What technical-ish books do you recommend that are readable on Kindle? 2021-01-03T20:54:57.916Z
My unbundling of morality 2020-12-30T15:19:10.073Z
Why hasn't there been research on the effectiveness of zinc for Covid-19? 2020-08-24T20:58:33.962Z
A community-curated repository of interesting GPT-3 stuff 2020-07-28T14:16:50.475Z
Born as the seventh month dies ... 2020-07-10T15:07:32.434Z
How do you visualize the Poisson PDF? 2020-07-05T15:54:49.343Z
Old-world Politics Fallacy 2020-06-23T12:32:55.946Z
SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott 2020-06-23T07:51:30.859Z
Rudi C's Shortform 2020-06-22T11:03:02.043Z
Creating better infrastructure for controversial discourse 2020-06-16T15:17:13.204Z
How do you find good content on Youtube? 2020-06-13T12:29:00.859Z
Why isn’t assassination/sabotage more common? 2020-06-04T18:04:40.509Z
What newsletters are you subscribed to, and why? 2020-05-14T14:47:17.584Z
What should I study to understand real-world economics? (I.e., To gain financial literacy) 2020-04-08T19:22:02.807Z
Idea: Create a podcast of admin tagged posts using AI TTS like Amazon Polly 2020-04-08T10:07:52.694Z
What is the literature on effects of vaccines on the central nervous system? 2020-03-31T08:43:40.562Z
How do you study a math textbook? 2020-03-24T18:43:56.815Z
Is cardio enough for longevity benefits of exercise? 2020-01-03T19:57:18.167Z
What is your recommended statistics textbook for a beginner? 2019-12-28T21:19:38.200Z
What subfields of mathematics are most useful for what subfields of AI? 2019-12-06T20:45:31.606Z
What sources (i.e., blogs) of nonfiction book reviews do you find most useful? 2019-11-28T19:43:21.408Z
What video games are more famous in our community than in the general public? 2019-10-23T19:07:29.417Z
What are your recommendations on books to listen to when doing, e.g., chores? 2019-09-26T14:50:38.019Z
Encourage creating repositories on Github instead of Lesswrong 2019-09-26T09:34:12.718Z
How to see the last update date of a post? 2019-09-26T08:37:12.940Z
What things should everyone websearch? 2019-09-25T22:24:42.413Z
What are the studies and literature on the traditional medicine theory of humorism? 2019-09-18T16:06:36.437Z
How do I reach a conclusion on how many eggs per week are healthy? 2019-09-15T15:44:16.753Z
What are some podcasts that just read aloud worthwhile content? 2019-09-09T08:41:29.970Z
Do you have algorithms for passing time productively with only your own mind? 2019-09-07T20:48:42.084Z


Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The Apprentice Thread · 2021-06-21T14:10:02.993Z · LW · GW

Isn't the academic grad school basically this same model, at scale? I do not see any improvements here that are scalable.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Assume long serving politicians are rationally maximizing their careers · 2021-06-21T14:01:00.248Z · LW · GW

Indeed, a lot of the most ridiculous human behavior is non-experts mimicking experts randomly and picking the wrong attributes.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Assume long serving politicians are rationally maximizing their careers · 2021-06-21T13:58:18.311Z · LW · GW

Khamenei is not actually challenged by new people in the system. His position is more or less permanent. But to get to that position, then, yes, he must have done some things "right."

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Kids NCurses Messenger · 2021-05-23T17:53:14.486Z · LW · GW

Telegram was a much better choice for this purpose. Their APIs are completely open (supporting alternative third-party clients and bots has been one of their priorities since years ago), and there are fantastic wrapper libraries available. Their clients are also native, not the Electron crap. There was already (at least) one Telegram [TUI](, too.

PS: Cute. :-)

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Scott Aaronson at the AstralCodexTen Online Meetup · 2021-05-23T17:47:26.062Z · LW · GW

It would be great if Lesswrong online events could be recorded and put in a podcast. Live is great if you plan to participate, but for just listening, it sucks. 


One of the good examples I have seen is the Techmeme podcast; They host a lot of Clubhouse/Twitter/etc live chats, and they post the content to their podcast. Some tools have recording as a built-in feature, e.g., Telegram's voice chats.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The case for hypocrisy · 2021-05-13T11:31:22.062Z · LW · GW

Can you provide concrete examples of the specialized pieces?

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The case for hypocrisy · 2021-05-13T11:30:24.441Z · LW · GW

I think people are already tolerant of the level of hypocrisy that can be useful. For example, a new convert to Islam will have more slack in doing unislamic things.


