How can we obtain beliefs closer to reality?
Over the last several decades, new research has changed science’s picture of how we succeed or fail to seek the truth. The heuristics and biases program, in cognitive psychology, has exposed dozens of major flaws in human reasoning. Microeconomics, through the power of statistics, has shown that many facets of society don’t work the way we thought.
Overcoming Bias aims to bring the implications home. We want to avoid, or at least minimize, the startling systematic mistakes that science is discovering. If we know the common patterns of error or self-deception, maybe we can work around them ourselves, or build social structures for smarter groups. We know we aren’t perfect, and can’t be perfect, but trying is better than not trying.
We blog life through the lens of the cognitive sciences: Cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, microeconomics, applied statistics, social psychology, probability and decision theory, even a bit of Artificial Intelligence now and then.
Overcoming Bias is brought to you by the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, neither of which necessarily endorse any views expressed here. Copyright is retained by each author.
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Robin Hanson: A tenured professor of economics at George Mason University. A father of prediction and decision markets, his interests include: the rationality of paternalism and other kinds of disagreement; explaining medical puzzles, such as the generally low health value of medicine; and the social impacts of future technology. Posts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Eliezer Yudkowsky: A research fellow of the Singularity Institute. His mid-long-term research goal is a rigorous theory of reflection in self-modifying decision systems. His long-long-term goal is to build an AI, and his short-term goal is to write a book about rationality. Yudkowsky’s posts often have dependencies on his previous posts; see here for help navigating. Currently posts daily. [As of March 2009, Eliezer’s posts are appearing on Less Wrong.]