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Confront reality (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought)

Post number five in Aaron Swartz’s Raw Nerve Series, Confront reality (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought).

“If you want to understand experts, you need to start by finding them. So the psychologists who wanted to understand expert performance began by testing alleged experts, to see how good they really were.

In some fields it was easy: in chess, for example, great players can reliably beat amateurs. But in other fields, it was much, much harder.

Take punditry. In his giant 20-year study of expert forecasting, Philip Tetlock found that someone who merely predicted everything will stay the same would be right more often than most professional pundits.1 Or take therapy. Numerous studies have found an hour with a random stranger is just as good as an hour with a professional therapist.2 In one study, for example, sessions with untrained university professors helped neurotic college students just as much as sessions with professional therapists.3 (This isnt to say that therapy isnt helpful the same studies suggest it is its just that whats helpful is talking over your problems for an hour, not anything about the therapist.)

As you might expect, pundits and therapists arent fans of these studies. The pundits try to weasel out of them. As Tetlock writes; The trick is to attach so many qualifiers to your vague predictions that you will be well positioned to explain pretty much whatever happens. China will fissure into regional fiefdoms, but only if the Chinese leadership fails to manage certain trade-offs deftly, and only if global economic growth stalls for a protracted period, and only if4 The therapists like to point to all the troubled people theyve helped with their sophisticated techniques (avoiding the question of whether someone unsophisticated could have helped even more). What neither group can do is point to clear evidence that what they do works.

Compare them to the chess grandmaster. If you try to tell the chess grandmaster that hes no better than a random college professor, he can easily play a professor and prove you wrong. Every time he plays, hes confronted with inarguable evidence of success or failure. But therapists can often feel like theyre helping they just led their client to a breakthrough about their childhood when theyre actually not making any difference.”

Gets even better after that, RTRH: Confront reality (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought).

One Response to “ Confront reality (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought)”

  1. دانلود طرح لایه باز کارت ویزیت عکاسی Says:

    Hola It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people about this topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! thank you

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