TagLast edit: 4 Dec 2022 13:55 UTC by B Jacobs

A gears-level model is ‘well-constrained’ in the sense that there is a strong connection between each of the things you observe—it would be hard for you to imagine that one of the variables could be different while all of the others remained the same.

Related Tags: Anticipated Experiences, Double-Crux, Empiricism, Falsifiability, Map and Territory

The term gears-level was first described on LW in the post “Gears in Understanding”:

This property is how deterministically interconnected the variables of the model are. There are a few tests I know of to see to what extent a model has this property, though I don’t know if this list is exhaustive and would be a little surprised if it were:
1. Does the model pay rent? If it does, and if it were falsified, how much (and how precisely) could you infer other things from the falsification?
2. How incoherent is it to imagine that the model is accurate but that a given variable could be different?
3. If you knew the model were accurate but you were to forget the value of one variable, could you rederive it?

An example from Gears in Understanding of a gears-level model is (surprise) a box of gears. If you can see a series of interlocked gears, alternately turning clockwise, then counterclockwise, and so on, then you’re able to anticipate the direction of any given, even if you cannot see it. It would be very difficult to imagine all of the gears turning as they are but only one of them changing direction whilst remaining interlocked. And finally, you would be able to rederive the direction of any given gear if you forgot it.

Note that the author of Gears in Understanding, Valentine, was careful to point out that these tests do not fully define the property ‘gears-level’, and that “Gears-ness is not the same as goodness”—there are other things that are valuable in a model, and many things cannot practically be modelled in this fashion. If you intend to use the term it is highly recommended you read the post beforehand, as the concept is not easily defined.

Gears in understanding

Valentine12 May 2017 0:36 UTC
174 points
38 comments10 min readLW link

Gears-Level Models are Cap­i­tal Investments

johnswentworth22 Nov 2019 22:41 UTC
169 points
28 comments7 min readLW link1 review

Gears vs Behavior

johnswentworth19 Sep 2019 6:50 UTC
101 points
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The map has gears. They don’t always turn.

abramdemski22 Feb 2018 20:16 UTC
23 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

Gears Level & Policy Level

abramdemski24 Nov 2017 7:17 UTC
58 points
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85 points
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The Lens That Sees Its Flaws

Eliezer Yudkowsky23 Sep 2007 0:10 UTC
275 points
42 comments3 min readLW link

When Gears Go Wrong

Matt Goldenberg2 Aug 2020 6:21 UTC
28 points
6 comments6 min readLW link

Paper-Read­ing for Gears

johnswentworth4 Dec 2019 21:02 UTC
158 points
6 comments4 min readLW link1 review

In praise of fake frameworks

Valentine11 Jul 2017 2:12 UTC
99 points
14 comments7 min readLW link

Tech­nol­ogy Changes Constraints

johnswentworth25 Jan 2020 23:13 UTC
112 points
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Science in a High-Di­men­sional World

johnswentworth8 Jan 2021 17:52 UTC
285 points
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johnswentworth21 Feb 2020 22:00 UTC
62 points
6 comments4 min readLW link

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johnswentworth25 Jan 2020 23:18 UTC
53 points
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johnswentworth25 Jan 2020 23:23 UTC
77 points
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johnswentworth19 Nov 2019 22:59 UTC
80 points
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Thane Ruthenis23 Dec 2023 22:13 UTC
72 points
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Homeosta­sis and “Root Causes” in Aging

johnswentworth5 Jan 2020 18:43 UTC
85 points
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70 points
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Adap­tive Im­mune Sys­tem Aging

johnswentworth13 Mar 2020 3:47 UTC
74 points
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johnswentworth24 Jun 2020 17:39 UTC
29 points
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159 points
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172 points
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206 points
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Thane Ruthenis2 May 2023 21:34 UTC
98 points
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16 points
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[Question] The­ory of Causal Models with Dy­namic Struc­ture?

johnswentworth23 Jan 2020 19:47 UTC
24 points
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Adam Zerner1 Nov 2020 20:43 UTC
24 points
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johnswentworth25 Sep 2023 16:08 UTC
320 points
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Adam Zerner16 Dec 2020 7:07 UTC
46 points
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A Good Ex­pla­na­tion of Differ­en­tial Gears

Johannes C. Mayer19 Oct 2023 23:07 UTC
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Adam Zerner24 Jul 2021 3:39 UTC
15 points
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Lo­cal Val­idity as a Key to San­ity and Civilization

Eliezer Yudkowsky7 Apr 2018 4:25 UTC
183 points
67 comments13 min readLW link5 reviews

At­tempted Gears Anal­y­sis of AGI In­ter­ven­tion Dis­cus­sion With Eliezer

Zvi15 Nov 2021 3:50 UTC
197 points
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21 points
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201 points
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Towards Gears-Level Un­der­stand­ing of Agency

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23 points
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Re­think­ing Batch Normalization

Matthew Barnett2 Aug 2019 20:21 UTC
20 points
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A Sketch of Good Communication

Ben Pace31 Mar 2018 22:48 UTC
184 points
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Value For­ma­tion: An Over­ar­ch­ing Model

Thane Ruthenis15 Nov 2022 17:16 UTC
34 points
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Leg­i­bil­ity Makes Log­i­cal Line-Of-Sight Transitive

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12 points
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Anatomy of a Gear

johnswentworth16 Nov 2020 16:34 UTC
77 points
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What is Life in an Im­moral Maze?

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71 points
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The Fu­til­ity of Emergence

Eliezer Yudkowsky26 Aug 2007 22:10 UTC
92 points
142 comments3 min readLW link

[Question] By which mechanism does im­mu­nity fa­vor new Covid var­i­ants?

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2 points
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39 points
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50 points
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Ar­tifi­cial Addition

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Real­ity has a sur­pris­ing amount of detail

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72 points
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