Rational Feed

Scott:

Links 8-19 by Scott Alexander – Standard SSC links post.

Rationalist:

Building Up To An Internal Family Systems Model by Kaj Sotala – ‘Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a psychotherapy school/technique/model which lends itself particularly well for being used alone or with a peer. For years, I had noticed that many of the kinds of people who put in a lot of work into developing their emotional and communication skills, some within the rationalist community and some outside it, kept mentioning IFS. In this post, I’ll try to describe and motivate IFS in terms which are less likely to give people in this audience the same kind of a “no, that’s nonsense” reaction as I initially had.’

AI:

Jeff Hawkins On Neuromorphic AGI Within 20 Years by steve2152 – ‘I just listened to AI podcast: Jeff Hawkins on the Thousand Brain Theory of Intelligence, and read some of the related papers. Jeff Hawkins is a theoretical neuroscientist; you may have heard of his 2004 book On Intelligence. Earlier, he had an illustrious career in EECS, including inventing the Palm Pilot. He now runs the company Numenta, which is dedicated to understanding how the human brain works (especially the neocortex), and using that knowledge to develop bio-inspired AI algorithms.’ Jess gives multiple arguments why AGI is likely within the next 20 years including the claim that ‘Every part of the neocortex is running the same algorithm’.

EA:

Questions We Ask Ourselves Making Grant by Open Philanthropy – Some questions: ‘What role would this play in the ecosystem? What need is it filling? Who is best placed to assess the need? Who are we are betting on with this grant? Is this the right grantee for this project? Are we the right funders? What’s the appropriate size and duration for funding? How should we think about the cost-effectiveness of this grant? How could this grant end up having no impact? How will we evaluate this grant?’

Political:

Lee Kuan Yew Review by TracingWoodgrains – The conclsuion of a four part series on the man who ran Singapore during its rise to riches. Parts: 1) Growth & redistribution. 2) You are free to agree 3)Race, language, and uncomfortable questions 4) The pathway to power

Podcast:

Is Screen Time Bad For You by Rationally Speaking – ‘It’s common wisdom that spending a lot of time on your smartphone, or checking social media like Facebook and Twitter, takes a psychological toll. It makes us depressed, insecure, anxious, and isolated — or so people say. But is there any research to back that up? Julia discusses the evidence with professor Andy Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute.’

Judea Pearl: Cause Effect by Waking Up with Sam Harris – ‘Sam Harris speaks with Judea Pearl about his work on the mathematics of causality and artificial intelligence. They discuss how science has generally failed to understand causation, different levels of causal inference, counterfactuals, the foundations of knowledge, the nature of possibility, the illusion of free will, artificial intelligence, the nature of consciousness, and other topics.’

On Books And Learning by EconTalk – ‘Software Engineer Andy Matuschak talks about his essay “Why Books Don’t Work” with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Matuschak argues that most books rely on transmissionism, the idea that an author can share an idea in print and the reader will absorb it. And yet after reading a non-fiction book, most readers will struggle to remember any of the ideas in the book. Matuschak argues for a different approach to transmitting ideas via the web including different ways that authors or teachers can test for understanding that will increase the chances of retention and mastery of complex ideas.’

Rational Feed

Political:

Diana Fleischman And Geoffrey Miller Audience QA by Jacob Falkovich – ‘This is the audience Q&A with Diana Fleischman and Geoffrey Miller at the NYC Rationality meetup, following up on my own interview which you can find here. Content note: the audience comprised rationalists of many ethnicities, orientations, and gender expressions and we asked questions that could offend many ethnicities, orientations, and gender expressions.’

Rational Feed

Scott:

Squareallworthy On UBI Plans by Scott Alexander – ‘I want to signal-boost Tumblr user squareallworthy‘s analysis of various UBI plans. He finds that most of them fail on basic math – they rely on funding schemes that wouldn’t come close to covering costs. The rest are too small to actually lift people out of poverty. None of them are at all credible. These plans fail even though they cheat and give themselves dictatorial power. “End corporate welfare, then redirect the money to UBI!” But if it was that easy to end corporate welfare, wouldn’t people have done it already, for non-UBI related reasons? “We’ll get a UBI by ending corporate welfare” is an outrageous claim. And even the plans that let themselves make it fail on basic math.’

Political:

Power Buys You Distance From The Crime by Aceso Under Glass – ‘Taxes are typically meant to be proportional to money (or negative externalities, but that’s not what I’m focusing on). But one thing money buys you is flexibility, which can be used to avoid taxes. Because of this, taxes aimed at the wealthy tend to end up hitting the well-off-or-rich-but-not-truly-wealthy harder, and tax cuts aimed at the poor end up helping the middle class.’

Misc:

Learning Day by Open AI – ‘At OpenAI, each Thursday is Learning Day: a day where employees have the option to self-study technical skills that will make them better at their job but which aren’t being learned from daily work. We’ve found that the biggest contributions at OpenAI come from cross-functional experts, so we either need to hire them or grow them here. Before Learning Day, we very rarely saw people grow cross-functionally—for example, employees coming from a software background rarely picked up machine learning (something equally rare in other organizations except academia). Since Learning Day, this kind of growth has become very common.’

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Advice Wiki by Robin Hanson – Why advice is systematically bad and how a wiki could help.

AI:

Predicting Patient Deterioration by DeepMind – ‘Artificial intelligence can now predict one of the leading causes of avoidable patient harm up to two days before it happens, as demonstrated by our latest research published in Nature. Working alongside experts from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we have developed technology that, in the future, could give doctors a 48-hour head start in treating acute kidney injury (AKI), a condition that is associated with over 100,000 people in the UK every year.’

Political:

Mistake Versus Conflict Theory Of Against Billionaire Philanthropy by Zvi Moshowitz – ‘Where we disagree is why anyone is opposing billionaire philanthropy. We disagree that Scott’s post is a useful thing to write. I agree with everything he says, but expect it to convince less than zero people to support his position. Scott laid out our disagreement in his post Conflict vs. Mistake. Scott is a mistake theorist. That’s not our disagreement here. Our disagreement is that he’s failing to model that his opponents here are all pure conflict theorists.’

Rational Feed

Podcast:

Kwame Anthony Appiah by Conversations With Tyler – ‘Born to a Ghanaian father and British mother, Kwame Anthony Appiah grew up splitting time between both countries — and lecturing in many more — before eventually settling in America, where he now teaches philosophy at New York University. This, along with a family scattered across half-a-dozen countries, establishes him as a true cosmopolitan, a label Appiah readily accepts. Yet he insists it is nonetheless possible to be a cosmopolitan patriot, rooted in a place, while having obligations and interests that transcend one’s national identity. He joins Tyler to discuss this worldly perspective and more, including whether Africa will secularize, Ghanian fallibilism, teaching Jodie Foster, whether museums should repatriate collections, Karl Popper, Lee Kuan Yew, which country has the best jollof rice, the value of writing an ethical advice column, E.T. Mensah, Paul Simon, the experience of reading 173 novels to judge the Man Booker prize, and what he’s learned farming sheep in New Jersey.’