Posts

[Linkpost] Partial Derivatives and Partial Narratives 2021-09-13T21:02:49.285Z
[linkpost] Political Capital Flow Management and the Importance of Yutting 2021-09-10T07:27:23.009Z
[ACX Linkpost] Highlights From The Comments On Missing School 2021-08-29T08:01:59.534Z
Predictions about the state of crypto in ten years 2021-08-08T16:18:13.941Z
Optimism about Social Technology 2021-06-27T23:35:31.174Z
What is the biggest crypto news of the past year? 2021-05-22T02:01:49.040Z
[ACX Linkpost] A Modest Proposal for Republicans 2021-04-30T18:43:17.252Z
[ACX Linkpost] Prospectus on Próspera 2021-04-15T22:48:00.545Z
Auctioning Off the Top Slot in Your Reading List 2021-04-14T07:11:07.881Z
Speculations Concerning the First Free-ish Prediction Market 2021-03-31T03:20:48.379Z
Some Complaint-Action Gaps 2021-03-29T21:15:50.012Z
Predictions for future dispositions toward Twitter 2021-03-14T22:10:17.720Z
The Puce Tribe 2021-02-28T21:11:05.778Z
some random parenting ideas 2021-02-13T15:53:43.855Z
How would free prediction markets have altered the pandemic? 2021-02-09T10:55:43.987Z
Against Sam Harris's personal claim of attentional agency 2021-01-30T09:08:45.145Z
Change My View: Incumbent religions still get too much leeway 2021-01-07T19:44:45.208Z
A dozen habits that work for me 2021-01-06T22:52:37.776Z
Pre-Hindsight Prompt: Why did 2021 NOT bring a return to normalcy? 2020-12-06T17:35:00.409Z
In Addition to Ragebait and Doomscrolling 2020-12-03T18:26:18.602Z
Can preference falsification be reduced with Ring Signatures? 2020-11-29T20:53:36.231Z
mike_hawke's Shortform 2020-11-29T19:57:57.415Z

Comments

Comment by mike_hawke on Training Better Rationalists? · 2021-08-07T16:35:26.196Z · LW · GW

I think I would be a much better-trained rationalist if I did my basic rationality practices as regularly as I do physical exercise. The practices are:

  • I keep a list of things I have changed my mind about. Everything from geopolitics to my personal life.
  • I hardly ever go looking outside my echo chamber in search for things that can challenge/correct my beliefs because I find it very effortful & unpleasant. (You know what else is effortful? Pushups).
  • I sometimes write letters to my future or past selves. I tried giving comprehensive life advice to my 16-year-old self, and ended up learning a lot about advice and spurious counterfactuals...
  • I sometimes do the Line of Retreat negative visualization. For immediate things, I tend to do it out loud while on a walk. For political beliefs, I slowly add to a private document over time and occasionally review it.
  • I maintain a list of my disagreements with various public thinkers. Helps me separate tribal thinking from truth-seeking.
  • I made an Anki deck for memorizing my defensive epistemology heuristics: "is this explainable by selection effects?", Proving Too Much, "is this claim consistent with their previous claim?", Reversal Test, etc.
  • I notice I'm at a point where I can make surprisingly good fermi estimates if I spend a couple minutes thinking really hard, usually not otherwise. Feels like there's room for improvement.
  • Hard to practice with regularity, but these days I try to restrain myself from joining into an in-progress debate when I overhear one, and instead sit on the sideline and patiently wait for openings to point out (double) cruxes.
  • Prompt myself to answer, "what would a slightly improved version of me do in this situation? What would I think if I were more rested and better hydrated?" It's embarrassing how much mileage I have gotten out of role-playing as myself.
  • Privately journaling about my internal conflicts or difficult feelings. Simple but underpracticed (much like sit-ups).
  • I wrote down a page of predictions about the state of crypto tech in 2031, aiming for maximum specificity & minimal future embarrassment. Similar for Twitter in this post. I guess I might call this "conscientious futurism" or just "sticking my neck out".
  • Pro/Con lists. They're effortful & time-intensive. But so is half-focused vacillating, which is what I do by default.

So yeah, those are my rationality exercises, and I really wish I practiced them more regularly. It's not exactly high-level SEAL-inspired training, and it's pretty hard to verify, but...it feels like it makes me more rational.

