Posts

Burst work or steady work? 2021-06-22T05:36:49.559Z
How to test tiny skills? 2021-04-24T05:02:45.347Z
Roundabout Strategy 2021-01-28T00:44:00.743Z
Ways to be more agenty? 2021-01-05T08:06:13.496Z
Examples of positive-sum(ish) games? 2020-10-10T21:09:04.349Z
Can you gain weirdness points? 2020-07-31T03:41:47.050Z

Comments

Comment by NicholasKross on Working With Monsters · 2021-07-21T17:15:47.697Z · LW · GW

phew!

Comment by NicholasKross on Working With Monsters · 2021-07-20T18:28:17.299Z · LW · GW

Socially oblivious question: Is this part of that genre of "posts that are secretly about a specific person or employer"? (aka "subtweeting")

Comment by NicholasKross on Re: Competent Elites · 2021-07-15T21:56:01.139Z · LW · GW

It can even do both in different areas for the same person! (N-not that I would know...)

Comment by NicholasKross on (Brainstem, Neocortex) ≠ (Base Motivations, Honorable Motivations) · 2021-07-13T02:54:06.740Z · LW · GW

Possible idea here of a "motivation treadmill", where we can only motivate to do hard things by "using up" the supply of good things to link them to. (Relatedly: the demotivating ideas of "nothing motivates me" or "nothing I try works").

Comment by NicholasKross on Going Out With Dignity · 2021-07-13T02:29:23.487Z · LW · GW

I bet solutions have been somewhat found/sustained in other contexts (high-performance research teams, low-runway startups, warfare, uh... maybe astronauts?).

Comment by NicholasKross on Burst work or steady work? · 2021-07-06T03:32:30.192Z · LW · GW

Agreed! Burst work can be most effective when done on things that amplify or aid steady work (e.g. setting up new software, process automation, learning a skill).

Comment by NicholasKross on Burst work or steady work? · 2021-06-25T09:07:18.118Z · LW · GW

Thanks! And there's theoretical reasons my prior would be on steady work (including some HN or SO or book comment I saw (maybe related to personal slack?) claiming that 40% was the optimal capacity to work ourselves at in general, due to task throughput concerns)

Comment by NicholasKross on Burst work or steady work? · 2021-06-25T09:05:30.306Z · LW · GW

This might help me think through some health things, thank you

Comment by NicholasKross on Burst work or steady work? · 2021-06-25T09:04:46.742Z · LW · GW

Good point, yeah. Burst work may or may not help, but it becomes necessary in such situations

Comment by NicholasKross on Learning takes a long time · 2021-06-19T20:31:42.172Z · LW · GW

Anyone know/have advice on:

  • making the most of time spent on the deep thinking?
  • methods to find the best/most-diversely-explained sources of information?
Comment by NicholasKross on Re: Fierce Nerds · 2021-05-26T20:52:25.703Z · LW · GW

Thanks! Meds during meals works well for me also.

Comment by NicholasKross on Re: Fierce Nerds · 2021-05-24T20:23:14.479Z · LW · GW

Sorry that you haven't had much success, but I am interested in which tactics you used turned out best.

Comment by NicholasKross on Re: Fierce Nerds · 2021-05-19T20:53:50.776Z · LW · GW

Obligatory comment where I'm jealous of having that much dopamine. Dopamine helps motivation, but my meds don't make me more viscerally-goal-directed (i.e., right now I'm just reading and writing comments, instead of goals I've actually come up with for myself).

Anyone here have this problem? Energy, goals, and not enough linkage between them? (Currently thinking it's related to dark flow or superstimuli, but some Agenty people still do "fun" things without spiralling or neglecting their Big Goals.)

Comment by NicholasKross on How to test tiny skills? · 2021-04-25T00:57:50.930Z · LW · GW

I think I'm describing natural strengths, and I just didn't think to call it that until you pointed it out just now. I thought linking "Parable of the Talents" would intuition-pump that, but I should be more explicit in the future.

