Beginning Machine Learning 2018-04-30T15:54:06.360Z


Comment by crybx on Critch on career advice for junior AI-x-risk-concerned researchers · 2018-05-13T03:39:24.848Z · LW · GW

Somewhere, recently, I saw someone comment almost in passing that grad school shouldn't cost anything. I can't find the source now. Maybe someone can clarify if that's a serious claim? I've been under the impression for a while that grad school and academia would be an awfully expensive way to acquire the prerequisite knowledge for AI safety work.

Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-10T22:53:09.780Z · LW · GW

please assign the issue to yourself in github so people know someone is working on it.

It doesn't look like users can assign issues to themselves without being invited to be a contributor.


Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-09T20:51:07.840Z · LW · GW

Now that I have a copy of the code running on my local machine, I was thinking of grabbing an issue to work on. (I can't promise any commitment level beyond one issue yet.) I'm trying to be thorough reading what docs there are, and I've come across the contributing guidelines which says to check out a roadmap (a Trello board) and join a Slack channel before working on anything. The Trello board doesn't make much sense to me and I'm not sure if either of these instructions are still important to follow, or if I really should just claim an unassigned issue with a 'good first issue' or 'help wanted' tag.

Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-09T01:52:00.034Z · LW · GW

Adding the missing line fixed it! I have Lesswrong2 running successfully on Windows at http://localhost:3000/ now.

Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-09T01:18:51.744Z · LW · GW

This might be a good use case for someone to create a Docker image (or some other container) that has a development environment that just works for new users.

Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-09T01:07:53.146Z · LW · GW

If you try again, I think you can avoid needing bash. See my comment here.

Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-09T01:04:17.075Z · LW · GW

I got further than gjm reported.

I needed to:

  • Install Node (That link goes to the exact version listed in .nvmrc)
  • Install Python 2.7.whatever since I only had Python 3 before this.
  • Install Visual C++ 2015 Tools for Windows Desktop - This was the weirdest one, but after this, npm install works without error.
  • Install meteor

I learned that npm start is unnecessary. It runs a bash script that

1. checks meteor is installed

2. creates the file settings.json if it doesn't exist by copying from sample_settings.json

3. runs command meteor --settings settings.json

If you have meteor installed and create settings.json yourself, you can skip npm start and just run

meteor --settings settings.json

I verified that I was able to successfully build and run the VulcanJS starter example by doing:

  • cd Vulcan-Starter code repo
  • run npm install
  • manually copy sample_settings.json to settings.json
  • run meteor --settings settings.json
  • I then had a website running at http://localhost:3000/

Additional info in the VulcanJS docs includes:

(A note for windows user: While running npm install you might get error regarding node-gyp and bcrypt package installation. This is because you need windows-build-tool for node-gyp installation which is required for bcrypt installation.)

This is what the C++ dev tools fixed. I don't know if something like npm install -g windows-build-tool would have fixed this or not. I didn't read this until afterwards.


Note that you can also start the app with:
meteor --settings sample_settings.json
All npm start does is run the above command, while also checking for the presence of settings.json first and creating it for you if missing.

But for LessWrong 2 I am stuck at an error that looks like

I think I'm stumped for now. I can clearly get the Vulcan Starter project running, just not LessWrong 2.

Comment by crybx on Beginning Machine Learning · 2018-05-08T19:52:52.197Z · LW · GW

Your comment was definitely worthwhile for me. Thanks to your very strong recommendation (and the fact that it doesn't look like it'll take much time), I'm going to check out the course very soon. I'll be referencing back to this comment to check out your other recommendations in the future too. Thank you.

Comment by crybx on LW Open Source – Getting Started · 2018-05-08T19:36:57.802Z · LW · GW

I use Windows and intend to try to get this running on my machine.

Also, fyi, the first link to the GitHub repo in the tl;dr doesn't point to the right place.

