“How likely are we to have holophonors by 3002?”
“Pretty likely. They’re pretty much just better oboes, right? 80% chance?”
“Keep in mind the overconfidence bias.”
“Alright, 70% chance.”
“Also, note that people are pretty bad at predictions. A study by George Wise found that out of 1556 naive medium-term predictions made publicly by Americans between 1890 and 1940, just under 40% had been fulfilled or were in progress by 1976 (Wise 1976).”
“Fine. Then I won’t just make a reflexive prediction. I’ll give the matter serious thought… Well, people in the future will probably be really into opera and the arts because shiny, metal robots will do all the real work. So they’ll be sitting on their hover chairs in their spandex togas. And they’ll want to listen to something—but see something at the same time—just like laser light shows. But lasers will be pretty blasé in the future (what with the ubiquitous laser pocket knifes, laser watches, and laser pointers). So holophonors will be the perfect thing. So, I guess a 90% chance of holophonors?”
“Ah ha ha. You fell right into my trap! Your casual futurism betrays you! Just by imagining that scenario, you think it’s more likely.”
We can use interactivity to augment traditional text. In particular, we allow for choice of ordering and between alternatives.
When teaching something, is it best to start with concrete and move to the abstract? Or is it best to emphasize the abstract and introduce concrete applications later? Research on this topic is ambivalent (Flores 2009) (De Bock et al. 2011) (Kaminski, Sloutsky, and Heckler 2008) (Peterson, Mercer, and O’Shea 1988). It’s conceivable that the superior approach depends on the student. With one-on-one in-person instruction, this sort of adaptation is possible. With traditional, static text, it’s not. On the web (with computers generally), it is.
Voting procedures can replace traditional quorum with the use of statistical techniques. If aggregate opinion on the alternatives is “similar”, according to those techniques, we declare a failure of quorum.
Pie Club is voting on which pie will be featured at their first August meeting. After tallying the votes, buko pie receives a mean score of \(0.69\) and fish pie receives a mean score of \(0.18\).
Before the decision is finalized, however, an observant member notices that the meeting is two members short of the 25 required for quorum. Because Pie Club is scrupulously democratic, the vote is annulled. Some members grumble their doubt that the landslide will reverse with two more votes.
Pie Club is voting on which pie will take home the title “Pie of the Decade”. Will it be lemon meringue pie or Tarta de Santiago? The results are in—quorum checked in advance this time—and they are… \(0.49\) for meringue and \(0.48\) for Tarta. While meringue’s devotees celebrate, Tarta’s die-hards feel something has gone wrong. Can such a close result really give them confidence that meringue is the preference of the whole club, including the 12 members who couldn’t make it to meeting? If just one of them had attended and cast a vote favoring Tarta, wouldn’t that have swung the outcome?
This is a single-author, half-heartedly pseudonymous (the pseudonym being Cole) blog.
Collectively ExhaustiveA weblog