Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The paradox of choice: Why more is less

I recently finished reading this book from Barry Schwartz, where he argues against one of the most central "axioms" of western civilization, that is, the "freedom" and happiness offered by the plethora of choices. He cites research in psychology and makes arguments that support the opinion that, contrary to the well-established beliefs, the plethora of choices has made us more inactive and less happy. The abundance of choices make it virtually impossible to identify the optimal "product" we are looking for and this will cause delayed actions and even less satisfaction with a "good-enough" alternative. What if we went to one more store? What if we had picked the alternative retirement plan? For Schwartz, key elements for happiness are the low expectations and being a satisficer rather than a maximizer in our choices. It is definitely an intriguing read and you can also watch the TED talk for this book where he summarizes many of the main points made.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Computational Social Science: Current state and challenges going forward

This interesting article from Duncan Watts captures the advancements of computational social science and its current pitfalls in a nice and compact yet comprehensive way.  I think it is a very good read for everyone that does research (or is just interested) in this field.