This feels related to Hanson’s recent article: https://www.overcomingbias.com/2021/04/to-beat-aliens-we-must-become-aliens.html
Which mentions that the greatest threat to successor ages are preceding ages that don’t like the prospect of ‘alienation’.
Some of the arguments mentioned here against technology point in that same direction.
I’m not sure I follow. Whether it’s the evolving configuration of atoms or bits, both can lead to new applications. The main difference to me seems that today it is typically harder to configure atoms than bits, but perhaps that’s just by our own design of the atoms underlying the bits? If some desired information system would require a specific atomic configuration, then you’d be hardware constrained again.
Let’s say that in order to build AGI we find out you actually need super power efficient computronium, and silicon can’t do that, you need carbon. Now it’s no longer a solved hardware problem, you are going to have to invest massively in carbon based computing. Paul and the rationalists are stuck waiting for the hardware engineers.
I once read a comment somewhere that Paul Graham is not a rationalist, though he does share some traits, like writing a lot of self-improvement advice. From what I can tell Paul himself considers himself a builder; a builder of code and companies. But there is some overlap with rationalists, Paul Graham mostly builds information systems. (He is somewhat disdainful of hardware, which I consider the real engineering, but I am a physicist.) Rationalists are focussed on improving their own intelligence and other forms of intelligence. So both spend a great deal of time building and improving intelligent information systems, as well as improving their own mind, but for different reasons. For one the goal is merely to build, and self-improvement is a method, for the other self-improvement is the goal and building is a method. Well, and for some the goal is to build a self-improving intelligence (that doesn’t wipe us out).
Builders and rationalists. Experimentalists and theoretical empiricists. I suppose they work well together.
Thanks for taking the time to transparantly writing down your approach. I’m spending more and more time optimizing developer effectiveness at work, so posts like this may help me in my own behavior.
Thanks Lsusr, thinking back there was a post where you asked people to “pick up the glove” and you mentioned people hardly do. It helped kick me out of my passivity. I’m not sure I can be as risk seeking as you have been in life, but I’m trying to create more instead of just consuming.
Woah, thanks for your confirmation.
I’ll admit it’s a constant struggle. This smartphone is both a blessing and a curse.
Did you ever follow those guided meditation apps? It’s all about recognizing you are distracted and moving back to your breath or some other concentration excercise.
Well, I try to catch myself in the act of avoiding boredom. Reaching to my phone. Or opening some social media app. Or even going to read LessWrong. Those are cues. Instead I now stare out the window a bit, accepting the boredom, doing a micro-meditation. Or I start writing a small note about some topic. I tried a Babble just now. But afterwards I looked up that babble link, got distracted by the LessWrong notifications and here we are, replying to your comment.
Ok, I am going to go back now. But I’ll think about this a bit as well.
Well this is quite a tantalizing introduction.
I read my first anti-news manifesto about 10 years ago and the meme immediately clicked with me. Haven’t gone back ever since, my close family, friends and colleagues inform me of relevant news.
I haven’t been able to convince many others though. So I guess I’ll just salute you, fellow meme spreader.
On reflection I do this too on occasions. If it helps you then it’s great, right?
Also there is a whole literature about the meditation posture. If you are prone to falling asleep while lying down you should consider sitting. But if you are a high energy individual then a reclining posture can actually help. Don’t feel bad about what works well for you after experimentation.
This reminds me of Left Brain, Right Stuff. It also has content on how overconfidence helps athletes perform something like 4% better, which is a big deal in a relative competition where small differences can make you win or lose. He then continues to find business analogies.
The internal narrator is only one form of thought.
One meditation technique is to quickly label each passing thought (it’s called “noting” I believe). At some point you can begin to label the narrator process itself and see it separate from your other thinking processes (“voice” I call it, though it becomes wordless at that point).
[Edit: nevermind the Focusing link actually mentions the labeling. Though I recall Focusing was more about depth of analysis, not fast, high frequency labeling]
Always lovely such practical advice.
By the way, if you can live so close to work that you can cycle or walk to it, you can combine a lot of great things: more excercise, less commuting, more money. If you can then commute together with coworkers, even better.
As another commenter noted, there exists an alternative strategy. Which is to organize a lot of one-on-one meetings to build consensus. And then to use a single group meeting to demonstrate that consensus and polarizing the remaining minority. This may be a more efficient way to enforce cooperation.
Anyway, I wonder if there is a good method to find out the dominant forces at play here.
Is it not useful to avoid the acceptance of false beliefs? To intercept these false beliefs before they can latch on to your mind or the mind of another. In this sense you should practice spotting false beliefs untill it becomes reflexive.
How about another angle.
Most meetings are not just power games. They are pure status games. Only in such group meetings can you show off. Power plays are one way to show off.
You will speak quickly and confidently, while avoiding to make any commitment to action. If you attend someone else’s meeting, you quickly interrupt and share your arguments in order to look confident and competent.
The low status meeting participants are mainly there to watch. They will try to quickly join the highest status viewpoints to avoid loss of more status, thereby causing cascades. As high status person you can deflect actions and delegate actions to a low status participant, thereby further boosting your status.
Being seen as the one who made the decision is nice. Deliberately delaying a decision by arguing for more data is also fine. Visibly polarizing an audience to your viewpoint is an amazing status spectable!
Most meetings are status games. They are boring for the low status participants who have little chance to gain status. But these meetings are what keeps the high status participants going. And it’s an opportunity for careerists to grow in status. All decision making and cooperation is irrelevant or a side-effect.
This is an approach I recognize. It works well, except if many one-on-ones are happening in parallel on the same topic. Then you are either in a consensus building race with adversaries and/or constantly re-aligning with allies.
Hah, the polarization effect explains why I always go into important meetings with sufficient number of allies. But unfortunately that’s a way to manipulate the decision making, not to actually make better decisions.
Yes! It’s all about manipulating existing systems. Startup founders are not free, they just operate in a larger system, namely human society.
It is orders of magnitude harder to cut yourself free from society. And more orders of magnitude harder to cut yourself free from earth’s ecosystem.