Posts

Squiggle: An Overview 2020-11-24T03:00:32.872Z
Working in Virtual Reality: A Review 2020-11-20T23:14:28.707Z
Epistemic Progress 2020-11-20T19:58:07.555Z
Announcing the Forecasting Innovation Prize 2020-11-15T21:12:39.009Z
Are the social sciences challenging because of fundamental difficulties or because of imposed ones? 2020-11-10T04:56:13.100Z
Open Communication in the Days of Malicious Online Actors 2020-10-07T16:30:01.935Z
Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? 2020-10-07T04:22:20.450Z
Expansive translations: considerations and possibilities 2020-09-18T15:39:21.514Z
Multivariate estimation & the Squiggly language 2020-09-05T04:35:01.206Z
Epistemic Comparison: First Principles Land vs. Mimesis Land 2020-08-21T22:28:09.172Z
Existing work on creating terminology & names? 2020-01-31T12:16:32.650Z
Terms & literature for purposely lossy communication 2020-01-22T10:35:47.162Z
Predictably Predictable Futures Talk: Using Expected Loss & Prediction Innovation for Long Term Benefits 2020-01-08T12:51:01.339Z
[Part 1] Amplifying generalist research via forecasting – Models of impact and challenges 2019-12-19T15:50:33.412Z
[Part 2] Amplifying generalist research via forecasting – results from a preliminary exploration 2019-12-19T15:49:45.901Z
Introducing Foretold.io: A New Open-Source Prediction Registry 2019-10-16T14:23:47.229Z
ozziegooen's Shortform 2019-08-31T23:03:24.809Z
Conversation on forecasting with Vaniver and Ozzie Gooen 2019-07-30T11:16:58.633Z
Ideas for Next Generation Prediction Technologies 2019-02-21T11:38:57.798Z
Predictive Reasoning Systems 2019-02-20T19:44:45.778Z
Impact Prizes as an alternative to Certificates of Impact 2019-02-20T00:46:25.912Z
Can We Place Trust in Post-AGI Forecasting Evaluations? 2019-02-17T19:20:41.446Z
The Prediction Pyramid: Why Fundamental Work is Needed for Prediction Work 2019-02-14T16:21:13.564Z
Short story: An AGI's Repugnant Physics Experiment 2019-02-14T14:46:30.651Z
Three Kinds of Research Documents: Exploration, Explanation, Academic 2019-02-13T21:25:51.393Z
The RAIN Framework for Informational Effectiveness 2019-02-13T12:54:20.297Z
Overconfident talking down, humble or hostile talking up 2018-11-30T12:41:54.980Z
Stabilize-Reflect-Execute 2018-11-28T17:26:39.741Z
What if people simply forecasted your future choices? 2018-11-23T10:52:25.471Z
Current AI Safety Roles for Software Engineers 2018-11-09T20:57:16.159Z
Prediction-Augmented Evaluation Systems 2018-11-09T10:55:36.181Z
Critique my Model: The EV of AGI to Selfish Individuals 2018-04-08T20:04:16.559Z
Expected Error, or how wrong you expect to be 2016-12-24T22:49:02.344Z
Graphical Assumption Modeling 2015-01-03T20:22:21.432Z
Understanding Who You Really Are 2015-01-02T08:44:50.374Z
Why "Changing the World" is a Horrible Phrase 2014-12-25T06:04:48.902Z
Reference Frames for Expected Value 2014-03-16T19:22:39.976Z
Creating a Text Shorthand for Uncertainty 2013-10-19T16:46:12.051Z
Meetup : San Francisco: Effective Altruism 2013-06-23T21:48:34.365Z

Comments

Comment by ozziegooen on Epistemic Progress · 2020-11-24T02:30:15.265Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure what you are looking for. Most people know very little in the space of all the things one could find out in books and the like, much which is useful to some extent. If you're curious what things I specifically think are true but the public doesn't yet know of, then continue to read my blog posts; it's a fair bit of stuff, but rather specific.

