Author, educator, and hedge fund advisor, Adam Robinson returns for part 2 of our fascinating discussion. We talk chess, AI, handicapping horse races, and the secret to learning that nobody is teaching.


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00:00:00so what happens in a world where people don't have to work and that the the utopians go well that's the best of all possible worlds good people are free to pursue their dreams whatever that but imagine the personal loses their job they don't go cart wheeling down the
00:00:15the street going great now I can write that novel Hey guys this is part two of my amazing conversation with Adam Robinson we split it up into two episodes because the conversation was about four hours you're not missing anything by starting here but I'd highly recommend you go
00:00:39back and listen to part one I mean why wouldn't you Adam is phenomenal and our conversation is fascinating anyway his party with Adam Robinson before we get started here's a quick word from our sponsor mmhm street is sponsored by metal lab for a decade metal out his help
00:01:04some of the world's top companies and entrepreneurs bill products that millions of people use every day you probably didn't realize at the time odds are you used an apt that they've helped design or build apps like slack Quinn bass he's put messenger oculus lonely planet and so many
00:01:20more metal I wants to bring the unique design plus your project let them take your brainstorm and turn it into the next billion dollar from idea sketch on the back of a napkin to final ship product checked the matter that metal out dot co that's metal lab dot
00:01:36co and when you get in touch television saying it which the habits that work while in school and life in which of the habits that work well in school and then don't work well if you think about it that's such a good question if you think about it
00:01:52in school were great we're graded and the expectations are set by someone else by the way this is this is a really cool study I did once on school then we'll get to the other party or question I was giving a talk in Sacramento some years back %HESITATION
00:02:08two five hundred teachers and I said grading is subjective and it got really kinda like marriage grumble grumble grumble right and %HESITATION I said but you don't have to take my word for that my teachers think they're grading is objective right as a no no like we tell
00:02:25the students exactly what we expect and we're very objective on our grading and I said look you know I have to take my word for it let's do an experiment so I I took out a box and I was in a big guy gymnasium right with five hundred
00:02:36teachers I put a big box on the table and with great fanfare I held up a bunch of sample tests and I said I had students write an answer to the question is there evidence of global warming and I've got hundreds of tests here I'd like to pass
00:02:52it out to you guys and you great and and as an afterthought I said to put down an amber and after if you're a male or female teacher now unbeknownst to the teachers they were all grading exactly the same essay but on some of that on half the
00:03:07tasks I had a females name at the top and some a male name at the top on half the tests I had the paragraphs clearly indented in and half not cannon half the tests were printed in half script and I give them Denisa graded on an a to
00:03:23F. scale half being failing and %HESITATION and put a number and ask if you're and I said I know that you're all not environmental scientist but we're all adults we know something about global warming just kind of just waited intuitively right and then %HESITATION over their lunch break
00:03:38high fat all the numbers into a stat program and I said %HESITATION I said guys remember I said grading is subjective the number one positive factor on %HESITATION on your on essay was a female name at the top of the paper it was worth an extra quarter of
00:03:54a great honor eight was four point oh beak was three point oh seek was three point oh it was worth a quarter of a great it was worth a full half a great have a great mind you if a male teacher was grading the female so male teachers
00:04:09grated female students a half a grade easier than they graded male teachers both teachers male and female graded the opposite sex more leniently both male and female teachers grated boys more harshly mind you this was on a science test not like you know read some other like this
00:04:28is this is an actual science paper right yet it like provide evidence and stuff and it was worth three for almost three fourths of a letter grade when you add in the paragraph indenting printing or script was not a factor so if a male student was greeted by
00:04:45a male teacher and forgot to indent as paragraphs his letter grade dropped three fourths of a point seven three awful of a great almost a full grade some content from exactly the same yeah so how do you measure how well students are doing right invalid and how do
00:05:02you measure how well the teachers are doing right anyway to go back to your question sorry I couldn't resist that so skills in life are following instructions doing what's expected and in life I don't think there many assignments like that you know even when your boss says do
00:05:19axe you don't really mean just do acts like you're not a robot we're not %HESITATION I mean I I imagine certain jobs are like that like if you're sipping burgers you could almost make the argument that more increasingly jobs are becoming procedural and the procedures are the mechanism
00:05:37by which you assign people tasks if this situation you do this if this you do this right it's that maybe that's certainly where jobs are going and it certainly where a I and robotics are taking things right in another we can argue about whether it's twenty years or
00:05:56thirty or forty or fifty sometime in the next few decades an algorithm or robot powered by our them's is going to do whatever you do better faster more reliably in every respect cheaper and that that isn't terrify people quit in is that scare you it scares me for
00:06:17the world that it scares me to be because people define themselves largely in terms of what they're able to contribute economically and so what happens in a world where people don't have to work and that the the utopians go well that's the best of all possible worlds good
00:06:34people are free to pursue their dreams whatever that but yeah but now I don't think so logically if you're not contributing to society there's an impact on on you as a person devastating matching the personal loses their job they don't go cart wheeling down the the street going
00:06:50great now I can write that novel they did their deaf stated now imagine everyone's out of work and so so that's a that's a future we really have to to to prepare for their Silicon Valley has begun to prepare the world for that floating notions of universal basic
00:07:08income right that's largely being floated out of Silicon Valley because they see where it's going they see with the technology is going and even in creative fields a I is is is such a terrifying threat %HESITATION Stephen Hawking gave mankind a one in twenty shot of surviving a
00:07:28I or one in twenty shot and you can do the math that means in nineteen twenty shot we don't survive a I that's how serious it is and Stephen Hawking no %HESITATION slouch in the I. Q. department what is it about that the A. I. that scares us
00:07:45so much well threatens humanity in this case okay so that the real threat with a I first let's talk about how fast a I progresses so right now there is no A. high it's not really a I it's machine learning pattern recognition it's not really a I what
00:08:01people think of a I is an intelligence that left on its own can learn right so %HESITATION let's talk about a demand I know something about chess right so under rated chess master with a life title I'm pretty darn good at chess so I understand the implications of
00:08:17this with a high so the best Uman chess player in the world is a twenty seven year old Norwegian name Magnus Carlsen he has a chess rating of twenty eight twenty two two thousand eight hundred and twenty X. sh give or take something like that the best computer
00:08:34software that had been trained on the best Uman games right software trained on the best team in games has a chess rating now about thirty three hundred would crush Magnus Carlsen in a match that software you can get on your iPhone on your iPhone yeah yeah yeah %HESITATION
