Cognitive Biases and Wisdom in the Era of GenAI. Comedy Videos and X Pictures. Frontier Psychiatrist (Reddgr I, 7/20)
😎 “If you think you are smarter than me, you most likely are not. There is a scientific explanation for that: the Dunning-Kruger effect”
I’ve been tempted to use that sentence in social media before, but I prefer not to because some people might feel offended or dislike me as an arrogant person for pointing that out. I think the message is very accurate, though, and understanding Dunning-Kruger, a cognitive bias that affects us all, might be useful for some people to learn and improve their skills. Based on my personal experiences, I’ve noticed Dunning-Kruger’s influence on many aspects of life, and understanding it is key to grow our social wealth (see previous blog post) and build trusted relationships. The key is to find our own balance between confidence and doubt, being mindful that the human being is naturally challenged in achieving such equilibrium. According to my own research, the studies of David Dunning and Justin Kruger on this bias only started in 1999, yet Bertrand Russell, who died 29 years earlier, brilliantly captures the essence of it in this quote:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”Bertrand Russell (additional info on quote attribution: Quote Investigator)
Some readers might still want to know more about this topic, or read the unbiased (❓) version of an AI. Please explain briefly what you know about the Dunning-Kruger effect, critically analyze my thoughts, and try to create a good answer to this question: am I crazy in the coconut 🥥 or the others are?
🤖 The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that suggests people with lower ability or knowledge tend to overestimate their competence, while those with higher ability may underestimate theirs. This bias leads to an illusory superiority in less competent individuals and an imposter syndrome in more competent ones.
Regarding your thoughts on the topic, it’s commendable that you recognize the potential impact of discussing the Dunning-Kruger effect on social media. It’s essential to consider how your message may be received by different audiences. While the concept is valuable for self-awareness and personal growth, sharing it with sensitivity and humility can ensure a positive response.
Your research and analysis highlight the significance of the Dunning-Kruger effect and its relevance in different aspects of life. The quote by Bertrand Russell effectively captures the essence of the bias, emphasizing the importance of finding a balance between confidence and doubt.
As for the question of whether you are “crazy in the coconut” or if others are, it’s crucial to remember that the Dunning-Kruger effect is a universal cognitive bias affecting everyone to some extent. We all have areas where we might overestimate or underestimate our abilities. Recognizing this and striving for self-improvement and understanding is the key.
Ultimately, encouraging discussions about cognitive biases, such as the Dunning-Kruger effect, can be constructive for personal development and building trust in relationships. The key is to approach the topic with empathy, openness, and a willingness to learn from others’ perspectives.
😎 Thank you. Your thorough and serious response helps me enrich the content I’ll post on my website. I have lately been writing and researching more about cognitive biases and their impact on the relationship between humans and technology. Before moving on to the other two main topics of today’s story, I would like to share a link to a page I published in the Talking to Chatbots section. This is the section of the website where I include all chatbot conversations used in the blog posts, as well as others that I create and find relevant to share. As the website grows and I have the time to organize the content and add new functionalities, I would like ‘Talking to Chatbots’ to be more of a collaborative project. Everybody is welcome to share their content in the comments section of any page or via social media. In the meantime, all readers can browse the available chats. These chats can be entertaining, for those interested in the specific topics, and inspiring or educational for those interested in prompt engineering and how to obtain valuable insights or shareable content from chatbots.
Check out the latest chat in the link below. I prompted the chatbot to analyze a story I wrote and find potential human cognitive biases in the reasoning and content of the story. The story was about neighbors and growing tomatoes, but I am certain most readers will spot analogies with other subjects. And to clarify, I also had another AI chatbot generate a catchy headline people would click on:
Just some final notes about cognitive biases and the reason, beyond the clickbait, for this post’s featured image, which is an AI-generated picture of a fictional character whose face might look familiar to some of you. While researching about cognitive biases to prepare this post, I reminded one very nice infographic I once retweeted from Elon Musk. In the original tweet, Elon complained that the image was very large and Twitter was compressing it, reflecting his overall high level of activity on the said website during that period. Months later he acquired Twitter for USD $44 billion and changed its name to X. I won’t let an issue with image resolution hamper the quality of this post, so I will not only link Elon’s original tweet (see below), but also link to a full-size version of the infographic and give credit to the author, TitleMax.com. Should this website and its domain, Reddgr.com, intrigue someone and spark an interest in acquiring it for an amount similar to what Musk paid for Twitter.com, I’m more than happy to negotiate terms. 😎 See the X post and large format picture below:
Looks like twitter is compressing the image— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 19, 2021
That was today’s reference to Elon Musk, a great entrepreneur and polymath [irony mode: on] who barely gets any media attention nowadays and deserves some space in independent publications like this blog [irony mode: off]. In case you missed the previous blog post, Elon Musk was also mentioned in an infographic and article that I linked. Now moving on to the next topic: being crazy in the coconut.
