Reading Yudkowsky, part 66

by Luke Muehlhauser on August 23, 2011 in Eliezer Yudkowsky,Resources,Reviews

AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky is something of an expert at human rationality, and at teaching it to others. His hundreds of posts at Less Wrong are a treasure trove for those who want to improve their own rationality. As such, I’m reading all of them, chronologically.

I suspect some of my readers want to “level up” their rationality, too. So I’m keeping a diary of my Yudkowsky reading. Feel free to follow along.

His 798th post is Undiscriminating Skepticism:

Since it can be cheap and easy to attack everything your tribe doesn’t believe, you shouldn’t trust the rationality of just anyone who slams astrology and creationism; these beliefs aren’t just false, they’re also non-tribal among educated audiences. Test what happens when a “skeptic” argues for a non-tribal belief, or argues against a tribal belief, before you decide they’re good general rationalists.

This is followed by some short posts: 1, 2, 3.

Eliezer’s next “promoted” post after that is Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting:

When you procrastinate, you’re probably not procrastinating because of the pain of working.

How do I know this? Because on a moment-to-moment basis, being in the middle of doing the work is usually less painful than being in the middle of procrastinating.

Later, I attempted to refute this claim with a boatload of evidence.

His next post is Epistle to the New York Less Wrongians, written in April 2011. It’s a letter he wrote to the New York Less Wrong group after visiting it. He was impressed and had lots of fun. Later, a leader of Less Wrong NYC explained some of the things they’d done to make it work so well.

Next, Eliezer wrote about how The 5-Second Level:

To develop methods of teaching rationality skills, you need to learn to focus on mental events that occur in 5 seconds or less.  Most of what you want to teach is directly on this level; the rest consists of chaining together skills on this level.

Teachable Rationality Skills tries to break down high-level skills into smaller and smaller bits until they are composed of skills at the 5-second level, as in my post How and Why to Granularize.

And of 08/23/2011, that is the most recent Yudkowsky post!

Congratulations, you made it!

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