Short answer, yes you can get better at IQ tests by learning the common patterns and practicing the tests. Some people do so, and reach very high IQ scores. But there is essentially no reward for doing this, and thus almost no one bothers to do it. In the absence of practice, IQ is an empirically relatively stable metric which correlates with a number of other empirical outcomes, about as well as anything in the social sciences ever does.
I do this for movies, and formerly did it for books and TV shows, but people mainly try to just pay me to watch anime.
I think the way this could, work, conceptually, is as follows. Maybe the Old Brain does have specific “detectors” for specific events like: are people smiling at me, glaring at me, shouting at me, hitting me; has something that was “mine” been stolen from me; is that cluster of sensations an “agent”; does this hurt, or feel good. These seem to be the kinds of events the small children, most mammals, and even some reptiles seem to be able to understand.
The neocortex then constructs increasingly nuanced models based on these base level events. It builds up a fairly sophisticated cognitive behavior such as, for example, romantic jealousy, or the desire to win a game, or the perception that a specific person is a rival, or a long-term plan to get a college degree, by gradually linking up elements of its learned world model with internal imagined expectations of ending up in states that it natively perceives (with the Old Brain) as good or bad.
Obviously the neocortex isn’t just passively learning, it’s also constantly doing forward-modeling/prediction using its learned model to try to navigate toward desirable states. Imagined instances of burning your hand on a stove are linked with real memories of burning your hand on a stove, and thus imagined plans that would lead to burning your hand on the stove are perceived as undesirable, because the Old Brain knows instinctively (i.e. without needing to learn) that this is a bad outcome.
eta: Not wholly my original thought, but I think one of the main purposes of dreams is to provide large amounts of simulated data aimed at linking up the neocortical model of reality with the Old Brain. The sorts of things that happen in dreams tend to often be very dramatic and scary. I think the sleeping brain is intentionally seeking out parts of the state space that agitate the Old Brain in order to link up the map of the outside world with the inner sense of innate goodness and badness.
This struck me as well.
gymnastics, soccer, dance, yoga, martial arts, running, weight lifting, swimming, cycling, hiking
Part of my brain reads this list as “Broken bones, busted knees, torn ankle ligaments, burst spinal and knee cushions.” I can associate many of my forays into fitness with a particular chronic injury. Basketball, ankle doesn’t work right anymore. Taekwondo, toes on right foot no longer support my weight.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t accrue all these injuries when they exercise. A cursory Googling suggests that there are some important genetic factors relating to connective tissue strength/integrity and/or recovery speed.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve chosen to simply focus on keeping my resting heart rate solidly into what is considered a healthy zone. This is one of those easily measurable knobs that can be intervened upon from a number of directions. If somebody suggested that I need to pack on muscle to be healthier, I think I could argue pretty persuasively that they are wrong.
I doubt that I understand this very well. I thought there was a chance I might help and also a chance that I would be so obviously wrong that I would learn something.
Epistemic status: Relating how this was explained to me in the hopes that somebody will either say “That’s right!” or “No, you’re still wrong, let me correct you!”
The way this was explained to me is that this is one of those things that is deceptively simple but always explained very poorly.
Knowing the position of the particle/excitation means reducing the width of \deltaX, which means summing more plane waves. Summing more plane waves means having less precision in the frequency/energy/momentum domain. Conversely, having less positional certainty (wider \deltaX) means you require fewer plane waves to describe the excitation, meaning you know the frequency decomposition (and therefor the energy/momentum description) very accurately, in a sense because the position is spread out.
The confusion enters because educators insist on talking about “knowing the position of a particle” when a particle literally is a wavelike excitation of a field and does not have a position in the sense that you think of a bowling ball having a position.
I do not love passive voice either, but the nature of this document is:
We have collected feedback from stakeholders in the form of interviews, and consolidated that feedback in this document.
If there is ever a place for passive voice, it is a document whose purpose is to consolidate the opinions of multiple people while explicitly not implying definite consensus among those people.
It is fun to note that Metaculus is extremely uncertain about how many FLOPS will be required for AGI. The community lower 25% bound is 3.9x10^15 FLOPS and the upper 75% bound is 4.1x10^20 FLOPS with very flattish tails extending well beyond these bounds. (The median is 6.2e17.)
I mention this mainly to point out that his estimate of 10^21 FLOPS is simplify overconfident in his particular model. There are simple objections that should reduce confidence in that kind of extremely high estimate at least somewhat.
For example, the human brain runs on 20 watts of glucose-derived power, and is optimized to fit through a birth canal. These design constraints alone suggest that much of its architectural weirdness arises due to energy and size restrictions, not due to optimization on intelligence. Actually optimizing for intelligence with no power or size restrictions will yield intelligent structures that look very different, so different that it is almost pointless to use brains as a reference object.
Again, I think a healthy stance to take here isn’t “Tim Dettmers is WRONG” but rather “Tim Dettmers is overconfident.”
