Kickstarting the audio version of the upcoming book "The Sequences"

post by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-16T01:01:42.234Z · score: 31 (32 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 53 comments

LessWrong is getting ready to release an actual book that covers most of the material found in the Sequences. 

There have been a few posts about it in the past, here are two: the title debate, content optimization.

We've been asked if we'd like to produce the audiobook version and the answer is yes. This is a large undertaking. The finished product will probably be over 35 hours of audio.

To help mitigate our risk we've decided to Kickstarter the audiobook.  This basically allows us to pre-sell it so we're not stuck with a large production cost and no revenue. 

The kickstarter campaign is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1267969302/lesswrong-the-sequences-audiobook

If you haven't heard of us before we've already produced some sequences into audiobooks.  You can see them and listen to samples which are indicative of the audio quality here.

53 comments

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comment by lukeprog · 2014-12-10T12:27:21.586Z · score: 31 (31 votes) · LW · GW

LessWrong is getting ready to release an actual book that covers most of the material found in the Sequences.

To be more specific...

MIRI is preparing to release, in Q1 2015, an ebook version of The Sequences that has been pretty thoroughly proofread, rearranged to be a bit more concise and a lot more accessible to new readers, filled with short introductions to each newly defined 'sequence', and nicely typeset.

A hardcopy version (in multiple volumes) will follow, after readers have had some time to find the errors that we have missed. (An ebook file can easily be reissued with mistakes fixed; not so with hardcopy.)

This audiobook version produced by Castify (if the Kickstarter campaign succeeds) will be the official audiobook companion to the ebook and hardcopy versions. We've been in conversation with Rick about this for months, now.

Also, the book won't actually be titled The Sequences.

comment by Ixiel · 2014-12-11T21:23:01.944Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a plan for how long it will be e-book only before releasing the real book?

comment by lukeprog · 2014-12-12T07:10:00.887Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not yet; the timeframe will depend partly on how quickly readers are finding lingering typos, how many they're finding, etc. It will also depend on how long it takes us to find a hardcopy publisher that we are confident will produce a physical thing that people will enjoy using and looking at.

comment by Ixiel · 2014-12-12T11:12:12.596Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough. I'm just glad it's when not if. When I had no takers for $100/hr to get it done by Christmas I thought it would forever be a one-of-these-days pipe dream. Big and continuing thanks to all involved.

comment by NxGenSentience · 2014-12-12T18:16:06.226Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Same question as Luke's. I probably have jumped at it. I have a standing offer to make hi-def (1080) video interviews, documentaries, etc and competent, penetrating Q and A sessions, with people like Bostrom, Google-ites setting up the AI laboratories, and other vibrant, creative, contempory AI-relevant players.

I have knowledge of AI, general comp sci, deep and broad neuroscience, the mind-body problem (philosophically understood in GREAT detail -- college honors thesis at UCB was on that) and deep, detailed knowledge of all the big neurophilosphy players' theories.

These players include but are not limited to Dennett, Searle, Dreyfus, Turing, as well as modern players too numerous to mention, plus some under-discussed people like the LBL quantum physicist Henry Stapp (quantum zeno effect and it's relation to the possibility of consciousness and free will, whose papers I have been following assiduously for 15 years and think are absolutely required reading for anyone in this business.)

I have also closely followed Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose's "Orch OR" theory -- which has just been vindicated by major experiments refuting the long-running, standard objection to the possibility of quantum intra-neuronal processes (the objection based upon purportedly almost immediate, unavoidable, quantum decoherence caused by the warm, wet, noisy brain milleu) -- an objection Hameroff, Penrose, occasionally Max Tegmark (who has waxed and waned a bit over the last 15 years on this one, as I read his comments all over the web) and others, have mathematically dealth with for years, but has lacked --- until just this last year empirical support.

Said support is now there -- and with with some fanfare, I might add, in the nich scientific and philosophical mind-body and AI theoretic community that follows this -- and vindicates core aspects of this theory (although doesn't of confirm the Platonic qualia aspect.)