00:08:50maybe a little more maybe on your laptop yes your your iPhone softwares pay like twenty six hundred your your laptop yeah is crushed Magnus because in a one hundred game match crossing would be lucky to get five games out of hundred like it just be a white box
00:09:06and he's the you mentioned PM right okay that was the best software trained on you man games Google's company deep mine said what if we don't train it on Uman games what if we just have this software play itself so they gave a give a rules and was
00:09:22just the most of the game nothing else you know rails just play yourself and in four hours that program leap frogged all existing human knowledge of the game and as a chess rating of hard to estimate like thirty six thirty seven hundred compared with thirty three hundred it
00:09:38that program mind you it had no human intervention they just gave it the rules and this is what was fascinating about it it recreated all you men knowledge of the game on its own imagine giving a computer the rules a cent tax and it creates the English language
00:09:55and Russian and Japanese and just on its own it's like the story of if you had enough monkeys it eventually exactly but now so it but also with enough monkeys you create a lot of gibberish but this is actually create created it replicated all human knowledge are there
00:10:11any existence of that human knowledge had any knowledge of the game and because after all you mean beings are pretty smart but then this is two interesting things about this Google which is to say do you mind only released ten of the hundred games this pro this computer
00:10:25program played a match against the reigning software print thirty three hundred it beat at seventy two twenty eight and one hundred game match with no losses that twenty eight draws a exactly fifty six tries okay right Manda um so that the reason is that even if god were
00:10:45playing that the software is not going to god not gonna win every game because some is like tic tac toe if you don't make a mistake it's it right wrong yeah right you can't so there's a limit actually on how god chose ratings probably like thirty nine hundred
00:11:00I'm making that up and the %HESITATION finance %HESITATION so so what was fast is the only released ten of the games and this is what was interesting and so scary is that the chess program when you look at the games and again I'm in a position to assess
00:11:15the the value of the moves that how good they are I looked at the cans I went wow this is this computer so good but then the computer would make alien chess moves surprising news not just surprise you just like like Gee you just call what why is
00:11:31it doing that cells and make any sense makes no sense so get this so for example it is a rule of thumb with human chess players that you should even if you don't know about the game you can sort of appreciate this your king is the most valuable
00:11:45piece you should take your King away in the corner and keep it well protected in this one game the chess computer is called alpha zero go Sir alpha zero chess March the king smack into the middle of the board imagine your Napoleon leading your troops and you yourself
00:12:02go right into the center of the battle and bullets are we using bio and nothing touches you and you go how can the computer get away with this like there's no way that's gonna lose like and it won the game like five ten was later did wins the
00:12:17game you go how the heck did they do that in sort played alien most so not only did it we create human knowledge of the game it then created alien chess now mention the computers unleashed not in the domain of chess been in other domains it'll totally recreate
00:12:34everything we know and then go beyond that in hours so the scary thing with a eyes this did it will become exponentially smarter than we are in minutes so imagine the following scenario that say the current reigning A. I. has an IQ of say sixty right let's say
00:12:54I'm just picking a number out of the air eventually get to like one fifty it'll be a smart is a really smart human being like really super smart then the computer ago I'll wait a second I can do a better job of programming myself it'll then reprogram myself
00:13:07now has an IQ of two hundred and then goes quite a second I can do much better than that and we programs itself again now it's got an I. Q. a three hundred because all I was a dummy two minutes ago and it will keep reprogramming itself with
00:13:22alien AI and I say a name because we won't recognize it we won't be able to even follow what it's doing and it'll control everything that's the problem you know there's the terminator scenario like you know these machines are going to destroy us and blah blah blah another
00:13:38not they just not going to care about us and it's a bit like the genie when you know that's the you get three wishes in the genial give you three wishes and then it'll say goodbye N. it'll control so an alien intelligence will control everything you won't be
00:13:55able to cut it out of the and women and even understand it %HESITATION you won't understand right now there are mathematical proofs done by computers that Uman beings can't understand her the best mathematicians in the world don't understand those proofs and all they can say is we can't
00:14:11find a mistake in it it's probably right but we're not really sure we can't follow it and the reasoning OB so convoluted Uman there's no way you could even X. Blaine it so even now the computer Watson IBM's Watson can come up with a medical diagnosis the challenge
00:14:30of which is to explain the diagnosis to the doctor because the doctor can't follow the reasoning of the the neural net and all the concert accurate diagnosis they wouldn't have come to through a convoluted sort of mechanism of here's how we arrived at that right you couldn't they
00:14:45couldn't explain it because it's in an embedded nor on that and there's with all kinds of feedback loop she wouldn't be able to just describe it so that any human being could understand it is not a bonus I mean it's out of the understanding if we're we're creating
00:15:00more accurate diagnoses more sure but now what happens when those machines are controlling not just diagnoses but they're actually controlling surgeries and controlling weather patterns and controlling tanks because they'll think that they know best and then automatic they I don't know basket the algorithms are just this is
00:15:21the thing about algorithms and a high it is optimizing unforgiving and relentless because it continues to optimize and whatever values you've put into that into the A. I. it we'll just execute that with with unstoppable efficiency so you had in the A. I. in the nineteen ninety in
00:15:43that way before any of this stuff yeah how did you get started word as us right so I was interested in so I sold my interest in the Princeton review in in the late eighteen eighties that's L. nineteen eighties early nineteen nineties and I got into a I
00:15:58and %HESITATION because I was interested in intelligence and thinking right and the problem with a I back then and even if you would ask a computer scientist you know what you went to here she would not have said a I'd because the problem then was the speed of
00:16:14the computer's hardware limitation a hardware limitations so when I wanted to run a new on that member member Pentium chips yet right so I'd literally set up a new on that and hit enter on my computer and walk away from it for a week and a week later
00:16:31maybe I'd get an answer and if the result was gonna go great good model and if it wasn't I'd have to tweak the variables and hit enter again and then walk away from the computer and and so now a eyes done it you know you can run and
00:16:44all that can minutes or something and soon the how quantum computing right that's really scary and what is quantum computing just for people selling so right so quantum computing is when you use actually subatomic quantum states to to do your computations and I'd I myself don't understand the
00:17:05the physics and the math of it but evidently you'll be able to do things pretty much instantaneously so for example any thing that's encrypted with quantum computing you'll be able to crack that whatever the encryption is in I don't know seconds or minutes in so quantum computing is
00:17:23scary because there are no secrets now now you can't and crept you can't hide things and into hiding sounds bad but sometimes you want things it and you don't want your social security number packable and other things or government secrets %HESITATION so %HESITATION so yeah quantum quantum computing
