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Eric_Blincow2 comments on The Affect Heuristic - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Eric_Blincow2 27 November 2007 11:00:10PM 1 point [-]

Elliot wrote: "I don't think these people are quite as silly as is made out. " "What is alleged about people seems to be that they have very bad judgment, or they are irrational."

Clearly human beings have a brain relatively well suited to their world which is, nevertheless, far from infallible. Hence stock market crashes, wars, and all manner of other phenomena which demonstrate the imperfect judging ability of the human mind. The human mind commits errors. One needn't condemn the human mind, or the average capacity of humanity, in order to point out these errors and speculate as to their causes– as this seems to be a fruitful endeavor for learning more about the function of the mind, which I think the above-linked chapter demonstrates very well. One need not pass any sort of value judgement relating to decision makers– in fact, its far better if one doesn't because that is only distracting and ultimately polemical. We want to measure the precision with which the human mind models reality, and what its sources of error are. So it is in the end completely irrelevant in the context of this discussion if this or that group of decision makers is labelled as "super smart", "idiotic", "irrational", "silly", etc. The point is to investigate the underlying processes.