There's something about soccer that best captures the spirit of HD television. But I have to tell you that a lot of sports is looking really good this season. I've been watching and recording the HD broadcasts on Universal HD and they are spectacular. Until I speed them up, and then I realize I don't know what I'm watching.
For a moment this morning I had an insight about machine intelligence from the Culture. I was fast forwarding through a bunch of commercials and then through some of the soccer game, and I realized that I was catching a bit more information on HD than I used to on the standard definition Tivo I used to own. But I was surely at the limits of human comprehensibility - there was no way possible for me to make sense of the soccer game itself. I could only recognize that it was a soccer game and nothing more, even though it was not literally a blur - several images were clear as stills - I couldn't process it with my organic brain as fast as the DVR could play it.
Suddenly I remembered a conversation between ships from 'The Excession' in which they had decided to take some action after a discussion that went for several pages in the book. But one of the ships suggested that before they do, that they ask their passengers what they thought, after all things had changed. One ship objected saying that it had polled the passengers 2 minutes ago and they had assented to go. The other said, well you know how long it takes them to decide things. You have to give them time to think.
A comic routine I heard on XM 150 the other day made a running joke about the common excuse 'It seemed like a good idea at the time'. It is the ultimate excuse. There are a lot of reasons that our human psychology makes the decisions it does, we are subject to certain inevitable biases, not the least of which is that we often make patterns that don't exist. We make errors in cognition due to a lack of time or focus or based on irrelevant data that somehow seems relevant at the time. For example, this very blog piece started off as something about the Olympics, but it is actually more interesting (now) as a thought piece on human vs machine cognition.
Being in the BI community, it is my job to see how machines can help humans make better decisions. The better I understand the business, the better I can tailor the system I'm building to assist the a limited scope of decisions to be made by the audience. When I described my gig to Unk last week, I got down to a specific job that I'm doing for a specific customer. It turned out that he had a similar issue during his days shuffling budgets as an administrator - and so he actually repeated that case back to me flawlessly.
There are lots of reasons we decide poorly, but when we are under time pressure, I think that is the reason we make the most mistakes. I'd make a final observation which is that some folks decide forcefully but then are amended quickly. That tends to be my decision making style - to set up a framework in which a good number of choices can be taken (in a fast OODA loop context) and harness as many observers in the process as possible. The quick decision coupled with authoritarian style can be very effective within organizations, but also dead wrong. In a proper framework, quickly wrong, might not be so bad.
Speed is key.