Worth digressing, though... for those who see this.... just as a physiological, quantum computational-theoretic account of how the brain does what it does ... particularly how it implements dendritic processing (spatial and temporal summation, triggers to LTP, inter-neuron gap junction transience, etc.) which is by consensus the locus of the bulk of the neuronal integrate and fire desicion making, this Orch OR theory is amazing in its implications. (Essentially squares the entire synaptic-level information processing of the brain as a whole, to begin with. I think this is destined to be a nobel prize-level theory eventually.)

I know Hameroff as a formerly first name basis contact, and could, though it's been a few years, rapidly trigger his memory, and get an on-tape detailed interview with him at any time.

Point is.... I have a standing offer to create detailed and theoretically competent -- thus relevant interviews and discussions -- documentaries, edit them professionally, make them available on DVD, or trnascode them for someone's branded You Tube channel (like MIRI, for example.)

No one has taken me up on that yet, either. I have a 6 thousand dollar digital camera and professional editing software to do this with, but more importantly, have 25 years of detailed study I can draw upon to make interviews that COUNT, are unique, and relevant.

No takers yet. So maybe I will go kickstarter and do them myself, on my own branded you Tube channel. Seems easier if I could get an exisitng organization like MIRI or even AAAI to sponsor my work, however. (I'd also like to cover the AAAI turing test conference in January in Texas, and do this, but need sponsorship at this point, because I am not independently wealthy.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-12-12T18:26:34.485Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If you already have the equipment, what's stopping you from setting up the relevant YouTube channel right now? It's probably much easier to seek funding from the position of having already something to show.

comment by NxGenSentience · 2014-12-12T22:36:49.046Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hi, Yes, for the kickstarter option, that seems to be almost a requirement. People have to see what they are asked to invest in.

The kickstarter option is somewhat my second choice plan, or I'd be furher along on that already. I have several things going on that are pulling me in different directions.

To expand just a bit on the evolution of my You Tube idea: originally – a couple months before I recognized more poignantly the value to the HLAI R & D community of doing well-designed, issue-sophisticated, genuinely useful (to other than a naïve audience) interviews with other thinkers and researchers -- I had already decided to create a You Tube (hereafter, 'YT') channel of my own. This one will have a different, though complimentary, emphasis.

This (first) YT channel will present a concentrated video course (perhaps 20 to 30 presentations in the plan I have, with more to grown in as audience demand or reaction dictates.) The course presentations, with myself at the whiteboard, graphics, video clips, whatever can help make it both enjoyable and more comprehensible, will consist of what are essential ideas and concepts, that are not only of use to people working in creating HLAI (and above), but are so important that they constitute essential background, without which, I believe, people creating HLAI are at least partly floundering in the dark.

The value add for this course comes from several things. I do have a gift for exposition. My time as a tutor and writer has demonstrated to me (from my audiences) that I have a good talent for playing my own devil's advocate, listening and watching through audience ears and eyes, and getting inside the intuitions likely to occur in the listener. When I was a math tutor in college, I always did that from the outset, and was always complimented for it. My experience with studying this for decades and debating it, metabolizing all the useful points of view on the issues that I have studied – while always trying to push forward to find what is really true – allows me to gather many perspectives together, anticipate the standard objections or misunderstandings, and help people with less experience navigate the issues. I have an unusual mix of accumulated areas of expertise -- software development, neuroscience, philosophy, physics – which contributes to the ability to see and synthesize productive paths that might (and have) been missed elsewhere. Perspective – enough time seeing intellectual fads come and go, to recognize how they worked even “before my time.” Unless one sees – and can critique or free oneself from – contextual assumptions, one is likely to be entrained within conceptual expernalities that define the universe of discourse, possibly pruning away preemptively any chance for genuine progress and novel ideas. Einstein, Crick and Watson, Heisenberg and Bohr, all were able to think new thoughts and entertain new possibilities.

