Author Topic: Could an algorithm do a better job of deciding what’s best for you?  (Read 9373 times)

Joe Carillo

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Writing in the March 1, 2023 issue of online, Lucy Liu, a Harvard University Ph.D. student in applied mathematics, wondered if she could formally optimize her daily life by using an algorithm that she herself had sketched out. She described it as a rough translation of a simple reinforcement learning algorithm called Q-Learning that a human could easily follow.

In her article “I Asked an Algorithm to Optimize My Life,” Lucy actually doubted that the algorithm would truly improve her life and decision-making. She recalls: “But the optimization framework, backed up by mathematical proofs, peer-reviewed papers, and billions in Silicon Valley revenues, made so much sense to me. How, exactly, would it fall apart in practice?”


So, right from 8:30 a.m. of Day 1, Lucy meticulously recorded her decision-making process and activities in detail all the way up to 1:50 a.m. the following day. By that time, she recalls, she lay in bed “sweating and panting and swearing my way through a headache and a too-fast heartbeat and the itchy, angry red flush that had crept over my skin. ”

Wryly Lucy concludes: “It was exactly the feeling I always promised myself I would never feel again, suboptimal in every way.”

Read Lucy Liu’s “I Asked an Algorithm to Optimize My Life” in full in the website now!     
« Last Edit: March 10, 2023, 04:16:41 AM by Joe Carillo »