What are you reading? 2019-12-24T00:11:52.101Z
[Link] Book Review: ‘The AI Does Not Hate You’ by Tom Chivers (Scott Aaronson) 2019-10-07T18:16:15.850Z
eigen's Shortform 2019-08-28T16:27:08.446Z


Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2021-04-25T18:41:47.673Z · LW · GW

The idea of ontological flexibility hints at this.

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2021-04-25T12:44:23.183Z · LW · GW

Unsong from Scott Alexander is a masterpiece. 

An unexplored land within LessWrong is where the objective world meets the narrative world. Science dedicates its time almost exclusively to objective facts (what is) but this is hardly our everyday life. The world we live is full of emotions, motivations, pain, and joy. This is the world of stories that constrain and inform action. Rather than brush it aside, it should be explored as an important puzzle piece in instrumental rationality (I think this is what Unsong is kind-of about, including other works in the category of the aptly named: "Rational Fiction.")

Comment by eigen on gwern's Shortform · 2021-04-25T00:41:46.738Z · LW · GW

Funny that you have your great LessWrong whale as I do, and that you recall that it may be from Wei Dai as well (while him not recalling)

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2021-04-25T00:37:31.994Z · LW · GW

One of the things that enticed me about LessWrong is a concrete and easy way to call someone a "rationalist," namely someone who has read the three books from the Library section (Sequences, HPMOR, and The Codex.) 

After that, the curated sequences and the concepts page. I just think is a wonderfully easy way to define concepts, and create a shared vocabulary while building on top of it. I hope that with time it gets expanded to encompass more books and sequences.

  • The term rationalist then falls short but this is how I easily can separate people and am sympathetic to those who want to change the name.
Comment by eigen on How can we increase the frequency of rare insights? · 2021-04-20T22:23:27.347Z · LW · GW

A talk given by Rogen Penrose is apt here: The Problem of Modelling the Mathematical Mind. He tries to define how the mind of a sufficiently good mathematician may work with emphasis on parallelization of mathematical solutions. And an interesting book may be The Mathematician's Mind: The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field by Jacques Hadamard.

Comment by eigen on How can we increase the frequency of rare insights? · 2021-04-20T22:18:34.868Z · LW · GW

Mathematician Richard Borcherds said in an interview that he does not have a great memory, that this allows him to come back to a mathematical problem and try solving it in a different way than he did before (because he does not remember how he solved it.)

Comment by eigen on You Can Now Embed Flashcard Quizzes in Your LessWrong posts! · 2021-04-19T18:54:20.270Z · LW · GW

This is amazing. Incredible execution, it does not go unnoticed!

Comment by eigen on Mathisco's Shortform · 2021-04-14T21:22:42.514Z · LW · GW

This is a really good comment. If you care to know more about his thinking, he has a book called, "hackers and painters" which I think sums up very well his views. But yes, it's a redistribution of wealth and power from strong people and bureaucrats to what he calls "nerds" as in people who know technology deeply and actually build things.

The idea of instrumental rationality touches at the edges of builders, and you need to if you ever so desire to act in the world.

Comment by eigen on deluks917's Shortform · 2021-04-14T21:19:25.110Z · LW · GW

The heads of Government and the FDA don't work like you do. Who knows the incentives that they have? It's entirely possible that for them this is just a political play(moving chess pieces) that make sense for them while the well-being of the people take secondary place to a particular political move.

This wouldn't be the first thing that this happens in any kind of government agency, but, at any rate, it's too early to be skeptical. We need to see how this unfolds, may be the pausing don't last as much.

Comment by eigen on Auctioning Off the Top Slot in Your Reading List · 2021-04-14T21:12:39.327Z · LW · GW

This is a really interesting post. I wonder how implementable this is, it does touches the edges of collective action. Imagine a petition for someone to read something and make a review of it, despite public interest it does miss the incentive structure for one who actually carries the task.

Going further, some people are tokenizing the hours of their day and selling them on the blockchain (this is too broad, but imagine a particular action being tokenized, where people can fund it through sheer interest and then someone like David Deutsch could claim it.) This does not seem so far-fetched to me.