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-22T23:38:16.906Z · LW · GW

There are a few options with the $15/month package with Immersed. No forest, but there is one above the clouds, and one in a cave (no treasure though). With the free package you just get a few 360 photos to choose from (no depth)

Other apps have more options, but they only support Windows generally.

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-22T23:37:04.375Z · LW · GW

The default strap. It's not that great, but for me, tolerable. I'm giving it a few months before upgrading, as I'm hoping more straps will be available. (the Oculus ones are sold out)

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-22T17:39:56.302Z · LW · GW

Fixed, thanks! It was a small error in how the url was typed.

Comment by ozziegooen on Epistemic Progress · 2020-11-22T17:33:27.117Z · LW · GW

Comparing groups of forecasters who worked on different question sets only using simple accuracy measures like brier scores is basically not feasible. You're right that forecasters can prioritize easier questions and do other hacks. 

This post goes into detail on several incentive problems:
https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ztmBA8v6KvGChxw92/incentive-problems-with-current-forecasting-competitions

I don't get the impression that platforms like Metaculus or GJP bias their questions much to achieve higher brier scores. This is one reason why they typically focus more on their calibration graphs, and on direct question comparisons between platforms. 

All that said, I definitely think we have a lot of room to get better at doing comparisons of forecasting between platforms.

Comment by ozziegooen on Epistemic Progress · 2020-11-22T02:28:48.801Z · LW · GW

Kudos for the thinking here, I like the take.

There's a whole lot to "making people more correct about things." I'm personally a lot less focused on trying to make sure the "masses" believe things we already know, than I am in improving the epistemic abilities of "best" groups. From where I'm standing, I imagine even the "best" people have a long way to improve. I personally barely feel confident about a bunch of things and am looking for solutions where I could be more confident. More "super intense next level prediction markets" and less "fighting conspiracy theories".

I do find the topic of epistemics of "the masses" to be interesting, it's just different. CSER did some work in this area, and I also liked the podcast about Taiwan's approach to it (treating lies using epidemic models, similar to how you mention.)
 

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-22T02:19:07.631Z · LW · GW

I guess to me it didn't seem too bad. I've found that talking to people with simple avatars in VR and similar seems surprisingly fine, I'd imagine that in practice you'd get used to this. That said, I also imagine the technology will continue to improve. Deepfakes are getting quite realistic.

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-21T20:52:18.129Z · LW · GW

Good point. 

One thing I noticed is that HTML could really be optimized for 3d viewing. Right now computer screens are totally flat, but with VR, you could take advantage of the extra dimension. In general I'd be quite curious about 3D web pages, it seems like there's a lot of innovation to be done. My quick hunch is that it won't radically change UX (things would have to be accessible to people with one eye, for instance, and it's very user-convenient to not need to adjust the third dimension, like having a 3-d mouse), but I imagine it could still lead to a bunch of UI changes.

Big Screen allows you to watch 3D movies, which is pretty cool (though they charge a fair bit for them).

https://www.reddit.com/r/bigscreen/comments/ck4xrc/where_can_i_get_3d_movies_and_play_them_in/ 

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-21T20:47:41.195Z · LW · GW

Me too. Long-term impacts in general can be tricky to study.

I imagine that there are a whole bunch of parameters to play with in VR. There are different technologies for the headsets, and within it, you have options regarding brightness and similar. My guess is that theoretically it could be good or better than many regular monitor setups, but I'm not sure how long it will take to find that. 

Comment by ozziegooen on Epistemic Progress · 2020-11-21T19:33:15.973Z · LW · GW

I think this is a really important question, one I'd like to explore further in future work.

I agree that there are areas where being locally incorrect can be pragmatically useful. Real people are bad at lying, so it's often locally EV-positive to believe something that is false.

The distinction I was focused on here though is on correct truths that are valuable vs. ones that aren't. Among correct beliefs, there's a broad spectrum in how useful those beliefs are. I think we could get pretty far optimizing valuable truths, before we get into the territory of marginally valuable untruths. 

