September 14, 2020

"Knowing the date of their death appealed to a little over a quarter of those surveyed, knowing whether their partners were cheating appealed to over half..."

"... knowing if there is life on other planets appealed to nearly three-quarters. There was also great variation in reported willingness to pay for that information, with median bids ranging from $1 for credit card late-fee disclosure to $200 to know if heaven exists."

From "Accused of Ruining Popcorn, Cass Sunstein Wants to Repent," a NYT book review, by Clay Shirky, of Sunstein's new book, "TOO MUCH INFORMATION/Understanding What You Don’t Want to Know."

"Among government reformers and progressive regulators (like Sunstein himself, a decade ago), increasing access to information has been regarded as an obvious goal since Watergate. The book doesn’t replace that generational certainty with a new one, but it does make it impossible to continue regarding information disclosure as an uncomplicated good."

46 comments:

n.n said...

The progressive and forward-looking standard is Water Closet, where democracy is scalped at the Twilight fringe.

rhhardin said...

Staying informed.

I regularly (like now) turn off audio of Rush and listen to the backyard bird microphone instead. Keep track of what's going on in the neighborhood at a touch of my audio mixer board.

Rush is still recorded to the HD to keep up the historical record, like photographing sunrises. A call from a youthful listener usually provokes the audio choice switch.

On my bike I switch to listening to morse code (Wittgenstein book) under the same circumstances. The radio has AM and MP3.

hstad said...

Well such numbers shouldn't surprise anyone. Western society has been inundated by "Media Porn" in every facet of our personal and public lives. The "Kardashian Affect" is alive and well not only in the MSM but the BLM/ANTIFA movement. It's "Woke" impact is seen in sports, businesses, schools, even down to the kindergarten level. We've lost our sense of purpose!

rhhardin said...

Knowing the date of your death would be valuable for retirement planning. You can't take it with you, unless it's bitcoin.

rhhardin said...

Pluto takes bitcoin for the ferry.

rehajm said...

Information is power. Leftie leaders don't want you to have it so they hire twerps like Cass.

I'd love to 'nudge' him right in the nose.

rehajm said...

...increasing access to information has been regarded as an obvious goal since Watergate

DRINK!

Yancey Ward said...

I wouldn't want to know the date of my death unless there was something I could actually do about delaying it (or speeding it up as the case may be).

Nonapod said...

So the guy who wrote a technocratic treatise on creating public policies using "choice architecture" to "nudge" people to a desired result (basically manipulating people by arranging information in clever ways) is now claiming that some information should be supressed or held back? It doesn't seem like he's changed that much. He still believes people need to be manipulated for their own good, it's just how they should be manipulated that he's changed his opinion on.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I have only ever known one person who wanted to know the date of their death. That was a person who as extremely narcissistic and had lived to be very old. Life had become abhorrent to them because it had never had any joy in it to begin with.

Personally, I would not want to know.

J Scott said...

When the numbers lead you to where you didn't want to go.

Joe Smith said...

First off, what the hell kind of name is 'Cass'?

Is that like a Jewish 'Chad' or 'Biff'?

I see he was born in Concord, MA and is married to that C-You-Next-Tuesday Samantha Power...so maybe he is a Chad of the Chosen...

Gahrie said...

but it does make it impossible to continue regarding information disclosure as an uncomplicated good."

So ... who gets to decide on which information should be disclosed and which shouldn't?

JPS said...

"My girlfriend's so intense...She woke me up the other night and asked, 'If you could tell exactly when and how you were going to die, would you want to know?' I said, 'Heck no, why?' 'Doesn't matter, just go back back to sleep...'"

- Steven Wright

Ralph L said...

When Clinton became president, he told Webb Hubbell to find out about Area 51 and if Oswald killed JFK. He was so easily satisfied.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Before eating your meal at a restaurant, how much would to pay to know if the cook remembered to wash his hands after using the bathroom?
After eating your meal, how much would you pay to not know that information?

Fernandinande said...

You can't handle the disclosed information!

stevew said...

