The concept of information value was not invented by Robin Hanson in the shower one morning for public release to the world via Midas Oracle.

[The title above is a joke based on Bo Cowgill’s latest comment. To get his joke, you will have to read all the comments there, till the final one (at the time of writing).]

Bo challenges me to publicize a Wikipedia link about the concept of information value. So, here is it:

Value of information (VoI) is undoubtedly one of the most useful notions in decision analysis. […]

Standard Definition

Consider a general decision situation having n decisions (d1, d2, d3, &#8230-, dn) and m uncertainties (u1, u2, u3, &#8230-, um). Rationality assumption in standard individual decision-making philosophy states that what is made or known are not forgotten, i.e., decision-maker has perfect recall. This assumption translates into the existence of a linear ordering of these decisions and uncertainties such that-
– di is made prior to making dj if and only if di comes before dj in the ordering
– di is made prior to knowing uj if and only if di comes before uj in the ordering
– di is made after knowing uj if and only if di comes after uj in the ordering

Consider the case where the decision-maker is enabled to know the outcome of some additional uncertainties earlier in his/her decision situation, i.e., some ui are moved to appear earlier in the ordering. In such case, VoC is quantified as the highest price in which the decision-maker is willing to pay for all those moves. […]

Voila.

4 thoughts on “The concept of information value was not invented by Robin Hanson in the shower one morning for public release to the world via Midas Oracle.”

1. Bo Cowgill said:

Haha I more just meant that you should read the link for yourself, Chris. If you wanted to post it, that’s fine too. Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article doesn’t mention how one of these calculations would be performed in real life. As I say in the comment,I don’t think such a study can be controlled well enough to produce credible results. People would rightly criticize the methodology and say that it hasn’t proved anything.

2. Chris. F. Masse said:

People will get the joke, and be interested by both the Wikipedia link and your discussion.

3. Bo Cowgill said:

Haha I more just meant that you should read the link for yourself, Chris. If you wanted to post it, that’s fine too. Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article doesn’t mention how one of these calculations would be performed in real life. As I say in the comment,I don’t think such a study can be controlled well enough to produce credible results. People would rightly criticize the methodology and say that it hasn’t proved anything.

4. Chris. F. Masse said:

People will get the joke, and be interested by both the Wikipedia link and your discussion.