I'm currently researching forecasting and epistemics as part of the Quantified Uncertainty Research Institute.


Prediction-Driven Collaborative Reasoning Systems


“PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not.

I feel mixed about this. 

My guess is that Anna means something fairly specific by "honor", but there are many cases of people using honor or similar abstractions to justify some really terrible things (lots of violence, for example). So if you were to tell most people to "maximize honor instead of do PR", I could see this going quite poorly.


For one thing, for many people, in many important situations, "not saying anything at all" is a really good thing. Think of prisoners who don't plead the fifth, or many other legal cases or otherwise. Arguably Trump and Elon Musk have been fairly damaging on Twitter to themselves.

I think a lot of PR professionals are quite bad, but this is true for most professions. I imagine in a lot of (good) cases their advice is "don't say really stupid stuff", and much of the time their clients really could use hearing that. 

Creating A Kickstarter for Coordinated Action

Happy to see enthusiasm and initiative here. I tried starting a few web startups in college and after; almost none worked, but the experience was useful.

I think you're massively underestimating the challenge of this. There were many products like Kickstarter before Kickstarter. To be successful you often need a combination of technical talent, marketing, and luck. This isn't to say that it's not worth a more intense endeavor; just that I wouldn't be as optimistic as your post sounds.

You sound quite similar to other young entrepreneurs I have known. Some wind up being successful, sometimes in part because of their overconfidence. Entrepreneurial claims often work better in other markets than rationalism / EA; when posting in places like this especially I suggest keeping things a bit more humble. 

So overall I think this is quite a bit more challenging than I think you think it is, but I don't want to discourage you from trying (though I really hope the process doesn't involve you burning over-hyped colleagues). I imagine more people making attempts at these things could be quite good overall.

The LessWrong 2018 Book is Available for Pre-order

Just want to flag that I like the idea of topic-specific books, perhaps with an additional author to help rewrite things and make them consistent and clean. It's especially enticing if you can find labor to do it that doesn't have a high opportunity cost for other LessWrong style things. 

The LessWrong 2018 Book is Available for Pre-order

+1 for being able to be open about small disagreements like this online :)

The LessWrong 2018 Book is Available for Pre-order

Thanks for the reasoning here. I also don't want to detract people from purchasing these books, I imagine if people really wanted they could write the dates on them manually. 

That said - 

To better explain my intuitions here:

In 5 years from now, I care about whether the essays came out in 2018 or in 2017 if I am trying to find a particular one in a book, or recommend one to another person. Ordering is really simple to remember compared to other kinds of naming one could use. When going between different books the date is particularly relevant because names and concepts will change over time. I'd hope that 10 years from now much of the 2018 content will look antiquated and old. 

If you're just aiming for "timeless and good quality posts" (this sounds like the value proposition for the readers you are referring to), then I don't understand the need to only choose ones from 2018. Many good ones came out before 2018 that I imagine would be interesting to readers. That said, if you plan on releasing them on yearly intervals later I'd imagine some restriction might be necessary. Or, it could be that whenever a few topics seem to have come full circle or be in a good place for a book, you publish a book focused on those topics. 

I agree that "LessWrong Review 2018" sounds strange, but there are other phrases that could have with 2018 in them. Many Academic periodicals (including things like Philosophy, which are at least as timeless as LessWrong content) have yearly collections. With those I don't assume I need to read all of the old ones before reading the current year, that would take quite a while (it becomes more obvious after a few are out). I imagine the name could be something like, "LessWrong Highlighted Content: 2018" or "The Best of LessWrong: 2018". 

It's very possible that there's kind of a "free pass" for the first 1-3 years, if this is a repeating thing, and then you could start adding the year. It's not that big a deal if there are just 2-3 of these, but I imagine it will get to be annoying if there are 5+ (and by that time it will be more obvious if it's an issue or not)

The LessWrong 2018 Book is Available for Pre-order

If the main thing that separates this book from the 2019 and 2020 books is that it's the collection of posts from 2018, it's counterintutive to me that that's not the prominent feature of the title here. Other "journals of the year" often make the year really prominent.

I feel like 5 years from now I'm going to have trouble remembering that "A Map That Reflects the Territory" refers to the 2018 edition, and some other equally elegant but abstract name refers to the 2019 edition. 

If you do go with really premium books especially, I'd recommend considering making the date the prominent bit. Honestly I expect to memorize the "lesswrong"ness from the branding (which is distinct), so the year seems like the most important part to me. 

That said, I feel like I'm not exactly in the target audience (generally don't prefer physical books), so it would come down to the preferences of others. 

I realize you've probably thought about this a lot and have reasons, just giving my 2 cents. 

The LessWrong 2018 Book is Available for Pre-order

The books look very pretty, nice work.

Is this content from 2018 specifically, or is it taken from all of historic LessWrong? My impression was that this was from the 2018 review, but I don't see anything about that in the description above. 

If it is from the 2018 review, do you have ideas on how you will differentiate the 2019/2020/etc versions?

Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations

Thank you for raising the issue. Happy to clarify further. 

By evaluation we refer essentially[1] to the definition on Wikipedia page here

Evaluation is a systematic determination of a subject's merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards. It can assist an organization, program, design, project or any other intervention or initiative to assess any aim, realisable concept/proposal, or any alternative, to help in decision-making; or to ascertain the degree of achievement or value in regard to the aim and objectives and results of any such action that has been completed

By "interesting" we mean what will do well on the listed rubric. We're looking for examples that would be informative for setting up new research evaluation setups. This doesn't mean the examples have to deal with research, but rather that they bring something new to the table that could be translated. For example, maybe there's a good story of a standardized evaluation that made a community or government significantly more or less effective.

[1]  I say "essentially" because I can imagine that maybe someone will point out some unintended artifact in the definition that goes against our intuitions, but I think that this is rather unlikely to be a problem.

Delegated agents in practice: How companies might end up selling AI services that act on behalf of consumers and coalitions, and what this implies for safety research

I find this interesting, thanks for working on it. I’ve been thinking about similar things for a while and have heard related discussions, but I’m happy to have more standardized terminology and the links to existing literature.

I am more interested in how this could be used improve our thinking abilities for broad range of valuable purposes, rather than on the implications specifically for them to be unsafe.

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