Friday, April 10, 2009

Interesting New Observation Selection Effect

Nick Bostrom's work on observation selection effects leads to his amusing observation of why cars really do go faster in the other lane. The reason, simply, is that you are more likely to find yourself in the lane with more people, because there are more people in that lane!

A similar observation was pointed out by Eliezer Yudkowsky about debates and their frustrating tendency not to converge quickly to agreement. Longer debates where agreement is not quickly reached are more likely to be observed simply because they take longer, potentially giving one the impression that people disagree more than they do.

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