Comment by romeostevensit on Epistemic Tenure · 2019-02-18T22:59:01.048Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

another frame might be Kuhnian momentum.

Comment by romeostevensit on Pedagogy as Struggle · 2019-02-16T04:05:33.404Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've seen this referred to as discursive learning. The idea that things stick much better when you're forced to expend some cognition in order to figure out how it fits with what you already know.

Comment by romeostevensit on Three Kinds of Research Documents: Clarification, Explanatory, Academic · 2019-02-13T23:52:27.558Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've been working on mapping explanation-space and have identified 3 areas of decomposition, the how-why-what axis corresponding to levels of analysis (Marr, et al), the temporal axis delineating past, future, and now as a special moment of causal intervention, and the variance-invariance axis.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Thoughts on Metaphilosophy · 2019-02-11T18:41:09.681Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think it is driven by a general heuristic of finding compressibility. If a distribution seems complex we assume we're accidentally conflating two variables and seek the decomposition that makes the two resultant distributions approximate-able by simpler functions.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why we need a *theory* of human values · 2019-02-09T10:40:45.062Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine you have 10 sensors measuring different things. The environment (including things you can affect) permutes their values over time. Let's say they operate like thermometers and you're trying to keep them within specified ranges. If the sensors are trinary (too low, too high, just right) you already have 59,049 states to navigate in your tradeoff space. The higher the resolution the sensors the faster the combinatoric explosion. So a small number of parameters leads to a very complex seeming situation.

Comment by romeostevensit on Raemon's Shortform Feed · 2019-02-07T04:38:04.543Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

would likely be solved if slack had a robust 3 level ontology rather than two level. Threaded conversations don't work very well.

Comment by romeostevensit on Raemon's Shortform Feed · 2019-02-06T00:38:56.184Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that slack is a better interaction modality for multiple people trying to make progress on problems. The main drawback is chaotic channel ontologies leading to too many buckets to check for users (though many obv. find this aspect addictive as well).

Comment by romeostevensit on Sam Harris and the Is–Ought Gap · 2019-02-05T18:14:14.656Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In epistemic structural realism the bridge is all we have. One end of the bridge feels more 'is' like and one end feels more 'ought' like. Both are subject to extensionalism in trying to figure out what's 'really there'. I find this stance much much less confusing than the more standard indirect realism that typically underlies the is-ought distinction.

There's also the general pattern, see if by inverting the nature of the representation (turn the edges into vertices and vice versa) a false dichotomy disappears.

Comment by romeostevensit on What makes a good culture? · 2019-02-05T18:08:32.575Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Jung seemed to be the first to identify more explicitly the punctuated equilibrium model of adult psychological development. I find it useful to combine with sub agents to explain a lot of the psychotehrapuetic models I see. Different parts can be at different stages of development and thus be open to different kinds of evidence and experiences in order to mature and gain access to better strategies for getting needs met.

Comment by romeostevensit on Book Summary: Consciousness and the Brain · 2019-01-23T06:02:54.642Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I really want to read a book focusing on vigilance. Conscious access seemed like the least interesting of the three by far.

Comment by romeostevensit on Capability amplification · 2019-01-23T05:54:58.841Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mentioned before, but I wonder if progressive/iterative summarization would increase peer review between AI researchers a bunch. I.e. marginal efforts towards summarizing the either adversarial or generative ideas a post is a response to, which gives the original authors and outsiders more surfaces to offer ideas along. I think this would also lead to more settling on shared terminology, which is a significant fraction of progress in a field as far as I can tell from the history of science. If it increased engagement then it would be directly incentivized as soon as people knew/experienced that.

Comment by romeostevensit on Life can be better than you think · 2019-01-23T05:48:03.707Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

+1 eliminating certain negative emotions seems to temporarily get rid of any motivation structures that were using those negative emotions as a building block. Things I really value seem to rebuild themselves on better foundations.

Comment by romeostevensit on Life can be better than you think · 2019-01-23T05:37:20.493Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I have a hypothesis for increasing transferability of insights. Their transferability being by default quite low. Lower than they feel like they should be from the inside. I think what generally happens is something like this: a person has an insight, this generates a bunch of emotional energy, sometimes this gets channeled into the urge to share/write about the insight, this is most of what we hear about. But the writing is from the perspective of the insight, which tends to be dissimilar from the material that *triggered* the insight. I noticed this in myself after developing a very detailed note taking system. This allowed me to go back and trace the trajectory of past insights. It is much harder and less motivating (currently) to share stuff from the pre-insight perspective. Harder because of insight amnesia, the tendency to forget what your past thinking patterns were like, and also because most don't have detailed enough notes. Less motivating because pre-insight material just seems, well, wrong now. Why write about wrong things when you could write about *glorious new correct thing*?

