Tonight, I was reviewing a comment from Terry, a man for whom I have immeasurable respect, and he referenced a term that I hadn’t known: MINIMAX.
It comes from game theory suggesting that people seek to minimize the maximimally-bad outcome.
I guess what may have triggered him was the use of the term “minimax” in Ned Beatty’s diatribe from this blog which referenced the 1976 Patty Cheyevsky’s cinematic masterpiece, Network.
Thanks to Terry, himself a whistle-blower and incorrigible lover of truth, I now deeply appreciate that nearly all human action stems from the minimax principle. This concept from game theory suggests that the reason people don’t do the right thing, ignore the truth about corruption, or pretend that aging is not a major concern, is that they want to minimize the risk of maximal damage.
If we know that the threat of persecution or worse comes from acknowledging the truth, then we choose to remain in a state of delusion. We plug back into the Matrix and swallow the Blue Pill. Only when conditions arise such that the probability of bad outcome from being truthful exceed the probability of bad outcome from maintaining silent, will we conspire willingly towards virtue.
A friend asked me last night why the former president and most powerful woman in Korea, daughter to a powerful dictator, is now in prison when so many others continue to be protected from prosecution in all corners of the world? I suppose it’s because of MINIMAX. It became more likely in the minds of the many who could testify that to tell the truth and remain viable was less likely than not after journalism, legalism, and morality conspired to get to the truth. Such conditions rarely occur but when they do, it is notable.
People are lazy- but they aren’t dumb. Minimax. That’s the key to all human action or inaction.
These are Terry’s comments regarding my critique of the “sourcing heuristic”
A scientific theory is a procedure for making inferences. In the creation of such a theory, the inferences that will be made must be selected from among a larger set of possibilities. How to select them is the so-called “problem of induction.” Prior to 1973, this problem was unsolved. In the selection of these inferences scientists had no alternative to heuristics and biases. The problem of induction was solved by replacement of heuristics and biases by optimization of the unique measure of an inference in the probabilistic logic: its entropy. Few humans noted this advance. Most continued to use heuristics and biases.
To paraphrase, the most efficient method for ascertaining truth is not through trusting experts or holding steadfast to bias but rather by applying Occum’s razor in a scalable manner; it is by gathering knowledge and then asking your intuition to gauge the degree of entropy associated with assuming something is true. That is why one of the epigrams to a chapter in my book, The Telomere Miracle reads “Intuition is the Royal Road to truth”. That is why my book seeks to empower people with basic knowledge about breathing, sleep, consciousness, diet, exercise, and supplements.
For all you people who showed up for the “Day of Science” march which was really an Anti-Trump rally, I suggest you learn more about the “sausage factory” of science and how it represents a lot of dogma, eliding over unknown unknowns, and downright chicanery. Witness the toss up of 33 physicists protesting the challenge to the Big Bang Theory that recently occurred if you don’t think that science has its own heresy and apostasy getting in the way of truth.
For those that accept the risk of telomerase activators, the maximum adverse outcome is the status quo of aging, illness, and death. For those that decline the risks, the maximum risk they are seeking to minimize is a theoretical risk of cancer, wasting money, or feeling like a fool.
3 thoughts on “Eureka! Human action is always about the Minimax”
If you want to reduce the downside (wasting money and feeling stupid about it) of taking your telomerase supporting medicine perhaps you can get a deep learning computer scientist to create a machine learning algorithm that finds a way to make the molecule quicker and cheaper thereby reducing the cost and making it more affordable for the masses.
Point taken. If it were as simple as one gene/one plant extract, we could get bioengineers to spice many copies into a staple crop and harvest it at a higher yield. But I don’t think it’s that simple. Right now, 1kg of extract is about $26,000 and requires 10,000 lbs of raw material.
Thanks for the kind words! In thinking about entropy minimax one should not overlook the “entropy” part of it. This is true because the entropy is the unique measure of an inference in the probabilistic logic. This is the logic that is formed by that generalization of the classical logic which replaces the rule that every proposition has a truth value by the rule that every proposition has a probability of being true. In view of the existence and uniqueness of the entropy as the measure of an inference in the probabilistic logic, the problem of induction has a solution. The solution is optimization of the entropy. That’s how the minimax aspect of the topic arises. The problem of induction was solved beginning the 1960s by Ron Christensen, a friend and former colleague of mine. Prior to this event, a scientist had no alternative to selection of the inferences that were made by his model through the use of heuristics and biases. When Christensen completed this prodigious feat circa 1975 this event was mostly ignored in academia. Most scientists continued to build their models in the traditional way by selecting the inferences that were made by these models using heuristics and biases. This method for selection of the inferences that were made by these models was logically indefensible.
The “problem of induction” is how, in a logically defensible manner, to generalize from specific instances. David Hume famously argued that this problem had no solution. Christensen proved him wrong!
Before his recent death, Christensen authored the seven volume “Entropy minimax sourcebook” The volume entitled “Multivariate statistical modeling” is particularly worthy of reading.
A few years ago, I gave Christensen your book as a Christmas present. He read the book and went on cycloastragenol.