[extropy-chat] calling all bayesians

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Thu May 12 18:57:55 UTC 2005

Mike Lorrey wrote:
> Without knowing any of this, the only metric I have to go by is
> population statistics in which the opinion of 200 people supposedly can
> quite accurately predict the opinion of 20,000 within less than 1%
> (according to FSP statisticians). Based on this, the behavior of 19
> components could thus predict the behavior of 1900. Since you only have
> 131, you should be able to say they are all good out of the box if you
> test only 2 spares and find them good. 19 is overkill, so you can
> pretty conclusively say that all 131 should be good out of the box, but
> nothing more about MTBF.

Mike, I'm afraid this is a total non-sequitur.  Counterintuitively, 200 people 
can predict the opinion of 200,000 or 20,000,000 about as well as they can 
predict 20,000.  But 20 people cannot give you anywhere near as good a 
prediction for the behavior of 200 people as 200 people can for 20,000 people.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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