Thank you for the work put into this.
I can imagine a world in which the idea of a peace summit that doesn't involve leaders taking mdma together is seen as an 'are you even trying' type thing.
Great points. I feel like there's a rule of thumb somewhere in here like 'marginal dollars tend to be low information dollars' that feels helpful.
This portion of the PBS documentary A Century of Revolution covers the cultural revolution:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJyoX_vrlns (Around the 1 hour mark)
Recommended. One interesting bit for me is that I think foreign dictators often appear clownish because the translations don't capture what they were speaking to, either literally in terms of them being a good speech writer, or contextually in terms of not really being familiar with the cultural context that animates a particular popular political reaction. I think this applies even if you speak nominally the same language as the dictator but don't share their culture.
Appreciate the care taken, especially in the atomistic section. One thing is that it seems to assume that best we can do with such a research agenda is analyze correlates, where what we really want is a causal model.
I really enjoyed this. A related thing is about a possible reason why more debate doesn't happen. I think when rationalist style thinkers debate, especially in public, it feels a bit high stakes. There is pressure to demonstrate good epistemic standards, even though no one can define a good basis set for that. This goes doubly so for anyone who feels like they have a respectable position or are well regarded. There is a lot of downside risk to them engaging in debate and little upside. I think the thing that breaks this is actually pretty simple and is helped out by the 'sorry' command concept. If it's a free move socially to choose whether or not to debate (which avoids the thing where a person mostly wants to debate only if they're in the mood and about the thing they are interested in but don't want to defend a position against arbitrary objections that they may have answered lots of times before etc.) and also a free move to say 'actually, some of my beliefs in this area are cached sorries, so I reserve the right to not have perfect epistemics here already, and we also recognize that even if we refute specific parts of the argument, we might disagree on whether it is a smoking gun, so I can go away and think about it and I don't have to publicly update on it' then it derisks engaging in a friendly, yet still adversarial form debate.
If we believe that people doing a lot of this play fighting will on average increase the volume and quality of EA output both through direct discovery of more bugs in arguments and in providing more training opportunity, then maybe it should be a named thing like Crocker's rules? Like people can say 'I'm open to debating X, but I declare Kid Gloves' or something. (What might be a good name for this?)
This is a great research question IMO
> Costs of being vegan are in fact trivial, despite all the complaining that meat-eaters do about it. For almost everyone there is a net health benefit and the food is probably more enjoyable than the amount of enjoyment one would have derived from sticking with one's non-vegan diet, or at the very least certainly not less so. No expenditure of will-power is required once one is accustomed to the new diet. It is simply a matter of changing one's mind-set.
Appreciate some of the points, but this part seems totally disconnected from what people report along several dimensions.
Potential EA career: go in to defense R&D specifically for 'stabilizing' weapons tech i.e. doing research on things that would favor defense over offense. In 3d space, this is very hard.
This is only half formed but I want to say something about a slightly different frame for evaluation, what might be termed 'reward architecture calibration.' I think that while a mapping from this frame to various preference and utility formulations is possible, I like it more than those frames because it suggests concrete areas to start looking. The basic idea is that in principle it seems likely that it will be possible to draw a clear distinction between reward architectures that are well suited to the actual sensory input they receive and reward architectures that aren't (by dint of being in an artificial environment). In a predictive coding sense, a reward architecture that is sending constant error signals that an organism can do nothing about is poorly calibrated, since it is directing the organism's attention to the wrong things. Similarly there may be other markers that could be spotted in how a nervous system is sending signals e.g. lots of error collisions vs few, in the sense of two competing error signals pulling behavior in different directions. I'd be excited about a medium depth dive into the existing literature on distress in rats and what sorts of experiments we'd ideally want done to resolve confusions.
Literally today I was idly speculating that it would be nice to see more things that were reminiscent of the longer letters academics in a particular field would write to each other in the days of such. More willingness to explore at length. Lo and behold this very post appears. Thanks!
WRT content, you mention it in passing, but yeah this seems related to tendency towards optimization of causal reality (inductive) or social reality (anti-inductive).