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LessWrong comments on Several free CFAR summer programs on rationality and AI safety - Less Wrong

18 Post author: AnnaSalamon 14 April 2016 02:35AM

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Comment author: LessWrong 11 April 2016 07:12:30PM 4 points [-]

What are your thoughts about virtual courses? I can see something like PDFs being freely available to download and an IRC channel for communication between students/teachers.

Makes it harder to go to a bar and grab some beers but it saves you the whole financial trouble and various other troubles.

Comment author: malcolmocean 21 April 2016 02:19:14PM *  1 point [-]

These sorts of media are pretty good for learning simple course content but quite hard for teaching habits of thought. It's kind of like how it's hard to learn breakdancing from a textbook: the textbook doesn't know how to breakdance, and you can't watch it breakdance.

In order to really get the new habits, you need to practice them with good feedback (and ideally, watch them in action) and it's hard to do this through virtual courses. Not entirely impossible, just very hard! The sequences, for instance, have changed peoples' mental habits.

The other challenge is that this sort of approach gives way slower feedback to the instructors who are trying to iterate rapidly on their explanations. I expect that as CFAR begins converging on "this is a really effective way to teach skill X" we'll start seeing more of their content posted online. But it might be several years before that seems more worthwhile than the workshops, given their benefits in social ties and in increased information value regarding how to teach things.

Comment author: Viliam 15 April 2016 07:34:59PM 1 point [-]

Or creating a free online lesson at Udemy where everyone could do the lessons at their own speed.