[Miscellany] Three interesting podcast episodes

I want to share with you three interesting podcasts that I came across recently.

  1. Daniel Kahneman on noisy decision making, and the need for algorithms

Sandra Peter interviews psychologist / behavioural economist and Noble prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, for the Sydney Business Insights podcast. He discusses his famous book, Thinking Fast and Slow. But, most interestingly, he introduces some of the ideas that he explores in his latest book, Noise. 

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Kahneman distinguishes between two types of problems in decision making: bias and noise. While both are serious, they have very different origins and impact. The former is a predictable error resulting, for instance, from systemic racism or stereotyping, and manifests itself in discrimination. The latter is variable, and manifests itself in inconsistent decisions – for instance, the same person may reach different conclusions depending on fatigue or the weather! Kahneman goes on to argue that using algorithms (the technique, not the technology) can help deal with noise in decision making. This article also explains the main idea presented in the podcast and book.

Kahneman developed much of his work with Amos Tversky, whom he talks about in the podcast. I find it really endearing how he talks about that collaboration. 

2. The power of algorithms in our lives

While Kahneman was talking about algorithms as a technique (essentially, a series of rules), this LSE IQ podcast episode delivers a really good discussion of how algorithms have become part and parcel of the technology that mediates our everyday interactions. The podcast team note the power of these algorithm-based technologies, and discuss the danger created by the lack of accountability of those platforms, and the opacity of the algorithms.

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3. The underbelly of online shopping 

When we order an item online, that sets in motion a series of steps that takes a physical item from a warehouse shelf to our front door, sometimes in a matter of hours. This RadioLab podcast episode follows someone who worked in a warehouse for one such companies. It shines light on the process, and the interplay between automation systems and warehouse employees. I am thinking of adding it to my Services Marketing module resources, to generate some discussion about process design, because a) it is a first-hand account; and 2) it breaks the monotony of having readings, only.

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Slight problem: It talks about sexual toys (as part of an order). Can I get away with adding it, or is it going to get me in trouble?

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