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simplicio comments on The Affect Heuristic - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 November 2007 07:58AM

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Comment author: simplicio 13 March 2010 05:27:36PM 4 points [-]

"This may sound crazy to you, oh Statistically Sophisticated Reader, but if you think more carefully you'll realize that it makes perfect sense. A 7% probability versus 10% probability may be bad news, but it's more than made up for by the increased number of red beans. It's a worse probability, yes, but you're still more likely to win, you see. You should meditate upon this thought until you attain enlightenment as to how the rest of the planet thinks about probability."

I snorted rather loudly upon reading this, and sent the quote to a friend of mine. He told me that he was once playing WoW (get thee behind me, Satan!) and there was some sort of task in which you had to try to get an item, and each try was known to have a 1% chance of success. His companion in WoW was convinced that what that meant was: try 100 times, and on the hundredth try you get the item. Why? Because 100x1%=100%. Obviously.

Comment author: wnoise 13 March 2010 06:43:40PM *  4 points [-]

The conclusion, while ridiculous, is not too misleading in practice. 100 is the right order of magnitude that one would expect to have to play to get one -- the expected time of the first reward is 100, and it does have an expected return of 1 after 100 times. Of course, it only has a 63.4% chance of getting at least one after 100 times.

Comment author: simplicio 13 March 2010 07:22:05PM 6 points [-]

Oh, certainly. I wouldn't expect somebody to calculate that in their head; what amused me is not that he thought that he ought to get it within 100 tries, but that he expected to get it on the 100th try.

Comment author: DSimon 18 April 2012 11:56:55PM 1 point [-]

get thee behind me, Satan!

Why do people want Satan to go behind them? Isn't that just asked to be stabbed in the back with a pitchfork? If I thought it would have any effect I'd tend to go for something like "Get the frak away from me, Satan!".

Comment author: wedrifid 19 April 2012 12:12:02AM 1 point [-]

If I thought it would have any effect I'd tend to go for something like "Get the frak away from me, Satan!".

Not 'go to hell'?