Posts

Appeal to Consequence, Value Tensions, And Robust Organizations 2019-07-19T22:09:43.583Z · score: 49 (15 votes)
Overcoming Akrasia/Procrastination - Volunteers Wanted 2019-07-15T18:29:40.888Z · score: 16 (4 votes)
What are good resources for learning functional programming? 2019-07-04T01:22:05.876Z · score: 24 (9 votes)
Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed 2019-06-21T18:13:54.275Z · score: 32 (6 votes)
What makes a scientific fact 'ripe for discovery'? 2019-05-17T09:01:32.578Z · score: 9 (3 votes)
The Case for The EA Hotel 2019-03-31T12:31:30.969Z · score: 66 (23 votes)
How to Understand and Mitigate Risk 2019-03-12T10:14:19.873Z · score: 48 (14 votes)
What Vibing Feels Like 2019-03-11T20:10:30.017Z · score: 14 (24 votes)
S-Curves for Trend Forecasting 2019-01-23T18:17:56.436Z · score: 100 (37 votes)
A Framework for Internal Debugging 2019-01-16T16:04:16.478Z · score: 32 (16 votes)
The 3 Books Technique for Learning a New Skilll 2019-01-09T12:45:19.294Z · score: 136 (72 votes)
Symbiosis - An Intentional Community For Radical Self-Improvement 2018-04-22T23:15:06.832Z · score: 29 (7 votes)
How Going Meta Can Level Up Your Career 2018-04-14T02:13:02.380Z · score: 40 (19 votes)
Video: The Phenomenology of Intentions 2018-01-09T03:40:45.427Z · score: 37 (11 votes)
Video - Subject - Object Shifts and How to Have Them 2018-01-04T02:11:22.142Z · score: 14 (4 votes)

Comments

Comment by mr-hire on strangepoop's Shortform · 2019-09-12T04:21:56.669Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
becomes one model anyway, because you still have to choose which of the models are you going to use at a specific moment.

The architecture feels way different when you're not trying to have consistency though. Your rules for switching can themselves switch based on the current model, and the whole thing becomes way more dynamic.

Comment by mr-hire on An1lam's Short Form Feed · 2019-09-12T01:58:44.719Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes.

Comment by mr-hire on Rationality Exercises Prize of September 2019 ($1,000) · 2019-09-11T00:37:07.005Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

When you say exercise, is it just "thing you can do to practice a skill?"

It's not clear to me if you mean something more specific here.

