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Comment author: Viliam_Bur 15 April 2014 06:49:53PM *  2 points [-]

I love the marshmallow maximizer!

Perhaps it could serve as an educational example about how an Unfriendly AI might exploit our psychological weaknesses to make us accept horrible outcomes. :D

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 April 2014 12:51:37PM 2 points [-]

I don't have a rationality point, but I like the grumpy cat "joy in the merely real" one.

Meetup: Philadelphia, April 12, 1PM

2 NancyLebovitz 11 April 2014 08:24AM

WHEN: 12 April 2014 1:00 PM

WHERE: Philadelphia

The meetup is at Nam Phuong (llth and Broad) at 1:00 PM. This is a Saturday (change from the previous Sunday meetups).

Discussion prompt: http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/03/17/not-just-a-mere-political-issue/

Discussion group/mailing list
Comment author: ChristianKl 10 April 2014 04:17:12PM *  1 point [-]

I don't think you agree. I think Eugine has a problem with the idea that just because an idea wins in history doesn't mean that's it's a good idea.

Marx replaced what Hegel called God with history. Marx idea that you don't need a God to tell you what's morally right, history will tell you. Neoreactionaries don't like that sentiment that history decides what's morally right.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 April 2014 06:07:27PM 4 points [-]

There are (at least) two things wrong with "the right side of history". One is that we can't know that history has a side, or what side it might be because a tremendous amount of history hasn't happened yet, and the other error is that history might prefer worse outcomes in some sense.

I find the first sort of error so annoying that I normally don't even see the second.

My impression is that Eugene is annoyed by both sorts of error, but I hope he'll say where he stands on this.

Comment author: Nomad 04 April 2014 03:46:08PM 2 points [-]

Teenage stupidity is magical. At that age, you're so dumb that you may think you know you're dumb, but you're actually so ignorant (and arrogant) that you think you're smart and wise for knowing you're dumb. In reality, you're just dumb. Take away the recursive loop of delusion and any sense of how wise you are even though you're so young, and the truth is all that remains: You Are Dumb.


Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 April 2014 05:05:42PM 6 points [-]

Finding out that you're stupid (or ignorant) is an important start. I don't recommend insulting people because they're started rather than continued the job, especially if they're young.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 09 April 2014 07:32:50AM 5 points [-]

Not to mention the people who think accusing their opponents of being "on the wrong side of history" constitutes an argument.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 April 2014 02:53:15PM 1 point [-]

I strongly agree. It's possible that history has a side, but we can hardly know what it is in advance.

Comment author: D_Malik 08 April 2014 07:05:35PM *  15 points [-]

Should we listen to music? This seems like a high-value thing to think about.* Some considerations:

  • Music masks distractions. But we can get the same effect through alternatives such as white noise, calming environmental noise, or ambient social noise.

  • Music creates distractions. It causes interruptions. It forces us to switch our attention between tasks. For instance, listening to music while driving increases the risk of accidents.

  • We seem to enjoy listening to music. Anecdotally, when I've gone on "music fasts", music starts to sound much better and I develop cravings for music. This may indicate that this is a treadmill system, such that listening to music does not produce lasting improvements in mood. (That is, if enjoyment stems from relative change in quality/quantity of music and not from absolute quality/quantity, then we likely cannot obtain a lasting benefit.)

  • Frequency of music-listening correlates (.18) with conscientiousness. I'd guess the causation's in the wrong direction, though.

  • Listening to random music (e.g. a multi-genre playlist on shuffle) will randomize emotion and mindstate. Entropic influences on sorta-optimized things (e.g. mindstate) are usually harmful. And the music-listening people do nowadays is very unlike EEA conditions, which is usually bad.

(These are the product of 30 minutes of googling; I'm asking you, not telling you.)

Here are some ways we could change our music-listening patterns:

  • Music modifies emotion. We could use this to induce specific useful emotions. For instance, for productivity, one could listen to a long epic music mix.

  • Stop listening to music entirely, and switch to various varieties of ambient noise. Moderate ambient noise seems to be best for thinking.

  • Use music only as reinforcement for desired activities. I wrote a plugin to implement this for Anki. Additionally, music benefits exercise, so we might listen to music only at the gym. The treadmill-like nature of music enjoyment (see above) may be helpful here, as it would serve to regulate e.g. exercise frequency - infrequent exercise would create music cravings which would increase exercise frequency, and vice versa.

  • Listen only to educational music. Unfortunately, not much educational music for adults exists. We could get around this by overlaying regular music with text-to-speeched educational material or with audiobooks.

* I've been doing quantitative attention-allocation optimization lately, and "figure out whether to stop listening to music again" has one of the highest expected-utilons-per-time of all the interventions I've considered but not yet implemented.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 08 April 2014 07:52:47PM 4 points [-]

If you're just looking to maximize pleasure, perhaps you should schedule music fasts.

Comment author: JoshuaFox 08 April 2014 02:14:12PM 7 points [-]

What's so special about HPMoR?

Some people seem to think that it is more than just a decent read: that it genre-breaking, that it transcends the rules of ordinary fiction. Some people change their life-pattern after reading HPMoR. Why?

For some context on who is asking this question: I've read 400 pages or more of HPMoR; as well as pretty much everything else that Eliezer has written.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 08 April 2014 07:50:51PM *  4 points [-]

One more thing-- it's got is tremendous emotional range and intensity.

Comment author: Entraya 07 April 2014 01:28:41PM 0 points [-]

I've seen a quoted piece of literature in the commentssection, but instead of the original letters, they all seemed to be replaced by others. I think i remember seeing this more than once, and I still have no idea why that should in any way be like that is

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 07 April 2014 06:08:52PM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure what you're talking about, but it might be rot13, a simple substitution system for avoiding spoilers.

Rot13.com will code and decode passages to and from rot13.

Comment author: Prismattic 03 April 2014 03:21:03AM 4 points [-]

I've been on a bit of an alternate history kick recently. I can recommend both Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan-Behemoth-Goliath young adult steampunk v. biotech alternate World War One trilogy, and Ian Tregillis' Bitter Seeds-The Coldest War-Necessary Evil demonologists v. bioengineered ubermenchen series. (Neither is rationalist fiction in the sense of having super rational characters, but it is realist fiction in the sense of character's making mistakes for bias-related reasons.)

Also, I seem to recall seeing Yvain say something on his blog recently about being surprised that many of the people he knew who reference Lovecraft haven't actually read him. For those who aren't aware of it, all of Lovecraft's solo-authored work in chronological order is available as a free e-book here.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 05 April 2014 06:48:24PM 0 points [-]

You might like Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle-- ancient Greek metaphysics is true. Greece becomes a world power, and the story is about an expedition to the sun to get elemental fire. Taoist alchemy is also true.


Comment author: ChristianKl 04 April 2014 08:19:24PM 0 points [-]

The article doesn't talk about whole brain activity but about the activity of a particular part of the brain. It's not clear that the whole brain uses less energy.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 04 April 2014 08:22:32PM 0 points [-]

Fair point. This should be checked. On the other hand, does it seem likely that if the brain uses less energy in one part because it's doing a familiar task, the rest of the brain will use more energy to compensate?

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