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fowlertm comments on Running a Futurist Institute. - Less Wrong Discussion

4 Post author: fowlertm 06 October 2017 05:05PM

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Comment author: Lumifer 09 October 2017 05:06:55PM 1 point [-]

being told no each and every single time ... being ignored each and every single time

Do you know why?

Comment author: fowlertm 09 October 2017 07:11:02PM 0 points [-]

Different reasons, none of them nefarious or sinister.

I emailed a technique I call 'the failure autopsy' to Julia Galef, which as far as I know is completely unique to me. She gave me a cheerful 'I'll read this when I get a chance" and never got back to me.

I'm not sure why I was turned down for a MIRIx workshop; I'm sure I could've managed to get some friends together to read papers and write ideas on a whiteboard.

I've written a few essays for LW the reception of which were lukewarm. Don't know if I'm just bad at picking topics of interest or if it's a reflection of the declining status of this forum.

To be clear: I didn't come here to stamp my feet and act like a prissy diva. I don't think the rationalists are big meanies who are deliberately singling me out for exclusion. I'm sure everyone has 30,000 emails to read and a million other commitments and they're just busy.

But from my perspective it hardly matters: the point is that I have had no luck building contacts through the existing institutions and channeling my desire to help in any useful way.

You might be wondering whether or not I'm just not as smart or as insightful as I think I am. That's a real possibility, but it's worth pointing out that I also emailed the failure autopsy technique to Eric S. Raymond -- famed advocate of open source, bestselling author, hacker, philosopher, righteous badass -- and he not only gave me a lot of encouraging feedback, he took time out of his schedule to help me refine some of my terminology to be more descriptive. We're actually in talks to write a book together next year.

So it might be me, but there's evidence to indicate that it probably isn't.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 09 October 2017 08:28:21PM 1 point [-]

Try publishing in mainstream AI venues? (AAAI has some sort of safety workshop this year). I am assuming if you want to start an institute you have publishable stuff you want to say.

Comment author: fowlertm 09 October 2017 08:59:05PM 0 points [-]

I like that idea too. How hard is it to publish in academic journals? I don't have more than a BS, but I have done original research and I can write in an academic style.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 10 October 2017 08:49:52PM *  0 points [-]

Pretty hard, I suppose.


It's weird, though, if you are asking these types of questions, why are you trying to run an institute? Typically very senior academics do that. (I am not singling you out either, I have the same question for folks running MIRI).

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 October 2017 05:27:58PM 0 points [-]

But from my perspective it hardly matters: the point is that I have had no luck building contacts through the existing institutions and channeling my desire to help in any useful way.

From the outside view a person who has no luck building contacts with existing institutions is unlikely to be a good person to start a new institute.

Of course getting someone like Eric S. Raymond to be open to write a book with you is a good sign.

Comment author: Lumifer 09 October 2017 08:13:40PM 0 points [-]

a technique I call 'the failure autopsy' ... which as far as I know is completely unique to me

Ahem. The rest of the world calls it a post-mortem. See e.g. this.

never got back to me ... I'm not sure why I was turned down... Don't know if I'm just bad at picking topics of interest...

So you do not know why. Did you try to figure it out? Do a post-mortem, maybe?

Comment author: fowlertm 09 October 2017 08:48:19PM 1 point [-]

A post-mortem isn't quite the same thing. Mine has a much more granular focus on the actual cognitive errors occurring, with neat little names for each of them, and has the additional step of repeatedly visualizing yourself making the correct move.

https://rulerstothesky.com/2016/03/17/the-stempunk-project-performing-a-failure-autopsy/

This is a rough idea of what I did, the more awesome version with graphs will require an email address to which I can send a .jpg

Comment author: Lumifer 10 October 2017 02:38:41PM 0 points [-]

Neat little names, I see. Thank you, I'll pass on the jpg awesomeness.