Comment by mr-hire on [deleted post] 2019-09-10T20:03:10.192Z

Cognitive Strategy: Concrete Outcome

    • Symptoms: You frequently find yourself overwhelmed, or you often flinch away from the ambiguity of not knowing what to do next.
    • Mental Reflex: Next Action Simulator
      • Trigger: Ambiguity
        • Exercise: (Haven't yet found the perfect exercise for this one, but this is the best we have) Go to brilliant.org and find a problem that's too hard for you. As your brain starts to think of easy solutions, think of concrete reasons why those solutions might not work. Repeat this until you feel a sense of not knowing what to do next. That's the ambiguity trigger.
        • Exercise 2: Now that you have a sense of ambiguity, go through actions in your own head to see what has a sense of ambiguity attached. Get to the point where you can predict what ambiguity feels like before you feel it.
      • Trigger: Overwhelm
        • Exercise: Start making a list of all the things you'd like to do. Long term, short term, things that you already plan to do but haven't done yet. As you make this list, resolve to complete the list, without allowing yourself to choose any item on the list to start with. You should feel a growing sense of overwhelm as the list grows.
        • Exercise 2: Now that you have a sense of overwhelm, look at individual items at the list that contain that sense of overwhelm. Get to the point where you can predict what the overwhelm feels like before you feel it.
      • Action: The Next Action Simulator.
        • Description: First, ask yourself "What's the next action?", then in as vivid detail as possible, imagine yourself taking that next action.
        • Form: When you ask "What's the next action?" you want to ask in such a way that you get back a single concrete answer. When you're imagining yourself taking the next action, you want it to be in 1st person with as many senses and as vividly as possible. Now that you've run through the action, you find yourself automatically imagining the outcome of that action. This is a perfect time to implement Desire Contrasting (But now on this individual action, instead of some broader outcome)
        • Exercise: Take your list of items you found that are ambiguous or overhwhelming and practice the next action simulator. The qualia shift you're going for is to shift from overwhelm or ambiguity to clarity and concreteness.
    • Mental Reflex: The 3 Minute Brainstorm
      • Trigger: You ask "What's the next action?" and don't get a clear answer.
      • Action: You choose the default option, which is a 3 minute brainstorm in which you decide the next action.
        • Exercise: Same as the exercise above, just add in this step if you get back uncertainty about the next actino.
    • Mental Reflex: Future Action Simulator
      • Trigger: You go to simulate the next action, but you get clarity about when or where the next action could be enacted.
      • Action: Three steps
        • Ask yourself "In what context can I enact this action?"
        • Simulate, in vivid detail, yourself enacting that next action in that context (this acts as a memory trigger for when you're in that context)
        • Loving snooze this action for when you're in that context.
      • Exercise: Same as the exercise above, just add this step if there's ambiguity about context.
    • Meditation Exercise
      • For 10 minutes, you'll ask yourself "What's ambiguous or overwhelming
      • You'll notice what comes up for you and do your desire check.
      • If you feel ambiguity or overwhelm you'll use your concrete outcome cognitive strategies to make it ambiguious.
      • If you know desire contrasting, you'll then do desire contrasting on that outcome.
      • If you know loving snooze, you'll then loving snooze and circle back to the beginning.
    • Each time, make micro-corrections, how can you make your form better on the next go around?
    • Deliberate Work Session Exercise
      • Make a list of items that have ambiguity or overwhelm
      • You'll work on each for 5 minutes, taking the time to use your concrete outcomes cognitive strategies each time.
      • At the end of five minutes, you'll notice how you did, and start on your next item, using your concrete outcome cognitive strategies.
    • Conscious Work Session Exercise
      • Go through a normal work session, using pomodoros.
      • At the end of each work session, ask yourself if you succesfully used this cognitive strategy when you needed it. Ask yourself what was good about your form, and what needed to be improved.
      • Try to remain a bit more conscious of these items in your next pomodoro.
Comment by mr-hire on [deleted post] 2019-09-10T19:28:32.396Z
  • Cognitive Strategy: Loving Snooze
    • Symptoms: You frequently find yourself considering other tasks, or hearing the call of a distraction like browsing your phone or Facebook. You find it hard to stick to one task for a long period of time.
    • Mental Reflex: Loving Snooze
      • Trigger: Bid for Attention
        • Exercise: Choose an external locus of attention, like a spot on the wall. As you focus, notice what it feels like to have other things "bid" for your attention and resolve, your brain wanting you to focus on or do other things.
      • Action: Snooze Move
        • Description: Taking a bid for attention, then in a gentle, loving, and non-judgemental way, checking which action is more important to you and promising yourself that you'll check in on the other action when you're done.
        • Form:
          • 1. Acknowledge and accept that this bid for attention has a positive purpose.
          • 2. Feel gratitude and love for yourself for bringing this bid to attention to you.
