Is there a website for tracking fads? 2019-12-06T04:48:51.297Z · score: 8 (2 votes)
Schematic Thinking: heuristic generalization using Korzybski's method 2019-10-14T19:29:14.672Z · score: 29 (8 votes)
Towards an Intentional Research Agenda 2019-08-23T05:27:53.843Z · score: 22 (12 votes)
romeostevensit's Shortform 2019-08-07T16:13:55.144Z · score: 2 (1 votes)
Open problems in human rationality: guesses 2019-08-02T18:16:18.342Z · score: 19 (6 votes)
87,000 Hours or: Thoughts on Home Ownership 2019-07-06T08:01:59.092Z · score: 17 (19 votes)
The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism) 2019-04-07T21:04:11.353Z · score: 93 (40 votes)
Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? 2018-12-31T19:44:30.358Z · score: 55 (22 votes)
Psycho-cybernetics: experimental notes 2018-09-18T19:21:03.601Z · score: 60 (18 votes)


Comment by romeostevensit on Applications of Economic Models to Physiology? · 2019-12-11T05:05:15.707Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not what you're looking for but it reminded me of how strange it is that people think of The Republic as a political treatise when the work bills itself multiple times as a work on psychology using political theory as extended metaphor.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real? · 2019-12-10T21:49:08.721Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ultra high returns and positive externalities in the tails. Really bad internalities to personal quality of life if some basic thresholds aren't met. I am reminded of David Foster Wallace talking about how the sports press tries to paper over the absurd lifestyles that elite athletes actually live and try to make them seem relatable because that's the story the public wants.

What good is it to become a famous rich athlete if you lose all your money and wind up with brain damage because you never learned to manage any risks?

Comment by romeostevensit on Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real? · 2019-12-10T21:46:00.154Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, I see a major problem with an argument that seems to imply that since advice exists elsewhere/wasn't invented by rationality techniques, a meta-heuristic for aggregating trustworthy sources isn't hugely valuable.

Comment by romeostevensit on ToL: Methods and Success · 2019-12-10T21:43:43.817Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Upvote for attempting foundational work on reference class forecasting which seems underexplored in terms of implementable by humans heuristics.

Meta: I think it would have been better to post these 1 per day?

Comment by romeostevensit on What's an important (new) idea you haven't had time to argue for yet? · 2019-12-10T21:41:05.537Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

People like to pretend they are doing fine by using a cognitive algorithm for judging that is riddled with availability heuristic, epistemically unsound dialectics and other biases. Almost everyone I meet is physically and emotionally unwell and shies away from thinking about it. What rare engagement does happen occurs with close intimates who are selected for having the same blind spots as them.

It's like everyone has this massive assumption that things will turn out fine, even though the default outcome is terrible (see obesity and medicated mental health rates). Or they just have learned helplessness about learned helplessness.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is there a website for tracking fads? · 2019-12-10T03:21:03.137Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, yeah model building from past fads would be useful. I am mostly interested in tracking things like current trends in a mostly content agnostic way, i.e. what is currently being shared the most across lots of platforms. Probably this is a paid service by some marketing firms.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real? · 2019-12-09T20:31:53.550Z · score: 14 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The search space is multiplicative

Most people have a serious problem with doubling down on the things they're already good at rather than improving the areas they are bad at. This behavior interfaces well with the need to develop comparative advantage in a tribe of 150. It is misfiring badly in the modern context with massive peer groups.

Being embarrassingly bad at things is really difficult past the identity formation stage of adolescence where people calcify around whichever reward signals they invested a few hundred hours in, thus getting over the hump. People build an acceptable life out of whatever skills they have available and avoid areas of life that will provide evidence of incompetence. Midlife crises are often about remembering this forgotten thing when context changes enough to highlight it.

Much of the variance for the outcomes people most care about isn't very controlled by skill, this inculcates learned helplessness in other domains.

Comment by romeostevensit on What determines the balance between intelligence signaling and virtue signaling? · 2019-12-09T19:00:32.204Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I'd been looking for the link to that talk as I reference it often.

Comment by romeostevensit on Confabulation · 2019-12-09T08:50:06.327Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

it also shows original size if you right click and 'view image'

Comment by romeostevensit on What determines the balance between intelligence signaling and virtue signaling? · 2019-12-09T03:57:20.437Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW


I like to think of signaling as dialects that communities use to communicate social coordination information (who should be paid attention to, who should receive praise or blame, etc.). I think about them in terms of the Buddhist realms:

who is good/bad? victims and oppressors, hell realm

who controls resources? territory, animal realm

who deserves resources? zero sum competitions, hungry ghost realm

which achievements are laudable? prestige, titan realm

which sorts of enjoyments are available/acceptable/admired? god realm

which models hold sway over the group's decision making? understanding and intellect, human realm

side note: the earliest uses of the term virtue signaling I'm aware of are the PUA community circa ~2011

Comment by romeostevensit on Confabulation · 2019-12-09T03:37:21.956Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sentence stems for finding more of these:

usually your first few answers are cached bullshit. If you answer multiple times quickly enough you'll wind up saying something uncomfortable.

