Good Bayesian (feat. MC Lars and Mega Ran)

from by Baba Brinkman

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Overview:
One way to understand rational, scientific thinking is via “Bayesian reasoning” which estimates the statistical probability of something being true and then updates that probability as new evidence appears, approaching the truth without achieving absolute certainty. In this song, three underdog, underground rappers assess their against-the-odds and expectation-defying career success from Bayesian perspective.

lyrics

Lyrics

Anil Seth:
We don’t just passively perceive the world
We actively generate it
So perception, figuring out what’s there
Has to be a process of informed guesswork
In which the brain combines sensory signals
With its prior expectations or beliefs about the way the world is
The world we experience comes as much from the inside out
As from the outside in

Let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change your predictions after takin’ information in
And if you’re thinkin’ I’ll be less than amazin’
Let’s adjust those expectations

What’s a Bayesian? It’s someone who cares about evidence
And doesn’t jump to assumptions based on intuitions and prejudice
A Bayesian makes prediction on the best available info
And adjusts the probability, ‘cause every belief is provisional
And when I kick a flow, mostly I’m watchin’ eyes widen
Maybe ‘cause my likeness lowers expectations of tight rhymin’
How would I know, unless I’m rhymin’ in front of a bunch of blind men?
Droppin’ placebo-controlled science like I’m Richard Feynman
Is it because of my looks? Or the fact that I talk like I’m mad for books?
Either way, in the ecosystem of rap, I’m the platypus
So my patron saint on stage is Reverend Bayes
Just watch me update the equations in everyone’s brains
Teachin’ a crowd about probabilistical statistical science
For instance, if the president’s a degenerate liar
Remember your priors and be skeptical whenever he’s testifyin’
Is it always inaccurate? No, but you discount outliers
Especially when he's testifyin' about non-citizens
Muslims, African Americans, and other victims of dog whistlin’
Bigoted unconscious bias, unreliable information
The antidote is to learn how to think like a Bayesian

So let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change your predictions after takin’ information in
And if you’re thinkin’ I’ll be less than amazin’
Let’s adjust those expectations

Let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change calculations after takin’ fresh data in
Those predictions that your brain is makin’?
Let’s get them on a solid foundation

MC Lars:
It was 2009 and I was opening for Nas
Predicted they would love us, hypothesis was wrong
Crowd presented evidence, booing while I rhymed
They’d rather hear “The Message”, or “New York State of Mind”
Was it my flow? No, I hardly lacked ability
Rapping with agility, check the probability
Not likely to give up under fierce choleric scrutiny
Refused to stop the show, though their peer review was news to me
Confusing me, like the anti-science right
I was drippin’ like the ice caps, guess it was not my night
But I kept it Bayesian, ‘cause the lane I’m in is solid
Anticipate results with my a priori knowledge
So never let a hater shower you with data
That tells you you should quit, drop the mic and be like “later”
Two more songs, then like OJ, I was out
Saw Nas backstage and thanked him, grabbed my bag and then I bounced

Let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change your predictions after takin’ information in
And if you’re thinkin’ I’ll be less than amazin’
Let’s adjust those expectations

Let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change calculations after takin’ fresh data in
Those predictions that your brain is makin’?
Let’s get them on a solid foundation

Mega Ran:
Felt like I was still a baby when I first learned to be a Bayesian
I would find myself within a constant state of frustration before the day begins 
On Facebook, my sample consisted of people I called my friends
Whose self-aggrandizing posts constantly aligned with the latest trends 
Using inconclusive evidence, to assess the probability 
That people will never examine what is true, and accept a lie willingly
From my observation came a question: Are people really so naive?
Or is there a correlation between make believe and what is on the screen?
Cause it seems, that we have forgotten this, that truth and politics are opposites 
Humans are intelligent, and that’s the lay up of the hypothesis
So I would conduct an experiment by layin’ down a simple rap
And wondering, would every one of the people who heard each line call it fact?
Even if it were verifiable, supportable, sustainable
Considering the source, would anyone ask how their info was attainable?
So I analyzed my data, the context in which I framed it in
50 percent would agree with me, takin’ the info I gave to them 
Maybe if I was the platinum pop star rockin’ football stadiums
And not a little known rap artist, whose status strictly subterranean 
I can conclude they would place a higher value on the power of my cranium
But minds I'm forever changin’ them, and that my friends is Bayesian

Let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change your predictions after takin’ information in
And if you’re thinkin’ I’ll be less than amazin’
Let’s adjust those expectations

Let me show you how to be a good Bayesian
Change calculations after takin’ fresh data in
Those predictions that your brain is makin’?
Let’s get them on a solid foundation

credits

from The Rap Guide to Consciousness, released October 13, 2017
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana, R. Jarbo, A. Nielsen)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Keys by Simon Kendall

Further reading:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_probability
www.edge.org/response-detail/27098
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqmJhPQYRc8

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

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