Monday, December 26, 2011

TED Stuff to Remember

I've been a big fan of TED for several years, because it offers insight into what "the intellectual elite" consider important. Most of these people wouldn't give me the time of day, but occasionally, a few of them make some good points. I had some notes written on the back of an envelope that I wanted to throw away... ah... I meant recycle... so I figured I better blog them so I could find them later.

On Being Wrong
This presentation has a cute graphic of what it looks like to "realize you are wrong". I didn't care for the speaker, but the take away was what she called the "Unfortunate Assumptions of Wrongness":
There are three reasons someone might think you are wrong:
1. Ignorance- They don't understand the facts, so perhaps you can educate them.
2. Idiocy- You've explained it to them, so they must be too stupid to be to understand.
3. Evil- Maybe they do understand, but are trying to undermine your brilliant plan.
In my case, its always number three.

The Moral Mind
Very politically slanted, but not wrong. The speaker states that there five moral values, of which "Conservatives" acknowledge the importance of all five, but "Liberals" acknowledge only two.
1. Harm/Care - protection
2. Fairness/Reciprocity - don't lie, cheat, steal
3. Ingroup/Loyalty - community, tribalism
4. Authority/Respect - patriotism
5. Purity/Sactity - sexuality
The research seems to indicate that everyone agrees on 1 & 2, but that the divide is the "Conservative" insistence on the importance of 3, 4, and 5.

Self Deception

This presentation has a good explanation of the difference between a false positive and false negative, and how it relates to decision models.
Finding order in chaos which does not exist, is patternicity.
* More patterns are percieved by the left eye.
If the pattern (or model) is wrong, we have made either:
  Type I Error (false positive): believing something that is not real.
  Type II Error (false negative): not believing what is real.
When evaluating the outcome of a decision where the threat could be inanimate versus a predator, we naturally err on the side of the entity. This is called agenticity.
Agenticity is a difficult concept, especially since the speaker wraps it around religion, but the base of it is the belief that others can control chaos that we can't. If you're walking through the jungle and there is a rustle in the grass, it could be the wind or a lioness. If you assume it is the wind, and it is a predator, you get eaten. If you assume it is a predator, and that the predator has heightened senses, is faster and stronger, than you become over-cautious. If it is not a lioness ready to attack, its a "false positive", because you attributed agenticity to a sound without investigation. But you survive! Thus, we are wired for false positives.

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