Rational Feed

Scott:

Two Kinds Of Caution by Scott Alexander – Sometimes boring technologies (ex container ships) wind up being far more important than flashy tech. However Scott argues that often the flashy tech really is important. There is too much contrarianism and not enough meta-contrarianism. AI risk.

AI:

Conversation With Dario Amodei by Jeff Kaufman – “The research that’s most valuable from an AI safety perspective also has substantial value from the perspective of solving problems today”. Prioritize work on goals. Transparency and adversarial examples are also important.

Updates To The Research Team And A Major Donation by The MIRI Blog – MIRIr received a 1 million dollar donation. Two new full-time researchers. Two researchers leaving. Medium term financial plans.

EA:

Ea Marketing And A Plea For Moral Inclusivity by MichaelPlant (EA forum) – EA markets itself as being about poverty reduction. Many EAs think other topics are more important (far future, AI, animal welfare, etc). The author suggests becoming both more inclusive and more openly honest.

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Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Against Lone Wolf Selfimprovement by cousin_it (lesswrong) – Lone wolf improvement is hard. Too many rationalists attempt it for cultural and historical reasons. Its often better to take a class or find a group.

Epistemic Laws Of Motion by SquirrelInHell – Newton’s three laws re-interpreted in terms of psychology and people’s strategies. A worked example using ‘physics’ to determine if someone will change their mind. Short and clever.

The Abyss Of Want by AellaGirl – The infinite regress of ‘Asking why’. Taking acid and ego death. You can’t imagine the experience of death. Coming back to life. Wanting to want things. Humility and fake enlightenment.

Irrationalityisintheeyeofthebeholder by João Eira (Lettuce be Cereal) – Is eating a chocolate croissant on a diet always irrational? Context, hidden motivations and the curse of knowledge.

The Power Of Pettiness by Sarah Perry (ribbonfarm) – “These emotions – pettiness and shame – are the engines driving epistemic progress” Four virtues: Loneliness, ignorance, pettiness and overconfidence.

EA:

How Can We Best Coordinate As A Community by Benn Todd (EA forum) – ‘Replaceability’ is a bad reason not to do direct work, lots of positions are very hard to fill. Comparative Advantage and division of labor. Concrete ways to boost productivity: 5 minute favours, Operations roles, Community infrastructure, Sharing knowledge and Specialization. EA Global Video is included.

My Current Thoughts On Miris Highly Reliable by Daniel Dewey (EA forum) – Report by the Open Phil AI safety lead. A basic description of and case for the MIRI program. Conclusion: 10% credence in MIRI’s work being highly useful. Reasons: Hard to apply to early agents, few researchers are excited, other approaches seem more promising.

Politics and Economics:

Scraps 3 Hoffer And Performance Art by Lou (sam[]zdat) – Growing out of radicalism. Either economic and family instability can cause mass movements. why the left has adopted Freud. The Left’s economic platform is popular, its cultural platform is not. Performance art: Marina Abramović’s’ ‘Rhythm 0’. Recognizing and denying your own power.

Misc:

Erisology Of Self And Will Representative Campbell Speaks by Everything Studies – An exposition of the “mainstream” view of the self and free will.

Podcast:

85 Is This The End Of Europe by Waking Up with Sam Harris – Douglas Murray and his book ‘The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam’.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Steelmanning The Chinese Room Argument by cousin_it (lesswrong) – A short thought experiment about consciousness and inferring knowledge from behavior.

Bayesian Probability Theory As Extended Logic A by ksvanhorn (lesswrong) – Cox’s theorem is often cited to support that Bayesian probability is the only valid fundamental method of plausible reasoning. A simplified guide to Cox’s theorem. The author their paper that uses weaker assumptions than Cox’s theorem. The author’s full paper and a more detailed exposition of Cox’s theorem are linked.

Fictional Body Language by Eukaryote – Body language in literature is often very extreme compared to real life. Emojis don’t easily map to irl body language. A ‘random’ sample of how emotion in represented in American Gods, Earth and Lirael. Three strategies: Explicitly describing feelings vs describing actions vs metaphors.

EA:

Deciding Whether to Recommend Fistula Management Charities by The GiveWell Blog – “An obstetric fistula, or gynecologic fistula, is an abnormal opening between the vagina and the bladder or rectum.” Fistula management, including surgery. Open questions and uncertainty particularly around costs. Our plans to partner with IDinsight to answer these questions.

Podcast:

Myers Briggs, Diet, Mistakes And Immortality by Tim Ferriss – Ask me anything podcast. Topics beyond the title: Questions to prompt introspection, being a Jack of All Trades, balancing future and present goals, don’t follow your passion, 80/20 memory retention, advice to your past selves.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

A Post Em Era Hint by Robin Hanson – In past ages there were pairs of innovations that enabled the et age without changing the growth rate. Forager: Reasoning and language. Farmer: Writing and math. Industrial: Computers and Digital Communication. What will the em-age equivalents be?

