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Comment by dhoe on LessWrong and Miri mentioned in major German newspaper's article on Neoreactionaries · 2017-04-16T12:32:06.757Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think the article is mostly correct in seeing a connection. This community does not have a particularly good immune system against modes of thought that appear like contrarian cold realism, and is easily tempted to reach for a repugnant conclusion if it feels like you earn rationality brownie points for doing so.

Comment by dhoe on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-10T12:27:50.715Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My partner has requested that I learn to give a good massage. I don't enjoy massages myself and the online resources I find seem to mostly steeped in woo to some degree. Does anybody have some good non-woo resources for learning it?

Comment by dhoe on Open thread, Mar. 14 - Mar. 20, 2016 · 2016-03-18T13:02:22.936Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Doctors being dumfounded is a hallmark of irrationalist stories. Not saying this one is - I don't even know the story here - but as someone who grew up around a lot of people who basically believed in magic, I can conjure so many anectotes of people thinking their doctors were blown away by sudden recoveries and miraculous healings. I mostly figure doctors go "oh cool it's going pretty well" and add a bit of color for the patient's benefit.

Comment by dhoe on [link] "The Happiness Code" - New York Times on CFAR · 2016-01-15T12:06:17.013Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Reactions: Hacker News, Metafilter.

Comment by dhoe on Open Thread, Apr. 20 - Apr. 26, 2015 · 2015-04-20T08:09:34.432Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I have this half-baked idea that trying to be rational by oneself is a slightly pathological condition. Humans are naturally social, and it would make sense to distribute cognition over several processors, so to speak. It would explain the tendencies I notice in relationships to polarize behavior - if my partner adopts the position that we should go on vacations as much as possible, I almost automatically tend to assume the role worrying about money, for example, and we then work out a balanced solution together. If each of us were to decide on our own, our opinions would be much less polarized.

I could totally see how it would make sense in groups that some members adopt some low probability beliefs, and that it would benefit the group overall.

Is there any merit to this idea? Considering the well known failures in group rationality, I wonder if this is something that has long been disproved.

Comment by dhoe on How urgent is it to intuitively understand Bayesianism? · 2015-04-08T09:27:14.883Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What are the practical benefits of having an intuitive understanding of Bayes' Theorem? If it helps, please name an example of how it impacted your day today

I work in tech support (pretty advanced, i.e. I'm routinely dragged into conference calls on 5 minutes notice with 10 people in panic mode because some database cluster is down). Here's a standard situation: "All queries are slow. There are some errors in the log saying something about packets dropped.". So, do I go and investigate all network cards on these 50 machines to see if the firmware is up to date, or do I look for something else? I see people picking the first option all the time. There are error messages, so we have evidence, and that must be it, right? But I have prior knowledge: it's almost never the damn network, so I just ignore that outright, and only come back to it if more plausible causes can be excluded.

Bayes gives me a formal assurance that I'm right to reason this way. I don't really need it quantitatively - just repeating "Base rate fallacy, base rate fallacy" to myself gets me in the right direction - but it's nice to know that there's an exact justification for what I'm doing. Another way would be to learn tons of little heuristics ("No. It's not a compiler bug.", "No. There's not a mistake in this statewide math exam you're taking"), but it's great to look at the underlying principle.

Comment by dhoe on Signalling with T-Shirt slogans · 2014-12-21T15:15:49.142Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Drinking has surprisingly little impact on those parts of mathematics where you just mechanically apply a couple of rules, btw. Just mentioning this in case others didn't try to solve integrals as teenagers as a sort of self-check - it totally doesn't work. Your ability to walk is a better indicator of drunkenness.

On topic: don't wear these shirts if you aim at anything more than signalling affiliation with a particular tribe. It's also inefficient if you accept the existence of interesting people outside this very small tribe.

Comment by dhoe on A quick calculation on exercise · 2014-10-23T12:48:12.961Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've started running more seriously a couple of months ago, and it's just fantastic. Once I got to the point that 30 minutes became easy, it really started to be its own reward. I get to explore my town - Strava allows me to see the routes of other runners, and if you pick the more experienced ones, they tend to run in beautiful places I'd never see otherwise. I get to see the seasons change. I get out of my head and away from the keyboard. I lost 10kg since summer. Can't recommend it enough.