I would not want to know the date of my death. Each day between now and then would make me increasingly anxious.

@Yancey Ward: you have the power to speed it up.

Jupiter said...

Cass Sunstein is a prevaricating sack.

As to his supposed discoveries regarding human preferences for knowledge, like most fundamentally stupid and ignorant people, he imagines that Truth is straightforward and uncomplicated, and easily knowable, assuming you are Cass Sunstein, or someone equally unreflective. This is why he finds it so difficult to believe that the rest of us are uninterested in The Truth As Revealed By Cass Sunstein. "How could they possibly resist my offer to run their grubby little lives for them?"

Wince said...

Considering Sunstein's wife is Samantha Power, he should've asked her how interested she is to know who put her name on all those unmasking requests.

rcocean said...

Knowing the date of your death would be bummer. But actually quite useful. I could start drinking/smoking and pile up debt - all of which would be due AFTER I died.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Exactly what Rejahm said at 1:14PM.

When the elected lefties do get the information, they fear what we will learn from it so they fight to keep it from us.

mikee said...

It isn't the total amount of information that is too much, it is determining which information is factual, and which is not, that takes too damn much time.

Also, taking a vacation from media allows one the delicious frisson of being excited a wee bit when reading an overwrought, opinion-filled, fictional hack job on Trump. That is, reading anything about Trump.

tim in vermont said...

I have to admit, I remember asking a doctor whether I was a candidate for a particular procedure, and when he sort of looked up into his head for a second to calculate my life expectancy after hearing my age before answering, it kind of weirded me out.

wild chicken said...

Of course there's life on other planets. Just too far away to make any difference.

Lem said...

They want the experts back.

Leland said...

I have no interest in knowing the date of my death. It seems like depressing information and regardless of when; how would you vet the credibility of the knowledge? If a person was accurate on that knowledge, I'd want to know how they gained the ability to be that accurate. That's the information I'd want to know.

Knowing if my partner was cheating shows a weakness on my part. If I don't know, and I want to know; then I shouldn't pay for information on the subject. I should either act on what is best for me. If you don't like the relationship and you have those concerns; end it. If you enjoy the relationship and have those concerns; then make yourself a better partner for your partner. Maybe I'd want to know the information as to how to be better, but if your relationship is any good; then you should be able to get that information cheaply.

There is life on other planets. The more valuable information would be the odds of us finding intelligent life that we could communicate without the fear of being destroyed by it. The simple answer to that is to be the inter-galactic life form that can find other life and not the one that is found by others. Then you will have the information necessary to avoid being prey.

Avoid credit card late fee disclosures by just avoiding credit cards. Dave Ramsey will provide this information for free or for a monetary value. However, you want to hear it from him.

SeanF said...

rhhardin: Knowing the date of your death would be valuable for retirement planning...
Your insurance company would sure like to know.

(BTW, I know when I'm going to die, because my birth certificate has an expiration date)

Bruce Hayden said...

I don’t want to know when I am going to die. And if you have to ask whether your spouse is cheating on you, you probably shouldn’t be together.

Jeff Brokaw said...

If this kind of info ever became knowable, you can bet your ass some tech company would monetize it.

Ponder that for a minute.

In other words, whether or not *our* knowledge of our impending date of death is a good idea or not, in today’s world we just know it would become part of the world of Big Data where our private/sensitive info gets bought and sold in markets we don’t even know exist. *That* question seems almost bigger and more important.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Wince said...
Considering Sunstein's wife is Samantha Power, he should've asked her how interested she is to know who put her name on all those unmasking requests.

Wince wins the thread

I'd love to know the date of my death. That would tell me when / if to buy life insurance, and how much time I had to deal with all my buck list items.

It would also affect my answer to the question "when should I retire?"

stlcdr said...

What you want when you know you can’t have it is different from being actually able to have what you want.

“You can have a million dollars if you press this button. But someone you don’t know will die.” You can speculate all you want, but until you are in that position it’s meaningless.

