'When experts are wrong, it’s often because they’re experts on an earlier version of the world. Is it possible to avoid that? Can you protect yourself against obsolete beliefs? To some extent, yes. I spent almost a decade investing in early stage startups, and curiously enough protecting yourself against obsolete beliefs is exactly what you have to do to succeed as a startup investor. Most really good startup ideas look like bad ideas at first, and many of those look bad specifically because some change in the world just switched them from bad to good.'
I liked what Paul Graham had to say about protecting yourself from obsolete beliefs (or what I have previously termed toxic assumptions). In order to respond well to a rapidly changing world, he says, we need not only to have an explicit belief in change (to be actively looking for change) but also to be 'aggressively open-minded'. Although I seem to have a stronger belief in the importance of having a point of view on the trajectory of change, he makes some good points about meaningful change typically originating from unforeseen places, being disciplined about not letting your working hypotheses or domain-expertise overly-constrain your view on the future (not becoming 'a prisoner of your own expertise'), and to focus initially on people rather than ideas:
'Surround yourself with the sort of people new ideas come from. If you want to notice quickly when your beliefs become obsolete, you can't do better than to be friends with the people whose discoveries will make them so.'