How to Measure Anything gets into the distinction of information that is only true vs. information that is both true and also highly valuable; or relevant for important decisions. That's what I was going for when I wrote this.

 

Comment by ozziegooen on Why is there a "clogged drainpipe" effect in idea generation? · 2020-11-21T01:24:27.583Z · LW · GW

This is one of the key insights of Getting Things Done.

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-20T23:50:14.850Z · LW · GW

I'd be interested too. My impression is that Immersed is the only option that allows for computer screen input on Mac and Linux machines. Windows has more options. 

Hopefully with the increasing popularity of VR devices there will be more competition coming in. 

That said, I would note that Immersed was mostly fine for me. The main frustrations were the lack of resolution and the fact that it seemed to tire my eyes a bit. I'm not sure how much better Immersed could (realistically) be in ways that would get me to use it more now, as a solo user, at this point.

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-20T23:37:40.768Z · LW · GW

I think the Quest 2 is a fair bit better, though I've only used the Quest 1 for around 40 minutes. The resolution and screen door effect have large improvements.

I think good straps can help with the physical comfort, but agreed it's an issue.

Comment by ozziegooen on Working in Virtual Reality: A Review · 2020-11-20T23:32:01.691Z · LW · GW

Ah, thanks!

It was written in VR, I think it will take some time to get used to proofreading and stuff in it :)

Comment by ozziegooen on Epistemic Progress · 2020-11-20T22:22:43.524Z · LW · GW

A few quick thoughts here:

  1. Effective Altruism has actively been trying to penetrate academia. There are several people basically working in Academia full-time (mainly around GPI, CSER, CHAI, and FHI) focused on EA, but very few focused on LessWrong-style rationality. It seems to me like the main candidates for people to do this all decided to work on AI safety directly.
  2. I'd note that in order to introduce "LW-style rationality" to Academia, you'd probably want to chunk it up and focus accordingly. I think epistemics is basically one subset.
  3. I personally expect much of the valuable work on Rationality/Epistemics to come from nonprofits and individuals, not academic institutions.
Comment by ozziegooen on Announcing the Forecasting Innovation Prize · 2020-11-16T22:01:37.094Z · LW · GW

Thanks!

Comment by ozziegooen on Announcing the Forecasting Innovation Prize · 2020-11-16T18:09:56.527Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the idea. I'm hesitant to do it for this round at least. One of the main reasons why we are doing this is to test the hypothesis that this will encourage more writing, and giving much of the prize to previous entries would work against that. 

I'm curious though, do you have thoughts on what a proposal would look like? Like, we accept entries from the last month, or last year? 

I would note that if you want feedback on recently written posts, I'd be happy to help there. Reaching out seems fine to me.

Comment by ozziegooen on ozziegooen's Shortform · 2020-11-13T23:56:42.471Z · LW · GW

I was thinking of it less for life extension, and more for a quality of life and cost improvement.

Comment by ozziegooen on ozziegooen's Shortform · 2020-11-13T21:25:15.201Z · LW · GW

I think brain-in-jar or head-in-jar are pretty underrated. By this I mean separating the head from the body and keeping it alive with other tooling. Maybe we could have a few large blood processing plants for many heads, and the heads could be connected to nerve I/O that would be more efficient than finger -> keyboard IO. This seems fairly easier than uploading, and possibly doable in 30-50 years.

I can't find much about how difficult it is. It's obviously quite hard and will require significant medical advances, but it's not clear just how many are needed. 

From Dr. Brain Wonk, 

Unless you do a body transplant (a serious idea pioneered by surgeon Robert White), the technology to sustain an isolated head for more than a few days doesn't exist. Some organs essential for homeostasis, such as the liver and hematopoietic system, still have no artificial replacements... supporting organs without the aid of a living body for even brief periods of time is difficult and expensive.

So, we could already do this for a few days, which seems like a really big deal. Going from that to indefinite stays (or, just as long as the brain stays healthy) seems doable.

In some ways this would be a simple strategy compared to other options of trying to improve the entire human body. In many ways, all of the body parts that can be replaced with tech are liabilities. You can't get colon cancer if you don't have a colon. 

