So this post will be about two only loosely related things - some problems with akrasia theory and my Beeminder status update.
Akrasia TheoryFirst, akrasia theory. The theoretical underpinning of it is that humans and animals for that matter use "incorrect" and time-inconsistent hyperbolic discounting instead of much more "correct" and time-consistent exponential discounting.
This is extremely problematic from evolutionary point of view - since any animal that moves even one bit closer towards "correct" discounting models could be massively more successful than ones that use "incorrect" models.
There's a bunch of ways to deal with this issue. A hopefully exhaustive list would be:
- Exponential discounting is more correct, but brains cannot implement exponential discounting even in principle
- Exponential discounting is more correct, brains can implement exponential discounting in principle, and it would be major evolutionary advantage, but in never evolved yet
- Exponential discounting is more correct, brains can implement exponential discounting in principle, but it wouldn't bring major evolutionary advantage
- Hyperbolic discounting is more correct
I feel it's important to distinguish between target levels (I wish to do X/week) and commitment levels (I commit to do X/week). Commitment should be much lower than target. By how much depends on variance - for low-variance goals like exercise they can be pretty close, for high-variance goals you should commit to much less than you target, at least initially. If it works, you can always increase commitment levels.
- Exercise. It's going most smoothly of all goals. I'm going to increase it from 2.5h/week to 3h/week commitment (current average is 3.4h/week). All this is in wii fit / ddr "minutes", and 3h of such "minutes" is actually about 3h45m wall clock time. I have no plans to ever commit myself to anything more than that, since there's only so much time in the week and there are diminishing health benefits to exercise. If that's ever too easy I'll just increase exercise intensity instead.
- Online Education. I found a bunch of alternative resources since then, so it's not just Udacity now. The problem is conversion factors between them, and I'm taking a fairly generous interpretation here that full unit is full unit, even if most are much easier than Udacity's GPGPU course. I'm increasing this from 2.5/week to 3/week, and I might increase this again in the future, depending on what other education sources I'll find.
- Play Magic. I could easily increase the commitment to play 10 games/week, but that's a good number and there's no reason to overdo it. I'm definitely playing enough to stay up to date with all the developments in the game, and I'll explore other formats some more once I get bored with Theros Standard.
- Open Source. This is going really well right now. I feel this is extremely important, so I'm just increasing it from 3 commits/week to 7 commits/week. This might increase further, depending on circumstances.
- Blog. My blogging has been really active recently, and I plan to keep it this way, so I'm doubling the rate from 1 posts/week to 2 posts/week. This also might increase a lot more.
- Books. There's a big problem of what counts as a "book" here, since some are a lot longer than others. I'll be going through a ton of audiobooks for exercise anyway, and still I have a ton of paper and Kindle books to read in addition to that, so I'll increase it from 1 book/3 weeks to 1 book/2 weeks to maybe get through all these stacks someday. Perhaps I'll change this goal to count shorter books for less and longer books for more someday? We'll see.