Classification in the Wild
The Science and Art of Transparent Decision Making
Rules for building formal models that use fast-and-frugal heuristics, extending the psychological study of classification to the real world of uncertainty.
This book focuses on classification—allocating objects into categories—“in the wild,” in real-world situations and far from the certainty of the lab. In the wild, unlike in typical psychological experiments, the future is not knowable and uncertainty cannot be meaningfully reduced to probability. Connecting the science of heuristics with machine learning, the book shows how to create formal models using classification rules that are simple, fast, and transparent and that can be as accurate as mathematically sophisticated algorithms developed for machine learning.
The authors—whose individual expertise ranges from empirical psychology to mathematical modeling to artificial intelligence and data science—offer real-world examples, including voting, HIV screening, and magistrate decision making; present an accessible guide to inducing the models statistically; compare the performance of such models to machine learning algorithms when applied to problems that include predicting diabetes or bank failure; and discuss conceptual and historical connections to cognitive psychology. Finally, they analyze such challenging safety-related applications as decreasing civilian casualties in checkpoints and regulating investment banks.
Is the book engaging and interesting for scientists and practitioners? If no—then don't buy; if yes, then continue. I think yes, so continue. Does the book provide clear and simple guidelines for building classifiers that work in the wild? If no—then don't buy; if yes, then continue. I think yes, so continue. Does the book provide tools for analyzing and comparing performance of simple heuristic versus complex machine classifiers? If no—then don't buy; if yes, then buy. I think yes, so I recommend buy.”
Jerome Busemeyer, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University Bloomington
“Practical decision making, in conditions of intrinsic uncertainty, is something every one of us has wrestled with in our jobs and in our everyday lives. This marvelous book by prominent academics drawn from across disciplines, applying their heuristic approaches to a wide range of decision environments, is a timely and thought-provoking step forward in our thinking and practices on this key issue.”
Andy Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England