seez

seez's Comments

What's up with Arbital?

This post seems like an overly brief and vague description compared to what I was hoping for and would guess the community would be interested in.

The decline of violence as a lens for understanding effective altruism

Pinker indicates that a number of factors were important. You think technology is the most powerful. Why?

Also, just because technology has had the greatest absolute impact on human wellbeing (hasn't done much for non-humans, yet) doesn't mean it's the most efficient. In fact, I think it's very likely that it isn't the most efficient. Because it's often a win-win, many people will contribute to creating and using it, unlike the sacrifices many EAs advocate for. They might contend that through sacrifice, a given individual can achieve far more that ey could by focusing on technology, although those altruistic individuals may (or may not!) remain rare enough that technology has a great overall impact.

2014 Survey Results

Could someone explain or link to an explanation of the significance of the feminism-digit ratio connection? Why is it exciting?

Has LessWrong Ever Backfired On You?

Can you provide a link to the article, if you remember it?

Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick?

In case I wasn't clear, I see nothing wrong with seeking a personal assistant for Bostrom amongst EAs and LessWrongers. Obviously, many people in those groups might be very interested in the job. I'm sure it will be an interesting opportunity for whoever gets it. My objection was to the tone. I'm glad if people didn't find it as alarming as I did, but I was aware of some additional controversy, expressed both publicly in the comments and privately. And of course, there is no downvote on Facebook.

I can see how it could come across as 'hero worship', except that Bostrom is indeed a widely-recognised world-leading academic at the highest ranked philosophy department in the world. There are sound reasons to be respectful of his work.

Yes, by all means, be respectful of Bostrom's work! Luckily, there's a lot of room between "worshipful" and "respectful" to aim at. Lots of hero worship, perhaps even most of it, is directed at people who are legitimately awesome (as I personally believe Bostrom is)! And since LW has already been accused of excessive hero worship, with varying degrees of thoughtfulness, to an extent that has turned people off the site, I think it's worth considering extolling the virtues of those we admire in a more conventional manner, especially in large public forums.

I completely believe that no innuendo was intended. That's why I thought it would be helpful to let you know that at least to some people, it came off that way.

Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick?

I think this ad makes LW and EA look cultish, because this ad sounds like hero worship and sexual innuendo. I was especially troubled to see this link on the EA Facebook page, where many potential/new EAs who don't know who Bostrom is, have lower weirdness tolerance, and have still-forming understanding of effective altruism, could see it.

Conscientious and discreet... Able to keep flexible hours (some days a lot of work, others not much)...Has a good personality 'fit' with Bostrom... Willing to do some tasks that are not high-status... Willing to help Bostrom with both his professional and personal life (to free up his attention)...

I showed this to a few smart young people, the type EAs want to reach out to, and they said it sounded "sketchy" "unprofessional" and "kind of like prostitution." Maybe it's totally fine and even attractive for LW, but I think EA leaders trying to recruit really need to be more thoughtful about their language. I think a different description should have been written up for that forum.

At the very least, it's very unconventional. Ads for personal assistants usually mention specific duties like "answering emails" and "preparing food," not just all-purpose service, so that people know what they are getting into.

tl:dr This ad sounds sketchy to me, and I really wish it wasn't linked on the EA Facebook group, where it can scare off new/potential EAs

Rationality Quotes September 2014

Definitely getting her HPMOR for her 10th birthday :)

Rationality Quotes September 2014

A conversation between me and my 7-year-old cousin:

Her: "do you believe in God?"

Me: "I don't, do you?"

Her: "I used to but, then I never really saw any proof, like miracles or good people getting saved from mean people and stuff. But I do believe in the Tooth Fairy, because ever time I put a tooth under my pillow, I get money out in the morning."

Brainstorming for post topics

The original had a typo. It's fixed now. To clarify, I am concerned that especial attention is paid to tech skills and how they can be used. I would like to see greater focus on other diverse skills.

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