The map of cognitive biases, errors and obstacles affecting judgment and management of global catastrophic risks

by turchin 1 min read16th Jul 201664 comments


“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”

The map is based on 100+ page text which lists a 200+ biases and other cognitive problems which may arise during identification and prevention of x-risks. 

The map is very preliminary, after all. Much more biases could be identified. The main idea is to show that there are many biases, so any our judgement about x-risks will be distorted. Larger safety margins though required.

The map also intended to show that we could classify biases and other obstacles, and it could help to navigate us to truth and safety. The goal of the map is to show complexity of prediction and management of future x-risks, as well as help to identify sources of mistakes.

Each box has link on full explanation of the bias.

Boxes which were covered in Eliezer Yudkowsky about cognitive biases article are red.

Numbers in the boxes arrow on paragraphs in the full text.

The Y axis of the map shows stages of x-risk prevention in time, on which certain biases may work. Some biases could influence assessment of risks and other will show themselves in management of dangerous situations.

The X axis gives very rough typology of biases based of their sources.
See Bostrom's article for the similar typology:  

He suggests 3 types of biases: believes, shortcomings of our mind and ignorance.

Sorry that it all looks like tetris. ))

Read pdf with clickable links.