jerryking + probabilities   29

The concept of probability is not as simple as you think
26 February, 2019 | Aeon Ideas | by Nevin Climenhaga.
is assistant professor at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. His work has been published in the Journal of Philosophy and Mind, among others. He lives in Oakleigh, Victori
logic_&_reasoning  probabilities 
28 days ago by jerryking
We need to be better at predicting bad outcomes
September 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

A question some of us ask all too often, and some of us not often enough: what if it all [jk: our plan] goes wrong?.....we don’t think about worst-case scenarios in the right way......
The first problem is that our sense of risk is pretty crude. The great psychologist Amos Tversky joked that most of us have three categories when thinking about probabilities: “gonna happen”, “not gonna happen” and “maybe”.....It would be helpful if our sense of risk was a little more refined; intuitively, it is hard to grasp the difference between a risk of one in a billion and that of one in a thousand. Yet, for a gambler — or someone in the closely related business of insurance — there is all the difference in the world.....research by Barbara Mellers, Philip Tetlock and Hal Arkes suggests that making a serious attempt to put probabilities on uncertain future events might help us in other ways: the process makes us more humble, more moderate and better able to discern shades of grey. Trying to forecast is about more than a successful prediction......we can become sidetracked by the question of whether the worst case is likely. Rather than asking “will this happen?”, we should ask “what would we do if it did?”

The phrase “worst-case scenario” probably leads us astray: anyone can dream up nightmare scenarios.....To help us think sensibly about these worst-case possibilities, Gary Klein, psychologist and author of Seeing What Others Don’t, has argued for conducting “pre-mortems” — or hypothetical postmortems. Before embarking on a project, imagine receiving a message from the future: the project failed, and spectacularly. Now ask yourself: why? Risks and snares will quickly suggest themselves — often risks that can be anticipated and prevented.......Contingency planning is not always easy......woes that would result both as the “base case” (the truth) and a “worst-case scenario” (the government sucking in its stomach while posing for a selfie).
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In our increasingly airbrushed world, it becomes ever more necessary to ask the unfashionable questions like ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ - and then plan for it...
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Humanity's survival may well rely on the ability of our imaginations to explore alternative futures in order to begin building the communities that can forestall or endure worst-case catastrophes.
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Amos_Tversky  anticipating  base_rates  beforemath  books  contingency_planning  discernment  failure  forecasting  foresight  frequency_and_severity  humility  nuanced  predictions  preparation  probabilities  risk-assessment  risks  Tim_Harford  uncertainty  worst-case 
29 days ago by jerryking
Medical Professor Tried to Help Patients Understand Their Odds - WSJ
By James R. Hagerty
Dec. 14, 2018

Together with H. Gilbert Welch, Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Woloshin wrote a 2008 book, “Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics.” They also worked with the National Cancer Institute to create the Know Your Chances website..... Lisa Schwartz [worked towards]... helping people make informed decisions about whether to try a medication or treatment.

She devoted her career to making patients smarter about assessing risks and advising doctors and journalists about how to communicate more clearly on medical issues.... She and her husband, Dr. Steven Woloshin, also coached people on how to assess odds. If a drug was found to reduce the risks of a disease by 80%, that may sound persuasive. But if those chances were only 2% to begin with, the difference made by the drug might not be sufficient to justify the side effects.....Dr. Schwartz taught junior faculty members and post-doctoral students to write and speak more effectively. Clear writing, she often said, required clear thinking. "Our goal has been to give people a realistic sense of what is known and what is not known—how hopeful or worried they should be.”
communicating_risks  decision_making  medical_communication  obituaries  physicians  risk-assessment  women  unknowns  doctor's_visits  doctors  plain_English  probabilities  books  smart_people 
december 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | Robert E. Rubin: Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government - The New York Times
By Robert E. Rubin

Mr. Rubin was secretary of the Treasury from 1995 to 1999.

April 30, 2018

Raphael Demos. Professor Demos, an authority on Greek philosophy, was Harvard’s Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy and Civil Policy. But to me, when I took a class with him my sophomore year, he was a genial little man with white hair and an exceptional talent for engaging students from the lecture hall stage, using an overturned wastebasket as his lectern. Professor Demos would use Plato and other great philosophers to demonstrate that proving any proposition to be true in the final and ultimate sense was impossible. His approach to critical thinking planted a seed in me that grew during my years at Harvard and throughout my life. The approach appealed to what was probably my natural but latent tendency toward questioning and skepticism.

