NickiH

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Pooling resources for valuable actuarial calculations

I am an (almost qualified) actuary, working for a life insurance company.

I would love it if I had data of a very high quality. However, most insurance companies can't use population statistics because of differences with underwriting standards (we don't cover the very bad risks), target markets (we advertise in the Daily Slum, so only cover low socioeconomic classes, for example), and claim definitions (what is a disease in the population might not be a claim for the insurance company). So we use our own experience to modify the population stats. Very large companies might use entirely their own data.

Generally, there is not enough of it to be sure that it's totally credible, especially when it comes to fine differences such as how much you smoke or drink. And that's ignoring problems like non-disclosure. Age and Sex are easier, but there's not much you can do about changing those, so it doesn't help with the question at hand.

Of course, for some types of insurance, such as compulsory car insurance, there is more data to work with - I've never worked in general insurance, so I can't comment on that.

Type 2 as an aggregation of Type 1 processes

This is interesting. But I'm not sure I followed it properly. Is there a post about Type 1/Type 2 mental processes? It might be good to link to it for those of us who need a refresher.

Explainers Shoot High. Aim Low!

This explains why so many text books are so badly written. The authors were aiming too high.

Illusion of Transparency: Why No One Understands You

This is an interesting read. Specifically, their work suggests what could be a potentially very useful way of reducing miscommunication.

One of the experiments the authors ran tried to reduce the overconfidence they saw in predicting whether people would understand or not. They asked people to write sarcastic sentances, and then read them back, out loud, in a tone of voice which made them sound completely serious. They also did serious read in a sarcastic way. They found that people were then less confident that the email would be understood in the way it was intended, because they had changed the way they "heard" it in their head.

I propose that this could be useful in the following way: if you write an email, read it aloud to yourself in the opposite tone of voice. If you are still confident that it will be taken the way you originally thought it should, it's probably safe to send. But if you can now see how it might be misunderstood, redraft it. Repeat until you feel ready to send.

There are times in my past when this advice would have been very useful to me.

The problem with too many rational memes

I utterly failed my art.

You did not fail. It took you only one week, and a simple question from your friend, to break out of a mindset that some people never break out of. What's more, you learnt a lesson from it. I would count that as a win.

The problem with too many rational memes

if people are afraid their contributions will be criticized, they'll be less likely to share them

And if people think that their opposing contributions will be taken as criticism, they'll be less likely to share them, as demonstrated by the OP.

Existential Risk

I would count myself among "general people". I didn't get it at all. In fact, having read the comments, I'm still not sure I get it. It's a pretty picture and all, but why is it there?

Rationality Quotes: April 2011

what is so special about the program which makes up a human, that it would be morally wrong to shut off the program?

We haven't figured out how to turn it back on again. Once we do, maybe it will become morally ok to turn people off.

Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

From the point of view of the bomber, faith in God is not itself unjustified. It is in fact a vital part of his psychology.

The original point was the difference in the psychologies of bombers and soldiers. They are both doing it because they were told to, but their confidence in the judgement of the one telling them to is different. So the one with the higher confidence feels more "justified". That's what I thought you meant, anyway. If it's not, could you please clarify?

Perhaps I should have said "the bomber thinks he has more justification than the soldier".

Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

Given that people who believe in god tend to really believe in god, and people who trust governments do so usually with a number of reservations, does that mean that the bomber has more justification than the soldier?

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