Comment by romeostevensit on Disentangling arguments for the importance of AI safety · 2019-01-23T05:21:20.013Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Pretty random, but the thought this post lead to was 'let's upload Culadasa and then have the upload direct us in how to iteratively upgrade him.' Sort of like gun-to-the-head you have to pick the safest option using only the concepts we already have right now.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice · 2019-01-19T21:59:56.559Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The aspect of comparison I find useful is less competitive and more in noticing that a lot of people are *quietly* having what I consider some pretty bad outcomes in their career, primary relationship, relationship with family, and personal growth. It has been valuable for me to do a bit of analysis of equivalence classes of these sorts of failures and try to avoid the big pitfalls. A lot of this rounds off to stuff that we might already know about like exercise and sleep actually needing to be major priorities, but the greatly added juice of having a feel for the real consequences in the lives of age peers and older folks is great.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice · 2019-01-19T21:55:03.888Z · score: 16 (5 votes) · LW · GW

A lot of the smaller items are covered in early retirement type blog posts such as ERE and MMM. They both also have books out which are organized better than the blogs. The big ones tend to be things like

people not running the numbers on home ownership: After playing a lot with the NYT rent-buy calculator and both current prices and historical rates of housing inflation in major markets (ie the places you'd actually want to live) I found only two scenarios that paid off. Both hinged on being very confident you were going to stay in the same place at least ten years, which given the opportunity costs of not being mobile for the best available job as well as the often underestimated commuting costs to QoL is a pretty high variance bet. The two scenarios were buying a 2 bedroom condo and renting out the 2nd bedroom, and buying a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with a converted garage, living in the garage while renting out the house and then flipping to living in the house and renting the garage when family planning needs kick in down the road. And this was still only beating renting in advantageous markets like Denver, Austin, Raleigh. Terrible in popular places like Seattle, SF, NY, Chicago etc. Assuming you plow a decent chunk of your salary into index funds otherwise.

Not optimizing their career due to short term comfort considerations. The long term impact of optimally switching to advance several times *early* in your career is massive. Most people don't apply often enough to nearly a wide enough range of positions in many different cities with excuses like 'my friends and family are here' and only counting the immediate salary difference rather than the huge trajectory shift.

A general habit of buying stuff, 90% of which sits unused 99% of the time. Which also causes one to rent bigger places on average.

A general habit of not TDTing 'reasonable' convenience expenses and finding more permanent solutions that cost less over a lifetime.

As mentioned in the recent putanumonit post completely insane financial planning folk beliefs. Not parking money in a well run robo-index like Schwab's.

Dating people who reinforce their bad habits, which feels like validation from the inside. Especially in the justification that those living at lower consumptive levels are 'missing out on life' or wasting their time. (They might not be making optimal time-money tradeoffs but the person hasn't actually checked this, it's just a reflexive defense)

Not valuing slack enough to fight tooth and nail for it over the longer run.

I don't know, I'm probably forgetting stuff. The real juice tends to be in stances more than individual decisions. The primary legible stance is something like: once you finish Mario Kondoing your possessions, start in on your processes.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice · 2019-01-18T07:40:22.282Z · score: 20 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The meta lesson I learned by squinting at things and holding them at arms distance was this: don't be middle class. Live like a grad student and then retire having never acclimated to consumptive patterns that seem to be more about auditioning to be upper class than about enjoyment of the life material prosperity can provide.

Comment by romeostevensit on What are questions? · 2019-01-09T16:54:35.439Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think about Gendlin's 'blank that knows what it is looking for' a lot. The sharpest feeling as when you have a word on the tip of your tongue. Gendlin's point being that you can use such a blank with image and felt sense in addition to words.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? · 2019-01-02T20:35:35.131Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I notice that I never really state one of the central theses motivating this for me: positive-normative (or is-ought, or belief-value) errors are present in sub-conscious processing. Meditative practice is capable of bringing deeper levels of processing into consciousness at which point those conflations can be disentangled. This leads to a more dramatic decrease in suffering than is intuitive. I find it compelling to share this model with rationalists in particular because for me it represents how contemplative practice is continuous with other forms of rationalist inquiry into beliefs.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? · 2019-01-02T20:22:47.821Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

exactly this! Thanks.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? · 2019-01-02T20:22:16.560Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Right. As several commenters have pointed out, I might be giving too much benefit of the doubt with the complicated explanation given that most people's empirical and inferential engines aren't exactly v8's. That said, I hope the network refactoring angle is helpful to those who do have decent epistemic standards.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? · 2019-01-01T20:25:28.471Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

this is helpful, thanks!

