Make your bad habits the villains 2015-09-06T09:20:43.050Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Bangalore LW Meetup 2015-05-07T03:48:45.329Z · score: 1 (2 votes)


Comment by ashwinv on The Power of Agency · 2017-06-09T09:30:59.961Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I want to upvote this again.

Comment by ashwinv on Make your bad habits the villains · 2015-09-06T17:10:27.694Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well.. I don't think the process is too rigid. You can always discuss it in advance. Also, there are a few things that you do know are better for you, but are still not able to achieve. But yes, there is a risk. I do not think the risk is so great as to not even give this a try though.

Besides, we don't even know if this works yet!

Comment by ashwinv on Make your bad habits the villains · 2015-09-06T14:18:20.216Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is. Judgment comes before.

I'm only suggesting this as a trick, once you've already figured out what it is that you need to do. I suppose I could offer my own feedback, but I was hoping that I would at least try and see if it worked over a larger sample space.

Comment by ashwinv on Make your bad habits the villains · 2015-09-06T14:16:26.287Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the input!

I'm not able to correct the hyperlink part, but I did change the name to Phil Goetz as was due.

Comment by ashwinv on Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies · 2015-07-01T05:40:28.393Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's definitely a check, but not a very good check. There are too many in between facts in this case. It really depends on whether Q is solely dependent on Q' or whether it depends on a number of other things (Q'',Q'''......), provided of course that Q'' and Q''' are not in themselves dependent on A, B and C.

Comment by ashwinv on Break your habits: be more empirical · 2015-06-24T12:24:22.207Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A little obvious (to me perhaps, without adjusting for mind projection), but beautifully written.

Comment by ashwinv on Optimizing the Twelve Virtues of Rationality · 2015-06-11T08:30:57.321Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To clarify - Yes, this point has been covered in the community aspect section of this post. Just wanted to highlight the importance of this change and increase its priority. Most importantly, work towards a litmus test. One obvious test of course is to simply watch for the inputs coming in and check for their validity as a Bayesian would in any case do.

The problem with this is that you'll probably be stuck in the middle of the argument already. So you'll either have to press your point which you think is correct, or nod along for the sake of avoiding a painful argument (this has more to do with being socially acceptable rather than being right).

Screening for arguers is one way, but then you run the risk of interacting with a self selecting group. This means the same ideas end up floating around, which in turn means you lose out on the biggest advantage of community - feedback from an outside perspective. This to me seems like an unacceptably high cost.

Comment by ashwinv on Optimizing the Twelve Virtues of Rationality · 2015-06-11T08:11:16.656Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Empiricism to me always included experimentation. Experimentation was a direct sub-set of the same. But that's probably just me (and maybe a few others.)

The virtue I'm most concerned about is Argument. In my opinion,it can be either extremely productive (especially when people make suggestions that are nowhere near what my stream of consciousness) or extremely frustrating (for rather more obvious reasons).

One important way in which the twelve virtues can be optimized is to develop a sort of litmus test to distinguish between the two. There is a good chance that this has already been done though. Apt links will be appreciated.

Comment by ashwinv on XKCD - Frequentist vs. Bayesians · 2015-06-04T07:53:57.533Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In my opinion, sort of. Munroe probably left out the reasoning of the Bayesian for comic effect.

But the answer is that the Bayesian would be paying attention to the prior probability that the sun went out. Therefore, he would have concluded that the sun didn't actually go out and that the dice rolled six twice for a completely different reason.

Comment by ashwinv on [LINK] How to calibrate your confidence intervals · 2015-06-04T07:46:24.528Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is fantastic input. Thank you very much.

I am a little skeptical of the first technique of the wheel. I thought that was something I did naturally in any case. Of course, I do need to read the book to really figure out what's happening here though.

Comment by ashwinv on Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation · 2015-05-11T05:15:18.134Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also, I just realised that I didn't quite answer your question. Sorry about that I got carried away in my argument.

But the answer is no, I don't have anything specific in mind. Also, I don't know enough about things like what effects RL will have on memory, preferences etc. But I kind of feel that I could design an experiment if I knew more about it.

Comment by ashwinv on Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation · 2015-05-11T05:09:43.189Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Uhm, I kind of felt the pigeon experiment was a little misleading.

Yes, the pigeons did a great job of switching doors and learning through LR.

