Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

I may have finally figured out the use of crypto.

It's not currency per se, but the essential use case of crypto seems to be to automate the third party.

This "third party" can be many things. It can be a securities dealer or broker. It can be a notary. It can be a judge that is practicing contract law.

Whenever there is a third party that somehow allows coordination to take place, and the particular case doesn't require anything but mechanical work, then crypto can do it better.

A securities dealer or broker doesn't beat a protocol that matches buyers and sellers automatically. A notary doesn't beat a public ledger. A judge in contract law doesn't beat an automatically executed verdict, previously agreed upon in code.

(like damn, imagine contracts that provably have only one interpretation. Ain't that gonna put lawyers out of business)

And maybe a bank doesn't beat peer to peer transactions, with the caveat that central banks are pretty competent institutions, and if anyone will win that race it is them. While I'm optimistic about cryptocurrency, I'm still skeptical about private currency.

Ego syntonic thoughts and values

I was in this "narcissist mini-cycle" for many years. Many google searches and no luck. I can't believe that I finally found someone who recognizes it. Thank you so much.

fwiw, what got me out of it was to attend a Zen temple for 3 months or so. This didn't make me less narcissistic, but somehow gave me the stamina to actually achieve something that befit my inflated expectations, and now I just refer back to those achievements to quell my need for greatness. At least while I work on lowering my expectations.

Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

It does not, but consider 2 adaptations:
A: responds to babies and more strongly to bunnies
B: responds to babies only

B would seem more adaptive. Why didn't humans evolve it?

Plausible explanation: A is more simple and therefore more likely to result from a random DNA fluctuation. 
Is anyone doing research into which kinds of adaptations are more likely to appear like this?

When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is The Real Wealth

Can you come up with an example that isn't AI? Most fields aren't rife with infohazards, and 20% certainty of funding the best research will just divide your impact by a factor 5, which could still be good enough if you've got millions.

For what it's worth, given the scenario that you've at least got enough to fund multiple AI researchers and your goal is purely to fix AI, I concede your point.

When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is The Real Wealth

I don't like this post because it ignores that instead of yachts you can simply buy knowledge for money. Plenty of research that isn't happening because it isn't being funded. 

Great minds might not think alike

A Shor-to-Constance translation would be lossy because the latter language is not as expressive or precise as the former

Great minds might not think alike

Great work. 

I wonder just how far this concept can be stretched. Is focusing a translation from the part of you that thinks in feelings to the part of you that thinks in words? If you're translating some philosophical idea into math, are you just translating from the language of one culture to the language of another?

And if so, it strikes me that some languages are more effective than others. Constance may have had better ideas, but if Shor knew the same stuff as Constance (in his own language) perhaps he would have done better. Shor's language seems to be more expressive, precise and transferable.


  • In a given context, which language is "best"?
  • In a given context, which languages have the best ideas/data?
  • Where might we find large opportunities for arbitrage?

For example, I think we should be translating spiritual ideas into the language of cognitive science and/or economics. Any others?

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

Personalized mythic-mode rendition of Goodhart's law:

"Everyone wants to be a powerful uncompromising force for good, but spill a little good and you become a powerful uncompromising force for evil"

How to Ignore Your Emotions (while also thinking you're awesome at emotions)

The parent-child model is my cornerstone of healthy emotional processing. I'd like to add that a child often doesn't need much more than your attention. This is one analogy of why meditation works: you just sit down for a while and you just listen

The monks in my local monastery often quip about "sitting in a cave for 30 years", which is their suggested treatment for someone who is particularly deluded. This implies a model of emotional processing which I cannot stress enough: you can only get in the way. Take all distractions away from someone and they will asymptotically move towards healing. When they temporarily don't, it's only because they're trying to do something, thereby moving away from just listening. They'll get better if they give up.

Another supporting quote from my local Roshi: "we try to make this place as boring as possible". When you get bored, the only interesting stuff left to do is to move your attention inward. As long as there is no external stimulus, you cannot keep your thoughts going forever. By sheer ennui you'll finally start listening to those kids, which is all you need to do.

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

Look, if you can't appreciate the idea because you don't like it's delivery, you're throwing away a lot of information

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