A few relevant links of varying quality:

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible-to-keep-a-human-brain-alive-without-its-body-If-so-how-long-could-it-be-kept-living-if-not-forever

https://www.discovermagazine.com/technology/could-a-brain-be-kept-alive-in-a-jar

https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/g141q/can_a_brain_be_kept_alive_in_a_jar/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolated_brain

https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/04/25/240742/researchers-are-keeping-pig-brains-alive-outside-the-body/
 

Comment by ozziegooen on Are the social sciences challenging because of fundamental difficulties or because of imposed ones? · 2020-11-11T18:17:05.152Z · LW · GW

I agree we do have things similar to engineering, but these fields seem to be done differently than if they were in the hands of engineers. Industrial engineering is thought to be a field of engineering, but operations research is often considered part of "applied mathematics" (I think). I find it quite interesting that information theory is typically taught as a "electrical engineering" class, but the applications are really just all over the place.

My honest guess is that the reasons why some things are considered "engineering", and thus respected and organized as an option for "engineers", and other areas that could be are not, is often due to cultural and historic factors. The lines seem quite arbitrary to me right now.

Comment by ozziegooen on Are the social sciences challenging because of fundamental difficulties or because of imposed ones? · 2020-11-10T20:53:54.360Z · LW · GW

Agreed that humans are complicated, but I still think there are a lot of reasons to suggest that we can get pretty far with relatively obtainable measures. We have the history of ~100 Billion people at this point to guide us. There are clear case studies of large groups being influenced in intentional predictable ways. Religious groups and wartime information efforts clearly worked. Marketing campaigns clearly seem to influence large numbers of people in relatively predictable ways. And much of that has been with what seems like relatively little scientific understanding at the scale that could be done with modern internet data. 

We don't need perfect models of individuals to be able to make big, deliberate changes.

Comment by ozziegooen on Are the social sciences challenging because of fundamental difficulties or because of imposed ones? · 2020-11-10T20:48:17.180Z · LW · GW

I think as far as science goes, much of old celestial mechanic findings were rather "simple". Human systems definitely seem less predictable than those. However, there are many other technical things we can predict well that aren't human. Computer infrastructures are far more complicated than many celestial mechanics, and we can predict their behavior decently enough (expect that computers won't fail for certain duration, or expect very complex chains of procedures to continue to function). 

It's expected that we can predict the general population trends 10-50 years out in the future. There are definitely some human aggregate aspects that are fairly easy to predict. We can similarly predict with decent certainty that many things won't happen. The US, for all of its volatility, seems very unlikely to become a radical Buddhist nation or split up into many parts any time soon. In many ways modern society is quite boring. 

The US also has a somewhat homogeneous culture. Many people are taught very similar things, watch similar movies, etc. We can predict quite a bit already about people.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/?sh=4d09ff3a6668

(Sorry to focus on the US, but it's one example that comes to mind, and easier to discuss than global populations at large)

Comment by ozziegooen on Are the social sciences challenging because of fundamental difficulties or because of imposed ones? · 2020-11-10T20:42:51.813Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the thoughts here!

I'm not sure about your specific proposal, but in general imagine there's a lot of room to experiment on "paying people to be test subjects in interesting ways". This can only go so far in the short term, but as technology improves it will probably get easier to manage.

I believe Vertias Genetics gives large discounts to people who are willing to give up their genetic data for scientific use, for instance.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/01/for-600-veritas-genetics-sequences-6point4-billion-letters-of-your-dna.html

Comment by ozziegooen on What is the typical course of COVID-19? What are the variants? · 2020-10-30T19:04:16.484Z · LW · GW

Interesting point. I think this is more a question of counterfactual and Shapely values than VOI, as the concern is really a broader one. Similar how to if 4 interventions are all needed to save a life, you can't just consider the counterfactual impact of the last one. 

Most VOI analyses are highly simplified to get around issues like this. 

Comment by ozziegooen on What is our true life expectancy? · 2020-10-25T16:37:21.557Z · LW · GW

Thanks for your take on this. I think our intuitions here differ a fair bit.

