Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Meetup : West LA—DUMP STAT

1 OpenThreadGuy 07 December 2014 05:32AM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—DUMP STAT

WHEN: 10 December 2014 07:00:00PM (-0800)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room if possible.

Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.

Discussion: Contra Heinlein, humans in large populations ought to specialize. This means sacrificing jack-of-all for expertise in one domain. But which things are best to sacrifice? Which things do you already do that you should do less of? What should your dump stats be?

Recommended Reading:

No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—DUMP STAT

Meetup : West LA—The Relativity of Wrong

1 OpenThreadGuy 21 November 2014 01:48PM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—The Relativity of Wrong

WHEN: 26 November 2014 07:00:00PM (-0800)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room if possible.

Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.

Discussion: Human ignorance is vast, so human knowledge is often understated. The domains of our ignorance keep getting smaller and further away from the decimal point. We will be discussing Isaac Asimov's important essay The Relativity of Wrong.

Recommended Reading:

No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible. In fact, this is a 101-level topic, only a touch more advanced than basic map and territory. While I'm at it, I want to mention that a few of us habitually show up early, so you should feel free to.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—The Relativity of Wrong

In response to A List of Nuances
Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 November 2014 07:08:35AM 2 points [-]

Motte-and-bailey seems like it should be under What You Mean vs. What You Think You Mean

Comment author: OpenThreadGuy 13 November 2014 01:05:00PM *  1 point [-]

I agree that it makes sense there.

The reason I put it where it is, is: belief-edifice-memeplex-paradigm-framework-system-movement-whatevers have members who say different things. Some members say things that are more like a motte and others say things that are more like a bailey. Even if the individual members consistently claim one or the other, this looks suspiciously like a group responding to incentives by committing the fallacy.

Meetup : West LA—The Worst Argument in the World

1 OpenThreadGuy 26 September 2014 04:24AM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—The Worst Argument in the World

WHEN: 01 October 2014 07:00:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room if possible.

Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.

Discussion: Last week, I included a link to the Worst Argument in the World essay, not because it was relevant to last week's topic, but because I thought it was something that people should read. This week, I realized what I should have done instead. The three recommended readings are all rewrites of the same essay, but since the first one is the best, you don't need to read the others unless you didn't understand it or something.

Recommended Reading:

No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—The Worst Argument in the World

Meetup : West LA—Inflation of Terminology

1 OpenThreadGuy 21 September 2014 04:07PM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Inflation of Terminology

WHEN: 24 September 2014 07:00:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room if possible.

Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.

Discussion: A problem for people trying to be precise is that words tend to take on additional meanings over time, and seldom lose meanings. It is good policy to avoid habits that promote this tendency. We will discuss why this is so, and how to implement this policy in daily conversation.

Recommended Reading:

No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Inflation of Terminology

Meetup : West LA—The Hierarchy of Requests

1 OpenThreadGuy 14 September 2014 11:33PM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—The Hierarchy of Requests

WHEN: 17 September 2014 07:00:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room if possible.

Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.

Discussion: The hierarchy of requests is a useful way of thinking about many situations. I will present it and emphasize certain things.

Recommended Reading:

No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—The Hierarchy of Requests

Meetup : West LA—Behold Moloch! Beware of Moloch!

1 OpenThreadGuy 31 July 2014 08:57AM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Behold Moloch! Beware of Moloch!

WHEN: 06 August 2014 07:00:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room.

Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.

Discussion: Yvain has done it. He has gone beyond the impossible and kicked reason to the curb! He has written Peak Essay, a persuasive epic, a poem in prose of hope and despair. For there is an Enemy; its name is Moloch, the Creator, Moloch the Destroyer, Moloch the Devious Maw! We will be discussing his post Meditations on Moloch.

Recommended Reading:

No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible. But you may be changed beyond repair, and the better for it.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Behold Moloch! Beware of Moloch!

Comment author: OpenThreadGuy 30 April 2014 06:13:40PM 4 points [-]

I was there.

