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johnlawrenceaspden comments on The Martial Art of Rationality - Less Wrong

42 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 November 2006 08:00PM

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Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 10 October 2012 07:18:19PM 20 points [-]

I mentioned it only because it seems to have been a unique triumph for Less Wrong. I'd read about the case, and thought nothing of it particularly. And then people here started saying "Look at it from a probabilistic point of view", and so I did, and after a few hours head-scratching and diagram-drawing I realized that it was almost certainly a miscarriage.

I mentioned this to a few people I know, and they reacted pretty well as you'd expect to a middle-aged man suddenly getting a bee in his bonnet about a high-profile sex murder case involving pretty girls.

When she was eventually acquitted, various people said "How did you do that?". And the mathematically minded types were quite impressed with the answer, while the muggles think I've got some sort of incomprehensible maths-witchcraft thing that I can do to find out the truth.

Which is exactly the sort of thing you might want to sell, if you can find a way to teach it.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 October 2012 07:21:35PM 18 points [-]

Er, you have some sort of incomprehensible maths-witchcraft thing that you can do to find out the truth.

Comment author: [deleted] 10 October 2012 07:29:33PM 1 point [-]

Fair enough.

Comment author: shminux 10 October 2012 10:38:32PM 2 points [-]

I mentioned it only because it seems to have been a unique triumph for Less Wrong.

Why has it been so unique? Surely there are plenty of high-profile predictions one can make using the same Bayesian techniques? (Or one can simply ask gwern, who is apparently well calibrated after a thousand or so recorded predictions.)

Comment author: somervta 11 October 2012 09:28:07PM 0 points [-]

The key here was in applying Bayes, not in being especially calibrated.

Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 12 October 2012 05:49:53PM 2 points [-]

Well actually I was just wondering about that.

What other claims like 'Amanda Knox is innocent' can we make, in the sense that (a) they're counter common thinking (b) we're pretty sure we're right (c) there's likely to be a resolution in our favour soon?

The Amanda Knox thing was a surprising prediction that came true. More of those would be neat.