204 Sourced quotes
We often interact with professionals who exercise their judgment with evident confidence, sometimes priding themselves on the power of their intuition. In a world rife with illusions of validity and skill, can we trust them? How do we distinguish the justified confidence of experts from the sincere overconfidence of professionals who do not know they are out of their depth? We can believe an expert who admits uncertainty but cannot take expressions of high confidence at face value. As I first learned on the obstacle field, people come up with coherent stories and confident predictions even when they know little or nothing. Overconfidence arises because people are often blind to their own blindness.
Gu was a worrier, a neurotic curmudgeon. If he had a headache, it was a brain tumor; if it looked like rain, this year's harvest was ruined. This was his way of controlling the situation, his lifelong strategy for always coming out ahead. Now, when reality looked more dire than any of his fatalisitic predictions, he had no choice but to turn tail and charge in the opposite direction.
Molecular dynamics is not primarily about making movies of molecules. More often it is about developing quantitative predictions of molecular size and shape, flexibilities, interactions with other molecules, behavior under pressure, and the relative frequency of one state or conformation compared to another.
When it comes to scientific matters the ready talkers simply run riot. There are a lot of pseudo-scientists who with a little technical jargon to spatter through their talk are always getting in the limelight by making startling predictions of what the future has in store, using as their text the most recent discovery or invention.
I am making no predictions and the Prime Minister is wise in taking that line, but I am perfectly certain that nothing will enable the German Empire for a generation or two to get anywhere near the same position of dominant force and menace that it was in before the War. I do not say they desire it—I do not believe there is any such desire in Germany at the present moment.
Quantum theory is stunningly successful. Not a single one of the theory's predictions has ever been shown wrong. One-third of our economy depends on products based on it. However, the worldview demanded by quantum theory is not only stranger than we might suppose, it's stranger than we can suppose.
Well, I knew it was going to be important. That much I knew. In fact, I had thought about sealing it in a dated envelope with my predictions and then opening it 20-30 years later to see if my intuitions were right. I realized this paper marked a new direction. I used to think about it this way-that one day Fuzzy Logic would turn out to be one of the most important things to come out of our Electrical Engineering Computer Systems Division at Berkeley. I never dreamed it would become a worldwide phenomenon. My expectations were much more modest.
But a theory is not like an airline or bus timetable. We are not interested simply in the accuracy of its predictions. A theory also serves as a base for thinking. It helps us to understand what is going on by enabling us to organize our thoughts. Faced with a choice between a theory which predicts well but gives us little insight into how the system works and one which gives us this insight but predicts badly, I would choose the latter, and I am inclined to think that most economists would do the same.
Every managerial act rests on assumptions, generalizations, and hypotheses — that is to say, on theory. Our assumptions are frequently implicit, sometimes quite unconscious, often conflicting; nevertheless, they determine our predictions that if we do a, b will occur. Theory and practice are inseparable.