Wiki Contributions


Interpreting Yudkowsky on Deep vs Shallow Knowledge

Now that we have a decent grounding of what Yudkowsky thinks deep knowledge is for, the biggest question is how to find it, and how to know you have found good deep knowledge.

This is basically the thing that bothered me about the debates. Your solution seems to be to analogize, Einstein:relativity::Yudkowsky:alignment is basically hopeless. But in the debates, M. Yudkowsky over and over says, "You can't understand until you've done the homework, and I have, and you haven't, and I can't tell you what the homework is." It's a wall of text that can be reduced to, "Trust me."

He might be right about alignment, but under the epistemic standards he popularized, if I update in the direction of his view, the strength of the update must be limited to "M. Yudkowsky was right about some of these things in the past and seems pretty smart and to have thought a lot about this stuff, but even Einstein was mistaken about spooky action at a distance, or maybe he was right and we haven't figured it out yet, but, hey, quantum entanglement seems pretty real." In many ways, science just is publishing the homework so people can poke holes in it.

If Einstein came to you in 1906 (after general relativity) and stated the conclusion of the special relativity paper, and when you asked him how he knew, he said, "You can't understand until you've done the homework, and I have, and you haven't," which is all true from my experience studying the equations, "and I can't tell you what the homework is," the strength of your update would be similarly limited. 

You might respond that M. Yudkowsky isn't trying to really convince anyone, but in that case, why debate? He's at least trying to get people to publish their AI findings less in order to burn less timeline.

FDA Votes on Molunpiravir

Omicronomicon is a portmanteau of Omicron and Necronomicon, a book of evil magical power in the H.P. Lovecraft mythos.

Seeking Truth Too Hard Can Keep You from Winning

I agree with the existence of the failure mode and the need to model others in order to win, and also in order to be a kind person who increases the hedons in the world.

But isn't it the case that if readers notice they're good at "deliberate thinking and can reckon all sorts of plans that should work in theory to get them what they want, but which fall apart when they have to interact with other humans", they could add a <deliberately think about how to model other people> as part of their "truth" search and thereby reach your desired end point without using the tool you are advocating for?

Why Study Physics?

This is true of the physics most people learn in secondary school, before calculus is introduced. But I don't think it's true of anyone you might call a physicist. I'm confused by the chip you seem to have on your shoulder re physics.

Why Study Physics?

This feels correct; my experience of physics+calculus in high school was that it was harder than any other class I took but made me [feel on the inside] a lot smarter, like the insights were important and unlocked new patterns of thought, even though everyone else in the class had a much easier time with the material (high-level elective with calculus as prerequisite screened out all but the most committed).

I have fond memories. I would read three paragraphs in the text book, ask my physics-gifted friend, "wtf?" and ze would say, "Oh, that just means x," and I would say, "Oh, it seems obvious now--why didn't they just say x??"

My friend was VERY patient with me.

The bonds of family and community: Poverty and cruelty among Russian peasants in the late 19th century

If I had the choice to be born as a random human who has existed at some point in our evolution, I would absolutely say no.

To be born as a random human in 2021, probably still no (not even considering the risk of misaligned AI).

Covid 11/18: Paxlovid Remains Illegal

That's interesting to hear re Duncan. I hope you get the time to publish your views. My original plan was to comment every fourth strong upvote, but then I thought you might get some value out of my comment. I'm glad you did.

Covid 11/18: Paxlovid Remains Illegal

I strongly upvoted because

  • the quotations from the NPR story about the kids was value-add for me because I'd wanted to get that info but kept forgetting
  • Nate Silver is my mans but I have Twitter blocked because it's an attention hazard
  • the point about the North Austrian government was a new model/framework/whatever that I hadn't thought about before
  • it's good to keep hammering how messed up the Paxlovid situation is during this liminal phase
  • the only thing I've read during COVID that was more informative than Zvi's oeuvre was the UWashington COVID Literature Situation Reports, which have been discontinued since July, to my great regret
Coordination Skills I Wish I Had For the Pandemic

In furtherance of some discussion here about transparency in upvotes:

I strong-upvoted this post because

  • I had never thought this thought before and found it so insightful that it seems impossibly obvious in retrospect: "Those skills didn’t come for free. Society invested in me having them. It could have invested in me having different skills (such as martial prowess), which would enable different coordination patterns."
  • I had shared and noticed this experience (albeit with "society" in place of "roommates") but never put it into words and certainly not so succinctly: "And I agreed with that in principle. But… I just couldn’t. I was so stressed out. I didn’t have a principled way of valuing my life. I didn’t trust myself to be able to do a fermi calc that I’d actually believe in. I didn’t trust other roommates to do the fermi calc for me. I didn’t have space to learn the skill in a way I would trust."
  • It gave me insight into how different (not better or worse) the poster's community must be from the communities I've lived in.
The poetry of progress

One possible thing: We have too much information available at our fingertips about the people who might be our heroes. Elon Musk (well, people he hired) landed a fucking rocket on a robot barge in the ocean. Mission Status: SICK. But...I am not going to write a sonnet about him, because of <gestures>. 

Another thing: Maybe the cool breakthroughs of today are more likely to require a team (of rocketeers, here) instead of one prominent person to whom I could address some doggerel. 

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