Fear as fossil fuel

2019-05-10T15:29:43.709Z · score: 19 (6 votes)
Comment by aaq on What's your favorite LessWrong post? · 2019-02-21T13:35:07.343Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Set up for Success: Insights from 'Naive Set Theory'

I very much doubt anyone else will care much about this post, so I will give my reasoning.

Please vote before you read my reasoning. :)

  • This is the only post I've ever read that actually convinced me to do something with substantial effort, that is, actually read Naive Set Theory. I really, really wanted to practice kata on sets before I attempted a math minor and I still look back on that as the best 3 weeks of last summer.
  • Reading NST the way I did taught me a lot about how not to read a math book. Don't try to memorize everything. Don't try to get every detail on the first pass. And definitely don't copy the book almost verbatim into a spaced repetition system ending up with over 8,000 cloze deletion cards which you then practice for 6 months. There is a really good reason why we learn math through proofs, problems, and puzzles.
  • Also I like the tradition of having several smart people read the same classic book and give their slightly different spins on it. The information is mostly redundant, but my all-too-human memory is thankful for it.
Comment by aaq on What's your favorite LessWrong post? · 2019-02-21T13:19:33.513Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Making Beliefs Pay Rent

Comment by aaq on Extraordinary ethics require extraordinary arguments · 2019-02-17T17:00:11.451Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To generalize this heuristic a bit, and to really highlight where its weaknesses lie: An ethical argument that you should make a significant change to your lifestyle should be backed up more strongly in proportion to that change.

For example, to most people, the GWWC 10% pledge is a mildly extraordinary claim. (My parents actually yelled at me when I donated my Christmas money at 17.) But I think it does meet our bar of evidence: 10% income is usually no great hardship if you plan for it, and the arguments that the various EAs put forward for it are often quite strong.

Where this heuristic breaks down is an exercise to the reader. :)

Extraordinary ethics require extraordinary arguments

2019-02-17T14:59:17.156Z · score: 25 (11 votes)
Comment by aaq on Fighting the allure of depressive realism · 2019-02-12T20:52:23.239Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! :)

I think the approach is different for me, but maybe other person leverage gratitude as a way to fight their negative thoughts closer to the way you imply.

Fighting the allure of depressive realism

2019-02-10T16:46:21.371Z · score: 19 (13 votes)

Depression philosophizing

2019-02-02T22:54:16.363Z · score: 2 (4 votes)
Comment by aaq on Thou Art Godshatter · 2016-05-14T15:57:05.055Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm very wary of this post for being so vague and not linking to an argument, but I'll throw my two cents in. :)

The future will not have a firm concept of individuals.

I see two ways to interpret this:

  1. You could see it as individuals being uploaded to some giant distributed AI - individual human minds coalescing into one big super-intelligence, or being replaced by one; or
  2. Having so many individuals that the entire idea of worrying about 1 person, when you have 100 billion people per planet per quadrant or whatever, becomes laughable.

The common thread is that "individuality" is slowly being supplanted by "information" - specifically that you, as an individual, only become so because of your unique inflows of information slowly carving out pathways in your mind, like how water randomly carves canyons over millions of years. In a giant AI, all the varying bits that make up one human from another would get crosslinked, in some immense database that would make Jorge Luis Borges blush; meanwhile, in a civilization of huge, huge populations, the value of those varying bits simply goes down, because it becomes increasingly unlikely that you'll actually be unique enough to matter on an individual level. So, the next bottleneck in the spread of civilization becomes resources.

This is probably my first comment on this site - feel free to browbeat me if I didn't get my point across well enough.

Comment by aaq on Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015) · 2016-01-29T20:08:59.269Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Hello from Boston. I've been reading LW since some point this summer. I like it a lot.

I'm an engineering student and willing to learn whatever it takes for me to tackle world problems like poverty, hunger and transmissible diseases. But for now I'm focusing my efforts on my degree.

Comment by aaq on Future of Life Institute is hiring · 2015-11-20T01:30:30.717Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still a student, so I don't think I'd be able to take this sort of job. But consider my volunteer application sent. You guys are doing important work! -Andrew Quinn