Raghu Veer S

📕Read ✍🏽Write 👨🏼‍💻Code 🚶‍♂️Flâneuring Interests:- Philosophy & Mathematics. Go here to know more about me and what I do: raghuveer.net


The Echo Fallacy

I feel “self-fulfilling prophecy” does the same thing, but I like your term better — catchier, pithier, and more functional. :)

Are Humans Fundamentally Good?

Exactly this. Studying behaviours and averaging it has reduced us into easily categorisable beings. The complexity just goes out of the window when the question itself has a design constraint that the answer is expected to meet. My idea is that even if there is an irreducible unit to which you can be reduced to—which I don’t think there is—the temporally emergent aspect of interactions with a larger whole such as the society that are combinatorially so large as to be intractable just do not allow for a siloed theory/inquiry to explain it all.

What are habits that a lot of people have and don't tend to have ever questioned?

Culture-specific habits like eating with hands in India or with chopsticks in other South Asian countries. Could be considered a social norm but I don’t think they are, as these are mostly a matter of preference that can be changed without violating any social agreement.

how has this forum changed your life?

It definitely has taught me some epistemic humility, and especially after reading contents by people like Eliezer, Gwern, and Scott I realized the amount of introspection that I had to do to be able to come to terms with the knowledge deficit I had. I always had an emotional alignment with their content, but the fact that these guys could think the way they do, and all using the same set of tools that I have has made me less envious and more curious in general.

Algorithms vs Compute

My view: Although I think it is a neat thought experiment, my intuition is it is a false dichotomy to separate between compute and algorithm, and I think so because: narrowing the path dependence of a domain that consists of multiple requirements for it to evolve optimally to an "either/or" situation usually leads to deadlocks that can be paradoxical(not all deadlocks have to remain paradoxical, pre-emption/non-blocking synchronization is a way out) like the one above.

My answer: Not much difference, because twenty-year timescale doesn't seem very significant to me; and also because neither has there been any fundamental revolution in the semiconductor/compute-manufacturing industry that has benefitted us in ways other than cost, and nor has there been any revolutionary algorithms found that couldn't be run with old hardware scaled to today's standards. (But in complex systems (which ML is) interactions matters more than anything else, so I might be way off here)

Review: How to Read a Book (Mortimer Adler, Charles Van Doren)

I have/had all the problems that are mentioned in the post, but as of late I am observing that as I read more books on a single topic, it allows me to maintain my natural rythm without having to strain myself to be hyper-attentive. And the added benefit I see is even if I miss some quirky details in the first book due to lack of attention, it somehow starts to come together on its own by the nth book(for me it has been 2nd or 3rd). On the other hand, I don't think my attention span has improved drastically, but I would say that it has definitely improved by some margin due to meditation and reading more, at least to a point of being able to realize that it has.

As for note-taking, I would also love to know how do people take notes, to me it feels like a flow-breaking activity to a point that I've come to detest doing it. Also as you say, sometimes the divided attention b/w I have to mark/note important things vs I have to maintain my focus makes it a tiresome activity to read, and sometimes it just feels like almost everything is equally important. So if someone could answer that I'll be grateful. To be precise my interest is in converting offline margin notes to online notes, and knowing how people decide what is important in the first read.

And among the books you've listed, I have read the "The Art of Reading", but I felt it was rather underwhelming, meaning, it never says anything about how to read, in fact, the entire book is weaved around the idea of kindling your interest in reading by explaining snippets of various prose written by various accomplished authors on how good reading requires good writing. Not good if you are already interested and don't want to blame the author for not writing well or making it too dense; and are only looking to up the attention/retention game, note-taking etc.