All of RomeoStevens's Comments + Replies

(Then perhaps build a second such solution that is orthogonal to the first. And so on, with a stack of redundant and highly orthogonal highly generic solutions, any one of which might be the only thing that works in any given disaster, and which does the job all by itself.)

This is excellent! Can this reasoning be improved by attempting to map the overlaps between x-risks more explicitly? The closest I can think of is some of turchin's work.

My pretty limited understanding is that this is a fairly standard safety engineering approach. If you were going to try to make it just a bit more explicit a spreadsheet might be enough. If you want to put serious elbow grease into formal modeling work I think a good keyword to get into the literature might be "fault trees". The technique came out of Bell Labs in the 1960's but I think it really came into its own when it was used to model nuclear safety issues in the 1980's? There's old Nuclear Regulatory Commission work that got pretty deep here I think.

If it is trivial to do better with a few moments of reflection then make with the interesting comments. I see your near universal non-specific disdainful comments as a significant part of why LW is less pleasant to post to.

Among the most pleasant places to post to are mutual-adoration communities. There are some on the web. They are among the most useless, too, though. The way it usually works is that the place to get good information is different from the place to get your hedons. That's not an accident.

Strongly disagree. I would be more enthused about lesswrong if it had more attempts at futurism.

I like futurism, but this is not it. This is an attempt to forecast how economic incentives will get rearranged in the near future conditional on the self-driving cars technology becoming widespread. This attempt was a failure. Moreover, it was such an obvious failure, that the only two explanations I can come up with is either that the author has no clue at all about business and economics, or that he dumped a stream of consciousness without bothering to spend five minutes thinking about it.

I recommend tabooing the word free in order to think more clearly.

detecting previously addressed ideas is a major impediment due to non-obvious terminology.

news feed eradicator

delayed gratification

rescue time

Increase the delay on reward loops with your phone by activating developer settings and setting colorspaces to black and white and setting animation speeds to 2x or 5x. I tried going back to 2x after months with 5x and it felt palpably neurosis inducing.

Doing yoga improved my rationality skills. If I were rewriting optimal exercise I'd add a section titled Retraining your Broken CNS.

Lossy compression isn't telos free though.

You can play with this right now and simultaneously dissolve some negative judgements. Think about the function of psychics/fortune tellers in poor communities. What do you think is going on there phenomenologically when you turn off your epistemic rigor goggles? Also try it with prayer. What might you conclude about prayer if you were a detached alien? Confession is a pretty interesting one too. What game theoretic purpose might it be serving in a community of 150 people? I've found these types of exercises pretty valuable. Especially the less condescending I manage to be.

and suffering-focused EAs do less stuff that tends to lead to the destruction of the world.

In support of this, my system 1 reports that if it sees more intelligent people taking S-risk seriously it is less likely to nuke the planet if it gets the chance. (I'm not sure I endorse nuking the planet, just reporting emotional reaction).

X-risk is still plausibly worse in that we need to survive to reach as much of the universe as possible and eliminate suffering in other places.

Edit: Brian talks about this here:

Related: perverse ontological lock-in. Building things on top of ontological categories tends to cement them since we think we need them to continue getting value from the thing. But if the folk ontology doesn't carve reality at the joints there will be friction present in all the stories/predictions/expectations built up out of those ontological pieces along with an unwillingness to drop the folk ontology on the belief that you will lose all the value of the things you've built on top. One model of the punctuated equilibrium model of psychological development is periodic rebasing operations.

Agree about creation:critique ratio. Generativity/creativity training is the rationalist communities' current bottleneck IMO.

And I think we're mostly still trapped in a false implicit dogma that creativity is an innate talent that is possessed by some rare individuals and can't be duplicated in anyone who isn't already creative. What I'm hoping to be true is that you can train people to come up with good ideas, and that more importantly, if we can harness the ability of this community to look for errors in reasoning, even bad ideas can slowly be transformed into good ones, as long as we can come up with a decent framework for making that process robust.

Meta: if something has tons of evidence and you can't bring yourself to try it for a month ask yourself TDT-wise what your life looks like with and without skill of 'try seemingly good ideas for a month.'

Babbler reality has a strong pull because it doles out tasty treats.

Somehow being explained why and how my brain loves those treats makes them less attractive. It's probably a shift in perspective, that winning online pigeon chess only feels good if you are not aware of the kind of game you were playing. Learning about the fact makes further pigeon chess games feel low-status.

It does have access to your nervous system since your nervous system can be rewired via backdriving inputs from your perceptions.

