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 How do I improve at being strategic? · 2021-01-18T05:32:35.320Z · LW · GW

Try to figure out what is causally upstream of what you care about. Recurse.

Comment by romeostevensit on How can I find trustworthy dietary advice? · 2021-01-18T05:27:47.543Z · LW · GW

My impression is that this is a perennial topic not because there isn't a good answer, but because people don't like the answer.

Comment by romeostevensit on What is going on in the world? · 2021-01-18T00:21:28.087Z · LW · GW

what if it's just raw size?

Comment by romeostevensit on The impact merge · 2021-01-15T06:53:24.325Z · LW · GW

No idea.

Comment by romeostevensit on The impact merge · 2021-01-14T04:57:56.747Z · LW · GW

Buddhist:āna Christian:

and a special shout out to spiritual pride/spiritual materialism, which Milarepa likened to 'a frozen waterfall'

Comment by romeostevensit on The impact merge · 2021-01-13T21:18:30.708Z · LW · GW

Good continuation of purchasing fuzzies and utilons separately!

Pride is the deadliest sin, the one that leads to all the others. I see this idea as highly compatible with the Buddhist conception that much of our problems stem from attempts at control and ownership. You have to be the one who has controlled/owned a particular choice in the ways that matter in order to be proud of it or its outcomes.

btw is your blog named after the quip from Nate Soares about the hands that built the tools that built the tools that built these cities?

Comment by romeostevensit on A vastly faster vaccine rollout · 2021-01-13T19:54:22.367Z · LW · GW

facebook abyss, also discussed in some comments section on MR but can't find it.

Comment by romeostevensit on A vastly faster vaccine rollout · 2021-01-12T22:43:05.071Z · LW · GW

There were some government funded and philanthropic (gates I think) backstops, essentially guarantees of paying for losses if manufacturing before knowing if it worked turned out bad. There should have been more and faster, as pointed out by Cowen.

Comment by romeostevensit on A vastly faster vaccine rollout · 2021-01-12T22:41:43.695Z · LW · GW

Do they have to fill out a lot of paperwork to recruit them

A medical worker who tried to sign up for vaccine administration recruitment was confronted with needing 21 pieces of paperwork showing that they had completed various trainings, many of which have nothing to do with vaccination.

My cursory reading has indicated that every part of the process is fractally like this. We are in a liability liquidity trap of some sort as a civilization.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism) · 2021-01-12T22:23:43.708Z · LW · GW

I appreciate the detailed feedback! Agree with most of what you said but think it applies much more to 3rd and 4th path than 1st. After 1st path there is experiential working with rebirth, but that's kinda irrelevant for the 99.9% who aren't there. In the discourses it is claimed that householders can achieve 3rd path, and the Buddha gives quite a bit of practical advice for a happy life, as mundane as things like appropriate savings rates.

Comment by romeostevensit on My attempt to explain Looking, insight meditation, and enlightenment in non-mysterious terms · 2021-01-09T07:19:51.270Z · LW · GW

Pain as information about option value is a nice compact frame. Thanks.

Comment by romeostevensit on Unnatural Categories Are Optimized for Deception · 2021-01-09T05:35:57.084Z · LW · GW

Audio compression libraries aren't image compression libraries. Simulacra level 1 compression libraries aren't Simulacra level 3 libraries. So I might say compression libraries are teleologically situated. Purpose space is upstream of concept and thing-space. This leads to confusion about reductionism vs idealism but that's just because of how we're wired.

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns · 2021-01-08T04:00:35.084Z · LW · GW

Aaron Gertler is helping administer crowdfunded award to Zvi for this series. You can PM him for details.

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2021-01-03T18:31:21.852Z · LW · GW

"Under this model we estimated a growth rate of 71.5 per year, corresponding toa doubling time of 3.7 days (95% CrI: 2.4 – 4.9) and a reproduction number of 2.27 (1.84 – 2.73)"

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 12/31: Meet the New Year · 2021-01-01T07:12:06.328Z · LW · GW

to add to the advice on metformin: berberine has a similar mechanism of action (relevant for COVID: AMPK) and is available OTC.