Like someone just posted in Less Wrong, you have a certain number of weirdness points, spend them wisely. People in the grips of an intellectual trance who don't even know they are pruning away anything, cannot muster either the courage, or the creativity, to have any weirdness points to spend.

For example. Apparently, very few people understand the context and intellectual climate … the formative “conceptual externalities” that permeated the intellectual ether at the time Turing proposed his “imitation game.”

I alluded to some of these contextual elements of what – then – was the intellectual culture, without providing any kind of exposition (in other words, just making the claim in passing), in my dual message to you and Luke, earlier today (Friday.)

That kind of thing – were it to be explained rigorously, articulately, engagingly -- is a mild eye-opening moment to a lot of people (I have explained it before to people who are very sure of themselves, who went away changed by the knowledge.) I can open the door to questioning what seems like such a “reasonable dogma”, i.e. that an “imitation game” is all there is, and all there rationally could be, to the question of, and criteria for, human-equivalent mentality.

Neuroscience, as I wrote in the Bostrom forum a couple weeks ago (perhaps a bit too stridently in tone, and not to my best credit, in that case) is no longer held in the spell of the dogma that being “rational” and “scientific” means banishing consciousness from our investigation.

Neither should we be. Further, I am convinced that if we dig a little deeper, we CAN come up with a replacement for the Turing test (but first we have to be willing to look!) … some difference that makes a difference, and actually develop some (at least probabilistic) test(s) for whether a system that behaves intelligently, has, in addition, consciousness.

So, this video course will be a combination of selected topics in scientific intellectual history that are essential to understand, in order to see where we have come from, and then will develop current and new ideas, so see where we might go.

I have a developing theory with elements that seem very promising. It is more than elements, it is becoming, by degrees, a system of related ideas that fit together perfectly, are partly based on accepted scientific results, and are partly extensions that a strong, rational case can be made for.

What is becoming interesting and exciting to me about the extensions, is that sometime during the last year (and I work on this every day, unless I am exhausted from a previous day and need to rest), the individual insights, which were exciting enough individually, and independently arguable, are starting to reveal a systematic cluster of concepts that all fit together.

This is extremely exciting, even a little scary at times. But suddenly, it is as if a lifetime of work and piecemeal study, with a new insight here, another insight there, a possible route of investigation elsewhere... all are fitting into a mosaic.

So, to begin with the point I began with, my time is pulling me in various directions. I am in the Bostrom forum, but on days that I am hot on the scent of another layer of this theory that is being born, I have to follow that. I do a lot of dictation when the ideas are coming quickly.

It is, of course, very complicated. But it will also be quite explainable, with systematic, orderly presentation.

So, that was the original plan for my own YT channel. It was to begin with essential intellectual history in physics, philosophy of mind, early AI, language comprehension, knowledge representation, formal semantics.... and that ball of interrelated concepts that set, to an extent, either correct or incorrect boundary conditions on what a theory has to look like.

Then my intent was to carefully present and argue for (and take devils advocate for) my new insights, one by one, then as a system.

I don't know how it will turn out, or whether I will suddenly discover a dead end. But assuming no dead end, I want it out there where interested theorists can see it and judge it on its merits, up or down, or modify it.

I am going to tun out of word allowance any moment. But it was after planning this, that I thought of the opportunity to do interviews of other thinkers for possibly someone else's YT channel. Both projects are obviously compatible. More later as interest dictates, I have to make dinner. Best, Tom NxGenSentience

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-12-12T18:32:44.263Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have also closely followed Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose's "Orch OR" theory -- which has just been vindicated by major experiments refuting the long-running, standard objection to the possibility of quantum intra-neuronal processes

Just to be certain I understand you correctly, you say that it's likely that the brain uses quantum effects for decision making?

comment by NxGenSentience · 2014-12-13T01:16:39.947Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't exactly say that, or at least, didn't intend to exactly say that. It's correct of you to ask for that clarification.

When I say "vindicated the theory", that was, admittedly, pretty vague.

