Know Thyself Nothing in Excess 
  Judging the outcome of a probability based decision  
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AutSider
Gender : Posts : 854 Join date : 20150429 Location : Outside
 Subject: Judging the outcome of a probability based decision Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:16 pm  
 Suppose the gambling is done by means of a computer game specifically designed for this. If a person bets and has a 10% chance of winning and wins, can his decision be said to be more rational than the decision of a person with a 90% chance of winning who loses, all other things equal?
It is obvious to me that it can't be, if the case really is that we know something has a 10% chance of occurring and something else has a 90% chance of occurring, of course it is more rational to bet on the thing with a 90% chance of occurring (again, all other things equal).
And yet it would seem a bit absurd to tell somebody who was correct that he should have picked the choice that is now revealed to be wrong because it was supposedly the rational thing to do.
I think this is because when we assess probabilities we can only take into account information available to us, so when somebody wins despite low probability to do so we may assume that they were aware of some factors we weren't aware of that allowed them to determine the outcome. But in this case the outcome is determined by a computer, so unless they were somehow aware of the inner workings of the hardware on a, what, atomic or subatomic level (?) it is obvious they had no way to predict it, so this cannot be used as an excuse.
So the question remains  how come we view it as absurd? Or maybe somebody doesn't, maybe even in general people don't and it's only me.
And actually, I only see it as absurd instinctively, but I think on a rational level when I am aware of all the factors, it is not absurd at all.
Perhaps our instincts evolved to see such things as absurd because when it comes to our mind judging probabilities when it comes to natural processes, without numbers, it may be the case that indeed we neglect to perceive some factors that somebody else may have, so we presume that if they succeeded at something and somebody else didn't, it is because of that awareness. And generally, I think it is the case.
As a side note, I thought of this example when thinking about the idea that the validity of the decision is to be determined solely by the outcome. I think that awareness of all the probabilities should factor in too, though on an instinctive level it really does seem moot if the decision didn't achieve the desired outcome, moreover, it can be seen as a sort of loss justifying, which it shouldn't be. But I think this only applies to human made environments/games where the probabilities are largely controlled or even outright determined by humans.
EDITED: 10% chance of winning, not 10% chance of losing. My bad.
Last edited by AutSider on Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:00 am; edited 1 time in total 
   Satyr Daemon
Gender : Posts : 14244 Join date : 20090824 Age : 51 Location : Flux
 Subject: Re: Judging the outcome of a probability based decision Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:37 pm  
 To avoid the outcome, so as to avoid the possible costs, despite the projected benefits, one has to use precedent: past/nature. Past, firsthand experiences, or secondhand knowledge. The outcome, measured against the projected is what establishes the quality of the judgment.
To increase the effect of past/nature, one has to find patterns in it, to gain understanding. Understanding explains the outcome.
Probability is about what is more possible. If the factors that cannot be incorporated into understanding result in a less probable outcome, this does not negate the pattern that predicts the most possible outcome. The outcome must be a sum, not a singular event. What is more probable means what will be the outcome most of the time  80%, 70%, or whatever.
There is no "absolute" means there is no certainty. In the end the organism takes a risk, by evaluating the odds  increasing or decreasing odds, not making them certain. The more often an action, a choice, a behaviour is repeated the more the advantage of evaluating odds accurately becomes decisive. _________________ γνῶθι σεαυτόν μηδέν άγαν

   Anfang
Gender : Posts : 1975 Join date : 20130123 Age : 33 Location : CET
 Subject: Re: Judging the outcome of a probability based decision Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:15 pm  
  Autsider wrote:
 And yet it would seem a bit absurd to tell somebody who was correct that he should have picked the choice that is now revealed to be wrong because it was supposedly the rational thing to do.
There are some things in relation to probability which are very counter intuitive, at least they were so to me before I learned about them.
For example, when playing roulette and it has been six times in a row that black won, I would have intuitively thought that now it's a better bet to pick red over black. It isn't and knowing this I don't think that way anymore. But intuitively I would have favoured red. Now in this case it's not too bad because red and black have the same odds of winning but let's say there is a game where black wins in 60% of the cases and red in 40% of the cases (no zero in this game). Same scenario as before, following my intuition, I would have made a stupid bet, probably.
There are more of those intuitively wrong assumptions about probability, like the 'what's behind door number 3' type of gameshow which is one I didn't grasp at first even when it got explained to me.
But why would I intuitively make such a wrong decision? I think it's because of the idea that the roulette table is playing against me, willfully. Now I never thought that a roulette table is actually intentionally playing against me but I think that 'intuition' which would make me pick red over black if black had already won x times in a row, is because of factoring in an intentionality. A kind of game where it's about understanding what an adversary is thinking who tries to outsmart you. Then it becomes a question of how many steps is the other person thinking ahead, how intelligent and careful is the other person as to anticipate his next move. 
   Satyr Daemon
Gender : Posts : 14244 Join date : 20090824 Age : 51 Location : Flux
 Subject: Re: Judging the outcome of a probability based decision Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:40 pm  
 Soccer, or any sport, is a display of evaluating probabilities, and directing them by controlling how ball, (inter)acts with atmosphere, earth, gravity. The goal is the desirable idea(l).
Teams compete over which one can predict and manipulate probabilities, (subjectively) immediately, accurately and quickly, the interplay of object (ball) in relation to objective (goal). _________________ γνῶθι σεαυτόν μηδέν άγαν

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