Human RL however (seems to me) takes place in a more subtle manner. While the pigeons seemed to focus on a more object level prouctivity, human RL would seem to take up a more complicated route.

But even that's kind of besides the point.

In the article that Kaj had posted above, with the Amy Sutherland trying the LRS on her husband, it was an interesting point to note that the RL was happening at a rather unconscious level. In the monty hall problem solving type of cognition, the brain is working at a much more conscious active level.

So it seems more than likely to me that while LR works in humans, it gets easily over-ridden if you will by conscious deliberate action.

One other point is also worth noting in my opinion.

Human brains come with a lot more baggage than pigeon brains. Therefore, it is more than likely than humans have learnt not to switch through years of re-enforced learning. It makes it much harder to unlearn the same thing in a smaller period of time. The pigeons having lesser cognitive load may have a lot less to unlearn and may have made it easier for them to learn the switching pattern.

Comment by ashwinv on Innate Mathematical Ability · 2015-05-11T04:57:58.190Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I got 6 as the answer, basing it on 1. presence of inner circle 2. outer box apparently following a pattern.

But there's a high chance i'm privileging my observations.

Comment by ashwinv on Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation · 2015-05-11T04:13:21.713Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Uhm. Is there any known experiment that has been tried which has failed with respect to RL?

In the sense, has there been an experiment where one says RL should predict X, but X did not happen. The lack of such a conclusive experiment would be somewhat evidence in favor of RL. Provided of course that the lack of such an experiment is not due to other reasons such as inability to design a proper test (indicating a lack of understanding of the properties of RL) or lack of the experiment happening to due to real world impracticalities (not enough attention having been cast on RL, not enough funding for a proper experiment to have been conducted etc.)

Comment by ashwinv on Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting · 2015-04-21T07:21:14.421Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is also a work by Julien Smith entitled "The Flinch". It was recommended by Swartz, and I read it to find that it is in fact pretty good.

Comment by ashwinv on Final Words · 2015-03-18T08:38:01.500Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This post just replaced the third alternative as my all-time favourite.

Comment by ashwinv on HPMOR Wrap Parties: Resources, Information and Discussion · 2015-03-14T09:40:39.358Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Just an update - Both "Bangalore,India" parties have decided to unite under one roof. 9pm at Infinitea in Indiranagar.

Oh and congrats on the eulogy Oliver. :)

Comment by ashwinv on How to learn soft skills · 2015-02-18T06:18:53.068Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your inner simulator is probably more accurate than your explicit models in domains where you have a rich experience base, such as social phenomena, and day-to-day physical phenomena.

Not true. At least not likely. If it were so, then most people would pick up soft skills in a rather automatic fashion without the need for too much conscious effort (actually, any conscious effort, since if the inner simulator is more accurate, your intuitions should lead you on the correct/correct-ish path. Ceterus Paribus, this should hold true for the majority of people (i would expect around more than 90%)

Also, I have a more general comment. A large part of the strategy advocatde here seems (to me) to be divided into rough categories: Keep trying stuff and keep reading stuff. You seem to indicate that learning hard facts should be discarded when you find them to be wrong, whereas learning soft skills involves some amount of reading "wrong ideas/facts/information". I get the feeling that you're keeping a double standard here. In the sense, that the timeline for learning a hard fact seems to be almost instantaneous while soft skills seem to be a little more long term (at least that's the sense I got from reading it, as if it was implied). To further illustrate this point, consider the following thought experiment:

  1. You read in a book that gravity doesn't work on cell phones. You drop your phone and find it falls. You've learnt that gravity does in fact work.

  2. You read that flattering people doesn't help. You avoid flattering people and then suddenly notice that your competitors who flattered their bosses/colleagues/friends have advanced their careers/social position.

See, what I'm getting at?

Comment by ashwinv on What I Tell You Three Times Is True · 2015-02-16T11:35:32.690Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

On an off-note, Adams has also suggested exercise and diet as simple and yet important components of beating Akrasia. For this specific goal, I think they are more important than affirmations.

For overall performance though, I'm not so sure.

Comment by AshwinV on [deleted post] 2015-02-12T11:45:43.266Z

Stephen King in his book "On Writing - A memoir of the craft" states that he prefers it when people avoid the passive form of writing.

He also further goes on to "speculate" that people like the passive voice for the same reason that people like to be passive lovers.

