AI: I Am So Totally Awesome
A team from the University of California, San Diego and from the University of Edinburgh have created a mathematical model that has shown that being overconfident, even to the point of self-delusion, can often bring great rewards.
The research was published in the September 14th edition of Nature. The team worked out an evolutionary model that shows being overconfident especially in situations of risk and high uncertainty, can be beneficial to survival of an individual and of a group. The results of being overconfident allowed for more mates and potential offspring and for a better overall quality of life.
The team compared overconfident, accurate and under-confident strategies against one another. Intuitively, you would think that overly confident people and strategies would be doomed to fail and sometimes that is indeed the case, such as seen in market bubbles and collapses. But this recent research shows that the reason this sometimes annoying trait in populations and in people seems to prevail, is because it has a value based on a calculable payoff especially in situation of high risk and uncertainty. While being overconfident can lead to faulty assessments it also “maximizes individual fitness” thus creating a more stable environment.
Thinking you are better than you actually are, can sometimes make you better than you actually are.
Sounds a little creepy-and-kinda-like-the-secret to me, but in some models the math works. You can’t wish yourself into a Mercedes but if you delude yourself into thinking you deserve one and make decisions based on that, you might just end up in the driver seat.
How would you rate your confidence level? Do you accurately assess yourself or are you overconfident or under-confident? Do you know people who are either overconfident or under-confident and what observations can you make about their life? Do they seem more or less successful? What do you think of evolutionary psychology? Is it overconfident to the point of delusion? Have I told you how great I am today?