Discover more from Samstack
Stuff I found interesting in May
Haven’t done a links post for a while due to broken laptop, but I have a new laptop now, so I’m back!
1) On Hinton leaving Google in the NYT:
Dr. Hinton said he has quit his job at Google, where he has worked for more than decade and became one of the most respected voices in the field, so he can freely speak out about the risks of A.I. A part of him, he said, now regrets his life’s work.
2) The wonderful new biography of Derek Parfit. There’s an interesting part from the book where Edmonds writes that Parfit claimed not to recognise the division sign, which seems very unlikely to be true given that Parfit did very well at maths at school. What should we infer from this? Was it an odd affectation? Could the source of the story be mistaken (or lying)? Unsure.
(Richard Chappell’s Parfit in Seven Parts blog series is also worth reading).
3) Can you convince Eliezer to sell you a GPU Cluster? Play the game!
4) Friend of the blog Rob Long writes about what you should think when a language model tells you it’s sentient.
5) I’m currently staying in Bushwick and heard warnings about an aggressive guy known as ‘Toothtaker’ (you might be able to figure out how he got that nickname). Then I found this NYT piece about him:
On Mr. Camacho’s workstation, he kept a human tooth that he told clients he had taken from a man’s mouth by force — a story that earned him his grim nickname: Toothtaker.
6) Many of you are probably aware of this already, but I think the meat eater problem is pretty serious and most responses to it seem like cope:
Here are two commonly held moral views. First, we must save strangers’ lives, at least if we can do so easily: you would be required to rescue a child drowning in a pond even if it will ruin your expensive suit. Second, it is wrong to eat meat because of the suffering caused to animals in factory farms. Many accept both simultaneously—Peter Singer is the pre-eminent example. I point out that these two beliefs are in a sharp and seemingly unrecognised tension and may even be incompatible.
Does this make you less likely to donate to AMF and more likely to donate to The Humane League? There’s something grim about that, though. And more on the question here, are family planning charities better for animals than animal welfare charities?
I know Michael Plant got in a whole load of shit for talking about this (see the Mail article here), so be careful in what you say. Another question I have is this: if you believe that the meat eater problem is a serious one, what is the charity you can donate to (that is aimed to benefit human beings, rather than an animal charity) that is the least likely to be harmful overall?
7) 2070 Paradigm Shift:
8) A post on r/nyc about Jordan Neely from 2013:
Sometime in late Spring/early Summer I saw him in the train, his radio fucked up and he was angry as fuck, cursing and bad mouthing commuters screaming "What the fuck are you looking at? Dont fucking look at me!" Totally didn't expect him to act as such.
(Don’t read into me posting this as interesting that I think Neely deserved to die or anything like that, which I obviously don’t.)
9) Informal evidence from Arb on identifying top talent.
10) There is now a ‘Stuff I Found Interesting’ section on Samstack, so feel free to go back and browse past links round-ups here.
11) An account of a stint as a speed dating hostess in NYC:
i remember one guy angry-complaining to me because there were like 20 guys and 8 women, and he found himself at the very end of the man-queue (the worst). he wasn’t drinking so in a panic i offered to buy him samosas and he was like “no! i don’t want samosas, i want more women!” which is a line i truly will never forget. and i couldn’t even say something stupid i’d normally say during a gen. admission event like “sorry i’m not a pussy wizard” because he was so MAD, SINGLE, and SOBER.
12) Link here on how to have polygenically screened children:
But polygenic screening will allow you to decrease your child's risk of common diseases by 10-60%, reduce their risk of mental disorders, and increase their IQ by somewhere between 3 and 8 points. If you are willing to wait a few years, you may be able to increase IQ by up to 13 points. These benefits are available for between $20k-100k depending on how strong of a benefit you want and what kinds of traits you want to select for.
Seems like a much better investment than private school! Haven’t checked how legit this is, but I assume it basically is.
14) Henry Oliver (of the Common Reader) debates Robert Cottrell on Orwell’s rules for writing:
15) Interesting to see Emilé and Timnit get discussed in the FT, but the piece was kinda bad tbh.
16) One analysis says that the S&P 500 would be down 2% rather than up 8% if not for the AI hype. Probably BS, right? Maybe? Not sure.
17) Nice NYT piece about Asian-American women named Connie after Connie Chung.
18) The Base Rate Times.
19) The Platform, but it says less about society than it thinks it does. I can’t really recommend this movie exactly, but it is interesting, which I guess is the point of this links round-up. Recommend movies in the comments if you want, I’m particularly interested in watching good Spanish movies - I’ll be in Spain for the whole of June, so why not watch some Spanish films?
20) Human or not?
21) The Kanye AI stuff is pretty crazy, but you may have already seen it:
22) On consciousness:
Imagine we wish to construct a consciousness meter—a device for detecting and measuring consciousness. Should the consciousness meter be like a metal detector, with a simple beep if an entity is conscious and silence if it's not? Or should it be more like a food thermometer, giving us a scale that specifies how conscious a creature is? In other words, are some creatures (or mental states) more conscious than others? Or are those sorts of claims false, or even incoherent?