What I should have said was the recent experiments removed what has been more or less statistically the most common and continuing objection to the theory, by showing that quantum effects in microtubules, under the kind of environmental conditons that are relevant, can indeed be maintained long enough for quantum processes to "run their course" in a manner that, according to Hameroff and Penrose, makes a difference that can propogate causally to a level that is of significance to the organism.

Now, as to "decision making". I am honestly NOT trying to be coy here, but that is not entirely a transparent phrase. I would have to take a couple thousand words to unpack that (not obfuscate, but unpack), and depending on this and that, and which sorts of decisions (conscious or preconscious, highly attended or habituated and automatic), the answer could be yes or no... that is, even given that consciousness "lights up" under the influence of microtubule-dependent processes like Orch OR suggests -- admittedly something that, per se, is a further condition, for which quantum coherence within the microtubule regime is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

But the latter is plausible so many people, given a pile of other suggestive evidence. The deal breaker has always been the can or can't quantum coherence be maintained in the stated environs.

Orch OR is a very multifaceted theory, as you know, and I should not have said "vindicated" without very careful qualification. Removing a stumbling block is not proof of truth, of a theory with so many moving parts.

I do think, as a physiological theory of brain function, it has a lot of positives (some from vectors of increasing plausibility coming in from other directions, theorists and experiments) and the removal of the most commonly cited objection, on the basis of which many people have claimed Orch OR is a non-starter, is a pretty big deal.

Hameroff is not a wild-eyed speculator (and I am not suggesting that you are claiming he is.)

I find him interesting and worthy of close attention, in part because has accumulated an enormous amount of evidence for microtubule effects, and he knows the math, and presents it regularly.

I first read his Biomolecular Mind hardback book, back in the early 90's, which he actually wrote in the late 80's, at which time he had already amassed quite a bit of empiracle study regarding the role of microtubules in neurons, and in creatures whithout neurons, posessing only microtubules, that exhibit intelligent behavior.

Other experiments in various quarters over quite a few recent years (though there are still those neurobiologists who do disagree) have on the whole seemed to validate Hameroff's claim that it is quantum effects -- not "ordinry" synapse-level effects that can be described without use of the quantum level of description -- that are responsible for anaesthesia's effects on consciousness, in living brains.

Again, not a proof of Orch OR, but an indication that Hameroff is, perhaps, on to some kind of right track.

I do think that evidence is accumulating, from what I have seen in PubMed and elsewhere, that microtubule effects at least partially modulate dendritic computations, and seem to mediate the rapid remodeling of the dendritic tree (spines come and go with amazing rapidity), making it likely that the "integrate and fire" mechanism involves microtubule computation, at least in some cases.

I have seen, for example, experiments that give microtubule corrupting enzymes to some, but not control, neurons and observe dendritic tree behavior. Microtubules are in the loop in learning, attention, etc. Quantum effects in MTs.... evidence seems to grow by the month.

But, to your ending question, I would have to say what I said... which amounts to "sometimes yes, sometimes no," and in the 'yes' cases, not necessarily for the reasons that Hameroff thinks, but maybe partly, and maybe for a hybrid of additional reasons. Stapp's views have a role to play here, I think, as well.

One of my "wish list" items would be to take SOME of Hameroff's ideas and ask Stapp about them, and vice versa, in interviews, after carefully preparing questions and submitting them in advance. I have thought about how the two theories might compliment each other, or which parts of each might be independently verifyable and could be combined in a rationally coherent fashion that has some independent conceptual motivation (i.e. is other than ad hoc.)

I am in the process of preparing and writing a lenghty technical queston for Stapp, to clarify (and see what he thinks of a possible extension of) his theory of the relevance of the quantum zeno effect.

I thought of a way the quantum zeno effect, the way Stapp conceives of it, might be a way to resolve (with caveats) the simulation argument ... i.e. assess whether we are at the bottom level in the hierarchy, or are up on a sim. At least it would add another stipulation to the overall argument, which is significant in itself.

