Bounded Rationality and Beyond
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News on the effects of bounded rationality in economics and business, relationships and politics
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» Making room for expertise in democracy | The Behavioural Insights Team

» Making room for expertise in democracy | The Behavioural Insights Team | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
There was an historic, and under-commented development in this week’s Autumn Statement. The Chancellor announced that he was going to abolish it. The announcement was delivered in the form of a rare gag from our new, and self-consciously dry Chancellor, which might explain why its deeper significance was easily lost. This is what he actually said – italics added: This is my first Autumn Statement as Chancellor. After careful consideration, and detailed discussion with the Prime Minister, I have decided that it will also be my last. Mr Speaker, I am abolishing the Autumn Statement. No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we. So the spring Budget in a few months will be the final spring Budget. Starting in autumn 2017, Britain will have an autumn Budget, announcing tax changes well in advance of the start of the tax year. From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement, responding to the forecast from the OBR, but no major fiscal event. If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the Spring Statement, but I won’t make significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it. This change will also allow for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of Budget measures ahead of their implementation. Mr Speaker, this is a long-overdue reform to our tax-policy making process and brings the UK into line with best practice recommended by the IMF, IFS, Institute for Government and many others. Credit to the Chancellor. It may yet prove to be the most important announcement and change in policy he ever makes, not just for the timing, but the sentiment behind it. If it opens the door to better scrutiny, better evidence, better public and expert engagement in some of the most important decisions that governments have to take, it will in turn bring better policies and a stronger democracy. In sum, it will be an important step towards a more ‘listening architecture’, and more evidence-based world.
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How Memory Can Help Reduce Negative Thinking - PsyBlog

How Memory Can Help Reduce Negative Thinking - PsyBlog | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Young people are the most pessimistic, on average, with people’s negative thinking reducing as they get older. Working memory plays an important role in how people cope with negative events in life. Working memory is our ability to process information in the conscious mind. For example, if I give you a series of 10 numbers and then ask you to add up the second and fourth one, you are using your working memory. Our working memories can also be used to refocus our minds away from negative thinking.Young people are the most pessimistic, on average, with people's negative thinking reducing as they get older. 

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"Finanza comportamentale: l'altra faccia dell’investimento "

"Finanza comportamentale: l'altra faccia dell’investimento " | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Le scelte d'investimento non sono mai facili. Altro che crisi economiche o incertezza dei mercati. È la natura umana il primo problema da affrontare. Emozioni e sentimenti influenzano le decisioni in modo poco calcolato, portandoci a conclusioni talvolta fuorvianti. Come se non bastasse, siamo vittime di automatismi mentali che ci fanno spesso compiere errori di valutazione. Per esempio, molti di noi hanno un'innata avversione alle perdite: pur di non provare il dispiacere della sconfitta, tendiamo a buttar via promettenti opportunità. Siamo naturalmente portati a seguire la massa, anche se le scelte degli altri potrebbero non fare al caso nostro. Oppure tendiamo a sovrastimare le nostre capacità o a fidarci dell'intuito quando non dovremmo, e così via. Come ci insegna la finanza comportamentale, che applica la psicologia cognitiva all'economia, la buona notizia è che queste "trappole" (dette anche "bias") si presentano in modo sistematico e quindi prevedibile: dipendono infatti da come si è evoluto il cervello umano. Il test incomeIQ vuole aiutarti a smascherarle e fornirti consigli per investire in modo più razionale. Potrebbero risultare utili anche nel dialogo con il tuo consulente finanziario.
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La società è troppo complessa per avere un solo presidente, dice la matematica