I concluded that you can’t prove anything in absolute terms, from which I extrapolated that all significant decisions are about probabilities. Internalizing the core tenet of Professor Demos’s teaching — weighing risk and analyzing odds and trade-offs — was central to everything I did professionally in the decades ahead in finance and government.......Demos crystallized for me the power of critical thinking: asking questions, recognizing that there are no provable certainties and analyzing the probabilities. And that, coupled with my coffeehouse lessons, was the best preparation one could have — not just for a career but also for life.
Robert_Rubin  Colleges_&_Universities  Harvard  philosophers  philosophy  Plato  Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  career_paths  advice  life_skills  probabilities  decision_making  critical_thinking  U.S.Treasury_Department  Greek  tradeoffs 
may 2018 by jerryking
Piecing Together Narratives From the 0′s and 1′s: Storytelling in the Age of Big Data - CIO Journal. - WSJ
Feb 16, 2018 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Probabilities are inherently hard to grasp, especially for an individual event like a war or an election, ......Why is it so hard for people to deal with probabilities in everyday life? “I think part of the answer lies with Kahneman’s insight: Human beings need a story,”....Mr. Kahneman explained their research in his 2011 bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow. Its central thesis is that our mind is composed of two very different systems of thinking. System 1 is the intuitive, fast and emotional part of our mind. Thoughts come automatically and very quickly to System 1, without us doing anything to make them happen. System 2, on the other hand, is the slower, logical, more deliberate part of the mind. It’s where we evaluate and choose between multiple options, because only System 2 can think of multiple things at once and shift its attention between them.

System 1 typically works by developing a coherent story based on the observations and facts at its disposal. Research has shown that the intuitive System 1 is actually more influential in our decisions, choices and judgements than we generally realize. But, while enabling us to act quickly, System 1 is prone to mistakes. It tends to be overconfident, creating the impression that we live in a world that’s more coherent and simpler than the actual real world. It suppresses complexity and information that might contradict its coherent story.

Making sense of probabilities, numbers and graphs requires us to engage System 2, which, for most everyone, takes quite a bit of focus, time and energy. Thus, most people will try to evaluate the information using a System 1 simple story: who will win the election? who will win the football game?.....Storytelling has played a central role in human communications since times immemorial. Over the centuries, the nature of storytelling has significantly evolved with the advent of writing and the emergence of new technologies that enabled stories to be embodied in a variety of media, including books, films, and TV. Everything else being equal, stories are our preferred way of absorbing information.

“It’s not enough to say an event has a 10 percent probability,” wrote Mr. Leonhardt. “People need a story that forces them to visualize the unlikely event – so they don’t round 10 to zero.”.....
in_the_real_world  storytelling  massive_data_sets  probabilities  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  Communicating_&_Connecting  Daniel_Kahneman  complexity  uncertainty  decision_making  metacognition  data_journalism  sense-making  thinking_deliberatively 
february 2018 by jerryking
3 Ways to Improve Your Decision Making
Walter Frick
JANUARY 22, 2018

Rule #1: Be less certain.
Nobel-prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has said that overconfidence is the bias he’d eliminate first if he had a magic wand. It’s ubiquitous, particularly among men, the wealthy, and even experts. Overconfidence is not a universal phenomenon — it depends on factors including culture and personality — but the chances are good that you’re more confident about each step of the decision-making process than you ought to be.

So, the first rule of decision making is to just be less certain — about everything. Think choice A will lead to outcome B? It’s probably a bit less likely than you believe. Think outcome B is preferable to outcome C? You’re probably too confident about that as well.

Once you accept that you’re overconfident, you can revisit the logic of your decision. What else would you think about if you were less sure that A would cause B, or that B is preferable to C? Have you prepared for a dramatically different outcome than your expected one?

Rule #2: Ask “How often does that typically happen?”
....think about how long similar projects typically take....In general, research suggests, the best starting point for predictions ­— a key input into decision making — is to ask “How often does that typically happen?”
This rule, known as the base rate, comes up a lot in the research on prediction, but it might be helpful for the judgment side of decision making, too. If you think outcome B is preferable to outcome C, you might ask: How often has that historically been the case? ...The idea with both prediction and judgment is to get away from the “inside view,” where the specifics of the decision overwhelm your analysis. Instead, you want to take the “outside view,” where you start with similar cases before considering the specifics of your individual case.

