Wednesday, 22 April 2009

More on models

From Daniel Kahneman, via portfolio.com:
A group of Swiss soldiers who set out on a long navigation exercise in the Alps. The weather was severe and they got lost. After several days, with their desperation mounting, one of the men suddenly realized he had a map of the region.

They followed the map and managed to reach a town. When they returned to base and their commanding officer asked how they had made their way back, they replied, "We suddenly found a map." The officer looked at the map and said, "You found a map, all right, but it's not of the Alps, it's of the Pyrenees."

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2 Comments:

Blogger Cognitive Overload said...

Ah, the implicit value of confidence in supporting otherwise-dodgy decision making. I recognise that tune... and have seen people trying to go up mountains to get off them because their confidence in their own navigation has been destroyed...

4:32 pm  
Blogger David Murphy said...

Absolutely - and thus we get to the real sense of Rumsfeld's much (and unfairly) derided known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Thinking you know can sometimes be a help, but is often a hindrance. Knowing that you don't know can be paralysing.

6:03 pm  

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