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AI/ML-enabled Systems for Strategy and Judgment and the Future of Human-Computer-Data Interaction Design

For obvious reasons, it is this section of the recent academic paper “Prediction and Judgment: Why Artificial Intelligence Increases the Importance of Humans in War” that was of keen interest to us here at OODA Loop:

“From an economic perspective, modern AI is best understood as a better, faster, and cheaper form of statistical prediction. The overall effect on decision-making, however, is indeterminate. This implies that organizations, military and otherwise, will be able to perform more predictions in the future than they do today, but not necessarily that their performance will improve in all cases.

The Decision-making Process:  Economic decision theory emerged alongside the intellectual tradition of cybernetics. (27) As Herbert Simon observed over sixty years ago, “A real-life decision involves some goals or values, some facts about the environment, and some inferences are drawn from the values and facts. ” (28) We describe these elements as judgment, data, and prediction. Together they produce actions that shape economic or political outcomes. Feedback from actions produces more data, which can be used for more predictions and decisions or to reinterpret judgment. The so-called OODA loop in military doctrine captures the same ideas. (29) Decision cycles govern all kinds of decision tasks, from the trivial  (picking up a pencil) to the profound (mobilizing for war).  The abstract decision model [OODA Loop]  is agnostic about implementation, which means that the logic of decision might be implemented with organic, organizational, or technological components.” (1)

This website (oodaloop.com), for example, is an implementation that uses organic, organizational, and technological components to generate foresight strategy, risk awareness, decision intelligence, signal tracking, sensemaking and to build a community to inform the “logic of decisions”around complex global, security, technological, and societal uncertainties.  The website and the OODA Loop community can then be used to inform a personal and/or organizational OODA Loop (and, as a result, tactical and strategic decision-making processes).

The aforementioned “Prediction and Judgment” paper was written by Avi Goldfarb (the Rotman Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare and Professor of Marketing at the University of Toronto and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research) and Jon R. Lindsay (Associate Professor at the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology).

While there are many insights in the paper for business leaders about how best to think about different types of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) implementations and the risk implicit in AI-enabled systems for strategy, decision-making, and judgment, the paper did spark a debate here at OODA Loop regarding what some saw as the author’s assumption about how the military thinks internally about human capital and how military command and control frameworks will inform the future of AI-enabled strategy.

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.