Comment by crybx on Beginning Machine Learning · 2018-04-30T21:10:17.644Z · LW · GW

It's always a bit amazing to me how much I don't have to remember to be able to work on big software projects. It's like as long as I know what's possible, and when it's applicable, it takes only moments to search for and zero in on specific implementation details.

And yet in this situation, some anxious voice in my head cries, "But do you really know what you're doing if you can't remember every detail?!"

So thank you for reassurance on that. Also, thank you for the recommendations!

Comment by crybx on Noticing the Taste of Lotus · 2018-04-28T14:32:46.383Z · LW · GW

I'd call delicious food a lotus for me. Sometimes it feels so easy for me to fall into addictions that I could get addicted to cereal.

Palatable food may indeed highjack things in our brains leading to negative consequences.

I've also personally found that always eating delicious foods will make me subconsciously start looking for food in moments of boredom.

I do think it's important to experience pleasures in life, and delicious food is a great treat, but like too many things in our lives, our food supply is being engineered to superstimulus levels and caution is totally warranted.

Comment by crybx on Caring less · 2018-03-14T14:38:59.423Z · LW · GW

Intuitively seeing things as being like the pie graph is why the birds example for scope insensitivity doesn't feel like a case where I should try to do anything differently. Maybe I only have an ~$80 budget to care about birds because I can't smash a bigger slice into my pie of caring.

Comment by crybx on Request for "Tests" for the MIRI Research Guide · 2018-03-14T13:32:50.893Z · LW · GW

This might read like confident advice, but it's mostly just the strategy I've been using because it seems sensible to me.

For any of these topics with dedicated books (especially ones recommended as high quality), there will be proofs presented along the way while reading them. Don't just read the proofs. Try pausing before you read/understand the proof and try to work out how you would prove it yourself. Then read (and maybe re-read) until you think you get it, and try to prove it again without looking back at the material.

Keeping a list of these exercises might be handy to test yourself with later.

Also keep notes as you go about anything you find remotely confusing. Follow up on the confusion.

This doesn't tell you that you've "mastered the topic," but mastery comes in building blocks of deliberate practice.

Comment by crybx on Bug Hunt 3 · 2018-03-13T21:07:02.388Z · LW · GW

I think that satisficing is sometimes the right way to approach tasks. I would classify a whole slew of tasks as not super important but still needing to be done. It isn't always worth it to pour energy into everything you do. As someone who errs on the side of perfectionism too often, I find the concept of succeeding with no wasted motion to be a sanity saver.

Comment by crybx on Friendship · 2018-03-07T15:17:46.829Z · LW · GW

I feel similarly to what you expressed in your first paragraph, and somewhat similar to your third. When I realize certain people can't stand being alone, I imagine them as someone who has no idea what to do with themselves. I feel like my brain is highjacked if I'm not given enough alone time to process my thoughts, and that parts of me are never fully expressed until I am alone.

Maybe this means I need to improve my social circle?

Your observation of the Buddhist "no self" claims seems to me like a misunderstanding due to different definitions of self. After much staring at these claims on my part, I think what they are (rightly) saying is that there is no single “executive” module in charge in our brains, and that our impression of a unified self is an illusion that rises from a bunch of separate modules.

Comment by crybx on The Intelligent Social Web · 2018-02-26T19:07:32.075Z · LW · GW

After reading your Mythic Mode post, and before seeing this comment, I was trying to think of a possible mythic mode name for this other than Omega. Hermaeus Mora, a Lovecraftian-like being from the Elder Scrolls video game series, overpowers any other ideas in my head:

Hermaeus Mora, also known as Hoermius, Hormaius, Hermorah, Herma Mora, and The Woodland Man is the Daedric Prince of knowledge and memory; his sphere is the scrying of the tides of Fate, of the past and future as read in the stars and heavens. He is not known for being good or evil; he seems to be the keeper of both helpful and destructive knowledge

He/it also looks like a bunch of tentacles, which is sort of web like.

