Monday, January 25, 2010

Think Different article

The problem isn't usually - or at least isn't only - too little information, but too much, most of it ambiguous, contradictory, or misleading.

If there are flaws in the way that we think, then gathering more and more information isn't a solution. What our intelligence system really needs is ways to avoid becoming trapped by the natural tendency to leap to conclusions and stick with them.

  • They [Organizations] can systematically solicit the views of people with different perspectives, for example, or use devil's advocates who will challenge established views.
  • To compensate for the tendency to rely on implicit understandings, intelligence analysts can be pushed to fully explain their reasoning, allowing others if not themselves to probe the assumptions that often play a large and unacknowledged role in their conclusions.
  • To better recognize the significance of absences, analysts can learn to think explicitly about what evidence should be appearing if their beliefs are correct.
  • Analysts can also be trained to consider, explicitly, what evidence could lead them to change their minds - not only alerting themselves to the possibility that the necessary information might be missing, but also providing an avenue for others to find evidence that might overturn established views.

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