Comment by mike_hawke on I'm from a parallel Earth with much higher coordination: AMA · 2021-08-07T10:20:59.252Z · LW · GW

I think a world of widespread economic literacy might be even better than it is depicted here. Speculative sci-fi has traditionally suffered from issues like predicting flying cars instead of smartphones. In Optimism About Social Technology, I wrote that my pet heuristic is:

Imagine how much worse the world would be if there were a worldwide ban on e.g. standard insurance contracts--no health insurance, no auto insurance, no fire insurance.
Now imagine how much better the world would be if we had not only those things but also widespread liability insurance...or dominant assurance contracts, or prediction markets, or something that hasn't even been invented yet!


I think EY is off to a great start with Dath Ilan, but speculative fiction is hard, so I want there to be a whole genre of Dath Ilan-style world-building.

Comment by mike_hawke on Optimism about Social Technology · 2021-06-27T23:41:00.633Z · LW · GW
Conditional payments for paywalled content (after you pay for a piece of downloadable content and view it, you can decide after the fact if payments should go to the author or to proportionately refund previous readers)

-- Vitalik Buterin, On Radical Markets

Comment by mike_hawke on Taboo "Outside View" · 2021-06-20T18:59:47.704Z · LW · GW

Good post. I myself have gotten into the habit of referring to an outside view instead of the outside view.

Comment by mike_hawke on Social behavior curves, equilibria, and radicalism · 2021-06-19T01:53:30.137Z · LW · GW

I wonder where the Spiral of Silence fits in here. I guess opposite the Respectability cascade?

society can respond to new information relatively quickly, but does so smoothly. This seems like a good thing.

This makes me think of the Concave Disposition.

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that these concepts are already well-known.

Well I think independent discovery is underrated anyway.

Comment by mike_hawke on What you can’t say to a sympathetic ear · 2021-06-10T01:31:37.419Z · LW · GW

I think this remains an outstanding, top-tier problem in group rationality. I feel like I encounter it constantly. I'm surprised this post doesn't have more engagement.

Comment by mike_hawke on A Review and Summary of the Landmark Forum · 2021-05-27T20:18:32.678Z · LW · GW
I suspect that the long days break down some of your usual defences. It makes their techniques more effective, but you may not want to provide them with this power over you.

I personally feel less concerned by the long hours than by the notion of "psychological hacks" that lead to testimonials like, “What is, is; and what isn't isn't”. That stuff makes me imagine some kind of "leap of faith" maneuver, which I usually see as unreliable and prone to misfiring.

The Western focus on individuality and autonomy can be limiting as often a push is exactly what we need. This may explain part of why they were able to achieve what seemed like remarkable results - psychologists are limited by ethics in a way in which Landmark is not.

Yeah, this is plausible. It's easy to imagine scenarios where a push from a trusted friend is exactly what I want. However, I'm still wary of hiring an organization of strangers to overpower my narratives & worldview using psychological hacks.

Contrast with certain types of meditation, whereby you can directly observe evidence that challenges your narrative, without ever doing anything epistemically questionable.

Comment by mike_hawke on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-09T23:27:55.944Z · LW · GW

Purely for completeness, I'll go ahead and represent the opposite preference: I am noticeably energized by overcast days, and I enjoy rain. Long, unbroken sequences of sunny days feel oppressive to me. I think my ideal week would be overcast 4 days, medium-light rain 2 of those days, and sunny on the remaining 3 days for evaporation & variety.

Of course, I realize that pluviophiles are a small minority, so any community/subcultural hub in a chronically cloudy place will suffer an excess SAD burden.

Comment by mike_hawke on Sympathy for the ferryman of Hades, or why we should keep Trump off Twitter · 2021-05-09T18:25:37.035Z · LW · GW
The seismic shift that’s occurred in the last 10 years is the ability of social media platforms to freebase user generated content and create serious behavioral addictions with very salient real world consequences. We‘re making a category error if we continue to discuss Twitter like it’s the same platform it was 10 years ago. 

Important point, and well-put.

The Jaron quote was also powerful; I hadn't heard that sort of thing about Trump before but it's not surprising. I personally think the highest reasonable hope would be for Trump to return to how he was in 2012--the birth certificate stuff was much less bad than the Qanon stuff and the capitol insurrection. That was less bad, but it was still bad and this might undermine a sanguine narrative of "Trump in Recovery"...but if it somehow didn't, then yeah, I'd be happy to see that narrative get some airtime.