Comment by AshwinV on [deleted post] 2015-02-12T04:00:58.410Z

That's bovine feces. Each sentence demands its own way of being written.

Not according to Stephen King

Comment by ashwinv on Studying business. Rational organizations. · 2015-01-21T15:40:43.844Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Paul Graham's essays are awesome.

I didnt quite like Kaufman's personal MBA as much as everyone on LW seems to. But I am currently aiming to get admitted into college and was trying to use it to figure out which branch to specialise in, and found that it wasnt as useful (due to lack of detail perhaps?). The book does seem to be generally written honestly though, except that he brags about its simplicity.

Comment by ashwinv on The Trouble With "Good" · 2015-01-13T11:32:07.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Considering how many ways either outcome would result, im not really sure how P(supporter carves a B |obama is evil) would actually measure out

Comment by ashwinv on Privileging the Question · 2014-12-09T08:42:43.942Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why has the media privileged these questions? I'd guess that the media is incentivized to ask whatever questions will get them the most views. That's a very different goal from asking the most important questions, and is one reason to stop paying attention to the media.

I don't know exactly how popular he is around these parts, but I have been watching a quite a bit of John Oliver recently. From what I understand, he is relatively free to pick his own content and HBO has supported him through and through. He isn't dependent on sponsorship, so I doubt HBO will place too much pressure on views every month, though I expect they will want him to at the very least not drive viewers away.

Nevertheless, there are a number of shows where John Oliver is actively critical of both the popular mainstream media, for not paying enough attention to the most important stories. Very often these are politically sensitive topics (including drone strikes, international politics et al.). But he does try hard and I would argue, successfully, for the inclusion of stories that aren't nearly covered often enough in the media.

It seems like a good idea for someone to study the model on which his show, last week tonight is modeled and try to come up with a better one. PS. he did claim that no one had been able to explain it successfully to him.

Comment by ashwinv on How I Ended Up Non-Ambitious · 2014-11-24T11:59:09.877Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What do I mean by ‘ambition’?

I know this is completely outta sync with what you were going for, but I couldnt resist quoting good ol' rational Quirell:

There was a half-smile on Professor Quirrell's face as he replied, "Not really, Miss Davis. In truth I do not care about that sort of thing in the slightest. But it is futile to count the witches among Ministers of Magic and other such ordinary folk leading ordinary existences, when Grindelwald and Dumbledore and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named were all men." The Defense Professor's fingers idly spun the button, turning it over and over. "Then again, only a very few folk ever do anything interesting with their lives. What does it matter to you if they are mostly witches or mostly wizards, so long as you are not among them? And I suspect you will not be among them, Miss Davis; for although you are ambitious, you have no ambition."

"That's not true! " said Tracey indignantly. "And what's it mean?"

Professor Quirrell straightened from where he had been leaning against the wall. "You were Sorted into Slytherin, Miss Davis, and I expect that you will grasp at any opportunity for advancement which falls into your hands. But there is no great ambition that you are driven to accomplish, and you will not make your opportunities. At best you will grasp your way upward into Minister of Magic, or some other high position of unimportance, never breaking the bounds of your existence."

Comment by ashwinv on Mandatory Secret Identities · 2014-11-24T11:17:04.459Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Update: I'm over it now. :D

Comment by ashwinv on November 2014 Monthly Bragging Thread · 2014-11-17T05:53:19.064Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks Natha! Was hitting higher scores(730-740) in the mocks before the real thing, so was at first a touch upset, then figured that this was ok for practical purposes.

Yes, an MBA. Most probably in finance and/or strategy. I also want to see if there is any particular way to leverage on my existing qualifications (I'm a lawyer, graduated 2 years back from NLUJ in India). My work experience lies in renewable energy.

Any advice would be most welcome. :)

Comment by ashwinv on November 2014 Monthly Bragging Thread · 2014-11-04T17:07:47.287Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I got a 710 on the GMAT.

Comment by ashwinv on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T18:46:32.985Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I kind of feel that heroic responsibility works better in situations where small individuals have the potential to make a large difference.

For example, in the world of HPMoR, it makes sense for one person to have a sort of heroic responsibility, because a sufficiently powerful wizard can actually make waves, can actually play a keystone role in the shaping of events.