La società è troppo complessa per avere un solo presidente, dice la matematica | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Chiunque sia al potere, ha un compito che va ben oltre le sue possibilità. Circa due terzi degli americani ritengono che il loro paese stia andando nella "direzione sbagliata" e si sono ritrovati a votare per due dei candidati alla presidenza meno popolari di tutti i tempi. Sia la sinistra che la destra sostengono l'inefficacia del governo degli Stati Uniti. Qual è il motivo di tutto ciò? La società umana è semplicemente troppo complessa perché la democrazia rappresentativa possa funzionare. Probabilmente, gli Stati Uniti non dovrebbero proprio avere un presidente, secondo un'analisi condotta da un gruppo di matematici del New England Complex Systems Institute. NECSI è un’organizzazione di ricerca che utilizza la matematica presa in prestito da sistemi che studiano la fisica e la chimica—fate attenzione—e nuovi giganteschi insiemi di dati per spiegare come gli eventi che si verificano in una certa parte del mondo possano avere conseguenze su situazioni apparentemente lontane in altre parti del mondo.
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Blindsided by Trump’s Victory? Behavioral Science Explains

A Q&A on our cognitive traps.

When Leslie John, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, arrived at work on the morning of the U.S. presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, she was worried. John is an expert in behavioral decision research and studies the various innate flaws and biases that impede human reasoning. As a supporter of Clinton, she wondered whether the same cognitive traps that she studies in a laboratory could be leading to overconfidence about the likelihood of a Clinton victory. “Everyone I spoke with pointed me to Democratic and Republican pollsters, financial and prediction markets, essentially every forecaster in the public record was predicting a Clinton win,” John says. “Yet here we are.”

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This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You Lie

This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You Lie | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

A new study offers the first empirical evidence to answer that question. The answer is: self-interest. The team of researchers paired 80 participants with an actor whom they believed to be another participant. Together, they had to guess how much money was in a photo of jars of pennies. The researchers created various conditions in which there was an incentive to lie at the expense of their partner, to lie to benefit both parties, or to lie to benefit their partner but not themselves. The first two conditions were labeled as "self-serving" dishonesty.

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Uncertainty in participatory modeling – what can we learn from management research?

Uncertainty in participatory modeling – what can we learn from management research? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Community member post by Antonie Jetter I frequently struggle to explain how participatory modeling deals with uncertainty. I found useful guidance in the management literature. After all, participatory modeling projects and strategic business planning have one commonality - a group of stakeholders and decision-makers aims to understand and ultimately influence a complex system. They do…
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» EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights | The Behavioural Insights Team

» EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights | The Behavioural Insights Team | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
One of the key objectives of the Behavioural Insights Team at its creation in 2010 was to spread the understanding of behavioural approaches across the policy community. Alongside the policy work and trials conducted by the Team over the last three years, we have conducted many seminars, workshops and talks with policymakers, academics and practitioners. From these many sessions, together with our trials and policy work, has emerged a simple, pragmatic framework: the EAST framework. EAST stands for Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely. Though we do not claim that EAST is a comprehensive summary of all there is to know about behavioural science, we do think that for busy policymakers, the EAST framework is an accessible, simple way to make more effective and efficient policy. Minister for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin, said: “The behavioural science literature can be complex, so having a simple framework which policymakers can easily access and apply is invaluable. As the Minister responsible for Government Policy, I’ve seen how some of these insights can be applied in practice to help generate policy that’s smarter, simpler and is highly cost-effective.” Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said: “The publication of this framework, only two months after we announced the spin out of the Behavioural Insights Team into a mutual joint-venture, is a clear sign that this new business model will deliver results both for policymakers and for citizens. Giving the team the freedom to meet demand from across the public and private sectors, not just in the UK but overseas, is enabling more people to benefit from their work – and our retained stake means that their success is also a win for hardworking taxpayers.” Date Published April 11, 2014 Copyright © Behavioural Insights Team 2014 - 2016 Terms Privacy policy @B_I_Tweets
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Why tube strikes help Londoners

Why tube strikes help Londoners | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

SINCE 2000 London has seen around 40 strikes on the Underground. The chaos which accompanies them is a short-term drag on the capital’s economy. The Federation of Small Businesses, an industry body, estimated that the one-day strike in July cost London £300m ($462m). But a new paper, by researchers at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, points to the long-term benefits of tube strikes. The focus of the paper is Londoners’ commuting patterns, before and after industrial action takes place. It looks at a two-day strike in February 2014, which the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers called in response to plans to close ticket offices and make voluntary redundancies. In that strike, some union members continued to work: the effect was that 171 out of 270 tube stations closed for the day. Some commuters were not much affected by the strike, while others were less lucky. The authors compare the behaviour of those hit by the strike to those that were not. To do so, they gather anonymised data from Oyster cards, the payment gizmos that Londoners use to enter and leave the tube. They end up with data on about 18,000 Londoners over a 20-day period who used the Underground between 7am and 10am, amounting to more than 200m data-points.