Regardless of how the stories of Trump end up being told, I do hope that people start to see Twitter as the psychotoxic game that it is. I have expressed some optimism about this in Predictions for future dispositions toward Twitter. It's possible that tech companies will eventually try to sell cleaner digital ecosystems to conscientious end-users--I imagine a high-income, tech-savvy buyer paying extra for a well-integrated device-app ecosystem that tends to respect & enhance one's mental/emotional life rather than harming it. This could come to represent a high-status, post-Twitter lifestyle. Again this is optimistic, but perhaps worth hoping for.

Comment by mike_hawke on What are your favorite examples of adults in and around this community publicly changing their minds? · 2021-05-08T18:53:19.696Z · LW · GW

(I use the term "full reversal" to mean going from high confidence in a belief to high confidence in the opposite belief. A "hard reversal" is when a full reversal happens quickly.)

When have you noticed and remembered peers or colleagues changing their minds?

I think the question might need some modifiers to exclude the vast amounts of boring examples. Obviously your question does not evoke answers so boring as "Oh, the store is closed? Okay, then we can't get milk tonight" but what about a corporate executive pivoting his strategy when he hears business-relevant news? By now I am bored of Losing-the-Faith stories, but I don't deny their relevance to human rationality.

Anyway, I think full reversals tend to happen much less frequently than moderate reductions in confidence. Much more common are things of the form "I used to be totally anti-X, but now I see that the reality is a lot more complex and I've become much less certain" or "I used to be completely convinced that Y was true and the deniers were just being silly, but I read a couple decent challenges and now I'm just pretty confused overall". One way in which this happens is when someone accepts that their strong belief actually depends on some fact that they don't know much about.

But to try to directly answer your question, I might list:

  • Megan Phelps-Roper left the Westboro Baptist Church, in part due to having respectful debates on Twitter
  • Bostrom's Hypothetical Apostasy never really caught on, despite sounding pretty cool on paper. Too bad.
  • Rationalists have gotten some recognition for anticipating the pandemic early--you might be able to find some good examples of mind-changing there.
  • Rationalist-adjascent blogger Tim Urban had a fairly sharp reversal on cryonics.
  • There's that classic (boring?) example of a person quitting grad school after spending a few minutes answering reasonable questions about their motivations.
  • If you want a more politically-charged example: Scott Alexander loosely identifies as libertarian, having formerly been vocally anti-libertarian. Seems like this happened via deliberate argumentation, including some email exchanges with David Friedman (son of Milton Friedman).
  • I've seen some of my friends and acquaintances change their minds about psychoactive drugs.
Comment by mike_hawke on Bayeswatch 1: Jewish Space Laser · 2021-05-04T04:39:13.637Z · LW · GW

Thanks for putting out more fiction.


the rocket began to tilt slightly east.

I interpret this as subtle world-building. A future with Jewish space lasers AND peace in the Middle East.

Comment by mike_hawke on [ACX Linkpost] A Modest Proposal for Republicans · 2021-04-30T18:56:26.334Z · LW · GW

When I first read the post, about 50% of my reaction was, "this platform could never get traction with a major political party". But is that true? (...also, is it too meta?)

Scott writes in the piece,

There's a theory that the US party system realigns every 50-or-so years. Last time, in 1965, it switched from the Democrats being the party of the South and the Republicans being the party for blacks, to vice versa. If the theory's right, we're in the middle of an equally big switch. Wouldn't it be great if the Republicans became the racially diverse party of the working class? You can make it happen!

So I guess that's my biggest question about all this. Is the realignment theory correct? And more importantly, would a 1960s-magnitude realignment be enough to cause a major US political party to adopt a prominently anti-credentialist, pro-betting, anti-gatekeeping platform?

Comment by mike_hawke on [ACX Linkpost] Prospectus on Próspera · 2021-04-22T23:28:04.889Z · LW · GW

Thanks, this is really helpful! I'll ask more questions if I think of them.

Comment by mike_hawke on Propagating Facts into Aesthetics · 2021-04-21T18:19:24.402Z · LW · GW
In particular, gaining a new form of beauty mostly makes my life feel nicer, whereas gaining a new form of disgust increases the unpleasantness 