Comment by romeostevensit on Dissolving the Problem of Induction · 2020-12-28T19:14:29.574Z · LW · GW

Philosophy in general abounds with type errors. Many gotchas in gedankenexperiments rely on mucking about with reference-referent relations at different points in the chain of reasoning. Changing language so this sort of switcheroo is more easily seen was Korzybski's main goal.

The tl;dr version imo (science and sanity is very long):

"Why" can refer to at least 4 different things, and more if you split up the dimensions of time, and variance/invariance. Repeated why steps at different levels of abstraction can switch freely between them.

The to-be verb form is doing lossy compression disguised as lossless compression.

Positive and negative evidential types are freely switched between without us noticing. Consider how much you need to pause to really understand the potential differences between "I perceive that she does not have a cup" vs "I do not perceive that she has a cup."

Standard set theory problems wrt language ala Wittgenstein.

Comment by romeostevensit on What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain? · 2020-12-25T22:39:34.837Z · LW · GW

VIX isn't something you can buy directly.

Comment by romeostevensit on What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain? · 2020-12-25T19:19:37.811Z · LW · GW

Long volatility? VXX or similar?

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 12/17: The First Dose · 2020-12-18T20:52:42.638Z · LW · GW

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 12/17: The First Dose · 2020-12-18T01:48:34.436Z · LW · GW

looks like we're getting an mrna vaccine for HSV out of all this, so there's that.

Comment by romeostevensit on Motive Ambiguity · 2020-12-17T04:30:46.672Z · LW · GW

This suggest a great compression. Your parents and teachers incentivized things that made their life easy. This explains some of the idiosyncrasy of the things that seem at odds with material that would have actually helped you prepare for life.

Comment by romeostevensit on Two Explorations · 2020-12-17T04:28:19.095Z · LW · GW

One benefit of nomading that I think makes it endorseable for far larger numbers of people is that it encourages building the skill of taking your comfort with you, and rebuilding it when it is damaged in different contexts. I am sad I didn't do it sooner.

Comment by romeostevensit on What is it good for? But actually? · 2020-12-17T04:23:56.635Z · LW · GW

also, in tribes a significant fraction of the male populace dies to such conflict. Such risk is already priced in to the lizard brain's distributions so to speak. Modern warfare i actually a better deal risk wise.

Comment by romeostevensit on Beta test GPT-3 based research assistant · 2020-12-17T04:20:22.202Z · LW · GW

What I most want is creativity mode where it uses some of the best practices from structured creativity exercises to hit you with random prompts and elaborations. I think this is easily doable but might be its own side project.

Comment by romeostevensit on Which sources do you trust the most on nutrition advice for exercise? · 2020-12-16T08:43:57.797Z · LW · GW

meta: I find most analytic types focus way too much on quantitative details aka bike shedding vs getting the basic covered consistently. Any power lifting routine will do. Any of these foods will do with adequate protein intake (~100g)

In other words, the delta between these sorts of things and what would hypothetically be optimal is much smaller than the many low hanging fruit along other dimensions that are currently illegible to you but will become legible as you do the beginner things for a while.

Comment by romeostevensit on What are the best precedents for industries failing to invest in valuable AI research? · 2020-12-15T20:32:29.289Z · LW · GW

There's a fairly straightforward optimization process that occurs in product development that I don't often see talked about in the abstract that goes something like this:

It seems like bigger firms should be able to produce higher quality goods. They can afford longer product development cycles, hire a broader variety of specialized labor, etc. In practice, it's smaller firms that compete on quality, why is this?

One of the reasons is that the pressure to cut corners increases enormously at scale along more than one dimension. As a product scales, eking out smaller efficiency gains is still worth enough money that that particular efficiency gain can have an entire employee, or team devoted to it. The incentive is to cut costs in all ways that are illegible to the consumer. But the average consumer is changing as a product scales up in popularity. Early adopters and people with more specialized needs are more sensitive to quality. As the product scales to less sensitive buyers, the firm can cut corners that would have resulted in lost sales earlier on in the product cycle, but now isn't a large enough effect to show up as revenues and profits go up. So this process continues up the curve as the product serves an ever larger and less sensitive market. Fewer things move the needle, and now the firm is milking its cash cow, which brings in a different sort of optimization (bean counters) which continues this process.

Now, some firms, rather than allow their lunch to get eaten, do engage in market segmentation to capture more value. The most obvious is when a brand has a sub brand that is a luxury line, like basically all car makers. The luxury line will take advantage of some of the advantages of scale from the more commoditized product lines but do things like manufacture key components in, say, germany instead of china. But with the same management running the whole show, it's hard for a large firm to insulate the market segmentation from exactly the same forces already described.

All of this is to answer the abstract question of why large firms don't generate the sort of culture that can do innovation, even when they seemingly throw a lot of money and time at it. The incentives flow down from the top. The 'top' of firms are answerable to the wrong set of metrics/incentives. This is 100% true of most of academia as well as private R&D.

So to answer the original question, I see micro examples of failing to invest in the right things everywhere. Large firms could be hotbeds of experimentation in large scale project coordination, but in practice individuals within an org are forced to conform to internal APIs to maintain legibility to management which explains why something like Slack didn't emerge as an internal tool at any big company.

Comment by romeostevensit on Motive Ambiguity · 2020-12-15T20:08:19.550Z · LW · GW

DIfferent but related: kakonomics

Comment by romeostevensit on On Reflection · 2020-12-15T10:18:43.251Z · LW · GW

My anchor for the thing which generates this frame goes something like this:

  • Do one thing at a time
  • Do it carefully and completely
  • When changing from one thing to another, pause
  • Sometimes make the one thing you are doing nothing
Comment by romeostevensit on What confusions do people have about simulacrum levels? · 2020-12-15T10:13:03.114Z · LW · GW

maybe something closer to

  • causal reality
  • social reality
  • being causal about social reality
  • being social about being causal about social reality

not there yet, but closer for me.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why quantitative methods are heartwarming · 2020-12-14T10:10:30.534Z · LW · GW

I think of it like this. Quantitative methods scale. So even if they are marginal wins they can be levered to the hilt for big wins. Our system 1 doesn't really understand the concept of things varying by more than a factor of 100, so it's hard for people to have appropriate responses to such things.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Good Life Quantified · 2020-12-12T22:35:54.266Z · LW · GW

I don't know of a centralized source. Just a variety of 'life outcomes by profession' type studies show actuaries as a positive outlier.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Good Life Quantified · 2020-12-12T10:11:16.257Z · LW · GW

Actuaries have the best life outcomes along a variety of metrics. So some people do, in fact, do the thing. You just don't hear from them because the need to loudly win actually indicates that something is wrong.

Comment by romeostevensit on Unexplored modes of language · 2020-12-11T09:35:52.047Z · LW · GW

Have you read The Persistence of Vision by John Varley? Short story.

I also like something I call schematic poetry where words in a sentence are replaced with a vertical array of possible words that could go there. There was a version of this as a classic AI problem where the goal was to discover single word permutations that changed the subject referent of the sentence. It was thought for a time that machines might not be able to solve them since they seemed to interact with the frame problem.

Comment by romeostevensit on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-11T07:09:33.969Z · LW · GW

Related: if you spend most all of your time feeling miserable for complicated reasons consider that you've had a campaign of memetic maneuver warfare successfully staged against you. Run an audit of who is living rent free inside your head. The following sentence stem can be illustrative: The bad thing that would happen if I stopped believing [X] is...

This won't catch everything as more complicated beliefs have a net of justifications. But it will catch low hanging fruit.

Comment by romeostevensit on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-11T07:08:18.089Z · LW · GW

The squabbles of Genoa and Venice were indeed quashed by Napoleon.

Comment by romeostevensit on Covid 12/10: Vaccine Approval Day in America · 2020-12-11T06:58:24.357Z · LW · GW

I'd like to be commenting on these more, unfortunately most of the things that occur to me to say are prosecutable under the insurrection act.

