Posts

Learning, Knowledge, Intelligence, Mastery, Anki - TYHTL post 2 2021-09-07T09:31:39.993Z
Open call for EAs with passion for meta-learning <3 2021-08-25T15:40:53.150Z
"The Precipice" by Toby Ord flashcards now live :) 2021-08-23T19:18:21.921Z
Teaching You How To Learn post 1 is live! 2021-08-17T18:35:22.998Z
Charity teaching people to learn & form knowledge effectively 2021-08-16T17:08:06.502Z

Comments

Comment by alexanderklarge on Learning, Knowledge, Intelligence, Mastery, Anki - TYHTL post 2 · 2021-09-17T14:13:19.181Z · EA · GW

Ah you're right actually, think I've stupidly been using "open source" as a synonym for free / non-proprietary. My point was that unlike Roam your notes aren't locked away in their system. Cheers for pointing out my mistake!! 

Comment by alexanderklarge on Open call for EAs with passion for meta-learning <3 · 2021-08-30T15:52:29.742Z · EA · GW

Amazing, thanks for the comment! I'm definitely aiming to do some more foundational EA texts soon so keep an eye on the forum / subscribe to the newsletter on the website for updates :) Just time constrained currently!

Comment by alexanderklarge on A Case for Better Feeds · 2021-08-24T18:18:41.739Z · EA · GW

Wow, this website looks like a great resource, will definitely be returning to it!!

One thing to note is that a search bar would be really handy, and maybe an option to filter by date etc. And perhaps a really quick about page.

Comment by alexanderklarge on The method that can “prove” almost anything: A TED-Ed Lesson · 2021-08-24T12:26:49.266Z · EA · GW

Really enjoyed this video, explained the concept really well (as you'd expect with TED) - great work! 

Am I right that in the final part of the video when you reference the wider issues in science right now, this relates in part to the replication crisis, and maybe the idea of meta-science that I've seen floating around? Definitely want to read into this more, seems like a really interesting field/ movement.

Comment by alexanderklarge on [deleted post] 2021-08-23T19:19:52.735Z

I'm on mobile now so struggling to fix but it you type www.teachingyouhowtolearn.com into the URL you'll get there 😎

Comment by alexanderklarge on A Prototype Application for allocating people to Effective Projects · 2021-08-22T18:49:01.908Z · EA · GW

This looks awesome, that video is slick! I looked into getting into open source programming recently and people said a good thing is to check on GitHub for projects with certain tags i.e. "good first issue", and there were some websites dedicated to finding them i.e. here. That seems fairly similar to what you're thinking launching here. 

As it's a prototype, you might not have it fully fleshed out, but how would people add projects to the app? Would it be accessible via a browser? 

I think this could be an amazing resource for bringing EAs together on projects, especially ones who don't have to time available to start something themselves or trawl through various places looking for something to do to help :) 

Comment by alexanderklarge on Charity teaching people to learn & form knowledge effectively · 2021-08-16T21:32:50.082Z · EA · GW

I have considered this and set up a basic website with the idea of starting with free Zoom 1:1s (to iterate and learn), the moving to paid (for a low cost) 1:1s, then cohort, then one day corporations etc. My main dissuaders right now are startup cost, early investments, how to actually run a business etc. Definitely something I'm considering though! 

Definitely want to do some research into the potential impact of a corporation vs non-profit as mentioned in Linch's comment. I got briefly excited that "Charity Entrepreneurship" could provide a grant but they have specific problem areas - will look into other funding means for it as a non-profit venture...

Comment by alexanderklarge on Charity teaching people to learn & form knowledge effectively · 2021-08-16T21:23:15.129Z · EA · GW

Cheers for the reply! Some thoughts from your comment:

Target audience/ sectors where this would be most useful

I definitely agree that in general what I have in mind is academia/research-type fields as the sectors where this system would be especially useful, particularly in committing to memory new ideas from fields, research papers etc. Whilst I've had some success using flashcards to learn Python and some other comp sci-adjacent things, it's definitely the case that in programming your learn primarily by doing. I think the flashcards still help a great deal in i.e. ensuring I remember the essentials of a particular Python library despite not having used it for a long time, but I'd definitely agree overall that it's less useful in programming. I've also ran into the bad habit of making coding flashcards on things I a) haven't fully understood or b) haven't really needed, which has wasted time - these are some of the things to avoid that I'd definitely make sure to cover.
 

Unstructured learning

Unstructured learning is a new concept to me so I'm excited to check it out! This sounds like it could be something I've totally missed from my workflow that could introduce some really big gains.

Intellectual superstars

Re: not targetting superstars, I was more saying that I've found myself struggling with motivation when I consider the career path & potentially early opportunities or many of the most well-known EAs / 80,000 hours interviewees, and I think this has the utility of empowering more people who come to EA and being productive late (for example I squandered a large part of my teenage years playing video games) to make up for lost time. Superstar academics could also benefit from the techniques, but they'd be (naturally) less likely to need them due to their potentially early start in academia (I'm thinking of a Yudkowsky here) & incredible IQs.

Competing with/ differentiating from Learning How To Learn

Re: "Learning How To Learn" - I love that course but found it mainly focused on theory rather than a detailed step-by-step guide on what tools to use, use patterns and antipatterns etc. My aim here would be to collect everything useful in one place (whilst keeping it concise), whereas I think LHTL lays a great foundation but a) is relatively long (being a video course) and incomplete.


Utility of memorisation

A final point of the utility of memorisation: I've found that it's not simply about memorising the correct answers to things, it's about increasing the speed at which you can recall potentially relevant information (referred to as "fluency" in the literature), allowing you to think of potential solutions faster, or use some cross-disciplinary data etc. In the case of coding, this means reducing Googling-time, which may be a marginal gain as Googling doesn't take long, but I found made coding more enjoyable. But this idea of fluency has far more profound implications in research, where absorbing and internalising information from textbooks and seminal papers allows you to draw more elaborate connections between ideas and fields, and engage more deeply with further research, including developing original research questions (a lot of this I'm getting from the Michael Nielsen piece linked in my post rather than my own experience but something I 100% stand behind). A big focus for me in this website would be getting across the diverse & powerful utility & profundity of memorisation i.e. disabusing people of the notion that it's simply about rote learning, something Nielsen does really well.

A few relevant quotes from his piece here:

"With a few  days work I'd gone from knowing nothing about deep reinforcement  learning to a durable understanding of a key paper in the field, a paper that made use of many techniques that were used across the entire field "

"for creative work and for problem-solving there is something special about having an internalized understanding. It enables speed in associative thought, an ability to rapidly try out many combinations of ideas, and to intuit patterns, in ways not possible if you need to keep laboriously looking up information"