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Open thread, July 24 - July 30, 2017

1 Post author: Thomas 24 July 2017 07:28AM
If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post, then it goes here.

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Comments (14)

Comment author: Hafurelus 24 July 2017 10:22:30AM *  4 points [-]

TL;DR - A man is searching for a rival to grow together.

Hello everyone!
This comment was inspired by Anti-Lone Wolf and Stronger Together posts.

What I got from these posts is:
1. Anti-Lone Wolf: Trying to go alone, you may miss an important part of motivation.
2. Stronger Together: There is some kind of evidence that group improvement works.

What I got from my research of doing more is:
1. After a myriad of methods and tips tried during 4 years, I remained on the same level - doing things mostly under Panic Monster pressure. I desperately want to change this.

Having a group of people who have their views almost aligned is good, but what if one could add some sort of competition to this?
My current theory is that if two persons have the same goal and similar strategies of pursuing this goal, their competition can benefit each of them.
For example, I heard that while sprinters train on track, they mostly run at least in pairs while going for a record. (I haven't found written proofs of this). This implies, I suppose, that it's easier to get better results when you compete with someone.
The other example - It is recommended to organize startups not alone, but with a co-founder. I assume that in this case, among other benefits, there is a benefit from support while one of founders is lacking motivation.

Based on this, here I am, searching for a person who has the same goal and is on the same stage of reaching this goal, with similar strategy. My characteristics:
Goal: Survive.
Subgoal: Help in solving AI Safety problems.
Strategy: MS in CS/(perhaps ML) in Germany(winter 2018) -> PhD in ML/(perhaps CS) in USA -> work in AIS industry.
Current state: Finished BS in Applied Math, preparing for an application.
Additional info: 21 year, Russian, male, don't smoke/drink.

I apologize if this is the wrong place for such posts. In this case, it would be nice if one gave information about where it's appropriate to post this.
I also apologize if something from this post is naive or too vague. I'm open to any questions and suggestions.

EDIT (4:30, Jul 25 UTC) - It seems that I was wrong about focusing on competition. In games it's easy to tell who is stronger because usually it's the winner. However, there is no strict rules and definitions about winners and losers in real life. Some minor thing later can play a huge role and nobody knows whether it will happen or not.

So instead of "rivals with a bit of partnership" the focus shifts to "partners with a bit of competition". It seems that this idea is very similar to Stronger Together post, just they have a broader goal.

Comment author: cousin_it 24 July 2017 11:14:46AM *  2 points [-]

Try competing on Project Euler or Kaggle? They are okay for all skill levels.

Comment author: Gurkenglas 25 July 2017 07:26:14PM *  0 points [-]

Sounds like a good idea. I, as well, would like my actions to be ones that follow from that goal and subgoal, though I've lost the last 1-2 years to akrasia. I'm trying to finish a BS in CS in Germany and planning to continue with an MS in CS in Germany. I'm 22 years old, Half-Russian, male, don't smoke/drink. I'm Gurkenglas on Freenode.

Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 25 July 2017 07:22:50PM *  0 points [-]

In terms of strategy, I recommend you to think about going to work at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms. They recently received a grant from OpenPhil to do AI Safety Research. I can personally recommend the two professors at McGill (Joelle Pineau and Doina Precup). Since you are Russian, you should be able to handle the cold :-)

Comment author: Gyrodiot 24 July 2017 09:49:31PM 0 points [-]

Hi Hafurelus, your post is in the right place!

I support your idea of finding a rival. Friendly competition can indeed foster motivation.

I think I'm too far down the path you described to be your direct rival. I'm past the step "PhD in AI/ML", and I'm currently gaining experience in the AI industry before turning to AI safety proper, if the opportunity comes. If anything, I can be the guy that you're trying to catch up to instead of a rival (by no means I think you should follow my steps, but our goals seem to be in the same ballpark).

There has been a recent post by 80k Hours that you may find interesting.

Do you keep a journal, something to evaluate progress and compare with others?

Comment author: Viliam 27 July 2017 01:32:59PM *  2 points [-]

Once the students of physics were debating various interpretations of quantum mechanics. Prof. Nansen held up the cat and said: "Students! If this quantum random number generator displays zero, I will spare the cat. If it displays one, I will put it to the sword." The random number generator displayed one, so Nansen slew it.

After the lecture, when Prof. Joshu entered the classroom, Nansen told him what had happened. "Don't be sad, though. The cat is still alive, only in a parallel Everett branch," he said.

"I guess there is also a parallel Everett branch where people wear sandals on their heads instead of their feet. If that has no impact on our behavior in this branch, neither should have the fact that the cat is living in some other branch," Joshu said.

"Oh crap. If you had told me this sooner, I would have spared the cat," Nansen said.

Comment author: Thomas 31 July 2017 07:30:42PM *  0 points [-]

From now on at least, this is a good lesson for those who count on those parallel worlds. I hope. At least in THIS branch.

Comment author: Hafurelus 26 July 2017 03:30:54AM 1 point [-]

Some time ago I saw the information (don't remember where) about a group which was focused on learning AI Safety syllabus or MIRI guide. Does this group exist?

Perhaps my memory fails me and I remember information about AI Safety reading group. This is also a great group, but its focus is different.
I've also seen RAISE and maybe they are connected with these groups or actually are one of them, but I don't have full information about it yet.

Comment author: Hafurelus 29 July 2017 01:18:54AM 0 points [-]

Some time passed, so I see a couple of plausible reasons why there is no info yet:
1. There was no such public group.
2. People who participate in this group or know about this group haven't seen my request.
Did I miss something?

Comment author: Elo 29 July 2017 03:08:44AM 0 points [-]

There was a google doc. It was creating a syllabus. I was not in charge and I think the person got a job at one of the ai groups doing something else.

Comment author: Elo 29 July 2017 05:52:35AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Thomas 24 July 2017 07:32:02AM 1 point [-]

An easy problem this time?

Comment author: Gurkenglas 24 July 2017 07:56:28AM 0 points [-]

6 queens on A1, C3, G3, C6, G6 and H8 are an upper bound.