Comment by hawkice on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-27T17:46:34.089Z · LW · GW

Took the survey, had the recurring survey confusion about some questions. For instance, I think some taxes should be higher and others should be lower. Saying I have no strong opinion is inaccurate but at least it seemed like the least inaccurate answer.

Comment by hawkice on Rationality Quotes Thread October 2015 · 2015-11-15T11:53:12.259Z · LW · GW

Odd that Freeman Dyson thinks politicians and administrators are particularly difficult to persuade here. This is the whole point of why capitalism works better than having clever people run a command economy. You can be clever enough to notice you need roads and infrastructure, but no one is clever enough to predict what technologies will run the future (truly, this principle applies to almost every reasonably complex thing, not just technology -- the finance angle in particular is the standard phrasing, hence me bringing up capitalism).

Comment by hawkice on Rationality Quotes January 2015 · 2015-02-08T05:15:31.205Z · LW · GW

I imagine it would be quite hard to be happy. In a society that demands that only a certain portion of your life can contain imagination and impossibilities and robots and dinosaurs and make-believe in general, the most make-believe-y stuff has real social costs.

As a small child I remember imagining dramatic stories all around me. It's hard to escape the conclusion that if my mind wandered quite so much today, had such a focus on the unreal and imaginative, there would be almost no place in the world at all for me. Sadness would follow in the wake of all vivid diversions.

Thank goodness television is socially acceptable! While most of it is hardly fictional at all, at least that element of life hasn't been completely subtracted from adult society.

Comment by hawkice on Has LessWrong Ever Backfired On You? · 2014-12-21T17:21:54.418Z · LW · GW

So, obviously that list isn't exhaustive, because there are more ways to split interactions than public/private, but in an attempt to add meaningful new outlooks:

4) Speak about your weaknesses openly when in public, and deny them in private.

Many high status individuals are much harsher, demanding, arrogant, and certain in private than in public. I think this is a result of -- when you don't know the target well -- not knowing who you will have to impress, who you have to suck up to, and who is only useful when they get you the thing you want.

Comment by hawkice on How can I reduce existential risk from AI? · 2014-12-01T01:56:33.852Z · LW · GW

I'm having trouble imagining how risk would ever go down, sans entering a machine-run totalitarian state, so I clearly don't have the same assessment of bad things happening "sooner rather than later". I can't imagine a single dangerous activity that is harder or less dangerous now than it was in the past, and I suspect this will continue. The only things that will happen sooner than later are establishing stable and safe equilibria (like post-Cold War nuclear politics). If me personally being alive meaningfully effects an equilibrium (implicit or explicit) then Humanity is quite completely screwed.

Comment by hawkice on Open thread, Nov. 24 - Nov. 30, 2014 · 2014-11-29T18:47:42.844Z · LW · GW

Is it just me or is this a proxy bravery debate? Are we collectively committed to getting to the bottom of who / which tribe is the true victim of those mean people on the internet? I'm not entirely sure why this has been promoted to the level of "have two extremely smart LW posters discuss". You both are quite keen thinkers, and I imagine the topics this funges against for your attention will delight yourselves and the wider LW community even more.

Comment by hawkice on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-29T08:28:42.739Z · LW · GW

Perhaps a more precise point is that the first American government failed. John Hanson and the other 9 Presidents of the United States under the articles of confederation were operating the true government they threw the revolution for. It failed almost immediately -- you would be astonished at how hard it was to convince someone to run the country, hence the extremely high turnover on Presidents.

I, and many other people here on Less Wrong, live in a massive, surprisingly enduring Plan B of a government.

[It's worth pointing out I like this one better, because we can find appropriately qualified staff, which is, ya know, pretty good. But alas, I was not a father of the American Revolution.]

Comment by hawkice on You have a set amount of "weirdness points". Spend them wisely. · 2014-11-29T00:20:02.989Z · LW · GW

I think all three of us are right and secretly all agree.

(1) that weirdness points are bayesian evidence of being wrong (surely timecube doesn't seem more accurate because no one believes it). Normal stuff is wrong quite a lot but not more wrong than guessing.

(2) weirdness points can never give you enough certainty to dismiss an issue completely. Time Cube is wrong because it is Time Cube (read: insane ramblings), not because it's unpopular. Of course we don't have a duty to research all unlikely things, but if we already are thinking about it, "it's weird" isn't a good/rational place to stop, unless you want to just do something else, like eat a banana or go to the park or something.

and, critically, (3) If you don't have evidence enough to completely swamp and replace the bayesian update from weirdness points, you really don't have enough evidence to contribute a whole lot to any search for truth. That's what I was getting at. It's also pretty unlikely that the weirdness that "weirdness points" refer to would be unknown to someone you're talking with.

Comment by hawkice on You have a set amount of "weirdness points". Spend them wisely. · 2014-11-28T02:48:23.496Z · LW · GW

It might be worth emphasizing the difference between persuading people and being right. The kind of people who care about weirdness points are seldom the ones contributing good new data to any question of fact, nor those posing the best reasoning for judgments of value. I appreciate the impulse to try to convince people of things, but convincing people is extremely hard. I'm not Noam Chomsky; therefore, I have other things to do aside from thinking and arguing with people. And if I have to do one of those two worse in order to save time, I choose to dump the 'convince people' stat and load up on clear thinking.

