Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wrong

Off topic discourse and banter encouraged.
User avatar
RJN
Baffled Boffin
Posts: 1614
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: Michigan Tech

Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wrong

Post by RJN » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:31 pm

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/thewro ... wrong.aspx
If you're a politician, admitting you're wrong is a weakness, but if you're an engineer, you essentially want to be wrong half the time. If you do experiments and you're always right, then you aren't getting enough information out of those experiments. You want your experiment to be like the flip of a coin: You have no idea if it is going to come up heads or tails. You want to not know what the results are going to be. ...

I've been at both ends. My previous job was at NASA, where you really don't want your shuttles to blow up very often. So there they spend hundreds of millions of dollars to protect their astronauts' lives. Here, we're kind of at the other end. Failure is always an option at Google.

StarstruckKid
Ensign
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:31 pm
Location: Tallahassee, Florida, US

Re: Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wr

Post by StarstruckKid » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:46 pm

Like jamming Net Neutrality?

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8389
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wr

Post by owlice » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:57 pm

If you do experiments and you're always right, then you aren't getting enough information out of those experiments.
Or as it was put to me in my current job, "if everything you try works, you're not trying enough new stuff." Indeed!

Good interview; such a contrast between the way Norvig comes off in this compared to Venter in his interview!
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

User avatar
Beyond
500 Gigaderps
Posts: 6889
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:09 am
Location: BEYONDER LAND

Re: Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wr

Post by Beyond » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:27 pm

Now wait just a minute here, If everything you try works, isn't that called being successful??
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16315
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wr

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:37 pm

beyond wrote:Now wait just a minute here, If everything you try works, isn't that called being successful??
Perhaps. But it also means that you aren't pushing your abilities to their limits, which means you are less successful than you might be.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8389
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Slate: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wr

Post by owlice » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:21 pm

beyond wrote:Now wait just a minute here, If everything you try works, isn't that called being successful??
No; that's called being careful. I can be safe and do things that I know will work, but if I want to be successful, if I want something better (or even, daresay, the best), I need to move beyond (heh!) that. The view from the valley is one thing; the view from the mountain another. Which is grander, encompasses more, lets us see further (even, perhaps, beyond)? The mountain. It is easier to stay in the valley and very pleasant to enjoy its beauties; it is not so easy to climb the mountain, but oh, the view! I have not always enjoyed my hikes to the summit, but I have always been glad I made the trek.
A closed mouth gathers no foot.