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Error Identifying Superpower

Suppose, hypothetically, that you had a superpower. It's the ability to find errors in academic papers (it works on books, blog posts, tweets, etc., too).

You can do it for most fields.

So I pick a field, e.g. animal intelligence, and you say "sure I can do that field", and I select 10 papers in the field. Then you find five errors in every paper. And not typos, significant errors. Mostly conceptual errors.

What would you do with your superpower? How could it be used to accomplish much of anything?

It may sound kind of amazing. But I claim it'd be hard to get much value out of it. People, broadly, don't want to hear about errors. And they will say you don't have any credentials and assume you're wrong without listening even though, hypothetically, you're right about 100% of the errors you point out.

Comment below with your plan to use this superpower.


Elliot Temple on December 3, 2019

Comments (4)

Most people assume we live in more of a meritocracy than we do. And they assume that *other people* will identify merit. They don't generally care to do it themselves. Who, exactly, actually does it, and by what methods!?


Dagny at 12:14 AM on December 3, 2019 | #14662 | reply | quote

Seems easy. Everything has flaws. Otherwise you couldn't make progress.

Errors aren't that valuable if you have nothing to replace them with.


Anonymous at 3:11 PM on December 5, 2019 | #14711 | reply | quote

What seems easy? Identifying errors?


Anonymous 2 at 4:34 AM on December 6, 2019 | #14722 | reply | quote

You could easily use this to make a bunch of money because you'd have a competitive advantage in investment. Find businesses with making conceptual errors and short them, or find businesses that you don't see any major errors with and invest in them.

If you can't use the power for business proposals or blog posts or tweets from business people, but only academic stuff, you could still do this by limiting your focus to businesses that are closely related to academic research, and reading papers that the companies produce or are based on. You could focus on pharmaceutical companies, for instance.


Anonymous at 7:48 AM on December 9, 2019 | #14762 | reply | quote

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