Munger & Schmidhuber & Barker & Willingham & Selkis

Roam on Sundays III

Read on [[Roam]] here

Welcome to another edition of Roam on Sundays. Today’s talk notes will deal with the mental model of inversion and how to ensure a miserable life. Meanwhile, today’s essay notes revolve around the idea that progressive compression explains many significant phenomenon such as creativity, learning, science, music, art, and humour.

This Sunday’s talk is from none other than Berkshire Hathaway’s own Charlie Munger. And today’s essay was written by legendary AI researcher Jürgen Schmidhuber, a pioneer in unsupervised machine learning models.

Talk Takeaways

  • To guarantee a life full of misery:

    • Take drugs

    • Be envious of others

    • Resent others

    • Be unreliable

    • Don't learn from others

    • Go down and stay down

    • Find out where you're going to die, and go there

  • When stuck on a problem, try solving it backwards

  • Criticize yourself and your ideas as often as possible

  • Do not try and retain all the beliefs you had in your youth

Essay Takeaways

  • Think of your brain as a machine that loves to compress data

    • We find things interesting that allow us to compress more data faster

    • We find things beautiful that are easily compressible

    • Our curiosity stems from the desire to create and discover new and surprising patterns that increase our compression progress 

Three Quotes

"[[School]] has clear rules. [[Life]] often doesn't. When there's no clear path to follow, [[academic]] high achievers break down." — [[Eric Barker]] in [[Barking Up the Wrong Tree]]

"The material I want [[students]] to [[learn]] is actually the [[answer]] to a [[question]]. On its own, the answer is almost never [[interesting]]. But if you know the question, the answer may be quite interesting. That’s why making the question clear is so important." — [[Daniel T. Willingham]] in [[Why Don't Students Like School?]]

"By many measures, [[universities]] are the same or worse at [[teaching]] [[students]] as they were in the early [[1980s]]. But now, students are paying four times as much as they did then. Imagine paying more every year for tickets on an airline whose planes flew slower and crashed more frequently, but that spent its revenue on one hell of a nice terminal and lounge instead. Would you put that sticker on your car’s back window?" — [[Ryan Selkis]] in [[The New 95]]