Comment by oooo on My paper was signalling the whole time - Robin Hanson wins again · 2020-08-05T04:42:13.511Z · LW · GW

Two words, one meme: Robin Hanson.

Comment by oooo on Straw Hufflepuffs and Lone Heroes · 2017-04-19T02:16:02.274Z · LW · GW

What that means is that we have a lot of people with individualist personalities who are developing themselves in a way that is primarily an individual endeavor.

The term gamification has been bandied about a lot to the point of uselessness, but it seems this community benefits directly from such re-framings. Individual endeavours could be considered Level 1.

That sort of makes trying to have well-organized group projects a bit of a challenge. I think if you're arguing that we should encourage people to develop their social skills, I wouldn't be opposed to that at all. I think the only sort of challenge you'll get from taking that route is how to do it without compromising qualities that make us rational (for example, how do we prevent social pressures that encourage irrationality from taking hold).

Level 2 (or 1000, since it seems rather difficult). The trick is to somehow provide "HOWTOs". Lesswrong speedruns (sic) consist of a hodgepodge of absorbing the Sequences, HPMoR, SSC and this site, depending on how far back one wants to go.

Comment by oooo on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-12-06T02:24:47.362Z · LW · GW

It all works quite well and after using it for a few months the idea of going back to simple upvotes/downvotes feels like a significant regression.

This Slack-specific emoji capability is akin to Facebook Reactions; namely a wider array of aggregated post/comment actions.

Comment by oooo on Increase Your Child’s Working Memory · 2016-12-06T02:20:20.926Z · LW · GW

Thank you for these exercise samples. I didn't realize that I was running through a less powerful flavour of these exercises until this post. Do you by chance have any examples of exercises that you've both worked on to increase your child's verbal and linguistic capabilities?

Comment by oooo on Which areas of rationality are underexplored? - Discussion Thread · 2016-12-05T06:56:16.201Z · LW · GW

I upvoted you because I noticed that the term "team level rationality" piquing my interest. Is "team level" or "group rationality" emphasized or taught in follow-on CFAR workshops?

This seems like a potential area of low-hanging fruit where existing "executive team coaching program" content could be adapted. Somebody hypothesized that the growing popularity of local meetups and professional growth sapping LW readership. Group effectiveness content, especially in the context of the world-class teams/names/organizations that you listed, could potentially be immediately implemented in local meetups and in professional capacities.

I don't doubt however that as difficult as it has been for a community to generate individual rationality content, group effectiveness content is even harder to generate due to a perceived smaller set of individuals capable of proven & effective group enhancement, longer timeframes to realize group results and outline group experiments, plus a will and capability to explain said technique progressions.

EDIT: Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" has an anecdote about the "leaderless group challenge" as the inspiration for his illusion of validity cognitive bias. The group challenge is an example of the type of activity, often described as "team building exercises", that could be adapted specifically to raise small collective acuity and coordination effectiveness. As far as I'm aware, no widely available content exists specific outside of specific business, military or other domain-specific niches.

Another indirect tangent is the "Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande, drawing on his experience with medical errors (especially in high-performing OR units). Although this a huge step in the right direction, it still doesn't quite get to the root of formulating and internalizing a set of practices specific to enhancing collective effectiveness (even in a small groups).

Comment by oooo on Look for the Next Tech Gold Rush? · 2014-07-22T02:51:39.070Z · LW · GW

Not even Freicoins? Or do you mean weird, un-innovative altcoins that seem to add no real value to the ecosystem? Generally, it's hard to tell, but it seems certain altcoins try hard to differentiate themselves. Monero and Freicoin stand out as sufficiently different that they could turn out to be valuable (as far as altcoins go).

EDIT: Read the rest of the comments and noticed that you explicitly stated Freicoin is a possible exception to the rule. People may also be interested (although may also choose for various reasons not to invest) in other altcoins such as Ethereum (too complicated?), Zerocash (untested moon math?), Counterparty ("let's reduce the size of OP_RETURN and see how XCP reacts!"), Swarm (based on Counterparty) or Darkcoin (ninja premine?).

Comment by oooo on Request for concrete AI takeover mechanisms · 2014-04-28T03:50:33.065Z · LW · GW

OP: >>So MIRI is interested in making a better list of possible concrete routes to AI taking over the world. And for this, we ask your assistance.

