Comment by michaelvassar on Simulate and Defer To More Rational Selves · 2014-09-18T18:33:07.358Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Possibly valuable to talk with Robin Hanson and I for revision to HPMOR!Quirrell decision procedures from the source?

Comment by michaelvassar on Open thread, 25-31 August 2014 · 2014-09-09T14:41:26.231Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There's an anecdote near the beginning of "introduction to psychoanalysis" where he discusses the dreams of arctic explorers, which are almost entirely about food, not about sex, for understandable reasons.

Comment by michaelvassar on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2014-01-17T09:54:41.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is possible to play both, but difficult, and you can't play both at once as well as equally smart non-analytical types will play just the social game.

Comment by michaelvassar on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2014-01-17T09:18:43.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Two examples. Sexual selection and speciation. Nuff' said.

Comment by michaelvassar on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2014-01-17T09:17:07.420Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, but the vast majority of people in a workplace, even those nominally there to deliver technical skills, are there to deliver social skills in reality, and all of the most highly paid people are paid for social skills.
That said, your right, still worth it. Being officially a foreigner is possibly the best approach.

Comment by michaelvassar on Another Critique of Effective Altruism · 2014-01-12T17:21:47.660Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Another reasonable concern has to do with informational flow-through lines. When novel investigation demonstrates that previous claims or perspectives were in error, do we have good ways to change the group consensus?

Comment by michaelvassar on A critique of effective altruism · 2013-12-10T17:30:32.116Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I spent many hours explaining a sub-set of these criticisms to you in Dolores Park soon after we first met, but it strongly seemed to me that that time was wasted. I appreciate that you want to be lawful in your approach to reason, and thus to engage with disagreement, but my impression was that you do not actually engage with disagreement, you merely want to engage with disagreement, basically, I felt that you believe in your belief in rational inquiry, but that you don't actually believe in rational inquiry.

I may, of course, be wrong, and I'm not sure how people should respond in such a situation. It strongly seems to me that a) leftist movements tend to collapse in schizm, b) rightist movements tend to converge on generic xenophobic authoritarianism regardless of their associated theory. I'd rather we avoid both of those situations, but the first seems like an inevitable result of not accommodating belief in belief, while the second seems like an inevitable result of accommodating it. My instinct is that the best option is to not accommodate belief in belief and to keep a movement small enough that schizm can be avoided. The worst thing for an epistemic standard is not the person who ignores or denies it, but the person who tries to mostly follow it when doing so feels right or is convenient while not acknowledging that they aren't following it when it feels weird or inconvenient, as that leads to a community of people with such standards engaging in double-think WRT whether their standards call for weird or inconvenient behavior. OTOH, my best guess is that about 50 people is as far as you can get with my proposed approach.

Comment by michaelvassar on Common sense as a prior · 2013-12-10T17:10:24.836Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think that people following the standards that seem credible to them upon reflection is the best you can hope for. Ideally, upon reflection, bets and experiments will be part of those standards to at least some people. Hopefully, some such groups will congeal into effective trade networks. If one usually reliable algorithm disagrees strongly with others, yes, short term you should probably effectively ignore it, but that can be done via squaring assigned probabilities, taking harmonic or geometric means, etc, not by dropping it, and more importantly, such deviations should be investigated with some urgency.

Comment by michaelvassar on A critique of effective altruism · 2013-12-04T17:15:20.691Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think that attempting effectiveness points towards a strong attractor of taking over countries.

Comment by michaelvassar on A critique of effective altruism · 2013-12-04T17:14:02.319Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think that this is an effective list of real weak spots. If these problems can't be fixed, EA won't do much good.

Comment by michaelvassar on A critique of effective altruism · 2013-12-02T16:39:29.310Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

This is MUCH better than I expected from the title. I strongly agree with essentially the entire post, and many of my qualms about EA are the result of my bringing these points up with, e.g. Nick Beckstead and not seeing them addressed or even acknowledged.

Comment by michaelvassar on Common sense as a prior · 2013-08-26T00:38:01.116Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted for clarity, but fantastically wrong, IMHO. In particular, "I suspect that taking straight averages gives too much weight to the opinions of cranks and crackpots, so that you may want to remove some outliers or give less weight to them. " seems to me to be unmotivated by epistemology and visibly motivated by conformity.

Comment by michaelvassar on The Centre for Applied Rationality: a year later from a (somewhat) outside perspective · 2013-06-04T05:39:38.852Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

MetaMed is hopefully moving us towards a world with more rationality in the healthcare professions.

Comment by michaelvassar on Earning to Give vs. Altruistic Career Choice Revisited · 2013-05-29T13:19:01.545Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I tend to think that if one can make a for-profit entity, that's the best sort of vehicle to pursue most tasks, though occasionally, churches or governments have some value too.

