Describing good play as "making few mistakes" seems like the wrong terminology to me. A mistake is not a thing, in and of itself, it's just the entire space of possible games outside the very narrow subset that lead to victory. If you give me a list of 100 chess mistakes, you've actually told me a lot less about the game than if you've given me a list of 50 good strategies -- identifying a point in the larger space of losing strategies encodes far less information than picking one in the smaller space of winning.

And the real reason I'm nitpicking here is because my advisor has always proceeded mostly by pointing out mistakes, but rarely by identifying helpful, effective strategies, and so I feel like I've failed to learn much from him for very solid information-theoretic reasons.

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my advisor [...]

Have you discussed this with him? Perhaps he hasn't noticed this and would be delighted to talk strategies. Perhaps he has a reason (good or bad) for doing as he does. (E.g., he may think that you'll learn more effectively by finding effective strategies for yourself, and that pointing them out explicitly will stunt your development in the longer run.) Perhaps his understanding of effective strategies is all implicit and he can't communicate it to you explicitly.

1PlacidPlatypus5yMinor nitpick, surely you mean possible moves, rather than possible games? The set of games that lead to defeat is necessarily symmetrical with the set that lead to victory, aside from the differences between black and white.
1slicko5yMy first downvote, yay! Didn't feel that bad :) Anyway, my comment was merely an attempt to allay the philosophical worries expressed in the parent quote and so I used the same terms; it wasn't meant as pedagogy.

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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson.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.