          • 3. Compare the bid for attention to your current action, and check which takes precedence.
          • 4. Promise (and mean the promise) that you'll check back in with whatever you put off to see if its' still high importance.
        • Exercise 1: Imagine that you're on a phone call with someone you care about, taking care of an important issue. You're now going to imagine 6 different scenarios, and compare each to the previous ones, to get a sense of the snooze move.
          • Scenario 1: You're on the phone call, and someone who you barely know walks in and says "I need you." You view them as an obstacle getting in the way of you finishing your phone call, and respond in a congruent way, maybe with something like "I can't talk right now I'm busy."
          • Scenario 2: You're on the phone call, and someone you barely know walks in and says "I need you." But this time, you take a moment to recognize that they're a person, and they probably have their own reasons for coming in to interrupt you. Respond to them in a congruent way from this frame, maybe something like "Sorry I can't talk right now, I can see this is important to you.
          • Scenario 3: You're on the phone call, and this time someone you really care about walks in and says "I need you." You talk a moment know to not only acknowledge that they have a need that matters to them. But also, you take a moment to recognize your love for them, and notice that because you love them, you're GRATEFUL for them bringing this need to you, so you can get a chance to help them. Then you respond congruently. An example would be with something like "I see this is important to you. I love you, and would be glad to help after I finish this conversation."
          • Scenario 4 and 5: You're on the call, and someone you love walks in and says I need you. This time, you're going to check which thing is more important. This will involve looking at the emotional urgency of the person interrupting, the importance of the call you're on, and potentially asking a few followup questions to each person to determine the importance. Imagine one scenario where completing the conversation with the person on the phone is more important, and another where the person interrupting is more important.
          • Scenario 6: The same as the last two scenarios, but this time, you're going to add in a promise to whichever person you're stopping the conversation with, that you'll follow up with them later.
        • Exercise 2
          • You're now going to take those same 4 steps (Acknowledgement, Gratitude, Compare, Promise) but apply them to internal bids for attention. Do the external locus of attention exercise (focus on a spot on the wall), and practice with the loving snooze move you learned above. The qualia shift you're looking for here is to have the competing bid for attention melt away, because your mind believes you will get back to it.
    • Mental Reflex: Capture Snooze Items
      • Trigger: Anxiety about forgetting a snoozed item
      • Action: Write the snoozed item down.
        • Description: Sometimes, people have trouble with the snooze move because they don't believe their own promise. By writing down the snoozed item, you make the promise more believable and allow it to stop coming up in your head.
        • Exercise: Just combine this with the previous exercise for the snooze move.
    • Mental Reflex: Recheck snoozed items on Pomodoro Start and End
      • Trigger: Pomodoro Break Starts, Pomodoro Break Ends
      • Action: Revisit snoozed items to see if any of them still feel important.
        • Description: The other important part of the loving snooze is to believe that you'll check in with the snoozed items. By combining the loving snooze with pomodoros, you can check in at the start and end of any break, to see if there are any snoozed items that are important to work on during the break or next work session.
        • Exercise: Do the same exercise with an exeternal locus of attention, but put it on a timer of 5 minutes of exercise followed by 1 minute of break. Use the breaks and start of the next 5 minutes to check if any snoozed items take precedence.
    • Meditation Exercise
      • For 10 minutes, you'll focus on an external locus of attention
      • Notice bids for attention, and use your loving snooze move.
      • If you get anxiety about remembering, right the actions down.
      • At the end of the meditation, take 2 minutes to review your snoozed items and see if any of them feel important to attend to.
    • Deliberate Work Session Exercise
      • Choose a single item you'd like to focus on for a 25 minute pomodoro
      • Deliberately make your work area distracting, open documents and create reminders for other projects, open distracting tabs like facebook, etc.
      • Begin to work, and as bids for attention come up, use your loving snooze move, and write them down if necessary.
      • At the end of the pomodoro, use the pomodoro break to come back to any bids for attention and see if they're still important.
    • Conscious Work Session Exercise
      • Go through a normal work session, using pomodoros.
      • At the end of each work session, ask yourself if you succesfully used this cognitive strategy when you needed it. Ask yourself what was good about your form, and what needed to be improved.
      • Try to remain a bit more conscious of these items in your next pomodoro.
Comment by mr-hire on [deleted post] 2019-09-10T18:54:00.944Z
  • Cognitive Strategy: Desire Contrasting
    • Symptoms: You frequently find yourself unmotivated to work on your most important tasks. You feel that you have to force yourself to do basic tasks like laundry that are important for basic functioning.
