I would really like it if the answers were bookshop-centric, I think other kinds of retail have their own specific features which I cannot comment about.
You’ll run into wetware fundamentals pretty much at once. Do you satisfy each bacteria’s values (however you define them) or the values of the Population of Five (however you define them)? They are going to be different. Or maybe you take a higher level, the ecosystemic one (remember, you’re AI, you are entirely free to do it)? Or do you go lower, and view the cells as carriers for the things that matter—what’s to prevent you from deciding that the really important things human bodies provide for are the worms in their guts, and not the brains?
(old cereal boxes cut up into strips are a thing I keep in my kitchen to write upon—I don’t like picking up a notebook with maybe greasy hands, but spoiling a cardboard strip seems like no biggie.)
...and since there is a particular pleasure in derailing community thought, if one manages to find a place where one does not go over to the Dark Side when doing it, one likely should go for it :)
“The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” seemed to me to avoid it better than many books (I only read the first half, unfortunately), but of course, the humans in it are kind of weird themselves :)
Hmm, this also reminds me of the thing that we discussed at our last meetup (there were two of us, so I wouldn’t say it was about Solstice, exactly): how history of plant morphology is a handle for some fairly unrelated fields (social sciences), if you grok it. Not the best possible one, not capable of turning around many axes, and not easy to turn, but—a handle.
The lj post that started it described a monograph on the history of research of inflorescence structure. I won’t link it, it’s in Russian anyway. It talked how plants are systems of “little integrity”—when you look at them, you see they have only a few easy-to-recognize building blocks, but the blocks themselves are very different case to case. And if one wants to build a system of kinship between cases, suddenly the space of block names explodes.
(The other person present at the meetup actually could not cope with it, he tried to imagine “a world without morphology”, an evolution culling out the diversifying misfits—it was freakin’ fascinating to watch. I saw the abyss between his engineering background and my observational one, *and I actually think now that “curiosity” means different things to the two of us*.)
It turns out that what people had used to describe as a block, falls apart into several neat categories that only superficially resemble each other, due to convergent evolution of plants or microscopy milestones or *something*. History of morphology reconstructs the gradual focusing of thought on how plants are really built on the inside and outside, and how we kind of feel where current names don’t fit already. According to that lj post, social sciences have yet to reach this point, but clearly they, too, deal with systems of little integrity, where one has to invent names for the many real, and not the visible blocks. The lj post advised social scientists to read up on the already covered grounds of plant morphology, to gauge the depth of what they would have to do (my paraphrase).
And this is how I think about “rationality techniques”, too; that they are going to fall apart into different clusters, and the engineering-inclined people would want to try to glue them back. Intellectual activity, if it employs specific techniques, should be able to destruct-test them, to arrive at new and better blocks, which is easier to do if I am not at the same moment building something bigger with the old ones.
Well, for techniques to be more than TAPs, they have to kind of branch, don’t they? In which case there has to be an (internally natural) hierarchy of concepts, which I am afraid to build, because for me “rationality techniques” as presented here are phenomenological observations. Or stop-signs.
I don’t like the concept of “fully general counter-argument”, for example, and I try to make do without it. If we have “fully general counter-arguments”, then we have “fully general supporting arguments” and “fully general misses” etc. I always try to treat someone’s counter-argument as not fully-general unless we both understand it so; because for some reason they view it as the thing to say. It might be an irrelevant reason, but very many are, and the world keeps spinning.
Curiosity is just that—if you are asking whether being told about rationality helps develop curiosity under some conditions, then maybe we shouldn’t talk about all “rationality techniques”, because they as a whole are not aimed at developing curiosity. Choose some.
Well, I am not into the AI stuff, so maybe my take on it will be far more ameboid than what you had in mind. I rather view the broadly-LW corpus as something like TV Tropes and try to find the “individual articles” (not always, or even consciously) in the things I interact with. Maybe other people do it, too. And if I have to interact with something regularly, like for work, it’s far easier to bear when it’s fun.
