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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Dec 13, 2020



A recent Cracked piece: Five Everyday Groups Society Says It’s Okay To Mock. It begins:

There’s a rule in comedy that says you shouldn’t punch down. It’s okay to make fun of someone rich and famous, because they’re too busy molesting groupies with 100-dollar bills to notice, but if you make a joke at the expense of a homeless person, you’re just an asshole. That said, we as a society have somehow decided on a few arbitrary exceptions to this rule.

“Somehow decided on a few arbitrary exceptions” isn’t very technical. Let’s see if we can do better.

Earlier this week, I wrote about things that are anti-inductive. Something is anti-inductive if it fights back against your attempts to understand it. The classic example is the stock market. If someone learns that the stock market is always low on Tuesdays, then they’ll buy lots of stocks on Tuesdays to profit from the anomaly. But this raises the demand for stocks on Tuesdays, and therefore stocks won’t be low on Tuesdays anymore. To detect a pattern is to destroy the pattern.