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redmoonsoaring comments on Why & How to Make Progress on Diversity & Inclusion in EA - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: redmoonsoaring 27 October 2017 01:39:43PM 4 points [-]

I think thoughtful, rationality-focused people (not just EA, but even, say, young software engineers) can often outperform the average 'expert,' with expertise measured by traditional credentials like having a PhD. There are many biases that pervade academia and other fields (e.g. publication bias, status quo bias, publish or perish incentives), and thoughtful people have often done a lot more than traditional experts to understand and overcome these biases. They also get the benefit of going into a field without as many preconceptions and personal investments, allowing them to better synthesize the literature in a less-biased way.

I don't have many examples on hand (and would really like if someone else can provide them), but I feel there's a solid track record of a thoughtful, rationality-focused person disagreeing strongly with traditional experts. Only two are coming to mind right now:

One is Eliezer Yudkowsky, a self-educated blogger, advocating for a focus on safety in the AI community that most traditional AI experts thought was crazy, but now the traditional AI community has shifted heavily towards Yudkowsky.

Another one is the Superforecasters discussed by Phil Tetlock doing very well at predicting future events (e.g. whether there will be a civil war in a certain country), despite traditional experts doing little better than chance.