[ExI] Lessons from Tesla?

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Wed Sep 24 20:48:57 UTC 2014

Dan <danust2012 at gmail.com> , 24/9/2014 10:00 PM:
Now, that said, I don't know that there's a foolproof formula to decide what ideas or inspirations lead to success or that anyone can know the costs ahead of time of following or not following a certain lead. What do the rest of you think? Does the Tesla icon provide enough positive benefits to outweigh what I believe are its misleading aspects?

I am pretty tired of Tesla hype. Yes, he was awesome and quirky, but the one main reason he failed seems to have been lack of business sense.
The standard crackpot claim is "They laughed at Galileo!" (to which the rejoinder is: "And Bozo the clown.") Many people seem to think that science and technology runs on convictions. Sure, we *need* those convictions to succeed, but having them is no guarantee ideas are good. In fact, since most ideas are bad, not ruthlessly weeding out the weaker ones means that the end result is likely failure: being always convinced you are right is the road to delusion. 
Success requires several factors, and conviction and genius are just the dramatic ones. It is the boring ones - business sense, the ability to explain ideas, running teams - that people tend to underestimate when they enjoy their icons too much. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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