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wedrifid comments on The Amanda Knox Test: How an Hour on the Internet Beats a Year in the Courtroom - Less Wrong

42 Post author: komponisto 13 December 2009 04:16AM

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Comment author: wedrifid 13 December 2009 06:20:10AM *  10 points [-]

Serious nitpicking going on here.

Probability theories and the philosophies thereof are of interest to me and there are a lot of intuitive traps that are easy to fall into.

The whole point of my post is that from the information provided, one should arrive at probabilities close to what I said.

If that is what your point was then I actually disagree with it. I am not comfortable giving odds of 1:999 after looking briefly at two biassed webpages and a wikipedia page that you tell me is fluctuating at the whims of editorial bias. I know damn well I'd be wrong more than once if I did something like that 1,000 times.

Don't forget that "the order, manner, and quantity of browsing will be left up to [them]". It would be quite reasonable for someone to decide to read until a certain level of confidence has been reached. Once you are 99% confident that the poor girl is innocent what do you hope to achieve by marinating yourself in more and more evidence (or, for that matter, the lack of it)?

It would be great if I could go all Liam Neeson and say "if you let her go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you." Alas, I do not have any way to efficiently influence the justice system of Victoria or Australia, much less Italy.

(Damn I hate juries. The thought of being at the mercy of a mob of my peers fills me with equal parts fear and outrage. But it isn't my fight. Except in as much as the only path to a justice system I actually trust probably involves FAI.)

Comment author: Morendil 13 December 2009 09:39:40AM 3 points [-]

How about a Truth Machine ?

Comment author: Blueberry 13 December 2009 06:54:21PM 0 points [-]

Wow. That book is really good. Thanks for linking to it!

Comment author: Morendil 13 December 2009 07:02:49PM 0 points [-]

You might also like The First Immortal by the same author.

Comment author: komponisto 13 December 2009 06:35:18AM 1 point [-]

If that is what your point was then I actually disagree with it. I am not comfortable giving odds of 1:999 after looking briefly at two biassed webpages and a wikipedia page that you tell me is fluctuating at the whims of editorial bias. I know damn well I'd be wrong more than once if I did something like that 1,000 times

What if I tried putting it this way: people underestimate the (potential) power of applying rationality techniques as compared with gathering more raw information. It is sometimes possible to be extremely confident about a proposition after an hour of Internet research, even when people who have spent a year "gathering evidence" seem to disagree shaprly.

Comment author: wedrifid 13 December 2009 06:51:01AM *  2 points [-]

What if I tried putting it this way: people underestimate the (potential) power of applying rationality techniques as compared with gathering more raw information. It is sometimes possible to be extremely confident about a proposition after an hour of Internet research, even when people who have spent a year "gathering evidence" seem to disagree sharply.

Totally agree, and that's a point that you explained convincingly in your post. Just so long as I don't have to quantise 'extremely confident' as 0.999. Although given an hour and also given that the lesswrong.com discussion is now part of 'the Internet', I expect I would break the 0.99 mark at least.