All of sophia_xu's Comments + Replies

I'm not bio-related or anything, but a popular theory is that what we're seeing in data (where different strains can be observed to develop mutations at a particular spot) can be explained by convergent evolution, which can possibly mean that the variants are running out of new adaptations and converging into local maxima.

Relevant scientific american article | Relevant bioRxiv preprint

Endorsed by someone who has been reading the literature obsessively.  The NTD can still get some mileage but most of the really interesting stuff has happened.

I'm slowly working on a frontpage generally arguing that Critical Theory has value.

Hey I'm open if you want to co-write something!

I agree with your assessment that concepts within fields like Critical Theory was not discussed in the aspiring-rationalist context enough. I think most aspiring rationalists would be interested in these alternative maps, if it wasn't presented as totally disconnected to our original maps.

Respectfully disagree: I don't think enforcing something like this help towards facilitating personal blogposts on lesswrong. I think a better alternative is to create some formal styling guide and implement a formatter that strips emojis etc from the title string when posts are promoted to frontpage (or even in the "recent posts" list if you guys want that); otherwise I don't think limiting editorial choices by the author helps the case of building community blogs.

Of course it should be possible to invite LessWrong readers to debate politics outside the website, using any rules you choose.

This is a good point - or like how the SSC substack has a more political comment section for people who want to debate politics within the aspiring rationalist community.

Isn't there something to be said for recognising members of other tribes and not trying to convert or kill them? 

Yeah, I mean, what else can we do? I don't think a lot of people want to convert or eliminate people from other tribes, I'm more talking about standalone arguments here: how can we give the maximum benefit of doubt to arguments from (presumably) people from the other tribe? 

1Stuart Anderson2y

However, to be honest, I don't think we should be trying to settle debates on this side

Wholeheartedly agree. For one I don't think debates among major political camps now can be "settled" - maybe people here tends to be more open and we can settle some debate to some extent, I don't think there's more values other than practicing rationality skills.

especially since being apolitical is increasingly being slammed as political in and of itself.

I happen to be one of those people who believe this is true - but that doesn't mean we can't be apolitical anywhere: ... (read more)

  The frame of neutrality being political definitely has some truth in it, but it becomes limiting when it's the only frame through which someone engages with the world.

I love the dashboard idea!

I think the energy metric can give us good intuition visualization-wise, since it kind of is less arbitrary and many parts of consumption/progress can be seen as components of overall energy use. 

If I'd like to add something to the graph I'd say include some additional breakdowns of the energy metric: 1) we need to figure out how to measure efficiency and represent it somehow: this is entirely in the domain of epistemic uncertainty, cause massive shifts in terms of centralization/geopolitics in the last couple decades has bro... (read more)

1Brendan Long2y
I was actually coming to the comment section to say that I think energy usage isn't necessarily a good metric to track progress, since we really care about "amount of stuff we can get done", not energy usage (or even efficiency). For example, energy usage by computers would be much higher if we had similarly powerful and useful computers that used tons of power. But what we care about expanding the number of things we can do with computers. Energy usage is sort of correlated, but if one aspect of progress is portability, including battery-life of portable computers, then energy usage may be inversely correlated with progress. There's similar problems with transportation, where progress is something like "ability to get things where we want them with minimal effort (including the effort involved in working to get money to pay for cars and gas)". Since energy usage directly causes higher prices, energy usage is plausibly inversely correlated with progress. To a certain extent we expect there to be a feedback loop (if the cost goes down, people will drive more), but there's a limit to how much people want to drive, and there's an anti-feedback cycle, where the things that become worth it to do when the price gets cheap enough are things that are less tempting to do (people don't want to do them as much or they would have already been doing it at the higher price). It's possible this all averages out and we should still see a straight line of progress, but I feel like it's a really big assumption and depends on exactly what people's goals are. To take an extreme case, the graph where energy usage levels off is directly and unambiguously a sign of progress for a subset of environmental activists because reducing energy usage is part of their definition of progress.

I agree, they both pray on our is-ought bias.

Interesting to see this discussed in a framework about attribution.

If you're willing to engage in a little thought experiment, what levels of responsibility would you consider in this scenario:

Alice was invited to Bob's birthday party. Bob's parents prepared the party and a birthday cake, but they didn't know Alice has a severe peanut allergy. During the party Alice ate the birthday cake, which contained peanut, and was hospitalized for a couple of months. 

In this scenario I don't think Bob's parents are responsible - because as you said in a previous... (read more)

4Stuart Anderson2y

I'm certain that the comment you're replying to was talking about youtube premium (formerly youtube red) on youtube - it can be a pretty good moral case to use adblocker + youtube premium because you will be compensating the creator (they actually receive more income per premium watch than regular ad revenue) and youtube without consenting to online tracking and targeted ads.

I'd say the opposite is also pretty prevalent, especially in rhetorical statements that (intentionally or not) misguide their audience. 

3Gordon Seidoh Worley2y
But maybe that's just the same thing? Like I don't know if there's a meaningful difference between descriptive disguised as prescriptive and prescriptive disguised as descriptive and instead it might make more sense to just talk about confusing descriptive and prescriptive.

New sequence idea: bridging humanities lingo to the aspiring-rationalist community.

Observation: many of our current humanities lingo (e.g. that of critical theory, postmodernism, contemporary feminism) get underrepresented or misrepresented in the lesswrong community. To verify: do a search of the terms above and see.

Observation: some people (such as philosophers on r/askphilosophy) outside of the lesswrong community view this place in a bad light because they thought we aren't taking the previous debates in philosophy on the same problems seriously.

Common... (read more)

I'm slowly working on a frontpage generally arguing that Critical Theory has value. My hypothesis is that some of the community will be allergic to it because it's associated with "SJW" issues and bad academia but that more of the community will thoughtfully engage if I present it in aspiring-rationalist terms, especially foundational ones like falsifiability and making beliefs pay rent.    I'd be willing to help workshop entries in your sequence along those lines. And if you want to steal my particular idea for part of your sequence, go for it--the work is going slowly.

effective debate notes: I've read main points of every first-level comment in this thread and the author's clarification.

epistemic status: This argument is mostly about values. I hope we can all agree with the facts I mentioned here, but can also consider this alternative framework which I believe is a "better map of reality".

I disagree with your conclusion because I disagree with your model of classification of tech frontiers. In the body of this article and most comments, people seem to agree with your division of technology into 6 parts. Here's why I th... (read more)

Interesting, but I think you're underestimating the impact of other general-purpose technologies, such as in energy or manufacturing. New energy sources can be applied broadly across many areas, for instance.