This might be a bit of a hardball question for an event post, but I’ve always worried that memory was a zero sum game, and that by using a memorization tool like this I am artificially pushing out information my brain was saving based on its utility. I have the same worry about reading C.S. or math books that I often don’t end up using immediately in my work. Is there any evidence you’ve seen that could address this?
Is this analogous to the stance-dependency of agents and intelligence?
Fair. (Apart from the bit about having them simultaneously.) I didn’t think of that because I wouldn’t generally eat toast with nothing on it but butter.
I’m in the UK. Dairy products here are commonly pasteurized, but to me UHT means something much more extreme which spoils the flavour and I certainly wouldn’t expect cream to be UHT-ed. Is cream really UHT by default in the US? Ewww.
Seems reasonable. It also seems reasonable to predict others’ future actions based on BOTH someone’s intentions and their ability to understand consequences. You may not be able to separate these—after the third time someone yells “FIRE” and runs away, you don’t really know or care if they’re trying to cause trouble or if they’re just mistaken about the results.
To me terminology like “puzzle” seems to suggest it is a search for an answer but the process seems also be characterised by avoidance of information generation.
You could have a challenge of lifting a weigth and one could struggle by pulling or pressing hard with their muscles. “tinkering” seems to refer to cognitive adaptation so weightlifting doesn’t fit into the definition. But to me it seems it is more about success rather than smarting up. If one phrases it as “I feel uncomfortable when X happens, let’s do something different” and “Now I feel comfortable” it is a challenge and a struggle but not a question or a puzzle. If one were to ask “What I could do to make myself comfortable?” that could be answered with knowledge or knowledge generation. But it doesn’t seem clear to me whether the struggle actually has question structure.
At most extreme it would not be totally crazy to describe a weightlifter as answering the question “How do I lift these weights?” and the answer being “give muscle motor commands in the order x, y ,z”. I guess somebody could help with weigthlifting with turning it into a puzzle “hey I see your technique is wrong. Try lifting like this.”. But more usually it is a challenge of bothering the effort and maybe living throught the uncomfortability of the lift. And while even those could be turned into emotional intelligence questions (“emotional technique”) they are not standardly tackled as questions.
Someone that is interested in “instrumental epistemology” should be interested in instrumental anything and succeeding at a task often involves succeding in dimensions other than epistemology too. All models are wrong but some are useful so in some situations it might be easy to find models that are very useful but very simple. Like being a religious zealot might give a lot of confidence which could be very useful so a consequentialist mind might recognise the success and lean into that direction. Is such an inductive inference reasonable? Maybe doing quantum mechanics as a bind fate black box leads to “shut up and calculate” be a more succesfull strategy than trying to form a broken understading/intuition and suffer many mistakes. Thus competence might mean abstraction supression.
Where are you? In the US cream is generally UHT pasteurized, but if you’re somewhere where that’s not common your cream won’t last as long.
I’m not sure there’s any purpose for which chocolate and bacon are both suitable replacements for butter.)
I’m not sure there’s any purpose for which chocolate and bacon are both suitable replacements for butter.)
Both would be tasty on toast. Even simultaneously!
Roam might be great for writing papers etc, but is it a long-term solution for note taking? Who owns your data? What happens when the company goes away?
Seeing you write about this problem, in such harsh terms as “formerly-known-as-rationality community” and “effects are iffier and getting worse”, is surprising in a good way.
Maybe talking clearly could help against these effects. The American talking style has been getting more oblique lately, and it’s especially bad on LW, maybe due to all the mind practices. I feel this, I guess that, I’d like to understand better… For contrast, read DeMille’s interview after he quit dianetics. It’s such a refreshingly direct style, like he spent years mired in oblique talk and mind practices then got fed up and flipped to the opposite, total clarity. I’d love to see more of that here.
My first impression was that this is much too obvious to be worth talking about, but my second thought is that I’ve found it very useful to have these language based triggers that act as a “summon sapience” spell. Triggers that make you stop and think. They don’t push you to make any particular choice, but just to notice that this is a situation where there is a choice to be made.
I wonder if it would be worth putting together a list of “words and phrases which, when you hear them, should make you stop and think”. “Why does this keep happening?” belongs on that list for sure.
