rmoehn's Comments

What Surprised Me About Entrepreneurship

I'm curious why implementing the hyperparameter search in Python would have been prohibitively expensive, but wasn't in Hy. For context: I'm familiar with Clojure (which inspired Hy) and macros.

And I would like to know where you learned that sort of meta-programming.

April Coronavirus Open Thread

Cardboard and plastic: Tottori Prefecture goes low-tech to protect officials from COVID-19

This made my day.

  • Cheap, low-tech prevention measures.
  • ‘“I hope this system will send out a message that even Tottori, where no infections have been reported yet, is being very vigilant.”’ – Yes!

I want Tottori spirit everywhere.

I'm leaving AI alignment – you better stay

What could have been different about the world for you to succeed in getting a sustainable AI Safety research career?

If I had had a mentor early on, in the beginning of 2016, that would have been great. A mentor who has patience for a bungling young person and keeps nudging them back on the right path. A mentor who has time for a weekly video call. A mentor who sets the structure for the relationship. Because I wouldn't have known what structure is good.

I still don't know how to find such a person.

What if you got more funding?

More funding would unblock all dependency cycles in the diagram above. This means that I could continue doing research. Would I do it? I think so, especially with a collaboration partner as described above. I tend to be doubtful about what I'm doing, but I also believe that I have something to contribute to the field. Not raw math power – other people are better at that. But more on the software development, process, management, people side.

What if you got some sort of productivity coaching?

I don't think I have a big problem with productivity. Are you asking because I wrote about dawdling above? I've fixed that mostly. And I'm so far not willing to give up the remaining big time consumers (family, Japanese, weightlifting, BJJ, sleep).

That said, it's always helpful to have someone look at what I'm doing and tell me where I can do better.

What if you had a collaboration partner?

This would help if the person filled in for my weaknesses. Ie. if they knew in depth about math and ML theory. If they liked to read articles and keep up with what the field is doing. If they liked to carve out new problems to be solved.

About the research sponsorship:

I'm all for supporting eager people. The tax issues and other formalities can be sorted out. Whether I would personally start earning to give or have time for discussions and feedback, I don't know yet. It depends on what I do next. Certainly I wouldn't mind if people ask me for it. I would like to be the kind of mentor that I wish I had. Of course, I'm still inexperienced, but I think I could help someone who is where I was four years ago.

I wouldn't want to evaluate the usefulness of people's proposals and make funding decisions. This would require keeping up with current research, which is something I dislike. Also, I'm already doubting the usefulness of my own research, so how would I know about others'?

If you need more detail, let me know and I'll book a time in your Calendly.

[Meta] Do you want AIS Webinars?

Yes, I can do that to get things started. For at least the first five webinars. Later I might drop out in order to concentrate on whatever I'm doing then.

I'm usually available between 21:30 and 12:00 UTC. You can also check my Calendly: https://calendly.com/rmoehn

I'm leaving AI alignment – you better stay

I'll get back to this by 24 March.

Brief note on sponsoring: I like the idea. Practically one might need to jump through some extra hoops in order to get these donations deducted from one's taxes.

[Meta] Do you want AIS Webinars?

This is a great intitiative! If I was still working on AIS, I would be very keen on running a webinar, too.

How does one run an organization remotely, effectively?

I would follow Manager Tools guidance. They have a whole section called Remote/Virtual Teams and a new cast on Managing During a Pandemic - The COVID-19 Cast.

I don't have any experience as a manager. But I've been following their guidance in many other areas with success. And they usually give a detailed justification of their guidance within each cast.

Makeshift face touch warner

Thanks! Yeah, yours must be more accurate and also cost-competitive, if you factor in the manual labor for building my device. The only advantage of mine is that people can make it at home, which means there are no supply problems.

The Japanese in the background is Asahi Shinbun (a newspaper). I live in Japan, so this is my go-to desk protector when working with a knife. 🔪📰 :-) How come you know how to distinguish Japanese from Chinese characters?

I'm leaving AI alignment – you better stay

Thanks for sharing your story and for encouraging me! I will certainly keep in touch with the AI alignment community.

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