Thursday, May 27, 2021

Judging Yesterday by Today Involves Mistaken Arrogance

 As part of the 200 year commemoration of Napoleon, President Emmanuel Macron recently addressed an audience of secondary school students amid the architectural grandeur of the Institut de France

He note in particular that we ought not to gloss over the complexities of a historical figure he described as “both eagle and ogre”. On the contrary, as well as explaining Napoleon’s soaring achievements, the President highlighted the appalling errors the “Little Corporal” had made, and their tragic cost in human life.

This was the object lesson on the importance of truth in history. “You are not responsible for France’s past,” Macron told the students, “nor are you its guardians.”

“It comes to you as an inheritance, without a testament attached,” he went on to say, using a phrase every French student would recognise as a quotation from the poet and resistance hero, Rene Char. “You may choose to love it; and so too you may choose to criticise it.”

“But first of all you must learn it”: which means “facing it directly and as a whole”, imbued “with a love of knowledge” and “resisting the temptation to judge yesterday by today”. That is the foremost duty “a free people” owes its ancestors who secured the freedoms it enjoys — but it is also a free people’s greatest privilege, because it is only by “understanding its past” that it can freely “forge its future”.

Thanks to Henry Ergas

Monday, May 24, 2021

Better Ways to Approach Thinking


Tyler Cowen on preparing for the future:

"I think the future belongs to people who are what I call meta-rational. That is, people who realize their own limitations. So not all the skills that you think are so valuable actually will matter in the future. Don’t just feel good about yourself, but think critically, what am I actually good at that will complement emerging sectors and emerging technologies. The world of the future, even the present will be a world of algorithms. ... People who think they can beat the algorithms will make a lot more mistakes. ... So know when you should defer. It’s easier than ever before to get advice from other people, including on podcasts, right? Or, you know, go to Yelp. When can you trust the advice of others? Having good judgment there is becoming more important than just being the smartest person or having the highest IQ."

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Noise.... the book is here. Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein


In Noise, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show the detrimental effects of noise in many fields, including medicine, law, economic forecasting, forensic science, bail, child protection, strategy, performance reviews, and personnel selection, there is judgment, there is noise.

Some decades ago Nobel winner Fischer Black wrote the Classic Paper "Noise". Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote much on noise - sometimes in the guise of random processes - throughout the early years of this century. Awareness of the confounding effects of noise are not new.

Bringing these minds (Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein) together on the topic likely is new. A great difficulty with handling noise is producing strong frameworks to make the relevant ideas cohere, develop structures to analyse the phenomenon within and to figure ways to ask the "right" questions about noise. Currently, these three are likely the best shot on the planet at doing just that.

Simple Posting Text

 The story continues unabated and with promise...