This resonates for me, and I sometimes end up with an 'ignorance is bliss' attitude toward the latter.

~~~

I gained some ability to see systemization as beautiful. My sense of hufflepuff beauty became more nuanced and caveated.

Can you say more about this? Did this aesthetic shift feel good/bad/neutral, either in the moment or upon reflection? I have such shifts occasionally, and it sometimes makes me feel...tired. Like I just get weary at the thought of permanently increasing the amount of nuance that I track. Rereading the excerpt, I feel like some part of me is insisting that adding nuance and caveats is costly and unsustainable.

Comment by mike_hawke on The Scout Mindset - read-along · 2021-04-19T08:00:23.579Z · LW · GW

Chapter 15: A Scout Identity

Section: You Can Choose Your Communities Online

For all that people complain about how toxic Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the internet can be, they don't often seem to put in much effort to crafting a better online experience for themselves. Sure, there are plenty of trolls, overconfident pundits, uncharitable talk-show hosts, and intellectually dishonest influencers, but you don't have to give them your attention. You can choose to read, follow, and engage with the exceptions to the rule instead.

Well I gotta strongly disagree with this part. While it's true that most complainers put hardly any effort in, the actual effort required to do what she suggests requires monastic dedication. Psychotoxic internet content is highly addictive for many people and our infrastructure amplifies and spreads it.

I'm pretty concerned by things like state-sponsored polarization campaigns and the apparent memetic collapse, so I can't help but feel like the quoted passage is kind of sweeping aside some pretty big stuff.

Comment by mike_hawke on The Scout Mindset - read-along · 2021-04-18T16:20:43.501Z · LW · GW

Chapter 8: Motivation Without Deception

Is it too early to calculate Elon Musk's calibration? Tesla seems like a success by now, and you could argue that SpaceX is as well. That's at least two 10% predictions that came out true, so he'll need to fail with 18 similar companies if he wants Scouts to take his opinion seriously...

EDIT: This was a joke.

Comment by mike_hawke on [deleted post] 2021-04-18T14:51:24.069Z
I don't want to have to pay attention to everything that's out there on Twitter or Facebook, and would like a short document that gets to the point and links out to other things if I feel curious.

I was pretty happy when Ben Pace turned Eliezer's Facebook AMA into a LW post; I might like to see more stuff like that. However, I feel like wiki pages ought to be durable and newcomer-friendly, and therefore must necessarily lag the cutting edge.

Comment by mike_hawke on [ACX Linkpost] Prospectus on Próspera · 2021-04-17T05:38:44.747Z · LW · GW

Here are a few ideas I picked up from the Substack comments:

  • How volatile is the Honduran government? Can you really bet on future politicians honoring current agreements?
  • At any point where the Prósperan government relies on the Honduran government, won't corruption and graft leak in?
  • What are conditions like for those existing resorts on Roatan? Are they protected from corruption and violence?
  • It's too bad that they plan to hew closely to traditional schooling arrangements. If you're starting from scratch anyway, why not make it easy to unbundle education & childcare?

And here are my own thoughts:

  • Why haven't I heard about Próspera already? If it's so promising, are professional economists buzzing about it? For example what does Tyler Cowan think?
  • What do we know about Pronomos Capital? Do they have any sort of track record? Is it reasonable to expect them to have about a 10% hit rate, as Raemon suggests?
Comment by mike_hawke on Auctioning Off the Top Slot in Your Reading List · 2021-04-14T08:52:21.812Z · LW · GW

That's a pretty good link, thanks. And yeah, the inverse had occurred to me, but I forgot to mention it except kind of in the title.

Comment by mike_hawke on Monastery and Throne · 2021-04-07T04:00:56.478Z · LW · GW

This part:

People read the Times not to find out what happened where and when, but to find out who is to be comforted and who afflicted. People just want to be on the same page as their peers.

reminds me of Scott Alexander on the phatic:

Consider a very formulaic conservative radio show. Every week, the host talks about some scandal that liberals have been involved in. Then she explains why it means the country is going to hell. I don’t think the listeners really care that a school in Vermont has banned Christmas decorations or whatever. The point is to convey this vague undercurrent of “Hey, there are other people out there who think like you, we all agree with you, you’re a good person, you can just sit here and listen and feel reassured that you’re right.” Anything vaguely conservative in content will be equally effective, regardless of whether the listener cares about the particular issue.

~~~

my best guess of the typical experience is being in social reality 99.9% of the time. The 0.1% are extreme shocks, cases when physical reality kicks someone so far off-script they are forced to confront it directly. These experiences are extremely unpleasant, and processing them appears as “depression and anxiety”. One looks at the first opportunity to dive back into the safety of social reality, in the form of a communal narrative that “makes sense” of what happened and suggests an appropriate course of action.

Really? Shouldn't "typical experience" include small business owners running sales forecasts, truckers navigating new environments, and a contractor building a staircase? It seems to me that lots of normal people contend with novel situations in objective reality on a regular basis. What really seems noteworthy to me is how domain-specific that mode of thought tends to be. A guy who builds houses can tell when some new construction regulation is not reality-based, but he will not think twice about questionable statements from the CDC.

