RE: Confidence: A Basic Politics Puzzle

Crosby_M (
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 12:18:12 -0500

On Tuesday, February 18, 1997 7:52 PM, Robin Hanson wrote:
<Programmers? Most people believe all sorts of crap that computer
salespeople tell them, even though repeatable experiments often
demonstrate the opposite. The vast majority of programmer claims out
there are of the form "We can write software to do X in Y months",
which are rarely repeatably experimented on.>

Computer salespeople are rarely programmers! It is the marketing
types that make promises such as "We can write software to do X in Y
months". The programmers usually hear about this promise afterwards
and can only roll their eyes and do their best to fullfill the hype.

Perhaps we have a similar situation in the socio-economic policy
marketplace where the chest-thumping politicians promise "We can
create laws or programs to do X in Y months", and the socio-economic
scientists can only roll their eyes and set out to gather as much data
as they can from the latest experiment.

Mark Crosby