Louie: >>Katja doesn't speak for all of MIRI when she says above what "MIRI is interested in".

These two statements contradict each other. If it's true that Katja doesn't speak for all of MIRI on this issue, perhaps MIRI has a PR issue and needs to issue guidance on how representatives of the organization present public requests. When reading the parent post, I concluded that MIRI leadership was on-board with this scenario-gathering exercise.

EDIT: Just read your profile and I realize you actually represent a portion of MIRI leadership. Recommend that Katja edit the parent post to reflect MIRI's actual position on this request.

Comment by oooo on Request for concrete AI takeover mechanisms · 2014-04-28T03:44:17.559Z · LW · GW

Upvoted for only this sentence fragment: "More benevolently, the AI makes a huge amount of money off of financial markets [...]".

Comment by oooo on Huffington Post article on DeepMind-requested AI ethics board, links back to LW [link] · 2014-01-30T15:51:00.670Z · LW · GW

Q6. How much influence will the ethics committee actually have? For example, are there commercial and IP clawback provisions if the committee is deemed to be ignored or sidelined?

Comment by oooo on AALWA: Ask any LessWronger anything · 2014-01-13T02:38:34.072Z · LW · GW

A North American non-Montessori educator (director of daycare) said that Montessori is different in various parts of the world. I did not do more research into this, and obviously this comment can be easily biased and seen to have an agenda. However, based on this comment alone, I'm also interested in whether you (Gunnar_Zarncke) thought about putting your children through (European) Montessori.

Comment by oooo on A proposed inefficiency in the Bitcoin markets · 2013-12-27T18:24:48.302Z · LW · GW

Unlike real estate which requires much higher amounts of capital (read: your after-tax savings) to invest in, Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies allow for people with just double-digit or less discretionary income to speculate.

In this manner, speculators/gamblers/investors are able to gain some experience with actual money and trading. The fees on the cryptocurrency exchanges are rather low, and since cryptocurrencies can go down to multiple decimal places, transaction fees of 0.45% (for example) are still feasible even on sub-$1 trades.

Of course, one could say that play money is just as useful for this type of scenario, but I think there's a cognitive fallacy that tries to explain how people behave when real vs. imaginary money is in play, even though the net effect is essentially the same (let's ignore the salient point that just $100 invested in Bitcoin in Jan 2013 would have netted $5000 in Dec 2013 as that needlessly distorts the point).

EDIT: One is unlikely to outguess the bitcoin market vs. any other exotic or local real estate market. However, cryptocurrencies allow for one to cheaply test whether they can outguess or not. Real estate is not cheap to test your prediction skills.

Comment by oooo on Rationality Quotes December 2013 · 2013-12-21T02:08:37.138Z · LW · GW

"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power."

-Lao Tzu (c.604 - 531 B.C.)

Comment by oooo on International cooperation vs. AI arms race · 2013-12-09T05:20:08.624Z · LW · GW was shutdown in July 2013, but evidently Net-Arb is another service carrying on the torch and focusing primarily on internet arbitration.

Comment by oooo on International cooperation vs. AI arms race · 2013-12-05T21:46:50.687Z · LW · GW

How much would AI developers be willing to sacrifice? They may be sufficiently concerned to at this risk as explained, but motivated and well-funded organizations (or governments) should have no problem attempting to influence, persuade or convert a fraction of AI developers to think otherwise.

I wonder if global climate change can be used as an analogy highlighting what some climate scientists are willing to publish due to funding and/or other incentives beyond scientific inquiry.

Comment by oooo on Snowdenizing UFAI · 2013-12-05T21:41:16.942Z · LW · GW

This presupposes that the AGI community is, on average, homogenous across the world and would behave accordingly. What if the political climates, traditions and culture make certain (powerful) countries less likely to be fearful given their own AGI pool?

In otherwords, if country A distrusts their staff more than country B due to political/economic/cultural factors, country A would be behind in the AGI arms race, which would lead to the "even if I hold onto my morals, we're still heading into the abyss" attitude. I could see organizations or governments rationalizing against the community moral pledge in this way by highlighting the futility of slowing down the research.