On the other hand, take an imaginary planet where all the inhabitants are of equal size, shape and intelligence and there are well over a zillion inhabitants. On this planet, it is very hard to imagine a single inhabitant to assume responsibility for the actions of all the other zillion inhabitants that are there on the planet.

Even in the examples discussed above, the minister having a lot of power is in a better position to take heroic responsibility for the functioning of the system as opposed to any of the individual nurses. I know it sounds like i'm saying heroic responsibility should be left to the heroes, but my point is more subtle than that.

The prime considerations as to whether you should take up heroic responsibility or not is the situation in front of you and the extent of your capabilities.

Comment by ashwinv on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-25T07:24:25.934Z · score: 40 (40 votes) · LW · GW


Hopefully, i'll be able to change a few of my answers regarding the LW meetup frequency by next year. And the answers regarding donations should change drastically within 3 years.

Was pretty happy that I knew a bunch of the answers wrt the calibration section. :)

Now hand over them Karma points.

Comment by ashwinv on The Level Above Mine · 2014-10-25T06:35:15.867Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For whatever reason, the sense I get of Jaynes is one of terrifying swift perfection—something that would arrive at the correct answer by the shortest possible route, tearing all surrounding mistakes to shreds in the same motion. Of course, when you write a book, you get a chance to show only your best side. But still.

Just reminded me of a Lord Acton's quotes : "Judge character at its worst, but talent at its best." (Paraphrased from memory)

Comment by ashwinv on One Life Against the World · 2014-10-20T04:05:17.517Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The goal behind altruism is to improve the quality of life for the human race. The motivation for altruism maybe due to evolutionary reasons such as propogation of the species etc., but it is not the same as altruism.

This post is however about the latter as you have rightly pointed out. Nevertheless,

When human lives are at stake, we have a duty to maximize, not satisfice

and therefore, the way to go about maximizing is to first ensure that all people currently alive remain alive and well taken care of. After that there's plenty of time to go about having more babies :)

Comment by ashwinv on Chaotic Inversion · 2014-10-19T06:57:54.442Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Randomness is a measure of intelligence. The greater one's intelligence, the less randomness there is (to it).

While I agree with the gist of what you're saying, you may wanna rephrase the above sentence (it sounds too general, and is a terrible statement when taken out of context).

The point I'm trying to make is that you can have a low intelligence person/animal/machine/system, which can perceive very little randomness. Therefore, this relation doesn't hold out on either end of the spectrum. There is very little "randomness" to an entity (read as "perceived by") in blissful ignorance, and there is very little randomness to a "sufficiently advanced intelligence".

Furthermore, this isn't something that happens only in extreme cases. It's a pattern that can be seen at many levels in many many forms.

It kind of renders the whole point moot. However, I do concede that for a given set of data, within a fixed paradigm, the rule does have some applicability.

Comment by ashwinv on No Universally Compelling Arguments · 2014-10-17T04:21:36.362Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nothing acausal about that; the little grey man is there because we built him in. The notion of an argument that convinces any mind seems to involve a little blue woman who was never built into the system, who climbs out of literally nowhere, and strangles the little grey man, because that transistor has just got to output +3 volts: It's such a compelling argument, you see.

I assume that this was intended just as a description of mental imagery.

On the off-chance that it's an argument in itself, what exactly is the difference between the construction of the grey man and the blue woman? What if there was a legitimate cause that makes the blue woman come out and strangle the gray man everytime?

I'm a little lost...

Comment by ashwinv on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-16T11:38:22.609Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nate Silver has a chapter in his book called Less and Less and Less wrong..... (or something very similar).

PS. I haven't read it, but just happened to flip through the contents once long ago...

Comment by ashwinv on How Much Evidence Does It Take? · 2014-10-16T04:18:57.648Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Let's say you've got 10 boxes lined up in a row, and you start punching combinations into the boxes. You cannot stop on the first combination that gets beeps from all 10 boxes, saying, "But the odds of that happening for a losing combination are a million to one! I'll just ignore those ivory-tower Bayesian rules and stop here." On average, 131 losing tickets will pass such a test for every winner


Comment by ashwinv on Honesty: Beyond Internal Truth · 2014-10-14T05:48:10.609Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In practice, the people I know who seem to make unusual efforts at rationality, are unusually honest, or, failing that, at least have unusually bad social skills.