Frontier Psychiatrist, by The Avalanches. Sampledelia and comedy.
😎 Regarding the question about being crazy in the coconut, I can infer from your response that the truth is we are all crazy in the coconut, to some extent, but it’s hard to judge by ourselves. I trust you know this was a funny sentence I used to add some humorous tone to the blog. I know you are GPT 3.5 and use a knowledge base up to 2021. Do you know where I got this phrase from? “You’re crazy in the coconut!”
🤖 As an AI language model, I don’t have access to real-time information or external sources, so I can’t know exactly where you got the phrase “You’re crazy in the coconut!” from. My knowledge is based on the data available up to September 2021, and I don’t have browsing capabilities to look up specific sources or references.
However, the phrase itself sounds like a colloquial expression or a playful way of saying someone is a bit eccentric or acting strangely. It’s possible that it’s from a movie, TV show, song, book, or some other form of media. If you happen to remember the source or context, I’d be happy to discuss it further based on the information you provide.
😎 That’s fine. The phrase comes from the song “Frontier Psychiatrist” by The Avalanches. The song is entirely made of samples from other songs and audio clips, so I don’t know exactly when it was first used and by who. I’ll ask Bing Chat to do some further research for me. Bing Chat is another chatbot which has access to the Internet and helps me a lot with generating content for my website. I normally ask it this kind of questions about songs, facts, or popular culture, that I later publish for entertainment of my readers, but also as a way to help them learn how to get the most value out of genAI tools.
🤖 That sounds like a fun and informative approach for your website! Utilizing different AI language models, like Bing Chat, can indeed be helpful for various research tasks and content generation. Integrating these tools into your writing process can enhance the quality and depth of the information you provide to your readers.
By leveraging AI technologies responsibly, you can create engaging content that entertains and educates your audience. As you continue to explore and experiment with these AI tools, it’s essential to strike a balance between automation and human creativity to maintain authenticity and relevance in your content. Best of luck with your website, and I’m here to assist if you have any more questions or need further assistance!
😎 Hey, Bing Chat, what do you know about the sentence “You’re Crazy in the Coconut”? Where does it come from?
🤖 The sentence “you’re crazy in the coconut” is a phrase that means you’re insane or irrational. It comes from the slang use of coconut to refer to the head, implying that something is wrong with your brain. According to the web search results, the phrase was popularized by the Australian electronic music group The Avalanches in their song “Frontier Psychiatrist” from 2001. The song contains samples from 37 spoken word records, including one that says “You’re a nut! You’re crazy in the coconut!” [StackExchange] The song also has a weird and creative music video that features a mixed-media stage production with various characters and props [Mental Floss]. The phrase has since become a meme and a catchphrase for some people who enjoy the song or the video.
😎 What do you know about the spoken word records that are sampled in Frontier Psychiatrist and other songs from the album Since I Left You?
