Open Problems

A non-exhaustive list of open problems in my life.

Don't you want to see what you're capable of?

(this hasn't been updated since March 2024. Come back later and I'll have a better list.)

  1. How do I most effectively make use of the resources that surround me?

    • The Bay Area
    • The communities I'm in (FABRIC, [redacted], [redacted])
    • How do I use social media effectively (mainly atp Twitter and Discord)
  2. What should I be doing with myself?

    • Research
      • Cognitive architectures?
      • Mech interp?
      • Agent foundations?
    • Building something cool (object-level AI project)
      • Project with [redacted]?
      • Builder fellowship programs?
      • Get a job to learn quickly (this seems like a good idea)
    • Building something cool (meta-level, i.e. social infrastructure)
    • Is putting pressure on myself the right decision at this stage in my life? I want to do great work (obligatory paulg reference, sorry), but I don't want to burn out.
    • And I only get one summer after senior year.
  3. ~~Where should I go to college?~~

    • ~~Offers from [redacted], [redacted], ... [redacted]~~
    • ~~Mostly information-gathering right now; I think I know what I'm looking for (at a very, very high level, rigor + support together)~~
    • Resolved: I picked stanford
  4. How do I self-align effectively?

    • Simple low-hanging rationality techniques
      • Reflect on undesirable outcomes, and figure out why they occur.
      • Reflect in the moment on your optimal policy
    • Sleeping a lot more would probably help with this
      • Key bottleneck to solving this problem: how do I convince myself to sleep more?
    • You can choose to be happy
      • Gratefulness habit sounds dumb but is insanely effective
      • Setting expectations effectively; the more that you can model the world — and the more that you can underestimate how good outcomes will be — the less negative surprisal you will have and the more positive surprisal you will have
      • Expectation/Desire is the root of suffering. Accept instead of expecting.

Relevant idea: You have access to your optimal policy at all times:

you have access to your optimal policy at all times. you just choose not to follow it. you can literally access it by asking “what should i be doing rn?”

when it’s time to rest the answer will be to stop thinking about random shit and rest. when’s it’s time to work the answer would be to work. same for planning or talking to people or leaving a place you don’t want to be in

literally all of that boils down to asking one simple course correcting question. you can accomplish pretty much anything by continuously asking it

this was pretty much the essence of gita (karam yoga)

Relevant idea: Prompt yourself to solve problems:

Prompt engineering is way too powerful 😵‍💫 I can't believe "imagine the current problem but you cannot exit the situation" actually got me to notice solutions I hadn't thought of

(me prompting myself, that is)

oh no this is bad news for "people are usually trying their best" isn't it?

not that it justifies being a jerk to people, but if "think harder" actually works sometimes ??

But people can think important thoughts in far less than thirty years, if they expect speed of themselves. How long do you have to dodge a thrown knife? my quest to have a truly original thought continues...

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