Curse of the Nerds

(This article is co-authored with Ahmed Said)
We know about curse of knowledge where one who knows assumes that others are likely to know what one knows, even though the majority of a random sample would not have that knowledge.

The Curse of nerds is the illusion that most nerds have; regarding their capability to solve any problem or dilemma; no matter what that is, a social problem, psychological, political and whatnot.

This tendency to over simplify the problem and over estimate their capabilities is attributed to the professional level they reached in their respective domain plus their experience to “conquer” knowledge and know how of other different fields.

Add to that their wide knowledge of gaming or fantasy worlds of super heroes and the likes. This fallacy is aided with the proliferation of bite-sized infotainment videos and summaries, especially with the flood of simplified popular science videos.

Only a “noble” nerd would be humble about and skeptical of their knowledge and ability to give opinion in an area they are not expert in, and would put enough effort to research and seek to understand “state of the art” and “first principles thinking” of the given topic.

Some might claim that they don’t have “Curse of the nerds” and they go farther assuming that they have “Imposter Syndrome”, while it is valid for many but mostly it is not imposter syndrome, It is the hanger that people use to hide their knowledge irrelevancy.
The knowledge irrelevancy is interesting case where what you know isn’t fully projected on a certain situation that require an action, the reason could be the inability to correctly abstract the core experience ideas.

The humble nerd in reality is not humble, this nerd is simply is a skeptic, realistic about what they know and I think it is a key point in any human development regarding knowledge accepting that there is more to learn and always question what they know.
The idea is not to invalidate what we know, the idea is to be able to distinguish between the relevancy of what we know in a given context and falling back to assumptions and biases.

In Points:
1- Curse of nerds: Underestimate the challenges because of heuristics and biases learnt from a different domain.
2- Imposter Syndrome sometimes is a hanger to hide deficiencies in understanding the situation.
3- Being humble is also mistaken for being realistic.
4- The core idea is to be able to comprehend how much we understand the situation and how much our experiences relate/help in providing a solution to or even giving an opinion about this situation.

2 thoughts on “Curse of the Nerds

  1. For mainstream papers, I found this thesis which discusses the groundbreaking idea is fascinating not only that, I comprehend precisely the difference between fraud syndrome and the curse of geek

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