An expert on rationality, judgement, and strategy, Julia Galef notes that "our capacity for reason evolved to serve two very different purposes that are often at odds with each other. On the one hand, reason helps us figure out what’s true; on the other hand, it also helps us defend ideas that are false-but-strategically-useful. I’ll explore these two different modes of thought — I call them “the scout” and “the soldier” — and what determines which mode we default to. Finally, I’ll argue that modern humans would be better off with more scout mode and less soldier mode, and I’ll share some thoughts on how to make that happen.”
Galef is founder of the Update Project and hosts the podcast Rationally Speaking.
United States


00:00:06good evening I'm store brand from the long now foundation and the salt talks it's an acronym for some original long term thinking most of the time we're kind of focusing on the long term part %HESITATION tonight's about thinking in the one of the people who've done the most
00:00:30thinking about thinking in the most realistic and productive way is our speaker Julia Calif I'm store brand the curator of the series of talks from the long now foundation in San Francisco the long now foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to fostering long term thinking responsibility it is entirely
00:00:56supported by donors and members like you thank you for taking the time to listen to these ideas and if you haven't already please consider becoming a member help inspire long term thinking for generations to come this podcast is brought to you by strike a company that is working
00:01:15to build economic infrastructure the internet to help people start internet businesses and accept online payments from customers all over the world thank you so much I'm delighted to be here for several reasons actually first I've been a fan of the long now foundation for a long time %HESITATION
00:01:44but there's this other reason I'm excited to be here which is that I frequently you get people asking me you my origin story like how did I get interested in this topic thinking about thinking as stir the perfectly put it %HESITATION why is this you know exciting or
00:02:01interesting to me and I I always hesitate because the true answer is going to sound pretty weird and I'm sorry I'm never quite sure whether to whether to give it or not but all of you were here with the long now and %HESITATION and long now is an
00:02:20organization that adds extra digits to dates and builds indestructible clocks %HESITATION and it's just really kind of weird in the best possible way so I'm hoping that you guys might be sufficiently weird but I can just tell you my true motivation for the interest in this topic so
00:02:38here it is him %HESITATION when I was a child I was very an armored of science fiction and fantasy novels and TV and movies %HESITATION and there is one particular trope that I found in throwing and moving %HESITATION and I I didn't know that it had a name
00:02:57at the time they didn't have a name at the time but %HESITATION as I got older years later I found the perfect name for it in a book by Keith kind of it called the robot's rebellion so this trope is it's a trip of self determination %HESITATION these
00:03:12are stories of some creature like a a robot or a clone or Frankenstein's monster that was created for some purpose %HESITATION and in the story the creature achieve self awareness and comes to learn or comes to understand how and why it was created what purpose it was meant
00:03:31to serve it wrestles with the knowledge which is sometimes of setting a bitter sweet %HESITATION and then sometimes it decides to go to chart its own path %HESITATION you know the robot decides you know what I'm not gonna be a soldier or a sex box I'm going to
00:03:44try to create new life for myself that you know I enjoin that's the feeling to me that I care about %HESITATION and then the inside that I got from the robot's rebellion and other books like the selfish gene is that this is also our story this is the
00:03:59story of humanity we are simply robots we urge survival machine created by our genes for the purpose of making copies of those jeans hello Jim don't care about us as individuals %HESITATION for their purposes we should ideally be spending our lives always hungry for more resources hungry for
00:04:19status have a bunch of babies %HESITATION and then die when we're no longer useful which is a sobering thing to realize and wrestle with about our own existence but having realized that we can choose rebel we can say you know what we're going to invent things like the
00:04:34birth control pill because even though it may server jeans goals for us to be costly pregnancies those aren't our goals as individuals and the same is true of our minds we're starting to understand the way is that our minds are poorly designed for our goals as people %HESITATION
00:04:49and society is that we create and we're starting to ask okay what should we do about it this is a debate that has stretched out for centuries I'm is really heated up in the last few decades so I'm gonna give you a super fast grossly oversimplified of summary
00:05:05of this debate first man is a rational animal cigna struggle philosophers in classical economist actually we're pretty irrational a cognitive scientists actually our irrationality is rational after all say I wish there is like a lotus actually it's not now I'm not the only one saying this I just
00:05:32might be the one thing it loudest most consistently %HESITATION but there are other people to to varying degrees are making the same point so that's a sneak peek of the debate and I'm gonna spend the next twenty minutes or so giving you kind of the highlights %HESITATION the
00:05:45most important concepts in arguments in this debate so originally is ourselves rational %HESITATION Aristotle famously said something along these lines that man is a rational animal the idea was not the people are always perfectly rational because obviously we do stupid things sometimes you know especially for upset or
00:06:04angry but the idea was that we were in doubt with a capacity for reason that made us fundamentally different in kind from other animals and the purpose of that capacity for reason was to achieve truth to examine our beliefs %HESITATION wave of logic in the evidence and come
00:06:22to more accurate conclusions this is sometimes called the classical or cartesian view of reasoning after day card classical economics treats man as a rational animal in a somewhat different sense of that field it seems that people process information optimally %HESITATION in order to make the best decision for
00:06:38their preferences again this doesn't mean the people don't sometimes Philip this process because they're upset or distracted or whatever but at least they're not systematically making a rational choices is the assumption someone around the nineteen sixties Cognos scientists began to show that actually they're a bunch of ways
00:06:57that our reasoning fails in predictable ways not just an occasional random ways this is Daniel Kahneman who won a Nobel Prize for documenting some of the is a systematic reason yours and kick started the first exam by Aziz field which you might have read about in books like
00:07:12thinking fast and slow predictably irrational %HESITATION or maybe you've just seen all the lists of covered by a few floating around the internet %HESITATION like over confidence or anchoring or the availability heuristic and this one especially significant bias %HESITATION really a whole category by season I want to
00:07:28point out in particular call directionally motivated reasoning and it is the unconscious tendency to rely on evidence and arguments that support a preferred conclusion more colloquially for desired conclusions we ask ourselves can I believe this and for undesired conclusions we ask must I believe this the key to
00:07:52recognize here is that we have a lot of flexibility in how we former beliefs and that flexibility gives us a lot of wiggle room makes it easy for us to have a double standard for things that we want believers things we don't know we can choose what sources
00:08:05we find trustworthy %HESITATION we can choose whether to keep searching for more evidence or a second opinion or to just stop with what we have currently I'm looking to how high even of an entry standard we want to apply to phones claim so all the stress is give
00:08:19us a lot of leeway to arrive at whatever conclusion we want note the phrase directionally motivated condition is not the most catchy term in the world so I've come to think of this feature in our technician as a kind of soldier minds that %HESITATION that's because it's kind
00:08:35of like treating ideas as if they were soldiers on the battlefield with you some ideas arguments are on our side %HESITATION and we want to defend them other ideas or arguments are threats and we want to knock him down or avoid them now maybe some of your thinking
00:08:51Julia is it really fair to use the folder metaphor surely that isn't how most people think about reasoning if so I would like to cordially introduce you to the English language which begs to differ according to our own language the act of reasoning is a brutal bloody you
00:09:06take no prisoners war we shoot down ideas we look we take positions on issues we look for weaknesses in other people's positions we defend ideas we advance arguments we concede points which I realize now is like ceding territory %HESITATION this is inside that I got from the book
00:09:24metaphors we live by by George Lakoff and I haven't been able to stop noticing it since then even in my own language you're probably already well acquainted with older mindset especially in some domains like politics where %HESITATION you can just watch over it over years short periods of
00:09:41years factual question become polarized of time for example global warming a lot of people don't realize that as recently as twenty years ago this is not a politically divisive issue Republicans and Democrats basically greed on whether global warming is happening and then over the subsequent years it became
00:09:57this political shibboleth where that like an issue where your belief in the kids a lot more about you than just your best estimate of the scientific question but rather your values and what tribe you belong to %HESITATION so the gap between Democrats and Republicans wide and about thirty
00:10:11five percentage points in one decade %HESITATION and most of those people if you ask them would not say I believe this about global warming because I'm a Democrat or because I'm a Republican they would explain their view by citing sources are giving logical reasons it's just that the
00:10:24decisions about which sources are logic to trusts %HESITATION what and entry standard to apply motivated by political affiliation %HESITATION so that's a pattern of beliefs becoming more politically polarized this is a pattern of police becoming reverse politically polarized ten years ago Republicans were much more likely to see
00:10:45Russia as a threat now is the reverse Democrats are more likely %HESITATION you can probably figure out why tech science science is almost always feel like they're they're objectively pursuing truth that doesn't mean that everything isn't being unconsciously motivated by concerns about the reputation of their funding sources
00:11:05their career Mr to six are from a paper by John you need he's in his co authors found that papers where at least one of the authors was employed by a company that produced the drug being studied we're twenty two times less likely to report anything negative about
