Caution On Bias Arguments by Scott Alexander – Arguments: Everyone is biased all the time, Everyone is hypersensitive to biases against their side, and thinks biases in favor of their side are irrelevant, It’s hard To even figure out what bias means or when it is bad, Bias arguments Have nowhere to go.
Against Lie Inflation by Scott Alexander – “There are a few ways this expanded-definition world becomes different from the world where people restricted “lie” to mean a knowingly false statement. First, everyone is much angrier. Second, bad actors can use The Worst Argument In The World to prove whatever they want. Third, the biggest beneficiaries are actual liars.”
Know Your Gabapentinoids by Scott Alexander – Discussion of phenibut and its class of drug: “Phenibut has the kind of approval ratings usually associated with North Korean dictators who kill anyone who disapproves of them – including the highest median rating on my nootropics survey. It’s phenomenal for social anxiety – not in the SSRI way of making you a little calmer, but more in the “getting just the right amount of drunk” way that turns you into a different, bolder, and more fun-loving person. Aside from this, it can give a hard-to-describe sense of tranquility and well-being.”
Gay Rites Are Civil Rites by Scott Alexander – Pride and inclusivity is effectively the new dominant American religion.
The Costs Of Reliability by Sarah Constantin – Sarah speculates on why its so costly to be reliability and resilient to attack: “I think it has a very mundane explanation; it’s always more expensive to have to meet a specific commitment than merely to do something valuable.”
Diana Fleischman And Geoffrey Miller Interview by Jacob Falkovich – “I had the pleasure of interviewing Diana Fleischman and Geoffrey Miller at the NYC Rationality meetup. Diana and Geoffrey are professors of evolutionary psychology, Effective Altruists, thoughtful polyamorists, and fearless thinkers. We talked about everything that’s important in life: gems, sex, morality, kids, shit-testing, jealousy, and why women are smart.”
Quality Contributions Roundup For June by r/TheMotte – June CW quality contributions.
Radical Pay For Results by Robin Hanson – Ideas to align incentives and ‘pay for results’ in healthcare, criminal justice and decision making.
Intellectual Conformity by Mike Huemer – “I think intellectual conformity and indifference to ideas are adaptive. I mean that in the evolutionary sense. I.e., I think that “thinking” in the Russell/Shaw sense is costly and risky. In fact, non-conformist intellectuals might be a biological accident, a rare form of human in which normally-adaptive traits reach maladaptive extremes or are combined in maladaptive ways. Here is the third problem with “thinking”. Many thinkers in the Russell-Shaw sense are crazy. Independent, intellectual reflection leads to craziness, and intelligence is no defense against it. Conformity, however, is a defense against craziness — at least certain kinds of craziness that would otherwise be common.”
Helen Toner On Security And Emerging Technology by 80,000 Hours – “How might international security be altered if the impact of machine learning is similar in scope to that of electricity? Today’s guest — Helen Toner — recently helped found the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University to help policymakers prepare for any such disruptive technical changes that might threaten international peace. Their first focus is machine learning (ML), a technology which allows computers to recognize patterns, learn from them, and develop ‘intuitions’ that inform their judgement about future cases. This is something humans do constantly, whether we’re playing tennis, reading someone’s face, diagnosing a patient, or figuring out which business ideas are likely to succeed.”
Neal Stephenson by Conversations With Tyler – “So what’s the implicit theology of a simulated world? Might we be living in one, and does it even matter? Stephenson joins Tyler to discuss the book and more, including the future of physical surveillance, how clothing will evolve, the kind of freedom you could expect on a Mars colony, whether today’s media fragmentation is trending us towards dystopia, why the Apollo moon landings were communism’s greatest triumph, whether we’re in a permanent secular innovation starvation, Leibniz as a philosopher, Dickens and Heinlein as writers, and what storytelling has to do with giving good driving directions.”