Thoughts on ADHD 2020-10-07T20:46:24.827Z
Your Prioritization is Underspecified 2020-07-10T20:48:29.654Z
PSA: Cars don't have 'blindspots' 2020-07-01T17:04:06.690Z
Which facebook groups on covid do you recommend? 2020-03-23T22:34:15.125Z
How to Lurk Less (and benefit others while benefiting yourself) 2020-02-17T06:18:54.978Z
[Link] Ignorance, a skilled practice 2020-01-31T16:21:23.062Z
Is there a website for tracking fads? 2019-12-06T04:48:51.297Z
Schematic Thinking: heuristic generalization using Korzybski's method 2019-10-14T19:29:14.672Z
Towards an Intentional Research Agenda 2019-08-23T05:27:53.843Z
romeostevensit's Shortform 2019-08-07T16:13:55.144Z
Open problems in human rationality: guesses 2019-08-02T18:16:18.342Z
87,000 Hours or: Thoughts on Home Ownership 2019-07-06T08:01:59.092Z
The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism) 2019-04-07T21:04:11.353Z
Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? 2018-12-31T19:44:30.358Z
Psycho-cybernetics: experimental notes 2018-09-18T19:21:03.601Z


Comment by romeostevensit on Why Republics Perform Better than Absolute Monarchies in the Long-Term · 2021-06-18T01:55:55.502Z · LW · GW

I'd be curious about data on hereditary vs non hereditary monarchies if anyone knows any pointers

Comment by romeostevensit on (Trying To) Study Textbooks Effectively: A Year of Experimentation · 2021-06-09T02:27:15.658Z · LW · GW

Great post! You sound like a geometer and some people are algebraists. The latter seem to use interoception and internal speech more so than visualization. Using interoception to come up with new visual metaphors a la Gendlin's Focusing can be helpful for geometers IME.

Comment by romeostevensit on Often, enemies really are innately evil. · 2021-06-08T01:17:28.834Z · LW · GW

This is an example of the problem. More concern with intractable causes than tractable effects.

Comment by romeostevensit on Often, enemies really are innately evil. · 2021-06-07T18:06:09.803Z · LW · GW

"Sadism exists and is popular" is something I think of as a major blind spot for mistake/error theorists.

Comment by romeostevensit on Five Whys · 2021-06-07T18:01:33.225Z · LW · GW

Other direction can be valuable for operationalizing: 5 Hows

Comment by romeostevensit on What is the Risk of Long Covid after Vaccination? · 2021-06-02T20:14:41.077Z · LW · GW

I expect symptoms-consistent-with is broad enough to interact with a whole lot of stuff that is going on medically and culturally.

Comment by romeostevensit on Selection Has A Quality Ceiling · 2021-06-02T20:05:47.543Z · LW · GW

I have the sense that training happens out in the tails via the mechanism of lineage. Lineage holders get some selection power and might be doing something inscrutable with it, but it's not like they can cast a net for PhD candidates arbitrarily wide so they must be doing some training or we wouldn't see the concentration of results we do. The main issue with this seems to be that it is very expensive. If I have only 10 people I think can do top tier work it is very costly to test hypotheses that involve them spending time doing things other than top tier work. Suggestion: find ways for candidates to work closely with top tier people such that it doesn't distract those people too much. Look at how intellectual lineages do this and assume that some of it looks dumb on the surface.

Comment by romeostevensit on Power dynamics as a blind spot or blurry spot in our collective world-modeling, especially around AI · 2021-06-02T02:05:33.667Z · LW · GW

A research review that I found incredibly helpful for bridging my understanding of technical topics and multi-agent cooperation in more practical contexts was this paper: Statistical physics of human cooperation. I'd be really excited about people engaging with this approach.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Homunculus Problem · 2021-05-28T07:12:22.637Z · LW · GW

The homunculus fallacy fallacy is the tendency to deny that you are in fact the homunculus. The homunculus homunculus fallacy is believing in a second order homunculus that is only a projection and is what mistaken people are talking about when they refer to the homunculus fallacy. The homunculus homunculus homunculus fallacy fallacy is believing that it leads to infinite regress problems when in fact two levels of meta are sufficient.

Comment by romeostevensit on romeostevensit's Shortform · 2021-05-26T18:02:10.230Z · LW · GW

It strikes me that, at certain times and places, low time preference research might have become a competitive consumption display for wealthy patrons. I know this is considered mildly the case, but I mean as a major cultural driver.

Comment by romeostevensit on Concerning not getting lost · 2021-05-26T02:49:28.682Z · LW · GW

I describe it a different way in Towards an Intentional Research Agenda. But basically I think trying to constrain intentions algorithmically is a type error.

