2015-16 New Year review

2015 progress

Research:

  • Finished paper on the Selective Bayesian Forest Classifier algorithm
  • Made an R package for SBFC (beta)
  • Worked at Google on unsupervised learning for the Knowledge Graph with Moshe Looks during the summer (paper)
  • Joined the HIPS research group at Harvard CS and started working with the awesome Finale Doshi-Velez
  • Ratio of coding time to writing time was too high overall

FLI:

  • Co-organized two meetings to brainstorm biotechnology risks
  • Co-organized two Machine Learning Safety meetings
  • Gave a talk at the Shaping Humanity’s Trajectory workshop at EA Global
  • Helped organize NIPS symposium on societal impacts of AI

Rationality / effectiveness:

  • Extensive use of FollowUpThen for sending reminders to future selves
  • Mapped out my personal bottlenecks
  • Sleep:
    • Tracked insomnia (26% of nights) and sleep time (average 1:30am, stayed up past 1am on 31% of nights)
    • Started working on sleep hygiene
    • Stopped using melatonin (found it ineffective)

Random cool things I did:

  • Improv class
  • Aerial silks class
  • Climbed out of a glacial abyss (moulin)
  • Placed second at Toastmasters area speech contest

2015 prediction outcomes

Out of the 17 predictions I made a year ago, 5 were true, and the rest were false.

  1. Submit the SBFC paper for publication (95%)
  2. Submit another paper besides SBFC (40%)
  3. Present SBFC results at a conference (JSM, ICML or NIPS) (40%) – presented at a workshop (NESS)
  4. Get a new external fellowship to replace my expiring NSERC fellowship (50%)
  5. Skim at least 20 research papers in machine learning (70%) – probably a lot more
  6. Write at least 12 blog posts (70%) – wrote 9 posts
  7. Climb a 5.12 without rope cheating (50%) – no longer endorsed at this level
  8. Lead climb a 5.11a (50%) – no longer endorsed at this level
  9. Do 10 pullups in a row (60%) – no longer endorsed at this level
  10. Meditate at least 150 times (80%) – 206 times
  11. Record at least 150 new thoughts (70%) – recorded 62, no longer endorsed at this level
  12. Make at least 100 Anki cards by the end of the year (70%)
  13. Read at least 10 books (60%) – read 4 books, no longer endorsed at this level
  14. Attend Burning Man (90%)
  15. Boston will have a second rationalist house by the end of the year (30%)
  16. FLI will hire a full-time project manager or administrator (80%) – no, but we now have a full time website editor…
  17. FLI will start a project on biotech safety (70%) – had some meetings, but no concrete action plan yet

Calibration:

  • low predictions, 30-60%: 0/8 = 0% (super overconfident)
  • high predictions, 70-95%: 5/9 = 56% (overconfident)

(Yikes! Worse than last year…)

Conclusions:

  • I forgot about most of these goals after a few months – will need a recurring reminder for next year.
  • All 3 physical goals ended up disendorsed – I think I set those way too high. My climbing habits got disrupted by moving to California in summer and a hand injury, so I’m still trying to return to my spring 2014 skill level.

2016 goals and predictions

Given the overconfidence of last year’s predictions, toning it down for next year.

Resolutions:

  1. Finish PhD thesis (70%)
  2. Write at least 12 blog posts (40%)
  3. Meditate at least 200 days (50%)
  4. Exercise at least 200 days (50%)
  5. Do at least 5 pullups in a row (40%)
  6. Record at least 50 new thoughts (50%)
  7. Stay up at most 20% of the nights (40%)
  8. Do at least 10 pomodoros per week on average (50%)

Predictions:

  1. At least one paper accepted for publication (70%)
  2. I will get at least one fellowship (40%)
  3. Insomnia at most 20% of nights (20%)
  4. FLI will co-organize at least 3 AI safety workshops (50%)
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