, as you point out you often need to take a new approach in order to do something really revolutionary, even if it's easy to beat the current competitors in the field...
Demon Threads
if the government decides to increase the tax on gasoline to "fight Global Warming" this will impact the status of a lot of people.

That's an indirect impact, which I don't think is a plausible motivator. Like, it's a tragedy of the commons, because each individual would be better off letting others jump in to defend their side, and free-riding off their efforts. It may feel like the real reason we jump into demon threads, but I think that's a post-hoc rationalization, because we don't actually feel twice as strong an imp... (read more)

Demon Threads
I can easily see people furiously arguing about any of those, I doubt there is much variation between them.

My prediction is that almost no discussion that starts about whether Donald Trump is 1.88m tall should turn into a demon thread, unless someone first changes the topic to something else.

Similarly, the details of climate change itself should start fewer object-level arguments. I would first expect to see a transition to (admitedly closely related) topics like climate change deniers and/or gullible liberals. Sure, people may then pull out the charts and... (read more)

1zulupineapple3yTrump's height is definitely not why "Donald Trump" is a common topic in CMV, so I don't see how that's relevant. On the other hand, such trivial fact based topics can easily become demonic - consider birtherism. If there was a subset of population that believed "Trump is actually 1.87m tall", this could easily lead to demon threads. There is nothing inherent about height that prevents it from being a demon topic. Object level disagreements about climate change are definitely a big part of why it's a common topic and why it might cause demon threads. Of course, the argument eventually involves insulting the outgroup, but that's hardly a topic. This is based on the assumption that some topics really are inherently about status. My claim is that topic popularity is a decent predictor of demonic threads, and that your status related evaluations add very little to that.
Demon Threads

Good point. I dono, maybe almost everything really is about status. But some things seem to have a much stronger influence on status than others, and some are perceived as much larger threats than others, regardless of whether those perceptions are accurate outside of our evolutionary environment.

Even if everything has a nonzero status component, so long as there is variation we'd need a theory to explain the various sources of that variation. I was trying to gesture at situations where the status loss was large (high severity) and would inevitably ha... (read more)

3zulupineapple3ySo you've listed a few topics. How likely is each of them to result in demon threads? I can easily see people furiously arguing about any of those, I doubt there is much variation between them. The fact that many people happen to have opinions on these topics (i.e. that they are common in CMV) seems more relevant than any reality-based measure of their importance. Consider also more niche topics such as "best programming language" that sometimes also result in demon threads (though, to be fair, I haven't personally seen any recently), while having objectively no impact on the real world. No, it's not that everything is "about status", it's that "about status" is just an obtuse way to say "people care". Every interaction between two people is by definition social, and LW is very happy to reduce all social interactions to status comparisons. But what exactly does that explain?
Demon Threads

Maybe this is discussed in one of the linked articles (I haven't read them). But interestingly, the following examples of demon topics all have one thing in common:

Latent underlying disagreements about how to think properly... or ideal social norms... or which coalitions should be highest status... or pure, simple you're insulting me and I'm angry

While it's possible to discuss most things without also making status implications, it's not possible with these issues. Like, even when discussing IQ, race, or gender, it's usually ... (read more)

1zulupineapple3yCan you give some examples of topics that are definitely not about status? It seems to me that every topic that people care about can be said to be about status, which would make your theory have very little explanatory power.
2Raemon3yThis was basically my initial guess (I was conscious of it as I described those things), although zulupineapple's comment was a reminder that this isn't always the case.
The Copernican Revolution from the Inside

Note: I wrote most of this, and the sat on it for a couple days. I'm commenting here just to get it out there, because I think the approach is a good one, but I haven't proofread it or tweaked the phrasing to make it clearer. Hopefully I'll come back to it soon, though.

1. If you lived in the time of the Copernican revolution, would you have accepted heliocentrism?

No, absolutely not. I think this is roughly how we should have reasoned:

The best models of physics say that earthly objects are inherently center-seeking. It’s the nature of rocks a
... (read more)
Does Age Bring Wisdom?

Forgetting arguments but remembering conclusions may be part of this. Same with already being vaccinated against a wide-range of memes. Also, Dunning-Kruger, as we either forget more than we realize but still think we're an expert, or as the state-of-the-art progresses far beyond where it was the last decade we looked. Also, just acquiring more random knowledge makes it easier to offer counterarguments to anything we don't want to change our mind about, or even create fully-general counterarguments.

If "wisdom" really is the result of s... (read more)

Moloch's Toolbox (2/2)

Thanks. The Overton Window stuff was mainly about why First Past The Post might be stuck in metaphorical molasses, and I hadn't generalized the concept to other things yet.

Side note: this also gives an interesting glimpse into what it feels like from the inside to have one's conceptual framework become more interconnected. Tools and mental models can exist happily side by side without interacting, even while explicitly wondering about a gap in one's model that could be filled by another tool/model you already know.

It takes some activation en... (read more)

Moloch's Toolbox (2/2)

Two things: 1) A medium-sized correction, and 2) a clarification of something that wasn't clear to me at first.

