If you do experiments and you're always right, then you aren't getting enough information out of those experiments. You want your experiment to be like the flip of a coin: You have no idea if it is going to come up heads or tails. You want to not know what the results are going to be.

-- Peter Norvig, in an interview about being wrong. When I saw this, I thought it sounded a lot like entropy pruning in decision trees, where you don't even bother asking questions that won't make you update your probability estimates significantly. Then I remembered that N... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post

Wow, I'm glad this kind of analysis is showing up in mainstream publications.

Norvig is describing an important insight from information theory: the amount of information you get from learning something is equal to the log of the inverse of the probability you assigned to it (log 1/p). (This value is called the "surprisal" or "self-information".)

So, always getting results you expect (i.e. put a high p on), means you're getting little information out of the experiments, and you should be doing ones where you expect the result to be less ... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post

0cupholder9y The tree metaphor reminds me of this... [http://lesswrong.com/lw/29z/link_strong_inference/21kv?c=1]

Rationality quotes: August 2010

by Cyan 9y3rd Aug 20101 min read213 comments


This is our monthly thread for collecting these little gems and pearls of wisdom, rationality-related quotes you've seen recently, or had stored in your quotesfile for ages, and which might be handy to link to in one of our discussions.

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be voted up/down separately.  (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments.  If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote comments/posts on LW/OB.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.