Re: Common Human Errors

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 09:39:57 MDT

From: "Robin Hanson" <>
> But it seems pretty useless to "keep these errors in mind." Burns' list of
> distortions seems to me in danger of being similarly vacuous. What we need
> is a list of errors were we are more likely to make such errors than errors
> with opposite signs. But it is not clear to me that people are more likely
> to overgeneralize than to undergeneralize, to see too much black-and-white
> than too much grey, etc.

To function accurately, such a weighted list as you describe would need to
change in respect to each individual. After completing a psychonomic inventory
and profile questionnaire, each user of the Common Human Errors Programę need
only install it with proper associations to the current application. An error
signal informs the user of the direction and category of each cognitive
distortion as it occurs. Example:
"a sufficiently intelligent being would just commit suicide" = OVERESTIMATION
"Watch out for that Internet. It might be... **atomic**!" = UNDERESTIMATION
"Truth is a pathless land, so be a light unto yourself." = NULL

Re-calibrate regularly.


Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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