Rudi C

Comments

Can you be 100% confident in your moral beliefs?

Goodhart effect is a truly deep insight IMO. Goodhart itself states that lots of great metrics and “signals”, and in general, communicatory material, will lose its value when adopted by social systems. This leads to second order effects, such as people and society defending against this effect. This can be seen in speech easily: if your friend did not depend on your speech for various purposes, your speech would be a truly great way to learn about your “true” self. But now that he does depend on your speech, he has to guard against you lying and optimizing your speech to manipulate him and shift risks unto him. So he cannot accept your noncommittal stance on, e.g., “murder,” and requires you to commit your position. I have heard there are studies (beware replication crisis and yadada) that women prefer men with virtue ethics over utilitarians; One reason might be that virtue ethics constrains people much more effectively than “consequentialism,” where you’re your own auditor.

Can you be 100% confident in your moral beliefs?

Your ”friend“ is blackmailing you to profess religious faith. It’s an ages old pattern in our species.

One hypothesis is that he (subconsciously, perhaps) wants to protect against the Goodhart effect, i.e., you going against your stated ethics and then claiming “you never said murder was wrong.” Another hypothesis is that he has a coalition-forming mindset, where sides must be taken and rules followed. There are many more such just so stories we can dream up. 
 

As you yourself know, people justify killing all the time. They just change the word. “Murder” is by its very definition an immoral kind of killing. What killings are societally acceptable obviously depends on the society in question and not some magical moral “truth.” Sam Harris’ analogy of moral landscapes (search for his TED talk for a short summary) is a good way to look at the validity of norms; They are “true” in so far as they create more net profits for a society that follows them relative to other normative systems. So killing terrorists is a celebratory event while killing random Joe just contracts the economy and undermines societal order.

My friendly advice to you is to not take people too seriously on debates on ethics. People prioritize signaling/reputation and norm enforcement over communicating their most objective thoughts. You’re much better served by judging their attitude via the actions they take. This is also true of oneself; Just having the right moral beliefs is worthless. What are you actually doing for others? 

I’m a 19-year-old Terminal Patient. Medical Brain Preservation Should not be Difficult to Discuss or Adopt

Most people‘s big problems are not solvable by random general advice. The kid has no good solutions. The post still is just emotional fodder preaching to the choir.

Useless knowledge; why people resist education improvement

You would have given your students what is called an “open problem,” and students will tell everyone to never take your courses. 

Useless knowledge; why people resist education improvement

I suggest you don’t include such unrelated politics in your posts at all. They actively detract from the main issues under discussion, and prime people for tribalist attitudes. Make a separate post about racism if you want, but don’t use it as an offhand example for a post on education.

Useless knowledge; why people resist education improvement

This ignores the opportunity costs, and just assumes the problem. The OP is arguing for reform, not questioning the mainstream strategy of success for an individual. A smart person can be, e.g., a productive programmer with a middle-school level of math, and two to four years of programming training (i.e., basics of a programming language, data structures and algorithms, and lots of hands-on toy projects). Doing “really innovative work” also might not be efficient either at the individual level or even the societal one. There are lots of normal work to be done.

The problem is more than mere epistemics as well; Most rigorous courses teach few useful skills. Most of what one learns is forgotten when not actively used.

RSS Feeds are fixed and should be properly functional this time

greaterwrong has them:

Feeds for just the comments, just the posts, or both comments and posts, of an individual user (for example, here’s Eliezer Yudkowsky’s comments feed); these are accessible from the user’s page (e.g., here’s Eliezer Yudkowsky’s page)

RSS Feeds are fixed and should be properly functional this time

Are there RSS feeds for individual posters, e.g., Zvi?

Motive Ambiguity

They aren't that different from the examples Zvi has mentioned. They all burn value to achieve an outcome that would be achievable via honesty and/or self-control (i.e., they burn value to coordinate externally or internally), which has always felt very bad to me (even if it is the best available option, I feel strong disgust towards it). What is more annoying is when the people involved do not seem to appreciate the burned value as a bad thing and instead "romanticize" it. The examples that feel the worst are the ones where they can actually focus the cost of the signal on something (more) useful. For example, the jugglers could juggle more balls or exotically-shaped balls, instead of wasting their energy on just increasing the difficulty.

Motive Ambiguity

This is just saying the coordination that results from the destruction of value is more valuable than the value destroyed, externalities disregarded. The post is about finding cheaper coordination strategies and internalizing more of the externalities.

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