Models for the mental...

And some links!

Models for the mental...

So, first of all, a couple of mental models from a nice compilation:

Littlewood's law

We can expect “miracles” to happen regularly, because, in a world with 7 billion people, the odds of a one-in-a-billion event are pretty good.

It's, by Freeman Dyson's explanation and with 1/1,000,000 miracle chance, we'll have 8\3,600*30 = 864,000* perceivable events per month, bringing the "miracle probability vessel" to almost fullness. As for me, it's just the incomprehensibility of the sheer interconnectedness of our lives and events and has less to do with probability and the gambler's fallacy.

Gambler's Fallacy And Why It Matters In Business - FourWeekMBA

Gibson’s law

“For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.” In law and public policy, the observation is that equally qualified expert witnesses can come to opposite conclusions.

One good example springing to my mind was a recent paper showing that 73 teams all made different conclusions from the same data:


Brandolini’s law

“The amount of energy needed to refute bullsh\t is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”*

Coined by Italian software developer Albert Brandolini, who also refers to it as the Bullsh*t Asymmetry Principle.

José González 🥑 on Twitter: "@katieboue In case a burrito dog helps..." / Twitter

One of the ways to mask bullshit is, usually, wrapping it into layers of complexity as the attribution substitution says. Another is putting the bullshit part into notable and prominent conclusions as salience bias calls for.

Goodhart's law

When a measure becomes a target, it stops being a good measure, or once a goal is set, people will optimize for that goal in a way that neglects equally important parts of a system. In other words, a case of unintended consequences.

Apart from the usual cobra example, we can touch the slave redemption:

Elasticity of Supply – Atlas of Public Management

Not that helpful as we're just breeding more slavery cases. Some thoughts resemble the SIS infection model, only with S = Slave, as people freed are again susceptible to being taken a slave for buyback.

Metcalfe's law turned multivariate

Metcalfe's law on network's value being nodeNumber^2 may be a bit outdated: we're starting to live in an increasingly complex world, and even pizza is now too complex and uncertain to comprehend - that's why we just eat it to manage the entropy.

The multivariate M's law, or Conrad's corollary as per the author, states that the value of a network depends, too, on:

  • Number of nodes (Metcalfe's original point)

  • Value of each node

  • Strength of connection between the nodes (mentioned in NFX's Network MC)

  • Network arrangement

  • Network purpose

Another statement is we should aim for non-linear, explosive growth:

How can we achieve that? The magic of compounding - it can become a coffin nail as in the case of FTX/Alameda, or a huge boon in the case of a small MVP startup, carefully engineered.

Pretty obvious, huh?

Dollo's law

In evolution, organisms can’t re-evolve to a former state because the path that led to its former state was so complicated that the odds of retracing that exact path round to zero.

Another thought: re-creating a totally-human AGI could require simulating the whole evolutionary process, or simulating something in its entirety requires simulating it from first principles/down to atom interactions. Hence simulating a brain's region took so much compu-power.

Yet, in 2013 it took 40 minutes to simulate a second of 1% activity - let's hope we move forward and see more whole-brain emulators in the coming years. Plus, an estimated >50% of the brain cortex is dedicated to visual processing - we won't need that. And if we consider how much is dedicated to anxiety and thoughts...

Researchers Find Algorithm for Large-Scale Brain Simulations - Research &  Development World

In the next issue (I got lazy):

  • Parkinson's law

  • Wiio's laws

  • Sayre's law

  • Stigler's law

  • Mill mistake

  • Hickam's dictum

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