‘Model Land’ and its phantasies threaten us all.

As a mathematician and a psychologist from a network studying real-world decision-making under radical uncertainty, we work on the dangers of investing scientific models with phantastic (wished-for but unrealistic) power to resolve uncertainty and produce optimal solutions. In this short blog we discuss the dangers of forgetting that, in the context of uncertainty, successful anticipatory thinking is not about making good predictions, it is about agility when judging what information to gather to grasp an unfolding landscape, and constant curiosity about what might be left out. Algorithms - and humans masquerading as algorithms, or passing the buck to algorithms - are fragile decision-makers under many real-life conditions.

The need for constructive ambivalence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."Werner Heisenberg (1) Social facts reduce our experience of uncertainty “Adam's commission, the naming of things, if only in the imagination, brings them into existence, objects of thought; like God, breathes into them the power of the word."The naming of things,… Continue reading The need for constructive ambivalence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Different Minds: why we need human capabilities and machine intelligence*

“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” —Ursula K. LeGuin To listen to some scholars of decision-making, it is a great wonder that humans have survived as long as they have. We are constantly prone to biases, rely on simplistic… Continue reading Different Minds: why we need human capabilities and machine intelligence*

On the false contrast between rationality and emotion

It is common to contrast emotions with rationality (usually in tandem with proclaiming the superiority of reason over emotion). Take for example this post on the changingminds blog. It is also the claim at the heart of Ayn Rand's morally barren apologia for the extremes of modern capitalism, 'Atlas Shrugged'. In this book she claims… Continue reading On the false contrast between rationality and emotion