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The psychology of time

The psychology of time | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says happiness and success are rooted in a trait most of us disregard: the way we orient toward the past, present and future. He suggests we calibrate our outlook on time as a first step to improving our lives.
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Book Review: Peter Koslowski (ed.). 1999. Sociobiology and Bioeconomics: The Theory of Evolution in Biological and Economic Theory

Book Review: Peter Koslowski (ed.). 1999. Sociobiology and Bioeconomics: The Theory of Evolution in Biological and Economic Theory | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
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Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science – Critical and Constructive Essays, Edited by Fraser Watts and Léon Turner (review - unabridged, unpublished version)

Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science – Critical and Constructive Essays, Edited by Fraser Watts and Léon Turner (review - unabridged, unpublished version) | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

n 1909, the year of Darwin´s ce ntennial birth anniversary (1809) and 50 years since the publication of The Origin of Species (1859), Jane E. Harrison famously argued that it was Darwinism that allowed for the emergence of the scientific study of religion (Harrison, 1909). One hundred years later in 2009 two conferences were held in Cambridge (UK), to celebrate the same events attesting the constant inspiration of Darwin´s legacy for the study of religion. The focus of those conferences was the impact of evolutionary theorizing on the current study of religion. Selection of papers from the recent conferences inspired publication of an anthology mapping an involvement of the evolutionary theory in cognitive science of religion (CSR) titled Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science , published in 2014. Interestingly, the same year (2014) marks another anniversary and yet another conference was held for the occasion – the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR) biennial conference: “ Religion Explained? The Cognitive Science of Religion after 25 Years. “ This conference and the publication of the book coincide not only in time, but also in the emphasis on ever growing importance of evolutionary theorizing within CSR and what does it imply for the very identity of CSR. The closing keynote address of the conference by Richard Sosis “ The Rewards and Challenges of Polygamy: Assessing the Cognitive Science of Religion at Twenty-Five ” tapped exactly into the same kinds of questions and topics surfacing in the chapters of the Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science anthology, stressing their significance for the current CSR. Their co-occurrence suggests the necessity to re-evaluate the role of evolutionary theorizing within the study of religion in general and specifically in CSR. What are those questions and topics and how do they convey to the renewed search for identity of CSR? To outline them and to show ways in which the anthology challenges the identity of CSR, the review is structured as a brief analysis of the unde rstanding of the three “pillars” of CSR´s identity contained in its name (Cognitive, Science, and Religion).

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Hunting the Rational Expectations whale

Hunting the Rational Expectations whale | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

1. Why is Rational Expectations still around, anyway? Rational Expectations is (are?) one of the key features of almost every macro model in existence today, and has been for decades. Why? One reason is that it's easy to work with, mathematically - just stick an "E" in front of things, and voila, that's what the agents in your model believe! Another reason is that RE is appealing to folks who think that the government shouldn't be able to trick people consistently. A third reason is that there's just no obvious alternative way of modeling expectations. Classic alternatives like adaptive expectations are rigid, simplistic, and just generally very weak. And more sophisticated alternatives, besides being unwieldy to model, also tend to be hyper-specific - if there are actually a number of different ways that RE fails, each of these models will only catch one of them. But the real reason is that it's hard to test people's expectations directly. Instead, what macroeconomists do is to just throw the expectations assumption into the model along with a million other things like Euler equations, transversality conditions, industry structure, etc., and then test the model against macro facts. If the model fails to match enough macro facts, or the "right" macro facts, to garner interest, the problem is assumed not to lie with the expectations, but with some other assumption of the model. So RE survives. In Lakatos' jargon, it's part of the "hard core" of modern macro.