Anyhow, this is not an isolated matter. Any kind of punishment has the potential to create adverse effects; Banning ransom payments can cause secret ransom payments, banning drugs powers gangs, banning one carcinogenic chemical can make companies use an even worse carcinogenic chemical, ... . There is no general solution to these, but I’m inherently skeptical of claims that favor the status quo of “rabbits” in a rabbit-stag game. 

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Challenge: know everything that the best go bot knows about go · 2021-05-13T11:19:21.222Z · LW · GW

This is the most intuitive answer to me, as well. It’s also extremely difficult, and it‘s unclear how it is going to be useful for doing alignment generally. 

Perhaps one idea is to train AI to write legible code, then use human code review on it. This seems as safe as our current mode of software development if the AI is not actively obfuscating (a big assumption).

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Challenge: know everything that the best go bot knows about go · 2021-05-13T11:03:14.954Z · LW · GW

There are weaker computational machines than Turing machines, like regexes. But you don really care about that, you just want to ban automatic reasoning. I think it’s impossible to succeed with that constrain; Playing Go is hard, people can’t just read code that plays Go well and “learn from it.”

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on [link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight · 2021-05-09T15:27:19.453Z · LW · GW

Just use Julia ;)

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on [link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight · 2021-05-05T14:35:24.501Z · LW · GW

Some examples:

  • some doors need to be pushed/pulled when turning the key
  • using vector syntax is much faster than loops in Python
  • cans can be opened relatively easily with just a spoon if the right angle is used

A related problem is being mistaken about how high the quality bar of a task actually is. Perhaps also known as 'obsessing.'

Comment by rudi-c on [deleted post] 2021-05-05T07:34:53.763Z

I think it’s possible to just upload the video to Youtube, and then download its automatically generated subtitle with youtube-dl, and finally convert that subtitle into plain text (using, e.g., ).

Comment by rudi-c on [deleted post] 2021-05-05T07:29:29.675Z

Spotify is centralizing podcasting, and plans to implement the same monopolistic, privacy-invasive ad policies Google/Facebook are adhering to. It is worth considering whether allowing them to do this is a net harm for the consumers.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Open and Welcome Thread - May 2021 · 2021-05-05T07:21:25.754Z · LW · GW

(First read my comment on the sister comment: )

I looked at the 80k page again, and I still don’t get their model; They say the bottleneck is people who have PhDs from top schools (an essentially supply-gated resource), and can geographically work in the FAI labs (a constant-ish fraction of the said PhD holders). It seems to me that the main lever to increase top school PhD graduates is to increase funding and thus positions in AI-related fields. (Of course, this lever might still take years to show its effects, but I do not see how individual decisions can be the bottleneck here.)

As said, I am probably wrong, but I like to understand this.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Open and Welcome Thread - May 2021 · 2021-05-05T07:10:41.407Z · LW · GW

I am just speaking from general models and I have no specific model for FAI, so I was/am probably wrong.

I still don’t understand the bottleneck. There aren’t promising projects to get funded. Isn’t this just another way of saying that the problem is hard, and most research attempts will be futile, and thus to accelerate the progress, unpromising projects need to be funded? I.e., what is the bottleneck if it’s not funding? “Brilliant ideas” are not under our direct control, so this cannot be part of our operating bottleneck.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Open and Welcome Thread - May 2021 · 2021-05-04T16:34:33.188Z · LW · GW

I think the whole FAI research is mostly bottlenecked by funding; There are many smart people who will work in any field that has funding available (in my model of the world). So unless you're someone who does not need funding or can fund others, you might not be part of the bottleneck.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Conspicuous saving · 2021-03-31T09:15:45.501Z · LW · GW

Thanks, I now better understand your point. There is something I don't understand though; Most people have no such ability to just recreate wealth, and they can achieve a higher QoL if they do save. But what I see in society seems to be that a lot of people are trying to fake their level of wealth creation ability. I.e., it seems to me that the signal is indeed pretty costly, but somehow people are Goodharting it anyway without regard to the fallout. This is a point that makes me confused.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Conspicuous saving · 2021-03-21T21:26:20.882Z · LW · GW

This prediction does not seem too probable to me. Are there any studies showing signaling not-wasted wealth is useless? (Of course, wasting resources will probably be a stronger signal as you can essentially "double-spend" saved resources.)