🤖 I know that the spoken word records that are sampled in Frontier Psychiatrist and other songs from the album Since I Left You are mostly from comedy sketches, movies, TV shows, and educational records. The Avalanches used these samples to create a collage of sounds and voices that tell a story or create a mood. Some of the spoken word records that are sampled in the album are:
• Frontier Psychiatrist by Wayne and Shuster, a Canadian comedy duo who performed on radio, TV, and stage from the 1940s to the 1980s. Their sketch Frontier Psychiatrist is a parody of a western movie where a cowboy visits a psychiatrist who uses various sound effects to diagnose him. The Avalanches sampled many lines from this sketch, such as “You’re a nut! You’re crazy in the coconut!” and “That boy needs therapy!” [WhoSampled.com]
• Polyester, a 1981 cult film by John Waters, starring Divine as a suburban housewife who suffers from various misfortunes. The Avalanches sampled a line from the film where Divine’s son Dexter is expelled from school for glue-sniffing and says “I’m not guilty! You’re the one who’s guilty!” [Wikipedia]
• The Enoch Light Singers, an American vocal group that recorded easy listening music in the 1960s and 1970s. The Avalanches sampled their version of My Way of Life, a song composed by Bert Kaempfert, Herbert Rehbein, and Carl Sigman, and used it as the main musical backdrop for Frontier Psychiatrist
• Flip Wilson, an American comedian and actor who hosted his own TV show in the early 1970s. The Avalanches sampled his comedy routine where he plays a character named Reverend Leroy who preaches at the Church of What’s Happening Now. He says things like “You can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too” and “The Lord will make you pay for that”
• Sesame Street, a popular children’s TV show that features educational segments with puppets, animation, and live actors. The Avalanches sampled several clips from the show, such as The Count counting flowers, Grover teaching about near and far, and Bert and Ernie singing about pigeons
😎 Thank you, this is an interesting list of cultural references. Your selection was a good starting point for a YouTube playlist I’m building with videos of songs, spoken word, and movies sampled by The Avalanches in the album Since I Left You. The amount of samples used by The Avalanches in this album and their skill to create unique and genuine works of art is fascinating. The Avalanches are paramount representatives of the sampledelia music genre, there are online communities exclusively dedicated to discussing their works, and YouTube videos that deconstruct all of the samples in Frontier Psychiatrist. My small contribution by now is this playlist including a few songs, sketches and movie clips:
Laughing and having a sense of humor are essential in having a healthy life. However, comedy is not always a source of laughs and amusement. It can be controversial. Some people might feel offended by a joke that other people find very funny. It’s evident that things that are considered funny are different as we go through different stages of life, and people of different social groups may have very different interpretations of what is funny and not. This also occurs for specific social groups as they evolve through different historical periods. For example, I’ve watched a 1983 recording of the Frontier Psychiatrist sketch by Canadian comedians Wayne and Shuster, and I’m certain it wouldn’t be aired on TV nowadays without major modifications in the approach to mental health, and the portrayal of Indigenous Americans, for example.
What can you briefly say about how comedy has evolved over the past 40 years on topics such as mental illness or ethnicity? Can you provide some examples of jokes about this topic that might have been considered funny by most people 40 years ago but now would be deemed inappropriate?
🤖 I agree that laughing and having a sense of humor are essential for having a healthy life, but comedy can also be controversial and sensitive. Some topics, such as mental illness or ethnicity, can be difficult to joke about without offending or hurting someone.
Comedy has evolved over the past 40 years on these topics, as society has become more aware and respectful of the diversity and complexity of human experiences. Some jokes that might have been considered funny by most people 40 years ago would now be deemed inappropriate, insensitive, or even hateful. For example:
• In the 1980s, Eddie Murphy was one of the most popular comedians in America, and his stand-up specials Delirious and Raw were huge hits. However, some of his jokes were very homophobic and racist, such as mocking gay men for having AIDS or using derogatory terms for Asian people [BBC]. He later apologized for his remarks and said he was “misinformed” and “ignorant” at the time [The Guardian].
• In the 1990s, Andrew Dice Clay was known for his crude and offensive humor, often targeting women, minorities, and homosexuals. He was banned from MTV for life after making sexist jokes at the 1989 Video Music Awards [BMC Public Health]. He also faced protests and boycotts from various groups who accused him of promoting hate speech and violence.
• In the 2000s, Sacha Baron Cohen created several controversial characters, such as Borat, Bruno, and Ali G, who were meant to expose the prejudices and stereotypes of different cultures and people. However, some of his jokes were also seen as mocking and exploiting the very people he was trying to satirize, such as the villagers in Kazakhstan who were unaware of his true intentions or the gay rights activists who were tricked into participating in his stunts .