I don't think this is remotely a name that could spread, but when I recalled that I thought of him as Herman when I played the game, I became very amused at the idea of calling "The Intelligent Social Web" by the name Herman.

Comment by crybx on Meta-tations on Moderation: Towards Public Archipelago · 2018-02-26T15:17:24.054Z · LW · GW

This sentiment seems opposed to what others have expressed. Mixed messaging is part of why I've been confused.

Aspiring rationalists could benefit from a central place to make friends with and interact with other rationalists (that isn't Facebook) and welcoming 2) seems like it would be a way to incentivize community, while hopefully the Archipelago model limits how much this could lower LW's main posts' standards.

I notice that when I write about rationality adjacent things, it most often comes out as a story about my personal experiences. It isn't advice or world changing info for others, but it is an account of someone who is thinking about and trying to apply rationality in their life. I predict these stories aren't totally useless but that they may not be liked or seen as typical LW fair.

I'll admit the link I see between my last two paragraphs. I would like to be less of a silent watcher and make friends in the community, but my natural style of writing is experiential and mostly doesn't feel like LessWrong has felt in the past.

Comment by crybx on Meta-tations on Moderation: Towards Public Archipelago · 2018-02-25T19:00:45.703Z · LW · GW

I'm confused about what sort of content belongs on LW 2.0, even in the Archipelago model.

I've been a lurker on LW and many of the diaspora rational blogs for years, and I've only recently started commenting after being nudged to do so by certain life events, certain blog posts, and the hopeful breath of life slightly reanimating LessWrong.

Sometimes I write on a personal blog elsewhere, but my standards are below what I'd want to see on LW. Then again, I've seen things on LW that are below my standards of what I expect on LW.

I've seen it said multiple times that people can now put whatever they want on their personal LW spaces/blogposts, and that's stressed again here. But I still feel unsettled and like I don't really understand what this means. Does it mean that anyone on the internet talking about random stuff is welcome to have a blog on LW? Does it mean well known members are encouraged to stick around and can be off the rationality topic in their personal blogposts? How about the unknown members? How tangential can the topic be from rationality before it's not welcome?

Could a personal post about MealSquares and trading money for time flip my modest amount of Karma into the negative and make it harder for me to participate in conversations in the future? Is part of the intent behind the Archipelago model to bring in this kind of content in addition to the well known names? I can't tell.

Comment by crybx on Two types of mathematician · 2018-02-24T16:13:17.001Z · LW · GW

I'm a software engineer and my degree in college required a good chunk of advanced math. I am currently in the process of trying to relearn the math I've forgotten, plus some, so I'm thinking that if this analysis/algebra dichotomy points at a real preference difference, knowing which I am might help me choose more effective learning sources.

But I find it hard to point to one category or another for most aspects. Even the corn test is inconclusive! (I agree that it sounds more like an analysis thing to do.)

  • I love the step-by-step bits of algebra and logic, but I also love geometry.
  • I think I do tend to form an "idiosyncratic mental model of specific problems." As I come to understand problems more, I feel like they have a quality or character that makes them recognizable to me. I did best in school when teaching myself from outside sources and then using the teacher's methods to spot check and fill in gaps in my models.
  • I think object oriented programming is very useful, and functional programming is very appealing.
  • I use(d) vi/vim because that's what I know well enough to function in. I barely touched emacs a couple times, was like, "dafuq is this?" and went back to vim. I never gave emacs a fair chance.
  • I think I lean towards 'building up' my understanding of things in chunks, filling in a bigger picture. But the skill of 'breaking down' massive concepts into bite-sized chunks seems like an important way to do this!

My tentative self diagnoses is that I have a weak preference for analysis. Reading more of the links in the OP might help me confirm this.

Comment by crybx on Two types of mathematician · 2018-02-24T01:53:13.642Z · LW · GW

Eating corn on the cob is messy and gets stuff stuck in my teeth. It’s also slow. I always find a knife (even just a plastic butter knife), cut the corn off, and eat it with a fork or spoon. What category does that fit in? Until I started doing this, I think I kept experimenting with eating in different patterns. I have no idea what it’s like to eat corn without trying to optimize the process.