Comment by romeostevensit on Questions are tools to help answerers optimize utility · 2021-05-25T04:59:38.223Z · LW · GW

Answerers can also split out the breakdown/tacit linked premises for the questioner, like you do in this post, if the questioner has patience for that because the question is somewhat important to them. See also: Arisototle treating questions only fully answered if they separately address four different types of whys.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism) · 2021-05-25T01:49:00.619Z · LW · GW

on interpretations:Ānāpānasati_Sutta

insight techniques:

Comment by romeostevensit on AI Safety Research Project Ideas · 2021-05-22T06:52:47.808Z · LW · GW

Detecting preferences in agents: how many assumptions need to be made?

I'm interpreting this to be asking how to detect the dimensionality of the natural embedding of preferences?

Comment by romeostevensit on How To Think About Overparameterized Models · 2021-05-20T04:58:55.724Z · LW · GW

somehow I missed this post and only caught it now. This was helpful for a few things.

  1. That I should think of some algorithms primarily as populating a space with the given data and then 'deciding' on the topology of the space
  2. That 'the valley of bad X' is the inverse of a 'goldilocks zone'
  3. That overfitting can be thought of as occurring in a valley of bad parameterization.
Comment by romeostevensit on How Can One Tell What Is Beautiful? · 2021-05-15T22:55:08.720Z · LW · GW

Given your current compression library there's a frontier of new compression heuristics you can learn. This determines what seems appealing. The appealing objects are in your current goldilocks zone of ambiguity wrt how to compress them best.

Comment by romeostevensit on Concerning not getting lost · 2021-05-15T19:00:04.341Z · LW · GW

I did a version of this (what I would call a sense of the main story line for me personally) here:

Comment by romeostevensit on The case for hypocrisy · 2021-05-13T16:26:10.457Z · LW · GW

Detailed maps of technical or personal subjects. Like knowing particular idiosyncracies of your job or relationships.

Comment by romeostevensit on The case for hypocrisy · 2021-05-13T05:50:41.344Z · LW · GW

I think of modularity/composability of beliefs like lego. It is important for pieces to be able to be different so they serve different tasks, yet also important for them to maintain certain properties so that they remain connectable to other lego. Pieces that conform along more dimensions will be more composable and thus more usable in many different ways (more generic pieces) while pieces that conform along fewer dimensions can accomplish more specialized tasks but also create limits on how well they interface with other pieces (super specialized pieces that 'are only good for their specific purpose' in specialty sets.)

Comment by romeostevensit on Agency in Conway’s Game of Life · 2021-05-13T05:41:56.325Z · LW · GW

Related to sensitivity of instrumental convergence. i.e. the question of whether we live in a universe of strong or weak instrumental convergence. In a strong instrumental convergence universe, most possible optimizers wind up in a relatively small space of configurations regardless of starting conditions, while in a weak one they may diverge arbitrarily in design space. This can be thought of one way of crisping up concepts around orthogonality. e.g. in some universes orthogonality would be locally true but globally false, or vice versa, or locally and globally true or vice versa.

Comment by romeostevensit on Academia as Company Hierarchy · 2021-05-13T05:37:32.244Z · LW · GW

I like this. For the others maybe 'Believers' and 'Ruthless.'

Comment by romeostevensit on Academia as Company Hierarchy · 2021-05-13T05:35:26.092Z · LW · GW

I think part of the issue might be you not being the target audience. My sense is that the people most helped by realpolitik explanations (of which this is a particular instance) is that they help scrupulous people who are being taken advantage of by the fake narratives of companies.

Comment by romeostevensit on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-11T20:34:29.460Z · LW · GW

No Raleigh/RTP? They make the top of the city rankings for the US. I spent some time there and concur.

Comment by romeostevensit on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-11T20:23:56.897Z · LW · GW

I spent about 9 months in Austin and would recommend against. Weather isn't all that great and the whole area seems to be getting worse/more California like from what I can tell even in the time I was there (a visitor from CA, haha). Traffic grinds the city to a stop twice a day as there are choke points over the river that aren't likely to be fixed.

The places I would consider are Boulder, Londonderry or Nashua, and Research Triangle Park. I think you'd be most likely to find relevant commercial properties in RTP.

The other high level consideration I have when considering locations is that the immediate area around the location is so important that you should airbnb some people within 5 minutes walking if at all possible to get an on the ground feel. My impression is that the felt sense of effort to going places is exponential with distance and not linear. So places 20 minutes away aren't twice the effort of 10 minutes away but more like 4 times the effort or something like that. This means places that look great from a distance vary hugely if you're 10 minutes away on this or that side of town depending on what's in the immediate area (<10 minutes walking).