00:11:21the drug in a similar thing happens to maybe slightly less dramatic degrees %HESITATION across all fields with scientists being motivated to get significant results so that they can get published %HESITATION and again a lot of them will just %HESITATION nearly all of them I think will sincerely tell
00:11:35you I'm just trying to do objective signs here the problem is just that in any study here there hundreds of little choices you have to make about which hypotheses to test or %HESITATION how to test them you know what variables you control for should you include this isn't
00:11:49a liar works good it %HESITATION there's a ton of you room for you to just unconsciously get the result you want by asking yourself can I believe this %HESITATION and avoid the result you don't want asking must I believe this they're also been several studies where doctors were
00:12:05asked questions like if you accepted gifts from a pharmaceutical representative without bias your decisions about which drugs prescribed by the doctor sensors in the studies are basically no %HESITATION but other doctors might be behest and this effect is consistent across all sorts of by thieves all sorts of
00:12:22test subjects domains we agree that other people are susceptible to bias does not us alright I have one last graph for you about folder mindset %HESITATION and it is one of most importance lies in this talk is also extremely depressing are you ready I call it the graph
00:12:39of despair it's hard to see but I don't hear anyone breaking out into sobs all have to explain why I'm so depressing %HESITATION this is a graph of from a paper by Dan Cahan who said he's motivated reasoning at Yale Law School a and this is again a
00:12:56question about is global warming happening the X. axis is time isn't years it's your level of science intelligence which Honda finds a mixture of scientific knowledge and numeracy like do you understand basic math and the more scientifically literate people are the more their views are determined by the
00:13:14politics the reason this is so depressing is it means we can just educate our way out of these problems you know a lot of people assume that the reason people disagree with each other about global warming is some people just aren't well informed enough and this result this
00:13:30graph of despair of it just shows how easy it is how thoroughly you can marshal evidence and logic to defend almost whatever you once maybe even especially you know if you're especially intelligent and clever the only solution is to wants to get it right and that's really hard
00:13:47so to recap all of that with me expanding on the first exam by these movements %HESITATION or at least one major example of it directionally motivated reasoning the next day to the bait is this one actually rationality is rational after all %HESITATION I wrote evolutionary psychologists on the
00:14:03slide but the people saying this are really a combination of evolutionary psychologists like Robert Chris been here %HESITATION plus other people in other fields who were influenced by evolutionary psychology like robin Hanson who's an economist and then there's also separately a chunk of the field of positive psychology
00:14:18thing similar things which I'll talk about no I know thing irrationality is rational sounds like you know then colon or a contradiction %HESITATION but it's not because they're two types of rationality inst instrumental an epidemic the Democrats know any means forming beliefs beliefs about the world that are
00:14:37as accurate as possible instrumental rationality means behaving in a way that helps you achieve your goals or values and so the claim of this group of people is that epistemic rationality is instrumentally rational in other words holding forth police is often useful the big evil psych evolutionary psychology
00:14:58contribution to this grand debate is that we shouldn't expect that the brain of all to be accurate you know just like any feature of any animal the brain involved to give us a survival advantage to increase the probability that will pass our genes on to subsequent generations and
00:15:14sometimes involves having occurred please sometimes involves having false beliefs this is an analogy the crisp and uses in his book %HESITATION why everyone else is a hypocrite %HESITATION which I highly recommend is no G. is think a nest of baby birds %HESITATION mama bird spends her time foraging
00:15:32for food %HESITATION and she gets as much as you can but it's not enough to give unlimited food to every bird so she prioritizes the babies that are the hungry us the most in danger of starving now the way the baby birds communicate how hungry they are is
00:15:45my truck and if you're one of the baby is your goal is to get as much food as possible even if you're not on the brink of starvation more food you gets the more you grow up big and strong and able to thrive so the best strategy for
00:15:59you is just a trip as if you're starving even if you're not of course the strategy is not conscious on the part of the baby birds %HESITATION but %HESITATION built into the wave evolution shakes Hubbard's work never lose our psychologists argue that there are a lot of equipment
00:16:13situations for humans where having false beliefs makes you better able to convince other people to give you resources Schering your tribes believe your political or cultural tribe makes other people your tribes he was loyal trustworthy likable being overly confidence that your products are going to succeed convinces other
00:16:31people you're worth investing in financially and some evolutionary psychologists have even argued much less intuitively that the reason people are irrationally optimistic about their health is because it makes other people more willing to be friends with them the logic being that people don't want to invest a lot
00:16:47of time and energy and someone who's going to die soon only harder to swallow and when evolution is a call to say that to me I was going to their face like research but I think they are %HESITATION anyway in theory holding these false beliefs isn't strictly necessary
00:17:04to reap the benefits right you could hold accurate beliefs and then just intentionally deceive other people the problem is just that it's really hard to intentionally deceive other people humans have evolved to be really good at picking up on the subtle cues from the way people hold themselves
00:17:19are behavior the tone of their voice %HESITATION so the logic goes in order to be convincing we have to believe it ourselves there is a different case for the existence of strategically false belief this is the phone comes from positive psychology like a subfield of psych psychology this
00:17:35argument is that it's good to be rationally optimistic about your life and how great you are not for the persuasion reason but is a kind of psychological immune system %HESITATION because it makes you happier more well adjusted and one benefit of that is that it can be a
00:17:49self fulfilling prophecy no believing you're likely to succeed makes you more motivated me to put in more effort and that in turn makes you actually more likely to succeed there been hundreds of articles making points like this nearly all of them can be traced back to a single
00:18:02paper in the psychology literature from nineteen eighty eight it's called illusion and well being social psychological perspective by Shelley Taylor and Jordan are Jonathan brown one of the most cited papers of all time in the psych literature once basically a review of a bunch of other papers which
00:18:19according to Taylor and brown show that we must view the psychologically healthy person not as someone who sees things as they are but as someone who sees things as here she would like them to be as you can probably tell I'm not fully convinced %HESITATION and I'll go
00:18:34into more detail on this research later in the talk it's actually pretty hilarious but first let's bring that back to me the loudest most insistent proponent of the arguments that folder mind that is not actually a good thing %HESITATION to explain my perspective on this topic I have
00:18:48to first introduce you to another concepts which you'll probably be expecting given the title of this talk is the scout so the soldiers job is to attack and defend the scouts job is to go out and get as accurate a map of the landscape as possible the scouts
00:19:08may hope to learn that for example there's a bridge is conveniently located where they need to cross the river but above all this guy just wants to know what's actually there was actually true so if you're in stout my insides you may hope that you know your business
00:19:23is succeeding or that you weren't at fault in a screw up at work or that you're making a good impression on your dates but above all even stronger than those hopes is the motivation to just know whatever is actually true rather than to see yourself into believing something
00:19:37that you want to be true and my argument is that relative to our defaults we would be better off with less soldier minds that and more scout minds at so the concept that's got mines that maps onto the common sense literature is accuracy motivated cognition or reasoning %HESITATION
00:19:53reason we're genuinely trying to figure out the truth as opposed to directionally motivated reasoning the study of got mindset is pretty new %HESITATION most of the research so far in this area is focused on proving the existence of soldier mindsets but you can actually learn a lot about
00:20:09health government that works by looking at the exceptions to the rule in the studies of folder my insides because they're almost always exceptions so for example you might have heard of a book called super for casting by a political scientist named Phil to lock the origin of this
00:20:24book with telex research showing the people including so called experts in political or economic forecasting were a set like put it roughly as accurate as a dart throwing chimpanzee their over confidence there over simplistic they don't learn because they won't admit when they were mistaken but there were
00:20:43exceptions there's a small subset of almost entirely amateur isn't it locks study who actually we're good at forecasting so much so that they beats professional intelligence analysts who had access to classified data about the world I'm in the I'm sure forecasters intellects group just had Google when they
00:21:02wanted to learn about something and there's no relevant background they're just really good forecasters so tell okay called in the super forecasters were this book about what were they doing right and a lot of it just got mines that they were willing to acknowledge when they've been mistaken
00:21:16%HESITATION instead of rationalizing why they were almost right or they should have been right they weren't that invested in any single ideology so they sought out news from lots of different perspectives above all they were just motivated to be accurate more than they were motivated to defend a
00:21:30particular idea that they were touched you or that they had said in the past you can find out months a popup in very different opinions this is a great book called deep survival who lives who dies and why by %HESITATION Lawrence Gonzalez which examines hundreds of cases of
00:21:47people who got stranded after hiking or after a plane crash or shipwreck and his conclusion is that ninety percent of people don't make it %HESITATION partly due to bad luck of course but also due to what I would call folder mind sets %HESITATION they convince themselves are going
00:22:02to be rescued so they don't you know conserve Russians or struggle to know constructional terror or often they never prepare for disaster in the first place out of a kind of if I don't think about it it won't happen superstition so they don't brought bring along proper equipments
