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In response to Be secretly wrong
Comment author: Benquo 09 December 2016 06:23:21PM *  3 points [-]

Claim 1: "Be wrong." Articulating your models and implied beliefs about the world is an important step in improving your understanding. The simple act of explicitly constraining your anticipations so that you'll be able to tell if you're wrong will lead to updating your beliefs in response to evidence.

If you want to discuss this claim, I encourage you to do it as a reply to this comment.

In response to comment by Benquo on Be secretly wrong
Comment author: Yosarian2 05 January 2017 10:32:53AM 2 points [-]

One problem with this is that we are not perfectly rational beings.

If you don't think you have enough evidence yet to form an opinion on something, it may be better to hold off and not form an opinion yet. Because once you form an opinion, it will inherently bias the way you precieve new information you get, and even the most rational of us tend to be biased towards wanting to think that our current opinion is already right.

One correlary is that even when you don't have enough evidence to form an opinion, you can create and start to test a hypothesis for yourself without actually deciding (even in secret) that it is "your opinion". That way you can get the advantages you are talking about without precomittimg yourself to something that might bias you.

Comment author: Wes_W 11 July 2016 02:52:08AM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure you've described a different mistake than Eliezer has?

Certainly, a student with a sufficiently incomplete understanding of heat conduction is going to have lots of lines of thought that terminate in question marks. The thesis of the post, as I read it, is that we want to be able to recognize when our thoughts terminate in question marks, rather than assuming we're doing something valid because our words sound like things the professor might say.

In response to comment by Wes_W on Fake Explanations
Comment author: Yosarian2 11 July 2016 12:47:06PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, that's fair, although it sounds like the student he's quoting did understand that.

I'm just saying that "guessing the teacher's password" isn't usually a fair way to view what's going in in cases like this. "Building up a concept map of connections between related concepts" is probably more accurate, and that really is a vital part of the learning process, it's not a bad thing at all.

In response to Fake Explanations
Comment author: Yosarian2 08 July 2016 08:39:17PM *  0 points [-]

I was just re-reading the sequences, and I have to say that as a teacher I really think you're misjudging what is happening here.

Much of learning, it seems, is building up a mental framework, starting from certain concepts and attaching new concepts to them so that they can easily be recalled later and so you can use the connections between concepts to develop your own thinking later..

From my point of view, it looks like the student (perhaps as long as a year ago) had successfully created a new concept node in their mind, "heat conduction". They had connected this node to the concepts of heat transfer and physics. And even though they likely hadn't activated this node at all in perhaps a year, they were able to take a specific example of something they saw in the real world, generalize it to something that might be related to the more general topic of heat transfer in physics, and create a hypothesis of heat conduction.

If you saw a machine learning algorithm that was able to do all that, you'd really be impressed! Something like Watson might be able to go from the concept of heat transfer to heat conduction, but it wouldn't be able to generalize from a specific example of heat transfer it saw in the real world.

Now, they might not yet have a lot of details attached to the "heat conduction" concept node in their head. But that's ok, that they can learn, that gives you something to build on as a teacher. If you teach it well and they can attach some details and images and maybe some math to the concept of "heat conduction" in the head, then hopefully next time they'll say "Maybe heat conduction? Hmmm, no, that doesn't work." which is even better. But there's more going on here then just "guessing a password"; this is part of what constructing a model of the world looks like while the process is only partly completed.

Comment author: Houshalter 18 June 2016 03:14:33AM 0 points [-]

I would argue all those values are irrational. Ticking a box that has no effect on the world, and that no one will ever know about, should not matter. And I don't think many people would claim that they value that, if they accepted that premise. I think people value voting because they don't accept that premise, and think there is some value in their vote.

Comment author: Yosarian2 03 July 2016 11:43:28PM 0 points [-]

I would say that values that may not be utility maximizing on the individual level, but which are on the cultural or national or even species level so long as most people hold those values, are totally rational. It's like chosing cooperate in the prisoner's dillema but with billions of players; so long as most of us choose cooperate we are all better off. So in that situation it's rational to cooperate, to encourage others to cooperate, and to signal that you cooperate and reward others who do.

"The civic virtue of voting and taking your vote seriously" is a great example of a virtue like that. It doesn't directly matter to you if you do, but we all are much better off if most people do.

Comment author: turchin 03 July 2016 06:07:43PM 1 point [-]

That is true, but those who use this model predict typically not for long - 5-10 years, where exponential nature of such growth is not much evident. But in demographic and long term economic prediction it becomes clearly exponential. Probably I should reformulate and separate slow, but exponential growth, from actually linear predictions.

Comment author: Yosarian2 03 July 2016 07:59:00PM 1 point [-]

Yeah; don't underestimate slow but exponential growth, I would say that 3% a year growth is what really started at the start of the industrial revolution and why we've gotten as far as we have.

Personally I expect overall civilization wide exponential growth at some intermediate level for the next few decades faster than 3% but slower then Moore's law. Lot of uncertainty in there of course.

Comment author: Yosarian2 03 July 2016 04:52:59PM *  1 point [-]

A 3% a year economic growth model is actually an exponential growth model as well, it's not linear at all. The exponential growth rate is a lot lower then Moore's law, 1.03^n instead of 2^n, but it's still exponential growth.

Comment author: woodchopper 23 April 2016 12:01:42PM *  0 points [-]

Currently it's pretty commonly believed that the end state of the universe is decayed particles moving away from every other particle at faster than the speed of light, therefore existing in an eternal and inescapable void. If you only have one particle you can't do calculations.

Comment author: Yosarian2 01 June 2016 10:21:17AM 0 points [-]

That's one possibility. It depends what the value of dark energy is, which isn't yet known.

Comment author: Yosarian2 27 January 2016 11:43:41PM 3 points [-]

As a meta-level version of this, I have to admit that I find it a little concerning that this site was created in the first place partly because Eliezer Yudkowsky wanted to convince people that funding safe AI research was the best possible use of resources, and that much of the logic on this site seems to come to that conclusion, irrespective of which direction the logic goes in to get to that point.

I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusion, but it is a surprising and suspicious convergence nonetheless.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 22 October 2015 05:12:17AM 4 points [-]

As far as I can tell, none of the "health" results are about the patient's health, only carrier status relevant to potential children. I imagine that is why the FDA is quicker to approve these tests than others, because there is not much the patient can do to act on it. (In theory the test could diagnose the same diseases, but I think they are all severe enough that the patient is expected to already know. Maybe they would be diagnostic for children.)

Except that they do predict lactose intolerance. That is in the "wellness" category, which I suspect are things that the FDA said it didn't care about.

Comment author: Yosarian2 23 October 2015 10:30:57AM 2 points [-]

Not yet, but 23andMe is still working on getting more tests approved. It'll take some time, but at least they're making progress, and the FDA isn't totally shutting them out.

Comment author: Yosarian2 18 October 2015 05:15:34PM 2 points [-]

One minor nitpick; I'm not sure that there is a lot of evidence showing that avoiding spicy foods extends lifespan. In fact, there was recently a study in China that seemed to show a correlation between eating spicy foods and a longer lifespan.


Of course that kind of study is only weak evidence, because of the problems with that kind of correlation; still, I don't think avoiding spicy foods is likely to be helpful.

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