Comment by NicholasKross on How to test tiny skills? · 2021-04-24T17:14:34.970Z · LW · GW

These are intriguing, thanks! But I guess I'm looking for things like these where each skill-section is unbundled. Like if each category of the ASVAB, were its own test.

Comment by NicholasKross on How to test tiny skills? · 2021-04-24T17:11:55.612Z · LW · GW

I remember taking something like this in high school! This is a decent example of what I'm looking for! Not quite the database-of-tiny-skills, but it seems to target the more-specific-strengths thing.

Comment by NicholasKross on Training the YouTube Algorithm · 2021-04-15T08:45:02.181Z · LW · GW

I tried to do this with a Twitter alt account, to get info about one specific topic. Then I got lazy and used it as a dumping ground to follow any account I came across. But maybe this could've worked there, too.

Comment by NicholasKross on Against "Context-Free Integrity" · 2021-04-15T01:02:42.524Z · LW · GW

I've noticed a thing happening (more? lately? just in my reading sample?) similar to what you describe, where the emphasis goes more onto the social/community side of rationality as opposed to... the rest of rationality.

The Moral Mazes examples are related to that. Also topics like reputation, and virtues 'n' norms, and what other people think of you.

At some point, a person's energy and resources are finite. They can try to win at anything, but maybe the lesson from recent writings is "winning at social anything is hard enough (for a LW-frequenting personality) to be a notable problem".

Some thoughts on this issue:

  • Codify, codify, codify. Most people in the LW community are lacking in some social skills (relative to both non-members and the professional-politician standard). Those who have those skills: please make long detailed checklists and email-extensions of what works. That way, the less-socially-skilled among us can avoid losing-at-social without turning into Mad-Eye Moody and losing our energy.

  • Is there a trend where communities beat around the bush more over time? Many posts do what I've heard called "subtweeting". "Imagine a person X, having to do thing Y, and problem Z happens...". Yes, social game theory exists and reputation exists, but at least consider just telling people the details.

Common/game-theory/vague/bad: "Let's say somebody goes to $ORG, but they do something bad. We should consider $ORG and everyone there to be infected with The Stinky."

Better/precise/detailed/good: "Hey, Nicholas Kross went to MIRI and schemed to build a robot that outputs anti-utils. How do we prevent this in the future, and can we make a preventative checklist?" [1]

If you are totally financially/legally dependent on an abusive organization or person, obviously writing a call-out post with details is game-theoretically bad for you. In that case, don't leave in those details. For everyone else: either write a postmortem or say "I'm under NDA, but...".

(If your AGI-will-give-us-Slack timeline is shorter than a community-Slack-project, how much should you really worry about long-term politics-style social/reputational-game-theoretic threats to the community's Slack?)

Interested in more thoughts on this.


  1. This is a fictional example. Plus, it's not even slyly alluding to any situations! (Well, as far as I know.) ↩︎

Comment by NicholasKross on Place-Based Programming - Part 1 - Places · 2021-04-14T23:19:20.496Z · LW · GW

My normie-paradigm mindset translates this to something like "the variable is a pointer to a result, and the result needs to be computed once (same as a source file may need to be computed once to use)". Is this accurate, or am I missing more of it?

Comment by NicholasKross on I Trained a Neural Network to Play Helltaker · 2021-04-09T06:05:42.340Z · LW · GW

Ah, yeah 64x64 is pretty good there. (Now I wonder how much you could lower the framerate...)

Comment by NicholasKross on I Trained a Neural Network to Play Helltaker · 2021-04-07T21:25:51.679Z · LW · GW

Godspeed for ML on raw videos / running OBS + other things on a normal computer. (Related: I'd bet training on way-lower-resolution game footage would generalize to higher-resolution footage).

Comment by NicholasKross on Contrarian Writing Advice · 2021-03-08T12:48:59.662Z · LW · GW

Not sure how contrarian "Few Quotes" is. I've gotten that advice at least once in college. Then again, a lot of books (especially nonfiction) quote a bit too much, so maybe this is contrarian advice in such contexts.