Rule #3: Think probabilistically — and learn some basic probability.
The first two rules can be implemented right away; this one takes a bit of time. But it’s worth it. Research has shown that even relatively basic training in probability makes people better forecasters and helps them avoid certain cognitive biases....Improving your ability to think probabilistically will help you with the first two rules. You’ll be able to better express your uncertainty and to numerically think about “How often does this usually happen?” The three rules together are more powerful than any of them alone.

Even though these rules are all things you can start using relatively quickly, mastering them takes practice. In fact, after you use them for a little while, you may become overconfident about your ability to make decisions. Great decision makers don’t follow these rules only when facing a particularly difficult choice; they return to them all the time. They recognize that even seemingly easy decisions can be hard — and that they probably know less than they think
decision_making  pretense_of_knowledge  base_rates  probabilities  Daniel_Kahneman  overconfidence  biases  certainty 
january 2018 by jerryking
My top 5 investing lessons after 30 years as an economist
September 25th | The Globe and Mail | DAVID ROSENBERG.

After 30 years of experience as a Street economist, you pick up a lot of learning lessons – especially from the mistakes made along the way. Here are my top five below:

* Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (concentrated portfolios but diversified geographically and across the asset classes);
* There is no such thing as a sure thing (the forecast is just a base case across a continuum of possibilities across a distribution curve);
* Marry your partner, not your forecast – it may not love you back (what gets economists into trouble is lack of humility; admitting you’re wrong is never easy);
* If you don’t have a Plan B, you don’t have a plan. If you are wrong, it is imperative to know in what direction – and delineate the new course of action;
* Anything that can’t last forever, won’t last forever.
concentration_risk  economists  investing  lessons_learned  Plan_B  diversification  Bay_Street  Wall_Street  market_corrections  bear_markets  mistakes  forecasting  economic_cycles  beyondtheU.S.  Gluskin_Sheff  David_Rosenberg  probabilities  humility  contingency_planning  never_forever  asset_classes 
september 2017 by jerryking
Informed Patient? Don’t Bet On It
MARCH 1, 2017 | The New York Times | By MIKKAEL A. SEKERES, M.D. and TIMOTHY D. GILLIGAN, M.D.

■ Ask us to use common words and terms. If your doctor says that you’ll end up with a “simple iliac ileal conduit” or a “urostomy,” feel free to say “I don’t understand those words. Can you explain what that means?”

■ Summarize back what you heard. “So I should split my birth control pills in half and take half myself and give the other half to my boyfriend?” That way, if you’ve misunderstood what we did a poor job of explaining, there will be a chance to straighten it out: “No, that’s not right. You should take the whole pill yourself.”

■ Request written materials, or even pictures or videos. We all learn in different ways and at different paces, and “hard copies” of information that you can take time to absorb at home may be more helpful than the few minutes in our offices.

■ Ask for best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenarios, along with the chance of each one occurring.

■ Ask if you can talk to someone who has undergone the surgery, or received the chemotherapy. That person will have a different kind of understanding of what the experience was like than we do.

■ Explore alternative treatment options, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. “If I saw 10 different experts in my condition, how many would recommend the same treatment you are recommending?”
■ Take notes, and bring someone else to your appointments to be your advocate, ask the questions you may be reluctant to, and be your “accessory brain,” to help process the information we are trying to convey.
Communicating_&_Connecting  clarity  doctor's_visits  questions  mens'_health  learning_journeys  medical  probabilities  plain_English  referrals  note_taking  appointments  advocacy  worst-case  best-case  medical_communication 
march 2017 by jerryking
Some of the Wisest Words Ever Spoken About Investing - MoneyBeat - WSJ
By JASON ZWEIG
Nov 25, 2016

Investing is often portrayed as a battle between you and the markets. Instead, Graham wrote, “the investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”

