How fun & games can make us better at deciding.

What is a fun experience really about? I’ve gained new perspective from Fun, Taste, & Games: An Aesthetics of the Idle, Unproductive, and Otherwise Playful (MIT Press). I have first-hand knowledge that the authors, John Sharp (Parsons/New School) and David Thomas, are in fact, fun: They would probably join you at Casa Bonita*. John and […]

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What we talk about when we talk about deciding: Notes from DAAG 2019

Since my work is about humans+AI deciding together, I attended DAAG 2019 in beautiful downtown Denver, exploring the “intersection of decision analysis and data science to take decision-making to the next level.” The intent was for decision analysts to better understand data science and “support data-centric decision-making” while data scientists could better “guide the use […]

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Our #1 fear: Withering under scrutiny.
photo of Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld was wrong when he claimed public speaking is our #1 fear. I’m pretty sure we’re more afraid of having our decisions scrutinized. Adding to the fun, now algorithmic decisions are under pressure too. It is rather painful to have decisions second-guessed before the numbers come in, and even worse if things go pear-shaped. […]

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Don’t build a data department store.
shopper looking thru department store merchandise

To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, too many projects deliver department store data: The most of everything but the best of nothing. Enterprise AI and analytics developers must avoid the mistake of underserving people by overengineering solutions. Designers and decision makers need straightforward tools to make them better, to save time and facilitate their best work. They […]

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The skill set for explaining, XAI, and why they both matter.

As data complexity grows, so does the importance of explaining. The philosophy of science can teach us about the role of explaining in high-quality, evidence-based decisions. It’s not just navel-gazing: An explanation is a statement that makes something clear, or a reason or justification given for an action or belief. It describes “a set of […]

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Are you quantamental? Should you be?
quantamentalist, man holding playing card

Quantamental is an investment strategy combining quantitative and fundamental methods. Data and algorithms have “prompted many traditional fundamentals-centered discretionary funds to integrate data-driven tools in day-to-day decision-making.” MarketWatch says the quantamental merger of computing power and human expertise is investing’s next frontier. Example: Active trading based on a particular blend of conventional balance sheets and […]

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But where is the decision? Data visualizations don’t show the why and how.
data visualization of crime statistics using Tableau

Technology helps us discover meaningful patterns: Buying behavior, criminal activity, health effects. But when we succumb to pretty pictures and mindless measurement, shiny data fails to help answer important questions. Source: Tableau. This data visualization tool would be great for someone seeking crime stats – say, for law enforcement or house buying. But it doesn’t […]

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Papers We Love: Judgment Under Uncertainty / Cognitive Bias

Our founder, Tracy Allison Altman, will talk about cognitive bias and behavioral economics for software design @ Papers We Love – Denver. Tversky and Kahneman’s classic “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases” challenged conventional thinking about bias in decision making, inspiring new approaches to cognitive science, choice architecture, public policy, and the underlying technology. Join […]

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Underwriters + algorithms, avoiding bad choices, and evidence for rare illness.
heart rate monitor

1. Underwriters + algorithms = Best of both worlds. We hear so much about machine automation replacing humans. But several promising applications are designed to supplement complex human knowledge and guide decisions, not replace them: Think primary care physicians, policy makers, or underwriters. Leslie Scism writes in the Wall Street Journal that AIG “pairs its […]

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False dichotomy: Data-driven vs. gut-feel
photo of people grouped together

Smart decision-making is more complicated than becoming ‘data-driven’, whatever that means exactly. We know people can make better decisions if they consider relevant evidence, and that process is getting easier. But too often tech enthusiasts dismiss people’s decisions as based on gut feel, as if data will save us from ourselves. Let’s put an end to […]

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