Neurons And Intelligence A Birdbrained Perspective by Scott Alexander – The total number of cortical neurons is a fairly good predictor of intelligence in animals. However a better measure considers: ‘a combination of the number of cortical neurons, neuron packing density, interneuronal distance and axonal conduction velocity’
Translating Predictive Coding Into Perceptual Control by Scott Alexander – ‘Some people (often including me) find free energy/predictive coding very difficult to understand, but find perceptual control theory intuitive. If these are basically the same, then someone who wants to understand free energy can learn perceptual control theory and then a glossary of which concepts match to each other, and save themselves the grief of trying to learn free energy/predictive coding just by reading Friston directly.’
Opentatonic Thread by Scott Alexander – Bi-weekly public open thread. ‘Comment of the week is Simon Jester clearing up my confusion about to what degree “cultural Marxism” is vs. isn’t a real thing. And if that’s not enough Marxism for you, no_bear_so_low on the subreddit offers this guide to figuring out where communists are coming from.’
The Amish And Strategic Norms Around Technology by Ray Arnold – The amish are actually fairly strategic, as opposed to dogmatic, about which technologies they allow. What can rationalists and other subcultures learn?
Update After 5 Months Of Nicotine Vaping by sonyaellenmann – Vaping rapidly became a worse deal over 5 months of use. However it is still providing value.
Unconscious Economies by jacobjacob – ‘There are at least three ways in which incentives affect behaviour: 1) via consciously motivating agents, 2) via unconsciously reinforcing certain behaviour, and 3) via selection effects. I think perhaps 2) and probably 3) are more important, but much less talked about.’
Subagents, Akrasia And Coherence In Humans by Kaj_Sotala – ‘I have been building up a model of mind as a collection of subagents with different goals, and no straightforward hierarchy. This then raises the question of how that collection of subagents can exhibit coherent behavior: after all, many ways of aggregating the preferences of a number of agents fail to create consistent preference orderings. We can roughly describe coherence as the property that, if you become aware that there exists a more optimal strategy for achieving your goals than the one that you are currently executing, then you will switch to that better strategy. If an agent is not coherent in this way, then bad things are likely to happen to them.’
Politics and Economics:
The Tilted Political Compass Part 2: Up And Down by Everything Studies – The remaining two axes are liberalism and communitarianism.
Speculator Chosen Immigrants by Robin Hanson – We could select immigrants by setting up a prediction market for how many net taxes they will pay.
Spending Time by EconTalk – ‘Hamermesh explores how we treat time relative to money, how much we work and how that has changed over time, and the ways economists look at time, work, and leisure.’