00:22:17%HESITATION or extra water in case the shipwreck or educate themselves about the hazards of the area where they're hiking that's ninety percent of people but then there are the exceptions among the ten percent who do survive Gonzalez sees the common thread running through their cases they're the ones
00:22:33who take precautions in advance who accepts early on the rescuers might never find them and that they might be in for a long struggle to survive they have an accurate picture of their abilities they don't overestimate their capabilities they don't underestimate Gonzalez says the first rule of the
00:22:48survivors is face reality you may have heard this different metaphor of kind of somewhere to stop the soldier in the scout which is the lawyer in the judge %HESITATION this see similarities right like lawyers are arguing for one side the judge's role is to figure out which side
00:23:07is more deserving in the objective %HESITATION but I want to talk a little bit about why I like the scout metaphor and why I think it's our ads important value to the concept %HESITATION this government for emphasizes the usefulness of having accurate beliefs but the scout the whole
00:23:23point of the accurate map the so that he can use it to navigate the world better the whole reason that you should want to know about your strengths and weaknesses or whether your business plan a solid or whether you were at fault is so you can make better
00:23:34decisions going forward and I think this is still true even when it isn't obvious how having an accurate map is going to benefit you %HESITATION I think it generally pays off in the long run indirectly for example I have a friend who I will call Bob who was
00:23:50home schooled and his family raised him to believe in a bunch of supernatural things like astral projection energy healing mind reading things like that so Barbara bleeding all these things and then one day in his twenties after having hundred bunch of skeptics he decided to research it for
00:24:07himself and to his surprise you know he'd always assumed that there would be there was out there good evidence of things like astral projection %HESITATION but all the stories that he had heard about you know people correctly reporting objects in other rooms because they were projecting turned out
00:24:23to be inflated or hearsay so that was like a thread you started pulling on and over the course of about a year it began to unravel the other supernatural beliefs I bought was not seeking any particular benefits from this investigation other than just the satisfaction of knowing what
00:24:38was true but never the less I think the investigation did benefit him for one thing he now spends less time on supernatural interventions and more time on other things have a better chance of working %HESITATION but there's a higher order benefit to you know having investigated one pillar
00:24:55of non scientific claims and seeing it crumble under scrutiny by became a little bit more skeptical of other claims that contradicted sort of solid establish science which isn't to say that every single claim that contradicts the scientific consensus is necessarily wrong but there's like some appropriate level of
00:25:11skepticism to apply to claims that contradicts science and it's higher than what Bob had been applying %HESITATION and so what that means is that Bob is now a little bit better equipped to get the right answer another demands like health or psychology he's a little bit less likely
00:25:26to waste his time on a medical therapy but you know it's gonna work or fall for scam that's a real benefit to Bob having an accurate map of this issue even though Bob never set up thinking I'm going to investigate astral projection because I want to improve my
00:25:39health but I still haven't addressed the question the argument that I showed you a few minutes ago %HESITATION about the benefits of positive illusions and strategically false beliefs so let me do that I'll start with the positive psychology arguments that soldier mines that is good for your mood
00:25:56and motivation boost your morale positive illusions are good for you there are a lot of problems with the possible Lucien's literature %HESITATION the probably the biggest is that it isn't about positive illusions the standard approach in this field is to simply compare people's perceptions of themselves too averages
00:26:18so for example here is one of the tasks that is commonly used in papers about the benefits of possible reasons people are asked to rate themselves relative to their peers on traits like being intellectually self confidence being anxious being cheerful being lazy being socially self confidence if you
00:26:36rate yourself as being even a little better than your peers on any of these metrics your confidence self enhancing or holding an unrealistically positive self image but of course for any trades a lot of people are better than average and the researchers don't make any effort to check
00:26:54whether you are in fact more cheerful or more academically able than your peers the mere fact that you think you are is a seems to be a possible version then the researchers look at consequences of possible reasons for example in one study they check up people for their
00:27:07reactions to stress when they find itself enhancers are better at dealing with stress but since we have no reason to doubt the reports of most of these alleged self enhancers although we've shown is that people who report being more cheerful than average and less anxious than average tend
00:27:23to deal better with stress this is not surprising %HESITATION is zero need to explain this result with convoluted logic like people who report being less anxious or self deceiving and that self deception makes them less stress this is the standard approach other measures a possible Lucien's don't even
00:27:42ask for a comparison to an average they just ask you questions like you know how much do you agree with the statement on the whole I am satisfied with myself and if you score highly or you know you give a high answered about yourself answer and then they
00:27:54show the people who score high on these metrics also score well on tests of mental health and self help can cause mental health if you're thinking I can't believe the psychology literal literature is not bad I thought the same thing I thought I must be missing something but
00:28:08no there are other researchers making this point saying you know guys your papers are actually measuring possible Lucien's but those papers are not nearly as widely cited as the papers making errors in the first place it's really frustrating guys I just I'm gonna show you one last metric
00:28:25of self deception %HESITATION is just hilarious so %HESITATION in this paper which this magic have been used by several papers but not as many of the others they ask questions like does every attractive person of the opposite sex turn you on do you ever feel attracted to people
00:28:42of the same sex have you ever wanted to rape or be raped by someone you're supposed to answer from one meaning not at all to seven very much so if you answer with a one or two that come to self deception so if you have never wanted to
00:28:57rape or be raped or even if you have really wanted to report your self deceiver I just I know this is hilarious and it is but it also just make me genuinely angry like how bad the stuff isn't how widely it cited I just I can't even I
00:29:16have to move on right let's talk instead about the evolutionary psychology arguments the soldier mines that helps you persuade other people that your cracks and competence and so on so my take a brief is that over confidence being falsely confidence that your writer that you're skilled or whatever
00:29:34can be effective %HESITATION how much so depends on a few things first how sophisticated is your audience if your audience doesn't have a good intuition for what is a reasonable claim %HESITATION in that the man in particular you can get away with a lot more exaggeration so let's
00:29:50say your consultant and you confidently tell a potential clients all the advice I've given my past clients has worked out extremely well they're all much more successful than they were before thanks to me you definitely won't regret hiring me well your client is not that sophisticated might be
00:30:05super impressed by that if your client is more sophisticated you likely to think himself really all of her past clients are more successful that seems impossible since you know it's hard to make business decisions and there's a lot of luck involved consultant seem kind of delusional so part
00:30:22of the strategic calculus about scout versus older mindset for persuasion boils down to how sophisticated as your audience %HESITATION and do you care more about being persuasive to sophisticated people are unsophisticated people %HESITATION and I'm I'm using that term specifically to mean sort of sophistication about reading in
00:30:39a particular time in then there's the question of does your audience have an incentive to figure out if your rights you know if you're a financial adviser to someone for example they definitely have an interest in trying to figure out if you're being over confident because it's their
00:30:52money at stake but on the other hand if you're talk show hosts of your fans are probably not that interested in double check on your claims to find out if you're on charter we misrepresenting the politician they hate and finally how obvious is going to be if you
00:31:06are actually wrong if you make over confident predictions about say tomorrow's weather %HESITATION becomes quickly clear that you were over confident but if you say over confident things about the far future it will become clear you were wrong in people's life times so basically the ideal career choice
00:31:22%HESITATION if you want to be over confidence is to be a guru for an unsophisticated audience telling them that they're going to have the best afterlife saying I also think it's worth noting the advantages that Scott minds that has in being persuasive so this is one of my
00:31:44opinion the most impressive acts of persuasion in history Charles Darwin's book on the origin of species account of how species evolved through natural selection the controversial bombshell when it was published in the eighteen sixties as Darman knew it would be the theory of evolution threatens the sacred unviable
00:32:00world view in which species were immutable and organize into a design hierarchy with humans at the top Darwin told a friend while he was preparing the book that arguing for evolution felt like confessing to murder so the books for two years a furious and often emotional debate the
00:32:16dormant cases so solid so full years of carefully collected observations and well reasoned arguments that it ended up persuading people in a decade the majority of the scientific establishment believe in evolution and the reason the dormant case is so convincing even to an audience with a strong bias
00:32:33against it with a Darwin had scout mindsets he bent over backwards while reading the book notice arguments and evidence that went against his theory he followed what he called the golden rule of research to fight against motive motivated reasoning I had also he wrote during many years follow
00:32:50the golden rule namely that whenever published fax a new observation or thought came over me which was opposed to my general results to make a memorandum of it without failing at once because I have found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape
00:33:05from the memory than favorable ones to don basically stress tested his theory for years within an inch of its life trying to notice all the potential objections to it and modifying and improving the theory until it was really solid not meeting so persuasive if you do instead tried
00:33:21to just convince himself he was totally right and you know when the day by the power of confidence I don't think he would have succeeded so basically I think of over confidence as a crutch it might help you in some situations for sure but if you don't allow
00:33:37yourself to indulge in it than you force yourself to become actually competence you force yourself to improve your theories until they're actually solid and it works better in the long run there's a book called confidence by %HESITATION Tomasz tomorrow proved that makes basically this point he says we
00:33:53mostly have been brainwashed into thinking the confidence will eventually cause competence I think it's much more appropriate to think of confidence as a compensatory strategy for lower confidence and by the way it's funny to read reviews of this book on Amazon %HESITATION because if it's cold confidence and
00:34:11they're all these reviewers were like one star I bought this book they want to learn how to be confidence we all the whole point of like no you shouldn't so I think if you want to be influential and persuasive which is a fine thing to want to be
00:34:26you then in addition to actually developing your skill you should look for other ways to be charismatic and persuasive the don't come at the cost of damaging your mental models of the world like improve your posture and your speaking voice your general presentation learn good social skills expand
00:34:42your social comfort zone through practice interestingly I just came across paper called when over confidence is revealed to others testing the status and Hanson overconfidence by Anderson at all and from the abstract it seems to be making the case over conferences useful that makes you %HESITATION influential in
00:35:01higher status %HESITATION and to be clear it's measuring actual over confidence like relative to your performance on tests not some bullshit metric it's called over confidence merely if you claim to get something sorry I'm still mad about that but if you actually read the paper there's a striking
00:35:18table of the factors that increase people social status in these groups in the actual measures of over confidence per se like how confident you said you were in yours claims %HESITATION how easy you claim the task was for you and how come you claim to be those of
00:35:35the Highlander ones at the bottom they were either not significant or fairly significant the things that mattered the things increase your status in the group were the social things did you participate a lot in the conversations with your tone of voice confidence did you seem relaxed and at
00:35:49ease and maybe it could well be the case the being over confident in your beliefs or your skills is one mechanism that causes those traits but it's certainly not the only one and it seems much better to me to just develop the skills directly rather than trying to
00:36:04deceive yourself into believing you're totally right and awesome in order to get social confidence as a side effect right here's an argument that people sometimes makes me they say let's get the best of both worlds let's turn on folder minds that sometimes when it's useful like you've got
00:36:21mine said when you're picking a business plan but then once you've picked it turn on soldier mind that believe it's definitely gonna succeed %HESITATION organ to be insulted my that would need to persuade people and Scott mind that when you need to make tough decisions here's why I'm
00:36:33somewhat skeptical about approach when president Lyndon Johnson was a senator he had this ritual that his aides called working up he would start with something he wanted to believe something that would be convenient for him to believe that he would repeat it to himself again and again and
00:36:51again willing himself to believe it by the time he was done he was able to argue that position with utter conviction and insist apparently internist that he'd never believed anything difference and it was effective people called him the greatest salesman one on one who ever lived but the
00:37:07question is could you switch into scout minds that's when he had to make tough decisions not to persuade people he certainly tried to so when he assumed the presidency and herded the Vietnam War Kennedy he put together a group of advisors to give him multiple informed perspectives on
00:37:23what to do sounds like Scott mindset %HESITATION the problem though was that even though he believed in theory but it was good to be open minded and hear dissenting opinions he really hated doing it was not good at the scale of hearing disagreement well we're dealing with difficult
00:37:40or inconvenient truths he would get angry people said things he didn't want to hear like we can't win in Vietnam we need to pull out so his advisors would either learned by their tongues or he would start to exclude them from meetings %HESITATION or from the administration if
00:37:54you don't like their opinions the real wake up call to Johnson should have been when his secretary of defense Robert McNamara finally changed his mind about the war this was a man who had been a loyal member of the Johnson's administration of the presents an inner circle of
00:38:09many Johnson respected %HESITATION who had been pro war for years and then had reluctantly come to the conclusion that were simply wasn't working when someone like that begins voice dot for your plan that should prompt some genuine soul searching instead it only me Johnson angry historian David Halberstam
00:38:26wrote about McNamara's descends quote the president still described his defense secretary is brilliant but there is a new sarcastic touch to it in mid nineteen sixty seven when Malcolm are proposed limiting the Bob bombing gradually reduced can scale as a means of getting negotiations started Johnson took the
00:38:41proposals handed them to an aide and said you've never seen such a lot of set by the way it is amusing to compare this accounts of the events to Johnson's account and has no more he says I studied McNamara's memo carefully he made a coaching case for the
00:38:55actions proposed though I disagreed with some arguments in question some assumptions I was convinced that his proposal deserves full attention a few months later Johnson Technikon are out of the administration without warning %HESITATION he announced it in public McNamara had to pretend not to be surprised %HESITATION and
00:39:11the war raged on so don't think basically I thought he was doing the scout mindset thing thought he was doing the like careful deliberation open minded here up dissenting opinions thing %HESITATION he's like was not suited to it of course Johnson's Justin and won his anecdotes %HESITATION the
00:39:30question of how easy is it to switch back and forth between children's got mindsets is an open empirical question %HESITATION and I'm trying to have got mine said about how broadly valuables got mine that is so it is totally possible that more research could change my mind about
00:39:44this but I want to explain why it seems to me just our priori like it would be difficult to do the switching between modes thing I use analogy when you're driving on an icy road and your car starts to skid your reflex is to hit the brakes that's
00:40:02exactly the wrong thing to do of it only makes our car spin faster out of control what you're supposed to do instead is to steer into the skin %HESITATION turn the steering wheel of the car in the same direction as the back end of the cars spinning it's
00:40:15a really tough thing to remember on the spot because eight so counter intuitive %HESITATION and be your adrenalin is pumping your to do something fast so really the only way to do it reliably through practice and so %HESITATION mindset is also a reflex or a set of related
00:40:31reflexes really %HESITATION rationalizing defending of dismissing feeling resentful or offended when people disagree the soldier minds that I feel is like slamming the brakes when you start to skid it's the thing you do reflexively even though it's counter productive in the long run or the very short run
00:40:50his car %HESITATION mindset is the other side of habits or reflexes that can sometimes override the soldier reflexes if you practice them like considering a counter argument or remember not to be defensive or check yourself for bias %HESITATION were like questioning your first impression and their little counterintuitive
00:41:11their little bit unnatural %HESITATION and they're harder to do when your adrenaline this high %HESITATION when you're you know upset or rows %HESITATION so if you really practice them just like staring into the skid it's gonna be really hard to just with mountain dew a reliably when you
00:41:24need to now I know I've been disagreeing with the evolutionary psychologists %HESITATION but I'm actually really grateful to them for highlighting the importance of incentives and reasoning %HESITATION for asking like what is the goal of the organism when it's using its brain this is something that so often
00:41:44ignored of all too often people talk about informing the public or improving education as solutions to our problems and I just don't think that's gonna help that much you know we try lecturing kids about logical reasoning or you know checking claims you find on the internet considering alternative
00:42:02hypotheses up but that may increase their ability to be accurate but it doesn't increase their incentive to be accurate rate you know if there's a payoff from getting the right answer either of material payoff or social pay off for an emotional payoff why should they bother expending the
00:42:19effort to do so on the flip side if they still face the same incentives to reach a particular conclusion you know to signal loyalty to their tribe or to look strong to the consistency and someone then they're going to continue to pursue those incentives no matter how much
00:42:34knowledge and information we give them about you know the correct answer to the correct way to reason this is not a problem we can educate our way out of just to remind you of the graph of despair I'm more optimistic about approaches that actually affect those incentives prediction
00:42:51markets for example like predicted are a way to offer people rewards for getting the right answer instead of just defending whatever you know make them look better feel good the long now foundation was actually ahead of the game way back in I think two thousand three fifteen years
00:43:04ago they created long baths so that people could put their money where their mouth was when talking about the future I want to see more things like this of those are material incentives but social approval and attention are also really powerful incentives up one culture the gets this
00:43:20right is actually a forum on reddit %HESITATION which might surprise you can read it is not known for being a racist a scout mindset but %HESITATION the sub reddit is it's called change my view and it was created in twenty thirteen by a call Turnbull who was then
00:43:38just a high school student as of now they have over half a million subscribers and our change my view does what it says on the ten people come in the form of the view that there are at least open to changing %HESITATION and other people argue with them
00:43:52perhaps the most unique aspect of change my view is the delta system so when you make an argument that the like if someone else is not an argument and you respond to them %HESITATION and the submitter finds your response convincing and change their mind even a little bit
