Summary of J-Fall 2019: Hanno Embregts & Maarten Mulders - Beware of Survivorship Bias!

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00:00:00 - 00:50:00

The speaker discusses how people can be biased towards information that confirms their existing beliefs, and how this can lead to expensive, unsuccessful projects. They recommend ways to overcome this bias, including playing around with technologies, practicing self-evaluation, and searching for published resources on the topic.

  • 00:00:00 In this talk, Hanno Embregts and Maarten Mulders discuss the potential pitfalls of survivorship bias, which can occur when judging the success or failure of a project based on the experiences of the people involved. They share a story about how a failure in 2017 led to them developing a new approach to public speaking.
  • 00:05:00 The author discusses how, in 2006, the Dutch government decided to abandon voting machines in favor of paper ballots due to concerns about the machines' radiation emissions. He then discusses how, in 2019, he began a research project to see if blockchain was a good fit for elections. However, the project was unsuccessful, as the success of the project was not realized.
  • 00:10:00 The speaker discusses the difficulties they faced in researching blockchain technology for a voting application, and how a regular database can be used instead. They mention that the Bitcoin price dropped around the time they were doing research, and note that it may have been symbolic of the technology's overall risks.
  • 00:15:00 The speaker discusses how Survivorship Bias can lead to incorrect conclusions when investigating data. He provides an example of a plane drawn during the Second World War that illustrates the problem. He provides a list of budget and over-engineered projects that he found.
  • 00:20:00 The speaker discusses the dangers of Survivorship Bias and how it can lead to expensive, unsuccessful projects. They also discuss ways to avoid being biased towards the next Silver Bullet, and how to limit the influence of silver bullets after a conference has ended.
  • 00:25:00 The video discusses how to avoid ' Survivorship Bias ', which is the tendency to overweight the importance of existing information, experiences, and knowledge in decision-making. The speaker provides an example of how to do this by reading a conference schedule top to bottom and noting the order in which topics are presented. The speaker also encourages attendees to visit talks that are relevant to their experience and to meet the prerequisites for talks.
  • 00:30:00 The speaker points out that there will be a bias towards talks about no sequel during the hype cycle phase of a product's life, and advises attendees to be prepared for these talks by critically questioning them.
  • 00:35:00 The speaker discusses ways to overcome survivorship bias, which is the tendency of people to remember successes more than failures. He suggests playing around with technologies, practicing self-evaluation, and searching for published resources on the topic.
  • 00:40:00 The speaker talks about the dangers of Survivorship Bias and how it can lead to problems in projects. He recommends that people learn to master their tools before attempting to solve a problem, and warns against using a new tool without first trying it out.
  • 00:45:00 The speaker discusses how it's important to share failures and learn from them, and suggests ways to improve the way people share failures.
  • 00:50:00 The speaker shares a failure from their past and advises others to learn from their mistakes.

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