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Comment author: MartinB 01 June 2010 12:04:49PM 6 points [-]

disagreed. Using fiction to drive a point home works pretty well. And the examples illustrate and aehm illuminate their respective points. There is no need to take real life examples which would not be as illustrative.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 01 June 2010 05:20:20PM 1 point [-]

I would rather have examples that better conform to reality than examples that are better characterizations of the principles in question.

In response to Seven Shiny Stories
Comment author: Bindbreaker 01 June 2010 05:10:32AM *  1 point [-]

Explicitly nonfictional stories would be better, though of course certain concerns apply to posting such information and it might be harder to find good examples.

Comment author: MC_Escherichia 27 May 2010 09:15:11PM *  12 points [-]

I wonder if Eliezer has or should read this review of Ender's Game (a book I never read myself, but the reviewer seems to provide a useful warning to authors).

Comment author: Bindbreaker 29 May 2010 09:14:03AM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure what the relevance is here.

Comment author: Mass_Driver 27 May 2010 10:30:15PM 11 points [-]

Any given goal that I have tends to require an enormous amount of "administrative support" in the form of homeostasis, chores, transportation, and relationship maintenance. I estimate that the ratio may be as high as 7:1 in favor of what my conscious mind experiences as administrative bullshit, even for relatively simple tasks.

For example, suppose I want to go kayaking with friends. My desire to go kayaking is not strong enough to override my desire for food, water, or comfortable clothing, so I will usually make sure to acquire and pack enough of these things to keep me in good supply while I'm out and about. I might be out of snack bars, so I bike to the store to get more. Some of the clothing I want is probably dirty, so I have to clean it. I have to drive to the nearest river; this means I have to book a Zipcar and walk to the Zipcar first. If I didn't rent, I'd have to spend some time on car maintenance. When I get to the river, I have to rent a kayak; again, if I didn't rent, I'd have to spend some time loading and unloading and cleaning the kayak. After I wait in line and rent the kayak, I have to ride upstream in a bus to get to the drop-off point.

Of course, I don't want to go alone; I want to go with friends. So I have to call or e-mail people till I find someone who likes kayaking and has some free time that matches up with mine and isn't on crutches or sick at the moment. Knowing who likes kayaking and who has free time when -- or at least knowing it well enough to do an intelligent search that doesn't take all day -- requires checking in with lots of acquaintances on a regular basis to see how they're doing.

There are certainly moments of pleasure involved in all of these tasks; clean water tastes good; it feels nice to check in on a friend's health; there might be a pretty view from the bumpy bus ride upstream. But what I wanted to do, mostly, was go kayaking with friends. It might take me 4-7 hours to get ready to kayak for 1-2 hours. Some of the chores can be streamlined or routinized, but if it costs me effort to be sure to do the same chore at the same time every week, then it's not clear exactly how much I'm saving in terms of time and energy.

I have the same problem at work; although, by mainstream society's standards, I am a reasonably successful professional, I can't really sit down and write a great essay when I'm too hot, or, at least, it seems like I would be more productive if I stopped writing for 5 minutes and cranked up the A/C or changed into shorts. An hour later, it seems like I would be more productive if I stopped writing for 20 minutes and ate lunch. Later that afternoon, it seems like I would be more productive if I stopped for a few minutes and read an interesting article on general science. These things happen even in an ideal working environment, when I'm by myself in a place I'm familiar with. If I have coworkers, or if I'm in a new town, there are even more distractions. If I have to learn who to ask for help with learning to use the new software so that I can research the data that I need to write a report, then I might spend 6 hours preparing to spend 1 hour writing a report.

All this worries me for two reasons: (1) I might be failing to actually optimize for my goals if I only spend 10-20% of my time directly performing target actions like "write essay" or "kayak with friends," and (2) even if I am successfully optimizing, it sucks that the way to achieve the results that I want is to let my attention dwell on the most efficient ways to, say, brush my teeth. I don't just want to go kayaking, I want to think about kayaking. Thinking about driving to the river seems like a waste of cognitive "time" to me.

Does anyone else have similar concerns? Anyone have insights or comments? Am I framing the issue in a useful way? Is the central problem clearly articulated? Just about any feedback at all would be appreciated.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 27 May 2010 10:31:32PM 3 points [-]

Yes, no, yes, yes. This is a very well-written post, incidentally. Good work.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 26 May 2010 10:20:16PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: Bindbreaker 27 May 2010 08:59:33PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: khafra 25 May 2010 01:03:34PM -2 points [-]

You protest, but hopefully you've updated your prior based on the likelihood ratio implied by the belief of a lesswrong user with over 1600 karma. I'm interested to see how many exchanges between you and Kevin it would take for the Aumann Agreement Theorem to kick in.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 25 May 2010 06:00:51PM 2 points [-]

Karma doesn't mean "rationality points," and Aumann rationality has additional prerequisites anyway. My judgement stands, though I of course would revise that opinion if confronted with additional evidence. For reference, I put far more credence to the proposition "Kevin runs Clippy" than to the proposition "Clippy is a real (limited) paperclip-maximizer."

Comment author: Blueberry 22 May 2010 09:48:19PM 1 point [-]

The Harry Potter fanfic is a book on rationality. And a damn good one.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 25 May 2010 12:03:47PM 0 points [-]

To clarify, Eliezer Yudkowsky is working both on a book and on the Harry Potter fanfiction in question. Both pertain to rationality.

Comment author: Kevin 20 May 2010 07:29:12AM 3 points [-]

Confirmed. I may make a top-level post about our arrangement once some concrete details are resolved over the next week.

And yes, I believe that our universe (multiverse?) is weird enough that I should take Clippy seriously.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 21 May 2010 03:51:47PM 2 points [-]

Are you joking? Clippy is a gimmick poster on the Internet based on a common (if extreme) example.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 04 May 2010 09:16:46PM 1 point [-]

"He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead." --anonymous

Comment author: pjeby 09 April 2010 12:31:08AM 3 points [-]

Pjeby has re-branded himself here,

Ouch. That sounds painful. ;-)

reversing the negative status he had acquired. I would judge that he has above average status now.

I've actually had above-average karma pretty much since the site began, so I wonder what definition of "status" you're using here. Status as perceived by what group, as ranked among what other group?

Comment author: Bindbreaker 10 April 2010 01:17:27AM 1 point [-]

The last time I really checked (which was back in the early days), you had a far higher than normal proportion of posts with negative karma, which is the main thing that I use to evaluate a poster's status. In general I find total karma to be unreliable because karma seems generally linked to post count (in the old days, this link was quite direct).

However, looking back now I see that your recent comments appear to have been much more generally appreciated. I am not as active as I would like and therefore haven't seen many of these comments. This was quite an interesting discovery, as it made me aware of a greater need to evaluate status in the present state and account for shifts over time, so thanks, I guess.

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