    • Mental Reflex: Check Desire
      • Trigger: You've thought about doing something that would feel valuable to you.
      • Action 1: Imagine Vivid Outcome
        • Description: The goal of this mental to move is to, in as vivid detail as possible, imagine what it would be like for this task to be complete.
        • Form: Two important things when you're imagining the outcome. Firstly, you should be imagining the state where there are no more outcomes to do. If imagining taking out the trash, don't imagine the moment when you've put it on the curb, imagine the trash is already on the curb and you're back inside, looking at it. Secondly, imagine as vividly as possible. You want sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. You want to be viewing the scene in first person. The goal is to imagine it so vividly you can get a sense of how it will feel when complete.
        • Exercise: List 3-5 things you'd like to do, that feel a bit aversive and you can complete in 15 minutes or less. For each of them, imagine your vivid outcome, get to where you can instantly do the move with good form.
      • Action 2: Desire Check
        • Description: The goal of this mental move is to get a broad gestalt of how you'll feel once you complete a task, its' done on the vivid outcome that you imagine.
        • Form: It can be very easy to get caught up in all of the subtle feelings around a specific outcome. You want to get good at chunking those feelings together to get the gestalt. You should get a broad sense of whether all of you desires to create this outcome (Unqualified Desire), All of you desires not to create this outcome, you don't have any feelings one way or the other, or you have mixed feelings about the outcome.
        • Exercise: For each of your items in your list, take your vivid outcome, and do a Desire Check, until you feel like you can do it with good form.
      • Reflex: If you think of an item that feels valuable to you, then Imagine Vivid Outcome and Desire Check
        • Exercise: Imagine a version of yourself that finds this mental reflex easy, fun, and intrinsically rewarding. In your head, as that person, rehearse 5 times a situation in the recent past or the future, and how you would react as that person.
    • Mental Reflex: Install Resolve
      • Trigger: Unqualified Desire
      • Mental Move: Desire Contrasting
        • Prerequisite: You've already checked desire and have unqualified desire for your vivid outcome. If you don't have unqualified desire, you'll need another mental reflex designed to create unqualified desire.
        • Description: The idea here is that you're going to, in your mind, create a tension between what is and what could be. Your mind will then move to close that gap, creating resolve for your task.
          • Step 1: Make the imagine of your vivid outcome and the feeling of unqualified desire strong and stable in your mind.
          • Step 2: Bring up the imagine of the current state of your project, and any feelings associated with that, while still holding the vivid outcome and unqualified desire stable.
          • Step 3: Overlay what is on top of what could be. If it's an image of your current state and end state. Make the end state transparent and overlay it on top of current state. If it's a feeling, imagine the feeling of what could be moving towards the feeling of what is in your body, and overlaying on top. Same for sounds, proprioception, etc.
          • Step 4: Notice your brain wanting to resolve that tension. Let that process happen, and stabilize the resulting resolve to work on the task.
        • Exercise: For each item on your list that had unqualified desire, do your desire contrasting move. Let yourself do one small step towards each task based on your resolve, before letting that resolve go and moving to the next task.
      • Reflex: If unqualified desire, then desire contrasting.
        • Exercise: Imagine a version of yourself that finds this mental reflex easy, fun, and intrinsically rewarding. In your head, as that person, rehearse 5 times a situation in the recent past or the future, and how you would react as that person.
    • Meditation Exercise
      • For 10 minutes, you'll ask yourself "What's important to do?"
      • You'll notice what comes up for you and do your desire check.
      • If you feel unqualified resolve, you'll do your desire contrasting to feel resolve.
      • Then you'll drop your resolve, and repeat from the beginning
      • Each time, make micro-corrections, how can you make your form better on the next go around?
    • Deliberate Work Session Exercise
      • Brainstorm tasks you can make progress on in five minutes or less.
      • Set a five minute timer.
      • Use desire contrasting to create resolve.
      • Work until the timer goes off.
      • Repeat 5 times for 5 different tasks
      • At the end, ask yourself what about your form was great, what you'd like to improve for the future, and what you learned about this cognitive strategy.
    • Conscious Work Session Exercise
      • Go through a normal work session, using pomodoros.
      • At the end of each work session, ask yourself if you succesfully used this cognitive strategy when you needed it. Ask yourself what was good about your form, and what needed to be improved.
      • Try to remain a bit more conscious of these items in your next pomodoro.
Comment by mr-hire on How Much is Your Time Worth? Or Why You Should Buy an AC · 2019-09-10T15:47:39.537Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Am I reading this wrong? It seems like the meta study is suggestion that the linear productivity decline applies to the 30% of workers who experience a productivity drop due to heat.

