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Sunday
Jun122016

RS 161 - Tom Griffiths and Brian Christian on "Algorithms to Live By"

Release date: June 12th, 2016

Tom Griffiths and Brian Christian

Julia chats with the authors of "Algorithms to Live By", about how to apply key algorithms from computer science to our real life problems. For example, deciding which apartment to rent, planning your career, and prioritizing your projects.

In the process, they discuss the assumptions that underlie those algorithms (and what to do about the fact that those assumptions are inevitably violated by the messy real world), and why procrastination might actually be the right algorithm for the wrong problem.

Brian and Tom's Book: "Algorithms to Live By"

Brian's Pick: "Finite and Infinite Games" by James Carse

Tom's Pick: "Do The Right Thing" by Stuart Russell and Eric Wefald

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Reader Comments (4)

wew what an algo!
June 13, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterfaraz
About procrastination, the guests suggested weighing tasks by importance, but operating systems also steadily increase a task's importance while it waits its turn so that it won't be neglected forever. So the longer you put off cleaning out your closet or having children because you have more important things to do, the more urgent those neglected things will become. That's pretty intuitive.
June 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMax
I have a solution to the Repugnant Conclusion.
Suppose you have limited resources R and population n, and each person gets R/n resources.
Model a person's utility as log(R/n), so doubling the person's resources increases his or her utility by log(2).
Then, total utility is n*log(R/n) = n*log(R)-n*log(n)
Now find the n that maximizes total utility by setting the derivative to zero.
log(R)-log(n)-1=0
log(R/n)=1
R/n=e
n=R/e
So the optimal population is R/e, and each person gets e resources.
You can modify the model for different wealth distributions and utility functions. The point is to make a mathematical model instead of just hand-waving.
June 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Reads the article, I felt much better.
June 23, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterarfi

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