All of Venkat's Comments + Replies

I've wondered about, and even modeled versions of the fixed horizon IPD in the past. I concluded that so long as the finite horizon number is sufficiently large in the context of the application (100 is large for prison scenarios, tiny for other applications), a proper discounted accounting of future payoffs will restore TFT as an ESS. Axelrod used discounting schemes in various ways in his book(s).

The undiscounted case will always collapse. Recursive collapse to defect is actually rational and a good model for some situations, but you are right, in other ... (read more)


This is NOT premature! You just saved yourself at least one reader you were about to lose (me). I (and I suspect many others) have not been among the most regular readers of OB because it was frankly not clear to me whether you had anything new to say, or whether you were yet another clever, but ultimately insubstantial "lumper" polymath-wannabe (to use Howard Gardner's term) who ranged plausibly over too many subjects. Your 'physics' series especially, almost made me unsubscribe from this blog (I'll be honest: though you raised some inte... (read more)

My favorite example of both the controversies and the settled: the string theory controversies and Roger Penrose's careful treatment of what we do know in "The Road to Reality."

Of course, Popper and Feyerabend would have us believe that nothing is ever settled (and I tend to agree), but even in Popperian mode, the theory that displaces tends to subsume and refine at the asymptotes rather than invalidate directly.

I do not keep up with science news, but for different reasons: the sheer fire-hose volume of it. Especially in the gleeful stamp-collec... (read more)

Definitely one of the most useful posts I've seen on overcoming bias. I shall be referring back to this list often. I am surprised though, that you did not reference that incisive philosopher, Humpty Dumpty, who had views about a word meaning exactly what he wanted it to mean :) While I haven't thought through the taxonomy of failures through quite as thoroughly, I spent a fair amount of time figuring out the uses of the words 'strategy' and 'tactics' in collaboration with a philosopher of language, and wondering about the motivated bias that enters into d... (read more)

What you are talking about in terms of Solmonoff induction is usually called algorithmic information theory and the shortest-program-to-produce-a-bit-string is usually called Kolmogorov-Chaitin information. I am sure you know this. Which begs the question, why didn't you mention this? I agree, it is the neatest way to think about Occam's razor. I am not sure why some are raising PAC theory and VC-dimension. I don't quite see how they illuminate Occam. Minimalist inductive learning is hardly the simplest "explanation" in the Occam sense, and is ac... (read more)

That was kinda hilarious. I like your reversal test to detect content-free tautologies. Since I am working right now on a piece of AI-political-fiction (involving voting rights for artificial agents and questions that raises), I was thrown for a moment, but then tuned in to what YOU were talking about.

The 'Yes, Minister' and 'Yes, Prime Minister' series is full of extended pieces of such content-free dialog.

More seriously though, this is a bit of a strawman attack on the word 'democracy' being used as decoration/group dynamics cueing. You kinda blind-sided... (read more)