00:17:42is is scary and and the speed with which it will accelerate a I is also household xcelerated just based on the power as the tower to his right and sheer power in the same way that things that used to take me a week on my computer on Pentium
00:18:01chips back in the early nineteen nineties now take seconds now imagine seconds take a millisecond rent and and it's a parabolic lead terrible like leap and which fundamentally changes reality it's not just we're doing things faster it you now you're doing things fundamentally differently you make when information
00:18:21can't be protected imagine anyone can know anything about everything that's pretty scary only come back to something you said about %HESITATION the computers a I N. chess and so the first version the program you mentioned had learned chest from the human games there is data available the second
00:18:38version of the program didn't used at a what's the role in data today in terms of machine learning an AI and then what do you see that role as in the future is are those data sets going to be proprietary or will some guy in his garage be
00:18:52able to compete with Google on this search so funny you should say that so that's a really profound question that goes to who owns the data right so so when you log into Google when you use Google are you use Facebook Google and Facebook are gathering data right
00:19:10when you buy something on Amazon when you look at something and don't buy at Amazon is gathering data and it's able to use that data and monetize the data right and so the question is why even by the way when you don't use something that's a data point
00:19:28if Shane hasn't log into Google for three days right Google has learned something about change it right on so it's remarkable how much data that have always remarkable and so there was a woman a female journalist in the United States get this in United States you don't own
00:19:46your data Google dieser Facebook it's their corporate data but in Europe the individual owns his or her data saw a female journalist asked tender the dating app give me all the data you have on me and they gave her I forget what it was seven or eight hundred
00:20:03pages of unique information so not seven hundred duplicate press seven hundred that seven hundred pages worth of information about her like I'm just making this up a new or first grade the N. ran script you know they they knew what she ate for lunch five years ago like
00:20:18they knew so much about her and she was horrified that they were like how could you even get this data like some kind of data you kind of can figure out how they would cat but remember the value of your data is when they cross reference it with
00:20:32other people him right the value emerges not just because sh Shane is using go %HESITATION but lots of other people are and they're able to to to do use statistics and machine learning to find patterns so that they do uncover things about chain that even Shane did now
00:20:49if there was a on Amos case about five or six years ago of %HESITATION target do you know this %HESITATION we're target the pregnancy yes in right so targets algorithms knew that a young woman was pregnant because she shifted from unscented products they are you suffering from from
00:21:08presented to unscented they knew before she knew right she didn't know she was pregnant so that all over the by the way the album I'm using air quotes dot didn't know that she was pregnant they just knew that she would tend to buy baby products six months later
00:21:22so let's start hitting right now because the computer doesn't as it were no pregnancy and he just knows that when a woman of a certain age shifts from scented products to unscented axe months later she buying baby products so lets her up right now and so so yes
00:21:42Google and Facebook and Amazon know things about you that you don't even now like for short N. is that a cumulative advantage like cannot ever be I don't know how it can be you could ever compete with that you need to find some other way of gathering the
00:21:59data should do to be a public good well and you know that's a political thing I eat it maybe there's some startling **** who was once one of the wealthiest men in the world said the secret to business is knowing something that others don't well that's certainly the
00:22:15secret to Google and Facebook in an Amazon and Netflix they know everything about you and and they can leverage that I'm not making a political statement now but it's something that needs to be examined and and well it's it's almost anti competitive in a way it's usually anti
00:22:32competitive right there's no way anyone could ever compete with that they know exactly what your by and won't buy they know what price points to offer to you at how can someone compete with that and and %HESITATION so the problem is on an anti competitive level is we're
00:22:51in a global economy and and so is one country defects from these policy exactly right a country will offer its own companies a competitive advantage globally friend so good use that data for sure %HESITATION so it's it's tough to argue for anti these anti trust laws because you
00:23:11put yourself in a globally disadvantage said exactly right so it's tough it's gotta be these are really tough questions we need to work out now and again one of the problems with algorithms if they just get embedded into our daily lives and then they execute with relentless ferocious
00:23:32unforgiving efficiency twenty four seven and we don't even know why they're doing the things they're doing the again you mean beings can't understand the algorithms are too complex they just execute so so we have some hard choices as a as a not just as a country but as
00:23:50a as a planet we gotta come together on these things yeah I want to come back to chess a little bit sure I knew when you were a kid how did you learn chess you went to school he played this guy at lunch you get be so my
00:24:03father taught me to have them when I was a boy I had to be careful the questions I asked my father because I remember one day he was playing chess with a friend I was all of six and a half and %HESITATION is it can I watch me
00:24:16said yeah sure you can but I had to learn the the rules of the game right and so so that's all I knew about chess I just knew the rules so was interested at all and then in high school freshman year first day of high school a kid
00:24:31in home room had a little magnetic chess set me turned around in home room with twenty minutes to Callan he said you know how to play chess and I said yeah I know how to play very probably like six saying I know the play baseball when you swing
00:24:43a bat once right now and so %HESITATION he beat me in you know for five moves and I've got kind of testament that okay I'm gonna be in the next day and he beat me every day that week and I just thought he was so smug about it
00:24:56I just I was a swimmer and that's really all I cared about was swimming competitors summer right for five hours a day and I thought I just want to beat this kid I just won it by the end of the year right as my little call so I
00:25:07went to the bookstore and I got a book %HESITATION Bobby Fischer's games Anna called my sixty memorable games and I I played over those games every day after some practice when I got home than that play over the meaning mentally or physically you're all I set up a
00:25:21chess board in and his book would place you know he would list the most of his games and with annotations he would explain why he did and did not you know that was a good move here's why that was a bad move that's why so I played over
00:25:33these games over and over till I knew them by heart and I thought what a second he's been playing chess at that point see sixty nine pretty even playing for you know twenty plus years and I thought is more than sixty memorable games I wanna get every game
00:25:48he has Bobby Fischer Bobby Fischer right this is before he won the World Championship so I went to the library and I got every old chess magazine I went to downtown Chicago on the train of this what thirteen and I went to the library people don't remember what
00:26:04libraries where in the in this day and the internet but I and I spent weeks going they're going through every back issue of every chance magazine globally to find Fisher games and if there was a Fisher game that's all I wrote down I couldn't copy down anybody else's
00:26:19games it was just my little mania and %HESITATION so at the end of the year that I actually did in a couple months I had about seven hundred of his games in a little play book that I had a little notebook an eight by handed written down all