00:44:06like no this this one promise of my argument is like less solid than I thought or that's like an alternate perspective that I had considered it's interesting anything like that in that thing that alters our perspective a little bit they can choose to were you a delta it's
00:44:21just a little triangle shaped icon %HESITATION because next year username signifying you change their minds %HESITATION and as you rack up delta is your total count is displayed next your name whenever you post people really want earn delta's technically they're just made up for me nothing but on
00:44:38the other hand sore points in a video game and people you know really want or in those doses are manifestation of your reputation on change my view of the make people more likely to respect you to pay attention to you to read what you say %HESITATION and one
00:44:52interesting result of the delta system is that the best practices for mind changing rise to people's attention and spread throughout the change my view community %HESITATION so as new members join the subreddit they notice Hey I'm not earning as many adults as as I like to wear as
00:45:08other people are %HESITATION what are those other people doing right into the study you know the high delta earners comments and arguments and copy what they're doing so for example top dealt earners are less combative in their disagreements %HESITATION they're more likely also to ask clarifying questions before
00:45:27trying to argue with someone and other members especially new members noticed these behaviors notice they're successful earning delta's copy them and the practice spread this is kind of similar to what the open science community is doing so I mentioned earlier in the talk %HESITATION how scientists are motivated
00:45:45to get results that are significant they can publish %HESITATION this is been a simmering problem for many decades the just recently boiled over in the social sciences especially in what's been termed the replication crisis so tons of seemingly solid findings that people trusted for years %HESITATION turned out
00:46:02not to be real not to replicate when people try to do the same experiments US is depressing but they're a bunch of scientists were trying to fix the problem and they're pretty savvy about getting the incentives right I think for example these are badges can find badges and
00:46:16they were kind of like all those %HESITATION you get awarded badge if you share your data from your experiments %HESITATION if you pre register your experiments with me which makes it much harder to you know fiddle with the data and make a bunch of little choices to get
00:46:29a result that you want and they're also changing the social incentives more directly for people who do rigorous things like sure their data or knowledge when they were wrong gets a flood of social approval on %HESITATION social science Twitter and also nothing the carrot and the stick is
00:46:47people who are kind of slippery your sketchy about their %HESITATION papers you know who like refused to admit that the resultant replicate or who you know I've been shown to be P. hacking to be like fiddling with their data %HESITATION they get social disapproval now in a way
00:47:04that they didn't before %HESITATION and and I think the internet helps with this but it's also just the result of this concerted movement on the part of the people who care about improving the epidemics of science to make sure they're applying social pressure in the right ways and
00:47:18so it's slowly becoming more desirable more incentivized to try to actually do good science not just get your papers published before I wrap up we're here with the long now foundation %HESITATION thinking about our long term future and I want to say a few words about how children's
00:47:35got mindsets are in play in thinking about the future so one thing that you'll notice if you pay attention to conversations about our future is that there are self proclaimed optimists and then pessimists who sometimes called themselves the Knicks are realists and both groups wave their label as
00:47:53if the flag self described optimists pride themselves on seeing the good in the world in on being enthusiastic and likeable subscribe cynics pride themselves on not being dupes and on facing hard truth office in Phoenix might not be official political parties but they share a disdain for each
00:48:11other that rivals the mutual disdain between Republicans and Democrats optimists talking about pessimists use words like doomsayer alarmist shrill paranoid and chicken little as in the sky is falling of men in turn pessimists talk about optimists use words like Pollyanna naive deluded or Pangloss with the character in
00:48:32Voltaire's Candide %HESITATION who provides comic relief by stopping the insisting that this is the best of all possible worlds even as great tragedy happened around him and both sides feel like the embattled minority both optimists and pessimists view their own position as the more difficult and demanding and
00:48:50demonstrative strength of character so cynics or pessimists will say things like the perennially naive optimist wants to be liked by all enough and none this the quote %HESITATION meanwhile optimists say things like despite how easy it would be to to cynicism I choose to believe in humanities inherent
00:49:07goodness or it's far too easy to be negative about everything incidentally have you noticed that Optimus often talk with pride about how they choose to be optimists or how they identify the optimists it's an interesting wording like you wouldn't say I choose to believe that the store is
00:49:24open or identify someone who believes that the store is open you to say the store is open %HESITATION my point is that if people had no identity invested in being optimistic they wouldn't say like I choose to believe that things are not well or identify someone who believes
00:49:43things for not well there to save things tend to turn out well so I think that when we talk about whether we're optimistic or pessimistic about the future a lot of the time to a large extent we're not talking about how we think the world works for not
00:49:56talking about no what is the landscape look like what should be put on our map in order to be accurate we're talk about what kind of people we are and what we value the perfect storm for shoulder minds that and it really is important I think to be
00:50:12able to think honestly and accurately to the best of our abilities about the future questions like what is the risk of nuclear war is climate change something we could fix with technology %HESITATION is globalization making the world better ical questions and it matters whether our guesses are roughly
00:50:28accurate or not no if we're too sanguine about the respect hoster fee %HESITATION that's definitely bad on the other hand if we underestimate the positive benefits of something then we might never try and not read those benefits so I'm sure you've all been paying rapt attention the whole
00:50:45time but I'm just going to recap briefly before and my talk so to recap we are robots but we can rebel our brains are built to treat important questions as tribal fights or is threats to argue go or status but we can change that education doesn't help because
00:51:05of the graph of despair having in %HESITATION we need to be incentivized to be accurate how accurate map of the world is useful and it doesn't mean you can't have around status and finally some psychology papers are really bad just so bad guys thank you %HESITATION since wound
00:51:40measures of Scott mindset which must be mastered by now %HESITATION is %HESITATION changing one's mind of course the obvious questions must've gotten before what if you change your mind about article in this role but any real I'm I mean I definitely changed my mind but I suspect of
00:52:03scout minds us %HESITATION I will so I've been working on this book about basically what I discussed in the top and the and it was really hard especially at first from you to %HESITATION you know I I've been doing interviews with people who start companies or know who
00:52:23do all sorts of things just trying to understand has gotten older mines that works for them and I I noticed that I was really reluctant to interview people who I thought we're going to disagree with my thesis and talk about you know how it was great to be
00:52:36super over confidence in how you have to you know never think about any doubts and things like that %HESITATION so I would avoid interviewing those people or or when I did interview them I would I notice myself asking them like leading questions like no so tell me about
00:52:51a time when change your mind is really useful or Tom and I wouldn't ask the questions like %HESITATION you know have you found any downsides to like facing the truth or like have you found over compensate useful things like that %HESITATION so I I had to kind of
00:53:08interventional myself of you know in the talking version concept yeah well so this is the whole thing I I consider talking about in the talk and decided to cut for time but I talk about incentives at the end %HESITATION I talked about mostly external incentives like being financially
00:53:27rewarded for your for getting the right answer or being for what of a social attention approval things like that but internal incentives as I call them are are also extremely powerful of like feeling you know curious are excited to learn things %HESITATION like my friend Bob did in
00:53:44in the story about supernatural beliefs %HESITATION or in the opposite direction feeling you know stressed out or or uncomfortable with possibilities and so I think a lot of the like as an individual wanting to improved booster levels of got my that as opposed to someone designing systems in
00:54:06society or you know some cultures I think one of the best and easiest things you can do is try to change your internal incentives so that was what I was trying to do %HESITATION in my investigation of Scott mind sets of so basically the thing that I usually
00:54:20do is I ask myself like before I am before I try to think about whether some inconvenient possibility is true I try to of just say okay suppose it is true %HESITATION what band like what happens then %HESITATION so like if I were you know considering whether or
00:54:37not I had to fire someone I was really stressed out about it in time to to like rationalize why I didn't have to fire them the not anymore %HESITATION so %HESITATION in this case but I was worried about was that people were going to tell me that over
00:55:00confidence is really useful for them %HESITATION and so I was like okay what if that is true but it turned out to be true what then %HESITATION mostly well it's not like it would synch my book like a year I can allow exceptions you know my book doesn't
00:55:16have to claim that got mine to the always correct %HESITATION and be I can disagree with them like the fact that some people might think that's got mine but it's not as useful as I think it is doesn't know basically every interesting book I've had people disagreeing with
00:55:29its %HESITATION like almost no exceptions so that that was like a useful thing to think about and it made me much more sanguine about asking people non leading questions and facing the possibility of getting answers that I may not like of I guess the thing I want to
00:55:48say is just that there's a difference between having preferences about what is true and being unable to tolerate something being the case %HESITATION and so the purpose of intervention like this is to move yourself from like being unable to face a world in which it is true that