Comment by mr-hire on ozziegooen's Shortform · 2019-09-10T14:49:00.396Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Another related idea we played around with, but which didn't make it into the final whitepaper:

What if we just assumed that Brier score was also predictive of good judgement. Then, people, could create a distribution over several measures of "how good will this organization do" and we could use standard probability theory and aggregation tools to create an aggregated final measure.

Comment by mr-hire on ozziegooen's Shortform · 2019-09-10T14:38:09.081Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The way we handled this with Verity was to pick a series of values, like "good judgement", "integrity," "consistency" etc. Then the community would select exemplars who they thought represented those values the best.

As people voted on which proposals they liked best, we would weight their votes by:

1. How much other people (weighted by their own score on that value) thought they had that value.

2. How similarly they voted to the examplars.

This sort of "value judgement" allows for fuzzy representation of high level judgement, and is a great supplement to more objective metrics like Brier score which can only measure well defined questions.

Eigentrust++ is a great algorithm that has the properties needed for this judgement-based reputation. The Verity Whitepaper goes more into depth as to how this would be used in practice.

Comment by mr-hire on The 3 Books Technique for Learning a New Skilll · 2019-09-10T13:59:40.453Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The 3 books technique includes a project or practice.

Comment by mr-hire on G Gordon Worley III's Shortform · 2019-09-09T15:44:55.061Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What's the justification for this? Seems pretty symmetric to "If wheels are sufficient for getting around, then its' likely humans evolved to use wheels."

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T22:04:03.573Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's a similar danger in trying to be too specific in ones' own thinking. I can't quite articulate it yet, but the idea of "holding a question" in this article feels internally to me like a very different stance then one where I'm requesting specificity from myself, and I find it highly valuable.

There's something about the move of specificity that doesn't allow for "space", which occurs both internally and in conversation.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T21:38:23.102Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
So the push for specificity helped clarify people's thinking,

Sort of, it helped solidify a not yet solidified frame, which was a waste of time, because the frame was rapidly changing.


"let's consider another possibility for the claim we want to make".

I said this, but the person I was talking to had a strong aesthetic need for specificity and wouldn't let it go.\

I don't think that means anyone was failing by being too specific.

I think there was failingin asking for specificity at the wrong time.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T21:11:52.795Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I found a few examples on LW, but don't really want to call out anyone specifically. Here's another example:

At the EA hotel, talking about specific problems/demographics of the EA community, we were talking in general terms, trying to describe a particular demographic. At some point someone was like "hold on what are we discussing here, can we explain specifically what we would expect to see?"

This was actually a good move, but it was too early. Specifically, we were still fruitfully changing and exploring our model, finding the most useful way to actually think about this particular dynamic in the EA community. By forcing us to go specific at this time, we ended up "locked in" to the specific frame we were at when we went more specific, and it took about 20 minutes of conversational maneuvering to get back to the "exploration" phase. At that point, we eventually did settle on a better frame that seemed useful to everyone, and let the conversation naturally lead to examples and specificity.

I recognize that both of the above examples are a bit general, I'm having trouble finding specific examples that aren't a bit controversial or would point too much towards blaming a specific person if they saw me write.

Comment by mr-hire on An1lam's Short Form Feed · 2019-09-06T19:33:57.290Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW
There might be something like all truly monumental engineering breakthroughs depended on something like a "scientific" breakthrough. Something like Faraday and Maxwell figuring out theories of electromagnetism is actually a bigger deal than Edison(/others) figuring out the lightbulb, the radio, etc. There are cases of lauded people who are a little more ambiguous on the science/engineer dichotomy. Turing? Shannon? Tesla? Shockley et al with the transistor seems kind of like an engineering breakthrough, and seems there could be love for that. I wonder if Feynman gets more recognition because as an educator we got a lot more of the philosophy underlying his work. Just rambling here.

TRIZ is an engineering discipline that has something called the five levels of innovation, which talks about this:

1. You solve a problem by using a common solution in your own speciality.

2. You solve a problem using a common solution i your own industry.

3. You solve a problem using a common solution found in other industries.

4. You solve a problem using a solution built on first principles (e.g. little known scientific principles.)

5. You solve a problem by discovering a new principle/scientific rule.

Comment by mr-hire on How Smart People Become Stupid · 2019-09-06T19:28:30.271Z · score: 10 (7 votes) · LW · GW

What are your goals for the videos? If you're trying to get a large audience, one thing I might suggest is to pick a specific topic that people are familiar with, and use that as a lens to explore a topic. Slate star codex does this really well.

Compare "The Map is not the Territory" (only interesting to people who already know the phrase) to "Why climate models are bad at predicting climate change" which could explain map territority distinctions and bayesian reasoning through the lens of explaining why you believe in climate change, even though any given climate model is likely to be wrong. I think this sort of "Newsjacking" strategy is a great way to insert yourself in the conversation, create more rational discourse, and build an audience.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T18:18:37.388Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Great! The one part that's missing is another big goal of abstraction that Ive mentioned, which is to allow abstract framings of a problem that suggest solutions.