Comment by dhoe on Open thread, 16-22 June 2014 · 2014-06-17T07:12:46.508Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Schizophrenia Classification Challenge. I haven't done anything difficult, which is the biggest surprise; when I read the description I doubted I'd even be able to produce anything useful.

Comment by dhoe on Open thread, 16-22 June 2014 · 2014-06-16T19:19:51.321Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'd be interested. More in awesome stuff than R itself. I'm currently at #22 out of 99 in a Kaggle contest and am doing it in R, but don't really know what I'm doing. I do find that participating there is not a bad way to practice.

Comment by dhoe on Bragging Thread, June 2014 · 2014-06-14T12:59:26.153Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Finally decided to enter a Kaggle contest. Apparently my bits and pieces of self-taught stats paired with good intuition is enough for (currently) position 14 out of 81 participants.

Comment by dhoe on On not getting a job as an option · 2014-03-11T14:11:57.416Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'm sure there are moral systems where living off your children is an acceptable moral choice, but I can't say I'm very motivated to check them out.

Their actions were rational from their point of view, however. They just radically overestimated the probabilities of total societal collapse. If that's what you expect, moving out of the city and trying to live from your garden and some goats might not be the worst course of action.

Comment by dhoe on On not getting a job as an option · 2014-03-11T08:36:09.924Z · score: 31 (34 votes) · LW · GW

As someone spending a pretty solid part of my earnings on maintaining my aging former hippie parents, I'd like to point out that it's a radically egoistic choice to make, even if it doesn't appear at the time.

They dropped off the grid and managed many years with very little money, just living and appreciating nature and stuff. Great, right? But you don't accumulate any pension benefits in those years, and even if you move back to a more conventional life later, your earning potential is severely impacted.

Comment by dhoe on Open Thread for February 3 - 10 · 2014-02-04T22:12:57.764Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I do, but it's mostly because doing it helps me focus. I rarely go back to read my notes. Here's an example, for a book about SQL query tuning.

Comment by dhoe on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" · 2014-01-22T15:30:40.033Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If this is something that can be looked up in your PhD dissertation, where can I get a copy?

Edit: here (pdf)

Comment by dhoe on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-19T14:07:56.421Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But is there a rational argument for that? Because on a gut level, I just don't like humans all that much.

Comment by dhoe on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-19T08:31:09.925Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Bringing life to the stars seems a worthy goal, but if we could achieve it by building an AI that wipes out humanity as step 0 (they're too resource intensive), shouldn't we do that? Say the AI awakes, figures out that the probability of intelligence given life is very high, but that the probability of life staying around given the destructive tendencies of human intelligence is not so good. Call it an ecofascist AI if you want. Wouldn't that be desirable iff the probabilities are as stated?

Comment by dhoe on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-18T20:22:18.738Z · score: 4 (10 votes) · LW · GW

What's so great about rationality anyway? I care a lot about life and would find it a pity if it went extinct, but I don't care so much about rationality, and specifically I don't really see why having the human-style half-assed implementation of it around is considered a good idea.

Comment by dhoe on [Link] Good Judgment Project, Season Three · 2013-12-03T11:30:51.739Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I started partecipating, but got turned off by the ridicolously detailed questions outside my area of expertise. Do I think a sack of rice will fall over when the Ethiopian delegation visits Ecuador in March? How sure am I about my prediction? It doesn't seem to help me to achieve better calibration. I'm curious if people that are partecipating are getting value out of it, and what kind of value.

Comment by dhoe on Meetup : Amsterdam · 2013-11-12T22:31:24.577Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm interested in potential future meetups, but probably won't make this one (flying back from San Francisco on the 23rd).

Comment by dhoe on Education control? · 2013-05-26T06:34:26.700Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Mandatory school attendance" in Germany means exactly that though. The legals concepts are Bildungspflicht or Unterrichtspflicht in Austria (mandatory education) which can be satisfied by homeschooling, while Schulpflicht (mandatory school attendance) prescribes visiting an actual school.

Where did you get that "Hitler did it" from?

Comment by dhoe on Education control? · 2013-05-24T12:34:23.698Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are you sure? It seems like the Weimar constitution (article 145) introduced mandatory school attendance in 1919?

Comment by dhoe on [LINK]s: Who says Watson is only a narrow AI? · 2013-05-22T12:00:46.869Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for that "How Watson reads a clue" paper, that made it much clearer for me.

