All of reaver121's Comments + Replies

A Challenge for LessWrong

You are correct off course. I was merely reacting against your statement that I can make no difference at all.

1Roko11yRight, but the fact remains that most of the influence in this world is going to people with high values of "earnings" and little altruism or charity-rationality, and that if we could get away from this timid, minimalist mentality, we could really change that.
A Challenge for LessWrong

Your original post said :

If you're a "rationalist", but not rich and not on your way to being rich, you're probably just deluding yourself.

I assumed that with 'rich' you mean world top 100 millionaire levels (Correct me if I'm wrong here). You are right that I don't care enough about $ and status to reach those levels but I wouldn't say I am poor enough to make absolutely no difference at all.

My minimalistic lifestyle coupled with a average income allows me to save a lot of money. Probably more then my older colleagues who probably earn mo... (read more)

4Roko11yYou can make a difference, yes. The relevant equation is: Difference you make = (Earnings-Spend) x Altruism x 10^(charity rationality) Since you are considering giving money to some highly efficient charity like SIAI, you will in the future make more of a difference than almost anyone else in the world, if you do so. However, if you fix charity rationality or you've already found the most efficient charity in the world, then it seems to me than Increasing earnings is probably more effective than decreasing spend. You can earn $10^6 .year (I know of a major SIAI donor who has achieved this) , but if your current spend is $10k, you can't increase -spend by more than a few k.
1Roko11ySo you have $100k of worth tied up in land for the house, I presume? I didn't mean to say that having at least a net worth of $100k was sufficient for being instrumentally rational, more that it is a necessary condition in most cases. If you're 50 years old, say, then it is far from sufficient. Earnings trajectories tend to be superlinear, so accumulated total earnings grows in a highly superlinear fashion on average, making it relatively hard to set a clear and simple financial boundary.
A Challenge for LessWrong

I'm familiar with some of the obvious arguments at a basic level (entrepreneurship is usually win-win, money can be used to help fund or attract attention for just about any other project or argument you care to have succeed, getting rich should be relatively easy in a world full of both arbitrage opportunities and irrational people), but still don't quite find them convincing

I do find them convincing. Unfortunately, I don't find them motivating. Making a sustained effort to do something usually depends for me on :

  • earning enough money to sustain my li
... (read more)
2Jonathan_Graehl11yIf one only cared about material goods, then you're right. Otherwise, it depends on how much you need to be relatively richer than others in order to attract the kind of social interaction you like. Think of the stereotypical well-dressed man hoping to land a winning bid on a pretty gold digger.

This epitomizes the problem with Less Wrongers' instrumental rationality:

I do find them convincing. Unfortunately, I don't find them motivating.

My lifestyle tends to be rather minimalistic so that even an average to low income is more the enough to sustain it. I also find it a lot easier to just forgo some comfort or gadget instead of working more to pay for it

We're a bunch of linux-hacking post-hippies who don't care enough about the socially accepted measures of influence ($ and status) to motivate ourselves to make a difference. Hence, we are sidelined by dumb cave-men who at least have enough fire in their bellies to win.

A Challenge for LessWrong

I donated blood just yesterday. Unfortunately, I'm AB+ which means my blood is only suitable to other AB+ people. About 5% of the population according to Wikipedia. On the plus side, I can receive blood from anyone :). I have to admit that I'm having trouble keeping a regular schedule of blood donation.

On the topic of diet, LessWrong helped me losing about 17 pounds through implementing some short term motivation methods. Counted in the probability of more years at life that's a huge win.

3simplicio11yRight on! (I'm O neg). Re: the schedule, try scheduling your next donation every time you have a blood appointment, then just changing it to a more convenient time closer to the date. I'll say! That's what I was hoping to hear... it's not all about using the skills you learned on LW to develop a theory of quantum gravity or whatever.
Is cryonics necessary?: Writing yourself into the future

Good points. Just read the whole conversation between you and Vladimir_M and I agree it could go both ways.

Is cryonics necessary?: Writing yourself into the future

You're assuming that because someone has made mistakes themselves they will judge others less harshly. That is not necessarily the case.

Besides, most people make indeed mistakes but not the same mistakes. If you're boss is a teetotaler and you are a careful driver, you are not going to think well of each other if you get drunk and your boss gets into an car accident.