Comment by romeostevensit on Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution · 2019-12-09T03:22:25.789Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right, that first 20 hours gets you to the 80th-90th percentile and it takes another 200 to get to the 99th. But important cognitive work seems multiplicative more than additive, so getting to the 80-90th percentile in the basics makes a really big difference.

Comment by romeostevensit on Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution · 2019-12-09T03:17:20.292Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1. that's not a reasonable standard for the thing?

2. he actually came closer than almost anyone else?

Comment by romeostevensit on Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution · 2019-12-08T00:42:27.673Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

LKY apparently regularly destroyed debate opponents in 3 different languages in long marathon sessions.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is there a website for tracking fads? · 2019-12-07T00:27:33.620Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Something currently undergoing the steep part of its sigmoid wrt memetic replication maybe.

Comment by romeostevensit on Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution · 2019-12-07T00:26:23.473Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · LW · GW

When I was trying to improve at touch typing I had to distinguish between causes of different kinds of errors. If my model was 'speed is good' and 'tried to go faster' I'd face constant frustration at the seeming interplay between speed and error rate. Instead, I built up a model of different errors like 'left right finger confusion', 'moved wrong finger off home row', 'tendency to reverse key presses in certain sequences', etc. Then I could find ways of practicing each error specifically, finding really cruxy examples that caused the worst traffic jams for me. This is a simple example because feedback loops are immediate. In many cases the added complexity is VoI calculations because gathering data on any given hypothesis costs some time or other resources.

Learning the causal model as you practice is a meta skill that levels up as you try to be careful when learning new domains.

Comment by romeostevensit on Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution · 2019-12-06T04:41:21.254Z · score: 14 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree with the karate kid essay. People have a really hard time with interventions often because they literally do not have a functioning causal model of the thing in question. People who apply deliberate practice to a working causal model often level up astonishingly quickly. Don't know if you have the appropriate causal model? Well, when you apply deliberate practice do you not get better? You're pulling on fake levers.

People have cognitive dissonance about this because a bunch of their life UI is fake levers, and acknowledging one would lead to acknowledging others.

I propose an alternative model. People don't resolve disagreements because there are no incentives to resolve them. In fact the incentives often cut the other way. The pretense of shared intent and avoidance of conflicting intents is short term workable, long term calcifying. Conflict resolutions that would need to be about intents often disguise themselves as conflicts about strategies or implementations instead, because bike shedding, and people not even being aware of their own inconsistencies in this regard.

Comment by romeostevensit on In which ways have you self-improved that made you feel bad for not having done it earlier? · 2019-12-05T04:23:23.958Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yoga Nidra is how I learned it. Essentially self directed hypnosis.

Comment by romeostevensit on In which ways have you self-improved that made you feel bad for not having done it earlier? · 2019-12-04T23:26:57.896Z · score: 22 (7 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Meditation, but I don't think it would have landed earlier.

  2. Insights from 1, like it not being my job to solve problems, it's my job to show up and orient myself toward the problem. Whether it gets solved or not isn't really in my control.

  3. Relaxation is a skill. Like most skills, especially ones you've never trained, a small amount of deliberate practice yields large improvements.

  4. Note taking system I enjoy using.

  5. Increasing typing speed and buying the keyboard that maximizes speed after testing.

  6. Desk ergonomics

  7. Getting rid of most belongings a la Marie Kondo

  8. Food allergy testing

  9. Doing things that take less than five minutes immediately a la Getting Things Done

  10. Training to notice hamster pellet loops aka news feeds, notifications, etc.

  11. Creativity training a la The Butterfly and the Net

Comment by romeostevensit on Symbiotic Wars · 2019-12-04T05:38:50.101Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

With ramifications for psychotherapy, especially if self directed.

Also a major theme of the Bhagavad Gita.

Comment by romeostevensit on Chris_Leong's Shortform · 2019-12-01T17:12:18.109Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No-self is an ontological claim about everyone's phenomenology. Not self is a mental state that people can enter where they dis-identify with the contents of consciousness.