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Trapped Priors As A Basic Problem Of Rationality · 2021-03-16T22:21:42.911Z · LW · GW

Doesn’t this model predict people to be way more stupid than reality?

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Can you be 100% confident in your moral beliefs? · 2021-03-01T12:42:59.441Z · LW · GW

Goodhart effect is a truly deep insight IMO. Goodhart itself states that lots of great metrics and “signals”, and in general, communicatory material, will lose its value when adopted by social systems. This leads to second order effects, such as people and society defending against this effect. This can be seen in speech easily: if your friend did not depend on your speech for various purposes, your speech would be a truly great way to learn about your “true” self. But now that he does depend on your speech, he has to guard against you lying and optimizing your speech to manipulate him and shift risks unto him. So he cannot accept your noncommittal stance on, e.g., “murder,” and requires you to commit your position. I have heard there are studies (beware replication crisis and yadada) that women prefer men with virtue ethics over utilitarians; One reason might be that virtue ethics constrains people much more effectively than “consequentialism,” where you’re your own auditor.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Can you be 100% confident in your moral beliefs? · 2021-02-27T01:26:59.576Z · LW · GW

Your ”friend“ is blackmailing you to profess religious faith. It’s an ages old pattern in our species.

One hypothesis is that he (subconsciously, perhaps) wants to protect against the Goodhart effect, i.e., you going against your stated ethics and then claiming “you never said murder was wrong.” Another hypothesis is that he has a coalition-forming mindset, where sides must be taken and rules followed. There are many more such just so stories we can dream up. 

As you yourself know, people justify killing all the time. They just change the word. “Murder” is by its very definition an immoral kind of killing. What killings are societally acceptable obviously depends on the society in question and not some magical moral “truth.” Sam Harris’ analogy of moral landscapes (search for his TED talk for a short summary) is a good way to look at the validity of norms; They are “true” in so far as they create more net profits for a society that follows them relative to other normative systems. So killing terrorists is a celebratory event while killing random Joe just contracts the economy and undermines societal order.

My friendly advice to you is to not take people too seriously on debates on ethics. People prioritize signaling/reputation and norm enforcement over communicating their most objective thoughts. You’re much better served by judging their attitude via the actions they take. This is also true of oneself; Just having the right moral beliefs is worthless. What are you actually doing for others? 

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on I’m a 19-year-old Terminal Patient. Medical Brain Preservation Should not be Difficult to Discuss or Adopt · 2021-02-27T01:00:34.656Z · LW · GW

Most people‘s big problems are not solvable by random general advice. The kid has no good solutions. The post still is just emotional fodder preaching to the choir.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Useless knowledge; why people resist education improvement · 2021-02-27T00:48:13.500Z · LW · GW

You would have given your students what is called an “open problem,” and students will tell everyone to never take your courses. 

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Useless knowledge; why people resist education improvement · 2021-02-27T00:42:58.369Z · LW · GW

I suggest you don’t include such unrelated politics in your posts at all. They actively detract from the main issues under discussion, and prime people for tribalist attitudes. Make a separate post about racism if you want, but don’t use it as an offhand example for a post on education.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Useless knowledge; why people resist education improvement · 2021-02-27T00:35:24.168Z · LW · GW

This ignores the opportunity costs, and just assumes the problem. The OP is arguing for reform, not questioning the mainstream strategy of success for an individual. A smart person can be, e.g., a productive programmer with a middle-school level of math, and two to four years of programming training (i.e., basics of a programming language, data structures and algorithms, and lots of hands-on toy projects). Doing “really innovative work” also might not be efficient either at the individual level or even the societal one. There are lots of normal work to be done.

The problem is more than mere epistemics as well; Most rigorous courses teach few useful skills. Most of what one learns is forgotten when not actively used.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on RSS Feeds are fixed and should be properly functional this time · 2021-02-26T21:41:29.056Z · LW · GW

greaterwrong has them:

Feeds for just the comments, just the posts, or both comments and posts, of an individual user (for example, here’s Eliezer Yudkowsky’s comments feed); these are accessible from the user’s page (e.g., here’s Eliezer Yudkowsky’s page)

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on RSS Feeds are fixed and should be properly functional this time · 2021-02-26T20:04:23.414Z · LW · GW

Are there RSS feeds for individual posters, e.g., Zvi?