Comment by mr-hire on jacobjacob's Shortform Feed · 2019-09-06T17:08:29.728Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not even sure if it gets the niche market easily. Most crypto people don't use their crypto for dapps or payments

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T16:44:08.895Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would you be willing to ITT me? If not, I can try to write up a similar high level summary of my position.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T15:55:24.700Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I want to take a step back and go up the ladder of abstraction, as I feel we're a bit too "in the weeds" at the moment.

Here's my ITT of you, let me know if this feels accurate:

Most conversations have a chronic problem of "too much abstraction". Often times, if people would just be specific about they're claims, they would realize that they're just too vague, or they don't have a real plan, or there's no real disagreement, or their grievances are false.

If we could start being aware when we're too abstract in our thinking, and develop the habit of constantly being more specific, we could improve dialogue. Furthermore, this problem is SOO widespread, that even if people didn't understand that they were doing, just developing the habit of being more specific without any foundation would be an improvement on the status quo.

------

Does that land for you?

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T15:37:08.216Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, and them right after that you agreed that in other circumstances, asking for the definition is the right move for going down the ladder of abstraction... So, this was an example for someone applying specificity unthinkingly instead of understanding the ladder of abstraction and when it's useful.

Another example is at a conference, discussing different types of forecasting, being derailed by someone asking how the specific algorithms we were talking about would be used, not realizing that we hadn't explored the abstract solution space of forecasting enough yet to answer that, and that it would derail the conversation.

I can keep giving examples like this btw, and we can go through them one by one, or we can use abstraction and talk about them as a group phenomena.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T15:00:11.026Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The failure mode happens quite often to me. People go down the ladder of abstraction often miss the point of staying at the higher level, derailing the conversation. The TRIZ prism is instructive here in why this is bad, and this failure mode of asking for specific solutions when explorong meta solutions happens quite a bit. The other example of a person asking for definitions is another example already given.

I'll note that this is a "Rock and hard place" situation, but so far O haven't seen you acknowledge that there is in fact a hard place.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T14:52:45.602Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm saying a fellow who can't take meta and meta-meta as object won't know when he's going down the ladder of abstraction. For instance of you say "I have a headache" and I ask you for an example of other times you had headaches, I'm not meaningfully going down the ladder of abstraction, whereas if I ask you where it hurts, I am.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T14:29:25.379Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe it would help to give specific examples of what you see "taking the ladder of abstraction as object" as to see if we're discussing the same thing.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T14:27:41.686Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That makes sense, but it seems to require the ability to take the ladder of abstraction as object? Otherwise you couldn't tell the difference between asking for a specific definition and asking for a specific example, and which goes down the ladder of abstraction vs. a vague directive to always be more specific.

Comment by mr-hire on The Power to Judge Startup Ideas · 2019-09-06T14:23:22.506Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A few related ideas here:

The 10x startup: the idea that because of switching costs, a new startup has to provide 10x value to the previous alternative.

Problem/solution fit: The stage before product market for where you describe your solution to an idea and the customer says "Yes, I want that."

So one way to go beyond "Having a specific value proposition" is "Having a specific value proposition that gets your customers excited."

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T14:02:18.823Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's a comment with examples about books and about communicatimg thinking vs feeling. Maybe you missed it?

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T13:52:00.130Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The same examples I gave above? This comment is a third example.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T03:51:00.612Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Someone who is not aware of what they're doing, but unthinkingly goes down the ladder, is exactly what caused me worry in the first response.

Specificity is a tool, not a generalized desired state.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-06T03:49:24.083Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that all three are useful, however O think you're right the taking it as object is a prerequisite and probably most valuable of the three.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-04T15:58:43.874Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Ahh I see. So I think a confusion here is that I often think that framing the problem in the abstract often happens BEFORE a specific solution is reached.

One model I really like for this is the TRIZ Prism for problem solving. The idea is you start with a *specific problem* which you then frame as an *abstract problem*, which then allows you to brainstorm an *abstract solution* which then frames a specific solution. So, we might start with a specific thing like "Authors aren't getting enough for their books" and then BEFORE I come up with a solution, I might say "one way to frame this is Marx's idea of needing to own the means of production".