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Freedom of speech in a constitutional political economy perspective

Freedom of speech in a constitutional political economy perspective | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Abstract The article examines the issue of free speech in a law and economics perspective. The property rights approach is contrasted with the common law and constitutional standpoints. Consequentialist and market efficiency may not provide adequate criteria for judging limitations to freedom of speech. Constitutional instruments may then be required.

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Vegetable compounds found to improve cognition in old age

Vegetable compounds found to improve cognition in old age | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

New research suggests the pigment that gives vegetables and plants their vibrant color may improve cognitive function in elderly adults.Carotenoids are a natural plant chemical that can be found in a variety of vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and oranges. However, some carotenoids, like lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) can also be found in dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and peas. A variety of studies have shown that diets rich in L and Z help maintain visual health, improve visual acuity, and slow down some age-related eye diseases. Other studies have suggested L and Z improve cognitive function in adults aged 98 years and over. Increased levels of the compounds were associated with better memory and higher verbal fluency.

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Study: Medieval cities not so different from modern European cities | Santa Fe Institute

Study: Medieval cities not so different from modern European cities | Santa Fe Institute | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Medieval cities – with their agrarian societies and simple market economies – seem very different from modern European urban centers. Life in 14th-century cities centered around hierarchical institutions such as the crown, guilds, and churches. Today, companies, technologies, and a global economy dominate our lives. Despite the dramatic changes in economic and political structures over the last 700 years, a new look at medieval cities’ population sizes and distributions suggest that some urban characteristics have remained remarkably consistent. A paper published this week in PLOS One highlights one major similarity: in both medieval and modern European cities, larger settlements have predictably higher population densities than smaller cities. The authors write: “This would suggest that the institutions of Western European urban systems ca. 1300 did not substantially constrain social mixing, economic integration, or the free flow of people, ideas, and information.” In short, the social dynamics enabled by medieval cities were fundamentally similar to those of contemporary cities
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Brexit and the Trump effect: | James Bryant | Pulse | LinkedIn

Brexit and the Trump effect: | James Bryant | Pulse | LinkedIn | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

A psychological explanation & why the EU may be the next 'shock'. Since Brexit those who voted Remain have been trying to understand what happened and profess to be confused. They are equally perplexed by Trump succeeding in the US presidential election. They have resorted to explaining it as ignorance, stupidity, masochism, gullibility (taken in by apparent lies of the Brexit campaign), xenophobia and the racism of the people who voted Brexit . By comparison with these ‘uneducated’ Brexit voters, the Remainers are self-styled intellectuals and experts. Yet despite their intellectual capacity they are equally confused and intellectually arrogant about the success of Trump. Their confusion and a more intellectual explanation are achieved when the issue is viewed from a behavioural and psychological perspective.


https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brexit-trump-effect-james-bryant

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FBI Hostage Negotiation Tactics You Can Use Every Day

FBI Hostage Negotiation Tactics You Can Use Every Day | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Where are we ordering takeout from? What new series are we going to binge watch tonight? Everything in life is a negotiation. Sometimes, as in the aforementioned examples, the stakes are quite low. Bad results, at worst, are heartburn and boredom. But other times negotiations have much more on the line. Life and death, to be exact. These are the kinds of negotiations Chris Voss has dealt with for the better part of his professional career. Voss is a 24-year veteran of the FBI, where in part he served as the burea's lead international kidnapping negotiator. Recently Voss, now CEO of The Black Swan Group, sat down with The Science of Success Podcast with Matt Bodnar and producer Austin Fabel to share some of the amazingly effective negotiation strategies, techniques and tactics that the FBI uses in the field that can be translated to the business world. Read some of the takeaways and listen to the full episode embedded below.

