Comments on “Radical progress without Scary AI”

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bullshit radar pinging

kabs 2023-02-28

“Some individual scientists and networks of scientists contribute dramatically more than others. Why? I believe we can discover and understand what great scientists do differently from mediocre ones.

How can we do more of that? I believe we can teach it.

What support environments lead to great science? How are new fields born, how do they get old, sick, or die, and how can they be revivified?

All these are under-studied research questions. Preliminary investigation suggests that better understanding may lead to better outcomes.”

I’m not in the industry but these seem like really obvious things to be researching. So people are probably already doing it. I don’t like AI, but I dont think bs is gonna help here

Is it bs though?

Pattern 2023-03-08

“I’m not in the industry but these seem like really obvious things to be researching. So people are probably already doing it.”

‘Under-studied’ implies it a) could be studied more (fact claim), not that it isn’t being studied at all, or b) It’s being studied, but it should be studied more (normative claim).

Additionally, the subject of funding often comes up around research. Maybe it’s obvious to researchers this should be studied more, but funders are under-valuing today. Maybe science doesn’t have as much funding today. I haven’t looked into this, but researching whether the claim (‘these are under-studied research questions’) is true, might show that it isn’t bs. I’m not David Chapman, and I don’t have as much experience with academia (I don’t have a p.h.d.), so I’ve considered the possibility that the claim might be true.

My initial guesses are: a) that this might be a hard object to study, and also b) it can take a while for new fields to form, relative to ‘this seems obvious’: This article is about recent work in clock thermodynamics: It’s surprising that this didn’t come up sooner, but the problem is it a bit more complicated than is obvious (for comparison, general relativity was theorized about a 100 years ago, and quantum stuff has come a ways in that time).

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