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August 05, 2020

 

 👋 <<First Name>>,

Some 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Beirut, Lebanon after an explosion. Experts say ammonium nitrate, commonly used as fertilizer, fueled the explosion and was likely ignited by fireworks.

The massive explosion (warning: video is hard to watch) was heard from Cyprus, an island 150 miles away from Beirut.

How does fertilizer explode like this? Take a look here.

THE STORIES 

🤔 Give me a penny for your thoughts

🙈 AI Says “Your Call”

PSYCHOLOGY

🤔 Give me a penny for your thoughts

 

WHAT 

  • Recent research has found that prosocial behavior (e.g. donations, tips, not littering) can be increased by using a dueling preferences approach 

  • A dueling preferences approach is when “the act of giving is framed as a choice between two options”. For example, a café having two tip jars and asking “Cats or Dogs?”

  • The researchers found that this framing increased people’s likelihood to donate as well as the actual amount of the donation 

  • The dueling preferences framing is effective because it gives people “the opportunity to say something about who they are” and gives them the opportunity to share their opinions (which people love to do)

  • However, the researchers also note that there are limits to this approach. Namely that the designers of the duel must ask about an issue people actually care about or the duel’s effectiveness will be decreased

WHO

WHY SHOULD I CARE 

  • Influencing the behavior of others (hopefully in a positive way) is a key skill in many areas of life. 

  • Knowing that you can increase participation by framing an action you want someone to take as a question is useful beyond just getting tips and donations. You can also apply this knowledge in countless areas, from increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns to increasing safety compliance among employees

TL;DR 

  • Framing an action you want people to take as an opportunity for them to express their preferences between two options can increase people’s likelihood to take that action

READ MORE HERE


COMPUTER SCIENCE

🙈 AI Says “Your Call”

 

WHAT 

  • We always hear that cooperation between people and AI systems yields better performance than either one acting alone. 

  • Thus, experts will often review AI results (such as a doctor reviewing an ML-based diagnosis), yet the algorithms themselves are not designed to optimize for such cooperation.

  • Latest research out of MIT is introducing new ways to achieve this optimization. The idea is to combine the actual decision-making model with a model specifically designed to determine if the AI or a human would be a better decision-maker in a given case.

  • This second model, called the “rejector,” takes into account factors such as information asymmetry (such as if a doctor has access to sensitive patient information not available to the AI) and human track record on similar decisions in the past.

  • Preliminary results show that this approach quickly outperforms previous state of the art hybrid human-AI approaches in various domains, including image recognition and hate speech detection.

WHO

WHY SHOULD I CARE 

  • Hybrid human-AI systems that know when and when not to defer to humans would save valuable time and resources. If the system determines that a human expert will make a better call, it does not need to spend time and computing power making a decision. If the reverse is true, a human does not need to review each and every decision so closely.

TL;DR 

  • Researchers at MIT are exploring ways for AI systems to determine when it is the best decision-maker vs. a person and when to defer to human judgement.

READ MORE HERE

PROFESSOR'S CORNER

Last brainteaser a bit confusing? We thought so too after listening to your feedback. This time around, we got a good one in the bag  🎒  

  • One bottle of wine is poisoned out of the 1,000 bottles you have to serve at your apparently huge party.
  • You only have one hour before your party starts to find the poisoned bottle. To test the bottles, you grab 10 rats.
  • The poison needs one hour to work, so you only have time for one round of testing on these rats.
  • Luckily, the rats will drink as much wine as you let them.
How will you run the test successfully?

Recommended by David E., a Harvard PhD and a former Teaching Fellow of ours!
Solution here
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