Comment by oooo on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-22T08:05:31.666Z · LW · GW

Taken for the first time. 'Twas fun.

Comment by oooo on I am switching to biomedical engineering and am looking for feedback on my strategy and assumptions · 2013-11-18T04:36:24.898Z · LW · GW

To do this your best bet is to talk to large numbers of biomedical engineering alumni. As a data point, you mentioned before that SFU has one of the most respectable biomed engineering programs. As another data point, University of Toronto doesn't allow general stream undergraduate engineers to choose certain specialties requiring that extra bit of intellectual horsepower unless you are able to enter (and survive) the more theoretical Engineering Science program. Biomed Engineering is one of the specialties that falls in this category.

I feel the reason that most biomed engineers don't pursue CS-ish careers is because many of them feel that their additional knowledge, training and suffering should be used for more "important" pursuits (grad school, designing life-saving medical devices, etc.). Combined with the general engineering school attitude that their education is more rigorous or harder than probably any other major in university (other than perhaps actuarial), and you have a situation where most engineers freshly graduated (barring Computer Engineers) would view pursuing a CS-ish career as a major step back.

However, given your stated interest in other goals (e.g. cognitive science, human cybernetics/enhancements/augmentation), this may not be a bad path to take provided you are mindful of and can navigate the immediate post-graduation job interviews.

As others suggested in this thread, it seems that you're probably much more geared towards a startup culture, in which case if you've chosen your electives correctly in 3rd and 4th year you would hopefully have had the chance to focus in on data visualization and/or bioinformatics and show an impressive body of work.

If you are motivated enough you may also try to take CS & math courses in the summer, or work on design projects to build up a body of work. Ideally summers would also be taken up with internships also, but at least the studying intensity would be somewhat reduced to allow you to get ahead on other credits/courses/knowledge/portfolio.

Comment by oooo on Why officers vs. enlisted? · 2013-10-31T09:25:08.558Z · LW · GW

Perhaps in your corporate ladder discussions it may be useful to mention unions vs. managers to make the point clearer. Focusing on senior managers vs. executives is a weaker description because most people see that as one unified ladder, and not two separate ladders.

Similarly: What's a corporate executive? I understand that there is a management hierarchy, but why the arbitrary distinction between a senior manager and a junior executive? Aren't those just two rungs on the ladder? In corporate-speak, an executive is called a "decision maker." What a strange term! Isn't a manager or even a lowly "individual contributor" also a decision maker -- at the scope that their own managers allow?

Yes, they are just two rungs on the (same) ladder. In corporate-speak, an executive is usually responsible for an entire function (e.g. marketing, HR, finance, engineering, IT, sales). "Junior executive" is typically an informal title bandied about in corporations with a deep management hierarchy tree. Senior Manager is usually a formal title. The distinction is less clearcut than you believe other than the formal title vs. informal social references.

Comment by oooo on Why officers vs. enlisted? · 2013-10-31T09:16:19.839Z · LW · GW

Agreed. There is no qualitative difference between senior manager and executive beyond the increased scope of responsibilities and scale with which your decisions affect others, both of which could be attributed to the word "agentiness."

Comment by oooo on Why officers vs. enlisted? · 2013-10-31T09:13:51.550Z · LW · GW

I believe the main distinction was primarily historical when nobles and aristocracy commanded peasants. I had always thought that commissions (from the Queen/King or head of state) used to be put on sale by the state, similar to how France at one point used to sell public offices.

In today's more modern times, one can become an officer by dint of having a post-secondary education. At least in Canada, you are typically an officer when you enlist provided you have a bachelor degree and pass certain intelligence tests.

Everybody else (NCOs or enlisted) typically become technical SMEs due to lack of upward mobility.

Doctors are SMEs, but they also have extensive post-secondary education. Average grunts and NCOs don't start out as SMEs, but given enough time (provided they survived) become an expert would have made perfect sense.

Comment by oooo on Does Goal Setting Work? · 2013-10-17T05:01:03.480Z · LW · GW

Plugging your terms into Google turned up some immediate links. This one seems to have behaviorism references to the underlying studies.

Comment by oooo on College courses versus LessWrong · 2013-09-15T03:06:07.200Z · LW · GW

Aha, mastery is the question, isn't it? I have no full answer for that.