Comment by romeostevensit on Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? · 2019-01-01T20:24:31.659Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is awesome. I still have a ways to go on clarity obviously.

Edit: on further reflection, this is pointing to a very useful heuristic that I haven't been employing in my off the cuff writing method but probably can be rolled in with some effort and I predict will improve clarity. Much much appreciated.

Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims?

2018-12-31T19:44:30.358Z · score: 50 (20 votes)
Comment by romeostevensit on 1987 Sci-Fi Authors Timecapsule Predictions For 2012 · 2018-12-28T18:50:39.637Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Besides energy production and demographics, what other large scale slow moving trends dominate long term prediction more so than smaller, more local, quickly changing and thus attention grabbing trends?

Comment by romeostevensit on You can be wrong about what you like, and you often are · 2018-12-21T02:10:08.962Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

ambiguous wording, the optimization they're doing over the space is convex. Also I don't think choice of optimization function is super important for the metaphor. Just to give the flavor.

Comment by romeostevensit on You can be wrong about what you like, and you often are · 2018-12-19T03:57:22.378Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with all of this.


I think that thinking of people as wanting happiness is similar to trying to understand speedrunning through the eyes of a child who is still at the stage of identifying with the video game character. They can't think rationally about strategies that decrease hit points too much, because that means your character is getting *hurt.* To the speedrunner, health points are just one more dimension of tradeoff in a convex optimization space.

Comment by romeostevensit on Meditations on Momentum · 2018-12-15T18:33:10.708Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Piketty's epistemics aren't great.

Comment by romeostevensit on Meditations on Momentum · 2018-12-15T18:08:04.727Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Comment by romeostevensit on Meditations on Momentum · 2018-12-14T16:24:38.706Z · score: 28 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Number 4 is even worse than that. Physical health is deeply entangled with mental health. Many never get the generator spinning because the first 6-18 months can have fairly illegible feedback loops depending on where you start. And it can be stupid stuff. I only managed to start running once I got really frustrated and tried 12 pairs of shoes to find some that didn't bother my feet. It was a hassle, but it permanently solved the problem since I now know what parameters to look for. Compounding small permanent wins doesn't look all that impressive until you hit the knee of the curve and then it goes from famine to feast. Getting those success spirals ramping up is why Peterson is telling people to clean their room and why Marie Kondo's book bills it as Life Changing Magic. If you internalize the meta pattern instead of thinking it's just about cleaning your room you're off to the races. (IFS is KonMarie for the inside of your head)

I've also referred to this as instantiating the spoon reinvestment act. Determining to reinvest a portion of any gained spoons in spoon generating activities. See also, slack:

Comment by romeostevensit on Three AI Safety Related Ideas · 2018-12-14T04:14:30.531Z · score: 16 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry to hear you are experiencing a limiter on output. Happy to serve (via voice chat) as proxy note taker and cognitive offloading to help map out the space of possible treatments and an experimental protocol for ordering them to alleviate the issue. If it's RSI I'm under the impression that it is significantly more treatable than common sources lead one to believe.

Comment by romeostevensit on Measly Meditation Measurements · 2018-12-12T23:21:17.569Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

neuroticism is from the big 5. Shrug. Working memory tests are available online in a variety of formats. I'd probably just pick the 2-3 that seemed good then retake them later. I did Ravens and the one with number of boxes. Showed slight improvement 6 months apart, within test retest variation though. To date there have been a couple studies that showed implausibly large effect size on working memory. Someone should really follow up on them with more funding.

I don't know of a good survey paper.

Comment by romeostevensit on Measly Meditation Measurements · 2018-12-11T20:31:11.851Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I feel frustration when people don't measure the two things that have shown the largest effect in studies to date: working memory and neuroticism.

Comment by romeostevensit on Four factors which moderate the intensity of emotions · 2018-11-24T20:59:09.990Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ease of imagining yes, I'd also suggest that the dysfunction comes about when the ease of imagining the result gets separated from the ease of imagining/charting the causal path. Leads to envy, entitlement, victimhood like areas of mindspace.

Comment by romeostevensit on No Really, Why Aren't Rationalists Winning? · 2018-11-04T19:19:25.708Z · score: 80 (33 votes) · LW · GW

Humans who won typically just choose harder goals and don't spend a lot of time patting themselves on the back online. Fwiw superforecasters were disproportionately ssc readers, I interviewed four of them. Also, lw, like most self help communities, attracts the walking wounded. See mental health incidence in the ssc survey. Going from well below average in several metrics to slightly above doesn't look impressive from the outside but is very large from the inside.