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Failure to communicate in the brain may be behind indifference to music

Failure to communicate in the brain may be behind indifference to music | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Music is popular in almost all human societies, but there are some people who just don't seem to be into it, no matter how stirring. Studying those who don’t like music can provide insight into why the rest of us do, and more general insights into human behavior. Earlier neuroimaging studies demonstrated that music-induced pleasure may arise from the interaction between auditory neural networks and the brain’s reward networks. A recent study published in PNAS shows that people who don’t like music have lower brain activity in both these systems when they're listening to tunes. The study in question used functional MRI scans to track brain activity in three groups of 15 participants. One group was indifferent to music, one group had normal reactions to it, and the last group derived intense pleasure from music. Musicians were excluded from the sample, to reduce bias that might be introduced by including participants trained in producing music.

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Trump, Brexit and the Failure of Predictive Analytics

Trump, Brexit and the Failure of Predictive Analytics | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

The two most important events of this year are the Brexit and the election of the President of the US. In the case of the Brexit, predictions were indicating a clear ‘yes’ while the result was a ‘no’. In the case of US elections, Clinton was going to win. Not only she lost, Trump won by a large margin. How is it possible to make such macroscopic mistakes in the face of events of such huge, global impact and relevance? Why did Predictive Analytics, Big Data, semantic intelligence, statistical modeling, forecasting and the multitude of other supposedly predictive models get it so dramatically wrong? How is it possible that given remarkable computational firepower, armies of talented scientists, almost unlimited funding, that they would still get it so very wrong? We believe we can explain why. Here we go. Math models – often used to make forecasts and predictions – are based on hypotheses and assumptions. But one cannot use a model unless one has checked that these assumptions hold. This is rarely done. Second, in a rapidly changing World a model may be valid one day, only to collapse the following day. Models attempting to capture a rapidly changing phenomenon must be adjusted and updated (and validated!) equally quickly. Again, this is rarely done. Models must be realistic, not precise. The concepts of precision and accuracy are deeply rooted in university curricula, even though reality would suggest that in turbulence one should focus on other, more relevant things. Playing extravagant video games with eight-decimal precision is possible but, essentially, irrelevant.

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» Policymaking: should we be ‘messier’? | The Behavioural Insights Team

» Policymaking: should we be ‘messier’? | The Behavioural Insights Team | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Last week, we were lucky enough to be joined by the FT’s Undercover Economist, Tim Harford, who came to talk to us about his excellent new book Messy. The central premise of the book is that we often succumb to the temptation of a tidy-minded approach to getting something done, but we could be better served by embracing a bit of mess. Tim illustrates his thesis through a number of interesting lenses. From cognitive psychology, Tim draws on the work of Shelley Carson, a Harvard professor who measured the abilities of Harvard students to filter out unwanted stimuli (if you find it hard to filter out conversations going on around you in a busy restaurant, then you have weak attentional filters). Some of the Harvard students had particularly weak filters. You might think that this kind of messiness would be a disadvantage. But it turned out that many of the most creative students – those who by their early 20s had already published their first novels or produced a stage show, had the weakest filters of all. Details that seem to be irrelevant can – in some people’s hands – spur our creative minds. Computer science gives us a different perspective. It would take a lifetime to try every conceivable layout for the components of a silicon chip. The temptation is to make a series of small changes to the layout of the chip that gradually improves its performance. This can work pretty well. But Tim argues that introducing a ‘judicious dose of randomness’ is likely get you a better result – by trying a series of random layouts, seeing which works best, and then making more gradual improvements.
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Network Medicine