In light of this, having a campus that is 15 minutes away from things is going to feel hugely different from being walking distance to a lively concourse as current offices are and the places I listed are places where you could be closer to a concourse. E.g. in Boulder the main concourse (Pearl St.) is also a few block from a river/nature trail that goes all the way out into dense forest and is quite nice.

Comment by romeostevensit on Academia as Company Hierarchy · 2021-05-11T04:19:00.174Z · LW · GW

I read it as much more descriptive and less prescriptive but maybe I forgot about there being advice parts?

Comment by romeostevensit on Academia as Company Hierarchy · 2021-05-10T22:02:48.532Z · LW · GW

You likely work in a well above average functioning company. The appeal of the framework is that it helps orient people who are totally bewildered by the sclerotic company culture they find themselves in by explaining key things like why the middle managers seem....well, clueless and the way diffusion of responsibility works.

Comment by romeostevensit on Academia as Company Hierarchy · 2021-05-10T01:21:40.749Z · LW · GW

Thanks for writing this, I think it's a great addition to the various moral maze related posts.

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 5/6: Vaccine Patent Suspension · 2021-05-07T20:22:12.814Z · LW · GW

Comment by romeostevensit on Maps of Maps, and Empty Expectations · 2021-05-07T17:10:22.575Z · LW · GW

I meant that empty expectations are another anchor for antidoting writing the bottom line first. As for simulacra levels:

I switch into the mode of ‘trying to be helpful’ or ‘trying to be seen as helpful’, instead of ‘trying to solve the problem they asked me to solve for them’.”

This highlights how we switch abstraction levels when we don't know how to solve a problem on the level we're on. This is a reasonable strategy in general that sometimes backfires.

Comment by romeostevensit on All is fair in love and war, on Zero-sum games in life · 2021-05-05T22:54:35.121Z · LW · GW

if the things that status are getting you are satisficing and not maximizing this doesn't matter much. E.g. if Sotala is getting his needs met from the communities he is a part of Musk is not relevant.

Comment by romeostevensit on [link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight · 2021-05-05T21:59:21.668Z · LW · GW

If keeping your place non-messy seems hard it's probably because there are items that don't have explicit home locations. This means both that they accrue in any spare spaces, and also that you avoid cleaning up because it induces decision fatigue since you have to think about where things go. One can also make the mistake of setting home locations that make 'logical sense' in terms of one sort of grouping, but don't reflect patterns of actual usage of objects. Common example: clothes that have been worn once but you'll wear again before laundering.

Comment by romeostevensit on [link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight · 2021-05-05T21:50:34.346Z · LW · GW

If you go out to eat a lot because your own cooking is bland you are failing to add some combination of fat, salt, or acid to your dishes in reasonable amounts.

Comment by romeostevensit on [link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight · 2021-05-05T21:46:03.627Z · LW · GW

Learning social skills is much harder if you're avoiding the primary feedback loop: people's microexpressions. Trying to build ever more complex models to compensate for the lack of this instantaneous feedback doesn't work all that well.

Comment by romeostevensit on [link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight · 2021-05-05T21:41:37.984Z · LW · GW

Most shoe companies don't make shoes shaped like a human foot. This makes running more unpleasant than it needs to be. Try Altra or similarly wider shoes. One expert said average men should be wearing wides, and average women should be buying mens sizes to fix this. Also, running monotonously near traffic is much less pleasant than running in the woods where there is more to pay attention to than minor physical discomfort.

Comment by romeostevensit on Would robots care about Meaning and Relating? · 2021-05-05T02:01:14.281Z · LW · GW

Something about how I tried to communicate this here bothered me and it took me a while to figure it out. I wanted to point to something like 'be a confucian naturalist about meaning' i.e. observing your own meaning making process the same way you'd watch an unknown species of animal. But the way I said it more implied that there is a pre-existing right answer which cuts directly against that sort of mental stance.

Comment by romeostevensit on Self-Keeping Secrets · 2021-05-04T17:55:29.607Z · LW · GW

I like the one way two way distinction for pointers-referents. Another thing I can say about the thing is that it seems to point to our boundary/distinction thresholds bring too rigid or too...assumed across reference classes when that's not actually appropriate. Like abstractions in general being held too tightly and treated like territory even though we know intellectually that they are map.

