Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Hossenfelder by Robin Hanson – Hanson’s recent article criticizing fundamental physics approvingly discussed Sabine Hossenfelder book ‘Lost in Math’. Sabine posted an initial comment that was fairly confrontational toward Hanson. However the two rapidly converged and quickly begun a positive dialogue. In particular they both agree that funding science via betting norms is a reasonable idea. Sabine wrote a blog post about the idea.

Player Vs Character: A Two Level Model Of Ethics by Sarah Constantin – A two level model of human behavior: Your personality and abilities are mapped to your deck in games like magic the gathering, what you do with your traits is mapped to in-game decisions. Sarah then discusses the implications of this model for morality.

AI:

Science Of AI by Open AI – ‘We’ve discovered that the gradient noise scale, a simple statistical metric, predicts the parallelizability of neural network training on a wide range of tasks. Since complex tasks tend to have noisier gradients, increasingly large batch sizes are likely to become useful in the future, removing one potential limit to further growth of AI systems. More broadly, these results show that neural network training need not be considered a mysterious art, but can be rigorized and systematized.’

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Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Can Foundational Physics Be Saved by Robin Hanson – Robin is happy he left physics 34 years ago. Fundamental physics is in a quagmire because the data has dried up. Besides confirmation of the Higgs little interesting data has been found at the large hadron collider. Without data to test their theories physicists have turned to aesthetic considerations about which theories are ‘natural’.

Politics and Economics:

Defense Of Finance by Jacob Falkovich – Jacob works professionally in financial regulatory compliance and argues: ‘The finance industry creates real value, financial regulation works, bailouts may be necessary, your ‘easy fix’ to the banking system will break everything forever.’

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Kindergarten In NYC: Much More Than You Wanted To Know by Lara Foster – The author obsesses over where her highly intelligent but special needs son should go to kindergarten in NYC. She goes into quite a lot of detail about her options and describes nine she explicitly considered.

AI:

Alignment Newsletter 36 by Rohin Shah – Week AI newsletter.

Misc:

Nyssa In The Realm Of Possibility by Alicorn – ‘For NaNoWriMo, I decided to do a rationality themed pastiche of the Phantom Tollbooth. It is complete and serializing at http://nyssa.elcenia.com on Saturdays and Wednesdays. There are three chapters up as of this posting.’

Rational Feed

Scott:

Diametrical Model Of Autism And Schizophrenia by Scott Alexander – Scott considers the following theory: ‘Schizophrenia and autism are the failure modes of opposing sides of a spectrum from high functioning schizotypy to high functioning autism, ie from overly mentalistic cognition to overly mechanistic cognition.’

Rationalist:

Norms Of Membership For Voluntary Groups by Sarah Constantin – Five norms for moderation of voluntary groups: Public (ex: library), Guest, Kaizen (self improvement), Coalition (based on loyalty), Tribal (membership based on unchangeable traits like sex).

Overconfidence From Moral Signaling by Robin Hanson – It is extremely difficult to predict which actions will have a positive impact on the relatively distant future. Think of the butterfly effect. This should also make us unsure about which past actions led to a better world. The probability that the South winning the Civil war would have better for the USA long term is at least 10%.

Misc:

Big Five Word Clouds by Jay Van Bavel – Hilarious word clouds describing the difference between people high and low in Big5 traits (ex: extraversion).

Slay The Spire by Zvi Moshowitz – ‘Slay the Spire is an amazing single-player roguelike deckbuilding game. WEach game, you work your way up the spire, with each room an opportunity to improve your deck, either with rewards from battle or other opportunities. Each turn of each battle, you see what the enemy is going to do, and by default you have three energy to spend on any combination of five drawn cards, to prepare to block their attacks while dealing damage back. If you die, that’s it, time to start over. Early plays ideally involve discovery of what cards are out there, what decks are possible to assemble, what enemies there are and what they do, and everything else the spire has to offer. As you gain in skill and experience, you play it on additional levels and in new ways.’

Podcast:

Conquering Hate by Sam Harris – ‘Sam Harris speaks with Deeyah Khan about her groundbreaking films “Jihad” and “White Right.” They discuss her history as a target of religious intolerance, her adventures with neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, the similarities between extremist groups, the dangers of political correctness, and other topics.’

Peter Berkowitz On Locke Liberty And Liberalism by EconTalk – ‘The origins of liberalism and the importance of John Locke. Berkowitz defends the liberal project of individual rights and liberty and argues that critics of Locke mischaracterize his thought. The conversation closes with an evaluation of the Enlightenment.’

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Prediction Markets Are About Being Right by Zvi Moshowitz – Normal markets are really about predicting future social reality, what other people will think. The market can stay insane a long time and market prices can be self fulfilling. In prediction markets you care about actual reality. And you can stay solvent longer than the market stays insane! Art markets are the opposite of prediction markets, despite Tyler Cowen’s claims to the contrary.

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea And the Deep by Ikaxas – Book Review: Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. Topics: A true-false test about octopuses, What is it like to be an octopus?, An exercise in updating on surprising facts, Experiments related to animal suffering and consciousness, The evolution of aging.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Good Samaritans In Experiments by Bucky – A hilarious fisking of the ‘good samaritan’ study that ‘showed showed that seminary students who had just prepared to give a talk about the Good Samaritan were no more likely to help someone in need than those who had been preparing a talk about an unrelated topic’. The statistical methodology in the paper is incredibly bad.

Worth Keeping by Katja Grace – ‘When a friend fails, do you move toward them—to hold them, talk to them, pick them up at your own expense—or do you edge away?’ Katya discusses the economics of this question.

AI:

Alphazero by DeepMind – Deepmind releases more details and the of alphazero. In particular they played a rematch with an updated stockfish and convincingly won. They also release data on AZ Shogi and AZ Go.

Misc:

Taking Someone Aside by Jeff Kaufman – Jeff organizes dances and sometimes need to talk to people who are breaking the rules. Jeff gives advice for taking people aside when you are need them to change their behavior but are not ready to ban them.

Podcast:

Conquering Hate by Waking Up with Sam Harris – ‘Sam Harris speaks with Deeyah Khan about her groundbreaking films “Jihad” and “White Right.” They discuss her history as a target of religious intolerance, her adventures with neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, the similarities between extremist groups, the dangers of political correctness, and other topics.’