Category: Fundamentals

The very best of Scott Alexander and Slate Star Codex

Scott Alexander is one of my favorite writers and Slate Star Codex is (by far) my favorite blog. It’s pretty difficult for me to communicate with people who haven’t read most of Slate Star Codex. It’s like trying to have a conversation with a frequentist Hegelian who doesn’t believe in evolution. The inferential distances are so huge,

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Category: Fundamentals

Thoughts on Happiness (2) [Happiness Sequence, Part 3]

[Previously: Happy by Habit, Thoughts on Happiness (1)] 9. Seeing the positive Stupid and/or irrational people can really annoy me. Someone just has to say that “evolutionary psychology is biologistic” and my day is ruined. The fact is that the irrationality, overconfidence and ignorance of some people boggles the mind. If this sad fact is brought home to

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Category: Fundamentals

Thoughts on Happiness (1) [Happiness Sequence, Part 2]

[Previously: Happy by Habit] This is a collection of thoughts on how to become happier. The first 2 parts are mostly focused on cognitive habits that I’ve found useful. That means I’m not talking about obvious stuff like regular exercise, good diet, enough sleep, socializing with friends, having healthy relationships and keeping the cocaine to a

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Category: Fundamentals

Nietzsche, Eternal Return and Loving the Multiverse

Many of you will probably think: “Come on, Nietzsche?!” I know, I know. But I have holidays and a pretty smart, rational person recommended Nietzsche to me in order to overcome my existential angst. I won’t bore you with the obvious shortcomings of Nietzsche. Not surprisingly, 90% of what he writes is either completely wrong,

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Category: Fundamentals

In Praise of Maximizing – With Some Caveats

Most of you are probably familiar with the two contrasting decision making strategies “maximizing” and “satisficing“, but a short recap won’t hurt (you can skip the first two paragraphs if you get bored): Satisficing means selecting the first option that is good enough, i.e. that meets or exceeds a certain threshold of acceptability. In contrast, maximizing

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Category: Fundamentals

The Craft and the Community: Post 11 – 15

11. Church vs. Taskforce Yudkowsky elaborates on the last post and advocates the establishment of rationalist task-forces and communities. (With task-forces he means small and maybe only short-lived communities that were created for a specific reason.) Yeah, a genuine rational community would be awesome, no doubt. The first problem is of course, that there aren’t

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Category: Fundamentals

The Craft and the Community: Post 1 – 2

1. Raising the Sanity Waterline Even if we eliminated harmful and insane practices and beliefs like e.g. drug-criminalization or the Blank Slate Dogma (Yudkowsky bashes religion, I however really love to bash those two, as you may have noticed by now), there still would be a lot of other problems left. Those beliefs are merely

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Category: Fundamentals

Fun Theory Conclusion: Post 31 – 34

(Mainly quotes. I didn’t want to comment all that much cause I discussed all of these issues before.) 31. Higher Purpose In today’s world, most of the highest-priority legitimate Causes are about large groups of people in extreme jeopardy.  (Wide scope * high severity.)  Aging threatens the old, starvation threatens the poor, existential risks threaten

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Category: Fundamentals

Fun Theory: Post 1 – 2

1. Prolegomena to a Theory of Fun Raise the topic of cryonics, uploading, or just medically extended lifespan/healthspan, and some bioconservative neo-Luddite is bound to ask, in portentous tones: “But what will people do all day?” They don’t try to actually answer the question.  That is not a bioethicist’s role, in the scheme of things. 

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Category: Fundamentals

AI Foom Debate: Probability Estimates

[Epistemic note: This is an old post and so not necessarily accurate anymore.] I list some facts that need to be true in order for AI FOOM to be possible. I also add my estimates of how probable these statements are. Obviously, I pulled these numbers out of thin air – but it’s better than

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