The Economist interviewed
cognitive scientist professor Gerd Gigerenzer of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, author of a new book called Risk Savvy: How To Make Good Decisions
, about how we frequently make terrible choices based on misinterpreted information:
You also talk about an unconscious rules of thumb, or intuition. What role does intuition play in assessing risk?
Risky Business (The Economist)
In our society, intuition is looked upon as suspicious. I have done a number of studies with large international companies and asked the decision-maker how often do you make important decisions with your gut? A gut decision is not arbitrary, or a sixth sense. It’s based on lots of experience, but it is in the unconscious. On average, we found that about 50% of all these big decisions were gut decisions. But the same managers would not admit this in public. There is anxiety because they could be made responsible. And intuition, even if it’s better than calculation, has a bad name in our society.
Aren’t anecdotes about people who successfully used their intuition to make an important decision prone to survivorship bias? We only get to hear their success stories because they survived or their company survived or were successful in some way.
My point is not that intuition is always superior. My point is that we need more tools. And for me intuition is equal with statistical calculations. The real question is: can we identify the problem where it is better to go after your first gut feeling, and the type of problem where it’s better to go and think about the problem and collect data? So a strategy like a heuristic is not better or worse, it’s just that you need to figure out where it works.
Risk Savvy: How To Make Good Decisions (Amazon)
Dip your dollar into liquid anhydrous ammonia, dry it, and repeat. The surface tension of the boiling and evaporating ammonia shrinks the bill. Caveat: It could prove difficult to use a mini-dollar and mutilating a bill may even be illegal. (Applied Science via Weird Universe)
In many states in America, legislatures have erected punitive, vindictive barriers for women seeking contraception, requiring them to get prescriptions for safe, widely taken medications.
Designer Art Donovan writes, “I’m always looking for new and unique inspiration for my lighting commissions and the latest, cutting edge scientific devices offer a boatload of great design inspiration. From the cool, new ‘James Webb Space Telescope’ to the myriad of complex details in the L.H.P.C. at Cern- it’s a cornucopia of rich imagery.”
Taking pictures can be challenging. There are a million factors that can influence each shot you take – and unless you’re a trained photographer, you often just focus, click…and cross your fingers.Of course, you can take some of the ambiguity out of your picture-taking with this Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course & Certification package, now […]
Experienced shutterbugs with DSLR cameras have boatloads of lens options for capturing the moment. Unfortunately, smartphone photographers often get stuck with their one crummy lens, which means limited zoom and focus for their final image.Step up your smartphone’s photographic power with the Acesori 5-Piece Smartphone Camera Lens Kit, now just $9.99 in the Boing Boing Store.Magnetic rings easily […]
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]