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capybaralet comments on Personal thoughts on careers in AI policy and strategy - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: capybaralet 16 October 2017 03:00:35AM 1 point [-]

I strongly agree that independent thinking seems undervalued (in general and in EA/LW). There is also an analogy with ensembling in machine learning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensemble_learning).

By "independent" I mean "thinking about something without considering others' thoughts on it" or something to that effect... it seems easy for people's thoughts to converge too much if they aren't allowed to develop in isolation.

Thinking about it now, though, I wonder if there isn't some even better middle ground; in my experience, group brainstorming can be much more productive than independent thought as I've described it.

There is a very high-level analogy with evolution: I imagine sexual reproduction might create more diversity in a population than horizontal gene transfer, since in the latter case, an idea(=gene) which seems good could rapidly become universal, and thus "local optima" might be more of a problem for the population (I have no idea if that's actually how this works biologically... in fact, it seems like it might not be, since at least some viruses/bacteria seem to do a great job of rapidly mutating to become resistant to defences/treatments.)