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Becoming stronger together

They mean the language used by the majority of where they live, not the language used in the group. Even if all the members are native English speakers, this is still some way of keeping plausible deniability in terms of location.

Edit: reading the OP more cautiously, I think it's unlikely the group lives in a place where English isn't the majority language so the phrasing is vague for not reason. Plausible deniability went out of the window given all the information available.

Stupid questions thread, October 2015

Disclaimer: I've been diagnosed with ADHD.

difficulty concentrating

This XKCD is a fair visualization of what difficulty concentrating feels like. I can be doing an activity (even a pleasurable one), but I get a lot of other stimuli coming in that link to different activities that also need doing or would also be fun or pleasurable. Or while doing an activity or trying to think about one specific thing, my mind jumps to other (often related) topics and this has a tendency to escalate. Think about the way people describe going to tv-tropes. You start out reading about the film you just saw, and before you know it, you're browser is filled up with dozens of tabs (all of which have links that you'll probably also click).


Akrasia feels, to me, a lot like inertia. Sometimes in a very physical way. It's a feeling of "being stuck" and often translates to physically being stuck, without anything specific holding you physically in place. It's like the space between thinking "Doing X would be a good idea right about now" and actually doing X is a steep, uphill climb.

Stupid questions thread, October 2015

There's no real way to enforce that. Even with those guidelines you'll mostly end up with an intuitive system that's maybe influenced by the guidelines.

Stupid questions thread, October 2015

Answer the question the interviewer means, not the question as you'd break it down on Less Wrong. Or more broadly: adapt your communication to the intended argument and goal.

In this particular example, you should know the values of the company before you end up at the interview, so this answer should be: Yes, followed by one or two examples show that your values match those of the company.

Stupid questions thread, October 2015

Is retributive downvoting on other forums, or is it just a LW thing?

Reddit also had it. I don't frequent other forums that use voting, but a forum I used to be part of had a user that would delve into the history of people he disagreed with and report year-old comments to get those people banned.

Given that it's an easy way to hinder "opponents" I very much doubt it's LW exclusive.

Can anyone think of some relationship between rationality and vindication?

Apart from willingness to use tools others would think immoral, no. I also don't think we need to go that far as an explanation. You only need one person doing it in a community as small as this one for it to become noticeable.

Stupid questions thread, October 2015

(Is "Are big societies optimal for human happiness/quality of life," a fair rephrasing of your question?)

I've been asking myself similar questions lately. As pointed out "made to live" implies things that never happened, in that humans weren't created, nor were the current societies/civilizations ever consciously designed or created. They just sort of happened.

Since both humans and societies got to where they are through mostly unthinking processes, it's easy to see how things didn't end up optimal.

Humans were hunter-gatherers for most of their existence. It's hard to intuitively grasp how long a time that is, but I find this quote helpful (source):

If the history of the human race began at midnight, then we would now be almost at the end of our first day. We lived as hunter-gatherers for nearly the whole of that day, from midnight through dawn, noon, and sunset. Finally, at 11:54 p. m. we adopted agriculture.

Without wanting to get into bad evolutionary sciences, I think it's reasonably fair that even modern humans are mostly adapted for the hunter-gatherer life, with a couple of more modern modules thrown in. It's also reasonably fair that humans were mostly "made" to live in small tribes, hunting and gathering.

Agriculture (and later writing, the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, computers...) gave us reasons to not be hunter-gatherers any more and my naive assessment is that a good number of those reasons are good ones. It's just that our bodies and brains haven't caught up.

So where am I going with this? I'm not sure. What I'm trying to say is that I think it's better to say that (our) big societies weren't made for humans (at least, they're not optimal for humans), rather than saying that humans weren't made for big societies.

Stupid questions thread, October 2015

UBI means every citizen gets a sum of money in their account each month. Current government programs means people need to jump through multiple hoops in order to get food. I don't think UBI is a panacea, but I don't think it's a stretch to say it'll reach people who aren't being helped by the current welfare systems.

Open thread, Oct. 12 - Oct. 18, 2015

What I'm saying is that humans aren't wrong in trading off some amount of comfort so they can have jokes, fiction, art and romantic love.

Open thread, Oct. 12 - Oct. 18, 2015

Does the story actually says the Superhappies really know humanity's utility function better? As in, does an omniscient narrator tell it, or is it a Superhappy or one of the crew that says this? That changes a lot, to me. Of course the Superhappies would believe they know our utility function better than we do. Just like how the humans assumed they knew what was better for the Babyeaters.

Similarly, the Superhappies are moral, for their idea of morality. They were perfectly willing to use force (not physical, but force nonetheless) to encourage humans to see their point of view. They threatened humanity and were willing to forcibly change human children, even if the adults could continue to feel pain. While humans also employs threats and force to change behavior, in most cases we would be hard-pressed to call that "moral."

From a meta-perspective, I'd findit odd if Yudkowsky wrote it like that. He's not careless enough to make that mistake and as far as I know, he thinks humanity's utility function goes beyond mere bliss.

The only way I think you could see the Superhappies' solution as acceptable if you don't think jokes or fiction (or other sort of arts involving "deception") are something humans would value as part of their utility function. Which I personally would find very hard to understand.

Emotional tools for the beginner rationalist

This would be a good place to start looking. It's a list that holds most of the (self-proclaimed) rationalists on tumblr, although I can't guarantee the quality or level of activity of each tumblr. Notable absences are Scott's tumblr and theunitofcaring.

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