Comment by eigen on Open and Welcome Thread - April 2021 · 2021-04-14T21:04:08.592Z · LW · GW

I don't think there's enough written about long-termism. You have a reader here if you ever decide to write something. I wonder as to where between those two school of thoughts you fall.

Comment by eigen on Open and Welcome Thread - April 2021 · 2021-04-14T16:35:48.291Z · LW · GW

As a side thought: One of the things I always sensed from this forum is a deep affinity for different ways of understanding things. So, not surprisingly, many converge and are enthralled by Bret Victor, though there are many (Nielsen, Matuschak, the web you linked, 3blue1brown, Jonathan Blow.) 

So I think that exploring different mediums can be and end on itself rather than just making visualizations to understand a given subject (I get a sense of that from your comment, and I hope you explore it further!) 

Comment by eigen on Open and Welcome Thread - April 2021 · 2021-04-13T18:24:24.624Z · LW · GW


I think the problem with visualization content is that is very time-intensive to make (let alone the difficulty.)  You should look at the manim library written in python from which 3blue1brown made his videos of Linear Algebra.

Comment by eigen on [deleted post] 2019-12-30T13:55:06.601Z

Huh, I understand where you're coming from. Especially, this:

[...] a kidney stone increases my level of baseline fear

Since I did not consider it. It's completely possible to imagine a world where your baseline fear increases ever so slightly in a way that outweighs the fact of knowing what may be going on when it hits you.

But –though I concede your point– is your behavior someway modified, at any rate, given the fact that you may get hit by kidney stones? For example, say, analogizing with family history of high blood pressure, I would most likely take some precaution measures if I knew high blood pressure (or kidney stones) were in my family. Precautions that I wouldn't have taken in the case where I'm oblivious to my inclination for such diseases.

Comment by eigen on LoganStrohl's Shortform · 2019-12-30T12:59:23.472Z · LW · GW

I think that most of what I've gotten out of the Sequences is actually this. The act of noticing. I think it not only applies to shame, but to many more related internal conflicts.

In my experience, it's surprising the amount which we can learn by applying procedures such as the method you outline. Hopefully we get to see more about this.

Comment by eigen on [deleted post] 2019-12-30T11:20:28.893Z

While I think, the Typical Mind Fallacy is strong with this one; the post does have some good bits. I messaged him privately my problems with it, but I up-voted since I think the post taps into something broader and good which I would like to read more about.

Comment by eigen on [deleted post] 2019-12-30T11:16:09.802Z

Hey Isnasene, I agree with most of what you say; but I do have a point to make about what I think is the sense of this post.

1. Less confusion means that people have better models of their environment,
2. which means they have better control over their environment,
3. which reduces uncertainty and fear,

While I do not agree completely with agai, I also do not agree with the other extreme, which is what you propose:

is false. Having an understanding of kidney stones doesn't give me any more control over kidney stones. Understanding kidney stone treatments doesn't give me any more control over kidney stones. Getting treatment from people who have the tools to treat kidney stones gives me a little bit of control.

How many people end up in the emergency room not knowing what they have? The fact that you have, at least, a bit of understanding about kidney stones (like your family's history), does give you a control about them. Alas, not a complete control, but way better than the alternative. Thus, the very moment you feel pain in a very localized zone, you can hurry and see the doctor. That's pretty much the way I would define a good model.

Don't you think that the fear you would feel when succumbing to the pain of kidney stones and not knowing what you have is greater than the fear (that you do not have) of getting kidney stones? This is a case where an accurate model of the world does indeed reduce your fear and uncertainty.

Comment by eigen on Good goals for leveling up? · 2019-12-30T00:47:35.589Z · LW · GW

This is a great comment!

I think,

Holistic leveling up would then consist of making a list of all "required" things, evaluating sincerely how good you are at each of them, and focusing on the ones you have most neglected. Plus doing something about your selected "optional" thing.

there is a lot of value on just thinking on what our values are, what we need and feel we need, and what the best course of action is (while also committing); but the framework of these "required" and "optional" framework makes it better, especially when coupled with the idea of following the things which are likely to provide most benefit!


