Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Tricky "common sense"

Many of us cognition non-specialists used to think in terms of vague "left brain" vs. "right brain" functions.  Daniel Kahneman's  Thinking Fast and Slow provided a much needed corrective; many of us are a now little bit smarter about how our very complex brains function. I had previously only considered lazy vs. non-lazy thinking. 

The fast and the slow thinking approaches each have their usefulness and it is up to each of us to be wise about how we deploy our various capabilities. Humans working with computers (and gadgets) face the problem of how to allocate responsibilities. The same challenge applies to sorting out the work for our "fast" and "slow" brain modes.

Duncan Watts, in Everything is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us, calls attention to the challenge. We face incredible complexities everywhere and must be alert to how easy it is to fool ourselves.  Things are "obvious" when we are simply stuck in "lazy" mode. That mode is always available; our job is to apply some thought before we decide to simply let it fly.


Division of labor has always been a moving target.  Have you met your robot? Target now picking up speed.