Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment: Kahneman, Daniel, Sibony, Olivier, Sunstein, Cass R.: 9780316451406: Amazon.com: Books
It’s been a while since I’ve written my last post. Well, hectic times I guess. Old friends leaving the spot, new friends entering the spot – a life of a researcher.
While working on my recent research projects, I was wondering about one thing – is there a correlation between noise in data and noise in judgement/decisions?
Let me explain the problem first. In a perfect world, in a galaxy far, far away, all data is perfect. All pictures are labelled correctly, natural language has a formal meaning and all data points are assigned to their classes perfectly. In this perfect world, the interpretation of the data is also unambiguous and independent of who does the interpretation. In that perfect world, this means that machines can take all decisions and we, as humans, can relax.
But, we do not live in that perfect world. In our world, there is data that is not always correct and the language is imprecise. We are also biased by many factors, as humans. In this world of ours, this means that a lof of things is a “judgement call”, which means that training a machine to take decisions is not always correct.
So, I was thinking, if we clean up the noise, will the decisions be unbiased? If we train the persons making decisions, will the decisions be more correct?
I’ve looked at one of the recent works of the Nobel Prize winner (Daniel Kahneman) and his colleagues. They describe what is noise and bias in terms of where they come from and how to find them. This book builds upon the principles of statistical error (and its measurement) as well as our ability to handle the error in terms of the ‘wisdom of the crowd’. It also shows how using more processes reduces bias and introduces order to the chaos of our galaxy.
I would like to leave you with this thought – we have the whole Agile software development movement, focused on humans and products, not processes. But if it is the processes that actually bring some order, aren’t we just introducing more chaos by being more Agile?