Evaluating yourself honestly is at least as important as evaluating your investments accurately. If you don’t force yourself to learn your limits as an investor, then it doesn’t matter how much you learn about the markets: Your emotions will be your undoing....Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman with his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.
I’m especially grateful that he taught me this: “The most important question is, ‘What is the base rate?’”....Michael Mauboussin, a strategist at Credit Suisse, has taken that hint and compiled base rates for all sorts of corporate measures, so investors can readily check a company’s projections against reality.....From the economist and investing writer Peter Bernstein, who died in 2009, I learned about Pascal’s wager: You must weigh not only the alluring probabilities of being right, but the dire consequences of being wrong....Finally, Mr. Bernstein never tired of emphasizing that we can never know the future — least of all at the very moments when it seems most certain....Richard Dawkins pointed out in a lecture in 1996, many of us today know more about the world around us than Aristotle, the greatest mind of his age, did more than 2,300 years ago: “Science is cumulative, and we live later.”

Investing knowledge is also cumulative, and we all benefit from those who have already learned — and taught — how it works.
investing  investors  gratitude  Peter_Bernstein  wisdom  economists  Jason_Zweig  ETFs  books  Benjamin_Graham  pretense_of_knowledge  base_rates  Michael_Mauboussin  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  probabilities  Pascal’s_wager  Daniel_Kahneman  delusions  self-delusions  emotions  Achilles’_heel  cumulative  Nobel_Prizes 
november 2016 by jerryking
VC Pioneer Vinod Khosla Says AI Is Key to Long-Term Business Competitiveness - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By STEVE ROSENBUSH
Nov 15, 2016

“Improbables, which people don’t pay attention to, are not unimportant, we just don’t know which improbable is important,” Mr. Khosla said. “So what do you do? You don’t plan for the highest likelihood scenario. You plan for agility. And that is a fundamental choice we make as a nation, in national defense, as the CEO of a company, as the CIO of an infrastructure, of an organization, and in the way we live.”....So change, and predictions for the future, that are important, almost never come from anybody who knows the area. Almost anyone you talk to about the future of the auto industry will be wrong on the auto industry. So, no large change in a space has come from an incumbent. Retail came from Amazon. SpaceX came from a startup. Genentech did biotechnology. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter did media … because there is too much conventional wisdom in industry. ....Extrapolating the past is the wrong way to predict the future, and improbables are not unimportant. People plan around high probability. Improbables, which people don’t pay attention to, are not unimportant, we just don’t know which improbable is important.
Vinod_Khosla  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  outsiders  gazelles  unknowns  automotive_industry  change  automation  diversity  agility  future  predictions  adaptability  probabilities  Uber  point-to-point  public_transit  data  infrastructure  information_overload  unthinkable  improbables  low_probability  extrapolations  pay_attention 
november 2016 by jerryking
How to make good guesses
| FT | Tim Harford

“base rate”,

Base rates are not just a forecasting aid. They’re vital in clearly understanding and communicating all manner of risks. We routinely hear claims of the form that eating two rashers of bacon a day raises the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent. But without a base rate (how common is bowel cancer?) this information is not very useful. As it happens, in the UK, bowel cancer affects six out of 100 people; a bacon-rich diet would cause one additional case of bowel cancer per 100 people.

Thinking about base rates is particularly important when we’re considering screening programmes or other diagnostic tests, including DNA tests for criminal cases.
economics  howto  forecasting  predictions  guessing  probabilities  Tim_Harford  base_rates  ratios  communicating_risks 
april 2016 by jerryking
Your brain has limited capacity: Here's how to maximize it
Aug. 24 2014 | - The Globe and Mail | WENCY LEUNG.

Daniel Levitin explains in his new book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, the evolution of the human brain hasn’t caught up with the demands of today’s world....The brain has a limited capacity to process information and juggle multiple tasks. But Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience at McGill University, says we can help the brain do its job more efficiently by organizing our lives around how it functions. By using so-called brain extenders, methods that offload some of the brain’s functions, we can help declutter our thoughts and sharpen memories....Lessons learned:
(1) Evaluate the probabilities. To better systematize your approach to decision-making, use Bayesian inferencing which involves updating one’s estimates of probabilities, based on increasingly refining the information available.
(2) Take the time to write it down. Writing stuff down, improves the chances of it getting imprinted on your brain. Writing things down also conserves mental energy that you would otherwise expend fretting about forgetting them. Don’t settle for organizing your thoughts with notebooks and to-do lists. Levitin suggests writing them on index cards--which can be re-sorted.
(3) Your friendships could use a reminder. Actively organizing data about your social world to allow you to have more meaningful interactions. This means taking notes when you meet new people that help you contextualize your link to them, such as who made the introduction and whether you share any hobbies, and using memory “ticklers,” such as setting a reminder on your electronic calendar every few months to check in with friends if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
(4) When in doubt, toss it in a junk drawer. There is an important purpose for the junk drawer. It allows you to cut down on time and mental energy spent making trivial decisions.
cognitive_skills  thinking  information_overload  decision_making  books  friendships  decluttering  contextual  probabilities  journaling  Daniel_Levitin  sorting  pruning  note_taking  Bayesian  memorization  systematic_approaches  organizing_data 
august 2014 by jerryking
The need for an analytical approach to life
November 3, 2013 | FT.com | By Rebecca Knight.