Olivia Cabane's books are where I'd start. Then Kegan's Immunity to Change.

Non-DSM: Opening the Heart of Compassion. People with psychotherapy chops explain the buddhist model of pathology in an entertaining way.

I think values are confusing because they aren't a natural kind. The first decomposition that made sense was 2 axes: stated/revealed and local/global

stated local values are optimized for positional goods, stated global values are optimized for alliance building, revealed local are optimized for basic needs/risk avoidance, revealed global barely exist and when they do are semi-random based on mimesis and other weak signals (humans are not automatically strategic etc.)

Trying to build a coherent picture out of various outputs of 4 semi independent processes d... (read more)

Relevant term is judgmental bootstrapping in the forecasting literature if anyone wants to dive deeper. It is extremely practically relevant for many circumstances such as hiring, where adhoc linear models outperformed veteran hiring managers.

Time Braid and The Waves Arisen. Super fun reads, and also seem to put me in agenty mode better even than other rationalist fics. I haven't seen the naruto anime and I got on just fine with both.

As for why my model works this way: heavily influenced by the research on deliberate practice#Deliberate_practice). Essentially, it caused me to see expert performance as the combination of several core traits which are all predicated on perceptual skills. The first is generating the correct chunkings that mirror the causal structure in the domain in the first plac... (read more)

Ontology lock in. If you have nice stuff built on top of something you'll demand proof commensurate with the value of those things when someone questions the base layer even if those things built on top could be supported by alternative base layers. S1 is cautious about this, which is reasonable. Our environment is much safer for experimentation than it used to be.

Great description. Yes, I think that's exactly why people are reluctant to see other people's points.

This is why I like Naruto as a rationalist fanfic substrate: perceptual skills are explicitly upstream of action skills in the naruto universe. I think this mirrors the real universe and explains much of the valley of bad self-help. Action skills are pointless if you don't have the cues on when where and why to deploy them.

Another frame on the same concept: don't keep teaching people spells when their mana pool size sucks.

I currently have almost zero knowledge of Naruto and I'm interested in hearing more things about the perception/action skills thing as it applies to Naruto Classic (and/or rationalist!naruto)

This was what the research review on nootropics indicated is mostly the case. I've also encountered a similar conclusion in many other areas. Enough so that my prior in new domains is now that you can cut off the tail of bad outcomes but can't do much to the upside.

backslash escape special characters. Test Common knowledge)

done by adding the '\' in logic'\') without the quotes (otherwise it disappears)

Thanks! Fixed.

Big five personality traits is likely the factor analysis most people have heard of. Worth reading the blurb here:

Many many models can be thought of as folk factor analyses whereby people try to reduce a complex output variable to a human readable model of a few dominant input variables. Why care?

Additive linear models outperform or tie expert performance in the forecasting literature:

Teaching factor analysis is basically ... (read more)

3ChristianKl7y is Jonah Sinick's post speaking about benefits he got through the prism of dimensionality reduction
I suspect IQ (the g factor) is the most well-known application of factor analysis. Factor analysis is also a specific linear technique that's basically matrix rotation. On a higher, more conceptual level I find talking about dimensionality reduction more useful than specifically about factor analysis.

Have you considered trying to teach factor analysis as a fuzzy model (very useful when used loosely, not just rigorously)? It seems strongly related to this and imports some nice additional connotations about hypothesis search, which I think is a common blind spot.

I'm not familiar with factor analysis, so I have to say no, I haven't considered this. Can you recommend me a good place to start looking to get a flavor of what you mean?

Strongly related to Sarah Constantin's research review on nootropics:

If drugs work, please investigate the underlying integrity of your life/self care.

Ie: coffee is less like throwing water on the out of control fire that is your sleep schedule and more like putting your fingers in your ears and and facing the other way.

I take methylphenidate but that's because I have ADD.

The popularity of stimulants NOT being a flag is bothersome. If coffee and modafinil and methylphenidate seem like the greatest thing ever, investigate. There might be basement flooding, or load bearing column rot or other invisible hull integrity damage creeping in.

This implies that a "natural" well-rested, well-exercised, well-fed state of a human is the best he could ever hope to be and that biochem interventions (like nootropics) can compensate for non-optimality elsewhere but can't lift you above your natural best. Would you accept this implication?
Can you un-metaphor this for me? I don't get what you're talking about.