But that is another story. I have said enough to get me in trouble already, for a Friday night (grin).

comment by lukeprog · 2014-12-12T16:38:48.304Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When/where did you make the $100/hr offer?

comment by Kawoomba · 2014-12-12T18:21:55.618Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Last time I asked there was no way to spend money to get the main sequences in a neatly bound book. (...) Would anyone be willing to make this happen for money? I don't know what all is required, but I suspect some formatting and getting the ok from EY. I want two for myself (one for the shelf and one to mark all to hell) and a few for gifts, so some setup where I can buy as needed is preferable (like Lulu.com but I'm not picky about brand) and printed-up stapled pages don't work. Maybe $100 for the work and $100 to EY/Miri? Flexible on price, and if that's way off no offense intended. And of course if not being on dead trees was a principled decision I respect that. Source

Yea, I wouldn't have parsed that as $100/hr.

Fun fact: If the $100 was indeed to be taken as a rate and one defaulted to "per unit of Planck time" (naturally), the payment would be quite competitive, at $6.678341396812e+48 per hour (link to converter).

That's good even for Bay Area standards, no?

comment by Ixiel · 2014-12-12T18:44:53.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Haha fair play. I wouldn't think to ask someone to get out of bed for $100 flat, but that was poorly communicated.

Not feeling too bad though since its happening anyway. Like asking to pay to have my own road repaved, only to be told by the clerk that they don't do that so I don't submit, then the town repaves it a year later and five figures cheaper.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-12-12T18:55:41.536Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Haha fair play. I wouldn't think to ask someone to get out of bed for$100, but that was poorly communicated.

The kind of task you described is probably done for $50 dollar via eLance by some Indian, if you just want a bound book with a simply cover that has all those blog posts unedited in chronological order.

comment by NxGenSentience · 2014-12-12T17:49:35.068Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Same question as Luke's. I probably would have jumped at it, if only to make seed money to sponsor other useful projects, like the following.

I have a standing offer to make hi-def (1080) video interviews, documentaries, etc and competent, penetrating Q and A sessions and documentaries with key, relevant players and theoreticians in AI and related work. This includes individual thinkers, labs, Google's AI work, the list is endless.

I have knowledge of AI, general comp sci, consideralble knowledge of neuroscience, the mind-body problem (philosophically understood in GREAT detail -- college honors thesis at UCB was on that) and deep, long-term evolutionary knowledge of all the big neurophilosphy players' theories.

These players include but are not limited to Dennett, Searle, Dreyfus, Turing, as well as modern players too numerous to mention, plus some under-discussed people like the LBL quantum physicist Henry Stapp (quantum zeno effect and it's relation to the possibility of consciousness and free will, whose papers I have been following assiduously for 15 years and think are absolutely required reading for anyone in this business.)

I have also closely followed Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose's "Orch OR" theory -- which has just been vindicated by major experiments refuting the long-running, standard objection to the possibility of quantum intra-neuronal processes (the objection based upon purportedly almost immediate, unavoidable, quantum decoherence caused by the warm, wet, noisy brain milleu) -- an objection Hameroff, Penrose, occasionally Max Tegmark (who has waxed and waned a bit over the last 15 years on this one, as I read his comments all over the web) and others, have mathematically dealth with for years, but has lacked --- until just this last year empirical support.

Said support is now there -- and with with some fanfare, I might add, within the nich scientific and philosophical mind-body and AI theoretic community that follows this work. Experiments vindicate core aspects of this theory (although do not confirm the Platonic qualia aspect.)

Worth digressing, though... for those who see this message.... so I will mention that, just as a physiological, quantum computational-theoretic account of how the brain does what it does ... particularly how it implements dendritic processing (spatial and temporal summation, triggers to LTP, inter-neuron gap junction transience, etc.) which (the dendritic tree) is by consensus the neuronal locus of the bulk of neurons' integrate and fire desicion making, this Orch OR theory is amazing in its implications. (Essentially it squares the entire synaptic-level information processing aggregate estimate, of the brain as a whole, for starters! I think this is destined to be a nobel prize-level theory eventually.)