Much like politicians saying stuff and doing stuff - two different things.

gilbar said...

i always like hearing about people that ask their doctor;
............"am i going to die?"
and, then they are relieved when the doctor replies;
............"no"

this would Really Bother me as the doctor has just PROVED himself to be either a liar or a fool

the answer you should be looking for is;
............"Yes! but, not from This"

PluralThumb said...

I am not allowed to reply or say any into parralel or adverse to statements in this. Including the heading the body of the article. Especially comment on comments. I think only 12 people must only exist on this planet to prove a hypothesis of mine. The female and male ratio is out of my league. A planet alone is no lonely island. What is the solution besides Nazi Germany at this point. And mind you, the poor white people died mostly. Even poor fascists from neighboring Italy mistaken as Jews. I mean a white wicker chair is a wicker chair and is white, But do wicker chairs, especially used splinter. I need to check home depot for new paint colours. Next paycheck !

PluralThumb said...

A million dollars will not only kill a person. May create a storm in maybe Texas. May, prolong the use of the wiser people to talk about how they wish they had a million dollars. But my question is, a million dollars in accordance to a life, equates as per value ? That death or million dollars may have been at a farmers market value. We are post industrial revolution. But bunnies are probably the most reproductive animal. We do not use pelts as per poli-tech sports wear. And, even NYC can get lonely. So, the standard is as per living on a farm in artartica ? Or does Opera need endorse Starbucks again. D unkin Donuts has grat competition and I will not name who bias dunkin donuts. I'm on McDonalds coffee and save my reciepts in case i get blamed for buying drugs or prostitute children from Singapore.

PluralThumb said...

You traded your souls for the joy of western freedom of green light and red light. The yellow light of course means to slow the speed to a halt. But, the freedom of no Social Security pension is a way to rebel against those imigrant complasant to trading the same for the same fr9m hop to hop. If you are hurting my feelings, then do that. B3cause China was already so polluted with hate that the Dali Llhama wished he can be a barber rather than Tibet get turned into a future tourist location to escort zombies through a Hollywood basement and fund nuclear warheads.

Nice Autumn this year.

Christy said...

30 or 40 years ago, When I began serious financial planning, I asked my doctor how long I should expect to live. I wanted enough money to last me while still getting in as many days on the ski slopes as I could.

Paul said...

All I'm interested in is the next Mega Lotto numbers. Gimme 'em!

frenchy said...

The conviction that was somehow Watergate that was the talisman opening these mystical doors of wonderment lost me from jump. It all lies behind a NYT paywall where it'll stay.

Russell said...

Following on your post the other day about Trump downplaying the pandemic. Would most people want to know that five million people would likely die from the pandemic or that a 1/3rd of the people needed to lose their job to prevent it? Or would they be happier with sunnier information (that, to the experts surprise happened to be correct).

Josephbleau said...

Heinlein already covered this in “Lifeline”. Dr. Pinero could predict your date of death but was sued and murdered by the life insurance companies. Heinlein’s name violates the i before e except after c or the sound of an a as in neighbor or weigh rule.

tim in vermont said...

"Of course there's life on other planets. Just too far away to make any difference.”

And getting farther every day.

Roger Sweeny said...

I would like to know if my partner is cheating. But since I'm 99.9999% sure she isn't, I wouldn't pay anything for the information.

daskol said...

Cass Sunstein gets way too much credit for asking interesting questions, as that seems to lull people into ignoring the horrifying frame in which he is asking them, and the similarly off suggestions/answers he provides. I was wondering what ever happened to Clay Shirky, whose Here Comes Everybody book I enjoyed. It's turned out in retrospect to be a bit optimistic, but overall a much better map of the territory that we've been wandering the last decade or two than anything Sunstein every put out. Something sad about a futurist/commentator like Shirky, with a much better record of commentary and prediction, stooping to politely review something from the execrable Sunsteinm, and seeing Shirky pull his punches. Sad.

Unknown said...

“Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

mikesixes said...

Joe Biden is a commenter here, under the handle of "Plural Thumb"