Crude Linear Models Almost Always Outperform Human Judgment

Fascinating article – from 1979 – on how even a crudely-constructed linear model is almost always superior to human expert judgment on classification tasks:

Robyn M. Dawes, “The Robust Beauty of Improper Linear Models in Decision Making”

Is there still any role for people in decisionmaking?

But people are important. The statistical model may integrate the information in an optimal manner, but it is always the individual (judge, clinician, subjects) who chooses variables. Moreover, it is the human judge who knows the directional relationship between the predictor variables and the criterion of interest, or who can code the variables in such a way that they have clear directional relationships.

Now consider how good machine learning and AI algorithms have become at these parts of the task! Soon it might become optimal to delegate the whole process to machines.

Terraform Tips

Terraform is a wonderful declarative system for setting up cloud resources – sort of a vendor-neutral AWS CloudFormation with nicer syntax.

See for a gold mine of Terraform information.

I’m writing this because I just experienced the “joy” of losing my Terraform state file for the first time, which means I need to go and delete 53 AWS resources by hand!