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Motive Ambiguity · 2021-02-18T22:30:57.661Z · LW · GW

They aren't that different from the examples Zvi has mentioned. They all burn value to achieve an outcome that would be achievable via honesty and/or self-control (i.e., they burn value to coordinate externally or internally), which has always felt very bad to me (even if it is the best available option, I feel strong disgust towards it). What is more annoying is when the people involved do not seem to appreciate the burned value as a bad thing and instead "romanticize" it. The examples that feel the worst are the ones where they can actually focus the cost of the signal on something (more) useful. For example, the jugglers could juggle more balls or exotically-shaped balls, instead of wasting their energy on just increasing the difficulty.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Motive Ambiguity · 2021-02-15T20:28:25.669Z · LW · GW

This is just saying the coordination that results from the destruction of value is more valuable than the value destroyed, externalities disregarded. The post is about finding cheaper coordination strategies and internalizing more of the externalities.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Motive Ambiguity · 2021-02-15T20:01:52.055Z · LW · GW

I dislike all of your examples, too.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Adding Up To Normality · 2021-02-15T17:14:52.898Z · LW · GW

The rule might fail the covid test, but still be the correct tradeoff. Also, even though the mainstream moved relatively slowly about covid, you would not reduce your risk that much by being more vigilant than them. They were still pretty fast.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Grokking illusionism · 2021-01-06T15:44:14.430Z · LW · GW

"Spontaneously" is your problem. It's like creationists saying monkeys don't spontaneously turn into humans. I don't know if consciousness is real and if it reduces to known matter or not, but I do know that human intuition is very anti-reductionist; Anything it doesn't understand, it likes to treat as an atomic blackbox.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Grokking illusionism · 2021-01-06T15:38:32.449Z · LW · GW

I lost the plot after Can you conceive of this? Can you take seriously the possibility that this might, actually, be true?. What followed was too lengthy, and did not seem any different from the mainstream view that all our experiences are just some computations in the brain.

An interesting observation: I can easily conceive of philosophical zombies and strong illusionism, what I have trouble conceiving is our human condition where I actually feel stuff. So what I am unable to conceive is exactly the situation I live in. I think this is true for others, too, and that's why we call it the hard problem of consciousness; If it was conceivable, there would be no mystery.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on What technical-ish books do you recommend that are readable on Kindle? · 2021-01-05T17:17:25.929Z · LW · GW

PDF is not reflowable. EPUB or MOBI would be much better.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on I object (in theory) · 2020-12-30T14:49:38.145Z · LW · GW

This is confirmation bias. You have one datapoint of people not objecting to the authority's free candy (at the end of class, no less), and when there was no other option (no one had saved the previous distribution). If the order of the two systems had been reversed, you most probably would not have seen any objections either (and anyhow we do not have this datapoint). 


The "capitalist" system is also more fair in the sense that it gives you strictly more control over which probability distribution you want for your candies. As always, more control given to dumb people can backfire for them, but most people do prefer having it. 


Another nitpick: The whole experiment was rigged because people who actually won the gambling had a bias towards the "capitalist" system, while the losers had a bias against it. And it used a game that is almost completely luck-based, while real-life is a lot more skill-based.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The Best Visualizations on Every Subject · 2020-12-23T13:16:41.469Z · LW · GW

Thanks! I think the formatting is good enough. Adding screenshots will probably engage people more; It’s a quick way to show people if they are at all interested in the content. 

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The Best Visualizations on Every Subject · 2020-12-23T13:05:54.819Z · LW · GW

You can easily edit any documents on GitHub itself; It’ll automatically create a pull request for you. Github also has good features for having multiple maintainers, handing off ownership, and even forking in the worst case. You can even find active forks of any repo. (I have an extension that displays this information on the main repo page, called Lovely Forks.) , for an example of one such repo I use and is in active “development.”

Github allows better organizatio of the information (e.g., in the textbook example, we could have had a separate directory for each subject, and a separate file in those for each contributor’s opinions), as well. 

Now, I have no doubt that starting any such community effort is hard, and maybe using Lesswrong has a lower barrier to entry, but in the long run, a Github repo is more viable. The best case scenario is for the author to collate the comments on Lesswrong into the git repo, and provide links to tutorials on using Github’s web interface for new contributors.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The Best Visualizations on Every Subject · 2020-12-22T00:49:51.578Z · LW · GW

You should create a repo ala the Awesome lists (e.g., Lesswrong does not lend itself well to these collaborative community resources, as evidenced by the death of The Best Textbooks on Every Subject.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs PS3 Review · 2020-12-21T21:17:20.444Z · LW · GW

I played this game with my cousin years ago, and we had lots of fun, though the game was only mediocre. It's colorful, has local co-op, and isn't too easy. I generally like these 3D platformer games adapted from animations, but it seems recent trends of mobile gaming have destroyed this part of the industry? When Toy Story 4 didn't get a video game, I was so disappointed; I really enjoyed both of the previous two Toy Story games.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on The LessWrong 2018 Book is Available for Pre-order · 2020-12-13T13:31:29.292Z · LW · GW

Is the content any different from the essays on Lesswrong?

