Questions Yet to be Asked

Citing the myriad ways we humans rush to judgement, to complete the picture, to finish the story - Daniel Kahneman, author of "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and known worldwide for his work in the psychology of judgement, says he's not impressed with organization decision making in business, given the stakes.

Those thoughts were offered at the Wharton People Analytics Conference and posted online here.

To point out that we're "unknowingly hamstrung by overconfidence, limited attention, cognitive biases and other psychological factors which inevitably cause errors in judgment" is, thanks in no small part to Kahnemen's work, to state the obvious. "Expert opinion," often isn't. Kahneman explains at the Wharton conference that given training and experience, radiologists and bankers alike will look at the same data and render judgement that will vary by 50 percent or more. Shouldn't a patient's health and company profits rest on a sounder basis? And given the information that can now be accumulated and processed wouldn't algorithms, which, he adds, aren't "noisy," do better at answering such questions?

Yes, they would.

Given time and experience, our bodies respond to their environment by making unwarranted assumptions that are wrong, and that lead to bad outcomes. The human mind is biological heuristic, its senses and limbs, data collectors with an ancient impulse toward self preservation.

But those same un-optimized faculties also allow us to transcend reason to produce great art or to generate category-busting business innovations that create whole new markets. Despite our maladaptive tendencies to botch the deal, to unknowingly pursue self-defeating strategies, to waste time, to extend mercy where none may be merited - I wonder if our electric minds might also produce what rigor and process and tempered human judgement are slower to realize.

I wonder if they might answer questions that have yet to be asked.

Stay curious™