Welcome to the Post-Decision Age

I, Cringely

He is on to something here – something important.

What Kahneman and Tversky figured out is that we have ancient brains that generally don’t do the math because math has only been around for 5,000 years or so while we as a species have been walking the Earth for 2+ million years. Our decision-making processes, such as they are, are based on maximizing survival not success. Early hunter-gatherers weren’t so bothered with optimization as just not being eaten. This put an emphasis on making decisions quickly.

So we can make policies but we can’t implement them at any scale without help. And with the rise of machine learning, Big Data, and the relentless advance of Moore’s Law, computers have become so fast and so smart that we think they can sight shoot at instinct speeds. And maybe they can, but it’s for sure that normal humans no longer understand the underlying algorithms and may be unable to regain control.

I hate to pee on his parade, but we lost control a long time ago. And all the Computer has done is make us (or at least some of us) aware of it.

Artificial Intelligence is trying to help us here – with improved programming techniques. Where we we break out each part of the decision process – and test each part separately. However, it takes some moxie to do this – and this moxie has to be provided by some very smart people.

I’m doing my feeble best – by studying the Java computing language. Maybe sometime we can catch up with the Computer.

But I’m not betting on it.


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