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Carl_Shulman comments on Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs - Less Wrong

41 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 December 2007 11:08PM

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Comment author: Carl_Shulman 08 December 2007 12:24:37AM 3 points [-]

Apparently debiasing techniques and encouragement of dissent played a role in the American re-evaluation of the Iranian nuclear program:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/washington/05intel.html?ref=middleeast "Over the past year, officials have put into place rigorous new procedures for analyzing conclusions about difficult intelligence targets like Iran, North Korea, global terrorism and China.

Analysts from disparate spy agencies are no longer pushed to achieve unanimity in their conclusions, a process criticized in the past for leading to “groupthink.” Alternate judgments are now encouraged.

In the case of the 2007 Iran report, “red teams” were established to test and find weaknesses in the report’s conclusions. Counterintelligence officials at the C.I.A. also did an extensive analysis to determine whether the new information might have been planted by Tehran to throw the United States off the trail of Iran’s nuclear program.

One result was an intelligence report that some of the intelligence community’s consistent critics have embraced."