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Comment author: wearsshoes 21 September 2017 04:38:06PM *  0 points [-]

From recent releases, I really like Tillie Walden's ultrasoft scifi On a Sunbeam, (2015-2017), and Kieron Gillen's The Wicked + The Divine (2014-ongoing), which has a lot of similarity to American Gods.

For something rationalist-adjacent, I'd recommend Blue Delliquanti's O Human Star (2012-ongoing), which deals with LGBTQ issues in the context of FAI and transhumanism.

Would love to have you in attendance!

Comment author: Screwtape 21 September 2017 07:20:00PM 0 points [-]

The synopsis of The Wicked + The Divine does look like my kind of tale. Both "Mortal becomes god" and "Mortal kills god" show up with weird frequency in my favourite stories.I'll likely check that one out first :)

I thoroughly enjoyed last year's solstice. I'm hoping to be able to take a three day weekend for it, since I know there were some meetups before and after that I had to miss since I was just in town for the one night. Do you happen to know the best spot to watch for details on the solstice or adjacent activities, once things are more organized?

Comment author: ThoughtSpeed 20 September 2017 06:31:14AM *  0 points [-]

I find it funny people think questions about the Chinese Room argument or induction are obvious, tangential, or silly. xD

Anyway: What is the best algorithm for deciding between careers?

(Rule 1: Please don't say the words "consult 80,000 Hours" or "Use the 80K decision tool!" That is analogous to telling an atypically depressed person to "read a book on exercise and then go out and do things!" Like, that's really not a helpful thing, since those people are completely booked (they didn't respond to my application despite my fitting their checkboxes). Also I've been to two of their intro workshops.)

I want to know what object-level tools, procedures, heuristics etc. people here recommend for deciding between careers. Especially if one feels conflicted between different choices. Thanks! :)

Comment author: Screwtape 21 September 2017 03:14:53PM 0 points [-]

I don't know what the best algorithm is, but what I did was something like the following.

Step 1. Make a list of the things you enjoy doing. Attempt to be specific where possible- you want to get at the activity that's actually enjoyable, so "making up stories" is more accurate for me than "writing" is, since it's the storytelling part that's fun for me instead of the sitting down and typing specifically. Sort the list in the order that you most enjoy doing the thing, with an eye towards things you can do a lot of. (I do like chocolate, but there's a sharp limit in the amount of chocolate I can eat before it stops being fun.) There's no exact length you need, but 10~15 seems to be the sweet spot.

Step 2. Line up the things you enjoy doing with jobs that do them a lot. Make a list of those jobs, putting under each job the different things you would like about them along with things you know you'd dislike about doing the job. Talking to people in that field, reading interviews with them, and good old fashioned googling are good steps here. Sort the jobs by how many of your favourite things to do are in them and how few things you don't want to do are in them.

Step 3. Take the list of jobs, and look up how much money each job makes, along with how much demand there is for that job and how many qualifications you'd need to earn to reasonably expect to get the job. Hours worked per week and health risks are also good things to think about. (Note: Sitting at a computer for nine hours straight should really count as a health risk. I'm not joking.)

Step 4. You now have a good notion of enjoyment vs practicality. If there's a standout winner in both of them, do that. If not, then consider your tradeoffs carefully. You will probably enjoy things less when you have to wake up every morning and do them, but it also caught me by surprise how little time it feels like I have to work on personal projects after eight or nine hours plus commuting.

Step 5. Think about UBI and cry a little, then dedicate a side project towards ushering in the glorious post-scarcity future.

Comment author: pepe_prime 13 September 2017 01:20:21PM 10 points [-]

[Survey Taken Thread]

By ancient tradition, if you take the survey you may comment saying you have done so here, and people will upvote you and you will get karma.

Let's make these comments a reply to this post. That way we continue the tradition, but keep the discussion a bit cleaner.

Comment author: Screwtape 13 September 2017 03:13:36PM 22 points [-]

I have taken the survey. I don't remember there being a public key question at the end of the last one though, which is a shame since that obviously means I don't remember what mine was last time.

Comment author: Yosarian2 07 September 2017 08:27:57PM 1 point [-]

It depends on the details. What will happen to traffic? Maybe autonomous cars will be more efficient in terms of traffic, but on the flip side of the coin people may drive more often if driving is more pleasant which might make traffic worse.

Also, if you're using a rental or "uber" model where you rent the autonomous car as part of a service, that kind of service might be a lot better if you're living in a city. It's much easier to make a business model like that work in a dense urban environment, wait times for a automated car to come get you will probably be a lot shorter, ect.

Comment author: Screwtape 07 September 2017 09:14:07PM 1 point [-]

Here's something I've been curious about: If you're running an autonomous car rental, what do you do with peak load times? I have to imagine there's a drastic difference in demand between 9am~11am vs 5pm~7pm, and an even larger difference between those and 2am~4am. Part of me thinks demand drives prices and everyone shifts their arrival/departure times a little to try and find lower transport costs, but I also would assume that rush hour traffic would do that all on its own. The other likely outcome seems to be that you keep enough vehicles on hand to satisfy peak demand, and then they just sit quietly in a parking lot the rest of the time.

Half of my daily commute takes place on a single lane dirt road, and I therefore have no idea why people endure heavy traffic unless they have completely inflexible work hours. Does anyone have any ideas?