Having spent years thinking about this and having the opportunity to talk with open minded, intelligent, successful people in social groups, extended family etc. I concluded that most explicit discussion of the value of inquiring into values and methods (scope sensitivity and epistemological rigor being two of the major threads of what applied rationality looks like) just works incredibly rarely, and only then if there is strong existing interest.

Taking ideas seriously and trusting your own reasoning methods as a filter is a dangerous, high variance move ... (read more)

Maybe a side note, but it's not obvious to me that is in general true, whether normatively or empirically.
There's also the issue of having plenty of spare time·
Earlier today, it occurred to me that the rationalist community might be accurately characterized as "a support group for high IQ people". This seems concordant with your observations.
This also applies to me
1Adam Zerner7y
As for the comment that it's difficult to get people to be interested, that seems very true to me, and it's good to get the data of your vast experience with this. A separate question is how we can best attempt to get people to be interested. You commented on the failure you experienced with the "throw your techniques away, these ones are better" approach. That seems like a good point. I sense that my message takes that approach too strongly and could be improved. I'm interested in hearing about anything you've found to be particularly effective.

It goes up at least one important meta level: fraction of the community willing to take on the (potentially high in ambiguous cases) cost of punishing free riders has threshold effects IIRC that determine which attractor you sort in to. Part of my S1 sense that EA will not be able to accomplish much good on an absolute scale (even if much good is done at the margin) is that it does not cross this threshold.

I'm not sure things have actually changed, I think some people's perception is getting sharper. But on the flip side, there is the notion of not regarding an entire person as bad or well intentioned. People are loose coalitions.

I agree with overcoming the curiosity stopper very strongly. I think the generalized form of this is an extremely important primitive action type to have. The decomposition hammer is like brainstorming, it seems to get stronger the more you habitually use it.

I disagree with the 'problem solving frame' which I think is the key sticking point. Lots of branches of psychotherapy and schools of buddhism seem to have independently reinvented the idea that you are not going to get anywhere on your problem until you acknowledge the ways it is helping you get your needs met.

Yep, I think you're right. I tried to address that with this point here, but I think it could be emphasized stronger:

'try being naively good first' has been a surprisingly useful thought.

I'm somewhat surprised at the notion of "just be trustworthy" being helpful for anyone, though maybe that's because of an assumption that anyone who doesn't already employ this tactic must have considered it and have solid reasons to not use it?

If you really want people to engage with it you might want to do the hard work for them and strip out the preface and bold type chapter summaries from his book and upload and link them. Otherwise 99% of people aren't going to engage.

I see what you are saying but this is of such depth that if someone does not have the patience to engage with the material I, on my part, don't see how I can benefit through engaging with them on a debate about it. (By the way Sam Harris seems to be one of the people that haven't engaged with the material...)

I'd recommend the second Harris podcast instead. They got bogged down on a side point in the first one as they mention.

I would actually recommend Peterson's material before the Sam Harris podcasts. I can see many people that are arguing against his view just by listening to this podcast and it is obvious to me that they have not understood the actual thesis. I can see the votes going up on CronoDAS' "factually correct" comment above which is one of the things that Peterson successfully addresses right from the get go...

This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that you have tacit beliefs installed by the path dependent process that is hugely religion influenced. It's useful to know about this. E.g. Nietzsche has useful insights for people who consider themselves non-christian but are still running the same OS. Etc.

Consider the difference between the frame of expected value/probability theory and the frame of bounded optimality/error minimization. Under the second frame the question becomes "how can I manipulate my environment such that I wind up in close proximity to the errors that I have a comparative advantage in spotting?"

After digesting for a few days my intuitive response is to add the handle 'virtue fatigue' to this concept cluster. Virtues are a means by which the commons are policed. When you have runaway virtue signaling this is essentially defecting against the commons. You get what you want from scrupulous people who take public virtues seriously in the short term, but create virtue fatigue in the long run as more and more gets piled on to this working behavioral modification channel. Eventually the channel fails. This might turn ugly.

This seems closely related to the controversy around the GWWC pledge, and more generally nerds' complaints in general about social rules that are phrased as absolutes, with a claim of 100% applicability, but actually not meant to be taken literally.

play feels nice doesn't seem separate from play is probably useful.