Ideas On A Spectrum by Elo (BearLamp) – Putting ideas like ‘selfishness’ on a spectrum. Putting yourself and others on the spectrum. People who give you advice might disagree with you about where you fall on the spectrum. Where do you actually stand?

AI:

Why Don’t Ai Researchers Panic by Bayesian Investor – AI researchers predict a 5% chance of “extremely bad” (extinction level) events, why aren’t they panicking? Answers: They are thinking of less bad worst cases, optimism about counter-measures, risks will be easy to deal with later, three “star theories” (MIRI, Paul Christiano, GOFAI). More answers: Fatal pessimism and resignation. It would be weird to openly worry. Benefits of AI-safety measures are less than the costs. Risks are distant.

EA:

Allocating the Capital by GiveDirectly – Eight media links on Give Directly, Basic Income and Cash Transfers.

Politics and Economics:

Why Do You Hate Elua by H i v e w i r e d – Scott’s Elua as an Eldritch Abomination that threatens traditional culture. An extended sci-fi quote about Ra the great computer. “The forces of traditional values remembered an important fact: once you have access to the hardware, it’s over.”

What Replaces Rights And Discourse by Feddie deBoer – Lots of current leftist discourse is dismissive of rights and open discussion. But what alternative is there? The Soviets had bad justifications and a terrible system but at least it had an explicit philosophical alternative.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Zen Koans by Elo (BearLamp) – Connections between koans and rationalist ideas. A large number of koans are included at the end of the post. Audio of the associated meetup is included.

Misc:

Sexualtaboos by AellaGirl – A graph of sexual fetishes. The axes are “taboo-ness” and “reported interest”. Taboo correlated negatively with interest (p < 0.01). Lots of fetishes are included and the sample size is pretty large.

What Is The Ein Sof The Meaning Of Perfection In by arisen (lesswrong) – “Kabbalah is based on the analogy of the soul as a cup and G-d as the light that fills the cup. Ein Sof, nothing (“Ein”) can be grasped (“Sof”-limitation).”

Podcast:

Avic Roy by The Ezra Klein Show – Better Care Reconciliation Act, broader health care philosophies that fracture the right. Roy’s disagreements with the CBO’s methodology. The many ways he thinks the Senate bill needs to improve. How the GOP has moved left on health care policy. Medicaid, welfare reform, and the needy who are hard to help. The American health care system subsidizes the rich, etc.

Interview Ro Khanna Regional Development by Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg Podcast. “Technology, jobs and economic lessons from his perspective as Silicon Valley’s congressman.”

Rational Feed

Scott:

To The Great City by Scott Alexander – Scott’s Karass is in San Fransisco. He is going home.

Open Road by Scott Alexander – Bi-weekly public open thread. Some messages from Scott Alexander.

Rationalist:

Developmental Psychology In The Age Of Ems by Gordan (Map and Territory) – Brief intro to the Age of Em. Farmer values. Robin’s approach to futurism. Psychological implications of most ems being middle aged. Em conservatism and maturity.

Fermi Paradox Resolved by Tyler Cowen – Link to a presentation. Don’t just multiply point estimates. Which Drake parameters are uncertain. The Great filter is probably in the past. Lots of interesting graphs and statistics. Social norms and laws. Religion. Eusocial society.

EA:

Testing An Ea Networkbuilding Strategy by remmelt (EA forum) – Pivot from supporting EA charities to cooperating with EA networks. Detailed goals, strategy, assumptions, metrics, collaborators and example actions.

Politics and Economics:

Econtalk On Generic Medications by Aceso Under Glass – A few egregious ways that big pharma games the patent system. Short.

Why Did Europe Lose Crusades by Noah Smith – Technological comparison between Europe and the Middle East. Political divisions on both sides. Geographic distance. Lack of motivation.

Misc:

If You’re In School Try The Curriculum by Freddie deBoer – Ironic detachment “leaves you with the burden of the work but without the emotional support of genuine resolve”. Don’t be the sort of person who tweets hundreds of thousands of times but pretends they don’t care about online.

Huffman Codes Problem by protokol2020 – Find the possible Huffman Codes for all twenty-six English letters.

Podcast:

Chris Blattman 2 by EconTalk – “Whether it’s better to give poor Africans cash or chickens and the role of experiments in helping us figure out the answer. Along the way he discusses the importance of growth vs. smaller interventions and the state of development economics.”

Rational Feed

Politics and Economics:

Data On Campus Free Speech Cases by Ozy (Thing of Things) – Ozy classifies a sample of the cases handled by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Ozy classifies 77 cases as conservative, liberal or apolitical censorship. Conservative ideas were censored 52%, liberal 26% and apolitical 22%.

Misc:

Sunday Assorted Links by Tyler Cowen – Variety of Topics. Ethereum Cryptocurrency, NYC Diner decline, Building Chinese Airports, Soccer Images, Drone Wars, Harberger Taxation, Douthat on Heathcare.

Media Recommendations by Sailor Vulcan (BYS) – Various Reviews including: Games, Animated TV shows, Rationalist Pokemon. A more detailed review of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.