expertise   1819

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The Bitter Lesson
The biggest lesson that can be read from 70 years of AI research is that general methods that leverage computation are ultimately the most effective, and by a large margin. The ultimate reason for this is Moore's law, or rather its generalization of continued exponentially falling cost per unit of computation. Most AI research has been conducted as if the computation available to the agent were constant (in which case leveraging human knowledge would be one of the only ways to improve performance) but, over a slightly longer time than a typical research project, massively more computation inevitably becomes available. Seeking an improvement that makes a difference in the shorter term, researchers seek to leverage their human knowledge of the domain, but the only thing that matters in the long run is the leveraging of computation. These two need not run counter to each other, but in practice they tend to. Time spent on one is time not spent on the other. There are psychological commitments to investment in one approach or the other. And the human-knowledge approach tends to complicate methods in ways that make them less suited to taking advantage of general methods leveraging computation. There were many examples of AI researchers' belated learning of this bitter lesson, and it is instructive to review some of the most prominent.
ai  artificialintelligence  machinelearning  ml  expertise 
28 days ago by dlkinney
The Distrust of Intellectual Authority
It’s getting harder to have the expertise necessary to navigate every arena in our lives independently. Sometimes, we need to defer to the expertise of others, but how do we know who to trust?
farnamstreet  opinion  expertise 
5 weeks ago by lightningdb
The Distrust of Intellectual Authority
It’s getting harder to have the expertise necessary to navigate every arena in our lives independently. Sometimes, we need to defer to the expertise of others, but how do we know who to trust?
critical-thinking  expertise 
8 weeks ago by runmonkeyrun
Corey Robin on the ‘Historovox’: What We Missed About Trump
The declaration of emergency is the revelation of a secret that’s been hiding in plain sight for two years. Why has it taken pundits so long to see it?

Perhaps the answer lies in a new genre of journalism that forgoes the pedestrian task of reporting the news in favor of explaining it through the lens of academic research. Ensconced at Vox, FiveThirtyEight, dedicated pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times, and across Twitter, the explainers place great stock in the authority of scholarship — and in journalists who know how to wield the authority of scholars. This genre first arose under the roseate glow of Obama, reflecting the White House’s warm embrace of science and smarts. Now, in the age of Trump, it’s less a happy affirmation of wonks and geeks than an anxious cry of the Resistance. Being smart, honoring research, favoring truth: These are the emblems of the world Trump wants to destroy and that the explainers wish to preserve.

There’s one thing that’s missing from the world of the explainers, though: facts. Less interested in budget negotiations on Capitol Hill or the stalling of legislation — empirics of power that might tell us whether Trump is an ascendant authoritarian or a flailing conservative — the explainers like to invoke academic research that sees Trump as an American instance of the democratic backsliding across the globe. Brooding on the bloodlands of Europe, meditating on the dark night of the populist soul, anxious media professionals find academic confirmation for their sense that they are exiles in their own land.
expertise  authority  politics 
8 weeks ago by jfbeatty
"“I know pretty much every boat in this harbor — owners, captains, specifications. People say, ‘Alex, you’re on yachts all day — that’s the life.’ Well, for me, it’s not the life, it’s my life. It’s not some permanent summer or year-long vacation. It’s my living. I help rich people and rich companies advertise their yachts. I’ve got all this knowledge that I gained when I loved yachts so much that I’d spend all weekend studying them for free, and now, I sell my knowledge to people. I sell that know-how all day long, and everything I know is worth something."
expertise  coaching 
8 weeks ago by snapsocialguru
Telling more than we can know article about our limit to produce accurate answers about reason we do things, why we like something, how much we'll like something (e.g.: which art poster we'll like the most).

Interesting to link this to 'expertise' - where we may have even less than we think we do when it comes to our own lives.

"Social psychologists are threatening a core conviction of the Enlightenment — that humans are perfectible through the exercise of reason. If reason cannot be counted on to reveal the causes of our beliefs, behavior and preferences, then the idea of human perfectibility is to that degree diminished."

Also, note that what's at stake isn't whether we have introspective access at all; it's rather whether our introspective access is accurate 'enough' to be called reliable (see one original study here:
expertise  transparency  self  judgment  social  psychology 
9 weeks ago by nikomoeller
Most public engagement is worse than worthless
Describes how public consultations for making decisions that require 'professional' expertise serves no meaningful purpose (not even making the public feel heard, as the professionals end up paying no heed to the results of the consultation).


"We had asked a question that could produce nothing but disrespect for the experts who have dedicated their education and careers to reducing environmental impact. Of course we knew about solar panels.

And we had asked a question that the members of the general public were not equipped to answer, because they aren't experts. There are some good reasons why solar panels are not installed faster—it is almost always a better idea to insulate your home, weatherstrip and draught-proof first. You reduce your own energy demand before you put on solar panels."

"Expertise is unfashionable right now, partly because our society is not very good at understanding who is expert at what, so we give too much power to some people and not enough power to others."

"They are experts in how increasing taxes will stress them out. They are experts in hidden secrets of their streets and alleys. They are experts in the amenities they want for themselves and their family. They are the only experts."

"Consultation is a very small part of the overall process, but can be useful and important.

We need to be more aware of different kinds of expertise, and who has it. Each expert—engineer, resident, or designer—only specializes in a narrow field, and we mustn’t ask them to do each other’s jobs."
city  planning  top-down  bottom-up  expertise  design  worthless 
9 weeks ago by nikomoeller
Erik Olin Wright
class location of librarians
c. Semi-Autonomous Employees

These are employees that, for the most part, do not supervise others but are likely to have some autonomy in the work situation because they are professionals of have special skills or technical training. Some of these are engineers, teachers, professors, programmers, and some health professionals. These are people in occupations that have a degree of autonomy in terms of decisions related to the job, and while subject to orders, are likely to fill positions that requires their own judgment concerning production and related decisions.

The semi-autonomy is described by Wright as being

"certain degree of control over their immediate conditions of work, over their immediate labour process. In such instances, the labour process has not been completely proletarianized. .... they can still be viewed as occupying residual islands of petty-bourgeois relations of production within the capitalist mode of production itself. (Giddens and Held, p. 127)."

While there are always attempts by employers and managers to limit the autonomy of the semi-autonomous employees, the technical expertise of the latter does give them a degree of bargaining power. In most cases, this expertise is required, and this has allowed these workers to maintain considerable flexibility in the workplace, and considerable control over the actual work process.
marxism  class  freire_project  expertise 
10 weeks ago by jfbeatty
Critical Elitism by Alfred Moore
"Democracies have a problem with expertise. Expert knowledge both mediates and facilitates public apprehension of problems, yet it also threatens to exclude the public from consequential judgments and decisions located in technical domains. This book asks: how can we have inclusion without collapsing the very concept of expertise? How can public judgment be engaged in expert practices in a way that does not reduce to populism? Drawing on deliberative democratic theory and social studies of science, Critical Elitism argues that expert authority depends ultimately on the exercise of public judgment in a context in which there are live possibilities for protest, opposition and scrutiny. This account points to new ways of looking at the role of civil society, expert institutions, and democratic innovations in the constitution of expert authority within democratic systems. Using the example of climate science, Critical Elitism highlights not only the risks but also the benefits of contesting expertise."
to:NB  books:noted  democracy  expertise  re:democratic_cognition 
january 2019 by cshalizi

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