On the other hand the last paragraphs deserve another post on their own, I remember Eliezer writing that any writer has at least 1million words that need to get out before writing the real stuff. I would say, “don't push that million on me!”

Anyways, welcome John Igo, I really like it when new users read the stuff that the community is really about.

Comment by eigen on Vaccine... Help? Deprogramming? Something? · 2019-12-28T19:11:11.992Z · LW · GW

Sorry, I noticed that other people did that thing and it seemed sort of funny to me. But anyways, I hope I made my point somewhat clear and this post –and all the comments in it– overall helps you; I think it did.

Comment by eigen on Vaccine... Help? Deprogramming? Something? · 2019-12-27T23:41:10.030Z · LW · GW

Yeah… that is not what I mean at all. You want a site, what about this one or SSC? I hardly think that you need any research paper, or meta-analyses (although, you can most certainly find them.)

Instead, if what you need is to "beat" your uncle by telling him, “You see… I've got this paper right here, Golden et al. Which Indicates that the aluminum and thimerosal content within vaccines is not harmful at all...” Then you need another thing. And that is not the solution to your problem. If what you are, is involved in a domination game right here, right now in the middle of Christmas then the solution is to pass! And of course, to vaccinate your children, and persuade everyone to vaccinate their children (Or you know… give them a pass on the genetic pool? — I joke, of course.)

For next year your uncle will come and say, “The earth? Yeah, it's flat.” You will get wide-eyed, you will shrug and say, “No uncle, not again!” And then, you will get at the right solution.

Comment by eigen on Vaccine... Help? Deprogramming? Something? · 2019-12-27T22:59:28.962Z · LW · GW

Right. You are looking for why your uncle and his claims, such as:

My relative claims that aluminum and thimerosal content within vaccines can cause serious negative side effects...

are wrong, but here you're not going to find them, that is my point. What you are going to find is how to judge scientific consensus (and trust it) and if you read that article, then you understand. This is not even a trolley problem as Viliam has suggested, they do not happen in real life; we do not live in that inadequate world. There are inadequate parts in this world, but this is not one.

Comment by eigen on Vaccine... Help? Deprogramming? Something? · 2019-12-27T22:37:02.853Z · LW · GW

Given the plenty of debate, out there right now, on this very subject — I don't think it very wise to start laying out claims here left and right. Especially those about your relative (who cares about those, right?) I recommend you a particular article, about how to deal which such stuff:

The Control Group Is Out Of Control

Bayesian statistics, alone among these first eight, ought to be able to help with this problem. After all, a good Bayesian should be able to say “Well, I got some impressive results, but my prior for [parapsychology] is very low, so this raises my belief in [parapsychology] slightly, but raises my belief that the experiments were confounded a lot.”

You don't have to become an anti-vaxxer just by hearing about some convincing evidence (which may be right or not) but instead become a bit more skeptic on the subject, that is, until you become better informed. That is, also, until you can better differentiate anecdotal and scientific evidence. If we cannot take this into consideration, and if things have to be either white or black, then, we are in for a very wild ride.

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-12-24T16:42:58.598Z · LW · GW

Happy Christmas and Merry Chanukah!

Comment by eigen on NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed · 2019-12-24T16:32:11.345Z · LW · GW

For the record I'm one who downvoted Mark; I don't agree with him and I think it sad that you, an1lam, removed the original post which I don't think did any harm whatsoever (reasons should be pretty obvious, a random short-form post about an hypothetical movie somehow it's evidence that Hal was Satoshi? I do not think so at all.)

Comment by eigen on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2019 · 2019-12-24T11:11:43.180Z · LW · GW

First, thank you so much for helping me. No, those are not the comments I had in mind.

It was more something like the texts he has up on his web-page:

It was concise and technical (Like, let X be the set of decisions you could make... and the conclusion was why it does make sense to decide things on a week by week basis) and I think it was just a comment here on this website, but I am not sure. Anyways, don't waste time looking, I just searched a bit more and I could not find it; I will, most likely, message him after the holidays.