"but most of our time was spent thinking about probability distributions on consistent theories" seems incorrect to me, unless I'm a lot more confused than I thought I was. What I saw was that we spent an equal amount of time on essentially three topics:

  1. Trying to manufacture a truth-predicate weaker than provability but still able to do work, for getting around Löb's theorem;
  2. Binary logical versions/formulations of Solomonoff Induction (Abram's prior);
  3. What to do if you have an inconsistent set of probabilities over sentences / how to turn inconsistent probabilities into a prior (probability distributions on consistent theories).

(The hosts then talked about #3 for seven more hours after the official end of the mini-workshop. Scott apparently spent n hours after that writing down what he had talked and thought about. And then it was a dead end. Таких математике!)

Despite my lack of math knowledge, I enjoyed attending. I am even told that I did not distract everyone with my stupid questions and uninteresting ideas, so I will go to future ones as well.

The other participants were madmen. They didn't take any breaks at all, only furiously bashed brains against unsolvable problems, demanding solutions from the aether and holding their ideas hostage until some otherworldly god, some invisible champion of mathematics relented to give them what they want. They did not succeed, nor did they fail, for they have not given up. To tell the truth, it was a little bit frightening.

I got all excited about math because of this, which may or may not be a positive effect, and hopefully next time I'll have read some of the relevant papers, and understood more than a modicum.

Meetup : West LA—Honor and Glory

2 OpenThreadGuy 24 April 2014 10:24PM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Honor and Glory

WHEN: 30 April 2014 06:59:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. I will bring a Rubik's Cube. The presence of a Rubik's Cube will be strong Bayesian evidence of the presence of a Less Wrong meetup.

Parking is completely free. There is a sign that claims there is a 45-minute time limit, but it is not enforced.

Discussion: Honor, next to courage, is the manliest virtue, but manliness and chivalry are dead, and so one wonders (when one is not me) whether honor matters anymore, whether it brings goodness to the world or whether it is merely another status signal. I claim that it is still a virtue even in these depraved and decadent times, that the function of honor is a commitment device: it is the ability to make promises, to fail gracefully if one should fail, to be punished with harm rather than death when one makes a reasonable mistake, and to grow in reputation and in stature. But while it can be true and beautiful, it can be exploited, by mountebanks and scavengers alike. For honor is inextricably tied to reputation, and no commitment device can give a man enough control over what others think of him to reliably prevent atrocities.

Recommended Reading:

NB: No prior knowledge of or exposure to Less Wrong is necessary; this will be generally accessible. However, I will tolerate no slights nor aspersions on my ancestry.

You must thoroughly research this.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Honor and Glory

Meetup : West LA—Expert At Vs. Expert On

2 OpenThreadGuy 07 March 2014 10:10AM

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Expert At Vs. Expert On

WHEN: 12 March 2014 06:00:00PM (-0800)

WHERE: 11066 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. I will bring a Rubik's Cube. The presence of a Rubik's Cube will be strong Bayesian evidence of the presence of a Less Wrong meetup.

Parking is completely free. There is a sign that claims there is a 45-minute time limit, but it is a lie.

Discussion: Expert at vs. expert on is a fairly important distinction. It's also a really simple one, which makes it conceptual low-hanging fruit. It's not totally without nuance; for example the terminology implies either total mastery or encyclopedic knowledge, but it applies just as well at any level of competence.

Recommended Reading:

  • Expert At Versus Expert On. I know of no other writing that is explicitly on this topic. Robin Hanson emphasizes the signaling aspect (of course he does), but I do not.
  • It is well-known that you learn to play baseball by playing baseball, not by reading essays about baseball. However, it is not usually made explicit that the former makes you an expert at baseball, and the latter makes you an expert on baseball.
  • Another nuance: Being an expert at something helps you become an expert on it; the vice versa may be true also. For example, you are probably a better linguist if you speak many languages.

NB: No prior knowledge of or exposure to Less Wrong is necessary; this will be generally accessible. Also, we may or may not play a card game.

Discussion article for the meetup : West LA—Expert At Vs. Expert On

View more: Next