Why reading newspapers makes you stupid

7 February, 2017 at 12:19 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

Lydon: You say newspapers make us stupid, and I’m not quite clear why.

Taleb: Because they always give you an explanation to events so that you have the feeling that you know what’s going on. They tell you the stock market went down, because of fear of a recession, and that’s false causation with uncertainty there. They check their facts, but you can’t check their causes. So, you have the feeling of over-causation from newspapers. That’s number one, the first one.

The second one: newspapers aren’t going to tell you “we had 280 deaths on the roads today in America”. They’re going to tell you about the plane crash killing 14 people. So, you have misrepresentation of the math of risks. They are driven by the sensational. And the statistical and the sensational are not the same in our modern world.

cw5is4bxeaa6kziThere’s a third thing about newspapers. Supplying someone with news reduces his understanding of the world. It’s more complicated than I can go into here, but let me tell you how I cope with it. I don’t mind knowing the news, but I go by a social filter. I eat lunch and dinner with other people. (I try to. I still have people who won’t eat lunch or dinner with me, even after writing the Black Swan). And I make sure. You can eavesdrop on conversations and stuff like that. I can tell if something is going on.

If there’s an event of significance, I know about it. And then I go to the web, or go buy a paper sometimes, or something like that.

Christopher Lydon interview with Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Advertisements

1 Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. Thanks for excerpting the digest of “Nassim Nicholas Taleb | The Fragility Crisis is Just Begun” (MP3 audio) | June 3, 2010 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon posted at https://daviding.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/nassim-nicholas-taleb-the-fragility-crisis-is-just-begun-mp3-audio-june-3-2010-radio-open-source-with-christopher-lydon/ . The recorded interview gives some more insights on antifragility, after the publishing of The Black Swan.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.