Risk analysis is not about predicting events; it’s about understanding the probability of possible scenarios, according to Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, professor at the Stanford School of Engineering.
In her latest research, she argues that expressions such as “black swan” and “perfect storm”, which have become journalistic shorthand when describing catastrophes, are just excuses for poor planning. Managers, should “think like engineers” and take a systematic approach to risk analysis. They should figure out how a system works and then identify the probable ways in which it could fail.
So does a black swan event exist?
The only one that I can think of is the Aids epidemic. In the case of a true black swan, you cannot anticipate it.
And what about ‘perfect storms’?
A combination of rare events is often referred to as a perfect storm. I think people underestimate the probability of them because they wrongly assume that the elements of a perfect storm are independent. If something happened in the past – even though it may not have happened at the same time as something else – it is likely to happen again in the future.
Why should managers take an engineering approach to analysing the probability of perfect storms?
Engineering risk analysts think in terms of systems – their functional components and their dependencies. If you’re in charge of risk management for your business, you need to see the interdependencies of any of the risks you’re managing: how the markets that you operate in are interrelated, for example.
You also need imagination. Several bad things can happen at once. Some of these are human errors and once you make a mistake, others are more likely to happen. This is because of the sequence of human error. When something bad happens or you make a mistake, you get distracted which means you’re more likely to make another mistake, which could lead to another bad event. When you make an error, stop and think. Anticipate and protect yourself.
How can you compute the likelihood of human error?
There are lots of ways to use systems analysis to calculate the probability of human error. Human errors are often rooted in the way an organisation is managed: either people are not skilled enough to do their jobs well; they do not have enough information; or they have the wrong incentives. If you’re paid for maximum production you’re going to take risks.
So in the case of a financial company I’d say monitor your traders, and maybe especially those that make a lot of money. There are a lot of ways you can make a lot of money: skill, luck, or through imprudent choices that sooner or later are going to catch up with you.
So you can do risk analysis even without reliable statistics?
We generally do a system-based risk analysis because we do not have reliable statistics. The goal is to look ahead and use the information we have to assess the chances that things might go wrong.
The upshot is that business schools ought to do a better job of teaching MBAs about probability.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control. [Add "sense of control" to tags]
engineering  sense_of_control  black_swan  warning_signs  9/11  HIV  Aids  business_schools  MBAs  attitudes  interconnections  interdependence  mindsets  Stanford  imagination  systems_thinking  anticipating  probabilities  pretense_of_knowledge  risk-management  thinking_tragically  complexity  catastrophes  shorthand  incentives  quantified_self  multiple_stressors  compounded  human_errors  risks  risk-analysis  synchronicity  cumulative  self-protection  systematic_approaches 
november 2013 by jerryking
Effective Leadership Skills of Barack Obama in Crisis | Effective Leadership Skills Blog
September 15, 2012 by successtv
1. Stay Confident.
2. Get Diverse Opinions.
3. Ask the right questions.
Obama  decision_making  probabilities  asking_the_right_questions 
october 2012 by jerryking
A failure in generalship
May 2007 | Armed Forces Journal | By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling.

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that passion, probability and policy each play their role in war....generals must provide policymakers and the public with a correct estimation of strategic probabilities. The general is responsible for estimating the likelihood of success in applying force to achieve the aims of policy...“Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife,” by John Nagl
leadership  politics  war  warfare  strategy  strategic_thinking  organizational_culture  civilian-military_relations  Prussian  books  Carl_von_Clausewitz  generalship  probabilities  contextual  militaries  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2012 by jerryking
Informed Patient - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 31, 2007 | WSJ | By LAURA LANDRO.

Talking Points: Making the Most Of Doctor Visits

* What going on? What ails you? What else could it be?
* Could two things be going on at once?" and "Are there any findings (from the physical exam, blood tests, x rays, etc.) that don't add up?"
* Is that the root problem or is that a symptom?

* Probabilistic reasoning is especially important in medical decision-making. Imagine, for example, your doctor tells you that you need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. Most people would likely assent based on their physician’s recommendation, he says. But if you were to weigh the odds of that drug having a positive effect against the odds of experiencing side effects, you might find it wiser to decide otherwise.

“What I advocate is a more active role in medical care where you would say to the doctor, ‘Well, what are the chances that I’ll benefit from it? How many people take this medication with no benefit?’” Levitin says. Although doctors tend to be trained to think in terms of diagnosing and treating illnesses, they are not typically trained to think probabilistically, he adds. This becomes problematic when faced with the latest treatment options with questionable odds of a cure. “The way medical care is going in this country and in other countries, I think we need to become more proactive about knowing which questions to ask and working through the answers.”

Questions when you're concerned that you're facing a misdiagnosis (cbc Dr. Danielle Martin)
* OK....then in your opinion, what should be the normal progression of the diseases from this point onwards?
* What signs should we look for that tell us that it's time to return to the emergency room?
* Q: when should we come back.....if the flu how should case typically progress ? What are the signs that something is wrong and you should come back to the emergency room?
* what is the most likely course, when should we come back if there is a deviation?
*
medical  appointments  visits  Communicating_&_Connecting  tips  advice  Laura_Landro  doctors  doctor's_visits  questions  root_cause  symptoms  probabilities  simultaneity  investigative_workups  multiple_stressors  dual-consciousness  medical_communication  misdiagnosis  warning_signs 
november 2011 by jerryking
The Slow Hunch: How Innovation is Created Through Group Intelligence
By Dan Rowinski / June 9, 2011

Chance favors the connected mind. That is what author Steven B. Johnson says to those looking for the next big idea. Johnson is the author of "Where Ideas Come From" a book that looks at the macro trends on how innovation evolves.

Ideas are rarely created through a "eureka" moment....Johnson believes that ideas are born of a "slow hunch" that are made possible through periods of technological innovation and evolution. If you are creating a startup, where do you get your ideas from?

Innovation is often made possible by the evolution of networked possibilities....
The Hive Mind & Collective Intelligence

"It is just this idea that if you diversify and have an electric range of interests and you are constantly getting interesting stories about things that you do not know that much about or are adjacent to your particular field of expertise you are much more likely to come up with innovative ideas," Johnson told ReadWriteWeb.

The same approach would work well for developers and innovators working on the next technology breakthrough. Startup founders should take step back from their project and ask what type of similar projects have been undertaken in a completely different field and see if those lessons can be applied to their project.

"The trick is to look at something different and borrow ideas. It is like saying 'this worked for that field, if we put it here what would it do in this new context?'" Johnson said.

In today's world, the ability to branch out of your field of expertise has been made much easier through social media. You can follow what is happening in your niche through a specifically created Twitter list, but it is also beneficial to create lists of people working in different sectors as well.

"The important thing is that this is not some kind of hive-mind wisdom of the crowds, collective intelligence network smarts," Johnson said. "The unit is still the individual or the small group. There are some examples of group intelligence. This is an example instead of taking individuals in small groups and making them smarter by connecting them to a wider range of influences."
adjacencies  collective_intelligence  innovation  grouping  Steven_Johnson  start_ups  chance  probabilities  idea_generation  ideas  Communicating_&_Connecting  cross-pollination  cross-disciplinary  interconnections  learning_journeys  connected_learning  wisdom_of_crowds 
october 2011 by jerryking
A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange - NYTimes.com
December 15, 2010, 12:55 am
A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange
By NATE SILVER
Psychologists and behavioral economists have conducted a lot of
experiments along these lines, testing our ability to think through
problems that involve what statisticians call Bayesian inference: those
that require to us to infer the likelihood of various possibilities
based on a combination of prior, underlying conditions (we are in Japan:
most people we encounter here will be of Japanese ancestry) and new
information (but based on this woman’s appearance, it is hard to tell
whether she is Caucasian or Japanese!) They’ve found that, in general,
we do pretty badly with them: we tend to get lost in the most immediate
details and we forget the underlying context.
Julian_Assange  WikiLeaks  statistics  psychologists  economists  behavioural_economics  probabilities 
december 2010 by jerryking
Chances Are - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
April 25, 2010 | New York Times | By STEVEN STROGATZ. NOTES:

1. For a good textbook treatment of conditional probability and
Bayes’s theorem, see:
S.M. Ross, “Introduction to Probability and Statistics for
Engineers and Scientists,” 4th edition (Academic Press, 2009).
4. For many entertaining anecdotes and insights about conditional
probability and its real-world applications, as well as how it’s
misperceived, see:
J.A. Paulos, “Innumeracy” (Vintage, 1990);
L. Mlodinow, “The Drunkard’s Walk” (Vintage, 2009).
statistics  mathematics  books  probabilities  risks  luck  chance  contingency  innumeracy  anecdotal 
may 2010 by jerryking
No Risk, No Reward
December 19, 2007 | Fast Company | by Keith H. Hammonds.
"Wealth is created during periods of uncertainty," Wind says. "You can
go back to Frank Knight,* who said in 1921 that the only risk that leads
to profit is unique uncertainty. Making money depends on identifying
opportunities in a turbulent marketplace."Frank H. Knight was cochair of
the department of economics at the University of Chicago from the 1920s
to the late 1940s. In his classic book published in 1921, Risk,
Uncertainty and Profit, he distinguished between risk and uncertainty.
Risk, he argued, was a randomness -- as in a game of roulette -- whose
probability could be determined. Uncertainty implied unknown and perhaps
unknowable probabilities. Will human cloning be commonplace in a
generation? That's an uncertainty. TRL Stacks 330.1 K54.11 Stacks
Retrieval Stacks Request Reference S-MR In Library
risks  weather  innovation  creativity  uncertainty  probabilities  books  wealth_creation  turbulence  opportunistic  unknowns  instability  disequilibriums 
december 2009 by jerryking
The Gripping Statistic : How to Make Your Data Matter
Mon Aug 10, 2009 | Fast Company | By Dan Heath & Chip
Heath. A good statistic is one that aids a decision or shapes an opinion. For a stat to do either of those, it must be dragged within the everyday (e.g. using ratios or useful analogies). That's your job -- to do the dragging. In our world of billions and trillions, that can be a lot of manual labor. But it's worth it: A number people can grasp is a number that can make a difference.
analogies  base_rates  Cisco  Communicating_&_Connecting  contextual  data  data_journalism  high-impact  mathematics  narratives  numeracy  persuasion  probabilities  ratios  statistics  storytelling  sense-making  value_creation 
september 2009 by jerryking
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives: Leonard Mlodinow
Mlodinow introduces important historical figures such as
Bernoulli, Laplace and Pascal, emphasizing their ideas rather than their
tumultuous private lives. Mlodinow defines such tricky concepts as
regression to the mean and the law of large numbers, which should help
readers as they navigate the daily deluge of election polls and new
studies on how to live to 100. The author also carefully avoids veering
off into the terra incognita of chaos theory aside from a brief mention
of the famous butterfly effect, although he might have spent a little
more time on the equally famous n-body problem that led to chaos theory.
Books on randomness and statistics line library shelves, but Mlodinow
will help readers sort out Mark Twain's damn lies from meaningful
statistics and the choices we face every day.
randomness  book_reviews  mathematics  probabilities  statistics 
may 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Best to deliver bad news facts
February 18, 2009 G&M column by SUSAN PINKER. When it
comes to bad news, we first protect ourselves, and then we protect
others through "Denial". When there's really bad news, there's reliable
evidence that it really is best to face the facts. First, you have to
know what the bad news is, what the outcomes are, what the percentages
are," Dr. Feldman says. "Then you have to give people options. You have
to give them some power - ideas about how they're going to manage
because you don't just leave them hanging there. You have to hold out
some hope."
anomalies  base_rates  Communicating_&_Connecting  crisis  difficult_conversations  forecasting  generating_strategic_options  guessing  managing_people  predictions  probabilities  ratios  Susan_Pinker  face_the_facts  bad_news 
february 2009 by jerryking

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