 Act 1: Network-based approaches to human disease have multiple potential biological and clinical applications. The first step in exploring the interplay between networks and human diseases, we need a comprehensive and accurate molecular and phenotypic networks [Barabási AL, Nat Rev Genet. 2011, 12:56-68]. Network within our cells elucidates how our genes and molecules interact with each other. But how do we connect this stunning map of our inner cellular interconnectedness to human disease? To grasp the magnitude of the problem, let us look at the current network of a human cell. Act 2: To see how the network map relates to disease, we start with Asthma, the most common chronic respiratory disease, affecting 17 million U.S. children and adults. Despite advances in our understanding of asthma, it remains a major cause of morbidity, resulting in 0.5 million hospitalizations a year, and is the most common cause of lost school and workdays. During the last decades Geneticist and biologists have identified the genes associated with Asthma. To see the Asthma module, we next identify these genes on network map. So here the purple nodes are the asthma genes. We expect them to be together, forming a compact asthma module. In reality they are scattered all over the map, disconnected. But we are not only missing links; we are also missing many asthma genes. And that is where the network science can help: we can use it to identify candidate disease genes, those that could hold the module together. So we exploited the collective intelligence of the network to identify the Asthma module. Act 3: You can see the outcome of this, the Asthma module being reconstructed in front of our eyes. Now that we have the disease module, we can use it to identify the disease mechanism and to find drug targets and eventually better drugs against asthma. Act 4: We used the same tools to identify the disease module of COPD, shown with yellow on the map. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. It is estimated that about 5 to 10 percent of adults may have COPD with an increase in prevalence with age. COPD and related conditions (including asthma) are major cause of morbidity. COPD is often called the smokers disease, is a lung disease like Asthma, with many overlapping symptoms, like shortness of breath and cough. It is not surprising, therefore, that its disease module is in the neighborhood of Asthma. Not only are they in the same neighborhood, but also the two modules show considerable overlap. In general we expect that diseases that have similar symptoms, like Asthma and COPD, or Diabetes and obesity, and many forms of cancer, should be located in the same part of the cellular network. Unrelated diseases, like cancer and asthma, may reside in a different neighborhood of this cellular universe. So by simply looking where various diseases are within this map, we can identify the molecular relationships between them. We used the same tools to identify the disease module of COPD, shown with yellow on the map. So by simply looking where various diseases are within this map, we can identify the molecular relationships between them.Project: http://barabasilab.neu.edu/projects/tedmed http://www.barabasilab.com http://www.mamartino.com Act 1: Network-based approaches to human diseas.

Project: http://barabasilab.neu.edu/projects/t... http://www.barabasilab.com http://www.mamartino.com

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Machine intelligence makes human morals more important

Machine intelligence makes human morals more important | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Machine intelligence is here, and we're already using it to make subjective decisions. But the complex way AI grows and improves makes it hard to understand and even harder to control. In this cautionary talk, techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains how intelligent machines can fail in ways that don't fit human error patterns -- and in ways we won't expect or be prepared for. "We cannot outsource our responsibilities to machines," she says. "We must hold on ever tighter to human values and human ethics."
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Book review: Alexander J. Field, "Altruistically Inclined? The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity"

Book review: Alexander J. Field, "Altruistically Inclined? The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity" | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Alexander Field’s impressive Altruistically Inclined crosses disciplinary bound-aries and will be useful to any social scientist interested in human behaviour,social interactions, cooperation and social order. For economists, the book is allthe more valuable because it deals with a topic that is central to our field –cooperation and coordination with others – but to which, Field argues, economistshave failed give a scientific explanation. Field relates this failure to economists’incapacity to confront real-world problems. This familiar criticism is the pointof departure for the arguments developed in the book.Facts play a decisive role in Field’s analysis: ‘ If the social sciences are to betruly social, they must remain in close dialogue with empirical evidence . And if they are to be scientific, the evidence must be treated in a systematic way’ (empha-sis in original). According to Field, facts unambiguously tell us that cooperation isthe predominant feature of human societies and social organisations. This isrevealed by casual observation, by rigorous empirical studies and by experimentsin economics and psychology. Much of what is observed contradicts what econ-omics (mostly microeconomics and game theory) predicts, and Field argues thateconomists have favoured the aesthetic dimension of their models to the detrimentof the models’ predictive utility: economists develop their theories ‘in a largelydata free zone’, ‘inhabit a quasi-scientific world’ of models that may be‘elegant, internally consistent and intellectually appealing’ and ‘perhaps evenbeautiful’, but that also nonetheless ‘consistently predict poorly’, producingresults that ‘don’t fit with data’. In stark contrast to what is the case in othersciences, the applicability of economic tools seems to have decreased with time.

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