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-15T18:16:08.431Z · LW · GW

Yes! It turned out I had undiagnosed ADHD, and I'm getting treatment for it. It's not solving everything (otherwise I probably wouldn't have asked the question), but it's helping.

Comment by NicholasKross on Overconfidence · 2021-01-12T02:33:56.607Z · LW · GW

This ties in well with the Procrastination Equation. Useful overconfidence means setting your "expectancy" term really high, even outside your comfort zone or social convention/rules.

Comment by NicholasKross on Overconfidence · 2021-01-12T02:31:35.918Z · LW · GW

Posts like this are correct on the emotional confidence stuff. In turn, more of them could link to Conviction without self-deception. (Or maybe the good kind of "self-deception" is less "sky is green" , and more "using Newtonian physics instead of quantum physics to build an airplane".)

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-12T02:22:15.829Z · LW · GW

Nooooo, that doesn't work for me, because my situation is definitely unique and not solvable! You see, I have too much energy to [sleep, rest, or not be jittery], but also too little energy to [do activities I've conditioned myself to think are harder than they are, despite having done them easily before]. /s

Put zero effort into--

Finally, a tip I can at least get started on. Zing!

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-09T22:53:10.993Z · LW · GW

Yeah, the systemization thing is definitely a common theme with a lot of agenty behaviors.

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-05T17:15:44.092Z · LW · GW

The world-state idea is interesting, like the shift in perception is to make the options salient (and therefore more likely to be taken).

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-05T17:14:24.301Z · LW · GW

On the extreme end basically guaranteed to work

Hey, that's what I'm here for. Thanks for the tips! (Although I'd prolly end up using a raspi for mine).

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-05T17:13:22.706Z · LW · GW

I've wondered about the roleplaying thing myself. Your example reminds me of Ulillillia and his "mind game" system.

Comment by NicholasKross on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-05T17:11:53.955Z · LW · GW

Haven't thought of these, thanks for the ideas!

Comment by NicholasKross on D&D.Sci Evaluation and Ruleset · 2020-12-14T01:39:12.897Z · LW · GW

This was cool! Definitely looking forward to the next challenge and using what I learned from this.

Comment by NicholasKross on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-09T20:25:31.115Z · LW · GW

STR +3, WIS +3, INT +0, CHA +2-4, evenly distribute among the rest. Pretty unsophisticated, and misses out from larger gains from adding many points to a stat in one go.

Comment by NicholasKross on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-06T03:03:35.027Z · LW · GW

Ah, okay thanks!

Comment by NicholasKross on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-06T02:27:00.703Z · LW · GW

Stupid question: STR and CHA are given in different orders in the data vs the above description. (And, because both values given are "low" enough to be the CHA stat, it's ambiguous if the values were switched). Does this secretly mean something, or am I just reading too much into it?

Comment by NicholasKross on Integrating the Lindy Effect · 2020-12-03T03:07:27.643Z · LW · GW

Say I'm deciding what to do with my time (not well-planned, although maybe it should be more deliberate). What's a quick heuristic for deciding what to do?

"Focus on timeless knowledge" is relatively simple to do, and it started to affect how I view a lot of things.

Why dive deep into trivia that teaches me nothing? Why play the video games I used to play a lot? Why consume junk media (which lsusr wrote another post about)? With a bit of argument, this post nudged me further and faster, in the direction of actually prioritizing what I do with my time.

Comment by NicholasKross on Success Buys Freedom · 2020-11-28T05:52:42.675Z · LW · GW

This sounds about right. I would bet capital points that some of this has to do with amount of dopamine in the brain. The points on freedom after transcending survival, experimentation, and self-motivation... those are bought with dopamine (which, based on your other writings, can sometimes be bought with pain, which is kinda convenient in a way!)

Comment by NicholasKross on Manifesto of the Silent Minority · 2020-11-27T03:27:16.647Z · LW · GW

Still more coherent than most manifestos. Great job team!