Comment author: wearsshoes 05 September 2017 03:09:59PM 6 points [-]

Hi, I'm helping to organize this year's NYC Solstice, as raemon has moved to the Bay Area. I've been reading LW, SSC, and rationalist Tumblr since about January and going to NYC meetups semiregularly since April, but haven't yet posted on here, so I thought I'd make a quick introduction.

My name is Rachel, I'm an undergrad senior at NYU completing a communications major. I'm originally from the Bay Area. On the MBTI, I'm an INTJ. Besides rationality, my passions are graphic novels and cooking. My intellectual interests tend towards things that have a taxonomic character, like biology and linguistics. (I'm also a fan of the way that these subjects keep evading a perfect taxonomy.)

I occasionally wear sandals.

Comment author: Screwtape 07 September 2017 02:04:30PM 1 point [-]

As someone who hopes to attend the NY Solstice but is too far away to offer much assistance, you have my thanks for working on that!

What graphic novel(s) have you read recently you really liked? I haven't been paying attention to the media since Gaiman's Endless Nights, but that's largely because a change of social circle meant the stream of recommendations dried up.

I stay barefoot as much as is remotely socially acceptable, which isn't as nearly as much as I'd like.

Comment author: AABoyles 30 August 2017 09:40:50PM 2 points [-]

The experiment specifies that the circumstances are all but literally indistinguishable:

I'll allow you to relive your life up to this moment exactly as it unfolded the first time -- that is, all the exact same experiences, life decisions, outcomes, etc.

If the sequence of events is "exactly" the same, then from your perspective it cannot be distinguished. If it could, then some event must have happened differently in the past to make it such that you were aware things were different, which violates the tenets of God's claim. In other words, the two timelines basically must be indistinguishable from your perspective.

Comment author: Screwtape 31 August 2017 05:29:20PM 1 point [-]

You are correct. Rephrasing, as I was unclear before: my experiences will be indistinguishable to me, but from an outside perspective I think there's a difference. In the moment I'm making the decision, I'm trying to take that outside view. I suppose I'm trying to answer what I think was the spirit of the question; I value me existing and having experiences. Getting to go through life again means I exist 'longer' (it's unclear exactly how the time reversal works in this case, but for this to make any sense there has to be some kind of added amount of subjective experiences, even if they're exact copies of 'previous' experiences) and I would rather prolong my existence than cease to exist.

Imperfect analogy: imagine telling a paperclip maximizer that you will copy every paperclip it's made, but you will copy them somewhere else where the paperclip maximizer will never sense them. It wants more paperclips, so it likes this idea. In a similar way, I like me existing and having experiences.

Comment author: Screwtape 30 August 2017 09:07:17PM 1 point [-]

If I was presented with this choice ten years ago, I very well might have chosen (1), but I would have been aware that my life was fairly reliably getting more enjoyable as a function of time. (For me, being five was horrible, being ten sucked, being fifteen was frustrating, being twenty was actually pretty good, etc.)

Experiencing something twice doesn't seem indistinguishable to me, which is the notion I'm getting from a lot of other people's responses. I don't remember eating ice cream a few months ago, but I'm pretty sure I did and I enjoyed it. I ate ice cream yesterday and it was enjoyable. The enjoyment of something is still relevant even if I don't remember it; if I ate ice cream now, got mindwiped of the memory of that, and then had another cone I still think more than one ice cream's worth of utility is being generated. Likewise, reliving my life over again still has meaning.

I do kinda wish I could start the replay around fourteen though. That'd skip a lot of the worst moments.

Comment author: Elo 29 August 2017 11:27:05PM 8 points [-]

Hamming question: if your life were a movie and you were watching your life on screen, what would you be yelling at the main character? (example: don't go in the woods alone! Hurry up and see the quest guy! Just drop the sunk costs and do X) (optional - answer in public or private)

Comment author: Screwtape 30 August 2017 03:25:56PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: PECOS-9 14 August 2017 07:14:37PM 1 point [-]

Does anybody have recommendations for video lecture series? Any topic.

Comment author: Screwtape 14 August 2017 07:28:39PM 2 points [-]

Crash Course on youtube has a variety of ~10 minute videos on a whole bunch of topics- I haven't watched most of the topics, but History and Literature are pretty decent. The length hurts in a lot of places, but I think it does a good job given that constraint and I'll admit I'm a lot more likely to "one more video" my way through a dozen of those than I am to sit down for a two hour documentary on the Vietnam War or The Great Gatsby, even if I'd feel like I was getting a more in-depth education out of the latter.

Comment author: WalterL 09 August 2017 02:49:36AM 0 points [-]

Kind of...

Like, part of being 'highly skilled' as a programmer is being able to work with other people. I mean, I get what you are saying, but working with assholes is part of the devs tool bag, or he hasn't been a dev very long.

Comment author: Screwtape 10 August 2017 05:35:12PM 0 points [-]

Is that really a programming skill though? Aren't most fields of human endeavor theoretically improved by being able to work with people, making it something of a generic skill? Alternately, if cooperation is domain specific enough to be a 'programming' skill then it seems like some programmers are amazing even if they lack that skill.

Various novels have been written by two authors, but I wouldn't say the inability to co-write with an arbitrary makes one a terrible author. Good Omens was amazing, but I'm not sure that Pratchett and Stephen King hypothetically failing to work well together makes either of them a bad writer. This is less obvious in less clearly subjective fields, but I think it might still be true.

It's worth noting that "Gah, I can't work with that guy, I'm too highly skilled in my own amazing paradigm!" is more often a warning sign of different problem rather than a correct diagnosis of this one.

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