4 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2023
    1. when we think about self-selection bias and survivorship bias in tandem, we have a really important understanding of how power actually operates
      • key observation
        • the dynamics and relationship between
          • self-selection bias and
          • survivorship bias
        • gives us insight of how power operates
        • The wrong kinds of people who are power-hungry, seek power more in the first place.
        • Then they're better at obtaining it.
        • They show up in our ordinary lives because they've survived,
          • they've made it.
        • So when we think about who is powerful,
          • we have to think about
            • the people who didn't seek power in the first place and
            • the people who didn't obtain power in the first place.
            • the people who didn't survive in power for very long, and therefore they dropped out.
          • The presidents and prime ministers,
          • the generals,
          • the cult leaders,
          • the business leaders,
        • those people are basically people who have survived and who self-selected.
    2. Abraham Wald
      • example
        • survivorship bias
          • Abraham Wald was a statistican who was tasked by the Allied war effort with understanding how to make the Allied war planes function better.
          • And he was presented with a series of airplanes that had bullet holes throughout them as they had gone from bombing runs over Nazi Germany.
          • And he looked at them, and he saw that there were
            • holes in the wings,
            • holes in the tail,
            • holes in the nose of the plane.
          • And the general said to him, you know, "Based on your statistical expertise, where should we put extra armor?
          • Where should we reinforce the plane?"
          • And most of the people thought they should put them where the bullet holes were.
          • Abraham Wald took one look at this, and he said, "If you put armor over the places where the holes are,
            • you're going to make the planes get shot down more."
          • Because the reality was the places that didn't have bullet holes were the most crucial.
          • The places that had been shot in
            • the fuselage,
            • the middle of the plane where the engine was,
          • those were in Germany, they didn't survive,
            • they were wrecks.
          • So they never made it back to be analyzed.
          • So survivorship bias is a bias where we look at the wrong kinds of data because we only look at what survived.
    3. What is survivorship bias?
      • There's two forms of bias around power that are really important to understand.
        • The first is self-selection bias, but then there's another bias called
        • survivorship bias.
      • And this is where we only see people who make it into power.
      • When you think about the people you know who are powerful, those are people who have survived,
        • they've sought power, and
        • they've obtained it, and
        • they've maintained it.
      • The people who didn't seek power in the first place,
        • weren't successful in achieving it, or
        • only lasted for a short time,
      • those don't show up when we think about powerful people.
  2. Dec 2021
    1. ‘What is it about the ancients,’ Pinker asks at one point, ‘that theycouldn’t leave us an interesting corpse without resorting to foul play?’

      Part of their point here seems to be that Pinker is suffering from a form of bias related to the most sensational cases which will tend to heighten the availability bias. (Is there a name for this sort of sensationalism effect?)

      Is there also some survivorship bias at play here as well?

      We don't have access to a wide statistical survey of dead bodies from a large swath of times and places which makes it difficult to determine actual numbers.