Comment by romeostevensit on Chris_Leong's Shortform · 2019-11-29T21:30:37.579Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

FWIW no self is a bad reification/translation of not self, and the overhwleming majority seem to be metaphysically confused about something that is just one more tool rather than some sort of central metaphysical doctrine. When directly questioned "is there such a thing as the self" the Buddha is famously mum.

Comment by romeostevensit on romeostevensit's Shortform · 2019-11-29T21:17:08.329Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The most important inversion I know of is cause and effect. Flip them in your model and see if suddenly the world makes more sense.

Comment by romeostevensit on Could someone please start a bright home lighting company? · 2019-11-27T20:05:37.505Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Detoolbox has a bunch of market validation checklists.

Comment by romeostevensit on Book summary: Unlocking the Emotional Brain · 2019-11-27T18:14:33.181Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

> The easiest way to detect "looking at the phone" is to ask someone a yes or no or question, and see how long of an answer you get. If somebody starts talking about the past or future, they're not actually paying attention to their inner experience, because inner experience is always present tense. e.g. "I see my mom yelling at me" is an experience, while "my mom used to yell at me" is a commentary on experience. Causal chains (x happened because y) are also commentary, as are generalizations.

This is a really really good paragraph. You can also watch eyes more closely for the defocus moment. Hypnotists use this one.

> a training program for people to recognize these verbal patterns and to then verify their own spoken or written statements using them

Korzybski's failed ambition. Also similar to the early (good, prior to cult) work of the NLP people on their 'meta-model' of map-territory confusions.

Comment by romeostevensit on 3 Cultural Infrastructure Ideas from MAPLE · 2019-11-27T18:04:21.000Z · score: 16 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Ops is the hand that pulls you forward, Care the hand at your back.

Comment by romeostevensit on Factorio, Accelerando, Empathizing with Empires and Moderate Takeoffs · 2019-11-27T18:02:34.838Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's hard to be enthusiastic about largely because appending a string of symbols like 'trillions' to the concept of 'worthwhile posthuman lives' is a type error for your system 1 along more than one dimension.

Comment by romeostevensit on Acting without a clear direction · 2019-11-24T05:00:27.429Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Comment by romeostevensit on The Rocket Alignment Problem · 2019-11-22T05:05:02.031Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Good for loading intuitions about complexity of philosophical progress disagreements.

Comment by romeostevensit on Act of Charity · 2019-11-22T05:04:00.143Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Very nice to have a pithy description of a particular very important/common failure mode of humans trying to accomplish good together

Comment by romeostevensit on Realism about rationality · 2019-11-22T05:02:48.261Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This is one of the unfortunately few times there was *substantive* philosophical discussion on the forum. This is a central example of what I think is good about LW.

Comment by romeostevensit on Do you get value out of contentless comments? · 2019-11-22T04:53:56.133Z · score: 20 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I prefer comments to upvotes, upvotes feel like mindless applause lights. Contentless comments still tell me something about who found it helpful and how much (length of comment as proxy)

Comment by romeostevensit on Steelmanning social justice · 2019-11-19T05:08:33.317Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't downvote, but I do think that conversations like this attract people who aren't interested in arguing in good faith. I prefer that such discussions occur at one abstraction level up so that they don't need to mention any object level beliefs like social justice in order to talk about the pattern that the author wants to talk about.

Comment by romeostevensit on The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising · 2019-11-19T05:01:32.732Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How Brands Grow is a good take on one part of this space.

Comment by romeostevensit on Books/Literature on resolving technical disagreements? · 2019-11-16T14:38:30.843Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

+1 TatE is underrated relative to focusing.

Comment by romeostevensit on Books/Literature on resolving technical disagreements? · 2019-11-16T14:25:46.709Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Have you come across anything that gives concrete methods for articulating unstated premises?

One of the things certain people with superpowers seem to do in the Feynman-esque tradition of having a list of unusual methods and unusual problems is have a core loop composed of a pretty flexible representation that they try to port everything in to. Then the operations that they have for this representation acts as a checklist and they can look for missing or overdetermined edges between vertices or what have you (in this case a graph, I don't know how people think without graphs. Maybe graphs are a memetic virus).

edit: found these

A list of common bad premises

Comment by romeostevensit on Books/Literature on resolving technical disagreements? · 2019-11-15T15:22:31.875Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This and other pubs within intelligence analysis were useful for me. There might be some stuff written up somewhere on different things that were tried for having superforecaster teams aggregate methods (the stuff I found here was pretty vague, seemed like they tried a lot of stuff and nothing was a grand slam vs the others). Also, judgemental bootstrapping and deliberate practice have overlap.

