It’s rational to try something that failed in the past as long as you explicitly call out why you will succeed when they failed

Precise Language Enables Progress by articulating why something in the past failed and why you will succeed (which lets you actually do that thing.) Usually these explicitly called out failure points are constraints that are now relaxed either because of new technology (Technology relaxes constraints) or because the environment is different (A heuretic’s impact is not endogenous to the technology but depends on the environment)

Electric cars in the early 21st century are the perfect example of this principle. In the 20th century electric cars were tried and failed because batteries charged too slowly and were too heavy. Lithium-Ion batteries changed this.

It’s not rational to say “we’ll succeed at this thing that failed in the past because we’re smarter/more determined” than those people even though it may be true and you may succeed.


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