The Elephant In The Brain by Paul Christiano – “I’d summarize the situation as: successful people mostly already agree with the book’s core claim and behave accordingly, but explicit social consensus mostly denies or downplays particular instances of the claim (except when politically convenient). That means that many people do just fine, but it’s a problem for those of us who try to lean heavily on explicit reasoning (and especially when we want to use explicit reasoning in social contexts and need to appeal to explicit consensus).”
Politics and Economics:
Automatic For The People by technicalities – Some arguments that technological unemployment is occurring and will be a serious problem. Two lists, one extreme and one moderate, of solutions to technological unemployment.
Links by Artir – Link Post: Philosophy, Tech, Economics, Other.
Patrick Deneen On Why Liberalism Failed by EconTalk – “Patrick Deneen of the University of Notre Dame talks about his book Why Liberalism Failed with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. By liberalism, Deneen means the modern enterprise–the push for self-actualization free of the constraints of tradition, family, and religion that typifies modern culture. He argues that both the left and the right have empowered the state and reduced liberty. He argues for a smaller, more local, more artisanal economy and a return to the virtues of self-control and self-mastery.”
Social Media by The Ezra Klein Show – ” Lanier’s been on this podcast before. Our previous conversation — about virtual reality and the ways the internet went awry from its early utopian ideals — is one of my favorites. But his new book is particularly relevant to me. It’s called Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, and so I asked him on the show to make the case that I should, in fact, delete all my social media accounts right now, and that you should, too.”
Friday Assorted Links by Marginal Revolution – Links: Problems with Gödel, Escher, Bach, Orphan Questions, Air conditioning, etc.
Rationalist Teleology by MoreDonuts – A review of the rationality community: whats the purpose of rationality, where would you expect to see rationalist publicly winning big, why the community has been fairly successful and where we should go from here.
Pearls Book Of Why by Bayesian Investor – Book review of Pearl’s ‘Book of Why’: A history of casualty in science, why scientists stop talking about causality outside of RCTs, how R.A. Fischer screwed things up and what the author gets wrong about AI.
The Craft And The Codex by Scott Alexander – “I think by looking at a lot of complicated cases, and checking back on them after they’re solved (which sometimes happens! Just look at the Fermi Paradox paper from earlier this week!) we can refine those intuitions and get a better idea of how to use the explicit-textbook-rationality-techniques. If this blog still has value to the rationalist project, it’s as a dojo where we do this a couple of times a week and absorb the relevant results.”
Yay Marriage by Robin Hanson – Societal support for long term monogamy has decreased over time. However most people are still happy to come together as a community to celebrate marriage and having children.
An Introduction To Worst Case AI Safety by Tobias Baumann – “What risks of astronomical suffering (s-risks) are, and why we should take s-risks seriously. Why we might endorse moral views that place particular importance on the reduction of suffering. How advanced AI could lead to (or prevent) s-risks. Concrete focus areas of worst-case AI safety.”
Newsletter by Gwern – Gwern monthly link post: Genetics, recent evolution, AI, statistics/mathematics, psychology/biology, politics and economics, media reviews.
Learning Montezuma’s Revenge From A Single Demonstration by Open Ai – “We’ve trained an agent to achieve a high score of 74,500 on Montezuma’s Revenge from a single human demonstration, better than any previously published result. Our algorithm is simple: the agent plays a sequence of games starting from carefully chosen states from the demonstration, and learns from them by optimizing the game score using PPO, the same reinforcement learning algorithm that underpins OpenAI Five.”
Book Review: Lost In Math by Artir – “The book claims that this idea not only is wrong, but that the idea of beauty itself has not been dissected enough, people throw it around too easily, and furthermore that the belief that physics has to be beautiful can be, and in fact has been, bad for a few subfields of physics (cosmology, quantum theory, and string theory, to name some), by misleading physicists who instead of studying different theories, focus instead of what they think is beautiful, regardless of its correctness.”
Ssc Journal Club Dissolving The Fermi Paradox by Scott Alexander – “Imagine we knew God flipped a coin. If it came up heads, He made 10 billion alien civilization. If it came up tails, He made none besides Earth. Using our one parameter Drake Equation, we determine that on average there should be 5 billion alien civilizations. Since we see zero, that’s quite the paradox, isn’t it? No. In this case the mean is meaningless. It’s not at all surprising that we see zero alien civilizations, it just means the coin must have landed tails.”
Debt Anti Investment by Jacob Falkovich – Paying off debt with an interest rate r can be thought of as making a risk free investment with return r. Using this framework you can figure out if you are better off investing money or paying off debt once you decide how much to value ‘risk free’.
Semi Annual Roundup 2018 by Venkatesh Rao – The last six months: nineteen articles published on ribbonfarm and a quick recap.
Rational Fiction by The Bayesian Conspiracy – Discussions about rational fiction and what qualities define ratfic.
Maps Of Meaning by Robin Hanson – “In sum, Peterson comes across as pompous, self-absorbed, and not very self-aware. But on the one key criteria by which such a book should most be judged, I have to give it to him: the book holds insight. The first third of the book felt solid, almost self-evident: yes such structures make sense and do underly many cultural patterns. From then on the book slowly became more speculative, until at the end I was less nodding and more rolling my eyes. Not that most things he said even then were obviously wrong, just that it felt too hard to tell if they were right.”
Alignment Newsletter 13 07 02 18 by rohinmshah – Monthly newsletter of articles relating to AI and AI alignment. Several articles got in depth reviews including an overview of OpenAI’s project to beat professional teams at Dota 2.
Politics and Economics:
Link Post For July by Ozy – Link Post: EA and Disability are major topics this week.
Dictators Immigration Metoo And Other Imponderables by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Sam Harris speaks with Masha Gessen about Vladimir Putin, the problem of gauging public opinion in Russia, Trump’s fondness for dictators, the challenges of immigration, comparisons between Christian and Muslim intolerance, “fake news” and the health of journalism, the #MeToo movement, and other topics.”