Re: How You *Say* You Tell the Truth (a reply to Robin's paper)

From: Aleks Jakulin (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 02:26:28 MDT

The truth is always too complex to express. We can discuss just facets of it.
Incredulity is fought with solid data, solid reasoning and dialogue with a pinch
of psychology to lead the correspondent into cooperation rather than a defensive
or an offensive. The correspondent's mind model has to be understood in order to
fix it. And even if he rationally accepts your thesis, he might still defy it
because of emotional stances (laziness, hubris, etc.)

As far as psychology goes I'll give an example. If I boast my superiority, I
will repel all those who might be willing to cooperate with me. They know that
in the case of success, I will be the only one praised and known by the world.
But they too look for recognition and respect, and they might obtain more of it
by working on less important activities. A good leader gives up his own pride in
order to use pride as a motivational instrument for others.

Regardless of whether thoughts about AI will be applied to an actual AI, there
is much substance in discussion about it, and this substance can be applied to
human thought. The knowledge in the AI community is often explained more clearly
than in psychology. An useful cognitive tool I have found is that of heuristics.
Heuristics are a way of quickly findind an approximate solution to a hard
problem. People use this all the time, which is perfectly fine, as long as they
don't try to "solve" an important and difficult problem this way.

Sufficient knowledge is needed to take proper choices, in spite of intelligence.
Many intelligent people are so confident in their intelligence that they forget
about the inapplicability of their knowledge to a specific domain they're not
familiar with. It's important to estimate uncertainty apart from estimating the
most likely outcome.

Academics often work with conflicting data, and their job is to converge to
truth. The disagreement is important because is induces all the parties to
understand, defend, and explain their positions well. The time it takes is less
important than the correctness of the final result. Besides, they have different
values, and values often cannot be discussed rationally, because their role is
similar to that of axioms.


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