I know Hameroff on a formerly first name basis contact, and could, though it's been a couple years, rapidly trigger his memory of who I am -- he held me in good stead -- and I could get an on-tape detailed interview with him at any time.

Point is.... I have a standing offer to create detailed and theoretically competent -- thus relevant interviews and discussions -- documentaries, edit them professionally, make them available on DVD, or trnascode them for someone's branded You Tube channel (like MIRI, for example.)

I got this idea, when I was watching an early interview at Google with Kurzweil, by some 2x year-old bright-eyed google-ite employee, who was asking the most shallow, immature, clueless questions! (I thought at the time -- "jeeze, is this the best they can find to plumb Kurzweil's thinking on the future of AI at Google, or in general?")

Anyway, no one has taken me up on that offer to create what could be terrific documentary-interviews, either. I have a 6 thousand dollar digital camera and professional editing software to do this with, not some pocket camera.

But more importantly, I have 25 years of detailed study of the mind body problem and AI, and I can draw upon that to make interviews that COUNT, are unique, and relevant, and unparalleled.

AI is my life's work (that, and the co-entailed problem of mind-body theory generally.) I have been working hard to supplant the Turing test with something that tests for consciousness, instead of relies on the positiivistic denial of the existence of consciousness qua consciousness, beyond behavior. That test came out of an intellectual soil that was dominated with positivism, which in turn was based on a mistaken and defective attempt to metabolize the Newtonian to Quantum phsical transition.

It's partly based on a scientific ontology that is fundamentally false, and has been demonstrably so for 100 years -- Newton's deterministic clockwork universe model that has no room for "consciousness", only physical behavior -- and partly based on an incomplete attempt to intellectually metabolize the true lessons of quantum theory (please see Henry Stapp's papers , on his "stapp files" LBL website, for a crystal clear set of expositions of this point.)

No takers yet. So maybe I will have to go kickstarter too, and do these documentaries myself, on my own branded you Tube channel. (It will be doing a great service to countless thinkers to have GOOD q and a with their peers. I am not without my own original questions about their theories, that I would like to ask, as well.)

Seems easier if I could get an exisitng organization like MIRI or even AAAI to sponsor my work, however. (I'd also like to cover the AAAI turing test conference in January in Texas, and do this, but need sponsorship at this point, because I am not independently wealthy. I am forming a general theory, from which I think the keynote speaker's Turing Test 2 "Lovelace 2.0" might actually be a derivable correllate.)

comment by Ixiel · 2014-12-12T17:14:02.290Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One of the open threads. At the time I didn't know if it was being done at all. I wanted to give copies to my father and grandfather, who are also the president and board chair of a large family business. If there's a one percent chance of making them one percent better it's a bargain, and it's right up their alley. Problem is I'd never get them to read a printout of a web page or e-book. Real book yes, audio book maybe. Christmas 2015 is a far cry better than never, and I'm glad the work is being done.

comment by BlueSun · 2014-12-10T14:27:42.250Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. I'd love to share this material with people but the format makes it hard as many people seem to have an aversion to a collection of blog posts. I look forward to buying the book so I can loan it to people.

comment by Metus · 2014-12-11T21:16:39.925Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If the ebook is available at a reasonable price on the Amazon store Germany I'll buy a copy. If not I'll be waiting for the hardcopy version which I'll buy anyhow.

comment by Error · 2014-12-10T15:07:53.022Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A hardcopy version (in multiple volumes) will follow

I want to voice support for this specifically. I like my reading on dead tree and am routinely disappointed to find good material that isn't available as a real book.

pretty thoroughly proofread

If you don't mind me asking, is the proofreading/editing being done in-house, or did you get a professional editor to handle it?

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-12-10T16:31:44.801Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you don't mind me asking, is the proofreading/editing being done in-house, or did you get a professional editor to handle it?

As far as I understand it was done via the MIRI volunteer platform.

comment by somervta · 2014-12-11T01:02:53.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

IIRC, we were doing it as an initial pass-through, but that plan might have changed.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2014-12-10T16:26:31.124Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Obviously Luke is doing it, since by now we know the ultimate solution to any problem is Luke + an appropriate For Dummies book.

