Writing with Low Confidence

[epistemic status: 60%]

It’s easy to frame low-confidence writing (i.e. when the author claims they don’t fully believe what they’re saying, common in the rationalist blogscape) as needless pontificating, but here’s my formal claim otherwise:

  1. Low-confidence ideas generally have higher impacts when they turn out to be true, at least when considering the low-confidence ideas that make it out of people’s mouths.
  2. Entire companies have formed around pursuing low-confidence, high-reward ideas. (Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory)
  3. Low confidence is equivalent to high-risk where the risk is being wrong instead of anything substantial or material, and by qualifying it with a low-confidence tag, you’re nullifying any of the ramifications of being wrong.
  4. If you don’t accept premises 1-3, consider that there’s nothing inherently wrong with needless pontificating. It keeps you sharp, it keeps you entertained, and it’s satisfying. Thinking makes people feel good, especially thinking around others.

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