Comment by mike_hawke on I'm from a parallel Earth with much higher coordination: AMA · 2021-04-06T07:35:20.730Z · LW · GW

Why is Japan called Australia??

Comment by mike_hawke on Logan Strohl on exercise norms · 2021-04-02T07:51:25.587Z · LW · GW

Yeah, this seems like an important point. For me the difference between jogging and badminton is like night and day. Asking me whether I like "exercise" would be like asking me if I like "food".

In general, I think most people should put a lot more resources into shopping around for enjoyable exercise. I got really lucky that my friend talked me into taking a badminton class with him in high school; if not for that, I might conceive of myself as "not a cardio person".

 All that being said, I still do force myself to jog when my preferred cardio alternatives are unavailable.

Comment by mike_hawke on Speculations Concerning the First Free-ish Prediction Market · 2021-03-31T05:51:54.876Z · LW · GW

By the way, here's a Metaculus question about when Kalshi will launch.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-03-24T18:49:04.123Z · LW · GW

Sometimes I scroll social media (because I am yet weak) and I see rationalists raising Concerns about various news topics and current events.

Here’s a list of concerns and potential actions, including those I see as inadequate.

  • Our institutions are losing trustworthiness and competence
  • Freedom of speech is under attack! Gatekeepers! Reality czar! The Narrative!
    • Take traditional political action
    • Less twitter, more substack
    • Research and post about the economics and logistics of running your own servers.
    • Experiment with ring signatures?
  • Social media is harming mental health, undermining individual & group epistemics, and enabling horrible actions in meatspace
    • Complain about it on social media in between dunking on your outgroup.
    • Await humanity’s inexorable slide down the fitness gradients toward memetic collapse.
    • Promote more group activities in your group house. Establish device-free zones.
    • Coordinate to stigmatize doomscrolling, hate-reading, and contempt addiction. While we’re at it, let’s stigmatize using Twitter at all.
  • Large, free, liquid prediction markets cannot exist, supposedly due to the global influence of burdensome US trading regulations.
    • Traditional political action
    • Pay a competent YouTuber to make a really good explanatory video (series) about prediction markets.
    • Write a postmortem on Augur to help future attempts avoid the same pitfalls
    • Research and post about why prediction markets haven’t gotten big even where regulation is looser
    • Start up a competitor to Kalshi, and launch before they do
  • Ongoing Uighur atrocity
    • Share an article about it once in a while
    • Take traditional political action, push for substantial international response
    • Make fewer purchases from companies that profit from the abuse of Uighurs
Comment by mike_hawke on Some blindspots in rationality and effective altruism · 2021-03-22T03:47:55.922Z · LW · GW

we also reinvent the wheel more.

Could you elaborate on this? Which wheels are you thinking of?

Comment by mike_hawke on Resolutions to the Challenge of Resolving Forecasts · 2021-03-16T22:57:33.026Z · LW · GW

Hm okay. And is this a problem for prediction markets too, even though participants expect to profit from their time spent? 

The way I imagine it, sloppier traders will treat a batch of nearly identical questions as identical, arbitraging among them and causing the prices to converge. Meanwhile, the more literal-minded traders will think carefully about how the small changes in the wording might imply large changes in probability, and they will occasionally profit by pushing the batch of prices apart.

But maybe most traders won't be that patient, and will prefer meta-resolution or offloading.

I still feel like I'm onto something here...

Comment by mike_hawke on Change My View: Incumbent religions still get too much leeway · 2021-03-16T22:14:04.968Z · LW · GW

None of this seems cruxy to me--I could grant that all of your claims here are true and it wouldn't much affect my argument. I'm not advocating that everyone abandon their church communities and throw out their bibles.

Don't these religions (the large incumbent ones of the western world) need to reform in light of new opportunities and challenges of the 21st century? (Not least of all anti-aging, gene editing, space colonization, psychedelic research, neuroscience, and powerful AI). 

Don't the inertia and epistemic standards of incumbents like Mormonism pose an obstacle to more modern religions Mormon Transhumanism? And isn't that bad?

Comment by mike_hawke on Resolutions to the Challenge of Resolving Forecasts · 2021-03-16T03:15:27.610Z · LW · GW

Here's an idea I've been ruminating on: create a bunch of nearly identical forecast questions, all worded slightly differently, and grade with maximum inflexibility. Sometimes a pair of nearly identical questions will come to opposite resolutions. In such cases, forecasters who pay close attention to the words may be able to get both questions right, whereas people who treated them the same will get one right and one wrong.

