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The Paradox of Choice

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.


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Ignasi Alcalde's curator insight, March 5, 2014 7:27 PM

Elegir no nos hace libres.

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Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet

Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Cognitive biases are just tools, useful in the right contexts, harmful in others. They’re the only tools we’ve got, and they’re even pretty good at what they’re meant to do. We might as well get familiar with them and even appreciate that we at least have some ability to process the universe with our mysterious brains.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Four problems that biases help us address:

 

Problem 1: Too much information.

There is just too much information in the world, we have no choice but to filter almost all of it out. Our brain uses a few simple tricks to pick out the bits of information that are most likely going to be useful in some way.

 

Problem 2: Not enough meaning.

The world is very confusing, and we end up only seeing a tiny sliver of it, but we need to make some sense of it in order to survive. Once the reduced stream of information comes in, we connect the dots, fill in the gaps with stuff we already think we know, and update our mental models of the world.

 

Problem 3: Need to act fast.

We’re constrained by time and information, and yet we can’t let that paralyze us. Without the ability to act fast in the face of uncertainty, we surely would have perished as a species long ago. With every piece of new information, we need to do our best to assess our ability to affect the situation, apply it to decisions, simulate the future to predict what might happen next, and otherwise act on our new insight.

 

Problem 4: What should we remember?

There’s too much information in the universe. We can only afford to keep around the bits that are most likely to prove useful in the future. We need to make constant bets and trade-offs around what we try to remember and what we forget. For example, we prefer generalizations over specifics because they take up less space. When there are lots of irreducible details, we pick out a few standout items to save and discard the rest. What we save here is what is most likely to inform our filters related to problem 1’s information overload, as well as inform what comes to mind during the processes mentioned in problem 2 around filling in incomplete information. It’s all self-reinforcing.

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Dave Wood's curator insight, September 18, 6:39 PM
Fascinating article that culminated in a summary  of the range of cognitive biases that underlie flawed thinking (our own and others).  Good coaching surfaces assumptions and biases and tests them.
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On Being Wrong

On Being Wrong | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? "Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer for the New Yorker and is the author of "Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error."

 

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Gisele HELOU's curator insight, September 9, 3:38 AM

Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer for the New Yorker and is the author of "Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error."

 

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20 Big Questions about the Future of Humanity

20 Big Questions about the Future of Humanity | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Scientific American asked leading scientists to predict the future. Here’s what they had to say.

 

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David Hain's curator insight, September 9, 4:50 AM

It's your future - are you thinking about some of this stuff? HT Kenneth Mikkelsen!

Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, September 10, 2:09 AM
It's already good to speak about it... future of humanity... hope it means it will exist...
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The Nature of Existence

What are the answers to the great questions of life, and who is certain they know the truth others have been struggling to find for centuries?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

In this documentary, The Nature of Existence, Roger Nygard traveled around the globe to the source of the world’s different belief systems and asked theologians, scientists, skeptics, and everyday people 85 existential questions like why do we exist, how can we improve humanity and what is morality?

 

You can find the 85 questions here

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The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, audit our businesses. That's all well and good. But what happens when the computer fails?

 

No machine is infallible. Sooner or later, even the most advanced technology will break down, misfire, or, in the case of a computerized system, encounter circumstances that its designers never anticipated. As automation technologies become more complex, relying on interdependencies among algorithms, databases, sensors, and mechanical parts, the potential sources of failure multiply. They also become harder to detect.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Seeking convenience, speed, and efficiency, we rush to off-load work to computers without reflecting on what we might be sacrificing as a result.  More and more, at work and at leisure, we’re living our lives inside glass cockpits. 

 

Does our essence still lie in what we know, or are we now content to be defined by what we want? If we don’t grapple with that question ourselves, our gadgets will be happy to answer it for us.

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Complexity & Stupidity

Complexity & Stupidity | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris talks to biologist David Krakauer about information, complex systems and the future of humanity.

 

The Aeon article discussed in this podcast: The Empty Brain

 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

David Krakauer is President and William H. Miller Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute. His research explores the evolution of intelligence on earth. This includes studying the evolution of genetic, neural, linguistic, social and cultural mechanisms supporting memory and information processing, and exploring their generalities.

 

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How Technology Disrupted the Truth

How Technology Disrupted the Truth | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism.

 

Illustration: Sébastien Thibault

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Does the truth matter any more when we all live in a filter bubble?

