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

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 26 December 2016 06:41:48AM 2 points [-]

Cheers :-)

the world felt kind of unsatisfying, though the bar I'm holding it to is exceptionally high-- total coverage of my utility-satisfaction-fun-variety function.

Would you expect to be able to achieve that - maybe eventually - within the world described?

It seems kind of quaintly skeuomorphic. I realize that it's hard to write outside those metaphors though.

It's partially that, and partially indicative of the prudence in the approach. Because a self-modifying human mind could end up almost anywhere in mindspace, I conceived of the Powers going out of their way to connect humans with their "roots". There's the extended "humanish" mindspace, where agents remain moral subjects, but I'm conceiving the majority of people to remain clustered to a smaller space around baseline human (though still a huge mindspace by our standards).

But you're right, I could have been less skeuomorphic (a word to savour). I can only plead that a) it would have meant packing more concepts into a story already over-packed with exposition, and b) I would have had to predict what metaphors and tools people would have come up with within virtual reality, and I'm not sure I'd have come up with convincing or plausible ones (see all those "a day in the life of someone in 50 years time" types of stories).

Comment author: taygetea 26 December 2016 11:52:06AM *  1 point [-]

Would you expect to be able to achieve that - maybe eventually - within the world described?

Definitely. I expect the mindspace part to actually be pretty simple. We can do it in uncontrolled ways right now with dreams and drugs. I guess I kind of meant something like those, only internally consistent and persistent and comprehensible. The part about caring about base reality is the kind of vague, weak preference that I'd probably be willing to temporarily trade away. Toss me somewhere in the physical universe and lock away the memory that someone's keeping an eye on me. That preference may be more load-bearing than I currently understand though, and there may be more preferences like it. I'm sure the Powers could figure it out though.

It's partially that, and partially indicative of the prudence in the approach.

Perfectly understandable. I'd hope for exploration of outer reaches of mindspace in a longer-form version though.

Comment author: taygetea 25 December 2016 09:52:17PM 5 points [-]

This was great. I appreciate that it exists, and I want more stories like it to exist.

As a model for what I'd actually want myself, the world felt kind of unsatisfying, though the bar I'm holding it to is exceptionally high-- total coverage of my utility-satisfaction-fun-variety function. I think I care about doing things in base reality without help or subconscious knowledge of safety. Also, I see a clinging to human mindspace even when unnecessary. Mainly an adherence to certain basic metaphors of living in a physical reality. Things like space and direction and talking and sound and light and places. It seems kind of quaintly skeuomorphic. I realize that it's hard to write outside those metaphors though.

Comment author: taygetea 24 December 2016 06:10:57AM 0 points [-]

This seems very related to Brienne's recent article.

Comment author: Benito 23 December 2016 12:57:55AM *  5 points [-]

Ugh... I get that you wanted to take it upon yourself to name the person, but you could've written this a bit more sensitively. My guess is that the mother will feel pretty awful reading your comment, and also be uber-defensive.

Edit: The comments replying to me seem correct, and I think it's probably more important to positively reinforce you actually stating this.

Comment author: taygetea 23 December 2016 01:20:15AM 4 points [-]

For context, calling her out specifically is extremely rare, people try to be very diplomatic, and there is definitely a major communcation failure Elo is trying to address.

Comment author: gwillen 22 December 2016 07:09:54AM *  1 point [-]

Hm, I did notice a child -- I suspect and presume the same one you mean -- who made a number of loud comments during the performance. (That one couldn't have been Alicorn's, who is too young to make comments.) At least for the comments that happened while I was on stage with choir, I felt like they got a laugh from the audience, and I found the whole thing mildly entertaining. The rest of the time I didn't really notice them well enough to recall details. But I can totally see how they could be distracting and bothersome to others.

I fear, though, that -- if you feel that the event was truly 'ruined' by this -- it may be hard to find sufficient common ground between you and child-havers for both to be happy attending the same event. As a non-child-haver myself (and a non-child-wanter) who doesn't especially dislike children, my suspicion is that you are a significant outlier on the "degree of annoyance" spectrum? But I now find myself interested in data on this.

(EDIT: I just realized that it's possible that the child was much closer to you than to me, so we might have had different experiences that might color my views differently if I were sitting where you were.)

