Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (April 21st, 2017)

One thought on “Science and Technology links (April 21st, 2017)”

  1. Stephen Malina says:

    To this point:
    “We have this model of reality where we are this one person throughout time. So I remember the teenager I once was. I think of him as “me”. This may actually only be true in a very teneous manner. Psychologists have found out that there is very little correlation (none at all) between your personality as a kid and your personality as an elderly person. On the short term, you remain who you are, but your personality progressively changes and there does not seem to be any solid long-term anchor. The teenager I was? In a very real sense, he is dead. I no longer think like he did. Not in a meaningful way. It also means that even if I remain healthy for a very long time, who I am today will die over time and be replaced by someone else. Thus you cannot endure as an individual. I view this as a good thing.”

    I’ve recently been reading “The Origin of Species” and Darwin unsurprisingly emphasizes how each species comes from incremental changes to an ancestral species. Perhaps this mental model works better for thinking about our past selves as well. Rather than view past “me” as current “me”, I can view past “me” as my ancestor whose choices shaped the current me. This may even have some nice implications for decision-making. If I view my past self as an ancestor, the sunk cost fallacy may have less of a hold on me. Although, I’m not sure how this would affect how people deal with negative outcomes of past decisions. Is it better for someone who commits a crime to be able to say “that was ancestor me” versus “I did it but I’m changing”?

    Anyway, thanks for these summaries. They’re so in line with what I want from science aggregators that I’m close to removing ScienceDaily and a few others from my RSS feed list.