Even I have the same problem. I tend to procrastinate so if a coworker is past his deadline I don't really care. But I dislike sloppy thinking and try to eradicate it in myself so it really ge... (read more)

4[anonymous]11yActually, I don't think that's the only or most important factor. People who learn about the skeletons in your closet will compare you, not only to themselves, but to other people. If everyone has skeletons in their closet and everyone knows about them, then your prospective employer Bob (say) will be comparing the skeletons in your closet not only to the skeletons in his own closet, but more importantly to the skeletons in the closets of the other people who are competing with you for the same job. As for people not making equal mistakes, to put it in simple binary terms merely for the purpose of making the point, divide people into "major offenders" and "minor offenders" and suppose major offenders are all equally major and minor all equally minor. If major offenders outnumber minor offenders, then being a major offender is not such a big deal since you're part of the majority. But if minor offenders outnumber major offenders, then only a minority of people will be major offenders and therefore only a minority will have to worry about a transparent society. So either way, the transparent society is not that big a thing to fear for the average person. It's a self-limiting danger. The more probable it is that the average person will be revealed to have Pervert Type A, the greater the fraction of people who will be revealed to be Pervert Type A, and therefore the harder it will be for other people to ostracize them, since to do so would reduce the size of their own social network.
Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

Well, I don't count as a lurker anymore but I only started posting about two weeks ago and lurked about 2 years before that so I think I qualify to comment about it. The only 2 forums where I post(ed) at all are LessWrong and INTPCentral.

INTPCentral was more of an experiment to see if I could sustain posting for an extended period of time. It didn't work and after 2 weeks I lost interest. LessWrong has less chance going the same way because of the high level of most top posts. That's my first barrier to post. The online community has to be interesting eno... (read more)

Newcomb's problem happened to me

Sorry, I used the wrong terminology. I meant an prenuptial agreement. The bus example was to show that even if you precommit there is always the possibility that you will change your mind (i.e. in this case by losing empathy). I used the extreme method of brain damage because it's completely out of your control. You cannot precommit on not being run over by a bus.

Newcomb's problem happened to me

That's the reason why I never get why people are against marriage contracts. Even ignoring the inherent uncertainty of love & marriage, if I walk under a bus tomorrow and lose for example all empathy due to brain damage, my current self would wish you to divorce future psychopath-me as quickly as possible.

As for the OP, good article. If anyone ever asks why I spend my time theorizing away over 'impossible' things like AI or decision theory I can use this as an example.

0[anonymous]11yI'm pretty sure thinking about scenarios with low probability, especially over the long term, is considered "unromantic". Disclaimer: commenter is generally anti-marriage and not typically romantic.
3PhilGoetz11yDid you mean to say you don't understand why people are in favor of marriage contracts? I don't see how the marriage contract helps in the bus example.
Compartmentalization as a passive phenomenon

If understand you correctly, you are saying that most people are not knowledgeable enough about the different domains in question to make any (or judge any) cross-domain connections. This seems plausible.

I can think however of another argument that confirms this but also clarifies why on Less Wrong we think that people actively compartmentalize instead of failing to make the connection and that is selection bias. Most people on this site are scientists, programmers or other technical professions. It seems that most are also consequentialists. Not surprisi... (read more)

3Academian11yOne of the reasons I'm in favor of axiomatization in mathematics is that it prevents compartmentalization and maintains a language (set-theory) for cross-domain connections. It doesn't have to be about completeness. So yeah, thumbs up for foundations-encourage-connections... they are connections :)
Levels of communication

I have another annoying habit. I tend to get rather ... enthusiastic in discussions thanks to applying The mind projection fallacy to my discussion partner.

Sometimes if find a certain fact X so glaringly obvious that I tend to assume that other people also find it obvious. So, when the discussion starts I think that we are both on the same page when we are not. This leads to me misunderstanding their arguments. From my point of view I seems like they are doing it on purpose which makes me rather flustered. I usually takes me a while in such cases to realize that they not know about X.

Understanding your understanding

That was my main problem with the definition of stage 3 and was why I posted my original comment. It seemed to me that you could apply stage 3 to parts of your knowledge but not for everything.

