Comment by erickball on If Rationality can be likened to a 'Martial Art', what would be the Forms? · 2019-02-06T22:04:04.669Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I recommend taking a look here. I haven't done all the exercises but they seem like great practice.

Is the World Getting Better? A brief summary of recent debate

2019-02-06T17:38:43.631Z · score: 35 (14 votes)
Comment by erickball on The Very Repugnant Conclusion · 2019-01-18T19:00:54.443Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why is average wellbeing a goodharted measure?

Comment by erickball on Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice · 2019-01-18T18:44:58.362Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

But, like, how do you actually do that? I make three times what I did in grad school, but somehow it doesn't feel like my standard of living has changed much, and I still basically spend everything I make...

I guess the problem is that "consumptive patterns" can be sneaky, and sometimes you didn't notice they were there all along. The rent doubled because I moved to a city, even though my apartment's not much nicer; my cell phone is no longer on a family plan; my parents no longer buy me plane tickets home for Christmas; I take the train to work every day. Maybe the cat gets sick and suddenly there are vet bills. In other words, nothing that feels like much of a change in consumption, yet the expenses keep going up.

And then there are a bunch of little expenditures, each one of which feels reasonable: What's the harm in fresh vegetables, or a gym membership; won't you save money on health problems in the long run? Wouldn't it be dumb to worry about a $10 movie ticket or spend 20 minutes looking for free parking, when you make $30+/hr? I know people who make a lot of money but spend a lot of time and effort trying to avoid small expenses, and that doesn't seem like a good way to live either. Sometimes I think the "save half your income and retire early" crowd is actually just faking it somehow.

Comment by erickball on The Pavlov Strategy · 2019-01-18T17:11:52.163Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think what's being called "TFTWF" here is what some other places call "Tit for Two Tats", that is, it defects in response to two defections in a row.

Comment by erickball on Book Recommendations: An Everyone Culture and Moral Mazes · 2019-01-10T22:49:35.847Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The concepts discussed here remind me of a book I read recently called "The Cure: Enterprise Medicine for Business". It's in the format of a novel, from the persectives of several different characters involved in a business that makes (unspecified) widgets, and I found it to be a page-turner. I think using a fictional example helps to make a lot of things explicit that would otherwise be kind of vague, or where the author might assume the reader knows what they're talking about, and the first half gives some great insight into what a poorly-functioning company can look like.

The central recommendation is similar to what you describe from An Everyone Culture, except that the emphasis on radical communication doesn't include personal stuff. The main "trick" it gives for making the whole organization work is that the top management has to buy in to the extreme-honesty company-first mentality and then continually force it on everyone else until it's universally accepted, with special attention to discovering and removing any stubborn manager who wants to protect their own turf or play power games. It claims to be based on the famously effective management system that GE used. Having little experience of corporations myself, I can't say whether it's a realistic approach, but the whole thing struck me as a little too neat and tidy--if it were that easy, wouldn't everybody be doing it already?

Comment by erickball on What are questions? · 2019-01-10T22:15:28.884Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I found this aspect of the topic particularly interesting because it elucidates the main requirement of a question, which I'd never thought of before: a theory of mind.

My cats ask me for food all the time... but this isn't really a question, it's a demand. Similarly, when they seek out information, it's always a solitary endeavor. The closest they might come to an interaction with a human (or another cat) specifically for the purpose of gaining information, would be approaching or meowing with the presumed intention of provoking a reaction that illustrates the other's mood. Even then it's more like "try it and see what happens" rather than a cooperative communication. I don't think they can conceive of another entity possessing information and being capable of sharing it.

Would love to hear of any counterexamples, though.

Comment by erickball on Transhumanism as Simplified Humanism · 2018-12-06T18:03:04.201Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Could you explain what you mean by resource allocation? Certainly there's a lot of political and public opinion resistance to any new technology that would help the rich and not the poor. I think that stems from the thought that it will provide even more incentive for the rich to increase inequality (a view to which I'm sympathetic), but I don't see how it would imply that only the distribution of wealth is important...