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Comment author: bentarm 30 May 2016 05:26:34PM *  7 points [-]

My first thought on reading this was that given that people tend to be overconfident in just about every other area of their lives, I would find it exceedingly surprising if it were in fact the case that people's estimates of their own attractiveness was systematically lower than the estimates of others. I notice that there isn't actually a citation for this claim anywhere in the article.

Indeed, having looked for some evidence, this was the first study I could find that attempted to investigate the claim directly: Mirror, mirror on the wall…: self-perception of facial beauty versus judgement by others.. To quote the abstract:

Our results show proof for a strikingly simple observation: that individuals perceive their own beauty to be greater than that expressed in the opinions of others (p < 0.001).

In other words, the phenomenon that you "explain" in this article is literally the opposite of the truth, at least for the people in that study.

Your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality. Yes, surely some people under-estimate their own attractiveness, but if the explanation for this is cognitive biases which are present in everyone, how do we explain the people in this study who make exactly the opposite error? If you are equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge, etc, etc.

In response to Seven Shiny Stories
Comment author: bentarm 20 April 2016 01:53:25PM 0 points [-]

Billy has the chance to study abroad in Australia for a year, and he's so mixed up about it, he can barely think straight.

Outside View - can anyone imagine a satisfying ending to this story that doesn't have Billy going to Australia?

Comment author: bentarm 08 June 2015 06:17:37PM 0 points [-]

I'd still bet that the majority of people who have a belief that meets all the criteria you suggest are probably wrong about that belief. For example, I think there's a reasonable case that most priests' religious beliefs would met your criteria, and it's clear that most priests are wrong (as long you you take priest to include holy men from all of the world's religions, it must be true).

I won't speak to the usefulness of the quote as a means for generating useful entrepreneurial ideas.

Comment author: bentarm 08 June 2015 06:18:35PM 0 points [-]

meh, scratch that, I misremembered the quote as "most people disagree with you"...

Comment author: ChristianKl 07 June 2015 03:05:52PM 4 points [-]

If it took you an hour to come up with the truth that's likely. If you however needed thousands of hours of thinking to discover it, the case for you knowing something that other people don't know is much better.

Especially if you read various experts that connect to the topic and understand the state of the field, you can make a reasonable argument that you have something that qualifies.

Peter Thiel talks about this being a foundation for successful startups. When Mark Zuckerberg being social network he had the insight to the truth that "real identify is really important for a social network" that few other people believed.

Comment author: bentarm 08 June 2015 06:17:37PM 0 points [-]

I'd still bet that the majority of people who have a belief that meets all the criteria you suggest are probably wrong about that belief. For example, I think there's a reasonable case that most priests' religious beliefs would met your criteria, and it's clear that most priests are wrong (as long you you take priest to include holy men from all of the world's religions, it must be true).

I won't speak to the usefulness of the quote as a means for generating useful entrepreneurial ideas.

Comment author: bentarm 14 April 2015 03:17:37PM *  3 points [-]

This seems to be the sort of cue that is much more reliable in fiction than in real life. In real life, not everything that happens has to be foreshadowed.

Comment author: bentarm 14 April 2015 04:50:37PM 0 points [-]

And conversely, things are allowed to just happen Because the Author Says So in fiction. When watching TV, I'll often ask "why didn't person X just do obvious thing Y which would have solved all of their problems for the rest of this episode?", to which my girlfriend's perfectly valid response is "plot reasons" (TV Tropes calls this the Anthropic Principle)

Comment author: bentarm 14 April 2015 03:17:37PM *  3 points [-]

This seems to be the sort of cue that is much more reliable in fiction than in real life. In real life, not everything that happens has to be foreshadowed.

Comment author: bentarm 07 March 2015 03:21:04PM 2 points [-]

We're meeting up at 3pm on Sunday in Glasgow. It's not exactly planned as an hpmor wrap party (the organiser didn't even know hpmor was being updated again), but I expect well end up discussing hpmor, and any readers would be welcome.

Comment author: dxu 03 March 2015 10:50:00PM *  6 points [-]

It's also not always good advice.

Of course it isn't. But I don't think that's a very good standard to be holding most forms of advice to. Very little advice is always good advice; nearly all sayings have exceptions. The fact is, however, that Lasker's (sort of Lasker's, anyway) quotation is useful most of the time, both in chess and out of chess (since unless you're playing a blitz game, you're likely to have plenty of time to think), and for a rationality quote, that suffices.

Comment author: bentarm 04 March 2015 01:33:40PM 0 points [-]

It's not at all obvious to me that the failure mode of not looking for a better move when you've found a good one is more common than the failure mode of spending too long looking for a better move when you've found a good one - in general, I think the consensus is that people who are willing to satisfice actually end up happier with their final decisions than people who spend too long maximising, but I agree that this doesn't apply in all areas, and that there are likely times when this would be useful advice.

In the particular example I gave, if you've already found a move that wins a rook, then it's all-but irrelevant if you're missing a better move that wins a queen, as winning a rook is already equivalent to winning the game, but there are obviously degrees of this (it's obviously not irrelevant if you settle for winning a pawn and miss checkmate). This suggests you should be careful how you define a "satisficing" solution, but not necessarily that satisficing is a bad strategy (in the extreme, if your "good move" is a forced checkmate, then it's obviously a waste of time to look for a "better move", whatever that might mean).

Comment author: dxu 02 March 2015 03:52:32AM 17 points [-]

When you see a good move, look for a better one.

Emanuel Lasker

Comment author: bentarm 03 March 2015 05:07:35PM *  8 points [-]

<nitpick> Lasker may have said this, but it also pre-dates him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Lasker#Quotations </nitpick>

It's also not always good advice. Sometimes you should just satisfice. Chess is often one of these times, as you have a clock. If you see something that wins a rook, and spend the rest of your time trying to win a queen, you're not going to win the game.

Comment author: bentarm 04 January 2015 03:04:02PM 5 points [-]

Serious question - why do you (either CFAR as an organisation or Anna in particular) think in-person workshops are more effective than, eg, writing a book, or making a mooc-style series of online lessons for teaching this stuff? Is it actually more about network building than the content of the workshops themselves? Do you not understand how to teach well enough to be able to do it in video format? Videos are inherently less profitable?

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