Monday, December 21, 2009

calibration is useless and dangerous

We have a tendency to want to know exactly. What is the exact value of this action? how much effort is too much for this end etc.
Even in feelings. How much do I want to care on X? etc.

Usually we have quite an idea about the amount more or less, but then some tend to want to know exactly.

Yet knowuing exactly is usually impossible. Because of hte complexity of things and so on.

Moreover, the utility of finding out the exact is deteriorating, while the cost of finding the exact go up.


PS. there is another cost of closing the mind with having a clear cut number. Also, see Jon Elster about people preferring to rely on rationality.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are not made for type-2 randomness. How can we humans take into account the role of uncertainty in our lives without moralizing? As Steve Pinker aptly said, our mind is made for fitness, not for truth — but fitness for a different probabilistic structure. Which tricks work? Here is one: avoid the media. We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. It is a very dangerous thing, because the probabilistic mapping we get from watching television is entirely different from the actual risks that we exposed to. If you watch a building burning on television, it's going to change your attitude toward that risk regardless of its real actuarial value, no matter your intellectual sophistication. How can we live in a society in the twenty-first, twenty-second, or twenty-third century, while at the same time we have intuitions made for probably a hundred million years ago? How can we accept as a society that we are largely animals in our behavior, and that our understanding of matters is not of any large consequence in the way we act?

spldbch said...

Simple yet profound!

Yechezkel Zilber said...

tx