Clickbait Soapboxing
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
4M ago
Someone on Twitter said: I am guilty of deliberately stating things in a bold & provocative form on here in order to stimulate discussion. Leaving hedges & caveats for the comments section. On net, I think this is better than alternatives, but I’m open to being convinced otherwise. And I finally felt the urge to write up thoughts I’ve had about what I’ll call “clickbait soapboxing” for the past year or so. A disclaimer is that I feel like I could write a whole book on this sort of thing, and will inevitably have more complex thoughts about what I say here that comes off as simpl ..read more
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A Psychological Take on AGI Alignment
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
8M ago
My understanding of AGI is, perhaps predictably, rooted in my understanding of human psychology. There are many technical questions I can’t answer about why Artificial General Intelligence can easily be an existential risk for humanity. If someone points to our current Large Language Models and asks how they’re supposed to become a superintelligence… hey, I’m a psych guy, not a techie. Sure, I have ideas, but it’s borrowed knowledge, well outside my forte. But it only minimally matters to me whether AGI is an existential risk for this decade vs this century. AGI is not limited by physics, so ..read more
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Experts and Expertise
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
1y ago
TL;DR: Expertise is a multivariable spectrum, not a binary, and disagreements are often signs of different knowledge. Seek the knowledge gap between different experts, and between yourself and them. Find what you didn’t realize you didn’t know, and diversify your expert portfolio. Seeing all the debates around AGI recently has made me feel that many people seem deeply confused about what “expertise” is and how to relate to it. Rejecting expertise is something I never do, even if I disagree with the expert. Nor, obviously, do I bow to expertise. Instead, I use experts’ beliefs as opportunities ..read more
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Transgender Visibility Day, and the Laziness of Language
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
1y ago
Happy Transgender Visibility Day! I’m one of those people for whom “they” and “them” feel just as fitting as “he” and “him,” but I’ve been pretty lucky in a lot of ways and it doesn’t really bother me other than in a few specific circumstances. Normally I don’t even bring it up, but I’ve been considering doing it more often, even though I feel generally masculine, for the sake of normalizing something that really shouldn’t be that big a deal, so that’s part of what I wanted to do with this post. But the much bigger part of why this feels important isn’t about me, but about the absolute weir ..read more
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You’re Probably Underestimating How Hard Good Communication Is
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
1y ago
People talk about “Public Speaking” or “Oration” as skills, and they are. We call people “gifted communicators” if they’re generally skilled at conveying complex information or ideas in ways that even those without topical expertise will understand.  We get, on some level, that communication can be hard. But the above is mainly about one-directional communication. It’s what you’re engaging in when you write blog or social media post, when you’re speaking at conferences or in a classroom or for a Youtube video. It’s not what people engage in day to day with their friends and family and cow ..read more
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Trust vs Trust
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
1y ago
The word “Trust” was never quite operationalized as well as it should have been in society, and as a result it can now be used to mean two rather different things. The first form trust takes is probably the most commonly understood use of the word; expecting someone to behave in a way that’s cooperative or fair. If you trust someone enough, you may enter into a business partnership with them or let them borrow your belongings or vouch for them to friends or colleagues. This trust can be broken, of course, if they start to act in ways other than what you expect them to, particularly if they s ..read more
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Ontology 101
Daystar Eld » Knowledge and Epistemology
by Damon Sasi
1y ago
Learning new words late in life (by which I here mean “in my 30s”) is interesting, because most of the time it’s a word that’s just another version of a word I already know with some subtle difference, or a mashing of two concepts that might be useful to have mashed together once in a while. Truly new concepts become rarer the older and more educated someone is, but as faulty as words are for communicating concepts, if you have no word for a concept then it becomes much harder to think about and discuss, a bit like having to rebuild chair every time you want to sit on it, or only being able to ..read more
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