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Comment author: skeptical_lurker 26 May 2015 12:08:25PM *  7 points [-]

However attractive, well dressed, confidant you are, you still need to know how to actually approach someone.

A problem is that any attempt to improve attractiveness will lead some people to declare that you are evil or otherwise defective. Its not just PUA stuff, this is far more general: if a guy lifts, that makes him a 'dickhead' according to members of my peer group, while a woman not shaving her armpits makes her strong & empowered (does a man not shaving his face make him empowered?). Conversely, some people believe that not taking care of your appearance makes you a slob.

Then there's the problem that confidence is key. You need to be 110% confident of everything you say, and to truly believe this, you need to internalise it. The problem is then that it spills over into other aspects of life, and you become very badly credence calibrated, potentially leading to serious mistakes because you can't admit that you might be wrong. When you are in a group containing more than one 'alpha male' it becomes impossible to get anything done, even something as simple as choosing a pub to go to, because one alpha male decides to go to one pub, the other decides to go to a different pub, and because they are alpha, they don't ask anyone else what they want, and so everyone ends up at a different pub.

In fact, its possible that LW rationality is training people to have bad social skills. "How to change your mind" might just be how to look like a weak-willed person who won't stick to their guns, or if you change your mind about politics, it makes you a traitor.

But if you have too little confidence, you can get stuck in a loop where:

low confidence -> little romantic success -> low confidence -> little romantic success ...

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 May 2015 04:45:17PM 2 points [-]

Its not just PUA stuff, this is far more general: if a guy lifts, that makes him a 'dickhead' according to members of my peer group,

I suggest that you need a better peer group. I don't know what your options are-- this might be worth discussing-- but the time you're spending with your current peer group is time that isn't available for spending with a better bunch of people.

Comment author: Mark_Friedenbach 22 May 2015 09:02:08AM *  1 point [-]

Honestly, I would love to hear your arguments against this notion.

It's completely divorced from reality:

Once turned on, AGI will simply outsmart people in every way.

How? By what mechanism? An artificial intelligence is not a magical oracle. It arrives at its own plan of action by some deterministic algorithm running on the data available to it. An intelligence that is not programmed for social awareness will not suddenly be able to outsmart, outthink, and outmaneuver its human caretakers the moment it crosses some takeoff boundary. Without being programmed to have such capability from the start, and without doing something stupid like connecting it directly to the Internet, how is an AI supposed to develop that capability on its own without a detectable process of data collection by trial and error?

Nobody gets a free card to say “the AGI will simply outsmart people in every way.” You have to explain precisely how such capability would exist. So far, all that I've seen is unclear, hand-wavy arguments by analogy that are completely unsatisfactory in that regard. "Because super-intelligence!" is not an answer.

Once turned on, we can't do anything about it.

We could, I don't know, pull the plug.

it just does whatever it wants and can

How, unless it is given effectors in the real world? Why would we be stupid enough to do that?

and we won't be able to control it anymore

If we started with an ability to control it, how did we lose that ability?

as [we] simply won't be able to quickly come up decision better or even on par with it.

Turn it off. Take as long as you want to evaluate the data and make your decision. Then turn it back on again. Or not.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 22 May 2015 10:06:37AM 2 points [-]

I t occurs to me that an AI could be smart enough to win without being smarter in every way or winning every conflict. Admittedly, this is a less dramatic claim.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 21 May 2015 07:36:50AM *  3 points [-]

It may be only tangentially related, but: I am unusually mixed and wonder how differently wired may be people whose parents are from one ethnic group.

I am on one side, Jews, but blue-eyed blonde Jews which is kinda weird in itself, and on the other side it is not entirely clear but I strongly suspect Cumans. Through probably Cuman ancestry my mom looks so Asian that her childhood nickname was Cio-Cio San, and my dad looked totally Scandinavian (although with a nice big chimney) even though he was a Jew. I look undescribably, perhaps a fat-face version of Kemal Ataturk, mainly European face but still a bit "off".

I used to have very strongly liberal instincts, for example I used not understand empathically nationalist, esp. ethnic nationalist people. Could it be a result of mixing? I have also always felt unrooted.

Could it be that less mixed people are naturally more tribal, more conservative, through for example the pathogen theory of morals or something?

I don't really know if I like this. I toyed with the idea of trying some kind of a Paganism, like Asatru, in a non-theistic way but more like a communal experience and subconsciousness programming. But they seem to be focused on less mixed people, blood tends to matter for them. (I don't like Wicca, it is a tad bit too feminine for me, I would like a more warrior-spirit oriented Paganism, hence the Asatru interest.) I don't have a tribe, in the biological sense and that kind of bothers me a bit. I cannot point to any population, country, town or village and claim to be strongl related by blood. And I kind of miss that, but perhaps only because of scarcity. (Miss it only because I cannot have it, if I had it I would perhaps not be interested.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 May 2015 02:37:40PM 0 points [-]

I've played with the notion of some people being better adapted for living in cities-- that is, with strangers-- than others.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 20 May 2015 01:20:24AM *  10 points [-]

is suddenly reminded of my idea of hiring able-bodied 65-year-olds as asbestos remediation workers

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 May 2015 03:35:55AM 13 points [-]
Comment author: els 20 May 2015 01:41:50AM 0 points [-]

Hmm. If you want people you know to get into LessWrong, don't undermine the value of your own enthusiasm. When I told my family about this site, I was all excited, like "I found this amazing new site, and I learned X, and they talk all about Y, which is so relevant to my life, and don't you hate when people do Z? Well they talk about that too!" Now my dad and little sister are hooked on the rationality ebook, even though they both generally read nothing more than fiction/fantasy. My little sister is fascinated by it despite still being a strong Christian and "weeding out the anti-Christian stuff."

