Illu­sion of Transparency

TagLast edit: 1 Oct 2020 1:57 UTC by Ruby

The illusion of transparency is the misleading impression that your words convey more to others than they really do. Words are a means of communication, but they don’t in themselves contain meaning. The word apple is just five letters, two syllables. I use it to refer to a concept and its associations in my mind, under the reasonable assumption that it refers to a similar concept and group of associations in your mind; this is the only power words have, great though it may be. Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose track of this fact, think as if your words have meanings inherently encoded in them, leading to a tendency to systematically overestimate the effectiveness of communication.

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Notable Posts

External Links

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Neel Nanda28 Aug 2020 16:44 UTC
74 points
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Illu­sion of Trans­parency: Why No One Un­der­stands You

Eliezer Yudkowsky20 Oct 2007 23:49 UTC
118 points
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The MIT Mys­tery Hunt and the Illu­sion of Transparency

novalis19 Jan 2012 7:34 UTC
20 points
17 comments2 min readLW link

Against nam­ing things, and so on

whales15 Oct 2017 23:48 UTC
22 points
8 comments4 min readLW link

Ex­plain­ers Shoot High. Aim Low!

Eliezer Yudkowsky24 Oct 2007 1:13 UTC
78 points
34 comments1 min readLW link

Ex­pect­ing Short In­fer­en­tial Distances

Eliezer Yudkowsky22 Oct 2007 23:42 UTC
228 points
106 comments3 min readLW link

Words as Men­tal Paint­brush Handles

Eliezer Yudkowsky1 Mar 2008 23:58 UTC
37 points
73 comments3 min readLW link