It’s like, “I will have to sell this book, which means I gotta be ready to say something about it” and “But this translation of “Wyrd Sisters” flattens witches’ individuality—smoothes out prickliness, adds a veneer of experience to something which can only be awkward bumbling, turns a salacious remark into a good-natured explanation, etc. The text is readable and well-built, but has denotational and connotational issues. Through what lense did the translator view the original to arrive at this version?” So “Maybe he decided to translate from the bird’s eye view, where the text as a whole must have internal logic and structure, but not from the characters’ views, where what they think/do is what matters and actually exists at all” and then “But characters’ agency is important, in a meta-text about theatre” which leads to “Who of our translators does consistently preserve 1) author’s intonation, 2) author’s view of characters, 3) general readability, 4) characters’ view of the world, 5) characters’ view of themselves? And which publishing house can be counted on to have an editor who gives a damn?”
Which gives me, in the end, two lists—one longer, of quality translators, and one short—of publishing houses. Both rather subjective, but they will do in a pinch.
I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind when you asked your question, or even if this can be called “intellectual activity”, it just feels like curiosity. But that’s my answer.
Do you plan to work with dogs, or better, pigs, as closer to humans in biochemistry? And if so, are there pig hereditary lines already developed for lab work?
Let’s not infer what the politicians thought, we have a rather different image of it here.
I’d like to read about Chinese science done in Chinese; I think it would be a great thing to know more about.
Alright, if I meet that Markdown Syntax in a dark alley, we will have to talk. Have a link, instead.
Is there a way to insert a picture? I think a graph will be more informative.
I didn’t “just see” the answers to the questions the first time I saw them, but neither would I say that I had to solve them entirely formally. It was more like docking a boat—the river keeps tugging at the tail end, until you feel the boat’s side touch the berth and know it has stopped. There’s a kind of natural inertia to this kind of puzzles.
Also, there is a kind of problems like “one wallet contains ten coins, another one contains twice more, and the total is twenty; explain” that get asked much earlier than kids learn algebra, if I remember right. But it gets dismissed, in favour of cases where you must learn not to count the same bits of evidence twice (cough Bayes cough). I like to think this dismissal bites people in the backside when they learn Mendelian genetics (more easily seen when the genes in question interact hierarchically) or, Merlin forbid, mass-spectrometry, where the math difficulty is complicated by the chem difficulty of molecules not dividing into usual subunits.
Whew, I was thinking to write a separate post on this, but now I don’t have to! Profit!
Regardless of any particular test; why do you think non-English-language-based diversification is good?
(asking because “non-English-language-based science” is currently a big problem where I live. “It’s not in English” is basically the same as “it’s not interesting to others”.)
A useless note on far-reaching unity: it exists, in William Blake’s poetry. It’s amazing how he tacks to starboard and larboard so easily and manages to marshall it all together (I haven’t read his long poems, though).
Like, “what immortal hand or eye” & “...dread hand” & “...dread feet” are tangential to a whole he doesn’t want to outline (and it includes a furnace, too); “for the Eye Altering alters all” is abrupt as heck (not to mention the uninhabited “dark desart all around” where who knows how many men and women ramble—they must create territory where there was none); “it only once Smiled can be” has that *it* which hews the line off the bedrock, etc.
And despite his projectiles flying haphazardly all around, he keeps it all in check—there’s a central idea which is like a queen bee.
The reason why I was thinking about it, is that his poetry is known to be hard to translate (into Russian and Ukrainian, at least), and some things come out in relief when you see how they were broken in translation. There the queen might reign, but there’s no unity because fewer things remain to unite; or it is no longer far-reaching.
tl;dr—not all far-reaching unities are built from short-reaching ones.
I feel kind of lost. Your examples imply a narrowly focused malign attention (in which case I would add “potential backstabbing” to the list :), Viliam seems to be talking about working with groups of people who are more or less neutral to the actual cause, and Sarah seems to be talking about working with people who have at least ostensibly agreed to move in a common direction. Won’t there be different threats in all these cases?
OTOH, how about “I will get you fired” promises? Less spooky than death threats, but much more manageable.
Not the whole, though. Activism has at least two dimensions—one of “human capital”, the other of “change in the world”, so the leader has to balance one against the other.
(Not important, but my supervisor was a great man who tended to revel in combat settings and to say smth like “You’re being dumb” more often than other versions, & though everybody understood what he meant, it destroyed his team eventually. People found themselves better things to do, as, of course, people generally should. This is where I’m coming from.)
Why do you think it will lead to new fields, rather than to a Babylon of overlapping terminologies?