lsusr's Shortform

post by lsusr · 2020-05-31T03:06:18.382Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · LW · GW · 4 comments

4 comments

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comment by lsusr · 2020-06-20T08:55:28.782Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

According to Brandon Sanderson there are two kinds of fiction writers: discovery writers and outliners. (George Martin calls them gardeners and architects.) Outliners plan what they write. Discovery writers make everything up on the spot.

I am a discovery writer. Everything I write is made-up on the spot.

I write by thinking out loud. I can't write from an outline because I can't write about anything I already understand.

The Feynman Algorithm:

  1. Write down the problem.
  2. Think real hard.
  3. Write down the solution.

The Feynmann Algorithm works for me because whoever writes my posts is smarter than me. Whenever I can't solve a problem I just write down the answer and then read it.

I think this works because I don't think in words. But the only way to write is with words. So when I write I just make stuff up [LW · GW]. But words, unlike thoughts, must be coherent. So my thoughts come out way more organized in text then they ever were in my head. But nobody can read my mind, so after writing a post I can pretend that knew what it was going to say all along.

comment by Viliam · 2020-06-20T10:57:43.001Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have a problem writing blogs, because when I explore a topic in my head, it sounds interesting, but I usually can't start writing at the moment. And when I already have the opportunity to write, there is already too much I want to say, and none of that it exciting and new anymore.

I am better at writing comments to other people, that writing my own articles. I thought it was the question of short text vs long text, but now I realize it is probably more about writing as I think, vs writing after thinking. Because even writing very long comments is easier for me than writing short articles.

comment by MikeMitchell · 2020-06-20T11:45:11.876Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good thing you wrote this down.

comment by lsusr · 2020-05-31T03:06:18.753Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

[Book Review] Surfing Uncertainty

Surfing Uncertainty is about predictive coding, the theory in neuroscience that each part of your brain attempts to predict its own inputs. Predictive coding has lots of potential consequences. It could resolve the problem of top-down vs bottom-up processing. It cleanly unifies lots of ideas in psychology. It even has implications for the continuum with autism on one end and schizophrenia on the other.

The most promising thing about predictive coding is how it could provide a mathematical formulation for how the human brain works. Mathematical formulations are great because once they let you do things like falsify experiments and simulate things on computers. But while Surfing Uncertainty goes into many of the potential implications of predictive codings, the author never hammers out exactly what "prediction error" means in quantifiable material terms on the neuronal level.

This book is a reiteration of the scientific consensus[1]. Judging by the total absense of mathematical equations on the Wikipedia page for predictive coding, I suspect the book never defines "prediction error" in mathematically precise terms because no such definition exists. There is no scientific consensus.

Perhaps I was disappointed with this book because my expectations were too high. If we could write equations for how the human brain performs predictive processing then we would be significantly closer to building an AGI than where we are right now [? · GW].


  1. The book contains 47 pages of scientific citations. ↩︎