In general, sure, but let's look into details. In the "playful fighting as a preparation for real fighting" situation, you are still trying to win. It's just that you don't mind losing, you may have a lot of fun losing (because that is what motivates you to continue the training despite the initial losses), and you may even know that you don't have a realistic chance of winning (yet). But still, on some level, you are trying to win; hoping that one day in the future you will win for real. Like, when I am play-wrestling with my 2 years old daughter, she will laugh when I grab her or push her on her back, but she is also fighting back. And when I pretend she defeated me, she pushes me on my back, and them jumps on me and laughs. And this is the aspect I don't see mentioned in the article. I guess there is a chance the author feels that this part is so obvious it's not necessary to mention it explicitly; but it doesn't seem to me that this is the case. For example, the disclaimer "I’m not longing for a clear status hierarchy" makes more sense in context where the author is otherwise proposing unilateral status displays, that in context where the author proposes that everyone should display status once in a while. I may be wrong here, of course. EDIT: Okay, this comment suggests I am wrong here.

Camaraderie is death spiral among anxious social group because a lot of people loudly object to such things. OMG you did not get their consent becomes an issue among people who are bad at exuding and reading non verbal signals about how welcome such things are.

Instead of submission and dominance I think an entirely different frame is helpful. Play fighting helps animals build the procedural knowledge for real fighting. In the same way that you would run or go to the gym with friends you might engage in playful status jostling with your friends so that when someone tries to actually knock your status down a peg it isn't a totally new reference class of experience and you just fire right back like you might with friends.

I like what you wrote here, but I feel like you and OP are talking about different things. For you, such experience is a traning for situation when someone tries to knock down your status for real, so that you are ready to defend yourself. For OP, it is an experience that feels nice.

3.1.4 seems totally ungrounded from analysis and fairly random in its speculation.

The positive reviewer agreed with you, though about an earlier version of that section. I stand by it, but admit that the informal and undetailed style clashes with the rest of the paper.

If durability is hard for a consumer to evaluate, then the manufacturer will push costs there in order to devote more optimization power to the dimensions that consumers actually evaluate. Manufacturers that don't do this will be left behind for two reasons. 1. They will appear worse in terms of the features that are visible and 2. Their competitors will have larger advertising budgets.

The general principle is similar to the idea of an Aether variable. Costs get pushed into harder to evaluate dimensions. The products available in the market are only 'desig... (read more)

Additionally: if only one member seems enthusiastic about thinking/planning/enforcing this kind of stuff that is a very bad sign. In such a situation when that person burns out the community slowly dies.

Common limiting beliefs can be seen as particularly strong attractors along certain dimensions of mindspace that coping mechanisms use to winnow the affordance space down to something manageable without too much cognitive overhead. Regularities in behaviors that don't serve a direct purpose could also be seen as spandrels from our training data clustering things that don't necessarily map directly to causality. Ie you can get animals to do all sorts of wacky things with clicker training which then persist even if you start only rewarding a subset of the actions if the animal has no obvious way of unbundling the actions.

That's interesting. I was pegging Attractors as physical actions, but I think the analogy can be loosely applied to mental concepts too (as I think you're doing here.) I think that regularities can be strategically used as you suggest to create additional "anchors" to helpful habits in the real world. (EX: Having a running timer probably shouldn't actually affect my running habits in the normative sense, yet having a timer when running really makes it feel more official / Formal.)

Thanks a lot for sharing. I think there's something valuable to be learned from how you've managed to maintain option value.

I've looked into housing prices for multi family complexes and they scale sublinearly with number of bedrooms. The biggest obstacle is that people aren't really willing to invest significant fractions of their income in them currently (because you don't want to have to gather 8 investors for an 8 unit, chaos/life happens). Ideally something like 3 people/couples who think they are relatively stable would take on responsibility for an 8 unit with a significant fraction of their income. This is a risk, but one of the top regrets of old people is becoming so... (read more)

Yeah, when I looked into cohousing this is what I concluded too. My husband and I ended up buying a house with 6 bedrooms and occupying two of them (then adding two more family members and building two more bedrooms.) None of our housemates would have bought in because they're not sure how long-term they want to be here, but they're happy to be renters and we're happy to own the building.

To us it's important that the arrangement be flexible; rather than a single big house we bought a house that had been divided into two apartments, so if we ever want to st... (read more)

All the higher conscientiousness people realize how bad of an idea it is financially to try to live in the bay and move elsewhere

Not all noble excuses are bad.

I think excuses in general are bad. They reinforce the narrative fallacy. All excuses collapse to I didn't care enough about the thing to take into account the factors affecting it. Including variance in factors you couldn't control. People don't like this frame because it makes them a lot more responsible for what happens to them. Note this should be deployed exclusively internally and not as an excuse to have less empathy for others. Everyone is doing the best they can. Note also that there is a distinction between respon... (read more)

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