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My statistics/ML life lesson: the harder a decision is, the less important it is to get the right answer.

If choice A is vastly better than choice B, you don't need much information to determine that. So if, after gathering lots of information, you still can't determine which is better, don't stress too much about choosing the best one.

A professor of mine pointed this out to me when I was stressing about which grad school to go to. He then pointed out that at my age, his life choices were CUNY (math dept) or West Point - that was a decision that would have had a far larger effect on his life than my choice of Rutgers vs Brown vs Austin.




Does this life-lesson hold in an adversarial world, where the counterparties actively try to deceive you, e.g. when making financial investments?


That's an interesting question. My entire context and thinking about this is probabilistic, not adversarial, so I have no idea.


Interesting idea, but I'm not sure if it applies to political concepts. Think of the issues the United States is split over (roughly 50/50) and how difficult it is to form an opinion on some of the topics. There are significant repercussions for choosing one side over another.


It applies to individual decisions aimed at maximizing a utility function. Groups don't have utility functions due to Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (except in special cases, e.g. cardinal preferences/prices for private goods).

But I imagine that if I did view democracy as a meaningful decision procedure, then I suspect I would view close votes as a belief that both outcomes are almost equally good. Both decisions are not similar, but the utility attached to each decision is.




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