Now, this doesn't suggest a specific solution, and if you ask me for "specifically, what solution are you suggesting?" my response is "Well I don't know yet, I just want to explore this frame and see what comes out of it, and what abstract solutions we can arrive at at this level of abstraction." It would be important, AFTER a few abstract solutions are explored, to go back to specifics and ask how that would look in this specific situation. However, the skill of NOT going specific too soon is important here. Hopefully that gives you a specific example of why I don't want to provide a specific example in this specific example :)

Another related idea around abstraction vs. specificity is the idea of always having to "define your terms up front." I remember a particular conversation I was in with rationalists where someone asked what people considered "thinking vs. feeling". The whole idea here was to explore the different ways people held concepts in order to understand each other better. However, one of the rationalists kept insisting that we first define what we meant by thinking and feeling, so that we didn't end up with language disagreements. However, the whole point was to explore those disagreements in order to understand people's experience. This is different from the example above, but its' another great example of where a specificity move (define your terms) is actually getting in the way of a generative conversation.

Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-04T14:09:37.033Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW
Yeah, but that's an easier skill that more people have.

This seems obviously false to me. Coming up with good abstractions is nuanced and most people suck at it. I have put a lot of work into it, and consider myself decent compared to the average person, but still suck at it.

I see you've chosen to explain your point by way of an example of how you'd have difficulty coming up with an example. If you would make this meta-example of yours more specific by also naming an example of the higher-level point you might desire to make, then I'll be able to respond productively :)

I don't get what you're trying to say here, because it's not... specific enough. Can YOU give an example of how you would like me to give an example.


Edit:

What I've written reads as fairly antagonistic to me, so I want to make a few things clear:

1. I believe that specificity is an incredibly useful skill, and am sort of known among my friend group for saying "can you give me an example of that?"

2. I think everything you've written so far has framed useful skills that will actually help.

3. I respect you personally and recognize that you're a deep thinker and have thought about this a lot.

What I'm really uncomfortable about is the tone and perceived axioms of the sequence, like:

  • People are being abstract because they're being lazy.
  • The right move is to always get more specific.
  • Talking in the abstract means that you're using sloppy reasoning.
  • A lack of acknowledgement that this is simply one skill, and that moving upwards correctly is another.
Comment by mr-hire on How Specificity Works · 2019-09-04T12:23:07.890Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I feel deeply uncomfortable with this sequence. Most of the thinkers I know who I perceive as really getting at the truth can move both ways on the abstraction ladder, and in particular often move up the ladder of abstraction for purposes of generativity: If I'm talking about my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, it's very unclear how I would go about changing how that works, because it's price is a product of the broader system.

This is a similar problem I have with for instance double Crux. Oftentimes it goes down levels of abstraction to reach a diaagreement, but oftentimes the real disagreement is " What level of abstraction will most likely lead to a solution".

I understand that the first question before "what is the solution?" is "is there a problem?' and that as the specificity sequence, this is trying to get at the former. However, I worry that by teaching moves that tell people to focus on the trees, without addressing the Forest, and recognizing the times when specificity or abstraction is important, you're giving people a hammer that can make people better arguers and worse reasoners.

Comment by mr-hire on An1lam's Short Form Feed · 2019-09-02T18:08:20.110Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have similar differences with many people on LW and agree there is something of an unacknowledged aesthetic here.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-09-02T16:40:15.229Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone here struggle with perfectionism? I'd love to talk to you and get an understanding of your experience.

Comment by mr-hire on How Much is Your Time Worth? Or Why You Should Buy an AC · 2019-09-02T15:25:52.412Z · score: 14 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That first links seems to suggest that only 30% of workers have this drop in productivity. If you're going on only a statistical argument, that means that $240 * 30% chance means about $72 lost. This seems to alter your numbers drastically. This also seems to suggest a high VOI to measuring your productivity and plotting that against heat, to see if you're in the 30%.

Comment by mr-hire on Eli's shortform feed · 2019-09-02T02:50:04.934Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't it possible that there's some other biological sink that is time delayed from caloric energy? Like say, a very specific part of your brain needs a very specific protein, and only holds enough of that protein for 4 hours? And it can take hours to build that protein back up. This seems to me to be at least somewhat likeely.

Comment by mr-hire on Raemon's Scratchpad · 2019-08-30T22:23:35.502Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Another useful skill you can practice is *actually understanding people's models*. Like, find something someone else believes, guess what their model, is then ask them "so your model is this?", then repeat until they agree that you understand their model. This sort of active listening around models is definitely a prerequisite doublecrux skill and can be practiced without needing someone else to agree to doublecrux with you.