Comment by romeostevensit on look at the water · 2018-10-24T00:27:08.848Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Internalizing generators has been a super useful frame. It's somewhat surprising from the inside how often we fail, upon finding some useful l query, to not abstract out and see if it produces other useful stuff. In short, sure, we often fail to explore, but we also fail to exploit!

Comment by romeostevensit on Policy Beats Morality · 2018-10-18T01:42:06.234Z · score: 18 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Related: don't use the few moments of agency you have to do object level things. Use them to alter your environment such that the object level thing gets done even by low agency you.

KonMarie is a good example of this.

Comment by romeostevensit on Outline of Metarationality, or much less than you wanted to know about postrationality · 2018-10-17T02:33:21.159Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Improvements to subjective well being can be extremely legible from the inside and fairly noisy from the outside.

Comment by romeostevensit on Attacking enlightenment · 2018-10-15T02:45:46.326Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The thing meditation, drugs, and radical empathy does.

Comment by romeostevensit on You're never wrong injecting complexity, but rarely you're right · 2018-10-15T02:05:44.358Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Consider open and closed mode for inspiration (one of if not the best talk I've ever seen):

Comment by romeostevensit on Attacking enlightenment · 2018-10-15T01:48:19.118Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The tacit stance behind 'just say what you mean!' is that if they were smarter they'd be able to do a better job of explaining themselves. Consider that they might be just as smart as you. If that were the case, what might they be trying to tell you?

I'll try to say it with rationalist flavor: they are trying to point out to you that you have a major blindspot (it's actually both an object level and meta level blindspot!) and want to induce the cognitive jitter necessary for you to directly see it. The fact that you ask for them to give you simple directions when they *have* given you simple directions *over and over again* and yet you ignore these simple instructions points at the blindspot.

Comment by romeostevensit on Maps of Meaning: Abridged and Translated · 2018-10-11T19:07:27.337Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This suggests a core tension. Good scholarship happens when you don't take credit for much (more citations, more expository work). But status pressures you to take credit for everything, which involves renaming already existing concepts and obscuring the trail.

Comment by romeostevensit on Maps of Meaning: Abridged and Translated · 2018-10-11T19:04:20.439Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Truth tracking as a function of environmental harshness runs deep. Convergence speed has to be high, so pruning occurs at meta levels as well.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why don’t we treat geniuses like professional athletes? · 2018-10-11T18:47:58.692Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We do, a little, when they fight live on TV. Normal people need ideas to become embodied and fight each other. Ideally with narrow margins of victory for excitement. Legibility issues means this is mostly continuous with poiliticking, LCD etc.

Comment by romeostevensit on An Invitation to Measure Meditation · 2018-10-03T16:35:57.026Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, right I was not paying much attention to the two week thing. I got a large effect with a retest one year later with daily practice and multiple retreats.

Comment by romeostevensit on Reflections on Being 30 · 2018-10-03T05:56:18.774Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think of this in terms of modularity. The more streamlined and side effect free each area becomes the more flexibly it can interface with other modules without unexpected difficulty. This enables the building of more complex modules that get you more of what you want. Some people like to live their life on the bleeding edge, always building modules that they can barely (or can't!) sustain. Others settle into a set of very easy to maintain modules that, combined, get them their needs met. I think maturing *well* is something like deliberate practice and flow. You organize things well enough that you can take on new challenges, but at a pace that you've learned is enjoyable and fruitful. Less worries about missing out on all the things one says no to, even when those things go on to success.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Deep Learning · 2018-10-03T04:35:29.412Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I found this highly useful and wish there were better incentives for producing research reviews.

Comment by romeostevensit on An Invitation to Measure Meditation · 2018-10-02T18:28:43.468Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree there should be skepticism when people report significant changes on psychometrics that are in general testing populations stable. The same thing arises in small studies sowing meditation boosting IQ. But the hypothesis that meditation can change things that other interventions can't should be chased down since if true it's very important.

Comment by romeostevensit on An Invitation to Measure Meditation · 2018-10-01T21:36:12.775Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Very large changes that are concordant with others' reported changes in your behavior are likely not measurement error.

Comment by romeostevensit on An Invitation to Measure Meditation · 2018-10-01T21:34:27.415Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Rationalist types are often already maxed on openess. I experienced an uptick in extraversion in addition to the effects you mentioned.

Comment by romeostevensit on The tails coming apart as a strategy for success · 2018-10-01T21:33:53.217Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The most valuable stacks are going to be ones that are in demand while having anti-correlated component skills.

Psycho-cybernetics: experimental notes

2018-09-18T19:21:03.601Z · score: 60 (18 votes)