Comment by dhoe on [LINK]s: Who says Watson is only a narrow AI? · 2013-05-21T19:34:17.384Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I've spent a bit of time trying to understand what Watson does, and couldn't find a clear answer. I'd really appreciate a concise technical explanation.

What I got so far is that it runs a ton of different algorithms and combines the results in some sort of probabilistic reasoning to make a bet on the most likely correct answer. Is that roughly correct? And what are those algorithms then?

Comment by dhoe on AI prediction case study 2: Dreyfus's Artificial Alchemy · 2013-03-13T10:10:47.005Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I read one of his books a long time ago, and the fact that he was basically saying that playing chess was fundamentally too difficult for a computer went a long way in convincing me that we overestimate the magic that happens inside human brains.

Comment by dhoe on Help me refactor my life · 2013-02-18T09:56:43.975Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If anywhere in the EU is good, consider giving higher priority to places with low unemployment. It simplifies life tremendously if you can count on finding at least some braindead job by next Wednesday.

I have found myself in what sounds like a similar situation in the past and this strategy worked really well. Others I've tried that did not work out equally well were: hitchhike to France and just see what happens (all my stuff got stolen), make lots of money by writing a successful novel (having nothing to eat turns out to be very distracting).

In other words, I recommend a relatively low risk /medium reward strategy until you're in a better place.

Comment by dhoe on What are you working on? February 2013 · 2013-02-06T10:05:13.710Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wrote a task manager (to-do manager) for myself on January 1, and have been growing it since then. The user interface is inspired by Taskwarrior, but I use an sqllite backend, and therefore it's 300 lines of Python instead of 30k of C++. The small size allows me to be flexible in testing various ideas I have around task management - a new feature is usually just one or two SQL queries away.

My most promising exploration has been to not accept any tasks to be older than 2 weeks. If I haven't managed to do it by then, there's something wrong - it's ill formulated, or there's some unsatisfied dependency that I'm not clear about, or I don't really intend to do it. I've developed a check list to go through to collect some stats about why tasks get to that point, with the intent to recognize them earlier.

One of my major failure modes seems to be to totally overestimate my capacity to deal with people the longer I think into the future - I'm totally sure I'll be able to confront my landlord in a week, but not today. Much worse than the usual discounting happening all the time.

Comment by dhoe on The Zeroth Skillset · 2013-01-31T09:11:51.341Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are you attributing dual process theory to CFAR? In any case, situational awareness is not rationality, nor is it indispensable for it. I don't argue that it's nice to have, as are many other things, although I'd worry about trade-offs.

Comment by dhoe on The Zeroth Skillset · 2013-01-30T15:09:49.780Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree with the importance you seem to place on it. Situational awareness implies realtime processing of high bandwidth environmental data, and that's orthogonal to rationality (cf. your stereotypical situationally unaware professor, lost in thought, and processing some data far away from the situation).

Comment by dhoe on [LINK] Cholesterol and mortality · 2013-01-16T10:13:52.838Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The conclusion of the authors of the Norwegian study sounds quite a bit weaker: "cholesterol emerged as an overestimated risk factor in our study, indicating that guideline information might be misleading, particularly for women with ‘moderately elevated’ cholesterol (...)".

Comment by dhoe on Case Study: the Death Note Script and Bayes · 2013-01-04T10:04:17.064Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I think it does. Bayes gets mentioned a lot around here, but there are not that many clear and accessible examples on how to go and analyze a real question; I recently read Proving History, despite no particular interest in the topic (Jesus' historicity), just to get a better idea of how people do it in practice.

Comment by dhoe on What if "status" IS a terminal value for most people? · 2012-12-25T14:34:43.599Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

H: Person x has no desire for status

E: Person x writes a post about how she's unlike most other people.

You already assigned P(H) as 0.1 (or quite possibly lower). Now you only need to estimate P(E|H) and P(E|~H), plug it all into Bayes rule, and you'll see why people are not really buying it. It doesn't mean you're wrong - it's just unlikely that you're right.

Comment by dhoe on You Be the Jury: Survey on a Current Event · 2009-12-10T12:45:38.116Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Having lived for 14 years in Italy, my impression is that several commenters severely overestimate the rationality and fairness of the italian police force.