On average, wouldn't this help things a bit?

Comment by mike_hawke on Pre-Hindsight Prompt: Why did 2021 NOT bring a return to normalcy? · 2021-03-12T05:57:20.885Z · LW · GW

Okay, now that we're a few months into 2021, I feel like updating a bit.

Most notably, there was the insurrection at the Capitol. Political violence of this reference class was mentioned in a couple other users' answers, and I wish I had explicitly mentioned it in mine. I remain perplexed by the weak response to the insurrection by law enforcement--I certainly would not have predicted that aspect. I think there might be a couple more incidents of this sort, but probably less intense--the peak of organized fervor has passed. More likely is a continuous "low grade smouldering domestic insurgency" as supposed by CellBioGuy.

If Glenn Greenwald is to be believed, there is an impending new surveillance paradigm aiming at domestic threats like the insurrectionists and affecting all Americans--a successor to the Patriot Act from the previous war on terror. This paradigm is supported and advanced by the publishers of The Narrative, who warn that "unfettered" communication leads to radical Trumpism. I don't think I would have been able to predict this very well in advance. But I also think this will probably not end up as bad as Greenwald supposes. It is more likely that impositions against privacy and free speech will remain politically difficult, and domestic security will be pursued using more narrowly targeted (and less constitutionally questionable) means. But I might put something like 10% on the strong form of Greenwald's concerns, and moderately higher on a weaker form.

Comment by mike_hawke on Above the Narrative · 2021-03-12T05:03:27.761Z · LW · GW

Jake, I'm glad you wrote the nerd-politician-troll thing here. I think I saw you (or someone) say something similar on Twitter months ago, and I wanted to link to it but I couldn't find it. I'm glad to have a concept handle for something that previously just felt like an annoyingly slippery feature of Twitter-style discourse. All models are wrong but some are useful--and I feel like I might get a lot of use out of this one.

Comment by mike_hawke on [Lecture Club] Awakening from the Meaning Crisis · 2021-03-09T02:46:04.491Z · LW · GW

I had no idea that the metaphor "think outside the box" was derived from a math puzzle. That's pretty cool.

Comment by mike_hawke on The Puce Tribe · 2021-03-01T15:01:02.120Z · LW · GW

Yes, it's a real fictional tribe. If you don't believe me, just go hang out in the Plagueis Plain for a while. There's also a big exclave of them in Hypothetistan, if that's closer to you.

Comment by mike_hawke on The Puce Tribe · 2021-02-28T21:35:07.568Z · LW · GW

the latter

Comment by mike_hawke on some random parenting ideas · 2021-02-14T23:48:34.191Z · LW · GW

Oh...
Nevermind!

Comment by mike_hawke on some random parenting ideas · 2021-02-14T23:47:35.306Z · LW · GW

Thank you so much! I hesitated before posting, so I'm glad to read your comment :]

Comment by mike_hawke on Your Cheerful Price · 2021-02-13T13:14:54.298Z · LW · GW

Q: Despite your pretended demurral, I get the sense that you actually hold it against them a bit more than that. Fine, to be wholly frank, I do tend to see the indignant reaction “How dare you price that in money!” as a sign that somebody was brought up generally economically illiterate. I mean, if somebody says, “Sorry, I haven’t attained the stage of enlightenment where explicitly exchanging money stops making me feel bad”, I’m like, “Your feelings are valid! I’m still human in many ways too!” But if they say, “There are some things you can’t put a price on! How dare you!”, I’m like, “This low-decoupling indignation engine will probably have a happier childhood if I rudely walk away instead of trying to explain how the notion of a ‘price’ generalizes beyond things that are explicitly denominated in money.”

That was savage and it felt good to read, for better and for worse. I’d love to see a whole post about this kind of thing. There is a real tension here, perhaps well approximated as a conflict between two cultures. I think I might just default to telling people “I subscribe to a culture that does not have this sacred taboo” and then we either agree to disagree, or we try to convert each other, or we reach some other compromise. Maybe a better approach, if you have the affordance for it, is to describe a previous time when you violated the taboo in a way that is likely to strike them as weird but net positive, rather than simply triggering their disgust reaction. With the obscenity blunted, they might then be more receptive to relaxing the taboo for themself.

Comment by mike_hawke on How would free prediction markets have altered the pandemic? · 2021-02-12T13:22:54.694Z · LW · GW

I have to question the premises and the strength of the conclusion here.

