Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

omeganaut comments on Focus Your Uncertainty - Less Wrong

33 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 August 2007 08:49PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (16)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: omeganaut 09 May 2011 12:32:24AM 1 point [-]

First of all, there is a specific time in which you could evenly divide the period because there are only 60 seconds in a minute, which is divisible by three. Secondly, your article seems to say that we should use our anticipation wisely, which would seem to say that anticipating small things is pointless. However, anticipation is a very important part of human life experiences, and as such it is almost impossible to either use less of or create more of unless one is capable of fooling one's self into an erroneous belief. Last, by anticipating an outcome using rational thought to be able to equally anticipate all outcomes reduces the amount of emotional affect on anticipation, when emotion is a very important part of our motivation. Without having a favorite, you no longer care about the issue, and unless you are a practiced pundit, you will be unable to actually seem authentic on air without having your anticipation emotionally charged and correct.
If you see an error in my argument, please point it out, for this is my first post on these forums, and I'm still not used to thinking in your rational mindset.

Comment author: thomblake 11 May 2011 08:15:34PM 5 points [-]

The point of the article was that the subject really does anticipate different market outcomes to different extents, and that uncertainty can be represented using probability. Thus the 100 minutes of preparation time could be divided up usefully by spending n minutes on each justification, where n is reached by multiplying the probability of the outcome by 100 minutes.

For example, if you believe that the stock has a 60% chance of going up, a 35% chance of going down, and a 4.99% chance of staying the same, then you could spend 60 minutes preparing explanations of why it went up, 35 minutes preparing explanations of why it went down, 4.99 minutes preparing explanations of why it stayed the same, and .01 minutes fretting that you've forgotten one of the things that stocks can do.

You're probably right about the emotional state of pundits, but that wasn't really relevant to the point of the story.

this is my first post on these forums

Welcome to Less Wrong! It might be worth checking out Bayes' Theorem.

Comment author: royf 31 May 2012 05:12:04PM *  4 points [-]

This solution is the Kelly strategy. It isn't generally optimal, but this makes it optimal in this case:

if some particular outcome occurs, then your utility function is logarithmic in time spent preparing the excuse

Comment author: thomblake 31 May 2012 05:59:47PM 1 point [-]

Nice - I'm not sure if I've encountered that strategy before.

Comment author: Rixie 25 January 2013 02:19:19AM 1 point [-]

It's about how if you slide the probability of, say, bond yeilds going up, to be more likely, that makes the probablity of bonds yeilds going down or staying the same less likely. We can't say, "I think that there is a 40% chance of bond yeilds going up, and a 70% chance of bond yeilds going down or staying the same."