scott aaronson blog

Posted by on Nov 28, 2020 in Uncategorized | No Comments

I think that the lesson from the statue toppling we are seeing these days is that while it is true that history is written by the winners, the descendants of the losers have long memories. Assuming this -and similar- lawsuits don’t alter the fundamental system of “holistic admissions” at America’s best schools, these kids, if they are truly meant to become STEM stars, have already won the biggest lottery there is on the planet: being born in the USA! I was a “nerd” and top of the class, not bullied but felt quite isolated until approx. Here they don’t mess around! From my time there, I can say that many of my classmates paid for test preparation prior to taking the TJ exam (which would be followed by an essay and application package to be submitted; not sure if they do this the same way today.) (I remember there were many sessions in the test and the entire thing lasted over an hour, so it was definitely very comprehensive and less prone to statistical error.) It’s tack of opportunities to make a decent living in basic scientific research that is the problem in my opinion. Hence I would push awareness, encouragement, and exposure. Nobel Prizes have regularly been awarded for high-energy particle physics and other topics very far removed from any known application (and this isn’t even the first Nobel for black holes, or related objects like neutron stars). “Whether or not elite colleges are worth going to is a completely different (and fair) question…”. Most of them go to a single private high school in the country that’s known for its science team awards. It’s very ironic that you mention “consensus” in this thread about gifted education. Some of this darkness was brought about by well-meaning reformers of the day trying to do noble things on average, rather than looking at the individual. If that’s the case, I’m less sympathetic. I expect many mediocre but aspirational students with 3.5s will apply, the median student’s aptitude will fall steeply, and teachers will adjust to teach the students before them. Thank you for you kind comment. All I will say is that “being good for India” and “being good for the United States” are two very different things and I reiterate that the Darwinian approach with a government defined objective function is antithetical to the United States’ values of giving everyone a chance to achieve his/her personal dream, whichever that personal dream might be. Problem solved. It seems obvious that “none” is the wrong answer, because it’s good to be able to sort students by effort and ability levels, so that they can connect with their intellectual peers, enjoy a curriculum that matches their abilities, and face appropriate rewards and punishments that will incentivize and appropriate level of effort. Capitalism works through the process known as creative destruction. Meaning, that the whole premise for Scott’s thread is that changing TJHS’ admission procedures would imply that people like Feynman will be lost whereas I totally agree with what you seem to say that people like him find their way to raise to the top of their fields. The second US president, John Adams, was both on the anti-slavery camp but pragmatic enough to understand that it was a hot issue in the context of national politics. It’s up to them to figure out how to make a best use of the different opportunities available. Again, these schools are dominated by the *least* entrenched subset of the professional class: recent Asian immigrants. What I know is that we all became well adjusted but it could’ve been done much faster if we weren’t forced to be something we were not. But IQC informed us that in any case, they can’t deal with the potential liability and their decision is final. Here are some interesting facts about Native Americans in the USA. Each name is a finite string of symbols, so whatever your naming system, you can only ever name countably many reals, leaving 100% of the reals nameless. It also seems unlikely to me that a dollar spent opening a new school for brilliant children reduces bullying more than that same dollar spent on other anti-bullying initiatives, so I don’t think it would be a valid response to say that preventing bullying of smart children is simply an effective way of preventing bullying generally. (A secondary question is what and how much should be done about the test-prep arms race.). In practice, it’s a tall order to arrange all of that. I have developed my professional career far away from where I went to high school. School spirit meant rooting for the football team. It would be better even to homeschool the nerds, keep them totally isolated from the world, than to “teach” them the “lessons” that many schools have in store. Some of this darkness was brought about by well-meaning reformers of the day trying to do noble things on average, rather than looking at the individual. Oh, and Enlightenment liberalism is very much off the table for any foreseeable future — I hope you don’t have any illusions at least about that! The easier half, the consistency of CH with set theory, was proved by incompleteness dude Kurt Gödel in 1940; the harder half, the consistency of not(CH), by Paul Cohen in 1963. Or it’s that dumb birth lottery we refer to, and ‘fairness’/’justice’ in this context is just as local a consideration as others. I went to a magnet school in middle school, and then TJ for high school. I spent a decent chunk of my TJ experience reading Jacob’s TJIMO notes, hearing from people who went to your talk in ’12, and learning there’s infinitely more to learn. For many TJ students in that counterfactual world, they’d have some of those peers of the kind I’m so grateful to have had, even if fewer of them; and the school at large would have respect for academic success and not contempt. The best would be if we heard from actual blind or other disabled complexity enthusiasts about how we could improve their experience, rather than trying to parse bureaucratese from the Ontario government. As a result, TJHS is one of the top schools in the country, and the students there are some of the top performing, and I’d wager, happiest. We are at the end of another AI hype cycle for the same reasons -check https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/03/27/950247/ai-debate-gary-marcus-danny-lange/ – although I don’t think we will have a full blown AI Winter this time given that companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have used machine learning successfully for a very narrow set of application such as email auto-completion. To do so, we, by fiat, insert a new function—an oracle—into the universe of computational problems, carefully chosen to make the desired statement hold. All three produced what later became known as “the final word” in their respective product categories. One correction, I think: there’s no finality, yet, in this loss. Let me say that one more time: in practice, TJHS’s move from a standardized test to a lottery will be overwhelmingly pro-White, anti-Asian, and anti-immigrant; only as a much smaller effect will it be pro-underrepresented-minority. And as Terry Tao says in a blog post you linked, it’s us mortals, not a handful of “geniuses”, who primarily drive math forward. When my grandpa, a working-class Jewish guy, went to Bronx Science, was it also creating inequality? I am no fan of affirmative action in government programs, but one reason I am not totally opposed to it is that indirect efforts to increase racial/ethnic diversity often seem to create more harm than straighforward quotas. With unbelievable regularity, those who report liking high school, or even just finding it tolerable, turn out to have gone to one of a handful of STEM magnet programs. Every real you can name—42, π, √e, even uncomputable reals like Chaitin’s Ω—has to be there, right? I’ll leave it here because at this point positions are very clear. You should acknowledge that the issue lies there and not with TJHS itself. DS #3: I think you’re simply wrong about the gap between TJ and, say, a typical magnet school; it’s much more than a 0.1% gap. Like Jacob and Tim, in my experience at TJ the greatest thing about it was the other students — having a group of peers who were just as enthusiastic about things like math, and physics, and computer science as I was.

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