LessWrong: Refining the art of human rationality

logo_transIn the past four decades, behavioral economists and cognitive psychologists have discovered many cognitive biases human brains fall prey to when thinking and deciding. Less Wrong is an online community for people who want to apply the discovery of biases like the conjunction fallacy, the affect heuristic, and scope insensitivity in order to improve their own thinking. Bayesian reasoning offers a way to improve on the native human reasoning style. Reasoning naively, we tend not to seek alternative explanations, and sometimes underrate the influence of prior probabilities in Bayes’ theorem. Less Wrong users aim to develop accurate predictive models of the world, and change their mind when they find evidence disconfirming those models, instead of being able to explain anything.

Source: Welcome to Less Wrong

Interested in improving your reasoning and decision-making skills? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Less Wrong is a large, active website for people who try to think rationally. To get a quick idea of why rationality is important and how to develop it, try reading Your Intuitions Are Not MagicThe Cognitive Science of Rationality, or What I’ve Learned From Less Wrong.

Here’s a selection of other posts from the extensive Less Wrong archives that might appeal to you:

And some slightly meatier stuff:

The Less Wrong Community

Less Wrong makes heavy use of previously introduced topics for leverage, so you may need to consult the Concepts and Jargon pages on the Less Wrong Wiki. You can also do keyword searches of past posts using the search tool near the top right corner of every page.

Unlike some skeptics, Less Wrong users don’t automatically reject odd ideas and sometimes endorse them. Odd ideas users have been known to espouse include transhumanismcryonics, and caution regarding AI research.

To meet other rationality enthusiasts in meatspacefind a nearby Less Wrong meetup group or start a new one.

If you want to know more about Less Wrong, try the Less Wrong FAQ.

The Archives

The best place to start exploring the LW archives is the sequences page. Sequence posts provide Less Wrong’s philosophical foundation and cover many important ideas. You can also browse all posts by score.

Yes, blog archives can make for better reading than books.


After creating an account, you can introduce yourself in our welcome thread.

Don’t take it too hard if one of your first few comments gets voted down. Less Wrong sets a very high standardfor contributions. You might want to lurk for a while or read some archive posts to get a sense of the site.

Source: About Less Wrong

On Wikipedia

LessWrong logo.svg
Type of site
Internet forum, blog
Available in English
Created by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Slogan(s) A community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality
Website LessWrong.com
Alexa rank Negative increase 69,387 (Global, November 2017)
Registration Optional, but is required for contributing content
Launched February 1, 2009; 8 years ago (2009-02-01)
Current status Active
Written in Python, JavaScript, CSS (powered by Reddit source code)

LessWrong, also written as Less Wrong, is a community blog and forum focused on discussion of cognitive biases, philosophy, psychology, economics, rationality, and artificial intelligence, among other topics.[1][2]


LessWrong promotes lifestyle changes believed to lead to increased rationality and self-improvement. Posts often focus on avoiding biases related to decision-making and the evaluation of evidence. One suggestion is the use of Bayes' theorem as a decision-making tool.[2] There is also a focus on psychological barriers that prevent good decision-making, including fear conditioning[3] and cognitive biases that have been studied by the psychologist Daniel Kahneman.[4]


LessWrong developed from Overcoming Bias, an earlier group blog focused on human rationality, which began in November 2006, with artificial intelligence theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky and economist Robin Hanson as the principal contributors. In February 2009, Yudkowsky's posts were used as the seed material to create the community blog LessWrong, and Overcoming Bias became Hanson's personal blog.[5]

Roko's basilisk

In July 2010, LessWrong contributor Roko posted a thought experiment to the site in which an otherwise benevolent future AI system tortures simulations of those who did not work to bring the system into existence. This idea came to be known as "Roko's basilisk," based on Roko's idea that merely hearing about the idea would give the hypothetical AI system stronger incentives to employ blackmail. Yudkowsky deleted Roko's posts on the topic, calling it "stupid". Discussion of Roko's basilisk was banned on LessWrong for several years[6][7] before the ban was lifted in October 2015.[8]

Popular culture allusions to Roko's basilisk include the character Roccoco Basilisk in Grimes' video for "Flesh Without Blood", explicitly named for Roko's basilisk;[9] and the plot of Magnus: Robot Fighter #8 by Fred Van Lente.[10]


The neoreactionary movement takes an interest in LessWrong,[11][12] attracted by discussions on the site of eugenics and evolutionary psychology.[13] Breitbart commenter Milo Yiannopoulos considers that LessWrong "urged its community members to think like machines" and strip away "inhibitors to rational thought", and that neoreactionaries "began a gleeful demolition of the age-old biases of western political discourse."[14] Yudkowsky has strongly repudiated neoreaction.[15][16]


  1. ^ "Less Wrong FAQ". LessWrong. 
  2. ^ a b Miller, James (July 28, 2011). "You Can Learn How To Become More Rational". Business Insider. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (July 8, 2011). "This column will change your life: Feel the ugh and do it anyway. Can the psychological flinch mechanism be beaten?". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (March 9, 2012). "This column will change your life: asked a tricky question? Answer an easier one. We all do it, all the time. So how can we get rid of this eccentricity?". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Where did Less Wrong come from? (LessWrong FAQ)". Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ Love, Dylan (6 August 2014). "WARNING: Just Reading About This Thought Experiment Could Ruin Your Life". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Auerbach, David (17 July 2014). "The Most Terrifying Thought Experiment of All Time". Slate. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  8. ^ RobbBB (5 October 2015). "A few misconceptions surrounding Roko's basilisk". LessWrong. Retrieved 10 April 2016. The Roko's basilisk ban isn't in effect anymore 
  9. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (7 December 2015). "Grimes Explains the 4 Characters in Her "Flesh Without Blood" Video: Exclusive". Fuse. Retrieved 2017-06-09. She's doomed to be eternally tortured by an artificial intelligence, but she's also kind of like Marie Antoinette. 
  10. ^ Wickline, Dan (2014-11-22). "Turning The Gold Key - Frank Barbiere Talks With Fred Van Lente About Mangus: Robot Fighter". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  11. ^ Finley, Klint (November 22, 2013). "Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  12. ^ Riggio, Adam (23 September 2016). "The Violence of Pure Reason: Neoreaction: A Basilisk". Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. 5 (9): 34–41. ISSN 2471-9560. The embryo of the movement lived in the community pages of Yudkowsky’s blog LessWrong, a website dedicated to refining human rationality. 
  13. ^ Keep, Elmo (22 June 2016). "The Strange and Conflicting World Views of Silicon Valley Billionaire Peter Thiel". Fusion. Retrieved 2016-10-05. Thanks to LessWrong’s discussions of eugenics and evolutionary psychology, it has attracted some readers and commenters affiliated with the alt-right and neoreaction, that broad cohort of neofascist, white nationalist and misogynist trolls. 
  14. ^ Bokhari, Allum and Yiannopoulos, Milo (29 March 2016). "An Establishment Conservative's Guide to the Alt-Right". Breitbart. 
  15. ^ Riggio, Adam (23 September 2016). "The Violence of Pure Reason: Neoreaction: A Basilisk". Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. 5 (9): 34–41. ISSN 2471-9560. Land and Yarvin are openly allies with the new reactionary movement, while Yudkowsky counts many reactionaries among his fanbase despite finding their racist politics disgusting. 
  16. ^ Eliezer Yudkowsky (8 April 2016). "Untitled". Optimize Literally Everything (blog). Retrieved 7 October 2016. 

External links

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LessWrong

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