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Thinking about Not-knowing #7: Connecting Actions and Results
Tuesday July 25 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm CEST
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Making good strategy is hard when you don’t know how particular actions are connected to particular outcomes — in other words, when there is not-knowing about causation. At the same time, not-knowing about causation can also offer freedom to act under specific conditions. This can be a strategic and tactical advantage.
We’ll talk about four types of not-knowing in causation and how each type offers different constraints and opportunities for strategy and tactics:
- Inaccurate precision: Quantification obsession and legibility obsession means we assign precise probabilities (or probability ranges) to outcomes without strong basis.
- Unknown actions: When actions are unknown, we can’t know how likely they are to produce particular outcomes.
- Unknown outcomes: When outcomes are unknown, we cannot know when particular actions will produce them.
- Multiple causation: We are often only partly aware of the full set of causal connections between an action and a range of either simultaneously produced outcomes or sequentially revealed outcomes.
As a bonus, we may discuss how intentionally concealing well-understood causation can have strategic benefits. (Turns out this is done both in business and in military contexts.)
This is the 7th episode in an Interintellect series about not-knowing.
Pre-reading: A short post on “Causal not-knowing.”
Optional (but probably useful!): Check out previous articles on thinking more clearly about not-knowing.
The event will be recorded.