I think Anki is great at learning specific facts, even quite complex ones—I have used it extensively to learn languages—but it doesn’t offer any opportunities to link ideas together. It’s basically an efficient method of taking facts—even complex facts like “what does this sentence mean?” or “what did people say in this short video clip?”—and putting them sufficiently into long-term memory that you can then use them in the real world. This final step is crucial as it allows these Anki facts to come alive and become much richer as they become part of rich semantic web.
Anki offers no possibility of linking up and developing ideas. It’s basically a very efficient memory device.
I found it a bit confusing that you first reffered to selection and control as types of optimizers and then (seemingly?) replaced selection by optimization in the rest of the text.
Consider this function
def foo():a=0.0for i in range(10**100)a=a+1/ireturn a>2
This is valid code that returns True. Shouldn’t this also be valid code?
def foo():a=0.0for i in range(∞)a=a+1/(i**2)return a>1
There are a whole space of “programs” that cant be computed directly, but can still be reasoned about.
What you wrote is good, and not worth changing. But I wanted to mention that CDT is even more bonkers than that: the prediction can be made in the future, just as long as there is no causal path to how the predictor is predicting. In some cases, the predictor can even know the action taken, and still predict in a way that CDT thinks is causally disconnected.
Related, there seems to be a decent deal of academic literature on intention vs. interpretation in Art, though maybe less in news and media.
Some other semi-related links:
Communication should be judged for expected value, not intention (by consequentialists)
If I were to scream “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, it could cause a lot of damage, even if my intention were completely unrelated. Perhaps I was responding to a devious friend who asked, “Would you like more popcorn? If yes, should ‘FIRE!’”.
Not all speech is protected by the First Amendment, in part because speech can be used for expected harm.
One common defense of incorrect predictions is to claim that their interpretations weren’t their intentions. “When I said that the US would fall if X were elected, I didn’t mean it would literally end. I meant more that...” These kinds of statements were discussed at length in Expert Political Judgement.
But this defense rests on the idea that communicators should be judged on intention, rather than expected outcomes. In those cases, it was often clear that many people interpreted these “experts” as making fairly specific claims that were later rejected by their authors. I’m sure that much of this could have been predicted. The “experts” often definitely didn’t seem to be going out of their way to be making their after-the-outcome interpretations clear before-the-outcome.
I think that it’s clear that the intention-interpretation distinction is considered highly important by a lot of people, so much so as to argue that interpretations, even predictable ones, are less significant in decision making around speech acts than intentions. I.E. “The important thing is to say what you truly feel, don’t worry about how it will be understood.”
But for a consequentialist, this distinction isn’t particularly relevant. Speech acts are judged on expected value (and thus expected interpretations), because all acts are judged on expected value. Similarly, I think many consequentialists would claim that here’s nothing metaphysically unique about communication as opposed to other actions one could take in the world.
Some potential implications:
Much of communicating online should probably be about developing empathy for the reader base, and a sense for what readers will misinterpret, especially if such misinterpretation is common (which it seems to be).
Analyses of the interpretations of communication could be more important than analysis of the intentions of communication. I.E. understanding authors and artistic works in large part by understanding their effects on their viewers.
It could be very reasonable to attempt to map non probabilistic forecasts into probabilistic statements based on what readers would interpret. Then these forecasts can be scored using scoring rules just like those as regular probabilistic statements. This would go something like, “I’m sure that Bernie Sanders will be elected” → “The readers of that statement seem to think the author applying probability 90-95% to the statement ‘Bernie Sanders will win’” → a brier/log score.
Note: Please do not interpret this statement as attempting to say anything about censorship. Censorship is a whole different topic with distinct costs and benefits.
Hmm, interesting. When I buy cream (from a supermarket; I guess they are very cautious) the date they put on it is generally about one week in the future. I’ve taken their word for it and bought it not too long before I need to use it. I should do some experiments...
Tastiness (for me) isn’t a scalar thing. You want different tastes in different contexts. (In some sense chocolate is far tastier than butter, but there are many purposes for which I would use butter and would not consider using chocolate. The same is true of bacon. I’m not sure there’s any purpose for which chocolate and bacon are both suitable replacements for butter.)
Encouragement to write the top level post, with offer of at least some help although presumably people who are there in Berkeley to see it would be more helpful in many ways. This matches my model of what is happening.