Comment by crybx on The Intelligent Social Web · 2018-02-23T00:07:29.854Z · LW · GW

I would be wary of thinking of social roles as a market. There's something about social interactions that isn't market related, and bringing up prices seems to be able to make people's relationships less fulfilling. At least according to Dan Ariely in the book Predictably Irrational.

"...once a social norm is trumped by a market norm—it will rarely return."

Quick Googling of market vs social norms (or some variation on that) brought up tons of links, but this one does an okay job of summarizing what the book said about it:

Comment by crybx on Are you the rider or the elephant? · 2018-02-22T02:13:33.390Z · LW · GW

I know all models are wrong, and some are useful. But in every day life, I find myself thinking of my brain in two parts that are roughly A) my beam of attention and B) my everything else. This doesn't seem to be totally captured by the other divisions and metaphors mentioned. Both A and B feel like *me*.

My attention (A) feels a lot like a beam of light that can be narrow, wide, dim, or even off. My everything else seems to include my subconscious, the answers that pop into my head without effort, the habits I execute by rote, internal dialogue that chatters away even when I'm not particularly paying attention to it, desires, emotions, and much more.

B churns away whether A is on, off, paying attention to B, or looking in some other random direction. But overall, my decisions and quality of life seem to be better when I use A as much as I possibly can, and when I spend a big chunk of A's time studying what B is doing.

[I updated this comment to add the rest of this.]

The behavior of scrolling through the internet late at night, and the thoughts that I should probably stop and go to bed, both feel to me like they’re in the same general category. The behavior and the inner dialogue both appear, bubbled up from the mysterious machinery of my brain (B) and presented to my awareness (A) on a platter. (I know awareness is also generated in the same machinery and that it isn’t ultimately an unsolvable mystery how the brain works. I’m only describing how my experience feels.)

Directing my attention seems to be the extent to which any meta level of control is introduced to the picture.

In the above example of scrolling when I have thoughts I should be sleeping, I ultimately decide to go to bed right away if I really focus my attention on how worn down my eyes and body feel and notice how muddy my thoughts are compared to when I’m well rested. For extra ammo, I can focus on how whatever craving is driving the scrolling doesn’t seem to be diminishing from moment to moment and has no hope of being satisfied.

Comment by crybx on How I see knowledge aggregation · 2018-02-06T18:08:12.954Z · LW · GW

This post impressed me, I think, because it didn't start out saying there was a prototype. I may have stopped reading at "prototype" if that line came first. There's a huge "blech" factor for me at the idea of giving feedback on yet another partially created bit of software.

Reading the ideas about what the tool would (hopefully) do had me thinking, "this sounds cool, but is anyone ever going to actually make it?"

Then, near the end, the prototype is revealed. I thought, "Wow. Huh. I'm impressed they didn't just talk about an idea that never goes anywhere. They executed. And the prototype seems neat when I play with it."

Comment by crybx on "Taking AI Risk Seriously" (thoughts by Critch) · 2018-01-30T01:01:47.762Z · LW · GW

As 2018 began, I started thinking about what I should do if I personally take AI seriously. So your post is timely for me. I've spent the last couple weeks figuring out how to catch up on the current state of AI development.

What I should do next is still pretty muddy. Or scary.

I have a computer engineering degree and have been a working software developer for several years. I do consider myself a "technical person," but I haven't focused on AI before now. I think I could potentially contribute to AI safety research. If I spend some time studying first. I'm not caught up on the technical skills these research guides point to:

But I'm also not intimidated by the topics or the prospect of a ton of self-directed study. Self-directed study is my fun. I've already started on some of the materials.

The scary stuff is:

I could lose myself for years studying everything in those guides.

I have no network of people to bounce any ideas or plans off of.