Comment by NicholasKross on “Prediction” and “explanation” are not causation · 2020-10-24T20:58:25.630Z · LW · GW

the general sense of “explanation” means a conceptual understanding of a phenomenon. In statistics, “explanation” implies no such understanding

I don't understand what you're saying here. Does statistics use "explanation" as a technical jargon term for something that's not gearsy?

Comment by NicholasKross on Hiring engineers and researchers to help align GPT-3 · 2020-10-04T02:05:37.211Z · LW · GW

What's the quickest way to get up to speed and learn the relevant skills, to the level expected of someone working at OpenAI?

Comment by NicholasKross on Engaging Seriously with Short Timelines · 2020-08-05T13:17:11.793Z · LW · GW

Any ideas for accruing money quickly outside of a job? I don't have much capital to invest currently.

Comment by NicholasKross on Can you gain weirdness points? · 2020-07-31T21:44:35.608Z · LW · GW

This is way clearer thinking than I previously had about this topic. Thank you!

Comment by NicholasKross on Life at Three Tails of the Bell Curve · 2020-07-01T23:50:24.431Z · LW · GW

I'm high enough on conscientiousness to not fail, but not high enough on conscientiousness to succeed (or catch up to my neuroticism).

Comment by NicholasKross on Life at Three Tails of the Bell Curve · 2020-07-01T23:49:19.465Z · LW · GW

Hey how do I be you? The most I got was one time when I drank an energy drink and then I obsessed over a spreadsheet for 2 hours and then crashed after a total of 4 hours.

Comment by NicholasKross on SSC Meetups Everywhere: Rochester, NY · 2019-09-17T12:39:52.812Z · LW · GW

Can't wait! I've convinced a friend or two of mine to come, hope to see the rest of you there!

Comment by NicholasKross on Specificity: Your Brain's Superpower · 2019-09-17T12:37:40.333Z · LW · GW

Another example of going up/down the ladder/lattice of abstraction, is also given by Paul Graham. In his essay "General and Surprising", he noted how valuable insights are generally-applicable, usually meaning abstract. However, he noted that it's often more attainable to say something more specific about already-known-to-be-important-things (as long as that more specific thing is new).


More specifically, being specific seems like it would catch more mistakes/laziness/haziness in reasoning. In contrast, being more general seems better for having new ideas, rather than getting them to specifically match reality well.

Comment by NicholasKross on Specificity: Your Brain's Superpower · 2019-09-17T01:53:15.511Z · LW · GW

As far as I know, being specific is like half (most? (technically all?)) of the core of rational thinking and living. Looking forward to more out of this, based on what's posted so far!

Comment by NicholasKross on A vote against spaced repetition · 2019-05-23T04:07:38.448Z · LW · GW
Spaced repetition is still good for knowledge you need to retrieve immediately, when a 2-second delay would make it useless.

Not sure about other people/situations, BUT I personally have found, in classroom settings relating to math and CS theory, that a 2-second delay can impede understanding. Especially when a definition relies on a combination of well-chunked previous concepts, which is especially the case when dealing with math.

Comment by NicholasKross on New edition of "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" · 2018-12-21T04:31:08.242Z · LW · GW

Indeed. Reminds me of how science communication these days has kind of expanded, partly because the tools of (good) design are more accessible. A quick look at the (good) science channels on YouTube shows kinda the opposite. Of course, this can lead to other problems (if science + bad-design = crackpot, people can perceive BS + good-design as = true). Rhyme-as-reason effect, style-as-substance, etc.

Comment by NicholasKross on New edition of "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" · 2018-12-19T03:58:50.216Z · LW · GW

Definitely think it's a good idea to go for the two optimized versions. Kinda like many (most?) of the classic novels from history: cheap mass edition + luxurious "pro" version. (Not that the content would actually differ between them, unless there's some good reason for that I'm not thinking of; "Hey, the leatherbound version has more original post text and tangents!").