Compared to 2020, I slowly regained my reading habit again. One notable book is Camus’ The Plague that I didn’t finish in 2020, but picked it up again. Nothing really stood out for me, but I would recommend the starred ones.
Cancer ward | Alexander Solzhenitsyn The medusa and the snail : more notes of a biology watcher | Lewis Thomas Gulp : adventures on the alimentary canal | Mary Roach Lament for a Son | Nicholas Wolterstorff ⭑ The Long Walk: The True Story Of A Trek To Freedom | Slavomir Rawicz Curiosity | Alberto Manguel Vagabonds | Hao Jingfang Among others | Jo Walton Marriage: 6 Gospel Commitments Every Couple Needs to Make | Paul Tripp ⭑ The Plague | Albert Camus ⭑ The Ministry for the Future | Kim Stanley Robinson Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation | Edited and translated by Ken Liu The Art of Forgiving | Lewis Smedes ⭑ Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer | CS Lewis Alternative Careers in Science | Editor(s): Christopher Avery & Brian J. Walker A Voice in the Wind | Francine Rivers The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why? | Gary Thomas ⭑ Why We Swim | Bonnie Tsui Hands-on Scikit-Learn for Machine Learning Applications | David Paper Please Look After Mom | Shin Kyung-sook The City We Became | NK Jemisin
Since these AIs are just giant matrix multiplication machines, “intuition” now has a firm grounding in math - just much bigger, more complicated math than the usual kind that we call “logical”.
This would be a common pattern for sciences: much worse at everyday tasks than people who do them intuitively, until it generates some surprising and powerful new technology. Democritus figured out what matter was made of in 400 BC, and it didn’t help a single person do a single useful thing with matter for the next 2000 years of followup research, and then you got the atomic bomb (I may be skipping over all of chemistry, sorry). – What Are We Arguing About When We Argue About Rationality?
Caulfield then introduced two different ways of thinking about how we engage with ideas when we’re on the internet: The web as a garden and the web as a stream. Think of the web as an organically developing garden: a space in which there’s no predetermined order or relationship of things to one another. Caulfield writes, “Every walk through the garden creates new paths, new meanings.” What came first in the garden doesn’t matter either. Each thing in the garden is related to the other things as it exists in the moment. – The Faithful Gardener
Humility, by contrast, admits that defeat is possible. It occupies the nebulous zone between preparedness and precaution by asking a moral question: not what we can achieve with what we have, but how we should act given that we cannot know the full consequences of our actions. – “Preparedness” Won’t Stop the Next Pandemic
Rather than trying to beat the coronavirus one booster at a time, the country needs to do what it has always needed to do—build systems and enact policies that protect the health of entire communities, especially the most vulnerable ones. Individualism couldn’t beat Delta, it won’t beat Omicron, and it won’t beat the rest of the Greek alphabet to come. Self-interest is self-defeating, and as long as its hosts ignore that lesson, the virus will keep teaching it. – Ed Yong | America Is Not Ready for Omicron
For instance, in Plato’s Euthyphro dialogue, Socrates runs into the local priest and expert on the gods, the self-same Euthyphro, who plans to do something unholy by the local standards – to press charges against his own father. Socrates asks how he, a man wise in the ways of the gods, could do something the gods would obviously condemn?
Euthyphro answers that, in fact, his plan passes the gods’ standards. This raises only more questions for Socrates, who presses on and asks Euthyphro to clarify what he means by holiness. If Euthyphro’s plan is so holy, surely he could explain his reasoning and spell out the nature of holiness? Under questioning, though, Euthyphro reasons himself into a corner, unable to give a clear account of holiness. The dialogue ends there, with the premier theologian of Athens excusing himself with a version of ‘I’m actually late for a thing.’ – How do you know?
Researchers from Harvard and the University of Virginia brought subjects into a lab where they had to choose between two torture devices. The first option was to push a button that would deliver a safe, but still sharply unpleasant, electric shock to themselves. Two-thirds of the men in the study chose to shock themselves despite the fact that they’d 1.) all been shocked in an earlier phase of the study, and 2.) all professed that they would pay money to avoid the unpleasant experience in the future. – Why Stories Are Like Taking Drugs
You’ve probably heard the probabilistic (aka Bayesian) side of things before. Instead of thinking “I’m sure global warming is fake!”, try to think in terms of probabilities (“I think there’s a 90% chance global warming is fake.”) Instead of thinking in terms of changing your mind (“Should I surrender my belief, and switch to my enemy’s belief that global warming is true”), think in terms of updating your probabilities (“Now I’m only 70% sure that global warming is fake”). This mindset makes it easier to remember that it’s not a question of winning or losing, but a question of being as accurate as possible. Someone who updates from 90% to 70% is no more or less wrong or embarrassing than someone who updates from 60% to 40%. – Scott Alexander
Pundits have urged people to “listen to the science,” as if “the science” is a tome of facts and not an amorphous, dynamic entity, born from the collective minds of thousands of individual people who argue and disagree about data that can be interpreted in a range of ways. – Ed Yong
In other words, “vibes” are similar to the approximations that machine learning systems use, and the two feed off of each other synergistically. The situation is precisely encapsulated by Goodhart’s Law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” – Ludwig Yeetgenstein
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