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Bounded Optimality and Rational Metareasoning in Human Cognition
Tom Griffiths

Thu Dec 08 11:30 PM -- 12:00 AM (PST) @

Human decision-making is often described as irrational, being the result of applying error-prone heuristics. I will argue that this is partly a consequence of the use of an unrealistic standard of rationality, and that the notion of bounded optimality from the artificial intelligence literature provides a better framework for understanding human behaviour. Within this framework a rational agent seeks to execute the best algorithm for solving a problem, taking into account available computational resources and the cost of time. We find that several classic heuristics from the decision-making literature are bounded optimal, assuming people have access to particular computational resources. This establishes a new problem: how do people find such good heuristics? I will discuss how this problem can be addressed via rational metareasoning, which examines how rational agents should decide what algorithm to use in solving a problem. The result is a view of human decision-making in which people are intelligently and flexibly making the most of their limited computational resources.

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Tom Griffiths (Princeton)

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