 

 

Increasingly, what counts as a fact is merely a view that someone feels to be true – and technology has made it very easy for these “facts” to circulate with a speed and reach that was unimaginable in the Gutenberg era.

 

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This is Your Brain on Communication

This is Your Brain on Communication | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become "aligned," when we hear the same idea or story. This amazing neural mechanism allows us to transmit brain patterns, sharing memories and knowledge.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Our ability to communicate relies on our ability to have common ground. This alignment depends not only on our ability to understand the basic concept; it also depends on our ability to develop common ground and understanding and shared belief systems. Because we know that in many cases, people understand the exact same story in very different ways.

 

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Knowledge and Power: Noam Chomsky

Documentary on Noam Chomsky's life, opinions, influence and philosophies.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Discovering and reading Chomsky is a rite of passage. I highly recommend watching this documentary about his life, formation and thinking. 

 

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PressPausePlay

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out?

 

This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world's most influential creators of the digital era. 

 

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At the Existentialist Café

At the Existentialist Café | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

An examination of the careers of existentialist thinkers clarifies their philosophy and its influence.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Sarah Bakewell’s book is a joint portrait of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Albert Camus, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heideg­ger and a half-dozen other European writers and philosophers who embodied the movements in 20th-century thought known as existentialism and phenomenology. 

 

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The College of Chinese Wisdom

The College of Chinese Wisdom | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Telling young people to discover their true selves causes confusion and anxiety. Better to follow Confucius, who knew that our identities are in constant flux.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

According to Confucius and other Chinese philosophers, we shouldn’t be looking for our essential self, let alone seeking to embrace it, because there is no true, unified self to begin with.

 

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Demarcio Washington's curator insight, April 3, 1:31 PM

According to Confucius and other Chinese philosophers, we shouldn’t be looking for our essential self, let alone seeking to embrace it, because there is no true, unified self to begin with.

 

Mónica Díaz's curator insight, April 4, 8:43 AM

According to Confucius and other Chinese philosophers, we shouldn’t be looking for our essential self, let alone seeking to embrace it, because there is no true, unified self to begin with.

 

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Why Must We Be Efficient?

Why Must We Be Efficient? | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Not dozens or hundreds but thousands of titles like “Smarter Faster Better” are published every year, and they account for a disproportionate percentage of total book sales. Yet they mainly reiterate common sense.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Examining the rise - and limits - of books that promise to help you be more flexible, agile and innovative.

 

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Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming

Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it
 Each society will decide for itself where to draw the line on human genetic engineering, but we can expect a diversity of perspectives. Almost certainly, some countries will allow genetic engineering, thereby opening the door for global elites who can afford to travel for access to reproductive technology. As with most technologies, the rich and powerful will be the first beneficiaries.Genetic engineering will one day create the smartest humans who have ever lived.
Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

 Each society will decide for itself where to draw the line on human genetic engineering, but we can expect a diversity of perspectives. Almost certainly, some countries will allow genetic engineering, thereby opening the door for global elites who can afford to travel for access to reproductive technology. As with most technologies, the rich and powerful will be the first beneficiaries.

 

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The Bias Against Creativity

The Bias Against Creativity | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Is there a bias against creativity? It’s usually only after an idea has gained acceptance and recognition that we applaud the idea and its creator.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Why are paradigm-shifting ideas throughout history consistently, and predictably, ridiculed and rejected?

It’s because, as a culture and as individuals, we’re deeply biased against creativity. By nature, human beings are highly risk averse. And when there is a motivation to reduce uncertainty, creativity biases are activated on both individual and institutional levels. Across the board, people (not to mention institutions and decision makers) deny creative ideas, even when they explicitly cite creativity as being among their goals or values.

 

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, February 24, 1:49 PM

Creativity disrupts the status quo. It is is different than innovation which uses existing structure to reform what is done rather than transform what is being done.Transforming is going beyond where we are and reforming is retaining the basic structure.

selfoperator's comment, February 24, 10:33 PM
Its magnificent :)
margot roi's curator insight, February 25, 9:10 AM

Always follow the insightful artists. 

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10 Great Vanishings in Literature

10 Great Vanishings in Literature | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

This is a great reading list from Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Why are disappearances so alluring? Perhaps the reason is that, as mortals, we are all destined to vanish from our lives eventually.

 

Ten landmark books that revolve around a vanishing.

 

Idra Novey can be followed on Twitter here: @IdraNovey.

