Map and territory visual presentation

post by James_Miller · 2013-01-17T18:17:12.387Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 24 comments

Here is a presentation on the map and territory I'm planning on giving to my game theory class.


It's based on Liron's You Are A Brain post.


Any suggestions for improvements?


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Oscar_Cunningham · 2013-01-17T19:40:04.478Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's quite a lot of slides. It took me a long time to even flick through all of them. You should go through it once before hand (reading out loud everything you want to say) to check that you can go through it in the available time.

comment by James_Miller · 2013-01-17T19:50:23.046Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There isn't a set amount of time as I could cover the material over more than one class period. But you are right that there is a lot in there. Perhaps to make the material less intimidating I should break up the presentation into two parts.

comment by beoShaffer · 2013-01-17T21:51:32.258Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that you should split it up. At least two parts, maybe three depending on how long class periods are at your institution. I also found the slide were you list examples of territory a bit odd, given that you were showing pictures of objects rather than the objects themselves. Otherwise, it looks good.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-01-18T01:22:41.692Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't like the comparision of cognitive biases to cryptonite. Biases are no external thread. Biases are a core feature of the way humans reason.

If you learn about these cogntive biases you can correct for them and so make better maps. Our brains are like lenses that can see and counteract their own flaws.

That sounds to me like oversimplification. Just knowing about a bias doesn't stop the bias.

comment by shminux · 2013-01-17T20:01:26.194Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is quite a good presentation, especially the first half. I'd recommend taking the first 20 or so slides (the impact falls off in the second half, as the presentation jumps from place to place and looks disconnected), adding in a nice conclusion somewhere around slide 22 and putting the link on the front page of LW.

comment by falenas108 · 2013-01-18T01:38:02.742Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Addition: You also should have less text on slide 29, and less text overall on the later slide. It's too small for an audience to read.

A good rule is 9x9, meaning you have no more than 9 words per line, and 9 lines of text on any slide.

Slide 31 confusing. There are easier, real-world examples you can use for the sunk cost fallacy.

Slides 32 and 33 seem out of place, though that might just be me.

Slide 36: The word "probably" at the end is awkward.

Bayes theorem on slide 40 is far too complicated to explain on one slide. If you want to keep the idea, you'll have to use numbers or people won't understand what you're saying.

Also, I thought this was a pretty good power point! Especially the first 20 slides, and the message of slides 29 and 30.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-01-18T01:29:43.155Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The law school student slide is an excellent way of tying your presentation to reality and is my go to example as well.

comment by falenas108 · 2013-01-18T01:19:29.856Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You may want to put a warning before slide 19 for the graphic nature of the images. Some people might react badly to them.

comment by Matt_Simpson · 2013-01-17T21:40:46.721Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good stuff. I'm interested - how are you fitting this material into the context of game theory? Is it an undergrad or grad course?

comment by James_Miller · 2013-01-17T21:54:52.261Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's an undergrad game theory class at Smith College, an all women's institute. I haven't decided yet when in the semester I will use this material.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-01-17T22:51:39.369Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Matt_Simpson · 2013-01-18T00:30:36.414Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree. I'm looking for ways to get this sort of thing into any course I teach, and since there's a nontrivial chance that I'll teach game theory at some point in the future, where it fits best is a good thing to know.

In the class I taught previously and the class I'm teaching right now, I make a point to tell my students that whatever we're doing is a model and is almost certainly wrong in some way, but that's ok because it's close enough to be useful often enough. Both are stat classes, well one is econometrics, but that's a distinction of mere words mostly.

comment by James_Miller · 2013-01-18T06:00:07.234Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is like Milton Friedman's billiard player example.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2013-01-29T17:33:04.323Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Beware extrapolating from your own experience, or your present simulation of how you were as a child. The vast majority of children are very difficult to teach even simple concepts, most formal education isn't teaching of the form we apply to adults but brute force exposing them to information until they absorb it.

Doubtless you could eventually get them to say "the map is not the territory" but I think the actual effct it would have on their comprehension or behaviour is minimal.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-01-29T17:51:16.924Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-01-18T00:06:01.504Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You might also look at some of the classic General Semantics material based on the structural differential, a model of map/territory abstraction.

comment by Suryc11 · 2013-01-18T05:51:36.639Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is really well done. I don't know the background(s) of your students, but there are some relatively technical terms that you don't fully define (e.g., signalling, updating) but perhaps you'll do so in the course of the presentation.

Other than a minor typo on one of the slides ("people's'"), great visual presentation.

ETA: Just saw that this is for a game theory class, so nevermind about the terms.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-01-17T21:52:54.236Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
comment by James_Miller · 2013-01-17T22:00:30.077Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How long is your presentation

I don't have a set time. It will depend on how the students react to it, how many questions they ask and if they appear interested or lost.

what do you want to accomplish

I want to use the map/territory analogy to frame irrationality and show the benefits of being rational. At my college "sensitivity" is considered a much more important virtue than "honesty" and part of what I want to do here is fight against this.

comment by shminux · 2013-01-17T22:20:30.357Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For balance, consider adding a few points on when updating is instrumentally bad for you (for example, it's no use knowing any truths about the free market economy if you happen to live in NK).

EDIT: Your quest is somewhat ironic in a college whose motto is "In Virtue Knowledge", not the other way around.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-01-18T01:25:28.196Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

North Korea has a black market that runs under some free market principles. Knowing them won't hurt you if you live in NK.

comment by shminux · 2013-01-18T03:17:23.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure, I'm prepared to grant you that, I am not familiar with the country that well. But are you saying that there are no cases where knowing the territory can be harmful?

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-01-18T18:50:41.690Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But are you saying that there are no cases where knowing the territory can be harmful?

You never really know the territory. You only know a map of the territory. Even if North Korea had no markets you wouldn't suffer from that knowledge.

There a lot of knowledge that doesn't help you directly but that's harmful. The kind of knowledge that hurts you might hurt you not because it's useless. It might hurt you because you become overconfident in your knowledge. It might hurt you because you focus to much attention on things you see on the map.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-01-18T01:24:33.130Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

At my college "sensitivity" is considered a much more important virtue than "honesty" and part of what I want to do here is fight against this.

If that's your goal how about talking about the clash between the two values more directly? Explain situations where students falsely value sensitivity over honesty.