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Comment author: mortal 11 August 2017 05:22:45PM *  0 points [-]

Here is a video of someone allegedly creating a hybrid of a chicken and a human by fertilizing chicken eggs with human sperm. The 'father' of this homonculus kills the thing eventually on camera.


The best part is the comments. This is uncanny valley territory, and one comment especially reminded me of you guys - 'For a moment I thought, what if it is real?'

It reminded me of the idea of AIs torturing simulations. Wew.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 11 June 2017 09:58:24PM 1 point [-]

Short summary: I often fall into bad spirals after breaking commitments to myself. This post is a combination of reasons to remind myself why 1 slip-up =/= total failure, a series of probing questions to dive into the actual slip-up, and two potential techniques to deal with breaking self-commitments.

Comment author: mortal 12 June 2017 03:21:37PM *  1 point [-]

Thanks for writing something useful, at least for others. Here is my take.

I may not know as much as you do, but I can tell you this -

You are trying too hard to follow Nate Soares' style of writing.

Keep a combination of cold resolve and self-compassion. Remember that your goal is to keep surging on, but burning out this early helps no one. Instead, keep a cold flame that you can consistently draw on. Give yourself space to look at yourself as a human, trying to achieve a higher standard.

This makes sense only in context of the whole Nate Soares' sequences. Try to reduce the interlinkage, it will help you write more clearly and explain things better (Rationalist's Taboo, remember?). This paragraph I have quoted is a strawman, but I wanted to show you how empty and meaningless it is, out of context. In context too, it makes no sense to me. I may be autistic, but I have no idea how to keep a combination of cold resolve and self-compassion. The Curse of Knowledge, remember? You may write stuff that makes sense to you, but not to me. We don't have the same meaning for the same words we use - 'cold resolve' for me means being Stoic. It may mean something else to you.

You should prefer to cut out anything you don't think contributes to your post.

All right, on with your breaking commitments part -

Then what actually happens is that I realize I had absolutely no intention to study machine learning in the first place. I already knew that I was going to play some video games, and the other alternatives were generated half-heartedly.

You didn't mention machine learning anywhere. Not good. I infer you intended to use machine learning as an alternative to playing video games, because that is what makes the most sense to me.

By the time you violate your own commitments, the shift to violate them has already happened somewhere earlier along the line. You’ve already made your internal decision to break the promise. Any number of metacognitive safeguards might flare up—like that nagging voice that asks, “Hey, but didn’t we just agree not to fall for temptation last time?”—but they’ll be useless.

I never break the promises I make to myself. I bend them. I bend them out of shape. But I never break them. After a night's worth of binging of porn, and me staring into the abyss/ceiling, I don't feel guilty. Because I didn't break my promise. (then again, I use a vastly idiosyncratic precommitment system to keep myself productive, or atleast not binge reading and fapping)

So yeah, the whole post you put down there goes out the window for me.

If you feel angry, or hurt, remember that you are still doing better than me. I am around your age. I am just commenting, while you are actually creating.


Also, don't ask me about my precommitment system. I never talk about it with anyone.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 11 June 2017 10:39:58PM 1 point [-]

My internal dialogue might look like, “Hey, I notice I want to play video games. I wonder that this is a symptom of? I recall that I often feel like this when I need to take some time to just cool off…”

This sounds like another way of lying to yourself. It seems a lot more likely that you actually want to play video games. Consider someone with a sweet tooth. If they say to themselves, "I guess my body needs energy which it can get from all sorts of other nutritious food," they might be aiming for something good (healthy food), but this is not a true description of what is happening. Their body really does want sugar, even if this is because in the ancestral environment this would also have promoted health. In a similar way, animals seem to have a desire for play, something which is both intellectually stimulating but also very safe. Video games are very optimized for this just as sweet things are very optimized for the body's desire for sugar. So it seems much more likely that you really want to play video games, and even if you manage to jam some other shape into that hole, you are in fact jamming something else into it.

Comment author: mortal 12 June 2017 03:06:30PM 0 points [-]

even if you manage to jam some other shape into that hole, you are in fact jamming something else into it.

So... It is still masturbation no matter how you put it, huh?

