Evidence for Connection Theory

post by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-28T17:06:52.635Z · score: 14 (4 votes) · LW · GW · 9 comments

This is a link post for https://www.scribd.com/document/219774356/Evidence-for-Connection-Theory#fullscreen

Connection Theory (CT) is the original philosophy underpinning Leverage Research, a research think tank focused that has worked with the effective altruism movement, and the rationality community, in the past on community-building, and existential risk reduction. CT was developed by Leverage's executive director, Geoff Anders. Since there are few if any other publicly available online resources for understanding or evaluating CT, I thought I would share this document.

9 comments

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comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2019-05-28T19:50:19.970Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This document appears to be from 2011. Does anyone know whether Leverage Research still endorses this? Are they still working on this “Connection Theory”? (What are they up to, in general…?)

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-28T21:40:32.327Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm writing an article that will be cross-posted on LW that will cover the following:

  • What Leverage might be doing.
  • The reasons why it might be hard to figure out what they're doing.

By that I mean there are a variety of reasons Leverage is apparently not much of a public-facing organization (some of those reasons seem either truer or better than others, as a lot of it is based on rumours about Leverage). I'll lay those out. I will try to figure out what Leverage is currently doing, and try to communicate it. I'm not confident I'll succeed at this.

CT was always Geoff Anders' baby, so I don't think it mattered as much whether the rest of Leverage endorsed it or not. I wouldn't bet on Geoff still endorsing this, but as far as I can tell, while the philosophy Leverage is working off of isn't called "Connection Theory", it is something that evolved out of it. So, I expect CT is still at least somewhat representative of Leverage's current philosophy. I'm also aware of and sorry for this unclear and illegible info, which are just the weeds one has to get used to wading through in pursuit of info about Leverage.

comment by mr-hire · 2019-05-28T19:49:12.703Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Here's some previous discussion of this document on LW. [LW · GW]

comment by ioannes_shade · 2019-05-28T18:10:05.439Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here's an archived version of the doc.

comment by Dagon · 2019-05-28T17:41:04.153Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It would help a lot to include a link to some description of what CT actually claims, before I read a description that asserts it should be evaluated based on evidence + elegance (and mentions, but doesn't seem to define, usefulness).

I only skimmed the document, but I couldn't tell if CT is about prediction of success of interventions, or the interventions themselves.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-28T19:31:20.039Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For context, finding information from Leverage Research about Leverage Research, or their, you know, research, online has often been historically difficult for those who have gone looking for it. It has a tendency to seemingly disappear from the internet, or at least its prior web address, after a couple years. So, while I don't know where one is right now, I intend to scrounge up a link to what CT actually claims. This document was one I hadn't seen before. Since I think I might write something up about CT later, I thought I'd throw up this link now. If/when I find a link to a description of CT, I'll come back here and ping you. I'll probably throw such a link up as another link post.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-05-28T19:12:00.861Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Edit note: Made it into an actual link post.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-28T19:26:29.598Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. I was expecting a big block with the word 'Link Post' somewhere, instead of just the chain link. I'm only used to looking for that icon in the comments section to link to comments. It's just that in the comments the icon is so small I could never tell if it was supposed to be an image of a chain link.

comment by Elo · 2019-05-29T00:33:13.164Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

By my understanding, leverage is working on human effectiveness. How to take a human and make them more effective at what they are doing.

There's a broad brush of choosing high leverage people to apply their efforts of effectiveness training and a broad brush of what counts as their effectiveness methodologies.

I am thinking of it as coaching from a perspective of "what works" above "what is proven", so branching into the post rationality area.

For example, if a person is learning piano. And they have maxed out deep work hours, and teacher hours, and relevant study programs, and expertise training. At some point teaching small stuff like posture, reading skills, memory, productivity, start to become effective techniques to add to the pile. As does maybe meditation, diet, and seemingly unrelated fields like social relationship management to better enable happiness and well-being while maximising piano learning. At some point the pollution in the air becomes a relevant factor, the development of the surrounding society, and more.