/abg frevbhf

comment by Capla · 2014-12-16T00:05:16.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is this book a compilation of blogposts or a new text based on the material of the sequence I know and love?

comment by lukeprog · 2014-12-16T01:00:34.765Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A compilation of blog posts.

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-10T22:52:41.269Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

FYI. Any purchase of an audiobook will come with the corresponding ebook version.

comment by Kawoomba · 2014-12-12T09:05:31.565Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Backed!

Oh, but I already read most of the sequences. Ah well, I can always secretly exchange my SO's ABBA CD with this (queue the "something's strange about the lyrics, and Agnetha sounds somewhat different, but I can't quite put my finger on it ...").

comment by AABoyles · 2014-12-12T21:05:39.315Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Backed. Thanks Rick! I can't wait to hear these things if they actually get created.

comment by ESRogs · 2014-12-12T08:26:25.911Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Backed!

comment by Coscott · 2014-12-20T04:32:31.449Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Backed! Also, the total has reached 2,505 out of the 2,500 goal!

comment by [deleted] · 2014-12-18T21:29:39.543Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Backed!

comment by dumky · 2014-12-18T19:04:35.563Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Backed. Thanks for starting this project.

What will be the recommended software to consume this?

I'm an Audible member anymore. I'm using a regular podcast iOS app (called RSSRadio) for HPMOR at the moment, but it's a bit manual (have to download each episode from archive). It seems like there would be a way to package an audio book (mp3 files + some XML metadata) and have an app that can consume that. Basically, like Audible but with a simple/open format. But I haven't found any so far.

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-29T06:49:49.888Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You'll be able to subscribe to the books in podcast form by adding it to iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

We'll also make it available in .m4b format which can be used with many audiobook players, including Apple devices.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2014-12-11T06:35:02.603Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not planning on listening to the audiobooks version of the Sequences, but it seems potentially valuable to me for the ideas in the Sequences to be spread. Can you give us an idea of the sort of listener numbers you've seen for your current Sequence audio offerings? (Any reasons in particular it wouldn't be reasonable to extrapolate those numbers?) Are there reviews out there discussing factors like how well Eliezer's link-heavy writing style transfers to audio?

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-14T22:51:25.713Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Can you give us an idea of the sort of listener numbers you've seen for your current Sequence audio offerings?

So far we've relied on people coming to the sequences we've produced via the LessWrong site. As an example of numbers we've had about 100 people purchase the "How to Actually Change Your Mind" sequence.

Any reasons in particular it wouldn't be reasonable to extrapolate those numbers?

"The Sequences" is a mega volume and we're just unsure how well it will sell. We will be making them available on Audible and iTunes in an effort to spread the ideas further.

Are there reviews?

Maybe some previous listeners could let you know what they thought. I can let you know we've had 0 complaints of the audio quality.

comment by Metus · 2014-12-16T02:52:02.440Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Audible

Will it be available globally?

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-16T04:21:46.331Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It will be on Audible, I'm not sure if they have restrictions on where it will be available globally. Do you know more Metus? This will be the first book that we've personally put onto Audible. We certainly want it to be available globally. It will also be available on iTunes.

comment by Metus · 2014-12-16T11:19:51.650Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't, sorry, that's why I was asking. Sometimes publishers have unreasonable delays when publishing in other jurisdictions than the US because of licencing problems but that should not be a problem if all participants agree.

comment by RainbowSpacedancer · 2014-12-11T06:29:12.810Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For those of us that have already purchased some podcast sequences from Castify,

  1. How much of this audiobook will double up (in terms of both content and new voice acting)?
  2. Will currently unavailable individual sequences be available for purchase separately at some stage?
comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-14T22:46:06.122Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  1. How much of this audiobook will double up (in terms of both content and new voice acting)?

About 1/3 is covered by posts that have been read in previous sequences.

  1. Will currently unavailable individual sequences be available for purchase separately at some stage?

If this project includes a complete sequence we'll also release that as a standalone purchase.