Comment by romeostevensit on Mental Blinders from Working Within Systems · 2020-12-11T06:15:56.376Z · LW · GW

I cite the point you're making here a lot both in the context of economics and in spiritual practice, both with the parable of Neo: freedom within the matrix (superpowers!) vs freedom from the matrix (a boring slog out in the desert of the real, but meaningful).

The biggest things preventing people from starting their own companies are slogs. Sweeping the floor and doing paperwork. The biggest things preventing success in spiritual practice are slogs. Just sitting down and investigating the breath for hundreds of hours and reading obvious nonsense in dead languages until something clicks. I'm tempted to say something like starting a MIRI is sort of like doing both at the same time (inward and outward focused slogs).

Comment by romeostevensit on Epistemic Warfare · 2020-12-11T06:10:50.600Z · LW · GW

You might enjoy the literature on public goods games examining questions like what causes metastability amongst cooperation and defection cluster formations.

Comment by romeostevensit on Quick Thoughts on Immoral Mazes · 2020-12-11T06:05:10.149Z · LW · GW

I didn't buy the essay when it first came out and I buy it even less now. Radicalization seems like a cycle and we currently seem to be in a swing back towards centrism with record numbers of people condemning radicals of their own party and election results that heavily favored more centrist candidates on both sides of the isle.

Comment by romeostevensit on Quick Thoughts on Immoral Mazes · 2020-12-09T05:51:24.139Z · LW · GW

americans were no longer interested in becoming cookie-cuttout people (as required by mazes).

I think people are becoming more diverse on superficial features and less diverse on 'important' features (granted this is sort of an abuse of language that is somewhat question-begging). This makes sense if the system as a whole is (in an agencyless way) incentivizing finding and exploiting the sorts of things that cause people to rebel in more superficial ways. E.g. social media makes rebellion with any real teeth more costly.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice · 2020-12-06T23:32:30.019Z · LW · GW

This post steps into a larger picture than what I see as normal rationality style optimization of life. I think on the margin people do far too little of this sort of dive into their motivations.

Comment by romeostevensit on The Incomprehensibility Bluff · 2020-12-06T23:24:27.438Z · LW · GW

You can actively spot check. Familiarize yourself with the 30 minute level of understanding of the field and ask questions about it. This sniffs out a huge proportion of charlatans.

Comment by romeostevensit on Are index funds still a good investment? · 2020-12-03T04:07:57.277Z · LW · GW

3x funds track daily moves and thus underperform logterm. Better to use traditional leverage through Interactive Brokers.

Comment by romeostevensit on Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations · 2020-11-30T23:40:34.766Z · LW · GW

Scaling 'Laws'

Comment by romeostevensit on Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations · 2020-11-30T23:38:13.367Z · LW · GW

Raven's Progressive Matrices

Welsh Figure Preference Test

Comment by romeostevensit on Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations · 2020-11-30T23:37:00.219Z · LW · GW

Ruleset evolution in speedrunning as an example of a self-policing community.

Comment by romeostevensit on Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations · 2020-11-30T23:36:15.642Z · LW · GW

In the news today: CASP (Critical Assessment of protein Structure Prediction)

Comment by romeostevensit on Normativity · 2020-11-27T00:35:46.100Z · LW · GW

This is clarifying, thanks.

WRT the last paragraph, I'm thinking in terms of convergent vs divergent processes. So , fixed points I guess.

Comment by romeostevensit on Normativity · 2020-11-25T02:53:47.103Z · LW · GW

This is biting the bullet on the infinite regress horn of the Munchhausen trilemma, but given the finitude of human brain architecture I prefer biting the bullet on circular reasoning. We have a variety of overlays, like values, beliefs, goals, actions, etc. There is no canonical way they are wired together. We can hold some fixed as a basis while we modify others. We are a Ship of Neurath. Some parts of the ship feel more is-like (like the waterproofness of the hull) and some feel more ought-like (like the steering wheel).

Comment by romeostevensit on Retrospective: November 10-day virtual meditation retreat · 2020-11-24T05:44:58.259Z · LW · GW

I've experienced settling day as early as the second and as late as the sixth day. Agree that it feels like a distinct shift.