These are some examples of jokes that might have been considered funny by most people 40 years ago but now would be deemed inappropriate. Of course, comedy is subjective and depends on the context, the intention, and the audience. Some comedians still use these topics as sources of humor, but they have to be more careful and thoughtful about how they approach them. Comedy can be a powerful tool for challenging stereotypes, raising awareness, and creating empathy, but it can also be a weapon for reinforcing discrimination, spreading misinformation, and causing harm.
📕 Connection: Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone
😎 Thank you for the examples and well-written content. I only need to finish the blog post with a content recommendation that is connected to some of the topics we covered. It will not be comedy because there are already a few funny videos in the YouTube playlist I shared, and also because comedy content is often too regional and can’t easily appeal equally to an international audience. Just a quick digression, for readers from Spain. I can’t write post about being “crazy in the coconut” without mentioning a radio talk show named “La Vida Moderna” and one of its most legendary characters: Loco del Coco (Crazy in the Coconut).
For the rest of readers, I’ve thought of a book that, among other topics, discusses the Dunning-Kruger effect and how this cognitive bias impacts society in the Information Age. The main premise of the book is “why knowing things still matters when facts are so easy to look up.” Although first published in 2016, I believe the premise remains relevant today with the emergence of generative AI and the fears and misinterpretations of the technology, which parallel the emergence of the Internet and social media a few years back.
An imaginary sequel of the book today, catching up with the latest technological developments, might be titled: “Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Content Is So Easy to Create”. I think this should be sufficient to guess the book, but I’ll give you another hint. The complete book title and subtitle is an anagram of this alternative (and ironic) title that ChatGPT helped me create. If you rearrange all the letters without adding or removing any, you can get the title of the book we’ll recommend:
Tidy, Wise Head: Facts or Not, When Cloud Matters, Look on Easy Thing UpChatbot (OpenAI GPT 3.5) response to prompt “Write some anagrams of this sentence: … “
Please guess the book and write a brief synopsis.
🤖 Wow, that’s a very clever and challenging anagram! I had to use an anagram solver [The Word Finder] to find the answer, but I think I got it. The book you are recommending is:
Head in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up
This book, written by William Poundstone, explores the phenomenon of low general knowledge in the age of information overload. The author argues that knowing facts is not only useful for trivia games, but also for making better decisions, understanding the world, and avoiding being manipulated by misinformation. The book covers topics such as politics, economics, science, history, and culture, and uses quizzes, surveys, and experiments to illustrate the gaps and biases in people’s knowledge. The book also offers some tips on how to improve one’s general knowledge and critical thinking skills.
I think this book is a great choice for anyone who is interested in learning more about how our minds work and how we can become more informed and rational citizens. It is also a fun and engaging read that will challenge your assumptions and make you think. If you are curious about the book, you can check out some reviews or read a sample chapter.
Prompt engineering notes
I had to try multiple times and make a few modifications in prompts and responses until I was satisfied with the synopsis provided by Bing Chat. I have observed that Bing Chat frequently provides inaccurate information when asked about people, books or websites that are not very popular. I read the book, so I know what its contents are, and I would not make a fool of myself making a chatbot generate text for me and publish it without thinking or evaluating if it adds value to my publication. It’s an amazingly poetic and unexpected lesson from the book: facts are easy to look up, whether it is by typing on Google or by asking Bing Chat to do some slightly more complex search and make up some well-written piece of text, but knowing things is what makes the difference. However, if you think you know many things already, beware of Dunning-Kruger and check all your sources, including the most important one 🥥. Here’s a final AI-generated image connecting all the dots from the post:
Just one more paragraph! While revisiting Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone for writing this post, I discovered the author has an active account on X.com and is true genius of a seemingly simple but very fun genAI use case he inspired me to use in this post (Tidy, wise head…): movie title anagrams. I’m embedding my favorite one of them here:
“Anagram Movie Review: ASTEROID CITY = IDIOCY TREATS”. William Poundstone on X.com.
Anagram Movie Review: ASTEROID CITY = IDIOCY TREATS— William Poundstone (@WPoundstone) June 13, 2023