Thinking fast and slow: by Daniel Kahneman serialised in quotes IV: Simple algorithms are better than expert judgement

The line that separates the possibly predictable future from the unpredictable distant future is yet to be drawn.

One reason for the inferiority of expert judgement [compared with algorithms] is that humans are incorrigibly inconsistent in making summary judgements of complex information.

Marital stability is better predicted by “frequency of lovemaking minus frequency of arguments” than any expert judgement.

An algorithm that is constructed on the back of an envelope is often good enough to compete with an optimally weighted formula, and certainly good enough to outdo expert judgment. This logic can be applied in many domains, ranging from the selection of stocks by portfolio managers to the choices of medical treatments by doctors or patients.

Simple, statistical rules are superior to intuitive “clinical” judgements.

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2 thoughts on “Thinking fast and slow: by Daniel Kahneman serialised in quotes IV: Simple algorithms are better than expert judgement

  1. I have learned a lot from Kahneman’s earlier book (with Tversky), although it is several years since I read it. But he certainly did NOT say that “simple statistical rules are superior to ‘clinical’ judgements, at least the way I read it. He said that statistical rules give best results on average, but clinicians must always be aware that some patients are not ‘average’, and be sensitive to the needs of the individual patient.

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  2. These are direct quotes, so at some point he wrote: “Simple, statistical rules are superior to intuitive “clinical” judgements.” He may have elaborated on the statement elsewhere.

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