In World War II, the story goes, the British invented a new kind of onboard radar (amusingly called AI) that allowed its pilots to shoot down German planes at night.
They didn't want the Germans to know about this technology, but they had to give an explanation for their new, improbable powers.
So they invented a propaganda campaign that claimed their pilots had developed exceptional eyesight by eating "an excess of carrots."
If you're going to trick people into doing something, eating excessive carrots seems like one of the better ones. Still, there's an issue: people who believed the propaganda and tried to get super-sight would be spending time and effort on something that couldn't possibly solve their problem. I'll call this a Carrot Problem.
Once you look for Carrot Problems, you see them everywhere. Essentially, any time someone achieves success in a way they don't want to admit publicly, they have to come up with an excuse for their abilities. And that means misleading a bunch of people into (potentially) wasting their time, or worse.
The Carrot Problem
from Atoms vs Bits
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