Comment by romeostevensit on Small and Vulnerable · 2021-05-03T19:51:22.442Z · LW · GW

This is a longer time lag than I am familiar with. I had seen some benefit to dosing about 3 hours early. Are you dosing at 5pm to sleep at 11?

Comment by romeostevensit on Maps of Maps, and Empty Expectations · 2021-05-03T17:47:45.141Z · LW · GW

This is helpful for deepening my understanding of simulacra levels 3 and 4. The empty expectations piece feels like another instantiation of writing the bottom line first?

Comment by romeostevensit on Small and Vulnerable · 2021-05-03T16:31:36.892Z · LW · GW

Every day I try to imagine them somehow watching me and I ask whether they would think I forgot them.

As someone who also had ADHD and a terrible upbringing and can relate to a bunch of the anecdotes in the post...I think this is unhealthy and something to work on. Believing that being miserable is virtuous is an aspect of trauma. Believing your trauma can never be fixed is an aspect of learned helplessness that is itself a trauma.

Comment by romeostevensit on Moral Privilege · 2021-05-01T00:45:14.237Z · LW · GW

This is useful for oneself and also for having compassion and understanding for people who are outraged all the time because this is their experience of the world. They are experiencing the execution of 'galvanize the tribe against destructive things' circuitry.

Comment by romeostevensit on Moral Privilege · 2021-05-01T00:41:08.681Z · LW · GW

I think most of the examples with any juice to them would make the post worse by dint of distraction. Examples relating to moral frontiers we no longer care about might work.

Comment by romeostevensit on [AN #148]: Analyzing generalization across more axes than just accuracy or loss · 2021-04-29T05:02:18.377Z · LW · GW
  1. First-person vs. third-person: In a first-person perspective, the agent is central. In a third-person perspective, we take a “birds-eye” view of the world, of which the agent is just one part.
  1. Static vs. dynamic: In a dynamic perspective, the notion of time is explicitly present in the formalism. In a static perspective, we instead have beliefs directly about entire world-histories.

I think these are two instances of a general heuristic of treating what have traditionally been seen as philosophical positions (e.g. here cognitive and behavioral views and A and B theories of time) instead as representations one can run various kinds of checks on to achieve more sample complexity reduction than using a single representation.

Comment by romeostevensit on Naming and pointer thickness · 2021-04-28T22:58:59.947Z · LW · GW

Humanity has perennial issues with anything where the explanation of the solution is much longer than the explanation of the problem.

Comment by romeostevensit on Rob B's Shortform Feed · 2021-04-27T23:29:59.325Z · LW · GW

I don't have a cite handy as it's memories from 2014 but when I looked into it I recall the 7 year failure rate excluding the obvious dumb stuff like restaurants was something like 70% but importantly the 70% number included acquisitions, so the actual failure rate was something like 60 ish.

Comment by romeostevensit on Would robots care about Meaning and Relating? · 2021-04-26T01:54:34.846Z · LW · GW

similar to focusing, acknowledging the proto thoughts (images, feelings) but less getting caught up in their train rides.

Comment by romeostevensit on Would robots care about Meaning and Relating? · 2021-04-25T21:56:29.471Z · LW · GW

So if I describe this post as a sort of bottom up construction then it seems useful to come from the other direction and investigate* the physical feelings of meaningfulness as they arise and trying to backchain from that to general principles, and then bouncing back and forth between the forward and backward chaining to see where and how they might meet. To wrap the ouroboros, one could then reflect on this process as a meaning making one.

*e.g. what are the qualities of the experiences that meaning is assigned to?

Comment by romeostevensit on Should we stop using the term 'Rationalist'? · 2021-04-24T18:22:17.044Z · LW · GW

Quinean naturalism used to be used to describe which corner of philosphy LW tends to inhabit. Also Wittgensteinian in understanding of language (Human's Guide to Words etc).

Comment by romeostevensit on Apps / tools for combatting sleep procrastination? · 2021-04-24T17:10:37.206Z · LW · GW

I use Core Transformation (see Amazon) these days.

Comment by romeostevensit on Apps / tools for combatting sleep procrastination? · 2021-04-24T03:26:46.465Z · LW · GW

The best strategy I've found is deep engagement with the benefits of the undesired

Comment by romeostevensit on Are there good classes (or just articles) on blog writing? · 2021-04-20T03:00:55.977Z · LW · GW

Is it possible to teach people good heuristics for managing their online presence or does the underlying territory change too fast even for general heuristics? I'll give a concrete example with serious consequences: several people I have talked to about online job searches didn't know about the automated resume screening that large platforms use and thus the need to optimize the resume using the appropriate tools/checklist/domain knowledge.