romeostevensit's Comments

Unrolling social metacognition: Three levels of meta are not enough.

I'm generally in favor of public praise and private criticism, but this post really rubbed me the wrong way. To me it reads as a group of neurotic people getting together to try to get out of neuroticism by being even more neurotic at each other. Or, that in a quest to avoid interacting with the layer of intentions, let's go arbitrarily deep on the recursion stack at the algorithmic/strategy layer of understanding.

Also really bothered by calling a series of reactions spread over time levels of meta. Actually going meta would be paying attention to the structure of the back and forth rather than the individual steps in the back and forth.

Anti-social Punishment

I think awareness of this effect is tremendously important. Your immune system needs to fight cancer (mindless unregulated replication) in order for you to function and pursue any goal with a lower time preference than the mindless replicators. But what's even worse than cancer is a disease that coopts the immune system, leading to a lowered ability to fight off infections in general. People who care about the future are concerned about no-value aligned replication outcompeting human values. But they should also be concerned about agentic processes that specifically undermine the ability to do low time preference work aka antisocial punishers and the things that lead them to exist and flourish.

What's an important (new) idea you haven't had time to argue for yet?

It's more like strong resistance to change on the theory that the current trajectory doesn't wind up as a flaming pile of wreckage.

Applications of Economic Models to Physiology?

Not what you're looking for but it reminded me of how strange it is that people think of The Republic as a political treatise when the work bills itself multiple times as a work on psychology using political theory as extended metaphor.

Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real?

Ultra high returns and positive externalities in the tails. Really bad internalities to personal quality of life if some basic thresholds aren't met. I am reminded of David Foster Wallace talking about how the sports press tries to paper over the absurd lifestyles that elite athletes actually live and try to make them seem relatable because that's the story the public wants.

What good is it to become a famous rich athlete if you lose all your money and wind up with brain damage because you never learned to manage any risks?

Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real?

Agreed, I see a major problem with an argument that seems to imply that since advice exists elsewhere/wasn't invented by rationality techniques, a meta-heuristic for aggregating trustworthy sources isn't hugely valuable.

ToL: Methods and Success

Upvote for attempting foundational work on reference class forecasting which seems underexplored in terms of implementable by humans heuristics.

Meta: I think it would have been better to post these 1 per day?

What's an important (new) idea you haven't had time to argue for yet?

People like to pretend they are doing fine by using a cognitive algorithm for judging that is riddled with availability heuristic, epistemically unsound dialectics and other biases. Almost everyone I meet is physically and emotionally unwell and shies away from thinking about it. What rare engagement does happen occurs with close intimates who are selected for having the same blind spots as them.

It's like everyone has this massive assumption that things will turn out fine, even though the default outcome is terrible (see obesity and medicated mental health rates). Or they just have learned helplessness about learned helplessness.

Is there a website for tracking fads?

Ah, yeah model building from past fads would be useful. I am mostly interested in tracking things like current trends in a mostly content agnostic way, i.e. what is currently being shared the most across lots of platforms. Probably this is a paid service by some marketing firms.

Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real?

The search space is multiplicative

Most people have a serious problem with doubling down on the things they're already good at rather than improving the areas they are bad at. This behavior interfaces well with the need to develop comparative advantage in a tribe of 150. It is misfiring badly in the modern context with massive peer groups.

Being embarrassingly bad at things is really difficult past the identity formation stage of adolescence where people calcify around whichever reward signals they invested a few hundred hours in, thus getting over the hump. People build an acceptable life out of whatever skills they have available and avoid areas of life that will provide evidence of incompetence. Midlife crises are often about remembering this forgotten thing when context changes enough to highlight it.

Much of the variance for the outcomes people most care about isn't very controlled by skill, this inculcates learned helplessness in other domains.

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