Hear our founder discuss overconfidence, intrinsic values, and when to update your beliefs on the 80,000 Hours podcast!

August 29, 2018

ClearerThinking founder Spencer Greenberg recently made his second appearance on the 80,000 Hours podcast. In this episode, Spencer and host Robert Wiblin engage in a wide-ranging discussion about many of the practical rationality concepts that we focus on here at ClearerThinking and how to best make use of them. If you'd like to get a better sense of how to apply techniques like the Question of Evidence, reference class forecasting, and confidence calibration – or if you're just becoming familiar with these ideas now! – then this podcast will be a great resource. Spencer also gives an update on some of our recent and upcoming research, along with new tools that are currently in development. You can hear the entire interview here.

 

80,000 Hours is a charitable organization that aims to help people find careers that are both personally meaningful and beneficial to the world. If you'd like to learn more about their work, check out our writeup on their excellent guide to succeeding in any job.

 

A more detailed preview of some of the topics they discuss:

  • Our recent study of people's intrinsic values, with a particular focus on the usefulness of learning exactly what your own intrinsic values are (such as avoiding "value traps" and making better long-term life plans).
     

  • Our ongoing research into overconfidence and confidence calibration, which produced our recent reasoning confidence test and our common misconceptions quiz; Spencer and Robert mull over some unusual results, such as the finding that people actually tend to be under-confident in their marathon-running ability.
     

  • How to adjust your beliefs pragmatically using the probabilistic technique known as Bayesian updating, as described in our mini-course on the Question of Evidence, with a particular emphasis on when you should trust your intuitions and why you should never be 100% confident in your beliefs.
     

  • The reproducibility crisis in cognitive science, including some surprising facts about the much-maligned mood improvement technique known as "power posing."
     

  • How to use reference class forecasting (as seen in our Planning Fallacy mini-course) to make tough political predictions, such as the likelihood that the United States and China will go to war at some point during the 21st century.

You can stream the whole podcast — or read a full print transcript, if that's your preference — here. You may also want to consider subscribing to the 80,000 hours podcast, which has a lot of interesting content about how to improve your career and make an impact in your life. You can listen at leisure on your phone, speed up the conversation if you like, and get notified about future episodes. You can do so by searching ‘80,000 Hours’ wherever you get your podcasts (RSSSoundCloudiTunesStitcher).

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