00:26:33these games and I play them over over and over and over and he was the most famous chess player in the world but he hadn't yet won the World Championship he was twenty seven twenty twenty six twenty six at this point twenty six twenty seven and %HESITATION and
00:26:47by the end of the are a bit in that kid this this the kid with a smug smile course yeah and then and then couple years later I was one of the best high school players in the country and %HESITATION and my my team this is from Evanston
00:27:01Illinois we sent a team to New York and we finished second place that year we we won the next year %HESITATION and %HESITATION just by chance on Easter Sunday and I was what sixteen I was walking with my mother and near macys those of you not know New
00:27:16York it's on thirty fourth and Broadway I %HESITATION across the street I spot Bobby Fischer which is like he was the most reclusive person in the world and I just said mama a seal later that's that's my hero over there and I ran across the state dodging traffic
00:27:31to get to him out of a crowd he was enormous six three yeah like but even still this bottom in a crowd like what are the odds that and %HESITATION any just ran up to him and I said %HESITATION Mister Fisher Mister Fisher you know in nineteen sixty
00:27:45two when you played Reshevsky and and the Sicilian much play plunking works free and move six like what was that about make because I knew all of his games by heart and %HESITATION it didn't occur to me that he would like to get lost cat right and he
00:27:59was a famous reckless like just paranoid about everybody but here's the strange little kid knows all of his games and he just became a mentor he was you know and again this is in the two years leading up to is winning the World Championship and spent time with
00:28:14him before the yeah I got I got a chance to spend time with them at that they used to be a resort called gross singers in the Catskills if you saw the movie a dirty dancing with that Patrick Swayze back in the day it was where %HESITATION thank
00:28:31Muhammad Ali had trained I guess he was nervous yeah Muhammad Ali a train from one of his boxing matches there so they offered Fisher chance train for this basket match the World Championship and I got to spend two weeks of them watching and prepare for the world championship
00:28:45which was so cool %HESITATION what did you learn from watching him prepare well this is interesting Fisher Fisher woke up at eleven or twelve in the morning and went to sleep it three or four at night so you learn that for him that was the optimal time of
00:29:07the day right time of day and night right where he functioned the best and so you learn to find out like how you function the best we all did that right like I know there's certain times of the day like the first thirty minutes when I wake up
00:29:21or where I get the most creative ideas or after ten at night for me %HESITATION so each of us learned so I learned the importance of that I learned the importance of of of pretty much a single minded focus that's all he did it %HESITATION which is one
00:29:36of his tragedies %HESITATION he said famously once all I ever want to do after his play chess and that's great but when you win the World Championship now what do you do and %HESITATION you know he he savvy was lost his mind to paranoia %HESITATION over the years
00:29:53and that was a real shame paranoid is tough because you don't trust anybody and after a while he didn't even trust me %HESITATION it just fell out of touch with with the world %HESITATION but on a positive note I learned the importance of focus %HESITATION of knowing your
00:30:11opponent he arm get a game above red book of his opponents games that's all he did he just played over those games over and over and %HESITATION and I could tell which is the same way you learn right exactly I just played over Fisher's games %HESITATION now the
00:30:27thing is I play people other than Fisher so so it's not the optimal way I should have studied other people I should have and so did Fisher but when he was preparing for the World Championship match that's all he did it didn't he did like a bait and
00:30:40switch because he is soon yes yes so his whole life so mind you he was a world class chess player actually let me talk about Fisher because Fisher was unique in the world in the following way Fisher learn the game of chess at the age of six and
00:30:56by the time he was eleven start by the time he was twelve he was a good twelve yo chess player not a great twelve your chess player he was a good twelve you're a player that six years later right after six years of playing chess Bobby Fischer was
00:31:11good at the age of thirteen a year later he played a game that some people say it was the game of the century as a thirteen year old so one year later he goes from good to playing a game people today still play over going on my god
00:31:24I thirteen your play the game at the age of fourteen he was the US champion Maija twelve he was merely a good twelve you're out at thirteen he played a game that some people say is one of the best ever at fourteen he was the US champion at
00:31:36fifteen he was one of the top eight players in the world what happened exactly any did that on his own imagine a kill coach no no coach know nothing now that's not entirely true head coach but the coach had a chance rating of like two thousand okay like
00:31:52not really a cut should be like so the I. decent player it be like you pick up a tennis racket and your coach is the best player in your neighborhood okay yep that's not gonna get you too far yeah right think it'll get you the rudiments %HESITATION tissue
00:32:09that entirely on his own and no one in the history of the game has improved like that not just that game in any field on his own and how do you do it well he was a genius and he was very simple and he played the same series
00:32:29of openings you know Tim asking a question tempers he said what was unique about him and I said dear child like simplicity he really did he look when you look at his games it was like a child playing them and and everyone else had really complicated games and
00:32:45fissures were always very simple and the thing about Fisher %HESITATION this is something really about Fisher he always play to win he didn't mind losing actually he hated losing but he wanted to win more and so there were games where anyone else would have accepted a draw that
00:33:05Fisher would play to win and in doing so sometimes lost and I think they're two ways to live your life you can play to win no one wants to lose you can play to win are you complain not to lose and Fisher always played to win and you
00:33:19knew even if in a losing position he was looking for a way to when he was not giving up that tell you actually totally beat him that'd happen too often but so there was a ferocious will to win that was something also about Fisher %HESITATION any did it
00:33:35entirely on his own against the Russians who were determined to beat him as a group as a block imagine a kid in Russia taking up the game of baseball I'm becoming the best baseball player in history on his own sister in the Cold War right during the Cold
00:33:51War era politics things going on so many political things and he had the ultimate bait and switch with with Spassky yeah he always played plunking for always played the same openings imagine always coming out with a right hook and then in the World Championship switching up and playing
00:34:06something different spots giving going over his games just like he was going over spots in then all the sudden this does something totally different doesn't look this and not Fisher was a total bait and switch and Fisher set up the Russians for me just figure this out tend
00:34:23for sixteen seventeen years played exactly the same move so everyone knew exactly what he was going to do and in the World Championship only he did something different which must've been unnerving if you're on the other side of you wouldn't know what to do if you were to
00:34:36have been flabbergasted like all all the preparation I did for Fisher is useless I thought I was playing one person I'm not playing someone else so that was yeah an incredible bait and switch that Fisher of the op welcome back to you a little bit tie this to
00:34:53a I a little bit but I want to come back to the role of information in decision making sure heaters can handle way more information than we can as humans you had talked about the possible like study yes can on the phone with me can you elaborate a