Suppose the headlines said “prediction markets expect covid to reach us” rather than “experts expect covid to reach us”. Who would have behaved differently? The kind of people and institutions which tend to react to signals from stock markets and opinion polls—the competent minority.

This comparison feels off--I remember things being much more controversial and confusing than "experts expect covid to reach us". But to answer the second part, I guess I would have to ask myself how many public health officials, supply chain influencers, lawmakers, etc. were in the competent minority (and how money-motivated they were).

even a good prediction market would not have immediately reached certainty that covid would become a pandemic.

But certainty is never necessary for action. I intuitively imagine a major difference between the sort of uncertainty I felt in Feb 2020 (due to model uncertainty, low trust, competing heuristics, Twitter fog) vs. the uncertainty I would have if prediction markets had said "X% chance of pandemic spread within 3 months". As a human, these different types of uncertainty affect my behavior differently. I was able to replace some of the former uncertainty with the latter uncertainty by watching metaculus, but being able to freely hedge my bets would have been even better.

Overall, we might have shifted the reactions forward by a couple of weeks[...]even that might have been enough to stop the pandemic in the spring.

Right, a 14-day shift can make a lot of difference in the early stages of exponential growth. (Or did you mean to say "not enough"?)

I think there may be a decent case for prediction markets having only minor overall impact during the notional 7-year lag, but not a strong case.

And even if prediction markets wouldn't have prevented any of the largest mistakes...it would be nice to get money for being correct. Or to be able to easily hedge between monetary risk (losing bets), health risks (virus), and professional risks (refusing to go to work in person). ...And to be honest it would have been real nice to ask Vox writers to put their money where their mouth was.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-02-11T14:49:07.177Z · LW · GW

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/23/some-groups-of-people-who-may-not-100-deserve-our-eternal-scorn/

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/23/some-groups-of-people-who-may-not-100-deserve-our-eternal-scorn/#comment-470377

Comment by mike_hawke on Book review: The Geography of Thought · 2021-02-10T12:09:09.927Z · LW · GW

Great review, and very interesting. I'm now really curious about the implications for Hanson and Simler's The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life. Would an analysis of hidden motives in East Asian subjects require an entirely new book? For that matter, I wonder what kind of things would show up on Hanson's blog if he lived over there for a while.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-02-09T23:47:18.181Z · LW · GW

Scott Alexander says "Ezra Klein is great. I know a lot of people throw shade on him for founding Vox. But as Van Gogh said about God creating the world, 'We must not hold it against Him; only a master could make such a mistake'. Ezra is a master[...]"

I've never deliberately perused Klein's output, but I've been fairly...repelled by what little I've seen. But that was some pretty glowing praise from Scott; I must be missing something. Googling "what is ezra klein's best writing" isn't very enlightening, and that kind of search is complicated by the subjective, political nature of the query.

So I ask: what makes EK a master; what am I missing here?

Comment by mike_hawke on A dozen habits that work for me · 2021-02-02T12:51:46.119Z · LW · GW

Fiber.

buttwipes

mental constipation

...I promise this motif was unintentional.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-01-17T23:57:32.934Z · LW · GW

What science fiction should I read? Any subgenre.
 

I ask because I'm rereading HPMOR and I just reread Eliezer's posts about memetic collapse and local validity. I kinda feel like I'm missing out, but I don't know where to look beyond googling "classic sci fi" or "sci fi cult hits". I like HPJEV as a protagonist and would like to see more of that sort. I'm probably going to reread Ender's Game next in order to scratch the itch a bit.


Here are my idiosyncratic preferences, in case it helps:
My top 5 stories probably include The Martian, Rendezvous with Rama, and Snow Crash. Disappointingly, I haven't found an Asimov story that I've liked very much, and I couldn't even finish Foundation. I thought Neuromancer was okay on net. Ringworld was often tedious but I still remember the sense of awe that some parts gave me and I loved the way the ending came together. I'm planning on reading Dune, but I'm not sure about audiobook vs ebook vs both and I'm concerned about it being dry and tedious. I'm partway through Permutation City, which I find really well-written but kinda depressing. I thought Xenocide was awesome and I pretty much hated Speaker for the Dead.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-01-12T16:55:22.865Z · LW · GW

Yeah, it was. Fixed.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-01-12T16:52:14.569Z · LW · GW

Don't yum my yuck. My disgust reactions are valid.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-01-08T16:46:25.005Z · LW · GW

As a result the book lacks an intellectual vision. It’s just highly competent in a slick, oversocialized way where little true personality comes out. If the book were a person it’d be like many of the people I met at the elite business school where I briefly studied: smooth, well-oiled bundles of overly appropriate behaviors seemingly dictated by the situation rather than emerging from a strong underlying personality.