When I read 'This stage should be the goal of all rationalists.' (in the original post) I was confused because it seemed to me that stage 3 was unreachable. I mean, if I started with only my human psychology, my senses and the world around me (i.e. the level of a caveman) I don't think I would invent math, physics,... Stage 3 seemed reachable if I assumed infinite time & persistence and scientific reasoning.

Understanding your understanding

Good point. That's why I here argued against thinking about things too long. It's even more important the less rational you are. Before you know it, you are past the point that any evidence can convince you that your opinion is wrong.

Understanding your understanding

It seems to me that stage 3 just means that you use correct scientific methods to learn & expand your knowledge (or am I missing something ?). If that is correct, wouldn't that mean you could essentially recreate the entire body of human knowledge given enough time & persistence ?

The only knowledge that seems absolutely essential to me then is the scientific method itself. Given my human psychology I'm reasonable certain that without that knowledge I would dream up an entire pantheon of gods to explain away everything and just stop there.

1SilasBarta12yActually, Stage 3 works as a standard for the scientific method as well. That is, if knowledge of that specific method were deleted from your mind, would you rediscover it? Do you have an epistemology that would come up with an idea like, "Hey, I need to check these general ideas I have against nature, to see if they really hold" without it having been revealed to you in advance? Ideally, you'd come up with (or have to start from!) something even better: the Bayesian rationalist method, of which the scientific method is a crippled, special case []. While science is better than superstition, it also permits slower updates than you can justify, and often allows certain kinds of evidence that you shouldn't count. However, if you found yourself in a role analogous to "being one-eyed in the land of the blind []", and others' minds weren't capable of following Bayesian rationality, then you may want to teach them the scientific method as a next-best epistemology.
3prase12yThere is a far way from using correct methods to actually discovering something important. There are almost infinitely many ways you can apply the methods, so you have to know where to look to find out the desired answers. Also, "given enough time & persistence" is a phrase which can very easily be misleading. You are certainly not in phase 3 if you needed 10^15 years to discover the relevant fact. To be in stage 3 with general relativity, to take a particular example, you have to be in the state that after it being deleted from your head, given a question "how to reconcile Lorentz transformations and gravity", it would instantly appear to you that the solution has something to do with curved spacetime and general covariance. You needn't to know how the solution looks like at the first moment, but the rederivation should appear to you as the most natural chain of inductions, without stopping at crossroads and randomly (or systematically) checking all possible ways forward, albeit using scientific method. After all, there were lots of people in 1910s who knew the scientific method and all available data, but only one has discovered general relativity, and only few others, if anybody, were even close.
Lights, Camera, Action!

No, I find it very interesting. It's very enlightening to hear somebody else's view on introspection. I tend to introspect a lot (sometimes maybe too much). I always had a bit of a double relationship with it as you are never sure about your conclusions about yourself and I dislike uncertainty rather strongly.

However, I can't see another way how know to yourself better. You can use evolutionary psychology & psychological studies but they only provide very broad strokes. You could go to a psychiatrist but there are a lot of different schools to chose f... (read more)

0Alicorn12yI wrote a little bit on what to do with your conclusions in "Lampshading".
Think Before You Speak (And Signal It)

nitpick:"I still would error on the side of", err not error


but isn't it quite easy to see when thinking has gone on for 'too long' without benefit?

I suspect that in most cases you will be right. However, I know a woman in my street who is convinced that she's empath and can, quite literally, sense people emotions (in the telepathic kind of way, not the body language kind). The first time I met here I tried (naively maybe) to convince her that her ability is impossible. I told her of confirmation bias, unconscious cold reading, t... (read more)

Lights, Camera, Action!

Most of the time it's like talking to myself. When I'm actively analyzing something it's like having a discussion with people who all are me but all taking different stances (and one of them is a joker who can't stop looking at it from a comedian viewpoint).