00:56:06whatever like you know people disagree with me %HESITATION verses a world in which like well that's not what I wanted but like I'm I'm okay of I think that's a really valuable intervention to boost got mines and so in answer your original question which I almost completely failed
00:56:23to answer the year the thing I change my mind about was just like how %HESITATION how often people at least perceive it to be the case but over confidence is helpful for them not I've you know I have my thoughts some which a shared in the talk about
00:56:38why I think they might be wrong in this proceeding things or why there might be other better ways to get the things that they think they're getting from over confidence but %HESITATION but I'd certainly knowledge now that's over confidence is more popular than I will related to that
00:56:54is a good question from Bob Copart rescue people vote for scouts personal thirty say why do people vote for scout soldiers yeah that's a great question %HESITATION a lot of the difficulty in answering questions about like our scouts are soldiers more successful in business or politics or whatever
00:57:16is that there aren't really that many scouts so I mean I use the phrase it's gotten soldiers often just kind of is a short cut figure of speech it's not like some people are scouts and some people are soldiers it's a spectrum we all have varying degrees of
00:57:29gotten older mine sudden changes from day to day or depending on what domain we're thinking about %HESITATION but but there aren't that many people who are like shining exemplars of scout minds that and so let me raise one instance yellow please okay which is %HESITATION most politicians who
00:57:46live in and watch I tend to say well as I've always said and then they repeat some notion they have arm I worked for Jerry Brown during his first administration of St Francis second administration one of the peculiar issue Jerry Brown which I think he learned from of
00:58:06me just what city trained within the Vichy at and the apple valley via the devil's advocate being taken seriously US I saw in version of sometimes to my discomfort retaking the opposing argument to the obvious thing that should be decided to hide under his desk anyway just a
00:58:28defense and he'll be %HESITATION well find somebody would defend the other people so for example there was a California metrication council and he knew I was against the total conversion metric so he put me on the California metrication can our yeah textural Reagan of a successful we did
00:58:45not really changed arm then he let it be known he would occasionally change his mind or he would say things like you know I don't think the debaters really mature on the subject yeah and let's see how it plays out a little longer we're not in a hurry
00:59:02to make a decision on this because what comes to a governor or president Stansky's basically unsolvable problems all the solvable ones get dealt with near the levels of government end of and he did not get punished for that all in the in the building and %HESITATION you know
00:59:22he doesn't he's not long on charm usually trigger charisma of Ellie's tricky you don't know what the hell he's talking about sometimes %HESITATION and sometimes he figuring it out in person and for me so all of this is not classic soldier behavior at all have any of you
00:59:41did okay and yet he's also pretty rare I think your point yeah I mean there are there are exceptions %HESITATION in both successful and unsuccessful politicians so like one person who comes to mind I think it was very cold water %HESITATION who is not a super successful politician
01:00:00%HESITATION but he defended Bill Clinton when Clinton was being under attack for %HESITATION which scandal was that's what I'm blanking on which scandal maybe there are some say something water whitewater yes what water I think was what water %HESITATION and Rogers %HESITATION and so and Goldwater was like
01:00:28they called a press conference he's super conservative he called a press conference just to say that people should lay off of Bill Clinton because it was the evidence was not strong against him and you just like walking to his job like scandalized a bunch of people and made
01:00:41a bunch of enemies %HESITATION there are I mean I think Obama has given like their kids of a bomb of being pretty Scott like %HESITATION he's talked about his process of writing speeches and said you know some people are most some people are able to be compelling in
01:00:57convincing %HESITATION sort of no matter what they believe like things something that they don't necessarily believe for me it's much easier to give a compelling speech if I'd like edited it until I feel like I can really stand behind it %HESITATION any sort of a pretty careful reasoner
01:01:13%HESITATION even you know Ronald Reagan sort of had had more of the classic like of like like to be charismatic and tell people what they know what's gonna make them happy and things like that but he also had some examples of got mine says he was a big
01:01:31fan of I think was FDR's new deal which is not like a classical thing for a conservative to be a fan of %HESITATION but he he just grew up admiring FDR and he never give interviews are his like you know what after is really misunderstood in like of
01:01:48you know I disagree with him about some things but he had all these admirable for two three really brought the country together and that was really great %HESITATION so you know their example like it's not impossible to be a successful politician and do something out like things but
01:02:01at that said you know what I was talking about the types of factors that make a difference in weather scout or whether %HESITATION overconfidence is going to be successful in persuading people being a politician kind of check a lot of those boxes like the audience is not sophisticated
01:02:18almost by definition because it's just like the entire country you know it's not like a special set of no experts %HESITATION all are not I guess they're a little motivated to decide if you're you're telling lies or something but with like tribalism they're not about motivated and a
01:02:34lot of the things you say people find out if they were true or not maybe years later maybe if anyone paying attention a lot of the things you say arms aren't even like testable predictions there to sort of like M. like affective expressions about the country or about
01:02:52people or things like that so of the I think politics is is definitely a case where Scott minds that is like less able to thrive well my room change that %HESITATION Bob Hope park also S. can there be other players besides scouts and soldiers certain speaking your metaphor
01:03:09that can you imagine generals and charismatic idiots and camp followers priests and sages and nearly one expand the the man I mean they don't the kid in me who loves sci fi and fantasy is getting very excited at having a return menagerie of characters %HESITATION I think I
01:03:27mean an important point that may not have been clear from the way I explained in the talk is that it's gotten soldier minds that aren't like a mutually with word of if exhaustive thank you yes %HESITATION they don't exhaust the space of possible you know ways you can
01:03:48be thinking %HESITATION so you're his example when I mentioned the case of someone like choosing a business plan and then of executing on it so a lot of people will say like well you should try to be in soldier mindsets while you're executing on your plan if you
01:04:05can %HESITATION and I would say no the ideal like you it's true you don't want to constantly questioning and second guessing yourself and yet re evaluating your core assumptions of your business because that would be exhausting and you never get anything done %HESITATION but ideally what I think
01:04:21you should do is just decide okay I'm gonna be an execution mode for awhile maybe that's you know a month or six months or what depends on your business in the state you're at %HESITATION and if in doubt comes up or like if of a concern or piece
01:04:35of unfortunate events comes up I'm gonna be like okay maybe maybe that's the thing maybe that's a concern I'm not going to think about it right now %HESITATION all like reevaluate later in the future %HESITATION and so then you do get a re evaluate later in the future
01:04:49maybe at some point six months later like well the accumulated concerns and flaws in the plan that have come up in the last six months now make me think that you know this might be a problem but yeah but center right but but the key is that what
01:05:05you're doing is just like deciding not to make any decisions now instead of the soldier minds that thing to do would be to find some reason why those concerns are false or you know or unwarranted or something like that to like convince yourself that it's everything is definitely
01:05:24still great %HESITATION and I think that approach to dealing with potential flaws or obstacles that come up is just more damaging to your epidemic health some letters situational when I was twenty years of global business network where we were providing scenario planning which is a great way to
01:05:42get companies sort of out of the soldier mindset of this is our fear in the future and we're operating the whole business and service of that theory and they get all kinds of confirmation bias and all the rest of it but it's just wishful planning %HESITATION sorry what
01:05:56is situational plain old what's situational is %HESITATION large companies really really gain from scenario planning start ups don't certainly because here's the situation of a large company or department of government or even the whole government cases Singapore are often has %HESITATION sort of sense of emotion of with
01:06:20the theory of the world which is clean up very well thank you but the world keeps changing and if we keep going with this same sort of strategic scheme of they will not be alert to changes in the world and they will not figure that they're supposed to
01:06:37be alert and they're supposed to adapt to change the world huge except N. one zero planning allows them to do is have more than one theory the world because typically more series for world any which might be right for totally plausible but they imply completely different things that
01:06:52they might be facing like five ten fifteen years a start up has a theory the world in which of the scenarios are not going to help this is gonna confusion of and and that the wheat from the we're not particularly useful tone because %HESITATION five or ten years
01:07:11isn't his a start up is just trying to get circuit with the world just trying to get something that's feeding your incentive to keep going Andrew survivors %HESITATION business servers and on profit or whatever and so you're making a full bore bet on your the world's memory not
01:07:32here right sometimes just for the fact it's a full bore well belt will convince the world that there's something there for this part of the conference thing but anyway of plan seems situational about it is a small organization or individual %HESITATION is maybe not going to gain by
01:07:49scenario planning as much as a great big thing which has two of which is going to take ten years to turn the ship most welcome give it a big company has a really tough time making a successful children's ears okay me make sure I understand you're saying that
01:08:04%HESITATION scenario planning is less useful to start up %HESITATION in part because situational planning is useful if %HESITATION you can just adopt new situations when they happen which larger companies can't as easily right and also I think you're saying US start ups have less sort of attention an
