Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Dilbert filters

I like the Scott Adams Dilbert podcast for his filter on current events. In particular,

No mindreading. If some commentator is basing his analysis on telling you the intents, feelings, or thinking of someone else, then he should be disregarded by humans do not have such psychic abilities. Either he is a stage magician, or he is bluffing, or he is self-deluded. Regardless, his mindreading attempts will not yeild any useful info.

No wordplay gotchas. If somebody says something that sounds offensive, but a simple rewording of it is reasonable, then it is silly to get offended. A recent example is Joe Biden saying something stupid about blacks.

Consider the biases. If you are getting a news story from NY Times, NPR radio, or PBS TV about Donald Trump, you should remember that they have never done a fair story about him. So it is reasonable to assume that the facts have been twisted to support their ideology.

Persuasion. People are influenced by images, anecdotes, memes, and other non-rational communications. It is a mistake to pretend that people make rational decisions.

Another filter I like, but which Dilbert does not use, is the 3-year-old filter. Having talked to 3-year-olds a lot, I find the conversations very similar to adult conversations. The adults just use bigger words, and refer to a wider range of experiences.

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