Comment by mr-hire on Open & Welcome Thread - August 2019 · 2019-08-30T17:10:20.713Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Can we do a call about this?

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-08-30T15:07:55.341Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think disagree is not semantically accurate for the thing I'm trying to point at, but it still feels internally often like "We have a fundamental disagreement about how to view this situation", it make more sense to talk about "our models being in agreement" than us being in agreement.

Comment by mr-hire on Kaj's shortform feed · 2019-08-29T22:15:25.388Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Other common marketing advice that fits into this:

  • Set up a "bad guy" that you're against
  • If you're in a crowded category, either
    • Create a new category (e.g. rationality)
    • Set yourself up as an alternative to number in a category (Pepsi)
    • Become number one in the category (Jetblue?)
  • It's better to provide value that takes away a pain (painkillers) than that adds something that was missing (vitamins)
Comment by mr-hire on Benito's Shortform Feed · 2019-08-29T18:56:42.754Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think part of the problem here is underspecification of CEV.

Let's say Bob has never been kind to anyone unless its' in his own self interest. He has noticed that being selfless is sort of an addictive thing for people, and that once they start doing it they start raving about how good it feels, but he doesn't see any value in it right now. So he resolves to never be selfless, in order to never get hooked.

There are two ways for CEV to go in this instance, one way is to never allow bob to make a change that his old self wouldn't endorse. Another way would be to look at all the potential changes he could make, posit a version of him that has had ALL the experiences and is able to reflect on them, then say "Yeah dude, you're gonna really endorse this kindness thing once you try it."

I think the second scenario is probably true for many other experiences than kindness, possibly including having children, enlightenment, etc. From our current vantage point it feels like having children would CHANGE our values, but another interpretation is that we always valued having children, we just never had the qualia of having children so we don't understand how much we would value that particular experience.

Comment by mr-hire on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-29T12:42:09.737Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note that my response was responding to this original question:

What response did your friend want?

It want obvious to me that this was asking "How did your friend want the world to be different such that the incentives were to respond differently?"

Comment by mr-hire on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-28T18:27:23.911Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW
And then the other person says "no thanks", and you both stand in awkward silence?

I think I would probably change the subject in a case like this. Good "vibing" conversation skill here is to "fractionate" the conversation, frequently cut topics before they reach their natural conclusion so that when you reach a conversation dead end like this, you have somewhere to go back to. Ditto with being able to make situational observations to restart a conversation, and having in your back pocket a list of topics and questions to go to.

I don't think the proper thing to do here is to make someone else feel awkward or annoyed so that you feel less awkward, the proper thing to do is to learn the conversational skills to make people not feel awkward.

Comment by mr-hire on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-28T17:01:48.716Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My response in this case would be to say something like "Well, I've got some shows that might change you're mind if you're ever interested. "Then leave it to them to continue that thread if interested. This goes with my general policy to try to avoid giving unsolicited advice.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-08-28T13:57:14.771Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The four levels of listening, from some old notes:

1. Content - Do you actually understand what this person is saying? Do they understand that you understand?

2. Subtext - Do you actually understand how this person feels about what they're saying? Do they understand that you understand?

3. Intent- Do you actually understand WHY this person is saying what they're saying? Do they understand that you understand?

4. Paradigm - Do you actually understand what all of the above says about who this person is and how they view the world? Do they understand that you understand?

Comment by mr-hire on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-28T13:28:57.825Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Possible scenario where this comes up:

Your friends are talking about anime, they ask you if you watch anime, you say "I don't like anime," they say "well you just haven't watched the right shows, have you tried..."

Comment by mr-hire on Dual Wielding · 2019-08-27T19:15:44.307Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Aren't phone batteries like unique snowflakes that only work with their specific phone?

(Note, one way to deal with this if indeed the battery thing is true for friends is to make sure to get long chargers that have multiple types of connections, I've used these ones from Amazon)

Comment by mr-hire on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-27T16:20:30.673Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note this is kind of half joking in how it was worded, but kinda... not in the suggestion itself. That is, just make the internal state shift to do the uncontrolled daydreaming thing, instead of the controlled daydreaming thing.

Comment by mr-hire on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-27T15:56:22.759Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why not just do the uncontrolled thing instead of the deliberate thing?


:-0