It's the same "liar circuitry" that you're fighting, or indulging, in the internal or external case - that would be my second guess for why rational people tend to be honest people.

I have another alternate hypotheses: most normal people are such poor rationalists, that it simply isn't worth the effort to develop proper "lying skills" (if that's an acceptable term - yes, i know it sounds weird as a phrase!!). In a majority of the situations that rationalists find themselves in, normal people will do such a thoroughly good job at deceiving themselves, and convince themselves so thoroughly, that there isn't any point in trying anymore. For that matter, there is probably a reason why even seasoned con-men have set patterns.. the number of ways in which people(average joe/jane) can be manipulated, is not just finite, but also likely to be extremely limited.

Alternately with trained rationalists, the odds of successfully telling a lie are relatively and significantly smaller, so it serves as a tremendous pico-economic disincentive to even attempt telling a fabrication. This would also explain, perhaps in some ways better than the internal circuitry theory why there is a strong correlation between rationality and honesty.

Comment by ashwinv on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-14T04:00:31.348Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Holmes: "What's the matter? You're not looking quite yourself. This Brixton Road affair has upset you."

Watson: "To tell the truth, it has," I said. "I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces in Maiwand without losing my nerve."

Holmes: "I can understand. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror ."

  • From Conan Doyle's "a study in scarlet" (bold added by me for emphasis)
Comment by ashwinv on Meetup : Bangalore Meetup · 2014-10-13T12:48:28.421Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

having trouble accessing that page.. maybe it's the office settings, ill go home and try again...

Comment by ashwinv on Ugh fields · 2014-10-12T13:59:18.707Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This resonates slightly with the idea that Robert Pirsig put forward in either ZMM or Lila. I don't remember where, but I think it was ZMM.

His hypothesis out there was of course that there is a driving force of quality, which I guess would be rejected by most LW-ers. To be honest, I used to kind of believe in that thing and did identify with being spiritual, till I read the MAMQ sequence.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend both of these books. Pirsig beautifully demonstrates how the feeling , happens before the process of active cognition. If rationality is indeed aided by noticing things, then I think that Pirsig's work can be a big stepping stone in that direction.

Comment by ashwinv on Meetup : Bangalore Meetup · 2014-10-11T15:33:11.363Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Any weekend would make it easier for me.... Does Nov 2nd sound okay?

Comment by ashwinv on The Sin of Underconfidence · 2014-10-09T11:38:27.135Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Last paragraph, open parentheses missing. (I'm on a typo roll it seems)

Comment by ashwinv on Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism · 2014-10-09T11:13:44.672Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Typo: at the bottom of the post, where the previous post is referred. Underconfidence has an extra 'e'

Comment by ashwinv on Are You a Solar Deity? · 2014-10-09T08:33:32.095Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A joke : Move over Nostradamus?

Comment by ashwinv on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-07T05:31:28.663Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

But philosophers share the general human weakness for explanations of what is incomprehensible in terms suited for what is familiar and well understood, though entirely different.

Originally said by Thomas Nagel (I got it from Hofstadter and Dennett here )

Comment by ashwinv on The Level Above Mine · 2014-10-06T06:10:04.587Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by ashwinv on How to Become a 1000 Year Old Vampire · 2014-10-06T03:50:50.673Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

addendum: not bored right now at all; crazy crunch time for the other team, which which I am helping)

Single which?

Comment by ashwinv on The Level Above Mine · 2014-10-06T03:41:44.350Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can anyone tell me whether Jaynes' book can be read and understood without any particular formal training? I do know the basic concepts of probability, and I usually score around the 85th percentile on math tests... And how hard/time-consuming exactly will the book be? I am employed in a somewhat high pressure job on a full time basis...

Comment by ashwinv on Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts · 2014-10-03T08:48:35.105Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer Yudkowsky is a 1001 year old vampire, that grows old faster than you.

Comment by ashwinv on The Future of Humanity Institute could make use of your money · 2014-10-03T04:57:27.258Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The sequences are more advertisements than formalized research. Its papers like the one on Lob's obstacle that get researchers interested in working on these problems.

I think that's up for debate.

And the sequences aren't "just advertisements".

I don't know any LW-ers in person, but I'm sure that at least some people have benefited from reading the sequences.

Can't really speak on behalf of researchers, but their motivations could literally be anything, maybe just finding the work interesting, to altruistic reasons or financial incentives.