Março 2024

Março 2024

“Beyond a given point man is not helped by more “knowing,” but only by living and doing in a partly self-forgetful way. As Goethe put it, we must plunge into experience and then reflect on the meaning of it. All reflection and no plunging drives us mad; all plunging and no reflection, and we are brutes.” - Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)

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Psicologia Comportamental

Ótima síntese dos principais conceitos do último livro publicado por Daniel Kahneman (escrito em conjunto com o consultor e acadêmico Olivier Sibony e o jurista Cass Sunstein), “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment”. Explora as falhas locais no processo de tomada de decisão, abordando principalmente o conceito de “barulho”: diferente da falha direcional sistemática, denominada “viés” (a qual é abordada extensivamente em Thinking, Fast and Slow”), o “barulho” refere-se à curiosa e recorrente suscetibilidade humana em apresentar alta variabilidade no exercício de julgamento sobre temas “idênticos”.

“It seems that the very things we most cherish in humans may lead our judgments astray. Replacing you with a model of you eliminates your subtlety, and eliminates your noise. If I present you with the same candidate at two different periods, you may have very different judgments. But if I present a model of you with the same candidates, it will produce identical judgments both times. As Kahneman and his colleagues put it, ‘You may believe that you are subtler, more insightful, and more nuanced than a linear caricature of your thinking. But in fact, you are mostly noisier’ … it proved almost impossible in that study to generate a simple model that did worse than the experts did.”

E, do outro lado do espectro em relação ao tópico acima, uma ode ao System 1: a necessidade do raciocínio internamente consistente para a comunicação com terceiros e para o pensamento deliberativo, e sua difícil (e circunstancialmente contraprodutiva) reconciliação com o estado natural inconstante da cognição humana.

Interessante desafio ao predomínio retórico da consistência lógica absoluta como estratégia “globalmente dominante”, sugerindo que ao extremo esta pode conduzir meramente à resolução precipitada de dissonâncias.

“There are benefits to keeping the mind flexible, as in logically inconsistent. For instance, you never really know that the terms and relations you have fixated upon are the best ones by which to frame your thoughts. Keeping an open mind to new ways of thinking, new concepts, and new paradigms is necessary for human ingenuity; even though such thinking may seem irrational in light of the previous set of expectations.”

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Sociologia

Um apanhado de reflexões do (involuntário) filósofo do zeitgeist atual, René Girard. Extremamente pertinente em uma era em que os “desejos miméticos” são potencializados através das mídias sociais, levando a repercussões de segunda ordem difíceis de destrinchar.

“Girard believes that erosion of differences are the source of violence, even more than difference itself. And nothing is more dangerous than total sameness. Consider how many myths involve battles between twins or siblings, or the ominous role of the ‘double’ in literature.

If you met somebody who is your exact duplicate, you probably would decide to kill this double.”

O declínio da confiança nas instituições acadêmicas lido pelo prisma de uma resposta imune da sociedade aos incentivos perversos que conduzem mais à acumulação de credenciais (ecoando Girard…) que à entrega de resultados claros.

“(…) couple years ago, I looked around and realized that I didn’t actually admire most of the people I was trying to be. I envied what they had and I feared what they could do to me, and I mistook those feelings for admiration; I thought I was looking up to them when I was only looking up at them. Many of them were petty and cruel, uncurious about ideas except as a means for acquiring status, quick to decry injustice but unwilling to risk anything to rectify it, usually polite but rarely honorable, busy but useless, eminent but uninspiring, well-spoken but cowardly. I knew I would only become more like these people if I kept going, so I stopped.

(…)

Anybody who is tethered to reality by believing in empirical evidence, experimentation, testing theories, all that science stuff—they have a gigantic advantage over the people who form their worldviews by looking at goat entrails or consulting the stars or whatever. It shouldn’t even be close. If patients can’t tell the difference between you and the goat entrail people, you better tug harder on your tether and pull yourself closer to reality, because you’re embarrassing yourself.”

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Cultura empresarial

Podcast com o CTO da Meta, e desde os primórdios da companhia fiel escudeiro de Zuckerberg, Andrew Bosworth. A entrevista foca particularmente na governança e cultura da companhia, recontando histórias sobre o início da mesma, lições do downturn recente, o ethos de transparência permeado pela onipresença do controlador-CEO, entre outros tópicos.

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Miscelânea

Artigo sobre o “efeito de Dunning-Kruger" tipificado na cátedra econômica: ou, o tratamento do próprio feudo com o máximo zelo, negligenciando a complexidade dos departamentos adjacentes. Os insights contidos generalizam bem para a pesquisa de forma genérica.

“But in economics, you all too often come across people who don’t have a sufficient baseline of knowledge outside their specialty, but who either aren’t aware of this or don’t see it as a reason not to give advice. Ironically, I think that at the root of this problem is a lack of respect for economics; they know that their own speciality is complicated, fragile and beset by special cases, but their perception of all the rest of economics is that it’s pretty easy stuff which can be figured out from first principles in a coffee break with a few simple axioms.

Which means that in my view, there’s a kind of hierarchy. If you can find one, a professional economist with direct research experience, or past personal involvement with a policy issue is likely to understand it pretty well.  If one of these isn’t available (and you need to be pretty strict with your definition of the specific issue you’re interested in; lots of things seem more relevant than they are), then in my experience you’re much better off listening to a generalist or newspaper commentator who will at least hopefully have glanced at the facts rather than trying to do it all on the back of an envelope.”

Artigo recente do fundador do Y Combinator, Paul Graham, sobre os ingredientes que conduzem a retornos exponenciais.

Dentre diversas reflexões interessantes, uma leitura oportuna sobre o necessário aumento na desigualdade à medida que diferenças nos inputs deixam de ser normalizadas dentro de organizações e por conseguinte passam a acarretar em uma elevação significativa na variância dos outputs entre indivíduos.

“A world dominated by organizations damped variation in the returns for performance. But this world has eroded significantly just in my lifetime. Now a lot more people can have the freedom that artists and writers had in the 20th century. There are lots of ambitious projects that don't require much initial funding, and lots of new ways to learn, make money, find colleagues, and reach audiences.

There's still plenty of the old world left, but the rate of change has been dramatic by historical standards. Especially considering what's at stake. It's hard to imagine a more fundamental change than one in the returns for performance.

Without the damping effect of institutions, there will be more variation in outcomes. Which doesn't imply everyone will be better off: people who do well will do even better, but those who do badly will do worse. That's an important point to bear in mind. Exposing oneself to superlinear returns is not for everyone. Most people will be better off as part of the pool. So who should shoot for superlinear returns? Ambitious people of two types: those who know they're so good that they'll be net ahead in a world with higher variation, and those, particularly the young, who can afford to risk trying it to find out.“