Does the OP really mean mastery or setting one on the path to mastery? Perhaps a series of MOOC-like college courses would be more appropriate to gradually introduce and incrementally advance one's demonstrated understanding of LW content over time (and multiple courses).

Perhaps a parallel for the syllabus and starting point of a MOOC style would be Coursera's Critical Thinking or How To Argue courses.

Comment by oooo on College courses versus LessWrong · 2013-09-15T03:02:17.361Z · LW · GW

Other professional goals, skills, or structure-based needs might be satisfied by college,

As you pointed out earlier in your response, Internet learning (and LW in particular) could have been particularly useful before attending college. I would go one step further and suggest that attending college and learning from the internet should not be mutually exclusive for those who are interesting in learning and making a potential college social life trade-off.

I currently believe that most students attending college realize that the degree itself is of primary signalling importance, even if they're not able to explicitly articulate why.

Comment by oooo on Internet Research (with tangent on intelligence analysis and collapse) · 2013-08-02T02:31:09.872Z · LW · GW

Sorry this is a small nitpick. The main searchlores author is Fravia, not Favia. He was instrumental in providing a community and rallying point for various reversing groups. He was anonymous for quite some time, until he passed away in 2009.

Comment by oooo on Introducing Familiar, a quantified reasoning assistant (feedback sought!) · 2013-07-25T05:30:56.897Z · LW · GW

There are lots of open source research programs for graphical model stuff.

@jamesf - which one of the programs will you be picking?

Comment by oooo on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-22T07:24:04.069Z · LW · GW

What type of work in software would you like to do? The rest of my comment will assume that you mean the software technology industry, and not programming specifically.

There are many individual contributor roles in technology companies. Being a developer is one of them. Others may include field deployment specialists, system administrator, pre-sales engineers, sales or the now popular "data scientist".

I agree that credentials help with hiring and promotions. When I evaluate staff with little work experience graduate credentials play a role in my evaluation.

They say that getting a graduate degree will be worthwhile even if I could have learned equally valuable skills by other means.

If you could have learned equally valuable skills by other means, then the graduate degree almost always comes out on top due to signalling/credentialing factor. However, usually this isn't the case. Usually the graduate degree is framed as a trade-off between the actual signalling factor, coursework, research and graduate institution vs. work experience directly relevant to your particular domain of expertise. There are newer alternative graduate degrees programs that may be more useful to you with your strong undergraduate mathematics base such as Masters of Financial Engineering*, Masters in Data Science that offer a different route to obtaining an interesting job in the software industry without necessarily going through a more "traditional" CS graduate program.

I think I would enjoy and do well in graduate school, but if it makes little career difference, I don't think I would go. I think much will depend on the pedigree of the graduate school and the work that you can showcase (a portfolio of sorts) upon completion that will determine magnitude of career impact.

If you are dead set on being a programmer for the next 10 years, please consider why. The reason I bring this up is because some college seniors I've talked to can clearly visualize working as a developer, but find it harder to visualize what it's like doing other jobs in the technology industry, or worse have uninformed and incorrect stereotypes of the types of work involved with different roles (canonical example are technology sales roles, where anybody technical seems to have a distaste for salespeople).

It you are still firmly aiming to be a developer, it may help to narrow down what type of programming you like to do, such as web, embedded, systems, tooling, etc., and also spend a bit of time at least trying to imagine companies you'd like to work for evaluated on different dimensions (e.g. industry, departmental function, Fortune 500, billing/security/telco infrastructure/mobile, etc.).

One additional point to consider is why not do both by working full-time and immediately embarking on a part-time graduate degree? Granted, some graduate degrees (e.g. certain institutions or program structure) don't allow for part-time enrollment, but it's at least something to consider. That way you cover both bases.

* Google MFE or "Masters Financial Engineering" -- many US programs have sprung up over the past several years

EDIT: I apologize in advance for the US-centric links in case you are outside of N. America.

Comment by oooo on Gains from trade: Slug versus Galaxy - how much would I give up to control you? · 2013-07-22T06:52:59.501Z · LW · GW

I did not understand the math. I have more to learn. Thanks.