As for the homepage... I think it's really good to mention the biases. But had I stumbled here randomly rather than from this being at the top of SSC's recommended blog list, I might have been turned away by all the jargon, too. Maybe just put super brief summaries in parentheses next to them?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 May 2015 02:56:47AM 0 points [-]

I was thinking about summaries-- that would help a lot. It might also be possible to choose biases with more intuitive names, like the sunk cost fallacy.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 19 May 2015 07:43:05PM 6 points [-]

On a related topic, someone just got really confused by the fact that the infobox at the top of Discussion says

You're looking at Less Wrong's discussion board. This includes all posts, including those that haven't been promoted to the front page yet. For more information, see About Less Wrong.

And then the person naturally assumed that an article that had actually been posted in Main could be found from browsing Discussion.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 May 2015 08:28:15PM 3 points [-]

I brought up the problem with the description of the discussion board and got a bunch of karma, but nothing happened. I've contacted tech about my being able to change site text-- I'll try again without the assumption that I'd be making the changes.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 19 May 2015 02:09:01PM 3 points [-]

Have you prevented any existential risks? Has anyone here? Has the site?

Is that something users actually interact with here?

In what way is preventing existential risk relevant to what a user coming here is looking at, seeing, interacting with, or doing?

And what introduction would be necessary to explain why Less Wrong, as a community, is congratulating itself for something it hasn't done yet, and which no user will interact with or contribute to in a meaningful way as a part of interacting with Less Wrong?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 May 2015 04:40:23PM 3 points [-]

There are people here who are working on preventing UAI-- I'm not sure they're right (I have my doubts about provable Friendliness), but it's definitely part of the history of and purpose for the the site.

While Yudkowsky is hardly the only person to work on practical self-improvement, it amazes me that it took a long-range threat to get people to work seriously on the sunk-cost fallacy and such-- and to work seriously on teaching how to notice biases and give them up.

Most people aren't interested in existential risk, but some of the people who are interested in the site obviously are.

Comment author: Ishaan 19 May 2015 02:25:29PM *  2 points [-]

I do have a parallel thought process which finds it pretentious, but I ignore it because it also said that the ice bucket was pretentious. And the ice bucket challenge was extremely effective. I think the dislike is just contrarian signalling, and is why our kind can't cooperate. That or some kind of egalitarian instinct against boasting.

Isn't "pretentious" just a negative way to say "signalling"? Of course that idea might not be effective signalling but abstractly, the idea is that EA is well suited for signalling so why isn't it?

I'd consider value in doing a local hospital. Local community strengthening and good feelings is its own thing with its own benefits, and there's a special value in the aid coming from local people who know what's what - as a natural extension of the idea that aid is better coming from parents to children than from distant government to children. I'm talking about the global poverty crowd here.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 May 2015 03:41:06PM *  0 points [-]

"Pretentious" might be signalling of high status [1]that's irritating to receive, which leads to a large new topic. When is signalling fun vs. not fun? Is it just a matter of what's a positive signal in the recipient's group?

[1] Signalling about sports teams isn't pretentious, even when it's annoying. I don't think there's a word for the annoyingness of middle-to-low status signaling. "Vulgar" covers some cases, but not most of them.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 19 May 2015 01:03:32PM 1 point [-]

Extremely difficult to get into normal people's heads: that striving to become more rational has nothing to do with becoming "less emotional."

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 May 2015 01:12:50PM 0 points [-]

To you think "think more clearly" has connotations of "become less emotional"?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 19 May 2015 01:17:16AM *  2 points [-]

"Less Wrong is a community for people who would like to think more clearly in order to improve their own and other people's lives, and to make major disasters less likely."

I wouldn't reference the major disasters, but I would reference some particular means by which we're trying to think more clearly.

Less Wrong is a community for people who try to find and apply means to think more clearly (i.e., Less Wrong, get it?), with major areas of interest including cognitive biases, bayesian probability theory, causal inference, decision theory, moral philosophy, and (whatever else?), and specific influences from Daniel Kahneman, Edwin Jaynes, Judea Pearl, S.I Hayakawa, ???, ???.

There are a bazillion web sites about thinking more clearly, rationally, spiffily, etc. Identifying some "how and who" more specifically while covering the breadth of topics more accurately identifies what we're selling, the better to attract people who might want to buy.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 May 2015 11:24:08AM 3 points [-]

Preventing existential risk is part of what this site is about. Do you think it shouldn't be mentioned at all, or do you think it should be described some other way?

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