Comment author: taygetea 22 December 2016 07:26:54AM 4 points [-]

Replied above. There's a strong chilling effect on bringing up that you don't want children at events.

Comment author: dropspindle 22 December 2016 06:28:24AM *  15 points [-]

I like having a community that supports children, but at the same time let's not close our eyes to the truth. If there actually is a child screaming throughout Solstice and running around rampant it will, in fact, ruin the experience. I don't know what the Bay Solstice was like, so I don't know if this was really the case or if it's an exaggeration.

Comment author: taygetea 22 December 2016 07:22:46AM 8 points [-]

It was not an exaggeration.

Comment author: Anders_H 22 December 2016 06:00:51AM 6 points [-]

While I understand that some people may feel this way, I very much hope that this sentiment is rare. The presence of young children at the event only adds to the sense of belonging to a community, which is an important part of what we are trying to "borrow" from religions.

Comment author: taygetea 22 December 2016 07:22:12AM 13 points [-]

From what I've seen, it's not rare at all. I count... myself and at least 7 other people who've expressed the sentiment in private across both this year and last year (it happened last year too). It is, however, something that is very difficult for people to speak up about. I think what's going on is that different people care about differing portious of the solstice (community, message, aesthetics, etc) to surprisingly differing degrees, may have sensory sensitivites or difficulty with multiple audio input streams, and may or may not find children positive to be around in principle. I think this community has far more people for whom noisy children destroy the experience than the base rate of other communities.

From what I've observed, the degree to which children ruin events for certain people is almost completely lost on many others. It's difficult to speak up largely because of sentiments like yours, which make it feel like people will think that I'm going against the idea of the community. For me, and I don't think I'm exceptionally sensitive, I think it removes between a third and half of the value of going to the event.

Comment author: JonahSinick 21 December 2016 04:32:49AM 4 points [-]

What I had in mind was that the apparent low average conscientiousness in the Bay Area might have been one of the cultural factors that drew rationalists who are involved in the in-person community to the location. But of course the interpretation that you raise is also a possibility.

Comment author: taygetea 21 December 2016 07:20:14AM 0 points [-]

Ah, I spoke imprecisely. I meant what you said, as opposed to things of the form "there's something in the water".

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 20 December 2016 09:08:15PM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for writing this! I really think people should be doing this (applying well-known algorithms to interesting datasets and seeing what happens) a lot more often overall, and it's on my list of skills I'd really like to learn personally. So I'd be interested to hear a little more info on methodology - what programming language(s) you used, how you generated the graphs, etc.

I'm pretty skeptical of making any connections to the Bay Area rationalist community based on Berkeley's conscientiousness score (which I think is interesting but not for this reason). There are 100,000 people living in Berkeley, and most of them aren't rationalists. And depending on how far back most of this data was collected, plausibly most of the Berkeley respondents were high school or college students (UC Berkeley alone has over 35,000 students), since for awhile that was the main demographic of Facebook users, and probably for awhile longer that was the main demographic of Facebook users willing to take personality tests. (Edit: But see Douglas_Knight's comment below.) In general I'd think more about selection effects like this before drawing any conclusions.

Comment author: taygetea 20 December 2016 11:53:18PM 2 points [-]

I think you have the causality flipped around. Jonah is suggesting that something about Berkeley contributes to the prevalence of low conscientiousness among rationalists.

Comment author: Pimgd 13 December 2016 10:26:53AM 0 points [-]

I am NOT going to drug myself into forming a habit. This is a ~25 euro/hour, 1 hour per week side hobby, which I could miss without any problems. ... Maybe that's the wrong counterargument but I feel it's too dangerous for the rewards involved. (I wouldn't try smoking if you gave me money because I hear from people that it's hard to quit.)

The public commitment thing is something I use myself from time to time, and I can make use of it - I will make use of it a bit more (I even used this post as a sort of public commitment) but the whole idea of a "real money game" is already pretty weird to my co-workers (They're more comfortable with the explanation "It's a casino styled like an mmo and I make money via arbitrage over the chips") so it's kind of hard to weave into the conversation. But I can talk about it with family or someone - not like I have to discuss it in detail with them, more like a casual mention. Worth trying, at least.

Comment author: taygetea 16 December 2016 02:51:34AM 0 points [-]

Nicotine use and smoking are not at all the same thing. Did you read the link?

View more: Next