01:08:25organizational capacity to spare %HESITATION and sort of all they can really do is just like make their one bats %HESITATION as opposed to a large company with lots of it and then also the %HESITATION the cost of failure for struggle most cases is much smaller than the cost
01:08:40of failure for larger organizations just that you know if they would have to refer the matter much regrets here on begin in the in the metaphors you're using the actually Philip catalog to your for Jews is been in this series twice no one was about this you before
01:08:58casting book and he uses Israel Berlin's %HESITATION hedgehog in the fox the fox as one big idea and the fox as many idea yeah further sort plays out for that had charge of very persuasive because they know all the arguments for their particular thing the foxes kind of
01:09:16tentative in and not as good on television and %HESITATION and kind of %HESITATION you know the super forecasters all kind of dialing back the clarity of their stay because they're saying this I have to feel a vague on this in order to be open for the nuances of
01:09:33white act more might actually be occurring so the accurate is to be a little fuzzy and %HESITATION two by lot from general art but they're talking fox's speak you yeah so this two separate things going on here I think one is V. R. of what is the how
01:09:57tentative you sound %HESITATION and that I think is %HESITATION like you you can you can be bold and confident while still having new ones models so like for example I have I have a friend who %HESITATION he he kind of the story to me so he was he
01:10:16was talking a friend of his %HESITATION all make the friend female just because it's easier pronounce okay so are you telling his friends about how it was important to be you know change your mind and update your beliefs and so on and other friends like we talk about
01:10:29you never change your mind ends my friend was like are you kidding I change my mind all the time in fact they're two instances like remember where I changed my mind with you in this you know like in the last month any explain them and she was like
01:10:44that's true actually you did change her mind why did that not register for me as examples of you change your mind a man she thought about it and she's like you know I think it's because you were just so on fees like it didn't you looking sheepish you
01:11:00didn't you're just like oh yeah that's right I was wrong about that and then you just went on and so my mind didn't stored as an example of you having been wrong %HESITATION and I I know people I know either battling the pedagogically music while I was really
01:11:18wrong about I mean it's you can you can do the like enthusiasm and gratitude for not having you know been shown to be wrong but a lot of this is just extremely nonchalant like oh yeah I was wrong about that you know now I think acts inside wire
01:11:32something which and it just started we didn't have a strong opinion the first place which you know I think here's what I think it's just I think it suggests that will start it probably suggest that it wasn't like an extremely weighty emotionally fraught topic to you that's true
01:11:44%HESITATION but might you still might have had a confident belief about it like the ninety percent sure that X. is true and then realize alright no why is true I think the nonchalance is really helpful it makes it makes change your mind really easy and effortless and frictionless
01:11:59and the the source I think of that nonchalance is I mean I've I've asked people about it %HESITATION who have this nonchalant approach %HESITATION and when I ask them questions like why do you not feel sheepish when you change your mind they tenser looked taken aback and then
01:12:16they struck in there like well I didn't do anything wrong like I am following the right process for you know forming beliefs involving them over time and that ideal process just by its very nature it will involve like changing like as you get new information or as you
01:12:34reevaluate old information %HESITATION you'll notice things that you were wrong about that that's you doing the right thing that's not you having screwed up it might might sometimes be you having screwed up it might be that like in the past you had all the information you needed to
01:12:48be right and you were just like refusing to see it or something like that but most of the time when these people change their minds like I got new information I'd like reevaluated now I think this other thing it's just like they're just doing the process these things
01:13:01are tougher to change right about because they imply a whole bunch of other things and serve the cascade of all my gosh I change my mind about climate and I've got a Democrat or yeah and yeah if you perceive a cascade that %HESITATION potentially would make you cling
01:13:21to the %HESITATION soldier point of view on something much more strongly yes yes so I think I believe that might sound surprising is that in most cases it is actually wrong to change your mind about that sort of fundamental belief you know in response to like one discussion
01:13:43or you know one argument or something like that because like like if you're following the correct of intellectual process this will almost never happened %HESITATION and and you know often maybe that's the result of folder mindset but even if you're doing everything right it would not happen very
01:14:01often the reason is you know our beliefs are all as you're saying they're all sort of connected to each other under like this network of of interconnected believes that all kind of dependent on each other and so yeah something like climate change %HESITATION there's a bunch of believe
01:14:17that are related to that like let's say you don't believe Clinton Israel %HESITATION there's a bunch of related believes that that that belief depends on like of scientists are not that trustworthy or %HESITATION more like other experts many religious experts or or other sources of thirty are trustworthy
01:14:34or maybe others belief about how common is it for conspiracy theories to happen because like a lot of people who don't believe the climb to the changes happening think that %HESITATION deserve a conspiracy among climate scientists to of to like say the false thing %HESITATION and so if
01:14:50you believe that conspiracies of conspiracies are actually pretty common then it's like more reasonable to believe that it could be the case that climate scientists are all covering this up and so for you too justifiably change your mind about climate science you would need to change your mind
01:15:05about a bunch of other things too %HESITATION and not that come of never happen one conversation that's like like even if you're doing everything right and you're like you have got mine said that the process that would take a long time okay so related to that was roller
01:15:18ash %HESITATION related to your suggestion people not change their mind about important things patient conversation on yes have you found a way to award delta is to people in real life in your own yeah %HESITATION yeah I mean well this one is kind of silly but that in
01:15:42some groups of friends are like at the organization I used to work with %HESITATION we just had this hand symbol it was like we were going fingers as a sign I'm not suggesting over into this I'm just telling you you asked so %HESITATION is this adjuster like approval
01:15:59sometimes agreement sometimes just like approval or or you know if it was just like a %HESITATION karma points or something like that %HESITATION and we would just do that whenever we noticed someone in conversation doing like an epistemically virtuous thing of like you know of a building that
01:16:17someone else had a point or %HESITATION or sometimes like freezing their statements in a way that that could be falsified like most of the things we say aren't precise enough that anyone could ever prove us wrong %HESITATION so if someone said like no all like like that that'll
01:16:34never work something like that and then it's like okay what I actually predict is that within two months like revenue will be X. Y. Z. or something and be like okay good possible production %HESITATION or like a room someone being willing to make about of these are all
01:16:50things we know it's just like so you don't interrupt the conversation %HESITATION and and like the hands jester started to be infused with like positive affect because of the association for you like actually feel good for look like with delta is %HESITATION I mean like real life you
01:17:07should probably just like tell someone that you think it's cool that they did the thing but yeah clearly she I mean you you should also like be more willing to like share stuff online from people who do the good things and know if you run a company or
01:17:27team of people like you more willing to reward people with like attention or promotions or things like that when they know make accurate predictions are you know are willing to like say like you're the potential downsides of my plan like I think we should do it anyway but
01:17:41I would like to be intellectually honest and not pretend that has no downsides like those are the kinds of things you should be rewarding Dan say answers or as the stories of %HESITATION what I knew was the economist can the feral cat their noble prize and he was
01:17:56part of the scene Santa Fe institute where %HESITATION basically physicist gotten going on your captive modeling and seller where they came up with the idea of bounded rationality is foundational in economics in %HESITATION can hero at the end of the initial session that basically did this and %HESITATION
01:18:15well you guys have just overturned my entire body of theory and I can't thank you enough and you know when scientists to do that and it's rare but when they do it all other site is still on the that's the way to do it so and helps you
01:18:35write it in had those incentives as a story about that everything was alright %HESITATION some people might have heard me say this before for my favorite stories %HESITATION but so this is it at Oxford in the duality departments in the nineteen seventies %HESITATION and at the time in
01:18:52the field is zoology there is this %HESITATION debates over the existence of this particular cellular structure called the gold the apparatus of the debate was is actually real or is it like an artifact an illusion of measurement %HESITATION observation and there was this like elderly distinguished professor in
01:19:09this world you department Oxford whose position with it's not real it's an artifact of observation of and then one day this younger American professor visited Oxford and give a talk to the department where he presented new and very compelling evidence that the gold the apparatus was in fact
01:19:25real and so throughout his talk all the other scientists are kind of like looking over their shoulder at the older professor like what's he going to how's he taking this and at the end of the talk the older professor strode up to the front of the lecture hall
01:19:42and extended his hand to the young professor and said my dear Sir thank you you show me but I've been wrong for fifteen years and everyone burst into applause and cheers %HESITATION but I still tear up when I think about it yeah make sure your crime still Kevin
01:20:06Kelly as question of course Steven Pinker your first you argues the scout mindset would reveal that optimism is warranted because progress in the world is real %HESITATION what's your view on that I'm I am so this is a complicated question %HESITATION because like so Pinterest thesis as I