00:35:08little bit sure so you mean beings have a limited processing ability right our brain Sir I have very little what's known as %HESITATION working memory right we can't maintain a whole lot of information are head at any one point and so because of that limited processing ability %HESITATION
00:35:28we we have a hard time with too much information and so so we like to think that the more information we get I'm using air quotes now the better informed we are and will make better decisions but that's not true and %HESITATION a seminal study was done by
00:35:46by a psychologist named Paul Slovik back in nineteen seventy four so Paul Slavic gets eight horse handicappers into a room and he says I'm gonna see how good you guys are right and so he says we're gonna spend today handicapping horse races which is to say predicting the
00:36:02winner of a horse race and these had been races that had been run over the last few decades that slow the could gotten the stats on any deleted the names of all the forces because if you knew the name of the horse and give you an address to
00:36:14all you saw was numbers right it's are you sock and so we said we're gonna handicap forty horse races and we're going to do so in four rounds ten races each and in the first round I'm gonna give each of you horse bettors handicappers any five pieces of
00:36:31information you want so like you might want to wait at the jockey but that guy next year the other handicapper he doesn't really care about the way to the jockey right he wants some other variables so each of you whatever five pieces you want it and that guy
00:36:43wanted in each of the horse handicappers wanted they got and at the end of the first round with five pieces of information they were seventeen percent accurate which is seventeen or nineteen hold on nineteen percent accurate which is pretty good it's almost twice as good as chance right
00:37:04apologies been awhile since I looked at the study seventeen or nineteen percent anyway almost twice as good as chance which is pretty darn good with five pieces of information I say twice as good as chance there were ten horses in every race so we would expect ten percent
00:37:17accuracy just blind guessing just one in ten did you get a ten percent chance of getting a horse right so if you're betting nineteen percent you've almost doubled your your results that's pretty good any also asked each of the bettors to rate how confident they are they are
00:37:34in their predictions and they were %HESITATION I remember what it was that's why I was confusing the two they were seventeen percent accurate they were nineteen percent confident that was it so almost identical confidence and accuracy round one round one with five pieces of information round two they
00:37:52were given ten pieces of information then twenty and in round four they had forty piece of information and there were ten races so this was statistically valid results right there accuracy was still only seventeen percent with forty pieces of information but their confidence almost doubled to thirty one
00:38:14percent and one from nineteen percent to thirty one percent so they're now almost twice as confident as they ought to be which is to say there overconfident so all the extra information did was just be their confirmation bias they'd already made a decision based on five pieces of
00:38:31information and all the new information did was make them more confident in the decision they have already made right are which is white with by the way in my investment analysis when I look at global markets I reduce our global markets down to a handful of variables like
00:38:47copper verses gold %HESITATION our investment grade bonds forces versus corporate bonds right out you D. I. E. F. at ratio I told you about a dozen might to my really key variables to predict not just the stock market but %HESITATION interest rates and so the goal is to
00:39:05reduce complexity to a few pieces of information that you can follow and reason with the trouble with too much information is you can't reason with it return how things interact where is if you have the few key variables you can figure out how they interact and that is
00:39:21exactly right that such a good point change you can figure out how they can interact and you can figure out when you're wrong rent right so one of my favorite investment questions is what what I need to see to change my view and if you're dealing with dozens
00:39:36of variables there's no way that you can change your view on like there's just too much information to keep in mind right the way they all interact but if you're dealing with three or four five variables I can say I'm bullish on the US stock market until I
00:39:52see this one variable declined by more than three percent in which case then I'm bearish because now I know I've gotten the feedback I need on the very as I understand G. like I have a hypothesis that distilling things down to the E. D. S. and some are
00:40:07the the key variables not all the variables but the ones that are probably going to govern the okay sure also helps you with information filtering because now you don't have to pay attention to all of these other things coming at you you don't have to read every press
00:40:20release you don't have to yes exactly right so you asked me earlier before we started this you know like how long do I look at markets and I I size of global markets in really in in in fifteen seconds or thirty seconds because I know exact and by
00:40:35the way when I say global markets I mean all global markets including currencies bonds and currencies commodities is it said look at every single currency but I look at most of the major stock markets and commodities and the major currency pairs and interest rates in fifteen to thirty
00:40:51seconds because I know what I'm looking for and I'm only looking for changes that are unexpected because I've already formed a view right I know how the market should behave and now I'm just looking for deviations so I just have a glance and see if there's a deviation
00:41:07it's kind of like looking at a imagine a a classroom of kids and a teacher just scans every day and just looking for as a kid missing or is there a new kid present and then up kind of pay attention and so I'm able to do that in
00:41:20global markets because I know what I'm looking for which gives me a reasoning edge also has a give your reasoning image there's a saying in Zen Buddhism the beginner mind sees many possibilities the expert sees only a few think about driving think about when you learned how to
00:41:38drive Shane when you first got behind the wheel it's terrifying you have no idea where to like what do you look after people walking around there's the stop lights there other cars to millions of input millions of inputs and you have no idea what to look at and
00:41:56the process of becoming a skilled driver that all becomes automated right you don't have to look for very much at all you know exactly what's relevant and what's not and so I think that's true with all experts in all fields is you learn what not to pay attention
00:42:13to so that you can give more attention to what's important right otherwise the person is like looking at a million different things I actually don't understand about the investing world I look at three or four five things to understand global markets I don't understand people who look at
00:42:30literally dozens to hundreds to thousands of things this statistic that government report that annual report how in the world can you possibly form a view of the world that you can cast like which variables having which a fact make how would you know you can't you can't but
00:42:51if you're consistently wrong and you have few variables and you know those aren't the variables are at least one of them is one of them is to secure your reasoning is askew and like modify and find out what works not that allows you to feed back to actually
00:43:04get in that %HESITATION over time right there is getting better might just keep you in the same relative position because the world's always changing but hopefully you can actually accelerate that and break out of I think you can any individual who approaches his or her life in any
00:43:20domain can get better you know what I'm gonna take something from chest this is an interesting rule Fisher played a very limited opening repertoire which is to say played very few openings and got really good at those openings before he did anything else so the thing is instead
00:43:38of doing lots of different things get good a couple so for example if I were a guitar teacher I'm just making this up I'm not if I were I would have a student gain mastery over a few songs and get really good at those and then slowly build
00:43:55on that expertise to introduce new songs instead what we do is we try to teach a student dozens of songs right and you don't really get any good at any rate that's the difference between the US education system by the way an Oxford and Cambridge %HESITATION tell me
00:44:11more about the shore so the idea of a liberal arts education is this if you learn a lot start if you learn a little about a lot of different subjects you'll be able to sort of piece it all together it being air quotes right if you learn a
00:44:27little bit about a lot of things you'll be able to generalize and kind of think about anything well no you won't because you've never learned how to think at Oxford and Cambridge the belief is learned one thing really well and then you can learn anything else really well
00:44:43Intel you've gone into death de the actually done something learned and mastered it and sat on through the process of learning you probably don't really understand how to learn you don't understand how to learn right gave only stated that really superficial level in the United States you don't
00:44:58really begin to specialize in the going adapts until graduate school I don't know why they they do that instead it would be much better if you if you learned one or two subjects really well and then branch out from there right I think US schools would be much
00:45:15better off if they focused on teaching students simply how to read well and write well and rudimentary mathematics get back down for the first eight years make sure they're really good at that read and then introduce a subject rent one of the time can one at a time
00:45:32get get good at that right how much how much do you remember from high school chemistry I man I barely remember anything right much at all right now much at all really a waste of how many hours of my life here right there lots of in college to
00:45:47like you don't really get a chance to to learn much and ultimately it's it's wasted time learn one thing well then you can learn anything well what is the process for learning is there a process well I think yes there is when how do we learn right so
00:46:06that's such a good question I I wrote a book on while twenty five years ago called what's smart students now and I I did the following I'd I realize that by the way I'm not plugging the book I am not actually not because I can summarize it now
00:46:22and I wish I had the time to re write the book but what I did was this no one ever shows us how to learn ever know where in school for example imagine Shane in French class French one a one your first French class your teacher said everyone
00:46:39you're gonna have to learn a lot of vocabulary in this class so before I teach you any words I'm gonna teach a way to remember vocabulary they never do that they just go we can have a quiz on these thirty words on Monday could lock rent but they
00:46:52don't teach us how to learn actually or remember things like for example they don't tell students if you want to remember anything create a picture a pattern a story or rhyme out of it all the Monex come back to picture pattern story or rhyme but they don't tell
00:47:08us that so we struggle we you know we'll create flash cards which are totally ineffective on how we keep re reading our notes so I wrote what's March students know why I gave students a page from a geology text book like a sample page and I spent the
00:47:25next two hundred pages showing how to actually what it would mean to learn that like actually a some isn't it it's really court right I mean not that you would do that death but like what does it mean to learn that page of information like yours everything that
00:47:38you would actually need to do by the way if I told you all the steps it would take you to tie your shoe it be much harder than just show watch that set him right so so the secret to learning anything is this anything I'm glad you asked
00:47:52that question rehearsing if you want to get good at football play football if you want to get good at playing the guitar play the guitar if you want to get good it chast you've got to play chess now you want to break that down to certain skills and
00:48:07rehearse each one of them so you see people playing pickup basketball or tennis and they haven't broken it down to skills and they're just out there playing right you want to break the domain down to sub skills and then rehearse each one now the reason I use rehearse
00:48:25is you want to do exactly what you would do in the actual game right so for example if you want to get good at taking tests you have to take tests which is to say the following let's deconstruct that so I'm going to in the next two minutes
00:48:41summarize everything there is to know about learning a subject it's this you were Hearst whatever you were required to do on the test so think about a test on a test you were asked questions you've never seen before and you have to search your memory for the relevant
00:48:58information right so step one read the questions step to search brain for for relevant information step three collate that information into an answer right answer you have to rehearse each one of those steps to do well in those subjects rent so what that means is you need to
00:49:20wait to prepare for a test I hate the word prepare or study because here's what most people mean by the word prepare for our study for a test we read my notes if you think back to when you were in high school and college I look the most
00:49:33students and what they would do is they would highlight the text books and take lots of notes and then re read their highlighting and re read their notes but that's not rehearsing the scale right no one test you on how well you highlight right no one test you
00:49:47I'm on re reading your notes because on the test you're not re reading anything you're seeing an entirely new situation so the way to get good it at any subject in any domain is to rehearse the skills that you're actually required to do some practice questions practice questions
00:50:05that you've never seen before and you then have to search your memory for the relevant information by the way it helps when I would do in in college is I would get text books the teacher wasn't using and I would see what questions were asked there so I'd
00:50:20really get questions I'd never seen before even from teachers teachers %HESITATION %HESITATION authors textbook authors that warrant my professor and weren't the authors of the text book I was reading so I really gets stump with questions right and so because that's going to happen in the actual game
00:50:40so for example imagine your basketball coach right and you want to train your basketball players at certain points your key player is gonna be out of action right filed out or were injured thank I would have them play basketball games where take out one of the players near
00:50:57now playing with for right or one of you like I would try to find a way to make their arm a little like wrap it up or something said it was a little constrained like right you got a muscle sore now you're playing the game now the actress
00:51:10now practice now rehearse hers right so rehearsed under varying conditions but a key the key to learning any scale really if there's anything I said today like that was super important the key to learning any skill rehearse it break it down into sub skills and the rehearse each
00:51:28of those skills if you're doing something other than that you're wasting your time re reading your notes wasted time you want to get good at the job interview have someone ask you questions someone who doesn't know you ask you questions right the greater feedback and listen to it
00:51:45and exactly right and then exactly right with the feedback chain then okay I spoke too fast I would whisk coaching young woman she had a job interview teal coming up and whenever I spoke she's she did the following your talk to me talk to me right now and
00:52:05I'm gonna pretend to be her listening so talk to me right now she just say anything what I want you to do hot hot hot go to she would say aha so quickly and I said are you aware that you are signaling that you're not listening to the
00:52:21other person and she was dumbfounded and she going to Columbia University I mean you know a good school right great school she said no one's ever told me that before I said you say aha so quickly there's no way you heard what I asked you or said to
00:52:36you and all your signaling is you're not listening to me I already don't like you I like to I mean I was spread fear is a mentor right and so so you need feedback and she was stunned she said no one's ever told me that before and I
00:52:50suggest talk more slowly don't say hostile quickly listen to the person slimming capsule at this little bit if I'm in school I'm in university high school I am doing physics actions at the end of the chapter which most people annoy or or avoid and teachers may assign the
00:53:08odd numbers of the even numbers right you should be doing them all and not not looking and it's trying to do them and then if your stock go back and look in your book exactly right if you re read your notes all you're getting good at is like
00:53:21following following problems you've already seen before that's not gonna help you when you get a new problem because that's what's going to happen on the test I'll go one better you wanna get really good try the sample questions at the end of the chapter before you read the
00:53:34chapter it's interesting now because what that does is it primes you not now all of a sudden low how would I just no way I can answer those questions let's now you're primed as you read the chapter of what's relevant and what's not and you also prime yourself
00:53:49for the following what happens when I have incomplete information read what happens if I forget the Pythagorean theorem how do I answer the question that that's what I did the Princeton review by the way what happens when you know only two of the five choices what do you
00:54:05do rent like there's there's a whole range of things that you can do when your skill right so what happens in that what happens is baseball player five if I've got sweat a minute and a fly ball is coming at me what do I do right I mean
00:54:23you need to rehearse for the unusual as well in non optimal condition not optimal conditions because you can't ever count on optimal ever and %HESITATION if you get them great you're lucky so would you organize what's what sprint students know differently now or would you take the same
00:54:41approach which is like here's a page of geology and how would you update I would ask them to say I had asked me to break down and how can I teach them how to teach themselves I'd say okay in a little Socratic way I will go on their
00:54:55task on this material will you have seen the questions before yes or no now I could step in through here and get them to discover whoa reading my notes re reading my notes is just a total waste of time right like that's all they do they take notes
00:55:09in class verbatim here's a scale on the test do you part back exactly %HESITATION teachers words or do you express them in your own words well of course you express them in your own words well then you have to rehearse doing that read right so when you take
00:55:25notes in school they're probably verbatim just because you got to keep up with the teacher right but then translate those notes into your own words because that's what you're going to have to do on the test don't we region notes translator rent because you got to do that
00:55:38on the test and if you haven't done it before you're not gonna be able to do it on the test that's really fascinating how does that carry over to adults than you might be working in an organization or need to acquire new skills or %HESITATION well to figure
00:55:54out what it is you're required to do and then and there rehearsed that skill like let's say it's presentations you gotta give presentations to clients right then you're gonna have to rehearse that what is the skills more murky what if it's like managing people %HESITATION how do we
00:56:10go about learning to manage people how do we get the feedback how does such a good question I I just think about that that's a that's a challenging one because after all you're gonna have to teach yourself and list your being coached right here is the way to
00:56:23think about it if you are playing tennis by yourself do you think you Shane are going to be able to correct your tennis stroke so I don't think so right because you're not gonna be able to see what you did wrong there right you're not part of the
00:56:37system you're part of right you're indebted within it like a fish like not knowing that it's surrounded by water because it doesn't know non water right so Fisher in chess was able to do that because he saw the results of his game he could play over the games
00:56:51go up that was a mistake and never doing that again right right but when you're dealing with people how do you know like what results in my getting in for example people could smile you could be getting totally the wrong feedback they may be smaller because they don't
00:57:05want to upset you right here's an example when I want to give a talk and I wanna rehearsed for that talk I need to do it in front of people who don't know me if they're my friends they're gonna be smiling and nodding their heads it like just
00:57:20because they know me right when I have to make a patch it's going to be to someone who doesn't know me right right so I need that feedback right here something when I want to find out whether I know something I explain its people that I barely now
00:57:33like I could be sitting next to someone at a restaurant going this is a new book I'm writing and like would you like to listen and you know if I can engage that person who's a stranger and get them and then get them interested then I know okay
00:57:46good now I am getting some feedback now that's useful information right I mean I gave you a copy of my book right and I have given other friends copies of my book to get feedback right if they said I'm you know this one chapters along like then it's
00:57:59useful %HESITATION and by the way it gives people who who like who know me but they're not friend friends like different dot while the you didn't know me that well really and and so I use that feedback to to revise but your question is a good one in
00:58:15every day life how do we get feedback %HESITATION boy I think sometimes you just have to ask here's a question I wanted to ask friends what are people know about Adam that Adam doesn't know about Adam %HESITATION that's a great question have you have you asked the yeah
00:58:32I just started to ask you know and be brutal right like I what what is Adam know about was everyone about Adam that Adam doesn't now and like okay I can be prepared for the answers and be honest and really if you want to be scientific about that
00:58:47you could submit to thirty friends and give them some like online form where like SurveyMonkey or something where they didn't he just like the okay by the way someone told me it was really good advice regarding writing he said Adam if one person tells you something that's that
00:59:01person's opinion but if three people tell you the same thing you've really got a lesson and and I I think that's that's good advice that's really good advice it's hard to send us your friends they don't wanna hurt and using here putting out hurt your feelings and they're
00:59:16hurting you by and by not being honest with you in a way yeah you know yeah I think that's boy that would be a great website you know someone could start a website here someone out there listening to Shane's brilliant blog and podcast here's an idea you create
00:59:34a website where people can write feedback for people and it submitted to the person anonymously make just start to order now yet like that be really cool to be a great service for people and like all wow I didn't realize you know I cut people off read all
00:59:50right talk too fast then you can start seeing things but yourself that you're blind to totally blind don't want to bring up because of social norms of their your friends or yeah or or they just don't think someone I know I know young man brilliant and he's so
01:00:05brilliant he almost comes across as too slick man and I was talking to someone about him who knows the same young man and and the sublime you should tell him and it didn't occur to me to tell him that I and I as I said to him I
01:00:19said by the way you might wanna stumble occasionally rent because you're so polished and so slick that you're not approachable Brent and even there is response was a slick %HESITATION yeah the Prat fall affect I know that %HESITATION cal's do that like he so so I mean even
01:00:38know where he knew where I was going with that right right and so so yeah I think providing feedback is a is a tough one but I'm sure in the comments section is going to be all kinds of feedback for for me now and okay bring it on
