Noah Walton


Predictive Coding has been Unified with Backpropagation

Once you add this condition, are current state-of-the-art Starcraft-learning ANNs still getting more training data than humans?

Jaan Tallinn at the Slate Star Codex Online Meetup

Are there public links to natural language and / or computer code descriptions of the funding pipeline (with donors, recommenders, and donees) that Jaan described in the conversation? I don't think I got the full structure from his description.

The feeling of breaking an Overton window

I can feel a pressure to try to guess the other person's worldview and conform to it. Recently I have been I think better at just trying to debate things out with others. Possibly I may get uncomfortable if consensus isn't reached. I'm getting maybe a little bit more comfortable with this possibility though. Something interesting that can come up is a strong indignant feeling: "how the hell could anyone NOT believe X!!", which can cause me to change those exclamation points into a question mark and start wondering, which could potentially take a long time (currently I am confused about God beliefs/unbeliefs, after realizing that I sort of identify as an atheist but have a hard time identifying clear reasons that I should). 

Another thing that I have noticed is the possibility to give silent responses rather than essentially lying. This can be very uncomfortable and sad, but may have benefits as well. I think it can feel pretty awful if I end up having to give a lot of silent responses over a period where I ALSO am not able to give myself much space to think (e.g. in a situation where I am constantly around people for a substantial period of time and not able to find a way to give myself "sufficient seclusion").

The feeling of breaking an Overton window

I did identify with this. Nothing concrete to share right now.

Active Curiosity vs Open Curiosity


Getting stuck solving a problem should ideally trigger open curiosity. I was thinking about this in the context of solving a Project Euler problem (math problems that usually require some programming). There seem to often be alternating phases in solving where you find some low-hanging fruit, and then get stuck. Stuckness can be for example conceptual (you need to speed up your algorithm; you haven't found an algorithm that works at all; you don't understand the problem) or related to code (you have a natural-language framework for your problem but not code; the only code you can think to write is really ugly; there is a bug).

The thing I call "stuckness" perhaps often indicates there is no clear path to go on -- if there is, I would be going on it. Sometimes this should trigger taking a break to rest. Other times it should trigger open curiosity about the problem. Even if I am remaining openly curious about the problem, it seems more likely that I will do something like get up from where I am sitting at the trigger point.

A common failure mode is to continue being actively curious when stuck; this is associated with treating the situation like something it's not.

Overconfident talking down, humble or hostile talking up
When you’re communicating with people who know more than you, you have two options. You can accept their greater state of knowledge, causing you to speak more honestly about the pertinent topics. Or, you could reject their credibility, claiming that they really don’t know more than you. Many people who know less than you both may believe you over them.

A third option is to claim epistemic learned helplessness. You can believe someone knows more than you, but reject their claims because there are incentives to deceive. It's even possible to openly coordinate based on this. This seems like something I've seen people do, maybe even frequently. I can't think of anything specific, but one method would be to portray the more knowledgeable person as "using their power [in the form of knowledge] for evil".

An Ontology of Systemic Failures: Dragons, Bullshit Mountain, and the Cloud of Doom

"Scientists with notable discoveries" might be an example of Gryffindors.

The One-Channel Paradigm

I think I agree with you. Here's what I think was going through my head at the time of writing:

"The universe is a state evolving over time according to a transition function. But sometimes I seem to confuse this with thinking I can only take one action at a time, where 'action' is defined much more narrowly. For example, I model myself as exclusively 'sleeping' or 'riding the bus' or 'writing', even though there are parts of me which I'm not consciously attending to doing other things. This seems bad."

If the universe is indeed a state evolving over time according to a transition function, then in this sense physics is a one-channel process. It just so happens that the one channel is all the channels.

Is the universe perfectly describable by a state-transition model, though? I feel like this frame has been useful to me, and others have talked about it being useful to them, and physics seems to be largely done in this paradigm (speaking as an outsider who might be totally off). But this is a cop-out. "This frame has been useful to me" is itself being judged from within the state-transition paradigm.

Metaphilosophical competence can't be disentangled from alignment

If "empathy" means "ability to understand the feelings of others" or "ability to predict what others will do", then it seems straightforward that empathy is learnable. And learnability and teachability seem basically the same to me. Examples indicating that empathy is learnable:

  • As you get to know someone, things go more smoothly when you're with them
  • Socializing is easier when you've been doing a lot of it (at least, I think so)
  • Managers are regularly trained for their job
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