Open Forum

  • 1.  Daniel Kahneman's 'Biases'.

    Bronze Member
    Posted 01-12-2022 10:40 AM

    Just on the concept of 'Biases', Daniel Kahneman has done a great disservice to this important issue by using a very loaded word like bias (the same with 'Noise') to describe what is our natural ability to make quick decisions with limited information.

    We can ignore the gorilla (and the colour of the curtains) to achieve the task of counting the number of passes as instructed in the famous gorilla basketball video experiment.

    Our ability to act quickly in a crisis is a great evolutionary advantage for our human species. We are very good at responding quickly when needed. The alternative is to autistically scan all the information before making an urgent decision.

    'Biases" has nothing to do with prejudice which it often gets confused with in these discussions with Kahnemans so called Biases. He should have used Systems 3 & 4 instead.

    Also, Kahneman now seems to be walking away from his concept of biases'
    In his presentation to the NBER Economics of AI Workshop on 22 September 2017 he stated:

    " One of the major limitations on human behaviour is not bias, it is just noise.   I may be partly responsible for this.
    But people now when they talk about errors tend to think of bias as an explanation. That is the first thing that comes to mind.
    Well, this is a bias, and it is an error. In fact, most of the errors people make is just random noise. An awful lot of it.
    Admitting the essence of noise means something and has implications for practice. One is obviously that human should be replaced by algorithms.... Humans are so noisy." see his presentation at:  Remarks from Daniel Kahneman - YouTube

    Kahneman has a habit of using labels especially the good/bad kind.

    It's dualistic thinking that is the basis of the great divide in US politics between Democrats and Republicans - you get stuck in this good bad scenario, and it leads to really accusatory behaviour.

    It's really about non-dualistic thinking for mediators and non-dualistic theories - as I have said in my recent paper Kahneman is a serial offender in this regard see:   How a humanistic approach to Mediation would impact on the definition of mediation, mediation practice, training and accreditation – Part II -

    Kahneman has also suffered from the replication problem where his experiments that form the basis of his theories have not been repeated. Other Nobel prize winners have withdrawn their papers when this has happened.

    Greg Rooney
    Mount George SA

  • 2.  RE: Daniel Kahneman's 'Biases'.

    Posted 02-12-2022 03:18 AM
    Greg, thanks for this useful comment and explanation.

    It reminds me of another common phrase, "systemic discrimination", which could be better worded.

    I suspect that many people hearing these words interpret them as if they meant "systematic discrimination" which brings to mind active, intentional behaviour. Such an interpretation can allow people to dismiss the phenomenon for lack of evidence of such actions.

    Perhaps it would be better to say "endemic discrimination" or something similar to get across the message that the problem is built into the system, regardless of individual intent.

    Thanks again for promoting thoughts and reflection!

    Archie Zariski
    Professor, Legal Studies - Athabasca University Canada
    Athabasca University
    Edmonton AB

  • 3.  RE: Daniel Kahneman's 'Biases'.

    Posted 03-12-2022 09:31 AM

    thank you Archie. I agree that we need another phrase for Systematic Discrimination. I add 'Inherit Discrimination' to your suggestion of 'endemic discrimination'.

    Abe Quadan
    NMAS Mediator, FDRP, Lecturer, Trainer
    Vice Chair Cambodia Centre for Mediation

    Abraham Quadan
    Options Mediation Services
    Illawong NSW
    0412 460 373