Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Skepticism in the workplace

Recently, I was helping out on a training program at work for auditors. The main message was to help auditors avoid problems in their reasoning/judgement that would impact their work. These problems included confirmation bias, overconfidence, and anchoring. All of these common psychological tendencies in humans are serious problems when it comes to interpreting financial data with clients. It was a very strange experience for me actually. Usually during a virtual class, I am tuned out to what the presenters are saying and more focused on the tech support side of things. But in this case I actually felt like I was back in critical thinking class in college. Personally, I think skepticism is very important. It provides a clear method to evaluate the truth of a claim.

For example, it's important to understand why there isn't an invisible leprechaun in your closet. There are no conditions that would falsify your Irish comrade being that he/she is invisible. We are all susceptible to these errors in thinking. This is why the majority of people believe in supernatural things: astrology, psychics, ghosts, angels, demonic possession (maybe not everybody haha, but I know people who do ok), medicine (new age and any for that matter), claims made by people on Oprah etc. I am not saying all of these things are not true. Just that without proper evidence, the best we can say is "I don't know." Of course the things that are testable in principle and failed when we did so would get a "No." Certainly our knowledge will change over time as we make progress. But this is the most practical system to ground belief and provides the clearest picture of what we can know at any given time.

So it's great to see that skepticism is valuable in my job. I am not an auditor, but I do support them with virtual training. It's good to be part of something that encourages people to think critically and raise awareness about common errors in thinking even if it just pertains to auditing stuff. Is it weird that I am thinking it might be cool to be an auditor?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Talent Show Video

I participated in a talent show last Friday night at work. There was quite a wide variety of acts including: Full rock bands, modern dance, opera, vocal, and instrumental. It was a very positive experience for me even though I did not win. Specifically, I was able to remain in a more "giving" state of mind (as opposed to being critical and nervous while performing). It was really fun actually! I would like to thank everyone for coming and being incredibly supportive! Below is the video of my performance: