Rana Dexsin

You see either something special, or nothing special.


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Persuasion Tools: AI takeover without AGI or agency?

Did your friend manage to get out of the mistaken suggestion-patterns later, and if so, how? (If it's appropriate to reveal, of course.)

Survey of Deviant Ideas

Isn't this extremely social-context-dependent? Do you mean “almost no other LW readers would agree with you on”? Or “almost nobody in the (poorly-defined) ‘mainstream’ would agree with you on”? Or “almost nobody in your ‘primary’ social group (whatever that is) would agree with you on”? Or “almost nobody in the world (to what threshold? that's a lot of people!) would agree with you on”?

Edited to add: To make the concrete connection explicit, I can think of a number of things I believe that I wouldn't dare say out loud on LW, and a number of things I believe that I wouldn't dare say out loud in another very different social setting I'm attached to, but they don't intersect much. I'm not sure I can think of much I believe where I have no social group that would agree with me.

AGI Predictions

What level of background in AI alignment are you assuming/desiring for respondents? Is it just “all readers” where the assumption is that any cultural osmosis etc. is included in what you're trying to measure?

Where do (did?) stable, cooperative institutions come from?

I strong-upvoted this out of the negative because it seemed disproportionate for it to be there; I think it has some flaws as an answer and it might've been better as a comment, but there are other answers that are just as shaky on an explanatory level. (Though I don't think some of the adversarial framing is doing it any favors.)

My intuition is that there's a strong underlying point here, even if the surface markers have run afoul of some memetic antibodies. I'd love to see a better framing of this and better-explained actual counters if they're there; if the latter are part of local canon, they haven't propagated to me. “spirals of inequality leads to spirals of distrust” as a central thesis certainly plays well enough with some of the EEA-psychology and historical-cycles modeling on the surface.

Location Discussion Takeaways

I'll try to reword/expand here what I read Zack as saying/implying, without presently agreeing or disagreeing with it (except for one meta bit below):

“mingyuan's post implies that the main threat from cancel culture is being personally (perhaps physically) attacked. However, the main problem with attempting to center a rationalist community in an area that is sufficiently affected by cancel culture occurs well before the point where being personally attacked is likely. The problem is that people reflexively censor what they say, in such a way that the community stops being able to coordinate on anything that is true but cancellable, or even potentially-true but cancellable.¹ This would cause arrived-at consensus about reality to be distorted in a way that no longer reflects rationalist ideals and makes the resultant community no longer worthy of² the name. Because this has such an impact, centering on individual “social safety” as described in the original post is misleading and distracting when thinking about how to defend a rationalist community from the effects of cancel culture, in that it may lead to accepting solutions that preserve such individual safety but destroy defining aspects of the community in the process.”

¹ Zack's first comment has other references about how this can create an equilibrium that's difficult to break, and why partial answers work poorly, but I'm not confident enough to copy those here, and I think they may have been distracting as originally interleaved with the main argument.

² I considered writing “accurately described by” instead of “worthy of” here, but I place more salience on the emotion/motivation aspect in that part of Zack's comment.

Zack, how accurate is this? habryka, does that help?

(My read on the meta-aspect of the very first part is that I interpret the “I guess cities are maybe worse on the cancel culture dimension because if you're hidden in the middle of nowhere it's harder for people to credibly threaten to physically attack you.” part of mingyuan's post as less salient, and more intended as a potentially nonrepresentative example, compared to the “But, is there anywhere, physically, that one can go to escape cancel culture? My instinct is no”, which dominates my felt-sense of that section. So (without intending to judge whether this is good or bad) I think Zack is responding at something of an angle to the thrust of the original post.)

Things are allowed to be good and bad at the same time

On the face of it, the initial conditions which you're consciously pushing against sound like a milder “everyone does it a little” version of the “splitting” behavior that shows up more pathologically in e.g. borderline personality disorder, maybe with a dash of the “Mental Mountains” post from SSC. Does that sound like an accurate description?

"Win First" vs "Chill First"

[Epistemic status: anecdata and perspective generation]

I think it's not right in the general case, but it may be more right than not as an approximation here, since what's described might be indicative of defaults regarding intensity. In my experience, default intensities do feel roughly bimodal among my peers, and in fact one of my current life strategy issues is to figure out how not to fall too far into line with the less-intense subset that currently dominate my social graph.

Another read on that might be that even when the resultant intensities differ widely between activities and situations and may overlap or cross over between a “win-first” individual and a “chill-first” individual, there's still an underlying difference in something like focus, salience, or differential habituation to up-regulation versus down-regulation of intensity.

The Best Toy In The Park

There is little conscious depth, i.e. depth that we can introspect, experience or enjoy. We don't think much about which specific centimeter we'll place our foot at, we just feel the correct motion and perform it.

[Epistemic status: personal observation of mental states which are difficult to describe well]

This doesn't quite match my experience (though I haven't had much of this experience for a while, so take this with some extra salt). What I remember is being able to have deep conscious interaction with an ongoing complex motor process like that, but in a less synchronous way. Activities like playing board games involve conscious manipulation in the same subjective timeline as the main flow of action: you consciously think about what move to make, then you reach out to make it, then you consciously observe what your opponents are doing, then repeat (depending on the game of course). Activities like playing music or running, by contrast, involve primarily unconscious cycles as the “main” flow of action, but the conscious mind can still watch it happen and then reach out and touch it in parallel, placing constraints and nudges and altering parameters. What it doesn't get is waited on for a say in every microdecision, because those are happening too fast—but consciously remembering a finer-grained history lets you try to extrapolate what nudges to give to create the pattern you want next time, which is how I would realize the loop of deliberate practice in motor skills, which I just now notice does make the “(consciously) think, then act” pattern again, but one level of temporal chunking up. And it's possible to have a conscious say in an upcoming microdecision if the conscious mind predicts them far enough in advance and the unconscious mind has enough spare processing power that the information can be integrated in time.

Survey Results: 10 Fun Questions for LWers

Maybe, but I think any change to the result caused by people randomizing is inherently part of the actual result here. But then, any change to the result caused by people thinking they shouldn't randomize because it would hamper the result is also part of the result.

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