I find it difficult to reason about what human brains will do once they are uploaded or whatever and dramatically altered. Many of the things we're used to now may change dramatically. It may be fair to consider that many kinds of "uploaded and modified humans" will become as different to modern humans as we are to simple algorithms or insects. 

It could also be that some people will choose to "live forever", but many others will be choose to be replaced.

Comment by ozziegooen on What is our true life expectancy? · 2020-10-24T23:48:45.659Z · LW · GW

Good point. One point against this would be that upon reflection, I expect that human immortality is not likely to be optimal in most ways we may imagine it. I expect that on most likely consequentialist framings, the resources that could be spent on continuing my own "individual self" would be more effectively used elsewhere. You might need a very liberal notion of "self" to consider what gets kept as "you."

That said, this wouldn't be a bad thing, it would be more of a series of obvious decisions and improvements.

Comment by ozziegooen on Things are allowed to be good and bad at the same time · 2020-10-17T19:09:42.232Z · LW · GW

I've been thinking about this recently, especially for global history and futurism. It seems like there should really be a word for it. A [top quora post](https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-phrase-It-was-the-best-of-times-It-was-the-worst-of-times-mean) on the topic recommends "Dialectical" but I'm hesitant. 
 

Related, the classic line from A Tale of Two Cities: 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”

Comment by ozziegooen on Philosophy of Therapy · 2020-10-11T22:10:34.586Z · LW · GW

It's probably too late to change the title of this, but I'd press back against that a bit.

To me, the "Philosophy of X" typically refers to an entire academic field of study. Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Psychology, which is a distinct thing.

My guess is that this wasn't your intention, but calling this "Philosophy of Therapy" could be read as you asserting that this post represents an overview or beginning of a similar field.

I could imagine the naming being fine on your blog, but LessWrong is quite big. If I were to point someone to the "Philosophy of Therapy", I'd expect something different, and think they would too.

Comment by ozziegooen on Philosophy of Therapy · 2020-10-11T02:04:10.082Z · LW · GW

Thanks for this, I found it an interesting overview.

I would note that I found the title a bit confusing. I would have suggested a more descriptive name, maybe something like "Modalities of Psychological Disciplines" or something more to the point.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-10T14:36:46.581Z · LW · GW

Consumer Reports itself is centralized, but it's one of a cluster of various reviewing groups, none of which gets official state status.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-09T03:26:54.104Z · LW · GW

That's a good point, I think it's fair here.

I was using "athletes" as a thought experiment. I do think it's worth considering and having a bunch of clear objective metrics could be interesting and useful, especially if done gradually and with the right summary stats. However, the first steps for metrics of intellectuals would be subjective reviews and evaluations and similar.

Things will also get more interesting as we get better AI and similar to provide interesting stats that aren't exactly "boring objective stats" but also not quite "well thought out reviews" either.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-08T01:47:14.520Z · LW · GW

I'd suggest decentralized rating systems for this reason. Think movie reviewers and Consumer Reports.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-08T01:20:59.521Z · LW · GW

Good points, thanks.

I think ranking systems can be very powerful (as would make sense for something I'm claiming to be important), and can be quite bad if done poorly (arguably, current uses of citations are quite poor). Being careful matters a lot.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-08T01:19:05.895Z · LW · GW

I guess this wasn't very obvious, but my recommendation is to use a collection of objective and subjective measurements, taking inspiration to how we evaluate college applicants, civil servants, computers, as well as athletes.

I'm all for judgement calls if the process could be systematized and done well.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T23:52:59.380Z · LW · GW

Agreed there's a limit. It's hard. But, to be fair, so are challenges like qualifying students, government officials, engineers, doctors, lawyers, smart phones, movies, books.

Around "who rates the raters", the thought is that:

  1. First, the raters should rate themselves.
  2. There should be a decentralized pool of raters, each of which rates each other.