Comment by oooo on Gains from trade: Slug versus Galaxy - how much would I give up to control you? · 2013-07-21T03:32:13.225Z · LW · GW

What about ARthUrpHilIpDenu? It stands to gain the resources of a galaxy. The difference between default (a leaf) and utopia (all the resources of a galaxy dedicated to making leaves) is unimaginably humongous. And yet that huge difference will get normalised to one: the ARthUrpHilIpDenu's utility function will get divided by a huge amount. It will weigh very little in any sum.

[Emphasis added]

Why is the difference normalized to one instead of zero when considering ARthUrpHilIpDenu?

Comment by oooo on Comparative and absolute advantage in AI · 2013-07-21T03:17:20.179Z · LW · GW

I wish the paper was available to read. Do you have a copy available?

Comment by oooo on How I Became More Ambitious · 2013-07-16T20:28:35.957Z · LW · GW

Trading would imply that Swimmer963 is giving up some of her attractiveness in exchange for attention, by treating 'beauty' as a resource that can be depleted. However, her attractiveness in your example of the trade (beauty attention) isn't depleted significantly.

Perhaps you meant something like trading her spatio-temporal presence (in which the subject gets to admire her visage in a non-awkward social situation for a prolonged period of time) in exchange for the subject's attention; or more succinctly, trading face time with attention?

I agree with you that some advantages can indeed be comparative advantages, but beauty (in this context) is simply an advantage.

Comment by oooo on Help please! Making a good choice between two jobs · 2013-07-14T00:09:49.219Z · LW · GW

You have three conflicting goals that only you can weight accordingly:

  • Work at a successful startup (fame, fortune, culture or vision)
  • Find a mate / companionship
  • Employment market desirability hedge (what-if...)

What I would really like to do is build my own startup, or join a startup that I think has good prospects.

Winner: London.

The pool of women I am interested in dating is much bigger there. Dating prospects are probably less good [...]

Winner: London.

[...] and also the long-term effect of accepting a pay cut - if I worked in London again later, would I be able to negotiate my salary back up?

Winner: London.

Everything else sounds like noise, or sounds like they should be assigned lower weightings than the three concerns above. Another factor that you only can answer is how much extra time you'll carve out to keep up desirable startup skills (designer? developer? business?) while in London, as you mentioned that the London job will only allow you to specialize in an unattractive skill. This statement alone makes me wonder exactly what your previous two startup roles were -- if your skillset was good enough to join two prior startups, why would 18months of another skill diminish your existing desirability, both to startups and larger organizations in general?

Until you can provide weightings on the above, London sounds like the better choice due to the flexibility it offers you in the future, provided you have enough motivation and discipline to (a) stay actively engaged in the (presumably) larger London startup/tech scene; (b) spend (some) spare time on side projects to remain desirable to both future large employers and startups; (c) find a mate.

One counterpoint that you already mentioned was that Glasgow would give you more money after-tax. If the Glasgow vs. London after-tax income delta is large, and if your true primary 18mo goal is to "[...] get a financial cushion under myself before trying again", then clearly Glasgow is the way to go. Also, quick Google searches show that there seems to be more interest in boosting the Scottish tech scene in Glasgow and Edinburough. Depends on how serious you are about jumping back into the startup scene after 18 months.

Comment by oooo on Rationality Quotes July 2013 · 2013-07-09T04:12:46.559Z · LW · GW

We cooperate to compete, and a high level of fellow feeling makes us better able to unite to destroy outsiders.

--Robert Bigelow

Comment by oooo on A Gamification Of Education: a modest proposal based on the Universal Decimal Classification and RPG skill trees · 2013-07-09T04:00:25.340Z · LW · GW

How about starting in a supportive domain that you happen to be interested in where existing taxonomies and skill progressions seem to exist?

Tech/skill trees help with the visualization process, and that goes a long way to motivation. Much of my struggle battling akrasia and learning math & beginner rationality is to try to stop imagining forbidding mountains of concepts, nomenclature and future practice, and instead focus on images of cartoonish/animated tech trees that are more appealing, tractable and familiar (for those of us with gaming backgrounds); ultimately, anything less intimidating than an impassible mountain to climb.

Added bonus: You will probably not find a more willing group of participants to enthusiastically input, rate and measure themselves on their cognitive and rationalist skills.