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-12-24T00:03:37.268Z · LW · GW

Re-posted here:

Comment by eigen on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2019 · 2019-12-24T00:01:31.742Z · LW · GW

I'm looking for a comment from /u/wei_dai; it had something to do along the lines of deciding what to work on (or do, or study) week by week, and then updating/changing after the week (maybe in a post about UDT?) Does someone know what I'm talking about? Search function, wei_dai posts and google has turned up nothing. Thanks for anyone's help!

Comment by eigen on NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed · 2019-12-23T23:55:50.351Z · LW · GW

*writing the movie right now*

Relevant here:

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-12-23T23:53:19.979Z · LW · GW

I'm looking for a post from /u/wei_dai; it had something to do along the lines of deciding what to work on (or do, or study) week by week, and then updating/changing after the week (maybe in a post about UDT?) Does someone know what I'm talking about? Search function, wei_dai posts and google has turned up nothing. Thanks for anyone's help!

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-12-23T23:49:39.222Z · LW · GW

I've heard some critiques to the part of the sequences concerning Quantum Mechanics and Conscience; but I always considered those as a demonstration of applied rationality, say, “How do we get to the correct answer by applying what we've learned?”

This is way more obvious and way more clear in Inadequate Equilibria. Take a problem, a question and deconstruct it completely. It was concise and to the point, I think it's one of the best things Eliezer has written; I cannot recommend it enough.

Comment by eigen on Templates and videos for doing annual and daily reviews · 2019-12-22T23:34:05.666Z · LW · GW

This is a great idea. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Comment by eigen on LW For External Comments? · 2019-12-08T15:43:35.063Z · LW · GW

This is a great idea!

I'm mostly saddened by the comments I miss on Scott Alexander's blog posts given that the Wordpress comment system is pretty simple IMO (contrasted with LW, there are ~300 comments on each post of The Codex on Scott's blog while the same posts here only have a few comments, maybe ~3.)

Comment by eigen on Open & Welcome Thread - November 2019 · 2019-12-02T22:53:09.406Z · LW · GW

Curious to know if you got better; care to update?

Comment by eigen on Open & Welcome Thread - November 2019 · 2019-12-02T22:37:20.980Z · LW · GW

I'll read it.

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-12-01T14:32:16.003Z · LW · GW

Has someone re-read the sequences? did you find value in doing so?

Further, I do think the comments on each of the essays are worthy of reading, something I did not do the first time. I can pinpoint a few comments from people in this community on the essays which were very insightful! I wonder if I lost something by not participating in it or by not having read all the comments when I was reading the sequences.

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-12-01T14:28:25.780Z · LW · GW

Thank you. I did not consider the book. Have you or someone read it? I think I'm going to go the route of the articles mentioned in the post I linked.

Comment by eigen on A Practical Theory of Memory Reconsolidation · 2019-12-01T14:26:31.106Z · LW · GW

I'm always surprised by how people construct their idea of identity; I worry that it may be putting obstacles on what you want to achieve.

Relationships are forming and breaking all the time; you are bound to find someone who will love you if you are looking for it and nothing stands in your way, that's a fact of modern life and evidence is overwhelming.

I do think, that coming here is the right step to make, it has certainly helped me. Welcome.

Comment by eigen on A Practical Theory of Memory Reconsolidation · 2019-12-01T14:18:17.286Z · LW · GW

I do feel like the mental mountains post, this sequence and Kaj's work is kind of a branching point for the community, one where we may be able to really, really get at a systematized way of changing our minds.

I wonder if someone is going to come forth with a concrete example just like Richard's in the book; that way we can track progress in a more meaningful way. I know it may be kind of weird, but it would make the results much more substantial.

Comment by eigen on eigen's Shortform · 2019-11-30T13:21:11.630Z · LW · GW

Eliezer has the sequences, Scott the Codex; what does Robin Hanson have? Can someone point me to a direction where I could start reading his posts in a manner that makes sense? I found this post: which may be helpful, does someone have an opinion on this?

Comment by eigen on Prescriptions, Paradoxes, and Perversities · 2019-10-27T18:38:31.157Z · LW · GW

You can find discussion of this post on Scott's Blog.