There are also methods that raters could use to provide additional verification, but that's for another post.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T23:50:51.722Z · LW · GW

Expert Political Judgement discussed this. From what I remember they used a variety of "Experts", many I believe were Academics. I believe these crossed over significantly with what we would think of as intellectuals.

I like the name "intellectual-sabermetrics".

Luke Muehlhauser has been calling out people online for making bad predictions.

One common issue though is that many intellectuals are trained specifically not to communicate falsifiable predictions. They often try to word things in ways that seem confident, but are easy to argue against after the fact.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T22:41:01.884Z · LW · GW

Fair point, thanks.

I considered it briefly but have been reading/chatting recently about problems with citation indices so left it out. That said, it does serve a function.

Comment by ozziegooen on Open Communication in the Days of Malicious Online Actors · 2020-10-07T22:36:46.568Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the feedback!

That sounds similar to what I called "Option 3"; "You gradually change or improve the community while doing minor self censorship.".

I think that doing this is highly challenging and very far from being trivial. Online you can often barely tell who your followers are for one. I think that one should try to do things like you mention, but don't think it's enough in most settings, for people with sizeable (thousands of people + ) audiences.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T12:39:29.187Z · LW · GW

Thanks! Some very quick thoughts:

Intellectuals aren't the ones playing the game, they're the ones figuring out the rules of the game.

This doesn't seem true to me. There's relatively little systematic literature from intellectuals trying to understand what structural things make for quality intellectual standards. The majority of it seems to be arguing and discussing specific orthogonal opinions. It's true that they "are the ones" to figure out the rules of the game, but this is a small minority of them, and for these people, it's often a side endeavor.

In a way, this problem is just scaling up the old reputation/prestige system.

Definitely. I think the process of "evaluation standardization and openness" is a repeated one across industries and sectors. There's a lot of value to be had in understanding the wisdom of existing informal evaluation systems and scaling them into formal ones.

Maybe some kind of social app inspired by liquid democracy/quadratic voting might work?

I imagine the space of options here is quite vast. This option seems like a neat choice. Perhaps several distinct efforts could be tried.

What metrics do you have in mind?

I have some rough ideas, want to brainstorm on this a bit more before writing more.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T12:31:45.224Z · LW · GW

There's a funny thing about new signaling mechanisms.

If they disagree with old ones, then at least some people who did well in the old ones will complain (loudly).

If they perfectly agree with old ones, then they provide no evaluative value.

In general, introducing new signaling mechanisms is challenging, very much for this reason.

If they can last though, then eventually those in power will be ones who did well on them, so these people will champion them vs. future endeavors. So they can have lasting lock-in. It's more of a reason to work hard to get them right.

Comment by ozziegooen on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T12:23:47.821Z · LW · GW

"Fundamentally not possible" Thanks for providing such a clear and intense position.

I think this is either misunderstanding what I'm saying, or is giving up on the issue incredibly quickly.

Sports are a particularly good examples of pre-labeled rules, but I don't think that means that more tricky things are impossible to measure. (See How to Measure Anything). Even in sports, the typical metrics don't correlate perfectly with player value; it's taken a fair bit of investigation to attempt to piece this together. It would have been really easy early on to dismiss the initial recording of metrics; "These metrics are flawed, it's useless to try." It took sabermetrics several decades to get to where it is today.

There are many, many more fuzzy endeavors that are challenging to evaluate, but where we have developed substantial systems to a better job than "just let people intuit things."

  • The Chinese Imperial Examinations were considered a substantial success for meritocracy and quality in government.
  • Colleges have extensive processes of SAT/ACT scores, high school transcripts, and essays. This seems much better than "a few interviews"
  • When I played an instrument in school, I went to an evaluator each year who ranked me on a set of measures. The ranking determined which regional bands I would get to be in. (see NYSSMA)
  • Modern Western law is mostly statutory. One could have easily said, "Things are complicated! If we write up formal procedures, that would get in the way of the unique circumstances."
  • Most professional associations have actual tests to complete. If you want to be a lawyer you need to pass the Bar. If you want to be a doctor, get ready to face the US Licensing Examinations.

the main point of being an intellectual is to question accepted concepts and develop new ones. So you're saying that one main thing intellectuals do is question category systems and suggest new ones? This is almost never what I see intellectuals do. I often see them fighting for some side or another, presenting some arguments, finding lots of data and anecdotes. Intellectualism is a massive field.

