Chicago Rationality

Welcome to the homepage for the Chicago Rationality meet-up group! 

Our group includes people interested in Rationality, Effective Altruism, and more. Many people find us through weird corners of the internet like LessWrong, Slate Star Codex/Astral Codex Ten, Overcoming Bias, Marginal Revolution, and other Rationalist-adjacent sites.

If you’re interested in hanging out in real life with other people interested in these kinds of ideas, attend our next meet-up! We typically do one “discussion” meet-up per month focused on a specific reading suggested by a group member and one “social” meet-up per month with no particular agenda.

You can learn more about our meetups here.

It’s ok to come if you’re not sure if you’ll fit in, if you’re not the “typical” kind of person who would attend a meet-up like this, or if you’re just kind of intimidated by coming to a new social event. 

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions as well: info@chicagorationality.com

If you’d like to be notified of upcoming meet-ups and social events, please fill out the form below and you’ll be added to our mailing list. We usually send out emails a few times per month.

CALENDAR

Click through on the event description for more details including address, suggested reading, etc.

You can also add this calendar to your calendar of choice

MEETUP TOPICS

March 2022 Meetup: When to Believe Smart Outsiders

For our next meetup, we will be discussing when we should believe smart outsiders who make claims that go against expert consensus in a different field. Recent global events have provided lots of examples of people making claims that contradict “the experts.” In some salient cases, these claims have turned

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February 2022 Meetup: Theories of the Rise of Obesity

For this meetup, we’ll be discussing theories explaining the rise in obesity. One such theory is the contamination theory, which proposes that the large increase in obesity seen in the industrialized world since 1950 is largely caused by contaminants in our food and water. There has been a very dramatic increase

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January 2022 Meetup: What Kind of Intelligences are Possible?

In 2011, Eliezer Yudkowsky gave an obscure but fascinating presentation on evolution and “outcome pumps”. It has garnered only 7.8K views on youtube over the last decade [1]. These two processes are examples of optimization systems that can exhibit seemingly intelligent behaviors, yet these behaviors differ radically from human behaviors

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December 2021 Meetup: Rationality and the Real World

This month, we’re going to start with a case study to discuss applying rationality to solve real-world problems and the broader concepts of Systematized Winning[1] and Asymmetric Weapons[2] (see links below). The case study is dealing with the recent congestion at the Long Beach port complex, as discussed in more

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HOW DO MEETUPS WORK?

If you’re considering coming to a meetup but would like some more info on how things work, you’re in the right place!

Our monthly discussion meetups typically have some suggested readings, videos, etc. — these could be blog articles, academic journals, lectures, or podcasts. We typically meet for about 2.5 hours and discuss the topics from the readings. You can check out past meetup topics here.

Meetup attendance is typically in the range of 10-20 people. Depending on how many people we have, we usually start with a brief group discussion laying out the main ideas from the readings, then we split into smaller groups to facilitate better conversations.

You are by no means required to do all (or honestly even any) of the reading ahead of time. Typically about 1/3 of people do all of the reading, 1/3 do some of the reading, and 1/3 do barely any of the reading. You are also not required to actually participate in the discussion! We love to hear what everyone thinks, but you’re welcome to attend and just listen.

Our social meetups are much more ad hoc. We’ve hosted social meetups at apartments, parks, and restaurants — people typically just hang out and chat.

We also poast in our Discord. Feel free to join even if you’re not local to Chicago. If you’re not familiar with Discord, it’s a social instant messaging app similar to Slack or, for the old heads, IRC. Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Discord. We share articles and memes, organize game nights and hiking trips, and share other rationality-adjacent events on the Discord.

Links and REsources

Looking for more internet to read? Curious about what Rationality groups talk about? Want to go go to other meetups in Chicago? Here are some helpful links: