Newsflash: Robin Hanson is blogging!

And some other people too, mostly names I recognize from prediction markets (Wolfers, Zitzewitz, Hibbert) at Overcoming Bias. Here is Robin's description of the blog's vision:

We have many mental attitudes, and a "belief" is an attitude that estimates a truth. These truths can include facts about the world around us and our place in it, moral truths, and truths about our or others' values. The error of a belief estimate is how much it deviates from its truth.

If our minds had been built only as error-reduction machines, we would try as best we could to reduce a weighted average of our belief errors, given resource constraints like the information, time, and money available to us. There would be little point in having a group like ours devoted to reducing error; that would be everyone's task all the time.

Sometimes human minds do seem to function roughly as error-reduction machines. Overall, however, our minds seem to have been built to create beliefs which also achieve other functions, such as having other people like or respect us. And the mental and social tendencies we have that pursue these other functions, such as wishful thinking and overconfidence, often come at the cost of belief error. We are built to not see these distortions in ourselves, though we often see them in others.

Most give lip service to reducing belief error, but we believe that we want more than most to adjust our mental and social machinery to reduce our error, even if this means we achieve other belief functions less. Given such a willingness, it makes sense for us to expect that we can in fact reduce our error, and that we can help each other by gathering together.

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