If it is the case that intellectuals are so good at doing this, then I suggest they start with figuring out concepts on which to evaluate themselves on, and continue to improve those.

Comment by ozziegooen on Expansive translations: considerations and possibilities · 2020-10-02T11:39:00.431Z · LW · GW

Like that example a lot, thanks for the comment.

Perhaps one could say that a complete translation of an English work would include a full description of English culture. This is kind of similar to complexity and Turing machines. Any program could be described in any programming language, by first fully describing the programming language in question.

One point I'd bring up is to understand Harry Potter not as a necessary and complete work, but rather as the best method J.K.Rowling had of fulfilling her intentions using limited time and resources. It's possible she didn't care about "Sherbet Lemon", but all she cared about was to raise some experience in the reader, as a way to optimize a greater pleasure. Perhaps a translator would realize this, and find some superior detail, both for people with other languages, and even for future English works.

On the more intense end, it could be later identified that setting the plot around Magical Wizards is inferior to doing so in space stations, and many of the details are revised accordingly, but in ways that would maximize the benefits of the material.

Comment by ozziegooen on The new Editor · 2020-09-24T09:09:50.499Z · LW · GW

Good to know, thanks!

Comment by ozziegooen on The new Editor · 2020-09-23T18:18:37.210Z · LW · GW

I'm excited to see this, and have been enjoying using it.

I'm curious though; is it interoperable with other methods, or are there any projects on the horizon to convert this to Markdown if needed? I would like to have backups or possibly later post some of my LW content to other platforms.

I realize that probably couldn't keep all the functionality (no fully isomorphic translation), but even some of it could be handy.

Comment by ozziegooen on EA Relationship Status · 2020-09-19T17:44:53.875Z · LW · GW

Good to know, I wasn't aware. 

Maybe there's some small benefit there, but I'd still be surprised if the gender imbalance on net increased the percentage of marriages. 

Comment by ozziegooen on EA Relationship Status · 2020-09-19T14:05:56.691Z · LW · GW

First, mostly; it is the speculation. Second, in the Bay Area, there's also a gender imbalance outside of EA.

Comment by ozziegooen on EA Relationship Status · 2020-09-19T12:02:45.265Z · LW · GW

Quick thoughts:
1) I found this interesting, thanks!
2) There's a significant gender imbalance in the Bay Area scene at least.
3) Lots of EAs I know are in Academia; either getting advanced degrees or doing research. Academia presents a lot of challenges to relationships, I would be curious how our statistics compare to those in Academia.
4) Many of my non-EA friends seem to place great value on relationships, my EA friends less so.
5) I would be surprised if poly actually made that big of a difference. My guess would be that it's not actually that popular in EA. I get the impression that poly sounds radical and has been discussed by some of the key people, so seems like a much bigger deal than it really is.

Comment by ozziegooen on Expansive translations: considerations and possibilities · 2020-09-19T10:36:44.248Z · LW · GW

Thanks so much Filipe, and I'm excited to see your thoughts on the topic. I think this kind of imagining is highly valuable. 

I don't have much context about you personally, but from my engineering and entrepreneurial experience, my main piece of feedback would be that I get the sense that you think this might be a whole lot easier than I think it would be. Something like what you propose sounds very interesting, but I think this initial proposal would be challenging to do well without tons of money and time. I've seen my fair share of people start far overambitious projects, totally (though predictably) fail, and be heartbroken as a result.

I think it's worthwhile to do the following, but think about them in distinct buckets:
1) Imagine what great systems would be like with near unbounded resources.
2) Figure out what pragmatic steps we can take in the short term to get started.

Both of these are valuable. All of my post was in the former camp, and I would suggest that your post mostly is as well.

