We need more metaexpertise

We need more metaexpertise

Metaexpertise is just the ability to pick which “experts” to listen to and distinguishing between different kinds of experts There are secretly three kinds of experts.

It’s bad to both ignore experts when you should listen to them (errors of omission) and to listen to experts when you should ignore them (errors of commission.) The fact that both types of error are possible means that you can’t take a maximal approach and either ignore experts all the time or just “listen to scientists.” There are several tensions in epistemology around experts. But while there’s lots of discourse about “should we listen to experts,” there’s not as much about “when should we listen to experts?” “Which experts should we listen to?” And “how should we listen to them.”

There are offhanded ideas in this arena - things like the wisdom of crowds literature suggest that when information is highly distributed it’s better to use markets and averages and when information is extremely unintuitive it’s better to depend on experts. Skin in the game analysis is another.

How would you evaluate someone’s meta expertise? It might be their ability to make predictions in a large number of areas. The complexity of the modern world means that it’s impossible for any one person to themselves be an expert on any one topic so we need to depend on specialists (ie. experts.) So someone looks like an expert in multiple areas is instead probably a meta-expert with extremely good taste in experts. (Of course, there’s no reason that anybody should be any better at determining whether someone is a legit metaexpert than they are at determining if someone is a normal expert.)