Self-Embedded Agent

Was a PhD necessary to solve outstanding math problems?

It's really quite simple. Doing mathematical work at the highest levels requires both extraordinary talent and single-minded focus on mathematics. Mathematics is to some degree a younger man's game, yet modern mathematics requires knowing vast amounts of previous work to have any shot at solving a serious conjecture.

Doing a PhD is the most straightforward path to acquiring the knowledge to make a serious attack. Most fields will require upwards of a decade to build up enough technical experience to attempt to solve famous open problems.

Spending say 5 years acquiring money to do independent work doesn't seem like a good plan, when the people who have the talent required to solve one of these problems are almost guaranteed to obtain an academic position.

[Reference request] Can Love be Explained?

This is what I was looking for. Thank you, Gwern!

The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of

[Reference request] Can Love be Explained?

I mean romantic attraction.

[Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update

One problem I have in keeping this kind of regime is that I often find myself going around my blocking software, e.g. through using private browsing. Do you have a recommendation for something that works more generally?

Have you tried software like RescueTime? I have used it in the past and was happy about it (it is a more comprehensive system than just plain blockers; also tracking what you are wasting time on; allowing differeent levels of usefulness etc)

[Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update

Your experiment sounds very interesting. I would like to follow in your footsteps.

Could you detail for a digitally illiterate how you did this?

How long should I keep it up before I will feel results in your estimation?

What site plugin did you use?

What is a decision theory as a mathematical object?

Fundamentally, finding a good mathematical definition of decision theory that encompasses all the phenomena people care about is a big open problem.

Is this a joke? Genuine question. :) It seems English might not be your native language.

How credible is the theory that COVID19 escaped from a Wuhan Lab?

Why is it an infohazard?

Resource for the mappings between areas of math and their applications?

I will go against the advice that you were offered. Especially early on I think trying to understand applications can be a bit of a trap. Either the application is so simple it can be explained without the math[e.g. twisting a factory band into a Mobius strip to make the band wear on both sides, square-cube law, logistic curves in epidemics] or the details are actually quite complicated, which may obscure one's understanding of what is the actual generalizable math concept and what is specific to this problem.

The prototypical application of calculus is Newton's work on astronomy & mechanics. This is a typical case of the latter.

That said, I suppose you've heard of

[1] 3Blue1Brown https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYO_jab_esuFRV4b17AJtAw

Good point..! I also recently came upon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIe2oerd25c

I thought I remebered that some of the mechanisms were unknown.