Comment by hawkice on November 2014 Monthly Bragging Thread · 2014-11-04T02:31:56.086Z · LW · GW

The returns diminish when it comes to impact on your grade, yes, and I certainly enjoyed transparency about how the grades I got would be impacted by my work.

The distribution of value for learning, though, goes up with difficulty until it drops to zero (the point at which you cannot solve the puzzle at all). My only point is that we should strongly prefer systems that allow us to soak up all that high-intensity high-value work -- modern universities aren't that for many students, though, but independently reading textbooks could/should be.

Comment by hawkice on November 2014 Monthly Bragging Thread · 2014-11-03T22:42:59.896Z · LW · GW

the overall effect is just that everyone spent an extra two hours for little benefit.

Woah! I sure hope not! The two or three times I had challenging assignments in school (my school encouraged undergraduates to take graduate classes if interested) they were tremendously valuable. If thinking about difficult problems and solving them has no marginal benefit, I can't imagine what part of schooling does! (perhaps the diploma mill would be ideal in that scenario? I'm having a hard time simulating this hypothetical student).

Comment by hawkice on Wikipedia articles from the future · 2014-11-02T20:54:48.755Z · LW · GW

But it's difficult to choose whether the correct reversed stupidity in politics should actually be libertarianism or monarchy.

It's worth pointing out that modern politics (especially American politics) is so jammed packed with opinion and false equivalencies (gay marriage != immigration amnesty) that it has many more than just two reversals. But I see your point, which is about LW politics and socialization specifically. Given that weakness for clever contrariness, perhaps we should focus on the wide expanse of ideas is a good way to confound tempted readers?

Comment by hawkice on A website standard that is affordable to the poorest demographics in developing countries? · 2014-11-02T12:55:09.416Z · LW · GW

The zero-rating mentioned is where the carriers don't charge customers for the data access to those services. This is commonly advertised in these countries along with the cell phone service ("Free Facebook!" pops up a lot in the Philippines, where people often sell sim cards on the street and many small general stores recharge cell phone plans -- adding some marginal pesos to your cell phone is often a pain). Pretty transparently not net neutrality, although if you are moving them from can't-afford-any-sites to can-only-afford-facebook, it's hard to see that as a bad thing, at least when you isolate it from the game theory / market capture elements, which are potent.

Comment by hawkice on question: the 40 hour work week vs Silicon Valley? · 2014-10-26T22:35:34.193Z · LW · GW

As a software programmer myself I can say that's a pretty bizarre argument to make. Informally, almost all experts have a tool/language they feel gives them an advantage, and language holy wars are all about this topic. Doesn't mean they aren't just making it up, but worth considering that people saying "Node is better than Rails!" "TDD is better than !" can't simultaneously claim "There is no way to order different approaches by productivity".

But in fact, they is a way, and such measurement has been happening for long enough for us to develop reasonably accurate models of how it changes over time e.g. due to tools getting better, see Yannis' Law, which I confirmed myself a couple months ago (example task took me about five minutes not including when I read the description, so I'm within a factor of 2 of predictions -- I think we may need a better task in a decade or so, it's rapidly approaching weird task-size-minimums).

Comment by hawkice on question: the 40 hour work week vs Silicon Valley? · 2014-10-26T01:58:42.421Z · LW · GW

I'd like to note the sheer volume of people in the wider startup ecosystem generating reasons why they are smarter than science when this is brought up.

Let's investigate how little "evidence" they need before they completely ignore said research:

Many have the unmeasured, ridiculously unreliable anecdata "I produce amortized peak output working at a higher number of hours per week" (it's hard to tell that anyone has actually tried looking before claiming it, though: work 6 months at 40 hours/week and another 6 months at 70/hours a week). Why is this unreliable? Because working longer hours produces more artifacts of work, even when it produces less deliverable work. You have all these memories of being in an office, more emails, more comments in your bug trackers, etc. But how much work is done? Even if they did the experiment, there isn't a coherent way of measuring productivity of creative workers with n=1, almost all of us have quite a lot of variation in the complexity and familiarity of our work.

I know of only a couple people who have dramatically dropped their hours, and 100% of them are more productive (both more efficient and effective).

So there are people using almost no data (assuming they actually did measure themselves), and they claim to know better.

This is all to say, the startup ecosystem isn't thinking this through carefully. To the extent they end up being correct it will be largely coincidence.

Comment by hawkice on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-24T19:19:54.970Z · LW · GW

You may have misunderstood me.

I have high levels of doubt but some certainty. Let's say I'm 80% unsure but have information that leads me to be 20% sure (or, in other words, the probability I would assign to my analysis being correct is only a bit better than guessing). So I'd want something maybe 1/5th away from "Strongly Doubt". But I am not 1/5th closer to "Strongly Believe". I am 1/5 closer to "Strongly Disbelieve" or "Strongly Disagree", perhaps.

Comment by hawkice on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T03:21:38.071Z · LW · GW

I am somewhat disappointed to be asked about favorability with a movement without allowing me to distinguish between the ideals of that movement and the movement as it exists (see: feminism and social justice, which, as phenomenon in reality appear to be ways to generate indignation on tumblr -- I love equality but do not use tumblr and I don't see any purpose in being indignant on the internet).

Also, as regards a "Great Stagnation": Strongly Doubt is not the opposite of Strongly Believe. So I have strong doubts where the balance of my estimation is that Cowen is incorrect -- my radio button does not exist, it is too far to one end of the spectrum, despite not being a hyper-radicalized opinion.