Comment author: lifelonglearner 28 April 2017 12:24:39AM *  4 points [-]

On the Replication Crisis and examining research:

My knowledge of statistics and research is fairly elementary. I know what the different tests / conditions are, so I can do some minor discrimination, but does anyone know anything about figuring out which things are real? (i.e. what to look for when seeing if research papers check out)

My current understanding / heuristics look like:

  • Try to analyze the experiment yourself.

  • Look for multiple studies that try to confirm the phenomenon.

  • Look for meta-analyses of the thing.

  • Check on OSF if replication has happened.

  • Priming, power stances, willpower-as-a-resource, and everything in Cialdini is on shaky ground.

Comment author: mortal 08 May 2017 06:10:54PM 1 point [-]

I Ankified Influence - Cialdini.

How wrong am I now?

Also, check out Keith Stanovich's book How to think straight about Psychology. I am a rationality noob and find it amazing, but maybe it will help you because Keith talks about how to properly interpret scientific results in the later section of the book, AFAIK.

Comment author: mortal 08 May 2017 06:02:13PM *  2 points [-]

Can we make a list of all the best (maybe not the best, but the ones people use) implementation intentions/TAPs for rationality? That would be instantly useful to anyone who encounters it.

Also, making a list for general TAPs/implementation intentions LWers find useful in their life would also be very helpful to everyone.

I don't have enough karma to even make a post in discussion, so can someone take up my quest?

Comment author: gilch 06 May 2017 08:11:52PM *  1 point [-]

Any useful book recommendations (or just dump your recommendations here)?

That's too vague to answer directly, so I'll start by going meta. Books vary a great deal in quality. Some are so deceptive that reading them is probably a net negative. Most of the rest are probably not worth your time compared to what else you could be reading, but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Take some risks. The more knowledge you have, the better judge you are. People don't usually regret reading too many books.

Don't be too afraid to start and don't be too afraid to stop reading a book. Remember the sunk-cost fallacy. It's okay to stop reading a book if you judge that it's not worth your time. This should make you more inclined to start reading any book that looks interesting. You can limit your risk. It's okay to judge a book based on incomplete information, because you can't just read them all. Reviews and recommendations are a good starting place. There are plenty of these online. Then you can read the table of contents and skim the start of each chapter, just to see if it's worth reading for real. And even once you start in earnest, you can still quit if it's not worth your time.

Now for the recommendations. It's hard to recommend something to someone I know almost nothing about, but CFAR and MIRI have reading lists. These books have a high probability of being interesting for the kind of people who hang out on LW. (I'm gradually working through them myself.) You're here for some reason. How did you find LessWrong? Why are you asking us for books? Can you ask a more specific question?

Note that Rationality: From AI to Zombies is on both lists. It's probably a good starting point if you haven't read the Sequences already. Many of us here (myself included) consider the Sequences life changing. It reached that point for me long before I finished. I think some parts were better than others. There were boring parts and parts I couldn't follow, but the average density of insights was so high compared to everything else I'd found thus far, that I eventually read the whole thing.

Still, not everyone is ready for the Sequences. I got here via search engine after reading Drexler's Engines of Creation and Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near after stumbling upon the "singularity" meme--the idea that the near future could be so radically different than the present. I'd still recommend Engines of Creation (though it's a bit dated) but I now think Kurzweil is too optimistic and have come around to Yudkowsky's view.

nothing in them is worth remembering 10 years from now.

Have you read the classics? Some of these are centuries old and still considered important. These are all books worth remembering for at least 10 years. But is this the best we can do? If you've had good a liberal arts education, you already know most of this stuff.

Most human knowledge was developed very recently. (e.g. a modern Physics major knows more about relativity than Einstein, because their teachers used his life's work as their starting point.) We have a higher population than ever before and Internet access. If rationalists designed a general education curriculum, knowing what we know now, what would be different? Study that.

See also: http://lesswrong.com/lw/3gu/the_best_textbooks_on_every_subject/

Comment author: mortal 06 May 2017 11:33:17PM *  1 point [-]

First off, thank you for taking the time to reply to my message. I understand that not many people are helpful, even on LW, so I appreciate what you are doing.

