The possibility of attaining knowledge despite problems of bias and selection

They can be used for non-linear regression, time-series modelling, classification, and many other problems.

The possibility of attaining knowledge despite problems of bias and selection

Existential risks are those that threaten the entire future of humanity. Many theories of value imply that even relatively small reductions in net existential risk have enormous expected value. Despite The possibility of attaining knowledge despite problems of bias and selection importance, issues surrounding human-extinction risks and related hazards remain poorly understood.

In this paper, I clarify the concept of existential risk and develop an improved classification scheme. I discuss the relation between existential risks and basic issues in axiology, and show how existential risk reduction via the maxipok rule can serve as a strongly action-guiding principle for utilitarian concerns.

I also show how the notion of existential risk suggests a new way of thinking about the ideal of sustainability. The maxipok rule 1. Existential risk and uncertainty An existential risk is one that threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development Bostrom Although it is often difficult to assess the probability of existential risks, there are many reasons to suppose that the total such risk confronting humanity over the next few centuries is significant.

But perhaps the strongest reason for judging the total existential risk within the next few centuries to be significant is the extreme magnitude of the values at stake.

Even a small probability of existential catastrophe could be highly practically significant Bostrom ; Matheny ; Posner ; Weitzman Humanity has survived what we might call natural existential risks for hundreds of thousands of years; thus it is prima facie unlikely that any of them will do us in within the next hundred.

Empirical impact distributions and scientific models suggest that the likelihood of extinction because of these kinds of risk is extremely small on a time scale of a century or so.

Our longevity as a species therefore offers no strong prior grounds for confident optimism. Consideration of specific existential-risk scenarios bears out the suspicion that the great bulk of existential risk in the foreseeable future consists of anthropogenic existential risks — that is, those arising from human activity.

In particular, most of the biggest existential risks seem to be linked to potential future technological breakthroughs that may radically expand our ability to manipulate the external world or our own biology.

The Association of Research Libraries statistics for are comparable to the ALA numbers above and underscore the magnitude of the disparity for representation by race and ethnicity in research libraries. 17 These poor numbers are not unique to libraries; the statistics are similar in most institutions of higher education across the United States. To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves. Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article Do you really want to delete this prezi? Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

As our powers expand, so will the scale of their potential consequences — intended and unintended, positive and negative. For example, there appear to be significant existential risks in some of the advanced forms of biotechnology, molecular nanotechnology, and machine intelligence that might be developed in the decades ahead.

The bulk of existential risk over the next century may thus reside in rather speculative scenarios to which we cannot assign precise probabilities through any rigorous statistical or scientific method.

But the fact that the probability of some risk is difficult to quantify does not imply that the risk is negligible. Probability can be understood in different senses. Most relevant here is the epistemic sense in which probability is construed as something like the credence that an ideally reasonable observer should assign to the risk's materializing based on currently available evidence.

An empty cave is unsafe in just this sense if you cannot tell whether or not it is home to a hungry lion. It would be rational for you to avoid the cave if you reasonably judge that the expected harm of entry outweighs the expected benefit.

The uncertainty and error-proneness of our first-order assessments of risk is itself something we must factor into our all-things-considered probability assignments. This factor often dominates in low-probability, high-consequence risks — especially those involving poorly understood natural phenomena, complex social dynamics, or new technology, or that are difficult to assess for other reasons.

Suppose that some scientific analysis A indicates that some catastrophe X has an extremely small probability P X of occurring. Then the probability that A has some hidden crucial flaw may easily be much greater than P X. We may then find that most of the risk of X resides in the uncertainty of our scientific assessment that P X was small figure 1 Ord, Hillerbrand and Sandberg Factoring in the fallibility of our first-order risk assessments can amplify the probability of risks assessed to be extremely small.

An initial analysis left side gives a small probability of a disaster black stripe. But the analysis could be wrong; this is represented by the gray area right side. Most of the all-things-considered risk may lie in the gray area rather than in the black stripe.

Qualitative risk categories Since a risk is a prospect that is negatively evaluated, the seriousness of a risk — indeed, what is to be regarded as risky at all — depends on an evaluation.

Before we can determine the seriousness of a risk, we must specify a standard of evaluation by which the negative value of a particular possible loss scenario is measured. There are several types of such evaluation standard. For example, one could use a utility function that represents some particular agent's preferences over various outcomes.

This might be appropriate when one's duty is to give decision support to a particular decision maker. But here we will consider a normative evaluation, an ethically warranted assignment of value to various possible outcomes.

The possibility of attaining knowledge despite problems of bias and selection

This type of evaluation is more relevant when we are inquiring into what our society's or our own individual risk-mitigation priorities ought to be.

There are conflicting theories in moral philosophy about which normative evaluations are correct.

The possibility of attaining knowledge despite problems of bias and selection

I will not here attempt to adjudicate any foundational axiological disagreement. Instead, let us consider a simplified version of one important class of normative theories. Let us suppose that the lives of persons usually have some significant positive value and that this value is aggregative in the sense that the value of two similar lives is twice that of one life.

Let us also assume that, holding the quality and duration of a life constant, its value does not depend on when it occurs or on whether it already exists or is yet to be brought into existence as a result of future events and choices.Emotional bias is not the sole factor impeding the acquisition of knowledge.

Statistical biases also obstruct the acquisition of knowledge. Various statistical biases exist in Wakefield’s study of MMR and autism.

With respect to all these, the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection actually lingers in my mind.

Executive Functioning – Nature and Assessment by Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D.

I believe that it is, in fact, possible, but, at the same time, I believe that the problems of bias and selection may limit the knowledge that we attain. Essay on Bias and Selection in our Acquisition of Knowledge Words 7 Pages I have interpreted the key aspect of this essay question as evaluating the extent to which knowledge can be obtained, despite possible problems of bias and selection.

Examine the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection. In this essay, I will examine whether it is possible to gain knowledge from different sources even with problems in today’s world such as bias and selection.

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS. At the request of the Government of British Guiana, the International Commission of Jurists appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate and make recommendations in regard to certain problems concerning racial balance in the public services of British Guiana.

ICML , The 28th International Conference on Machine Learning - Bellevue, Washington