I’ve been concerned for some time that intensive meditation causes people to stop feeling their emotions but not to stop having those emotions. Sam’s podcasts are in fact littered with examples where he clearly (from a third-party perspective) seems to become agitated, flustered or angry, but seems weirdly in denial about it because his inner experience is not one of upset. I’m not up to speculating on exactly how this happens, but there also seems to be an wide but informal folklore concerning long-term meditators who are interpersonally abusive or insensitive.
There’s one sense in which self-coercion is impossible because you cannot make yourself do something that at least some part of yourself doesn’t endorse. There’s another sense in which self-coercion is an inescapable inevitability because some particular part of you will always dis-endorse any given action.
It’s definitely worth it to seek to understand yourself well enough that you can negotiate between dissatisfied parts of yourself, pre-emptively or on-the-fly. This helps you generate plans that aren’t so self-coercive that they’re preordained to fail.
In my framing, the effective approach isn’t to find a non-coercive plan, but rather a minimally-coercive plan that still achieves the goal. This turns it from an exercise of willpower to an exercise of strategy. Plus, the only way you can really learn where plans sit on the coerciveness landscape is to attempt to execute them.
It has been unambiguously helpful for my Apple Watch to inform me that my sleep quality is detectably higher when I exercise, even if that exercise is just a brisk 1-2 mile walk. I generally agree subjectively feel better when the watch tells me I’ve slept well. Connecting “go for your walk” to “feel noticeably better tomorrow” is much more motivating than going for a walk due to nebulous long-term health reasons. None of this would happen if the watch wasn’t automatically tracking my sleep (including interruptions and sleeping heart rate), and my daily activities.
Interesting. The market has not increased much since the announcement of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, so I’d have a hard time causally connecting the market to the vaccine announcement.
My feeling was that the original sell-off in February and early March was due to the fact that we were witnessing and unprecedented-in-our-lifetimes event, anything could happen. A more contagious form of the same virus will only trigger mass selloff if and only if investors believe that other investors believe that the news of the new strain is bad enough to trigger a panic selloff.
There are too many conflicting things going on for me to make confident claims about timelines and market moves, but I really do doubt the story that the market is up ~13% relative to January of this year simple because investors anticipate a quick return to normal.
People are both buying more equities and selling less, because (1) their expenses are low, due to lockdowns and impossibility of travel and (2) the market is going up very fast, retail investors don’t want to sell out of a bull market. There’s obviously more going on than just this, retail investors are a minority of all invested capital, but even the big firms appear to have nowhere else to put their money right now. So as long as the lockdowns persist, both household and corporate expenses will be flatlined.
Even if my entire previous paragraph is wrong and dumb, you can simply observed that the market has soared ever since the original panic-crash, and ask why the virus increasing in its virulence would cause a different consequence than what we’ve already seen.
Continued lockdowns will likely drive the markets higher, right? A more infectious strain might tend to increase the rate of lockdowns, even as the vaccine continues the rollout. So I would just buy-and-hold and then magically know exactly the right time to bail, when lockdowns look like they’re about to end.
A theme is by definition an idea that appears repeatedly, so the easiest method is to just sit back and notice what ideas are cropping up more than once. The first things you notice will by default be superficial, but after reflection you can often hone in on a more concise and deep statement of what the themes are.
For example, a first pass of HPMOR might pick out “overconfidence” as a theme, because Harry (and other characters) are repeatedly overconfident in ways that lead to costly errors. But continued consideration would show that the concept is both more specific and deeper than just “overconfidence”, and ties into a whole thesis about Rationality, what Rationality is and isn’t (as Eliezer says, providing positive and negative examples), and why it’s a good idea.
Another strategy is to simply observe any particular thing that appears in the book and ask “why did the author do that?” The answer, for fiction with any degree of depth, is almost never going to be “because it was entertaining.” Even a seemingly shallow gag like Ron Weasley’s portrayal in HPMOR is still articulating something.
If this is truly a thing you’re interested in getting better at, I would suggest reading books that don’t even have cool powerful characters. For example, most things but Ursula Le Guin are going to feel very unsatisfying if you read them with the attitude that you’re supposed to be watching a cool dude kick ass, but her books are extremely rewarding in other ways. Most popular genre fare is full of wish-fulfillment narratives, but there’s still a lot of genre fiction that doesn’t indulge itself in this way. And there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with reading that way.
I’m not sure if I can name any podcast that has exclusively “definitive”, or, author-intended readings/interpretations, but my own podcast typically goes into themes.
I very recently realized something was wrong with my mental stance when I realized I was responding to work agenda items with some variation of the phrase, “Sure, that shouldn’t be too painful.” Clearly the first thing that came to mind when contemplating a task wasn’t how long it would take, what resources would be needed, or how to do it, but rather how much suffering I would have to go through to accomplish it. This actually motivated some deeper changes in my lifestyle. Seeing this post here was extremely useful and timely for me.