I turn 58 soon, and I’m starting to realize that I may not live long enough to finish many of my great life projects. So I want to try to tempt younger folks to continue them. Hence this call to adventure
I'm unsure how high a bar it is. I think there are similar comparisons that I'm willing to bet on which are high bars, e.g. self-help workshops that Overcoming Bias readers are tempted to attend, or workshops that attract high IQ people. But I doubt I'll find a practical way to convince you of that.
How about this bet: if a test is performed in which applicants are randomly selected to either attend a CFAR workshop or wait a year before attending a CFAR workshop, and at least 30 of those randomly selected applicants attend a CFAR workshop a year before any of the applicants who are told to wait do, and at least 30 are in the control group, then a year after the first group attends the workshop, that group will have increased its average annual income by at least $500 relative to the control group. Also, if job satisfaction, romantic relationship satisfaction, or number of romantic relationships are reported, they will be higher for the CFAR group.
I don't have much in the way of grad students, so a larger pool makes sense. Might as well ask a larger group of people. But having CFAR feel better than a random self-help workshop seems like a pretty low bar. Not sure I want to recommend something just because it meets that standard.
I doubt there's much data about that - "self-help workshop" doesn't sound very well defined, and I doubt anyone has asked a standard question about satisfaction for many different workshops.
How about this: if any of your grad students attends both a "random self-help workshop" and a CFAR workshop, they will report that the CFAR workshop is more valuable.
Or another version I'd be willing to bet on: if at least two of your grad students attend both a CFAR workshop and a "random self-help workshop", at least half of them will report that the CFAR workshop was worth at least $150 more than the random workshop.
I'd want to replace "random self-help workshop" with something clearer before actually betting, but I presume we'll be able to agree on something appropriate for that.
Do we have any data on base rates? On average what fraction of people how attend self-help workshops report that they were worth attending?
I've been trying to think of a good bet to offer in order to provide concise evidence of CFAR's value.
The best idea I found so far is that I'll bet that if at least two of your grad students attend CFAR workshops, at least half of them will report that it was worth attending.
I'd like to bet on whether they'd be more honest about their motives afterwards, but I haven't figured out a good way to resolve such a bet. Can you suggest a way that might work?
Can you suggest other bets that might be appropriate?
I would love to hear/read more about this, if possible! Is there a resource you can point to, perhaps?
Since it sounds like an internal process, I naturally understand if the details are protected in any fashion.
over 20 years running :)
Do I infer correctly that this was a one-shot social intelligence exercise?
Clearly there is much much more to human nature than a summary of mostly pop-pysch books (especially if you can't make particularly good predictions of people or groups of people after you know about the ideas.
But insofar as just listing out already known ideas about how motivation works is helpful, I'd like to ask anyone who sees this to list out any that I missed.
These really do some like quite good adventures though, since they meet the standard of "if I didn't do it pretty much nobody else would" which doesn't apply to just an amazingly huge number of "life missions" that people claim to have about cliched "making the world a better place".
Contributions to insight on average had to impact on the relative or absolute standing. Basically Adventure 2 considerations scrambled the insight machinery.
You are misled to think it is all answered. But it is not. There is still a LOT we don't know.
May I make a suggestion? As you know well, the key traits that make for successful functional individuals are identified as executive function. These traits include impulse control, delayed gratification, perseverance, conscientiousness, work ethic, and what not. People who have "their act together" and live functional lives have these triats. The underclass and those who live "broken" dysfunctional lives do not. It would seem that an adventure that would be very beneficial to future society would be to understand the source of executive function. Is it genetic? If so, what genes are responsible? Is it environmental? If so, how to we as a society go about creating the proper environment such that most all humans can have high executive function. Perhaps it is epigenetic, or even the result of womb biochemical environment. One would think that developing increased in executive function in our population ought to be a high priority of our civilization. Identifying the source of executive function would be the first step in accomplishing this objective.
The overview of dominant underlying motivations I've read from various sources.
How to Win Friends and Influence People: The desire to feel special.Impro and the Theater- In micro-social interactions, people are almost entirely directed by transfers and games with social status. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion- Reciprocation, Social Proof, Scarcity, Liking, Authority, IdentityMainstream Optimism- Being part of something larger than oneself, a feeling of contribution, feeling a part of a group with a purpose.Mainstream Cynicism- Selfish desires for wealth, power, hedonism, and fame. Picoeconomics- Tiny bits of hedons and dolors that are super important because of hyperbolic discounting. Behaviorism- Conditioned reactions and habits all the way down. Pop Neuroeconomics- Whatever gets you dopamine or oxytocin or something something "love chemical". Evopsych- whatever it is, it boils down to inclusive genetic fitness one way or another somehow.
The genuinely trying to advance insight group - did they clean up in the winnings at least? The whole thing tends to fall apart if people's immediate self-interest is not tied to being less wrong.
@robin_hanson:disqus Any guidance on an efficient path through the "large academic literature" relevant to Adventure 1? Excellent review paper(s)/books/anthologies/etc?
For example a global investment management firm would hold quarterly meetings where dozens of highly paid people from its offices all over the world would fly in at great expense to debate and vote on the direction of global economies over the next year. With wildly varying levels of insight and conviction you'd think prediction markets would weigh the final outcomes best. But it didn't work for reasons that Adventure 2 aims to explain. These forums were mostly used for signalling affiliation and forming coalitions. Even as many participants were genuinely trying to advance insight their efforts were lost in aggregating and quantifying the contributions.