Well, let me unroll what I had in mind.

Imagine that you need to estimate a single value, a real number, and your loss function is highly skewed. For me this would work as follows:

  • Get a rough unbiased estimate
  • Realize that I don't care about the unbiased estimate because of my loss function
  • Construct a known-biased estimate that takes into account my loss function
  • Take this known-biased estimate as the estimate that I'll use from now on
  • Formulate a course of action on the basis of the the biased estimate

The point is that on the road to deciding on the course of action it's very convenient to have a biased estimate that you will take as your working hypothesis.

Yes. My point is that this new biased estimate is not your 'real estimate' - this is simply not your best guess/posterior distribution given your information. But as I remarked above your rational actions given a skewed loss function resemble the actions of a rational agent with a less risk-averse loss function with a different estimate, so in order to determine your actions you can compute what [an agent with a less skewed loss function and your (deliberately) biased estimate] would do, and then just copy those actions.

But despite all of this, you still w... (read more)

Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015

by Vaniver 1 min read2nd Mar 2015235 comments


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted 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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.