  • I live in the bible belt, and my day-to-day interactions are completely devoid of anyone who would take any of this seriously.
  • People in the online community (rationality or AI Safety) don't know I exist, and I'm concerned that spending a lot of time getting noticed is a status game and time sink that doesn't help me learn about AI as fast as possible.

There's also a big step of actually reaching out to people in the field. I don't know how to know when I'm ready or qualified. Or if it's remotely worth contacting people sooner than later because I'm prone to anxious underconfidence, and I could at least let people know I exist, even if I doubt I'm impressive.

I do feel like one of these specialty CFAR workshops would be a wonderful kick-start, but none are yet listed for 2018.

Comment by crybx on Dispel your justification-monkey with a “HWA!” · 2018-01-25T20:18:05.469Z · LW · GW

I think you're describing a very useful mindset here. I've used it myself, rather explicitly, by saying things like, "Okay. So what do we do now?" But something about the wording of, "Here we are" or "Hwa", even in your example uses, strikes me as appearing dismissive. I can't pinpoint exactly why. It reads/sounds like a shrug. I don't think I would ever use this phrasing with anyone who didn't already know of it, because I wouldn't want to give the impression that I'm dismissing the other person's emotions.

Comment by crybx on Kenshō · 2018-01-25T08:23:25.686Z · LW · GW

I would not personally use the phrases "it is/things are/whatever is okay." But one way reacting like "it's not okay" could look is the instinct to make reality retrospectively not be how it is. Denial. We can affect the future, but there's no use denying what already is.

If the first thing you do is interpret that new info would make the world a bad place (moralizing reality), you may flinch into rationalizing ways it can't be so before you even notice what you did.

I don't claim that I gained this skill of ‘Looking’ at some point, prior to which time I did not possess it.

I claim I am recognizing a concept shaped thing that I already did more than average, and am now labelling it with the name Looking. I think I've gotten better over time and now that I label it, I think I could practice more deliberately. If I'm totally wrong, there's still this thing I think I could practice because I'm labelling it now.

I think people are hung up on the meditation/enlightenment idea. It's not the skill. It's an old fashioned way to practice. I think the paper being linked is going to confuse more people than it helps.

It is super basic and not as otherworldly or profound as people seem to expect it to be.

Edit: I don't mean to say it's basic, so you should already understand. I mean to say it's basic, and you're looking for something complicated. Like maybe you are rejecting or will reject the answer even if YOU think of it, or already do Looking, because it's just not an impressive complicated thing. You've invested a lot of effort in understanding this concept, and I wonder if the realization, when/if you get it, will be disappointing. Maybe it will be a relief though.

Comment by crybx on Kenshō · 2018-01-24T19:47:38.106Z · LW · GW

I'm late to this comment thread. I had to read a lot of the comments (more than once) before it clicked in a way that I'm fairly sure *I recognize what Looking is* and that I already have the skill and use it more than I think is common (but not always or consistently).

"I can form deep, deep pacts with others who know how to Look. This is harder to explain, but I can point to an analogy clearly, I think: if you're in the cell phone world and you see someone else who has figured out how to look up, there's a kind of deep collaboration you two can do, and a level of communication you can have, that others literally cannot understand pre-kenshō. In the real-world analog, this creates room for a kind of bond that lets us sidestep most primate political baloney, because there's common knowledge that we can both Look at all that stuff, and that that's not what's important."

Now that I have a name/concept-shape for this "skill" of Looking, that paragraph brings up a lot of feelings of longing for me. These bonds are what I've rarely experienced and what feels to me like what I want out of interpersonal relationships. It's like most people aren't awake, or are NPCs, and it gets lonely.

Occasionally finding bits of these bonds is enormously rewarding.

Some comments ask questions about how you can know if someone else is "looking up from their phone." They want real world examples.

I think you can't know if someone is doing the real-world analog of "Looking up from their phone" if you don't interact with them on a level beyond small talk or polite conversation. You won't pass a stranger on the street and just see it. Looking is a frame of mind, so if you don't interact with their mental processes, there's nothing to see.