Thank you for your suggestions.

I don't think the classics are helpful for me because I cannot afford to take the time to understand them right now.

I read most of the Sequences. I planned to convert them to Anki cards but am unable to summarize most concepts. So I have given up on that.

I try to keep a buffer of Anki cards to learn always and a book from which I read and. Convert to Anki cards.

I read a lot, but I am restricted to reading relatively straightforward books - things you don't have to think about to understand. This is because I aim to spend the majority of my time studying to get into college.

So I have been searching for books that fit my rather idiosyncratic criteria -

  1. Reading it will contribute to improving my life. Eg - 48 Laws of power, that Social Psychology textbook lukeprog recommended in his epic dating post.

  2. The book must give straightforward advice, suggestions, or facts. Some textbooks are better than others in this sense. Popular psychology books also work, but I find many don't pass the 3rd criteria.

  3. Has to have a minimum of 3.9 rating on Good reads and the top review should show the book isn't all hype (Economics in One Lesson, for example. I am not reading it because I haven't found a good intro to economics and the top review of this book points out a hell lot of supposed problems (I don't get what the review said).)

It takes me an hour or two to find books worth reading.

Let me tell you of my recent reads to give you an idea.

George Ainslie - Breakdown of Will. Bloody brilliant. I cured most of my Akrasia that has almost destroyed my life (I am taking a gap year to study now.) Using personal rules. I didn't Anki amythinh, because I reread the damn book enough times.

Nick Soares - That epub currently being linked in the discussion section. Now bad, but his blog posts on motivation seem more useful. But the first essay in this epub was Anki worthy.

Algorithms to Live By - Amazing book, but hard to Anki. I will spend more time reading it though. It is worth it.

Cormen - Algorithms Unlocked. I aim to get into the CS field in college. So this is sort of an intro, a preliminary reading or whatever. It should be fun.

I also am trying to read Epictetus and rereading Marcus Aurelius. When I get around to it.

Thanks for the resource of LW link. Awesome rabbit hole to fall into.

You don't really need to reply with recs actually. You have helped me.

But I would still enjoy reading your recs.

Comment author: mortal 06 May 2017 12:24:00PM 0 points [-]

Any useful book recommendations (or just dump your recommendations here)? I have a lot of nonfiction books (John Keegan for example), , but none of them seem worth reading - nothing in them is worth remembering 10 years from now.

Comment author: mortal 25 March 2017 01:11:42PM 0 points [-]

What do you think of the idea of 'learning all the major mental models' - as promoted by Charlie Munger and FarnamStreet? These mental models also include cognitive fallacies, one of the major foci of Lesswrong.

I personally think it is a good idea, but it doesn't hurt to check.

Comment author: mortal 26 November 2016 03:23:23PM 1 point [-]

How do I remove the effect of cognitive biases on my decision making? My current idea is to - one, train myself to recognize the points when biases may affect me; two, when making an important decision with a high cost or influence on my future, make the decision the 'academic' way.

Is this optimal? Do you have any better solutions?

Also, which book is better to use as a starting point - 'Judgement in Managerial decision Making', or 'Judgement under Uncertainty'? Is 'Thinking Fast and Slow' worth spending time on compared to actively practicing the skill of recognizing biases that influenced your thinking during the day?

Thank you.

Comment author: mortal 19 November 2016 02:29:30PM 1 point [-]

To readers -

Is it worth reading any historical narrative or biographical account if my aim is to improve my life in specific ways using that knowledge, if luck/survivor bias/outcome bias plays a huge part in whose life is memorialised this way?

I'll provide an example to make it clear - will reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln actually improve me in a specific way, like providing me a model for leadership, or way to handle people, or is his success based on his principles just context dependent, or the result of luck?

What I have observed: I have read the biographies of Steve Jobs, Napoleon, and Julius Caesar, and I haven't found any improvement in me, nor did I get specific insights into aspects of life, with one exception - my mindset changed to become more ambitious.

gwern (IDK if /u/gwern works here) - you have read a lot of nonfiction of this type - hell, you have recently read the Quincey autobiography. What do you think?

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