(from this Everything Studies post)

I want there to be at least 10 more John Nersts out there. Writing, influencing, telling it like it is. John Nerst is a lighthouse of sincere thought in an ocean of strategic speech and word games.

Comment by mike_hawke on A dozen habits that work for me · 2021-01-07T19:56:18.148Z · LW · GW

Nah, I haven't been able to settle on Breathe Right™ vs CVS generics.

Comment by mike_hawke on A dozen habits that work for me · 2021-01-07T19:54:11.974Z · LW · GW

You're welcome :] My laundry list is:

  • pajamas
  • sweater
  • bedding
  • robe
  • the clothes on my body right now
  • towel
  • gym bag
  • handkerchief
  • balaclavas
  • gloves

I keep them in my phone or sticky noted to the wall.

Comment by mike_hawke on A dozen habits that work for me · 2021-01-07T05:50:28.735Z · LW · GW

Yeah, they seem to improve my sleep quality by making it a little easier to breathe.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2020-12-30T17:22:36.473Z · LW · GW

I have a strong anti-Twitter attitude. I will now charge rent from this attitude in the form of anticipated experiences.

My attitude:

Twitter is psychotoxic. That is to say, it has a negative influence on one’s mood, habits, personality, reasoning ability, and so on. Using twitter causes people to practice mental behaviors that are corrosive to clear thinking and agency both immediately and longer-term. The easy availability of bite-sized content is eroding people's ability to read longer-form content like blog sequences or books. Twitter deserves the same condemnation that the 24h news cycle gets and much more. I believe that if far fewer people used Twitter, my life would be noticeably better.

I feel my attention being tugged at by the Twitterverse even when I have been away from it for a long time (weeks or longer). This is in part a sensible worry--Twitter does have noticeable effects on the world, and I wish I could do something.

This is a hackneyed pattern, but: Twitter is the 21st century’s tobacco. It is an addictive, next-gen intoxicant.

On a podcast, I heard some guy recommend that you “don’t let Twitter be the background music of your life. When you’re hanging out with your friend, don’t browse twitter while they’re in the bathroom.” I didn’t realize people did that. I think I need to start asking my friends if they are doing this when we hang out, and trying to get them to stop.

The full effects of twitter on individuals and groups is still an open question, slowly being answered by massive, natural experiments.

Anticipations:

In a heathy* future, people will consider the comparison between tobacco and twitter to be basically correct, if somewhat hasty and superficial. We will look back on the present state of affairs with pity, embarrassment, and a bit of queasiness.

The Internet Research Agency was just the beginning and we will hear of ever more numerous and galling examples of social media used to twist people’s minds. In less than 20 years, the dev race between offensive psyops and defensive countermeasures will be well-known, not niche knowledge.

Paul Cristiano has imagined a future in which information from the internet is scrutinized by an AI for harmful/manipulative information before being shown to a user. I strongly anticipate that considerations of this kind will be much more mainstream within the next 20 years. If we are not able to implement direct solutions with AI, I expect that serious, tech-savvy people will cobble together other tools and systems for a partial solution.

Perhaps in the near future, heavy twitter usage will be generally seen as a yellow or orange flag. Consider the thoughts you have when you notice that someone has at least 2 drinks every night, or can’t go a day without a liter of soda, or spends all their time online and never socializes in person (yeah, excluding pandemic conditions, smartass).

“Digital Minimalism” and “attention rebellion” will catch on (the situation is currently so dire that i would be pretty surprised if they don’t) and tech companies will react by trying to build things that people will pay to integrate into their attention-prioritizing lifestyle.

In summary: Twitter is awful and I will be at least moderately surprised if in 15 years it is normal for smart people to endorse having used it today.

*I hate this word. I’m using it here only out of mental sloth and weakness.

Comment by mike_hawke on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2020-12-29T02:01:23.330Z · LW · GW

News headlines have measurable, harmful effects on people so I never want them to be shown to me without my explicit consent. But YouTube does not have an option to permanently disable the Breaking News section.

The only solutions to this I know of are:

  1. Contort my usage by never opening the main page of YouTube
  2. Use uBlock with a custom filter to get rid of the news section.
  3. Stop using YouTube

I consider this to be psychotoxic design, plain and simple. The next time I need an example of tech companies doing something bad, I will have to reach no further than this.