Comment by romeostevensit on Books/Literature on resolving technical disagreements? · 2019-11-14T20:17:11.476Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

instead of searching for things that are about disagreements, I'd look for things that are about creating technical diagrams or other large scale representations of problems and then figure out what aspects are good for doing with 2 people.

Comment by romeostevensit on Self-Keeping Secrets · 2019-11-10T16:39:51.931Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · LW · GW

There's a piece of knowledge available in certain altered states (meditative and entheogen, possibly some manic states) that behaves a bit like scp-055. Right down to the fact that people find it easier to describe in terms of negatives. Repeated exposure allows you to bring a bit more back with you but it seems to make people susceptible to bad epistemics (i.e. most such people wind up woo). I think this negative payload isn't directly bad epistemics but something that collides with people's badly grounded ontology/metaphysics.

It's not quite moral realism, but it does relate to things actually being important/precious in a way that, while in the state, we are concerned that our normal self doesn't seem to understand.

One phenomenological signature of the thing is that it feels 'too big' for normal cognition. Like you need a higher than normal branch factor on your thought process to be able to hold its disparate parts at once.

It *isn't* unity consciousness, though that's nearby in mind-space or has some overlap.

It *isn't* 'no-self' (itself a bad translation of not-self and endlessly confusing for spiritual seekers.)

It *does* seem related to our problems, both object and meta, with moloch and azathoth. At least by my read.


Comment by romeostevensit on Pricing externalities is not necessarily economically efficient · 2019-11-09T21:43:15.345Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think subsuming several dimensions of coordination failure under transaction costs is the same mistake the externalities people were making.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Credit Assignment Problem · 2019-11-09T14:28:49.358Z · score: 22 (8 votes) · LW · GW

meta: I've really enjoyed these posts where you've been willing to publicly boggle at things and this is my favorite so far. I wanted to more than upvote because I know how hard these sorts of posts can be to write. Sometimes they're easy to write when they're generated by rant-mode, but then hard to post knowing that our rant-mode might wind up feeling attacked, and rant-mode is good and valuable and to be encouraged.

Comment by romeostevensit on Building Intuitions On Non-Empirical Arguments In Science · 2019-11-08T21:02:57.116Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It does help ground things but isn't a full accounting on the philosophy of science side since your decision model has ontological commitments.

Comment by romeostevensit on A mechanistic model of meditation · 2019-11-07T00:18:48.631Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · LW · GW

As someone who sometimes has a hard time coming up with concrete examples, I really like the list of mental motions.

Comment by romeostevensit on Will transparency help catch deception? Perhaps not · 2019-11-06T02:29:42.732Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

+1 and a frame that might be helpful is figuring out when adversarial training happens anyway and why. I think this happens with human management and might be illustrative.

Comment by romeostevensit on Total horse takeover · 2019-11-05T03:14:30.567Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think it would be both fun and useful to attempt rat cev with original seeing (not just bringing on existing rat experts, though perhaps consulting with them to some degree).

Comment by romeostevensit on “embedded self-justification,” or something like that · 2019-11-03T03:37:31.900Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW

'Doing it well' seems to be very load bearing there. I think you're sneaking in an 'all' in the background? Like, in order to be defined as superintelligent it must do better at all domains than X or something?

My current answer is something hand wavy about the process just trying to ungoodhart itself (assuming that the self and world model as given start off goodharted) and the chips fall where they may.

Comment by romeostevensit on Aella on Rationality and the Void · 2019-11-01T08:23:30.155Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Reframing suffering can alleviate it, but this is a temporary and partial solution. Learning better mental heuristics can lead to longer lasting more complete solutions. I guess I'd say that reframes are a within-narrative solution when the real solution is an extra-narrative one, disassembling upstream components of suffering.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is there a definitive intro to punishing non-punishers? · 2019-10-31T20:59:54.716Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've referred to this as super cooperators and super defectors, but those terms aren't used in the literature. I remember Joshua Greene citing something interesting in this space in his EAG talk in like 2015 or so but can't find much. The video of his talk doesn't have slides. The vivid memory I have is the surprising discovery of the super defectors, ie people who enforce against cooperators, and the tidbit that it only takes a small number of supers in either direction to flip the whole network over to the other equilibrium.

Comment by romeostevensit on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-31T14:07:28.800Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isil and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” -Hilary Clinton

Comment by romeostevensit on The Technique Taboo · 2019-10-31T01:07:33.513Z · score: 15 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The Ericsson Question (in the tradition of the Hamming question): what are the most important skills in your problem domain? What would a deliberate practice system look like for those skills?


Why aren't you doing something like that system?