Summary of 3 Ways to Make Better Decisions – by Thinking like a Computer

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Do you suffer from decision paralysis? Does deciding where to eat or what to buy stress you out? You should consult a computer scientist. Tom Griffiths, co-author of Algorithms to Live By, explains how computer processes find solutions to real-life problems, including the best way to organize your closet or choose someone to marry. Griffiths’s thesis will appeal to decision-makers in the home or in the workplace.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How computer algorithms have human applications,
  • How computer science dismantles “optimal stopping” problems and “explore-exploit trade-offs,” and
  • How to apply computer processes to your own decision making.
 

About the Speaker

Tom Griffiths is a professor of psychology and cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley. 

 

Summary

Finding a place to rent or buy in Sydney is difficult. In the competitive market, making an offer means you might lose out on a better option. The house hunting dilemma is an example of an “optimal stopping” problem. Computer scientists have a solution. To maximize the probability of finding the best possible home, look at 37% of available accommodations and make an offer on the next place that is better than any you’ve already viewed. Or look for 37% of one month, 11 days, “to set a standard,” and then choose the best available option. 

The methods computers use to solve problems mimic how humans make decisions. Thus...


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