Here is our monthly place to discuss Overcoming Bias topics that have not appeared in recent posts.
I hope they stay this time.
The scale of true human intelligence is measured within our own creativity. As smart as we are, we have to invent to be considered intelligent (ideas or otherwise). The very existence of overminds and Jupiter brains are creations of our own intellect. In fact, as a purely fictional character, an overmind is a particularly impossible character to write for because there is no possible way to explain its motives from a human point of view, and given that explanation is the key to communication, there is no possible way to consider an overmind magnificently intelligent without going past your own logical understanding of life. The purest form of intellect comes from a few words: Do unto others; Life is suffering; Logic is little tweeting bird chirping in meadow. Logic is wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad.
This Paul Graham essay is interesting, but I took particular notice of these two paragraphs:
"Innocence is also open-mindedness. We want kids to be innocent so they can continue to learn. Paradoxical as it sounds, there are some kinds of knowledge that get in the way of other kinds of knowledge. If you're going to learn that the world is a brutal place full of people trying to take advantage of one another, you're better off learning it last. Otherwise you won't bother learning much more.
Very smart adults often seem unusually innocent, and I don't think this is a coincidence. I think they've deliberately avoided learning about certain things. Certainly I do. I used to think I wanted to know everything. Now I know I don't."
I think most of the issues he raises have been touched on here at some point or another; the quoted portion made me think of Robin, who seems innocent in that way despite his stated desire to know the whole truth.
Bayes theorem gets mainstream (or at least 2nd standard deviation) attention:
Also hints at how applied math phd's are bringing back generalist scientists.
A semi silly thought I just had:
Q: Why do Bayesians consider it so important to be able to quantify one's ignorance?
A: "If it has stats, you can kill it."
Nick, got it. Community, feel free to adjust my reputation accordingly.
Last step: put a link to the forum in the sidebar.
Roland, Phil, HA: I created a forum. Posts will be automatically mirrored. (HA, you can PayPal $10 to firstname.lastname@example.org .)
Well, maybe I should have chose Movable Type rather than WordPress for my own blog then.
Richard, minor correction: TypePad isn't a proprietary fork; it's a service operated by the same company that makes Movable Type.
The name is not WordPressCamp: it is WordCamp.
Does this blog have an RSS comments feed for each entry? If so, it would be helpful to make this (more) accessible.
Per-entry or -- to use the official WordPress term -- per-article RSS feeds are probably specific to WordPress. This is a Typepad blog. Typepad seems to be a proprietary fork of Moveable Type, which is the second-most important (popular) blog-software ecosystem, the most important (popular) ecosystem being WordPress.
I do not wish to take the momentum out of Phil Goetz's and HA's forum ambitions but it might interest Eliezer to know that Sonic Dot Net has started giving away free WordPress blogs to every customer of theirs. He probably got an email two weeks ago from the CEO of Sonic Dot Net announcing this. WordPress is a GPLed collection of PHP, HTML and CSS files that sits in the Sonic customer's public_html directory. I hear that there is no delight in hacking on this code, but the (web) interface to WordPress is pleasant and very, very competently engineered. I am a (delighted) Sonic Dot Net customer and got me a WordPress blog now.
You've heard of BarCamp? Well, there are WordPressCamps (name?) in San Francisco and other cities. How is that for a passionate community (of blog owners and such)?
Phil,Let's create a "tip" prize for whoever puts such a forum together.I'll find a way to pay the founder of the forum $10.How much will you find a way to pay them, Phil?(The forum could be founded by anyone, doesn't have to be the actual OB admins.
I do not want to subscribe to an RSS feed for each topic that I want to follow. Can you imagine what your RSS reader would look like after a year of doing that for all your websites? More to the point, what a freakin' pain in the neck!
Having separate websites on separate things is a form of organization. Conglomerating everything you read into a single RSS reader would be disorganization. Then you would need to create filters for your RSS reader, to separate out the different feeds into the websites they originally came from. That would be a lot of work for something equivalent to just checking the original websites.
I would like to come to Overcoming Bias, and have it work like a forum. That would be nice.
Latanius: Good point, and I probably would have thought of it if I didn't have additional barriers besides that (couldn't access youtube at the time).
Here is the real-environment robot I mentioned, very cool, and has a link to the university site: yt video ID ehno85yI-sA
And here is a survey of virtual animals to simulate evolutionary algorithms: yt video ID AHBNbcDpjeU