PS: Thanks for your prior support, we wouldn't have made it this far without you.

comment by Coscott · 2014-12-20T03:57:31.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What about the other direction? Will all (or almost all) of the posts that have been previously recorded be in the Audio Book?

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-29T20:42:47.618Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure at this point. The final version of the ebook is not quite finished. When it's done we'll do a deep comparison between the posts we've previously recorded and the posts included in the ebook. If the post hasn't been changed for the ebook and the flow of the reading isn't broken by using a previously recorded version then we'll re-use the original audio, otherwise we'll record a fresh copy.

comment by edanm · 2014-12-22T14:18:46.643Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Backed!!

This is amazing news, both that the book is coming along, and that there will be a professional Audiobook version. This will make it easier to spread the sequences, and may even mean that I'll actually finish the sequences myself, something I still haven't done.

Btw, two logistical questions (for Luke mostly):

  1. Was there any similar campaign for the book version?
  2. I understand that MIRI isn't paying for this Audiobook version? I ask because my donations to MIRI are now employer-matched, as are I assume other people's, but this Kickstarter campaign can't be employer-matched afaik, which is a shame and a "waste" of potential donation. Any way around this? (I also donate to MIRI, but I want to specifically donate for this Audiobook being made).
comment by Ixiel · 2014-12-20T12:32:44.417Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

They're fully funded! They also said they ate adding an option to buy three for only $100, and they think one can pay the difference if a pledge has already been made.

ETA Confirmed one can upgrade an existing pledge.

comment by Robin · 2014-12-16T16:05:06.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would you consider having Less Wrong members record the sequences or do you already have people you've promised to give the job to?

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-16T23:56:42.962Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the offer Robin but we've decided to go with professionals. Early on we auditioned people from the LessWrong community and we decided that having a well produced reading with a professional voice actor makes a big difference on the listening experience.

comment by lukeprog · 2014-12-17T00:11:22.311Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Agree!

comment by Bugmaster · 2014-12-10T20:08:22.973Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, in the spirit of rationality and openness, I have to admit: I'd love to get most of the audiobook volumes, but $50 is too rich for my blood. Is there a way you guys could introduce a cheaper option ? Something like, "All of the Sequences except for the Quantum Physics ones" for something like $25..$30 ?

comment by lukeprog · 2014-12-10T21:53:17.384Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

$50 is normal or even cheap for an audiobook of this length. Also, I'm hoping Castify can get it into the Audible catalog, in which case Audible users should be able to get it for a single Audible credit.

comment by Metus · 2014-12-11T21:15:03.662Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Then I'll be waiting for it to appear in the Audible catalogue, assuming it will be available world-wide, specifically Germany. As a student $50 is way too much, especially since I want to get the hard copy in addition, but €10 (about $13) is quite realistic.

comment by Ixiel · 2015-03-14T12:21:35.693Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I just got the release confirmation . I know this was too dear for some interested parties and I wanted to contribute more anyway, so I got the three pack "for the cause." Who wants one of the other two? I haven't gotten my own working yet and am generally irresponsible, so don't worry if it takes a bit, but first two replies go in my "claim your reward"email response. Eventually.

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-29T06:55:31.496Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the support everyone! I'm also looking forward to being able to listen to the rest of the sequences.

What does everyone think of the Math-intensive posts? Best to read the math? Best to state that there's a bunch of math in an article and refer you to the e-book? Or some other variant?

comment by RyanCarey · 2014-12-29T10:53:23.832Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Got any really bad examples? I would just read it.

comment by Rick_from_Castify · 2014-12-29T20:38:20.047Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Actually I don't now that I've had a closer look at the articles to be included. I was worried about posts like Entangled Photons but the editors putting it together have done a really good job of selecting posts, arranging them in a coherent manner, and even editing some posts where needed. My hat is off to them.

comment by RyanCarey · 2014-12-29T21:39:58.106Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ew, yes that would be a nightmare to read (or listen to) if it was included but it sounds like it didn't make the cut.