Comment by michaelvassar on Earning to Give vs. Altruistic Career Choice Revisited · 2013-05-29T13:18:02.711Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

My main comment on this is that if self-direction is as important as it appears to be, it would seem to me that 'become self directed' really should be everyone's first priority if they can think of any way to do that. My second comment is that it seems to me that if one is self-directed and seeks appropriate mentorship, the expected value of pursuing a conventional career is very low compared to that of pursuing an entrepreneurial career. Conversely, mentorship or advice that doesn't account for the critical factor of how self-directed someone is, as well as a few other critical factors such at the disposition to explore options, respond to empirical feedback from the market, etc, is likely to be worse than useless.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-24T11:51:19.838Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The most basic is that as far as I can tell, I had never been hit on while wearing glasses, and that started happening regularly.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-24T11:50:22.695Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You can assume that, but I assure you it's just not the case. We can debate the details some time in person if you'd like.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-24T11:49:34.500Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There are additional 'add-ons' with names like 'clear view'. The tech changes continually, so do some research before buying it.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:54:01.951Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Then something is wrong with the generator that your brain uses when trying to be unconventional. Try to figure out what and how to fix it, and tell me if you figure it out, as I have no idea how to do that.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:52:42.393Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

legitimate concerns, but way WAY weaker than the strength of the argument they are set against.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:52:00.995Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Addendum. Also, learn to code, as that's MUCH more permanent than camming and less dependent on marketing than tutoring and hypnosis. If you can get paid for work you do yourself without marketing, you're doing well.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:50:15.114Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In theory. In practice, it would be Spock Rational to be against Spock Rationality, so we give it lip service.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:48:51.564Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

3x GDP/student/year? That's an absurdly high estimate.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:47:45.324Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Generalizing about 'poor countries' like this annoys me.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:46:54.265Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Very feasible but lots of work. I wouldn't invest in someone starting such a venture unless they had demonstrated the ability to make money by working hard as an independent business owner in the past, but I'd be happy to invest in and advise such a venture if it was run by the right kind of person.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:44:19.953Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded. I had NO IDEA how much discrimination I suffered for wearing glasses until I gave them up. Contacts might be a better alternative if you expect to be wearing Google Glasses in a few years anyway though.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:43:02.210Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

yes

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-18T11:42:34.365Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Whether it's unethical would seem to me to depend on who you are raising the money from and what they perceive the rules of the game to be. From my perspective, doing the submissive, 'morally cautious', un-winning thing rather than the game theoretical thing is unethical.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-16T23:00:37.391Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

email me with info about that company, OK?
Sounds like maybe MetaMed should inquire into working with them.

Comment by michaelvassar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-16T22:53:37.634Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's not informative to send different signals than other people would send in your situation. You are proposing sending dishonest signals, which is uncooperative.

Comment by michaelvassar on Pascal's Muggle: Infinitesimal Priors and Strong Evidence · 2013-05-06T10:02:39.972Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It seems to me like the whistler is saying that the probability of saving knuth people for $5 is exactly 1/knuth after updating for the Matrix Lord's claim, not before the claim, which seems surprising. Also, it's not clear that we need to make an FAI resistant to very very unlikely scenarios.

Comment by michaelvassar on Pascal's Muggle: Infinitesimal Priors and Strong Evidence · 2013-05-06T09:49:40.327Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How confident are you of "Probability penalties are epistemic features - they affect what we believe, not just what we do. Maps, ideally, correspond to territories."? That seems to me to be a strong heuristic, even a very very strong heuristic, but I don't think it's strong enough to carry the weight you're placing on it here. I mean, more technically, the map corresponds to some relationship between the territory and the map-maker's utility function, and nodes on a causal graph, which are, after all, probabilistic, and thus are features of maps, not of territories, are features of the map-maker's utility function, not just summaries of evidence about the territory.
I suspect that this formalism mixes elements of division of magical reality fluid between maps with elements of division of magical reality fluid between territories.

Comment by michaelvassar on Fermi Estimates · 2013-04-06T23:45:45.760Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I recommend trying to take the harmonic mean of a physical and an economic estimate when appropriate.

Comment by michaelvassar on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2013-03-07T10:02:05.582Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Definitely, though others must decide the update size.

Comment by michaelvassar on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2013-03-07T09:57:24.033Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So about what do you think it IS worth? FYI, I think, based on experience with people whom have tried everything, that a 1% chance of finding something is unrealistically low. 20% with the first $5K and a further 30% with the next 35K would fit my past experience.