1) The correction (more of an expansion of a model to include a second-order effect) is on this bit:

simplicio:  Ah, I’ve heard of this. It’s called a Keynesian beauty contest, where everyone tries to pick the contestant they expect everyone else to pick. A parable illustrating the massive, pointless circularity of the paper game called the stock market, where there’s no objective except to buy the pieces of paper you’ll think other peopl
... (read more)
5Rob Bensinger3yOne relevant factor from the dialogue is that the Overton window limits politicians' ability to creatively offend each other; "serious" policies and behaviors will tend to be relatively mainstream, traditional, and non-outrageous.
Moloch's Toolbox (2/2)
Telling people that American politics is so messy as it is because of formal arguments about first-past-the-post voting is similar to explaining that the way highways get build with formal mathematical formulas about traffic density.

Related data:

A couple years ago, there were a bunch of sensational headlines along the lines of "US is an Oligarchy, not a Democracy, New Study Finds". The actual study is an interesting read: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
It correlated the average preferences o... (read more)

4ChristianKl3yPeople like Robert Moses are neither "the rich" nor "the poor". The same goes for various burocrats who have power inside of governments.
Moloch's Toolbox (1/2)

Practical, actionable advice ideas:

Seriously, if bookmarking and remembering a tab can change your life expectency by years, that's one hell of a cost/benefit ratio. I'd put absurdly high odds on it being worth picking out a default hospital beforehand, so you don't have to make a split-second decision in an emergency. Like, you just never see low hanging fruit with cost/benefit ratios that high in day-to-day life.

Like, maybe print off the info for a couple choices, and magnet them to the fridge with the closest one on top and the best one u... (read more)

5ChristianKl4yIf you pick out your default hospital it might be worthwhile to share the information on facebook with a nice hashtag.
9jsalvatier4yI just did this and it was pretty easy! And in fact I decided to change the hospital I go to by default.
Moloch's Toolbox (1/2)

It just occurred to me that your link is likely to be an Incredibly Important(tm) tool for the weird sort of person who might actually be interested in themselves/friends/family not dying during a procedure.

(In opposed to just being interested in signaling how caring we are, or seeking medicine to feel cared for.)

7Conor Moreton3yLoren ipsum

Practical, actionable advice ideas:

Seriously, if bookmarking and remembering a tab can change your life expectency by years, that's one hell of a cost/benefit ratio. I'd put absurdly high odds on it being worth picking out a default hospital beforehand, so you don't have to make a split-second decision in an emergency. Like, you just never see low hanging fruit with cost/benefit ratios that high in day-to-day life.

Like, maybe print off the info for a couple choices, and magnet them to the fridge with the closest one on top and the best one u... (read more)

Moloch's Toolbox (1/2)

Nice catch!

Googling the term brought me to the Vendor Lock-In Wikipedia page, but no page just for "lock in", even though that's a common term for this sort of thing. However, the "see also" section mentions Path Dependence, which mentions the Bandwagon Effect, which is the perfect term for the Craigslist phenomenon.

These aren't all quite the same thing, but they all seem related. They all highlight different aspects or special cases of similar phenomena.

5whpearson4yThere is also network effect [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect]
Moloch's Toolbox (1/2)

More generally, could we fight all such problems of this class by claiming to believe in Moloch, as a vengeful god? Then ask for religious exemption from all coordination problems where exemption is legally possible.

Why not organize a religion to spite its god, rather than worship it?

EDIT: The concrete benefits could come from a single commandment to defy Moloch whenever possible. All shoes must be velcro and exempt from dress codes, doctors must be specialists when available, and you can sue for religious discrimination if someone makes hiring decisions ... (read more)

-1Rudi C1yI think you should make this a top post. Scientology abused the religious laws for evil gains and won handsomely, so abusing those for good causes might be possible, too.
3Decius3yMy predcition is that having a sincerely held belief to 'defy Moloch whenever possible' would result in suffering the harm caused by being the first actors to switch from the worse Nash equilibrium. Let's talk about how timed-collective-action-threshold-conditional-commitment.
6ChristianKl4yThe shoes I'm currently wearing have neither velcro nor shoelaces. They use elastic bands and manage to look like normal shoes that nobody will notice as anything besides normal black leather shoes.
2Rhaine4yThat sounds crazy, but I like it. I expect that even if it doesn't actually fix things, it will at least give some attention to the problem.
8gbear6054yWell, the velcro-shoes solution is mostly a societal expectation than a legal expectation, so that wouldn't be solved.
Moloch's Toolbox (1/2)

Two things: an expansion on the "employers optimizing for IQ" model, and a defense of regulations as critical tools for *solving* coordination problems.

suppose that there’s a magical tower that only people with IQs of at least 100 and some amount of conscientiousness can enter, and this magical tower slices four years off your lifespan. The natural next thing that happens is that employers start to prefer prospective employees who have proved they can enter the tower.

I think most companies are sufficiently broken that they aren't even capab... (read more)