Think Before You Speak (And Signal It)

I agree that it would be a good idea to prevent hurting your credibility by signaling that you are either throwing out an idea to be torn apart or that you have thought long and hard about it. However, I still would err on the side of letting an idea out early. There are also downsides with thinking about an idea for too long :

  • you are less likely to find problems in your idea on your own
  • you possibly can get emotionally invested in your idea so you will have trouble in letting go when someone shoots it down
  • lost thinking time when your idea turns out to
... (read more)
0idlewire11ySo the real question is: "How will one's credibility be affected in the environment where the idea is presented?" which most likely depends on one's current credibility. As of now, I don't have much karma so my risk of putting out poor ideas is more detrimental to this screen name. Eliezer could probably sneak in an entire subtly ludicrous paragraph that might go unnoticed for a while. He has a history in reader's minds as well as the karma metric to make people ignore that flash in the back of their minds that something was off. They are more likely to think it was their own abberant thinking or that they had a flawed interpretation of a non-ludicrous idea he was trying to convey. So it guess it just depends on how solid you think your idea and reputation are in making the decision on when to release an idea to a particular audience.
0h-H12yvalid points, but isn't it quite easy to see when thinking has gone on for 'too long' without benefit? nitpick:"I still would error on the side of", err not error :_)
The ABC's of Luminosity

In general, I find heuristics for focusing my attention other than where it falls naturally to be interesting only as novelties - soon I'm back to paying attention to whatever strikes me.

Same here. In daily life I don't find this much of problem but I sometimes regret that when I have to choose between for example TVTropes or something else, TVTropes usually wins.

I can entertain time-consuming meditative or introspective exercises to the extent I hope that I'll gain some permanent, low-maintenance benefit, like learning new information that will be us

... (read more)
0CronoDAS12yBut TVTropes is so much fun! ;)
4mattnewport12yI found this effective when trying to improve my eating habits. Making sure in advance that there are healthy options in the fridge already when I get home from work means I am likely to eat something healthy. If I know there is no readily available healthy option at home I'll generally grab something less healthy on my way home or go out and get something just to satisfy my immediate hunger. Similarly I find I can avoid unhealthy snacking by simply not having any unhealthy snacks in my apartment.
The ABC's of Luminosity

Additionally, take note of any interesting absences. If something generally considered sad has happened to you, and you can detect no sadness in your affect or telltale physical side effects, that's highly relevant data.

This one (and the opposite, i.e. have an emotion where it's considered inappropriate) happens to me a lot.

For example, my room is usually total and utter chaos which doesn't disturb me in the slightest. For some reason anything that isn't moved in the last 3 or 4 days just becomes background, like trees in a forest. On the other hand, ... (read more)

1ChrisHibbert11yI love "Codd help you". Brilliant!
4mattnewport12yThis may be a confusion over the meaning of 'relax'. I find a vacation away from home more energizing than one spent at home partly due to the 'a change is as good as a rest' phenomenon. I think for me being removed from environmental cues that are associated with the stresses of day to day life is also helpful. I found climbing a mountain on my vacation last year more 'relaxing' in this sense than spending the same amount of time sitting around my apartment despite it being physically taxing for example. I also find myself more relaxed/replenished if I've gone snowboarding on a Sunday than if I've sat around my apartment all day watching TV. This may be a 'personality type' thing.
5Rain12yIt can be, yes. Stating an observation about my circumstances, I find that my thought patterns can alter significantly according to where I sit down. If I sit at my work desk, I enter a state of general boredom and tediously pay attention to my various monitors. If I do nothing more than turn around and instead sit with my chair at the table which is normally behind me, I enter a state of critical thinking and desire to tackle problems. And when I go down to the snack room at lunch time and sit in one of the small tables while eating dessert and looking out the window, I immediately begin thinking of fantasy stories that incorporate interesting philosophical problems. If I sit out on the porch of my family's cabin in the woods, looking out over the lake, I hardly think of anything at all.
Let There Be Light

link. Last paragraph of section 'Secondary Function: Extraverted Intuition'. Search on the word 'duality' to find the paragraph fast.

Let There Be Light

I’m of the impression that the MBTI tends to be more useful to more you tend to the extremes of the four scales. When I do the test, I usually use one that gives you percentages for each scale. I remember that for my first time it got INTP with as percentages (roughly) 100% (I), 80% (both N & T) and P (60%). I was 20 when I first tested. 7 years later I still test as INTP.

I remember that when I first tested I was rather skeptical and knew of the Forer/Barnum effect so to be sure I read all the descriptions of the other personality types. The INTP prof... (read more)

0wedrifid12yThat's an INTP thing?