Ask A Genius 367 – Mitigating Risk (2)

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 367 – Mitigating Risk (2)

June 22, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I want to take it a little bit deeper with that. If F. Scott Fitzgerald is stating that the trademark of a first-rate mind is one that can hold two ideas that are different simultaneously, then the assumption is that a decision has not been made.

So, that comes from that is the ability to be thoughtful, to deliberate, to reason in general.

Rick Rosner: You could boil it down to your unresolved consideration; you are undecided about some issue at hand, which some people have to decide immediately because it undermines something in their mind at the moment that is previously held.

It’s hard to persuade them otherwise even with fresh evidence or any persuasive argument. Lance was yelling at me. This is what we do with our web series. He was yelling at me about something. What is the probability that Trump will be charged with collusion with Russia?

Jacobsen: Did you mention the survey?

Rosner: Maybe, 40%, if you are wrong, are you going to give me $1,000? There’s no wrong there. I’m not signing a proof of probability to it. It’s undetermined. He was giving me shit for saying that there’s not enough information yet.

I’d say that that in certain areas it’s not wrong to not decide what’s true or not because there’s not enough information to decide. There are different things to know or attempt to know about the world. In most everyday things that are critical, we gather enough information to make the state of everything that we’re trying to determine into the state of certainty.

With the standard example being the red traffic light, now, there might be situations where it doesn’t matter what state the light is in, a little town at 4:30 in the morning where you the air is clear, you can see for a mile in either direction along a straight road.

You don’t have to care about the state of the traffic light. But in a busy city, your safety depends on knowing the state of the light and reporting cross or not cross. You accumulate enough environmental cues including photons of certain wavelengths from the traffic lights.

The odds that you’re thinking about the state of the traffic light green or red are less than one in a trillion. If people do make mistakes, they get distracted; they forget where they are; they step into traffic, but somebody who’s paying attention will wait for the significance of a traffic light.

It’s not a question that will naturally ascertain the state of the light to near certainty. And most situations are like that, but given your experience of streets and sidewalks, your next step is likely along the street.

You’re likely to still be on the sidewalk or on the curb or taking one step into the street. You’re likely not to be stepping into a hole. It’s based on your experience. If you’re prudent, you’re not looking at your phone.

You’re looking at the state of your environment to have more certainty by visually inspecting what’s going around you. So, most everyday things that are critical are things that you can ascertain their state to near certainty.

Another thing, there are still everyday things, where you can’t ascertain the state: Does a girl like me? It’s up in the air. You need to accumulate more information before whatever you would do if you thought that she likes you.

Then there’s stuff where it’s hard to accumulate information in a moment-to-moment fashion like Trump with various investigations and levels of collusion. It’s gonna take time. Or trying to figure out whether your team is going to win a game, you have to wait for the information.

So, there’s some uncertainty on questions of life or death. To think we can still screw up, because if you have an average lifetime, you have three billion critical decisions of the type including deciding on the weather light is green or red.

The odds of screwing up are one and a billion that maybe you will screw up three times. You might get in a wreck. I have gotten into wrecks quite recently. I got in a wreck in Albuquerque. The Sun was on my face. I didn’t even see a traffic light. I rolled through to what turned out to be a red.

So, I didn’t have enough information. I was assuming that there wasn’t a light there. I bounced off of my car, smashed head-on into it, into another car. That was all my fault. I didn’t gather enough information.

Jacobsen: Those were abrupt. So, depending on the channel of information, the context, I mean, which we’ve carved out of overtime. We’ve carved our environment. We’ve carved each other for selection up to latest various traits.

That we have sensory organs, cognitive capacities. Things like this. We’ve honed ourselves. So, we’re high fidelity within a relatively broad spectrum of environmental possibilities. So, whether that’s something relatively abstract like games or math to the things that are mundane, but pretty concrete, including knowing whether to cross the street if they’re showing a good to go and walk sign or not.

Because we have a lot of visual information, we’re getting a lot of photons to get an image. So, it’s relatively high fidelity barring some visual impairment. Then, that makes me think, what does this mean for contexts in which there are clear deficits?

So, the person who doesn’t have any social skills. They have the same cognitive capacities and sensory organs. So, they can see things they can understand; they can see. But they can’t, where they can see things and can have a conceptualization of things, but they don’t have that immediate understanding of what goes on in a social situation.

I mean, what they do in a social situation is completely inappropriate.

Rosner: You are talking about people with social deficits often. In the past century, from most people being looked at as awkward or bad cases, to people being looked at as people with specific ranges of deficits, that have a particular ideology.

That these deficits can be addressed in various ways via therapy or protecting those people, but since we value the lives of other humans. Aspergers isn’t particularly dangerous. It can in a lot of instances lead to people who want to be socially successful and are Asperger.

You’re going to have frustration. Unless, once they’re lucky, or unless they get training or learn to train themselves myopically through life-and-death deficits, we generally note those people and take measures to protect them.

Jacobsen: I mean, historically, those people would probably be weeded out or would have some use in a specific ritualistic sense, right?

Rosner: I mean, as somebody who grew up in the 70s, my metric for social success was whether I could get a girlfriend or whether somebody could get a girl. There is probably a number of people on the autism spectrum – higher than ever before.

Maybe partially because of environmental or cultural factors, maybe partially because we are able to identify people better than ever before, people get tossed into it because there are funds available to address these problems.

But these problems, some people would argue, are not problems. I’m arguing from a point of view that some people are perfectly happy to be on the spectrum and have the altered behavior and perception and thought that goes along with it.

There are all these people who are socially awkward and thus less socially successful. And that’s something you probably have in all animals.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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