First thoughts on Abundance: The future is better than you think

Book by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Today I stated reading “Abundance: The future is better than you think”. It has been on my reading list for awhile.  As I read through this book, I will post some of my thoughts and take a ways. As I began reading about the possibilities of a planet where there is an abundance of resources for everyone, it was the mental hurdles we face that struck me. It seems that the same things that hold us back on believing in an abundant society are the same hurdles we face daily when dealing with all kinds of situations.

Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts, time saving, energy saving rules of thumb that allow us to simplify the decision making process. In social psychology these show up when we assign probabilities like evaluating the possibility that a suspect is armed. The first thing the brain does is check it’s database for known situations and examples. The ease of access of this information is known as the availability heuristic and leads to increased perception of the probability.

Heuristics are an essential tool in decision making when we have limited information, limited time to respond and limited mental resources available. Although on average this process of decision making can be very effective, there are times when it can lead to severe errors in judgment. There are a number of cognitive biases that can impact our decisions. Among the most powerful is the conformation bias. This is the bias where we unconsciously search out information that tends to confirm or support what we already think or believe. Then there are biases like anchoring, where we tend to focus too much on one piece of information.

These biases and others work in tandem to affect our decisions and thoughts. When combined with our tendencies to be local optimists and global pessimists this can lead to even bigger problems. This means we tend to seriously overestimate our abilities and significantly under estimate the world at large.

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