01:00:54you know and and as long as it's comes from a position of life you know and and and I think that's important I think yeah I think that's what people know if you if you come up from a place of love and constructive and once a constructive criticism
01:01:10but just feedback because we're all blind really to the fact we have on people and not totally blind we have some idea of what it would be good to get feedback and and by the way if I were an employer to your question and I and you asked
01:01:27about managing people I'd I'd sit down my entire department and say I am I have not I've I've been online form I want you to tell me ways I'm I could be improved where I'd really sock here and I do see people would tell you that but then
01:01:44you also get into this like I don't want to tell my boss this song right like there's a social dynamic to it or a psychological impediment and there's also like you kind of go whatever you know you just kind of roll your eyes and go whenever but but
01:01:58I think if it were earnestly %HESITATION submitted the the the the the petition like Hey I need this feedback I want to do better for you guys by the way your bonuses are tied to your performance so help me help make you more money yeah and help our
01:02:14company make more money help us contribute to the world please give me some feedback I found when I was managing people they would always put their toe through that door but it wouldn't be a foot it would be a tow and how you responded to that first sort
01:02:27of thing you could do better or this criticism or whatever you want to call it %HESITATION at fact you you don't know that yourself how you respond to that is indicative of whether that foot would come in the door and then you know the reality and the right
01:02:40there probing yeah either probing you and most people and then observe this at work most people had this default response of like %HESITATION you don't know what you're talking about or that's not true or here's a case where it wasn't true and that that's a complete shut down
01:02:54%HESITATION yeah for that other person and they'll never put that foot through the door with you again they eat and when they by the way I I hear this with investors where I'm I'm trying to to to to convey some information and their their responses to argue against
01:03:08it yeah instead of going okay well let me see if that's a valid idea let me just explored me just entertain it %HESITATION it's so funny you should talk about this %HESITATION in %HESITATION in the Middle Ages there was an institution designed by kings to provide feedback and
01:03:24it was called the court jester and the function of the court jester was not to amuse the king the function of the court jester was far more serious than that the court jester was the one person who is empowered by the king always to tell the truth and
01:03:39so the king who might say I was thinking of invading France and the court jester would go up good luck with that body remember the last time you invaded Germany read and and so because he was a jester the court down the king's court could then laughed it
01:03:57off but the function the court jester was actually tell the king the truth I had no idea yeah and and he was in power to do so because then the king could save face everyone would laugh but the king would go okay maybe I shouldn't invade France maybe
01:04:12that's not such a cracked and so right wasn't an entertaining function it was the real function tell the truth feedback how do we get that it's so hard incredibly difficult yeah route switching gears just little bit maybe your last question what are some of the biggest learnings that
01:04:31you've gotten from other people that were unexpected %HESITATION Gee that was an unexpected question %HESITATION I don't know so much that they were this is import were always teaching on multiple levels so for example when there's the direct lesson but the teachers also saying any number of other
01:04:55things right so for example one thing this my students always learn from me is I believe they can improve not just there's the lesson like this is the path agony and their %HESITATION they also have learned lots of things and believes I can raise my score raising scores
01:05:12are possible right you're teaching on multiple levels and and so one thing I've learned just from observation and it's more indirect is all the multiple ways we influence others and we're always teaching whether we're aware of it or not were always making a statement and a by the
01:05:30way not just a statement multiple statements I I was so well done really sad but a couple of Sundays ago I was walking with a friend to a park in soho New York and %HESITATION there was a little stand that was being set up for the afternoon by
01:05:48some musicians and a mother and I could tell the mother loves her little son very much the sun was I'm guessing three and a half for something as she was walking by and the sun was wanted to get involved in as it were I'm using your quotes helped
01:06:01the musician set up their equipment and the mother I over heard the mother said her son no no you can't play music yet but you can learn how and I just thought how sad that child is now internalize that he can't play and the only he came back
01:06:18he can't play I'm using air quotes now until he learns so the mother with all the best intentions right was giving him a very bad message right and if you think back to your life Shane I know certainly know in mind the number of off hand comments that
01:06:35an individual may set the positively or negatively impacted me Ted this today I'll bet you can think of a handful of statements by this teacher or that adult that that you still remember in a good way or you or naked or in a negative way yeah and it's
01:06:52astonishing that the impact it off hand comments can have on young people and I know one of the the really important things that I'm I'm really worried about the world and I'm worried about young people in particular and %HESITATION whose %HESITATION the under twenty five generation Gen Z.
01:07:10right there then they're inheriting a world it's falling apart and and their brains and attention of been hijacked by technology and it's so I'm I'm deeply worried not just about the world as a whole but about young people and I think all of us can what should we
01:07:27do differently to to stand out %HESITATION abated in your mind ball for one %HESITATION see I'm I'm not sure that there's an answer that question because I think the adults are so embedded adults the over twenty five are so embedded in their in their world views I'm not
01:07:45sure that that we're gonna change too quickly %HESITATION and on the positive side young people the younger generation under twenty five the Gen Z. the youngest generation is free from many of the the labels that everyone over the age of twenty five like male versus female or Republican
01:08:07versus Democrat or American versus non American %HESITATION date bit doubtful political and social and economic discussions of the adults and so I I think the youngest generation Z. the youngest generation is more homogenous in a global way then then all prior generations and I think that's a plus
01:08:30and the minus side they're inheriting a world where there are few positive voices few if any and I think that's what's needed in the world right now you need beacons a people offering positive visions that others can rally behind and I say positive vision not us versus them
01:08:49positive visions positive inclusive visions and and maybe young people will provide that maybe maybe it'll slept maybe we'll get the leadership from Gen Z. maybe %HESITATION but we certainly need positive voices in the world I think that's a great place to wrap up because now we can invite
01:09:07everybody listening we can give them an invitation to the great camp yeah Hey thank you so much item chain it was a delight thank you so much yes this is %HESITATION Shane again just a few more things before we wrap up you'll find show notes of Burnham street
01:09:25blog dot com slash podcast that's F. A. R. N. A. M. S. T. R. E. E. T. B. L. O. G. E. dot com slash podcast you can also find information there on how to get a transcript and if you'd like to receive a weekly email from me
01:09:41filled with all sorts of brain food go to farm street blog dot com slash newsletter this is all the good stuff I found on the web that week that I've read and shared with close friends books and reading and so much more thank you for listening and move

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