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Cyan2 comments on The Affect Heuristic - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Cyan2 27 November 2007 07:20:37PM 2 points [-]

I ran across a curious misunderstanding of probability in the SF novel Diamond Mask. In the murder mystery plotline of the book, the protagonist had collected and analyzed data on an (implicitly mutually exclusive and exhaustive) list of eight or nine suspects. The author used probabilities of lower than 20% as a shorthand for not too likely, probabilities of between 20% and 50% as moderately likely, and probabilities above 50% as indicating prime suspects. Unfortunately, there was ~300% total probability in the list. The author could have gotten away with it if she'd just used the word "likelihood" instead of "probability".