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

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 26 August 2014 06:44:31AM 5 points [-]

Has anyone tried doing EA outreach to Unitarians?

Comment author: peter_hurford 26 August 2014 03:38:53PM 3 points [-]
Comment author: peter_hurford 18 August 2014 10:47:44PM 3 points [-]

Could someone explain why I've been downvoted?

I didn't downvote you, but something that makes me refrain from engaging with your ideas more is the irony that your thoughts about becoming more organized are pretty disorganized.

Comment author: Lumifer 08 August 2014 04:28:07PM 4 points [-]

I'm personally against nearly all discussion of "what should a Friendly AI do?" because friendliness is a very poorly understood concept

What would be a good way to advance in our understanding of that concept, then?

Comment author: peter_hurford 08 August 2014 09:55:27PM 1 point [-]

I don't know. Discuss decision theory? Or ethics? Or something else? ...I don't think "what would friendly AI do?" (WWFAD) is a particularly useful line of thought, but I can't think of something sufficiently analogous yet useful to replace it with.

Comment author: peter_hurford 08 August 2014 04:18:32PM 4 points [-]

I'm personally against nearly all discussion of "what should a Friendly AI do?" because friendliness is a very poorly understood concept and any Friendly AI program would be way beyond our personal means to mentally simulate.

Comment author: peter_hurford 06 August 2014 08:27:29PM 2 points [-]

“Most intelligent beings in the multiverse share similar preferences. This came about because there are facts about what preferences one should have”

Notably, this could come about for other reasons, such as evolutionary.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 20 July 2014 04:48:57PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, I considered that approach. But the vagueness involved in the notion of a "piece of junk food" was such that I found I had considerable latitude in determining how many pieces of junk food I ate on a particular day. By contrast, deciding whether I ate a certain type of junk food at all is usually quite straightforward, and not subject to rationalization. As Jon Elster wrote:

Kant’s rule of smoking only one pipe after breakfast was not unambiguous enough to give him full protection, since as time passed he bought himself bigger and bigger pipes. When feasible, the rule ‘‘Never do it’’ may be the only one that can be stably upheld.

(Of course, you may not be a problem if you are sufficiently self-disciplined, as you seem to be.)

Comment author: peter_hurford 20 July 2014 06:42:09PM 0 points [-]

(Of course, you may not be a problem if you are sufficiently self-disciplined, as you seem to be.)

Yeah, that seems right.

But the vagueness involved in the notion of a "piece of junk food" was such that I found I had considerable latitude in determining how many pieces of junk food I ate on a particular day.

I tend to define it roughly as "250 calories of something that is devoid of nutritional value and consumed primarily for taste".

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 15 July 2014 06:28:14PM *  3 points [-]

Hi Peter,

  1. Here are my morning and night routines. I try to be quite detailed; don't underestimate the value of checklists.

  2. I originally had a single generic junk food category, but the problem was that when I ate one type of junk food on a given day, I had no extra incentive to abstain from eating other types of junk food for the rest of the day. Individuating dailies with a more fine-grained criterion provides an effective way of dealing with this problem.

  3. I have sleep problems and wanted to see whether sleeping only at night would help. In addition, I read studies suggesting that people who sleep during the day, esp. those who take long naps, tend to die earlier, though these are correlational studies and it's unclear what causal inferences we can draw from them.

  4. I once estimated that my total caffeine intake from drinking two cups of coffee and six cups of green tea was about 300 mg, which I believe is within safe and normal levels. I drink green tea primarily for its health benefits, though, so perhaps I should switch to decaf. As for coffee, there are studies suggesting that low to medium doses have neuroprotective properties, though I'm not sure this is due to the caffeine itself or other properties of coffee.

  5. Olive oil is a very good source of monounsaturated fatty acids. The benefits of dark chocolate are, I think, modest and not that well documented; see here. I eat it primarily because I find it delicious.

Comment author: peter_hurford 20 July 2014 03:48:50PM 0 points [-]

I originally had a single generic junk food category, but the problem was that when I ate one type of junk food on a given day, I had no extra incentive to abstain from eating other types of junk food for the rest of the day.

I solved that problem by tracking how many pieces of junk food I ate rather than a binary of whether or not I ate junk food on that particular day.

In response to Effective Writing
Comment author: peter_hurford 19 July 2014 03:04:43PM 1 point [-]

See also: "Rhetoric for the Good" by LukeProg.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 14 July 2014 07:46:36PM *  4 points [-]

Three weeks ago I came up with a simple productivity technique that I've been using with great results, and thought I should share it here in case it is of help to others. I could write a couple of paragraphs describing how it works, but I think that by taking a look at this spreadsheet you can very quickly understand the idea. In short, I list everything I want to do each day (using a rather fine-grained criterion of act individuation) and motivate myself to do those things by a combination of points and streak counts. (Many of my dailies relate to nutrition or health, but this is just contingent on my own goals and interests.) The system grew out of my dissatisfaction with some of the best existing tools I had tried, like Beeminder and HabitRPG, and I find it works better than those.

I'm happy to answer questions or incorporate suggestions.

Comment author: peter_hurford 15 July 2014 05:46:20PM 0 points [-]

A couple of questions about your individual situation -- just curious:

1.) What are your morning and night routines like?

2.) Do you think it's valuable to break your don't eat up by food, or just have one junk food category?

3.) Why not sleep during the day? I had previously been in a habit of napping and found it useful, and it's generally regarded as healthy. The only reason I don't nap now is because I have a standard 9-to-5 (well, more like 10-to-7) job.

4.) Why so much caffeine in the coffee and tea? It seems like this would just promote tolerance, which seems bad.

5.) What are the benefits of eating dark chocolate? Olive oil?

Comment author: peter_hurford 10 July 2014 01:58:44PM 5 points [-]

I'm going to actually link to the paper, because it was actually non-trivially difficult for me to find, and because this page is now the top result for your suggested search query.

View more: Next