It's not at all obvious to me that the failure mode of not looking for a better move when you've found a good one is more common than the failure mode of spending too long looking for a better move when you've found a good one - in general, I think the consensus is that people who are willing to satisfice actually end up happier with their final decisions than people who spend too long maximising, but I agree that this doesn't apply in all areas, and that there are likely times when this would be useful advice.

In the particular example I gave, if you've already found a move that wins a rook, then it's all-but irrelevant if you're missing a better move that wins a queen, as winning a rook is already equivalent to winning the game, but there are obviously degrees of this (it's obviously not irrelevant if you settle for winning a pawn and miss checkmate). This suggests you should be careful how you define a "satisficing" solution, but not necessarily that satisficing is a bad strategy (in the extreme, if your "good move" is a forced checkmate, then it's obviously a waste of time to look for a "better move", whatever that might mean).

Hm... I'm not sure you're interpreting me all that charitably. You keep on mentioning a dichotomy between satisficing and maximizing, for instance, as if you think I'm advocating maximizing as the better option, but really, that's not what I'm saying at all! I'm saying that regardless of whether you have a policy of satisficing or maximizing, both methods benefit from additional time spent thinking. Good satisficing =/= stopping at the first solution you see. This is especially common in programming, I find, where you generally aren't a time limit (or at l... (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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson.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.