Added bonus 2: I speculate that CFAR may be able to integrate this type of system as additional value-add for post-workshop alumni.

edit: "Data Scientist" seems to be a buzz word used to trigger competence and desirability in job candidates. Here's an example of a visual roadmap: I think other people are willing to create skill trees, but the missing ingredient is the ability to animate and infuse them with meaning over time (i.e. referring back to your ideas of tests for each node/module with clear achievement and progress indicators).

Comment by oooo on A Gamification Of Education: a modest proposal based on the Universal Decimal Classification and RPG skill trees · 2013-07-09T03:34:38.505Z · LW · GW

Now you're at the point where the career center tries to usher you into a job at megacorp or lure you into formal graduate school.

Depending on which region of the world you're in, the term "Engineer" may have certain regulatory obligations, meaning that you may feel the (sometimes debatable) allure of attempting to work enough years (usually 3) under an accredited engineer to earn your own designation; at least, so it seems in some countries.

Comment by oooo on A brief history of ethically concerned scientists · 2013-07-09T00:31:49.735Z · LW · GW

Enthusiastically pursue some different avenue of research, persuading others to follow you

I am reading Kaj Sotala's latest paper "Responses to Catastrophic AGI Risk: A Survey" and I was struck by this thread regarding ethically concerned scientists. MIRI is following this option by enthusiastically pursuing FAI (slightly different avenue of research) and trying to persuade and convince others to do the same.

EDIT: My apologies -- I removed the second part of my comment proactively because it dealt with hypothetical violence of radical ethically motivated scientists.

Comment by oooo on Reply to Holden on 'Tool AI' · 2013-07-06T17:50:31.809Z · LW · GW

Canonical software development examples emphasizing "proving safety/usefulness before running" over the "tool" software development approach are cryptographic libraries and NASA space shuttle navigation.

At the time of writing this comment, there was recent furor over software called CryptoCat that didn't provide enough warnings that it was not properly vetted by cryptographers and thus should have been assumed to be inherently insecure. Conventional wisdom and repeated warnings from the security community state that cryptography is extremely difficult to do properly and attempting to create your own may result in catastrophic results. A similar thought and development process goes into space shuttle code.

It seems that the FAI approach to "proving safety/usefulness" is more similar to the way cryptographic algorithms are developed than the (seemingly) much faster "tool" approach, which is more akin to web development where the stakes aren't quite as high.

EDIT: I believe the "prove" approach still allows one to run snippets of code in isolation, but tends to shy away from running everything end-to-end until significant effort has gone into individual component testing.

Comment by oooo on Rough calculations: Fermi and the art of guessing · 2013-07-06T04:17:14.786Z · LW · GW

The link is broken. Seems that MIT has an e-book storefront and understandably wants to charge for the electronic version.

Comment by oooo on [Link]: Anthropic shadow, or the dark dusk of disaster · 2013-07-05T07:55:08.856Z · LW · GW

This will teach me to skim next time. Thanks.

Comment by oooo on [Link]: Anthropic shadow, or the dark dusk of disaster · 2013-07-05T05:53:26.467Z · LW · GW

Maybe you need better machines.

This should be one of the LW Rationality Quotes for next month.

Comment by oooo on A personal history of involvement with effective altruism · 2013-06-11T06:22:46.258Z · LW · GW

Your math education link is incorrectly specified and leads to a 404 on the LW website instead of directing to your site.

Comment by oooo on Help us name the Sequences ebook · 2013-04-20T10:52:43.157Z · LW · GW

I like "Thinking, Right and Wrong".

Since it's an ebook, I suggest a set of hashtags or summary keywords that trigger the responses for people to look up themselves, such as "rationality, heuristics, biases, artificial intelligence."

Another suggestion: "Thinking 001"

Comment by oooo on Ritual Report 2012: Life, Death, Light, Darkness, and Love. · 2012-12-25T02:12:02.047Z · LW · GW

Is anybody aware of anybody having tried this? I'm also curious to know if this would work. I suspect the biggest obstacle will be hoping that your child[ren] can stay on point and not get distracted on their own tangents, that is, not quite answering the question that you asked.

When my child starts to speak, I will try this game and update the local LW group on how it turns out.