Why is a person kept in the decision cycle?

by Daniel J. Power
Editor, DSSResources.COM

Decision making using data and algorithms has inherent limitations. Decision automation and decision management approaches are designed and built by people. Keeping a knowledgeable, skilled and trained person as part of the decision making process can mitigate and reduce the harmful consequences from an automated decision system. A person may spot anomalous or incongruous inputs or results. A person may identify changes in a situation that make assumptions less relevant or even incorrect. A "smart" knowledgeable person benefits from a data-driven analysis, but continues to execute independent judgment. People can bring intuition and a broad understanding to a complex decision situation. The "best" human decision makers can act intentionally. In some situations, a human decision makers may even act intentionally to confuse or perhaps to respond randomly.

A human decision maker can simplify complex goal hierarchies while simultaneously projecting secondary and tertiary consequences and identifying nuanced consequences that are ambiguous or indefinite. People are kept in a decision support loop to adapt and react to a changing situation. Also, a person can bring a moral and ethical perspective to decision making that can not be captured in quantitative or machine learning models. A human decision maker can recognize and accept the responsibility that is inherent in making a choice. A person can hold conflicting ideas and resolve the choice dilemma in his/her thinking framework and resolve the situation.

No person is infallible. No Artificial Intelligence (AI) exists that is infallible. AI has some capabilities that people do not have like quickly processing vast amounts of real-time data. We should use algorithms and AI when appropriate, but a person or persons must be able to "pull the plug". We humans make mistakes and we can recognize our own mistakes and those of others. We can learn. We can improve our skills and we can adapt. We experience the consequences of decisions.

Last update: 2018-02-04 06:42
Author: Daniel Power

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