Believing without evidence is always morally wrong

Strangely enough, shortly after I published the immediately preceding blog post, I found this article posted on Reddit. The title above belongs to the below article.


You have probably never heard of William Kingdon Clifford. He is not in the pantheon of great philosophers – perhaps because his life was cut short at the age of 33 – but I cannot think of anyone whose ideas are more relevant for our interconnected, AI-driven, digital age. This might seem strange given that we are talking about a Victorian Briton whose most famous philosophical work is an essay nearly 150 years ago. However, reality has caught up with Clifford. His once seemingly exaggerated claim that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence’ is no longer hyperbole but a technical reality.

In ‘The Ethics of Belief’ (1877), Clifford gives three arguments as to why …

Continue Reading →

Conclusion: Indecision can be a business killer

The previous post wrapped up the summary of the books discussed in Investigating Indecision: Why We Can’t Seem to Make Up Our Minds.

In conclusion, the article says that at first glance, these books appear to offer vastly different decision making strategies. However, there are some recurring themes:

  • Intuition is best used by masters, not novices.
  • Algorithms are better at decisions than your brain.
  • Take your time to make a decision (but not too much of it).

Is your organization struggling with indecision? #GetPEOPLE. Focus. Leave the rest to us.

Continue Reading →

Indecision can be a business killer, part 2

Continuing our discussion from the previous post, the next book is called Thinking, Fast and Slow.

According to the article, in the book Kahneman explains that two systems of the brain are active and at work during our decision-making. The first system is automatic and quick. The second is deliberate and slow.

Sometimes, these systems conflict, explaining some of our most agonizing decisions. The first system might tell you something “feels off”, but the second might remind you that all requirements are met, and the best option has been identified.

This book confirms what was written in Algorithms to Live By. Kahneman argues that it’s better to trust an algorithm than your own gut, and this premise is backed by volumes of research. Thinking, Fast and Slow specifically mentions a study that pitted trained counselors against a statistical algorithm to predict the grades of high school freshmen at the …

Continue Reading →

Indecision can be a business killer, part 1

So, I was reading this really great article on the Trello blog about- (ominous music) DA-DA-DAAA…indecision. Indecision can be a business killer. But the article talks about five best selling books that lay out different decision making techniques to help you on your way. You don’t want to remain stuck in the Doldrums, do you? (That’s a reference to The Phantom Tollbooth, which contains a great lesson in time management.)

I’ll discuss each book and technique individually.

First, Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions. Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths say the best way to make a decision is to use math, and that the magic number is 37%.

Mathematical calculations show that you should take 37% of the total options you have, and simply look at them. After that, you should leap, and commit to the first option that is better (

Continue Reading →

Algorithms. How do I love thee? Let me map out the ways…

The_Friendship_Algorithm

This is an oldie, but I still absolutely love it! Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D. is--- something else.

Most people believe algorithms only apply to mathematics, but that's not altogether true. Algorithms, according to Merriam-Webster, are defined simply as a set of rules or steps that are followed in order to achieve some specific outcome. Sometimes, if we're lucky, that outcome is a friendship. 🙂

Now, with Merriam-Webster's definition in mind, we can see that algorithms are everywhere, especially in business; doing business implicitly requires adherence to a prescribed set of processes. As you can see from our example, the steps people take, and the order in which those steps are taken can be studied thoroughly in this format.

What do your business processes look like? Are you able to describe them, or even map them out? If you are having trouble achieving your specific outcome, maybe this is something you

Continue Reading →