 

 

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How Facebook Makes Us Dumber

How Facebook Makes Us Dumber | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Why does misinformation spread so quickly on the social media? Why doesn’t it get corrected? When the truth is so easy to find, why do people accept falsehoods?

 

A new study focusing on Facebook users provides strong evidence that the explanation is confirmation bias: people’s tendency to seek out information that confirms their beliefs, and to ignore contrary information.

 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The new study, led by Michela Del Vicario of Italy’s Laboratory of Computational Social Science, explores the behavior of Facebook users from 2010 to 2014. One of the study’s goals was to test a question that continues to be sharply disputed: When people are online, do they encounter opposing views, or do they create the virtual equivalent of gated communities?

 

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Our Shared Condition - Consciousness

Our Shared Condition - Consciousness | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. 

 

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In praise of slowness

In praise of slowness | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

We live in a world of scarce understanding and abundant information. We complain that we never have any free time yet we seek distraction. If work can’t distract us, we distract ourselves. We crave perpetual stimulation and motion. We’re so busy that our free time comes in 20 second bursts, just long enough for us to read the gist and assume we understand. If we are to synthesize learning and understanding we need time to think.

 

 

 

 

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How To Manage Your Time: 5 Secrets Backed By Research

How To Manage Your Time: 5 Secrets Backed By Research | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Want answers on how to manage your time from an expert in the field? Georgetown professor Cal Newport explains what it takes to get things that matter done.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Everything we do at the office gets called “work.” And that’s a problem. Really, there are two kinds of work:

 

  • “Deep work” is using your skills to create something of value. It takes thought, energy, time and concentration.
  • “Shallow work” is all the little administrative and logistical stuff: email, meetings, calls, expense reports, etc.

 

Shallow work stops you from getting fired — but deep work is what gets you promoted.

 

 

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Peggy Kelsey's curator insight, January 17, 1:51 PM

Of course you can't manage your time, but you can manage how you use it. Some great, outside the box tips here. 

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Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?

Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick? | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Across America, children are experiencing depression, anxiety and even physical strain because of the pressures of school.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Expectations surrounding education have spun out of control. On top of a seven-hour school day, our kids march through hours of nightly homework, daily sports practices and band rehearsals, and weekend-consuming assignments and tournaments. Each activity is seen as a step on the ladder to a top college, an enviable job and a successful life.

 

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What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

 

 

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Born to Be Conned

Born to Be Conned | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

Honesty­ and greed are beside the point. As .

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

As human beings we have a deep need to believe in a version of the world where everything really is for the best — at least when it comes to us.

 

We don’t knowingly embraces false beliefs. We embrace something we think is as true as it gets. We don’t set out to be conned. We set out to become, in some way, better than we were before.

 

That is the true power of belief. It gives us hope. If we are skeptical, miserly with our trust, unwilling to accept the possibilities of the world, we despair. To live a good life we must, almost by definition, be open to belief.

 

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Charming Illustrations Highlight True Love in All of Life's Little Moments

Charming Illustrations Highlight True Love in All of Life's Little Moments | Knowledge Broker | Scoop.it

True love doesn't always consist of grand, cinematic gestures. In fact, it's often the little things that mean the most when you're in a long-term relationship. Spending a lazy morning together, helping each other get through a bad day, and even assembling furniture side-by-side can end up producing some amazing memories. 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Artist Philippa Rice designed a whimsical illustration book called Soppy to zero in on these little, love-filled moments. While creating her artistic publication, Rice based many of the black, white, and red drawings on her real-life relationship. This not only makes her work relatable, it also perfectly captures what happens when two people share a life together.

 

Rice's book, titled Soppy: A Love Story is currently available to purchase through online outlets like Amazon.

 

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Wabi-Sabi - The Beauty of Imperfections

At the heart of Japanese philosophy and wisdom lies a concept called ‘wabi-sabi’; a term which denotes a commitment to the everyday, the melancholic, the somewhat broken and the imperfect. It’s a term we need a lot more of in our lives.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

I can recommend reading "Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers" by Leonard Koren.

 

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Curated by Kenneth Mikkelsen
Thinker ★ Speaker ★ Writer ★ Leadership Adviser ★ Learning Designer ★ Neo-Generalist

Kenneth Mikkelsen is co-founder of FutureShifts. We help visionary companies identify and tackle the big shifts in the world by cultivating the skills, mindsets, behaviors and organisational cultures needed to succeed in times of change.