If anything is clear after 10 years of Google and 12 years of the Internet, it’s that supplying an unbelievable amount of information to people confuses things to them more than it clarifies things. One of the most ubiquitous signs that this is the case is the enormous number of:
Coincidence?!?! I DON’T THINK SO!
statements that surround every low-probability A.I. (after Internet) event. Sidenote: B.C. and A.D. are getting old. It’s time to move to B.I. (before Internet) and A.I. (defined above) in the way we define the years. Anyway, let’s make a list of some of these events in no particular order:
- Almost every event surrounding 9/11
- The non-existence of WMD’s in Iraq
- The triumph of Christina Aguilera over Britney Spears
- The rise of Apple Computer
I’m not going to sit here and think of other things, you get the point. If you don’t get the point, the point is that people, for whatever reason, can’t accept that a low-probability event is the explanation for something HUGE. They’d rather come up with some storybook explanation that makes it seem like the event was, in fact, predictable. One of the best examples of this is in Sports. You always hear about “this team won the (Championship Game) because…”, even when said team won by a small enough margin to be attributed to randomness. Whenever I hear a woman talk about how she met her husband, and how it was just always meant to be, it just seems so obviously ridiculous to me that I’m not even sure how to point it out.
I mean, what the fuck, people really want to believe that the highest probability event is what “should always happen” and what does always happen outside of extremely unlikely events. That’s not how the world works. The biggest news with the biggest impact is the stuff with a low probability of happening; and the big impact stuff is what matters. The events that happen with high probability are footnotes in history.
I think the disconnect is there because people are very conservative by nature. They look at the probability of success rather than both the probability of success combined with the value of success. For example, is it better to go for an 80% chance of banging a 9 or a 1% chance of banging Rachel Bilson (assuming you could correctly estimate the probabilities)? Keep in mind there’s a 1/5 chance that you fail with the 9 and spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have banged Rachel Bilson in her prime. The risks of failure with the 9 are so unbelievably great that you have to go for Rachel Bilson.