Comment by eigen on NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed · 2019-10-24T00:16:53.721Z · LW · GW

Got it! then I agree with you. I think that a best description of my point would be that yeah, these guys are not burning calories by thinking better or harder. Their exercise plus the higher stress environment could account alone for their high amount burn of calories.

Comment by eigen on NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed · 2019-10-23T23:57:14.905Z · LW · GW

The ESPN article had a misleading title. They go on to say that a player burns 6000 calories a day , but Caruana runs an hour a day (or more). These Grandmasters are not reaching into some esoteric mental ability and burning more calories that way; if anyone has ever seen a Grandmaster play against many players at once, or blindfolded (or even blindfolded and against many players!) one can really understand that they see the board in a way that's pretty different from us.

The classical theory for this is that they have formed bigger/better chunks than us from excessive playing (the very same way a Mathematician or a Basketball player does). Calorie consumption, is thus correlation in that specific context.

Although, I think, a (weak) connection could be made between the use of Language and these chunks formations or using this chunks (who's to say this is not a specialized use of Language?) for the context of a tournament, but I have yet to see anything that support this idea.

Comment by eigen on Deleted · 2019-10-23T17:12:33.667Z · LW · GW

I understood OP as looking for unpopular beliefs that many people have; not only one random person. I've never heard anyone have this belief before so I think, therefore, it does not apply.

Comment by eigen on Where to absolutely start? · 2019-10-23T00:08:46.013Z · LW · GW

You can really test the waters and see for yourself; it's not that the content is going to go anywhere.

With that said, I started with the sequences (R:A-Z) and while reading it, I also read HPMOR (which being fiction, it was a really fast read). Then I mixed some of CODEX in there. (So that's the order I recommend following).

HPMOR really ruined a big chunk of fiction for me; there are no characters with the self-awareness that those on HPMOR have.

In The CODEX, when Scott Alexander tries to find if AA works, he cannot resist himself but to dig deeper and look at the underlying reason of why something is the way it's. Just like a physicist looking at natural phenomena, he investigates, just as well, human nature.

The Sequences changed my mind.

Comment by eigen on Open & Welcome Thread - October 2019 · 2019-10-16T23:43:58.996Z · LW · GW

Oh wow, welcome. I've read many essays on your blog and I think they are great.

I believe you'll find a lot of content (and people) here, who also share the noble pursuit of your blog.

Comment by eigen on What are your strategies for avoiding micro-mistakes? · 2019-10-07T22:41:51.117Z · LW · GW

This is an excellent answer and I want to highlight that making Anki flashcards is especially useful in this case. I rarely make a mistake when I'm working with mathematics only because of the fact that I have made myself a lot of Anki cards thoroughly analyzing the concepts I use.

Using spaced repetition systems to see through a piece of mathematics, an essay by Michael Nielsen was really useful for me when initially investigating this idea.

Besides this, I have - what may be an eccentric idea - that when working I set special music soundtrack for the specific work I do. See here for more details about this. Further, I think this idea about having a "ritual" is very related to not making mistakes, "getting in the zone", etc.

Comment by eigen on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2019 · 2019-10-02T22:42:17.341Z · LW · GW

The fact that it's a joke is non-important; the fact that it's a bad joke is.

Maybe don't make a bad joke and think that people cannot take it, consider that maybe it's just bad.

Comment by eigen on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2019 · 2019-09-25T18:31:14.622Z · LW · GW
As part of my own pursuit of truth, I’ve developed methods, techniques, and attitudes that could be thought of as an approach to “rationality”. These techniques, methods, etc., differ from those I’ve seen promulgated by rationalists, so hopefully there’s room for a good discussion, and maybe we can bridge some inferential distance :).

Quite interested about this, hopefully you write more about it.


Comment by eigen on [deleted post] 2019-09-24T22:46:13.685Z

Got it. Thank you for the suggestions; we'll see!

Comment by eigen on Sunny's Shortform · 2019-09-24T22:21:03.506Z · LW · GW

How likely is it now that you are going to miss any more assignments? Not likely at all!