My personal examples of knowing someone else is Looking are composed of very private conversations that are, like I said, beyond small talk or polite conversation.

I don't want to get specific, but I can give a vague example interaction:

Imagine a friend is engaging in a behavior that isn't going well for them. You have an unflattering model of their motives and behavior that you don't think they've considered. If you shared these thoughts with most people, their feelings would be deeply hurt and they may lash out, deny, get defensive, etc. But your friend asks what your thoughts are about what's going on for them. If you're both capable of Looking, maybe you can tell them the brutal truth of what you think. You may preface it with "I don't mean this as a criticism of you, and this might be totally wrong," and that is also the truth. And when you give them the message they may feel a pang of hurt, but they are able to Look inside and say, "Yes, I can see that too."

Now imagine the roles are reversed. Your friend has delivered honest feedback and it can sting. But you know the negative emotions don't matter much. You don't have to let them high-jack you into indignation. Your trust your friend understands you're only human and you also trust that they see more than the sum of your flaws. It is immeasurably *safer* feeling to know that they care enough about you to Look at you and try to help you grow as a person.

//end of crappy example

Other examples would not necessarily involve criticism.

I also think the terminology of "it's okay" is a terrible way to describe the feeling of Looking. It practically begs to have someone argue or get stuck on why things are not okay. I think the phrase I substitute for myself is, "Don't freak out." I'm telling myself I don't have to moralize reality.

What is, is. Don't freak out! Freaking out doesn't change reality. You can handle the truth. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.

*Just Look up!*

(If I'm totally wrong about what Looking is...feel free to tell me. )

Comment by crybx on The Loudest Alarm Is Probably False · 2018-01-03T16:04:27.490Z · LW · GW

What is "counter anxiety"? If your seed never makes it to a post, I'd like to at least have this clue.

Comment by crybx on Against Love Languages · 2017-12-29T19:26:42.147Z · LW · GW

I read the book almost 2 years ago. I also remember struggling to pinpoint what language would fit the way I want to experience love. For me, I want mental intimacy. "Being seen" is maybe a way of saying something similar, but I don't know for sure if you mean the same thing.

For me this means:

  • Ability to discuss anything. Nothing is off the table.
  • Feeling comfortable revealing the things you normally mask for the rest of the world.
  • Interest in ideas the other has and their mental processes.
  • The desire to actually talk about things.
  • No knee jerk reactions of disgust, i.e. there aren't assumptions that something unexpected the other person says is incredibly stupid or weird or wrong before discussing it more.
  • The ability to give honest feedback to each other.
  • Showing respect and appreciation for the other's views and their willingness to share them.

The love languages book really seems to conflate intimacy with physical touch in its descriptions. And it misses something to say that "deep conversations" would be purely a form of quality time. And that bit about respect and appreciation in my last bullet would fall under words of affirmation...

So for me, it's a book with a model that’s wrong. I really wanted it to be useful. It made the point that people have different expectations for love. But it left me with no clear sense of my own "love language," and I've also found that attempts to categorize past partners hasn't been any easier than categorizing myself.

Comment by crybx on Eternal Winter, Endless Light · 2017-12-16T23:46:46.991Z · LW · GW
"Now, I have no idea how scared it's actually appropriate to be about this. In politics, and journalism, we're incentivized to stories that freak us out and exaggerate risks."

I'm struggling with exactly this right now regarding the North Korea stuff. When I'm scared, I can't tell if I'm overreacting. When I'm not scared, I can't tell if I'm underreacting. There are precautions I could be taking to make my own survival more likely in the event of a bombing, but those precautions would be a big waste of resources if they aren't needed. The people around me aren't freaking out, [but that doesn't comfort me.](

Comment by crybx on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-09T22:22:35.032Z · LW · GW

I am curious how everyone would be able to go about trying modafinil. I've been interested in trying it for a long time, but I can't bring myself to attempt a sketchy internet order.