Friday, February 20, 2015

If The Intelligence Is Opaque, It May Be A Scam

Alex Tabarrok posted The Rise of Opaque Intelligence at Marginal Revolution:

It isn’t easy suppressing my judgment in favor of someone else’s judgment even if the other person has better judgment (ask my wife) but once it was explained to me I at least understood why my boss’s judgment made sense. More and more, however, we are being asked to suppress our judgment in favor of that of an artificial intelligence, a theme in Tyler’s Average is Over.

If the AI is giving you good information, you, or someone with some math skills, can check the work. Tabarrok finishes the article with the struggle between UPS drivers and their AI, which now tells them how to deliver packages:

Human drivers think Orion is illogical because they can’t grok Orion’s super-logic. Perhaps any sufficiently advanced logic is indistinguishable from stupidity.

No. The probability is that Orion, like most of these big data boondoggles, isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

Now, perhaps making drivers do things in a manner that seems totally insane to them improves the company's overall situation- if true, the facts will be there and available, at least to some manager somewhere, who could then explain it to at least some of the drivers. If however, Orion is a joke, then we will have the phenomenon of opaque management- i.e. somebody made a very costly mistake taking on this Orion nonsense, so they will make the facts opaque.

Good software should reduce the need for management, but I have seen software basically requiring managers to exist to fix errors that are inevitably made with bad approaches to human schedules.

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