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Propinquity Cities So Far · 2020-11-17T09:13:32.387Z · LW · GW

I have not looked into this either, but I am pretty sure most people prefer having extra density (if that is even a thing) than not living where they want/giving half their income to housing. Sunlight is not that valuable to people. (And suburbs are always an option.) Ventilation will not be a problem based on my own (admittedly very limited) time in dense mega-apartments, but pollution will be. Of course, the solution to pollution is not about housing; We need, e.g., electric cars.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Propinquity Cities So Far · 2020-11-17T09:00:04.514Z · LW · GW

This system doesn’t seem to weigh in money. We use money as a general stand-in for societal debt/value, and so richer people should be given some preference in resource allocation schemes, otherwise the whole concept of money will become meaningless and people will just start accruing political power instead of a defanged currency.

It also looks impossible for our current competence. You should probably think of much smaller markets for which this strategy might work first. We have nothing currently like this. The nearest things are democratic elections which suck, and we use them because we have nothing better. Heck, the current housing market is strongly limited by government regulation; What makes you think the political institutions wouldn’t mess up this voting system even worse? (E.g., they can give preference to certain needs, such as medical facilities. This will allow the system to essentially change the allocations at will by micromanaging the priorities.)

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Signalling & Simulacra Level 3 · 2020-11-16T09:32:16.640Z · LW · GW

Aren't the symbols hardcoded to mean sth? Your parents keep using "Apple" to refer to an apple, and you hardcode that symbol to stand for apples. Of course, the devil is in the details, but I think developmental linguistics should probably have some existing literature, and the question doesn't seem that mysterious to me.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Signalling & Simulacra Level 3 · 2020-11-16T09:27:15.956Z · LW · GW

In some sense, the signalling theory only allows for reasoning by association rather than structured logical reasoning, because the meaning of any particular thing is just its probabilistic associations.

ES: Uncertain.

To properly assess the probabilistic associations that a certain set of symbols has, we humans need to first unpack the set to its literal/usual meaning. So when I say "A -> B; Not B.", this first gets parsed and its logical meaning extracted, then this meaning plus the symbols themselves get used to find the probabilistic meaning.

Of course, this process doesn't happen neatly, and some people might use more heuristical methods and skip parsing the symbols partially (i.e., they pattern-match on the current uttering and previous utterances, and directly use the nearest cached Bayesian meaning available). This seems to be pretty common among normal people, and a constant source of friction with intellectuals.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Fiction of interest · 2020-11-16T08:56:34.737Z · LW · GW

Hedonism is so beastial.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Think in Terms of Actions, not Attributes · 2020-11-12T10:31:52.670Z · LW · GW

I think your post recommendation is a combination of unbundling and relying less on heuristics. Both are expensive and g-loaded (probably), and a good portion of their benefits go to other people, not the agent itself. Still, I agree that most people should do more of these, as their genetic programming has been tuned for far simpler societies.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Should students be allowed to give good teachers a bonus? · 2020-11-03T12:40:11.526Z · LW · GW

I don't know about the US education market, but here in Iran, the students don't have much choice at all. Even if they know a professor sucks, they are forced to take his class because the classes of good professors fill up, and they need to pass the course. 

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Rudi C's Shortform · 2020-10-27T23:43:49.137Z · LW · GW

Another Vitamin D Covid study:

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Covid 10/22: Europe in Crisis · 2020-10-25T17:55:54.344Z · LW · GW

Btw, those cream-colored charts are from . It's a very good tool.

Comment by Rudi C (rudi-c) on Industrial literacy · 2020-10-21T23:27:01.706Z · LW · GW

True, but the value is to them. (And what they pay to save the infant has a major signaling component. From what I see of my grandparents who lived in a much more traditional era (Iran's modernization is more recent.), they did not value young children that much, and recognized the reality that they could just have another child relatively cheaply.) That value will be discounted heavily in my utility function, as it does not contribute either directly to me or to the core needs of my society. (Kind of reminds me of Malthusianism; Humanity right now could probably live a lot less bullshitty if it had controlled its population more intelligently.)