Comment by michaelvassar on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2013-03-07T07:08:06.330Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

We won't publish anything, but clients are free to publish whatever they wish to in any manner that they wish.

Comment by michaelvassar on Morality is Awesome · 2013-01-08T07:15:11.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Empirically, that general type of thing is good for at least a week worth of awesome. http://www.burningman.com/

Comment by michaelvassar on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-29T10:54:28.040Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dr. Seuss wrote about this.

Comment by michaelvassar on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-26T20:47:49.518Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My most immediate question is whether you think your more rapidly increasing desire to be normal was due to biological differences, more cultural pressure, or something else.

Comment by michaelvassar on Constructing fictional eugenics (LW edition) · 2012-10-29T08:31:20.666Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Hell yeah.
That said, don't overestimate IQ relative to other important cognitive and behavioral traits.

Comment by michaelvassar on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-10-11T02:08:41.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I heard an amazing classical performance of Amon Tobin by the cover group for the proper Amon Tobin recently.

Comment by michaelvassar on What is Evil about creating House Elves? · 2012-10-08T09:56:45.467Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is really good... now... what if the universe of 'moral atoms' is NOT simple enough for 12-year-old kids to understand, but acknowledging that would cripple our efforts to get people to act morally? What if we already know this, but would need to figure out a whole new way of talking about the human condition in order to adopt the findings of psychology into our day-to-day lives?

Comment by michaelvassar on "Epiphany addiction" · 2012-10-07T22:27:38.590Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In so far as happiness is what we strive for by definition the statement is vacant, and what is described as 'happiness' doesn't closely match the natural language meaning of the word.

Comment by michaelvassar on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-02T19:19:42.332Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Many people can effectively be kept out of trouble and made easier for caretakers or relatives to care for via mild sedation. This is fairly clearly the function of at least a significant portion of psychiatric medication.

Comment by michaelvassar on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-02T19:16:36.804Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW · GW

It's not that clear to me in what sense mainstream academia is a unified thing which holds positions, even regarding questions such as "what fields are legitimate". Saying that something is known in mainstream academia seems suspiciously like saying that "something is encoded in the matter in my shoelace, given the right decryption schema. OTOH, it's highly meaningful to say that something is discoverable by someone with competent 'google-fu"

Comment by michaelvassar on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism · 2012-08-12T17:14:26.489Z · score: 12 (10 votes) · LW · GW

To be fair, I think that this triad is largely a function of the sort of society one lives in. It could be summarized as "submit to virtuous social orders, seek to dominate non-virtuous ones if you have the ability to discern between them"

Comment by michaelvassar on What are the optimal biases to overcome? · 2012-08-09T18:29:52.294Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's an alternative to having a well-calibrated bias towards conformity.

Comment by michaelvassar on A cynical explanation for why rationalists worry about FAI · 2012-08-05T18:10:26.390Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, I think you get points for doing things that work, whether they are fun or not.

Comment by michaelvassar on A cynical explanation for why rationalists worry about FAI · 2012-08-05T18:09:31.385Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As far as I can tell, SI long ago started avoiding that frame because the frame had deleterious effects, but if we wanted to excite anyone, it was ourselves, not other young people.

Comment by michaelvassar on A cynical explanation for why rationalists worry about FAI · 2012-08-05T18:08:26.472Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

My actual take is that UFAI is actually a much larger threat than other existential risks, but also that working on FAI is fairly obviously the chosen path, not on EV grounds, but on the grounds of matching our skills and interests.

Singularity Institute pitch and new project plus other organizations in our ecosystem

2010-12-17T05:09:05.005Z · score: 5 (14 votes)

Singularity Non-Fiction Compilation to be Written

2010-11-28T16:49:14.250Z · score: 15 (18 votes)

A speculation on Near and Far Modes

2010-07-21T06:24:56.684Z · score: 14 (21 votes)

Signaling Strategies and Morality

2010-03-05T21:09:25.939Z · score: 17 (32 votes)

Priors and Surprise

2010-03-03T08:27:53.554Z · score: 10 (25 votes)

For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books

2010-03-02T08:11:51.034Z · score: 50 (61 votes)

New Year's Predictions Thread

2009-12-30T21:39:09.895Z · score: 18 (19 votes)

New Year’s Resolutions Thread

2009-12-30T21:36:20.869Z · score: 8 (11 votes)

Boston meetup Nov 15 (and others)

2009-11-13T07:05:34.276Z · score: 3 (4 votes)

Less Wrong / Overcoming Bias meet-up groups

2009-10-30T04:47:06.192Z · score: 10 (13 votes)

Time to See If We Can Apply Anything We Have Learned

2009-06-18T10:06:12.174Z · score: 1 (26 votes)