3 ways to make better decisions -- by thinking like a computer | Tom Griffiths | Summary and Q&A

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3 ways to make better decisions -- by thinking like a computer | Tom Griffiths

TL;DR

The speaker discusses how computer science principles can help make human decision-making easier, from finding the best place to live in Sydney to organizing your wardrobe.

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Key Insights

  • 🏢 Sydney's housing market is incredibly competitive, making it challenging to find a place to buy or rent. Taking the time to explore 37 percent of the market and then making an offer on the next best option can increase the likelihood of finding the best place.
  • 💡 Optimal stopping problems, such as finding a place to live, have been extensively studied by mathematicians and computer scientists. Understanding the computational structure of these problems can provide insights into human decision-making and make it easier to find solutions.
  • 💑 Applying rational thinking to every decision in life is not always practical, as it can become exhausting. Sometimes, it's better to consider the preferences of others and find solutions that work for everyone involved.
  • 🍽️ When it comes to choosing a restaurant, there's an explore-exploit trade-off. If you're only in town for a short time, it's best to stick with what you know. But if you'll be there longer, take the opportunity to explore new options.
  • 💼 Computer science principles, such as the least recently used principle, can be applied to everyday tasks like organizing your wardrobe or office. Prioritizing access to the items you're most likely to need can improve efficiency and save time.
  • 💡 Computer science strategies involve finding simpler problems or making use of randomness and approximations to solve difficult problems. These strategies can offer insights and produce effective solutions in their own right.
  • ️ It's impossible to consider all options when making a decision. Taking a chance, not aiming for perfection, and settling for a pretty good solution is a rational approach. You can't control outcomes, but you can control the process.
  • ✨ Computer science principles can help us be more forgiving of our limitations. Understanding that the best processes involve taking chances, exploring options, and settling for pretty good outcomes can relieve the pressure of decision-making.

Transcript

If there's one city in the world where it's hard to find a place to buy or rent, it's Sydney. And if you've tried to find a home here recently, you're familiar with the problem. Every time you walk into an open house, you get some information about what's out there and what's on the market, but every time you walk out, you're running the risk of th... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the problem discussed in the video?

The problem discussed in the video is the difficulty of finding a place to buy or rent in Sydney, Australia.

Q: What is the recommended strategy for maximizing the probability of finding the best place to live?

The recommended strategy is to look at 37 percent of what's on the market and then make an offer on the next place that is better than anything seen so far.

Q: What is an optimal stopping problem?

An optimal stopping problem is a class of problems that has been extensively studied by mathematicians and computer scientists. It involves determining the best time to stop a sequential decision-making process in order to maximize the desired outcome.

Q: How does understanding the explore-exploit trade-off help with decision-making?

Understanding the explore-exploit trade-off helps in decision-making by providing insight into when to try something new (explore) and when to stick with something known to be good (exploit). It applies to various decision-making situations, such as choosing a restaurant or deciding who to spend time with, and can be used to make more informed choices.

Q: How can computer scientists' insights into memory systems be applied to organizing personal belongings?

Insights from computer scientists into memory systems can be applied to organizing personal belongings, such as wardrobes and office spaces. For example, applying the principle of least recently used to organizing a wardrobe or desk can help prioritize easy access to items that are most likely to be needed in the future.

Q: What is the main takeaway from the video?

The main takeaway from the video is that computer science can offer strategies and insights into decision-making processes, helping individuals make more informed choices and be more forgiving of their own limitations. Taking chances, not considering all options, and settling for pretty good solutions are rational approaches to problem-solving.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Sydney is a difficult city to find a place to buy or rent, and finding the best home requires looking at 37% of what's on the market and making an offer on the next place that is better than anything seen so far.

  • Computational cognitive scientists study how human minds work and how computer science can make human decision-making easier.

  • The explore/exploit trade-off is a common problem in decision-making, and understanding this trade-off can help make better choices, whether it's deciding on a restaurant or organizing a wardrobe.

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