Caching on Success 2019-09-04T06:34:44.162Z
Nutritional Supplements: A Potted Guide? 2019-04-22T09:51:40.877Z


Comment by conjectures on Novum Organum: Preface · 2019-10-21T11:36:13.776Z · LW · GW

I see what you're getting at, viz the inconsistency around 'aided'. However, as it seems that an 'unaided' mind will behave anything like ideally I don't think I'd agree that the inconsistency exists in fact. Isn't the 'aid' here a software package built up by a culture in light of the systematising ideas, and which gets sold on the basis of the mountain of evidence it explains?

Comment by conjectures on Request for stories of when quantitative reasoning was practically useful for you. · 2019-09-16T05:13:40.937Z · LW · GW

A practice I have found useful is estimating the time it takes to do things: length of a journey door to door, time to write a piece of code and get it reviewed, time from setting off shopping to everything being stored away. People are generally on the optimistic side, and time falls through the cracks between stages of a task.

Comment by conjectures on Being the (Pareto) Best in the World · 2019-08-02T13:05:35.758Z · LW · GW

Nice article. I perhaps take issue with this:

And to a large extent, people do pursue those frontiers. It’s no secret that an academic can easily find fertile fields by working with someone in a different department. “Interdisciplinary” work has a reputation for being unusually high-yield.

Since (top tier, excluding Nature, Science) journals typically care most about single axis achievements.

Comment by conjectures on Nutritional Supplements: A Potted Guide? · 2019-04-24T07:06:27.634Z · LW · GW

Good call.

Comment by conjectures on How good is a human's gut judgement at guessing someone's IQ? · 2019-04-23T08:18:24.500Z · LW · GW

I'm a little concerned that this could lead to operationalization of the fundamental attribution error. If you're in a conversation with someone who says intelligent things, does it matter if they are an intelligent person?

Comment by conjectures on Nutritional Supplements: A Potted Guide? · 2019-04-23T07:36:36.443Z · LW · GW

I was just being information greedy. I don't even know what aspects of health have useful supplements available - so I'm not sure what's on the menu as it were.

Any suggestions to help (dry) skin conditions would be particularly warmly received though.

Comment by conjectures on Open Thread April 2019 · 2019-04-09T06:02:40.014Z · LW · GW

The efficient markets hypothesis is that one should expect 'no remaining region' to be the default. While betting may not be as competed as finance, there are still hedge funds etc doing betting.

Also I would suggest thinking about expected utility greater than some positive threshold to take into account transaction costs. I suppose that this would make a good deal of difference to how many such regions you could expect there to be.

Comment by conjectures on 3 Levels of Rationality Verification · 2019-03-14T09:17:05.292Z · LW · GW

This is a good idea.

Though I think that the condition that 'nobody could memorize more than a fraction of it' is actually quite hard to meet. E.g. legal training seems analogous, and lawyers seem to be able to remember a lot of examples.

If the corpus could be kept secret or ever changing that might help.

When I was thinking of something similar, I had a concern about the task length. E.g. will this result only in relatively short or simple tasks?

Comment by conjectures on Open Thread February 2019 · 2019-03-01T13:23:42.675Z · LW · GW

You lucked out in terms of your journey, the shortcut through SSC may have saved you a number of years ;)

My only advice on careers would be to strongly consider doing some ML capabilities work rather than pure AI risk. This will make it much easier to get enough qualifications and experience to get to work on risk later on. The risk field is so much smaller (and is less well received in academia) that setting yourself that goal may be too much of a stretch. You can always try to pick thesis topics which are as close to the intersection of risk and capabilities as possible.

Comment by conjectures on Open Thread February 2019 · 2019-03-01T13:06:37.653Z · LW · GW

For me 'deeply' involves coding. I must have read dozens of papers carefully and then failed to implement the technique first time due to either my misunderstanding something, or finding something in the paper to be unclear, wrong or omitted! Or you realise that the technique works well but would scale horribly / can't be extended etc. That could take several days - so that treatment is reserved for special selections.

Comment by conjectures on Rule Thinkers In, Not Out · 2019-02-28T22:53:22.644Z · LW · GW

I get the point, and it's a good one. We should have tolerance for the kooky ideas of those who brought us great things.

Practically though, I expect the oracle box would gather dust in the corner if it had a 1% hit rate and the experiments it required were expensive and it didn't come with an impressive warranty. The world abounds with cranks and it is all too easy for out of the box to get binned with unhinged.

So I think this is a useful mode of thinking with some hindsight on a track record, but not without it.

Comment by conjectures on Humans Who Are Not Concentrating Are Not General Intelligences · 2019-02-27T09:35:18.810Z · LW · GW

Me too. I found it strongly reminiscent of reading low grade click bait. Or trying to listen to some woo. Part of it feels like rescuing some food when the bottom of the pan is burned. Part of it is like throwing out models of what state the author's head was in that resolve the text into sense.

I think what makes GPT2 look relatively good is how low the baseline is in many respects. If you tell me 'this is a political acceptance speech' I don't actually expect it to make that much sense. Most of the genre seems to be written by autocomplete anyway.

Comment by conjectures on The 3 Books Technique for Learning a New Skilll · 2019-02-26T09:10:45.934Z · LW · GW

Linear Algebra Done Right wins the prize for books which deliver on their title, as promised imho. The typical approach with determinants front and centre is a pedagogical dead end. I find Axler's approach tracked more closely to the uses of linear algebra, rather than historic proof techniques. I'd say it covers the how and why sections - although perhaps the 'how' book is the Matrix Cookbook ;). The what will probably have to come from some other discipline: are you working on stats, or differential equations, or something else?

Comment by conjectures on Meetup : London Social Meetup (and AskMeAnything about the CFAR workshop) · 2013-10-23T21:09:17.588Z · LW · GW

Arrow on map not pointing to Holborn, suggest checking.

Comment by conjectures on Reasons for being rational · 2011-07-02T19:09:33.854Z · LW · GW

given the rational alternatives (neurology,psychology) we can employ to discover true concepts about morality.

I'm with you most of the way. On the rational alternatives though, I'm not sure what you suggest works in the way we might imagine.

Neurology and psychology can provide a factual/ontological description of how humans manifest morality. They don't give a description of what morality should be.

There's a deontological kernel to morality, it's about what we think people should do, not what they do do.

Psychology etc. can give great insights into choosing morals that go with the human grain. But those choices are primarily motivated by pragmatism rather than vitue. The virtue you've chosen is to be pragmatic...

Happy to be proven wrong here, but in terms of what virtues we place value on, I think there's going to be an element of arbitrariness in their choice.

Comment by conjectures on I want to learn economics · 2011-01-20T09:41:08.020Z · LW · GW

Varian's Intermediate Microeconomics is good. I haven't read Microeconomic Analysis which is apparently more advanced.

The reason I found Varian useful is that principle is paired with math; fairly rigorously up until the later chapters. I also read Mankiw's Principles of Economics, but you don't finish that book able to do any economic number crunching.

On the math side it's mainly differential calculus and algebra. If you have a base there already I suspect it will actually be easier and quicker to absorb the principles from a text with math - since they derive from it.

Comment by conjectures on London meetup, Shakespeare's Head, Sunday 2011-03-06 14:00 · 2011-01-16T19:34:01.039Z · LW · GW

Sounds good. I hope to make it.