Some thoughts on the comment, in the vein of category (1):
 


Translators in the platform could give a score (from 0 to 10) of how good that translation looked for different translation formats

This is a minor point, but I would suggest a system where people rank who good the translation is for individual people (with many defined attributes), instead of trying to bucket things into different categories. Defining the categories is a really messy process that will leave artifacts. This is kind of a classic ML prediction sort of problem.

 

Thus, we could create a market for expansive translations focused on people of different styles.

I think that the current infrastructure for setting up markets in the regular ways are quite mediocre. Another option would be to hire a team of translators working full-time, but monitor and optimize their performance.

---

On the topic of obtaining source data, using new content generation would be very expensive, and I could imagine it being difficult to do well. I think the word for "expansive translators" isn't "translator", but "communicator", for instance, so the people to learn from are the popular communicators, not people with translation experience. 

I think there's already a lot of content out there if you're a bit creative. There are probably tens of thousands of "What is Bitcoin" posts on YouTube and other platforms aimed at a wide variety of audiences, combined with metrics for how popular these are. If you could find ways of learning from those, I would be more optimistic.
 

Our new expansive-translations dot com, ou our new chrome extension.
 

Arbital had features kind of like what I'm suggesting. They identified a need, but found it very challenging to get people to actually do the writing. I suggest checking out the comments from that thread to learn about their experiences.

I'd be enthusiastic about making browser extensions to augment LessWrong in some key ways. It's possible translation could start small; like with the replacement (hopefully with hovers that demonstrate this) of some key words with words one may better know.

Comment by ozziegooen on Expansive translations: considerations and possibilities · 2020-09-19T10:12:04.410Z · LW · GW

You'd have to have a very clear goal in mind when constructing your professional-context postmodern punk musical Hamlet, and the choice of that goal would make a huge difference to the end product.

 

Agreed. This is a radical definition. 

As translation gets more and more expansive, it becomes more difficult to ensure consistency and quality. But it also leads to a lot of value generation, so can often be worth it.

Hamilton, the Musical, was arguably a retelling / "expansive translation" of the book, which itself was a summary of the original documents. I think most people who originally heard about the idea of Hamilton thought it could never work because of how weird (and expansive) it was. Not only was it presented for people who liked musicals, but it was sort of optimized to appeal specifically to communities of color. It doesn't only translate the older dialects into modern English, but it converts it specifically to the vernacular and musical preferences of parts of Hip Hop culture.

I'm a big fan of that. I'm sure a lot of information was lost along the way, but the value proposition of this dramatic reinterpretation is clear to many viewers. 

Now, not every potential translator may be as talented as Lin-Manuel Miranda now, but the potential is still clear, and in the future we'll have AI to help us.

Comment by ozziegooen on Expansive translations: considerations and possibilities · 2020-09-18T23:08:07.221Z · LW · GW

Why are modern translations so narrow? What level of nuance would you like them to capture?

By narrow I mean they are aiming to provide language-language translation, but they could hypothetically done on a much more granular level. For instance, a translation that matches the very specific vernacular of some shared Dutch & Jamaican family with its own code words. And there’s no reason the semantics can’t be considerably changed. Maybe Hamlet could be adjusted to take place in whichever professional context a small community would be most likely to understand, and then presented as a post modern punk musical because that community really likes post modern punk musicals. Whatever works.

One could argue that "liberal translations could never improve on the source, and therefore we need to force everyone to only use the source." I disagree. 
 

In translations of poetry - something I have amateur experience with - you have a lot of decisions to make.

Very true! There's actually a lot of discussion of this around Harry Potter, which needed a lot of translations very quickly, and does have a fair bit of wordplay and the like. See here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_in_translation 

I'm sure there must be a far greater deal of similar discussion around Biblical translations. See the entire field of Hermeneutics, for instance. 

That said, I'd note I'm personally interested in this for collective epistemic reasons. I think that the value of "an large cluster of people can better understand each other and thus do much better research and epistemic and moral thinking" is a bigger priority than doing this for artistic reasons, though perhaps it's less interesting.