The main role of orientation, as least as far as winning and losing goes, is to predict the consequences of our actions more accurately than our opponents can predict the consequences of theirs. The question of how we do this opens “Destruction and Creation,” and all the rest of Boyd’s works illustrate his answer.
There are many subtleties. For example:
- Nobody’s orientation is perfect, so how can we tell if we’re the one making the more accurate predictions? This is anything but a straightforward issue, even if we could ameliorate all the problems of making inferences from limited samples (because that’s what our observations are) of the situation. For example, are we being deceived? Are we deceiving ourselves (e.g., confirmation bias/ incestuous amplification)? In both of these cases, we believe that our orientation is making suitably accurate predictions, and what’s worse, we often have the data to prove it.
- Once we realize that we have a problem, what do we do about it?
- Boyd suggested that the consequences of not maintaining as accurate an orientation as our opponents include panic, disorientation, confusion, chaos. Is this true? Always? Why?
- Does time matter? That is, if we make more accurate predictions, but it takes us longer to make them, do we still have an advantage? [Hint: What’s the opponent doing during these time gaps?]
- Does orientation include being able to predict consequences of opponents’ actions?
- How much more accurate do our predictions have to be in order to offset an opponent’s other advantages, in size and technology, for example?
- How does all this apply to groups of people, where intragroup dynamics govern the group’s actions?
Larry Dunbar sent an interesting comment to the last post, and my reply is what got me going on this one. With these subtleties (and other you think of) in mind, you might read over the quote that opened the last post and add your comments to this one.