The Big Coefficient vs. The New Reality
This post references an idea presented in The Model Thinker by Scott Page:
“Linear regressions reveal the magnitude of correlations of independent variables with the variable of interest. If that correlation is causal, changes to the variable with a big coefficient will have large effects. Policies based on big coefficients guarantee improvements but rule out new realities that involve more fundamental changes.”
Humanity’s present, i.e. the Anthropocene, requires an unprecedented amount of new reality thinking. Big Coefficient Thinking is fully inadequate to meet the challenges we now face. To borrow phrasing from Alex Steffen, an incredible thinker and writer: A stable transition is no longer possible and we face a future full of discontinuities. Discontinuities imply a new reality that requires a different type of thought and decision making. Making this mindset transition will be imperative, but two main categories of opposing forces will continue to meet it with resistance. The more overt, intentional, and vehement resistance will come from those looking to hold onto their current, big coefficient advantages as long as possible. The less visible, yet incredibly important resistance will be applied by the cumulative effect of decisions by leaders who do not recognize the new reality is already here and we’re already climbing its exponential curves. New Reality Thinking is in everyone’s best interest now. Responding to this new reality will, out of necessity diminish many big coefficient advantages, in some cases to all the way to zero, but the sooner we commit to the mindset transition, the better we can prepare for and manage those discontinuities. The best time to make the transition was 50 years ago. The next best time is today.
Originally published at https://ryancwing.com on February 19, 2022.