Julia Galef on Bringing Rationalist Movement to Mainstream
a program officer focused on artificial intelligence at the effective-altruism organization Open Philanthropy
My first highlight in the article was about her husband? For shame!
The speech of rationalists is heavy on the vernacular, often derived from programming language: “updating your priors” (keeping an open mind), “steel-manning” (arguing with the strongest version of whatever point your opponent is making), “double-cruxing” (trying to get to the root of a disagreement)
No idea what double-cruxxing is supposed to mean in programming. But I reckon that this over-rationalist approach to tech is what has caused the mess that Silicon Valley is in today.
I often publicly identify as an ‘effective altruist,’ ” she says, referring to the rationalist spinoff movement focused on optimizing philanthropy,
What is the meaning of effective altruism?
Evolution has wired our minds to be soldiers (focused on winning) instead of scouts (focused on ensuring our mental maps reflect reality).
That’s a brilliant idea! But what does it mean in practice? I’ll have to look at the book to find out, won’t I?
To adopt a scout mindset is to resist falling prey to “motivated reasoning,” in which we distort our thoughts to achieve a desired outcome.
Hmmmm. That sorta makes sense.
Galef reminds herself of a tip she gives in her book: to take pride in being the kind of person who can change their mind.
This is again, brilliant. If we are willing to change our minds completely on a topic (only after thorough research though), then we’d be better off as a species.