Thursday, March 24, 2011

Garry Kasparov Decision Making

I watched a fascinating clip on Garry Kasparov in how he discussed factors involved in Decision Making. The clip came to my attention that Google has posted more the 1000 of their talks on YouTube. I have alway been interested in Google talks after reading the blog post on talk by Freakonomic guys. So I am very happy having access to these talks.

Garry Kasparov is one of the smartest people alive and Google Employees are also some of the smartest people working in the IT industry so the questions and answers were of a very high quality. There are to many points to talk about so will focus on what I found the most interesting which are the factors involved in decision making.

First just after watching the clip, I had to finish the book "End Game" on Bobby Fischer, which I found fascinating. It brings up the idea that to reach that sort of intelligence you have to be a bit different to what is considered normal in western society. I also think chess world champions must be very arrogant in their beliefs of their own intelligence and have a hard time accepting other peoples views and opinions. Especially in terms of any activity that would seem to show that they are not as smart as they think there are.

Okay in terms of decision make Kasparov makes the following interesting points

Quality of a decision will be affected by the time it takes and the materials used to make decision.

Every person is different in the ability to make a decision and some are better at making decision quicker while others need more time to look at all the elements relating to making the decision.

Some people will go in circles if given to much time to make a decision.

A lot of times you have to sacrifice the quality of the decision by time constraints.

Intuition or "Gut Feeling" is one of the most important factors in decision making but is very hard to explain in how you came up with the decision for transparency reasons.
Intuition is like any other muscle but making a decision with intuition is avoided in risk adverse cultures.

Fear of making mistakes has a bad affect on decision making as making a mistakes are normal process, so you should kill the fear of making mistakes and be more resolute in decision making
Have to recognize that some sort of failure will occur when making a decision. When making a decision understand limitations of situation and find strengths and weakness of factors in decision where you are trying to aim for your strengths against their weakness.

We are all different in coming up with a decision making formula, their is no one formula that will work for everyone as we are all different. So to maximise our decision making process need to work at a method that is best for us. First you really have to understand yourself well.
When making a decision remember that risk and mistakes are needed for progress.

Group Decision Making
There was one question which I really enjoyed and is a good example of how decision making process of groups can be greater then for one person who is smarter then the group.

The situation was two chess games. The World vs Anatoli Karpov in 1996 then in 1999 The world vs Garry Kasparov.

In the World vs Karpov the world were represented by a few grandmasters who only had a limited amount of time to come up with a decision. So what happened was that Karpov defeated them easily.

In the World vs Kasparov the world team had much more time to come up with a decision and were lucky that Irina Krush was able to facilitate all decision making into a transperent mechanism in which all decision that were made involved the group being able to see the direction and possible directions of their moves. Unlucky for them is that Kasparov could also see these decision trees. But after Kasparov won he commented that It is the greatest game in the history of chess. The sheer number of ideas, the complexity, and the contribution it has made to chess make it the most important game ever played.

There is also excellent comments from from Michael Nielson saying
Kasparov versus the World is a fascinating case study in the power of collective collaboration. Most encouragingly for us, Kasparov versus the World provides convincing evidence that large groups of people acting in concert can solve creative problems well beyond the reach of any of them alone.

More practically, Kasparov versus the World suggests the value of providing centralized repositories of information which can serve as reference points for decision making and for the allocation of effort. Krush’s analysis tree was critical to the co-ordination of the World Team. It prevented duplication of effort on the part of the World Team, who didn’t have to chase down lines of play known to be poor, and acted as a reference point for discussion, for further analysis, and for voting.

Finally, Kasparov versus the World suggests the value of facilitators who act to channel community opinion. These people must have the respect of the community, but they need not be the strongest individual contributor. If such facilitators are flexible and responsive (without being submissive), they can co-ordinate and focus community opinion, and so build a whole stronger than any of its parts.

So for me really, a great decision can be made if given enough time with significant contributions from many people as long as their is a great facilitator to make sure the decision meats the goals of what was to be decided on.


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