01:20:30understand it is %HESITATION everything is getting better %HESITATION and to make the case he points to the historical trend lines %HESITATION and I basically agree with that guy I agree the world has gotten better in a bunch of really important ways %HESITATION and I'm and I'm pretty optimistic
01:20:46about the trend lines continuing so not sense yes I'm like optimistic in the sense that like my best trying to be accurate gases that things are gonna be good of the the like area of new ones that I want to add though is that in my experience Pinker
01:21:01is really resistance to the argument that as things on average have gotten better tell risks have also gone up like as more powerful technology is created or is beginning to be created %HESITATION as the world becomes more interconnected %HESITATION the impact of catastrophes can get much bigger known
01:21:22nuclear war pandemics or things like that and these are like real risks that we should worry about a and I ate my impression is been that like fingers dismissive of these concerns because they don't fit with the general thesis that things are getting better to my mind those
01:21:36are those two things are completely consistent like things have gotten better and will continue to get better in a bunch of part ways also risks are going out %HESITATION but yes I I mean I am generally pretty optimistic about the future %HESITATION because that seems warranted to I
01:21:53just I just worry about the discourse around optimism where like I said I often see people who are also optimistic for similar reasons as me like praise optimism and a and condemned pessimism and I think that's the wrong way to be conducting a conversation like you should be
01:22:15making the case for optimism you shouldn't be saying yeah optimists and be pessimists %HESITATION which could be affected like it's totally a thing that people respond to social center they don't want people to think they're a wet blanket or you know annoying or do say or things like
01:22:29that and so you can in fact like socially pressure people to having the views that you think they should have but they you shouldn't do that you just make your case and you know if you're right you'll be more convincing people so %HESITATION Eddie Lee S. film what
01:22:46shifts are mentality from soldiers go in maybe maybe this should be a true for his question was education sort of starting from blank slate not really but %HESITATION you know young people who %HESITATION how do you encourage Scott knows or at least openness to scout medicine not just
01:23:08completely binders soldier mentality and then have a later on as happened with the okay with six cater to home with weird beliefs of how does one change from from soldiers go so this two different ways you could address this question one is %HESITATION over time how do you
01:23:30shift someone sort of disposition in general habits in a scout like direction got word direction %HESITATION a different approach would be like in a given situation like with my you know with my book where I was like flinching away from the possibility that people might disagree with me
01:23:46how do you ship in a given situation towards us got mind that %HESITATION but I'll just I'm already sort of talk about the letter on a little bit %HESITATION but the folks on the former %HESITATION so I have this graph of despair in my talk %HESITATION there is
01:24:01a corresponding half of partial hope but I I could have shared as well it's also from Kahan %HESITATION and it's it at at and it's also about like people's views on the question of his global warming happening but the X. axis instead of being of science literacy is
01:24:22science curiosity %HESITATION which Khan measures and a bunch of different ways %HESITATION partly self reports from people but also like how often do they go to science lectures how often they read science books %HESITATION when you like give them a bunch materials to re do they read the
01:24:36same thing things like that %HESITATION and that graph is much less depressing %HESITATION because as people go up the percentile scale of a science curiosity their views actually converge slightly under they don't diverge wildly the way they did in the %HESITATION science literacy graph I'm so like the
01:24:56more scientifically curious people are the more likely they are to think that global warming is real %HESITATION even though Republicans are still less likely than Democrats they're like going in the right direction there like moving together %HESITATION so so then the question would be like how do you
01:25:10encourage curiosity %HESITATION I don't know a lot about that I know that there are up pretty convincing theories about our this the way our sort of standard educational system is set up %HESITATION like washing curiosity or squashing three of the early %HESITATION so to the extent that schools
01:25:28are doing that kids we could stop doing that that would probably be helpful %HESITATION but in terms of like taking an adult and making the more curious with I don't know exactly how to do that well one thing I sure in all places officer training in the army
01:25:44and was %HESITATION the terms of the function when officers wish the small unit probably every scale is %HESITATION if you have a unit doing the best we can information that's been given and doing it the way it looks like probably the orders laid out exposed you and the
01:26:02sergeants and the troops all whaling away doing this thing as good as they can the officer's job is to %HESITATION supervisor seafood fact that tapping but also in the sense to condemn Janice face look the other way and terms always asking the question is it possible that the
01:26:21unit is diligently doing the wrong thing well the in occurs so easy to judge will know that this is going well and everybody's you know Ripley bearing down every getting of advancing %HESITATION if it turns out to be in the wrong direction right wrong side of the hill
01:26:40%HESITATION there's not a supporting unit next year like you thought it was on that's the officer's job is to have that basically larger perspective which has a kind of a aggressive and creative doubt almost Buddhist of that you know what if we're doing the wrong thing while I'm
01:27:03wallstreet officers knows not even yeah cation is just this is all you do it in a on what to do and they give you some things we get a chance to sort of try them realize on I think this is part of a good judgment which interest was
01:27:19in the army field work for hire or anything else publications they have good judgment and there's very few very little this is like a very few books about what is good judgment how do you recognize the judgment somehow you hire for good judge how do you change bad
01:27:35judgment for good judgment part of what you're getting %HESITATION N. Drucker was claimed that the main thing you look at is the track record with with the person can hire if they have a bunch of documental successes that's a pretty strong indication that they have the kind of
01:27:53judgment that would make the right things keep happening and you can hire for that expected right thing will keep happening that's the story so far yeah so the the question US ask is where you go next what's next for you I have to finish this written book what
01:28:14%HESITATION the the current working title is %HESITATION the soldier in the scout we deceive ourselves and how to get things right %HESITATION and the what stage US five turned in the first drafts I'm waiting for my publisher the effective at its and even when they have a really
01:28:40good line and get your own because then you can you got more choices %HESITATION thank you I I do have a couple other things that I've kind of been excited about and didn't putting off %HESITATION as I've been reading the books made at some point in your future
01:28:53%HESITATION one thing is the I've been focused mostly in the time of some thinking about thinking I've been thinking about individual reasoning and judgments like how to use an individual decide what information to collect and how to evaluate it and want to change your mind someone I'm not
01:29:10just gotten increasingly interested in group group reasoning %HESITATION what's how do you like assembled group that's going to be as accurate as possible what kind of like norms do you have in the group %HESITATION it really help yeah great question %HESITATION so if I were to write a
01:29:29book at some point in the future I can't even think about that right now %HESITATION it might be a group group Scott mindset %HESITATION and then another thing that I got interested in while working on this book and arguing with about friends is our soldier versus got mine
01:29:42said in the history of science so a an argument that some of my friends have made old name because I don't have it on me names but of an argument some people have made is a science actually benefit a lot from soldier mind sets you want people to
01:30:01be these sort of of Mavericks who have their own crazy theories that they pursue and they don't listen to anyone tell them that you know if there does make sense of their flaws and you know most of them are just me crazy people from doing anything soldier metaphor
01:30:19for that kind of creature %HESITATION yeah I mean it's the Starkey %HESITATION so yeah so and this right you you'd like want people to just like not be at all interested in whether there is a wrong that we we get this like big diverse exploration of the space
01:30:39of possible theories which in this model we wouldn't get if ever and was like trying to be you know accurate reasonable I so I would basically yeah shifts %HESITATION in the road so this is what I've sort of been doing in my free time when homework in the
01:30:55book I well so for a while between me and his friends it was like a war of anecdotes where like he would like give an example of a scientist who was you know not very Scott mindsets and like turned out to make a super important discovery and I
01:31:07would respond with an example of a scientist like Darwin who had a lot of scout mindset and that was really valuable %HESITATION and then I was like this is just this war about a dose is not gonna settle anything I need some more %HESITATION constrained way to like
01:31:21take a representative or good subset of scientists %HESITATION and then just like a look at how much stuff folder scout like successful signed a similar album contributions %HESITATION and they just like read their histories and how they what the process was how they discovered the thing they discovered
01:31:37so the thing I've started doing is going on wikipedia a list of %HESITATION paradigm shifts in various fields of science %HESITATION so like ugh of Darwin's on their %HESITATION Newton love was the area %HESITATION you know Einstein ends just reading about their process in as much detail as
01:31:56I can to figure out you know how how it intellectually honest were they and and how much did it matter in the project and was said about his annual passes right making yeah we're coming to the end and there's a novelty coming up for you Julie has a
01:32:14cold so long shaking hands with anybody including every incomes and afterwards but she came up with an alternative rushed for the help from the entry so this is store brand again if you enjoyed this talk consider becoming a member of the long now foundation for less than the
01:32:43price of a book or movie monthly membership supports the series keeps you connected to a whole world of long term thinking thank you for listening

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