But the frugal model
doesnt always work. Doctor Minchin dabbed his brow with his
handkerchief. It was only after the dabbing that he thought to check it.
There are things it can miss. Sometimes you need the
He hadnt meant it to sound
like a protest, but look, here he couldnt stand by and
watch this newcomer trash his work without even the required PowerPoint slides.
Or perhaps even credentials. Minchin had asked round at the reception
Professors Sibony and Susstein and Drebin and the rest. Where had Kahneman come
from? Harvard? Yale? MIT? And not a one of them had been able to answer him.
Pixley had suggested that hed heard tell that there might be the vaguest
whispers of the man having connections somewhere with the government. But that
must all be very hush-hush, if so. The modern repository of so much data, Dr
Google, hadnt been able to reveal anything about the man. Not even so
much as a photograph. Not that anyone would want to take a photograph. To
describe Kahneman as nondescript would be to raise peoples expectations
too far. He just sort of was. Standard torso, standard numbers of limbs,
standard expression on standard face. Like he had been averaged from the
available data. Before being poured into the most average of suits.
Even now, there was nothing in
Kahnemans expression to suggest that it might require anything like your
actual, even common or garden, adjective. Yes, came the precisely
measured voice. And you are, no doubt, Doctor Minchin, going to share
with us the promise of AI, are you not?
He was, damn it. That was
precisely where the presentation was supposed to be heading. If you needed a
properly sophisticated analysis that took account of all the variables, then
you needed some form of AI to wrangle it for you. The sheer number of data
points available now, if you had access if, say, the social media
company had allowed you access meant that the traditional methods, even
the most sophisticated of the traditional methods, wasnt going to produce
results in anything like the time they didnt have available to them.
He wants to win,
doesnt he? Minchin said, with a look towards his colleagues that
wanted them all to acknowledge who they were working for here. And then a look
towards Kahneman that needed him to own up to who he must have been working
for, too. Well, if he does if the party does then hes
going to need AI. And its going to cost.
And there it was, the long and the
short of it. And not even so much as a bullet point down on the PowerPoint.
I see, said the man
with the connections. Although surely not as many connections as they were
talking about here. Didnt he know that Facebook used 98 data points alone
to target ads? If hed have waited until the final bullet point of slide
two, he would have done. And then hed have begun to appreciate that this
was just to target ads. Because what they were talking about went beyond
targeting ads. This was behaviour they were talking about. It could be done,
but they were going to need AI. Slides twenty-eight and twenty-nine would have
made that point. Slide thirty would have reinforced it.
We wont be needing
AI, said the man who had so soundly eluded Dr Google. But was, in no way,
as immune as any of them from manipulation. Surely.
rhubarbed a little around the table. Not enough for any one objection to be
heard. And all of it directed as much at Minchin go on, mate, do your
thing; prove it to him as to the besuited non-entity.
Well, then, were back
to the frugal model, arent we? Minchin said, his confidence boosted
by his peers. And, I tell you, yes, you can get a lot from the power of
simple rules. You can. But they can be so easily upset
Fingers were steepled.
Minchin sighed. If the man
didnt even know that much
Alright. You want to predict
wholl jump bail, right?
Some way distant from what
were attempting to influence here, but Ill go with it, Doctor
Minchin. Carry on.
So, the frugal model says
that two key things will predict it better than almost anything else.
Age and whether theyve
missed court dates before. Yes, yes, yes, Doctor Minchin. Ive read the
same books as you.
Ah! Minchin held up a
finger. Not the one hed have wanted to hold up, but it was a good
feeling, nonetheless. But what if theyve caught a cold, eh? That
might stop them. What if personal circumstances get in the way. What
And this was always the example given in the books. What
if theyve broken a leg?
The nondescript gentleman with the
possible governmental connections chewed on his lip. He toyed with the full
glass of water on the desk in front of him. He tapped the folder hed
brought with him to the meeting but never once opened.
I think Ive proved my
point, Doctor Minchin said.
And then came the shake of the
Not at all, said the
gentleman. You see, we wont be needing the frugal model. And we
wont be needing AI. Not if were to have the level of influence we
need here over the electorate.
No? Really? Then what do we
The gent leaned forward into his
smile. My dear, Dr Minchin, that should be obvious. We make sure they all
have broken legs."