You can now read or subscribe to this blog via world spirit sock stack, a Substack mirror of this site. I expect to see comments at wsss similarly often to wssp (with both being more often than at various other places this crossposts, e.g. LessWrong).
You can also be alerted to posts on Twitter via @wssockpuppet. I’m going to continue to Tweet about some subset of things on my personal account, so this runs a risk of double-seeing things.
Podcasts on surveys, slower AI, AI arguments
I recently talked to Michael Trazzi for his podcast, The Inside View. It just came out, so if that’s a conversation you want to sit in on, do so here [ETA: or read it here].
The main topics were the survey of ML folk I recently ran, and my thoughts on moving more slowly on potentially world-threatening AI research (which is to say, AI research in general, according to the median surveyed ML researcher…). I also bet him a thousand dollars to his hundred that AI would not make blogging way more efficient in two years, if I recall. (I forget the exact terms, and there’s no way I’m listening to myself talk for that long to find out. If anyone else learns, I’m curious what I agreed to.)
For completeness of podcast reporting: I forgot to mention that I also talked to Daniel Filan on AXRP, like a year ago. In other old news, I am opposed to the vibe of time-sensitivity often implicit in the public conversation.
Things I believe about making surveys, after making some surveys:
- If you write a question that seems clear, there’s an unbelievably high chance that any given reader will misunderstand it. (Possibly this applies to things that aren’t survey questions also, but that’s a problem for another time.)
- A better way to find out if your questions are clear is to repeatedly take a single individual person, and sit down with them, and ask them to take your survey while narrating the process: reading the questions aloud, telling you what they think the question is asking, explaining their thought process in answering it. If you do this repeatedly with different people until some are not confused at all, the questions are probably clear.
- If you ask people very similar questions in different sounding ways, you can get very different answers (possibly related to the above, though that’s not obviously the main thing going on).
What do ML researchers think about AI in 2022?
Crossposted from AI Impacts
AI Impacts just finished collecting data from a new survey of ML researchers, as similar to the 2016 one as practical, aside from a couple of new questions that seemed too interesting not to add.Continue reading →
Book review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Spoiler warning: spoilers for The Passenger by Lisa Lutz, and In the Cart, by Anton Chekhov.
I took up this book looking for a page-turner. It was, but hours before the end I thought its main contribution to my mental life would be the visceral knowledge that page-turners can be undelicious. It felt cold, and getting into its world felt bad. The protagonist slunk around dark and uncomfortable places, killing people, scheming harshly, perceiving low beams as dangers to the heads of tall men, and that sort of thing. With some amount of fretting about what she was becoming. I wanted to turn the pages, but I also kind of wanted it to end, and for me to read something more squarely enjoyable next time.Continue reading →
An inquiry into the thoughts of twenty-five people in India
Sometimes I get excited about running surveys. Here is a Positly one from November 2020 in which I asked the following questions, to participants from India:
- What are you looking forward to this week?
- What do you think of as the most important thing going on in the world right now?
- If you had a spare half hour right now, what would you do with it?
- What is something you changed your mind about recently?
- What in life is more important than other people realize?
- If someone gave you $5 right now, what would you do with it?
- Who is someone you think of as a hero?
- Are you paying attention to the US election?
- What was the biggest news story this year?
I don’t recall any notable constraints other than the location requirement, but I barely remember doing this.
Podcast: with Spencer Greenberg on groupstruckness and boundedness
I talked to Spencer Greenberg a little while ago for his podcast Clearer Thinking. The recording is out today. According to his website we discussed:
What does it mean to be “groupstruck”? How does groupstruck-ness differ from the bystander effect, normalcy bias, and other related cognitive biases? How do we break people out of being groupstruck? What does it mean to be a “bounded” person? How can we build up better decision-making heuristics? What sorts of decisions do people usually not quantify but should (and vice versa)? How can we make rational relationship decisions without coming across as “calculating” or cold? How does anthropic reasoning affect our hypotheses about the nature of the universe and life within it (i.e., the Fermi paradox, the simulation hypothesis, etc.)?
You can listen or read the transcript here.
Proposal: Twitter dislike button
The popular story of Twitter’s role in the ruin of civilization is that it is a runaway trash fire of reciprocal anger and offense, where otherwise nice people are possessed by overwhelming outrages, and drawn into throwing their own energy behind creating the vilest and most vindictive responses to what they see, turning away from reason and hurting others in turn, and so the place continues.Continue reading →
Fighting in various places for a really long time
The first time someone raved to me about seeing Everything Everywhere All at Once, I thought they were actually suggesting I see everything everywhere all at once, and I was briefly excited by the implication that this exhilarating possibility was somehow on the table.
After that disappointment I heard about it several times more, and warmed to the idea of seeing the movie anyway, especially on account of it being the most roundly recommended one I remember. The third time someone invited me to see it with them, I went.Continue reading →
Stuff I might do if I had covid
In case anyone wants a rough and likely inaccurate guide to what I might do if I had covid to mitigate it, I looked into this a bit recently and wrote notes. It’s probably better than if one’s plan was to do less than a few hours of research, but is likely flawed all over the place and wasn’t written with public sharing in mind, and um, isn’t medical advice [ETA May 11: also safety-relevant improvements are being made in the doc version, so I recommend looking at that.]:Continue reading →
EVERYTHING — WORLDLY POSITIONS — METEUPHORIC