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Decision Making, Chaos, and Determinism

Gerald Thomas
Organization: Milwaukee School of Engineering

Wolfram Technology Conference 2013
Conference location

Champaign, Illinois, USA

The talk is an inquiry into decision making and its connection to uncertainty and chaos. It explores the idea that decision making is one of the most human acts and seems to be the most difficult area to formalize into a trustworthy theory of behaviors that is causal and deterministic. In fact one might think that the very nature of decision making is one of chance and uncertainty. One issue we think relevant is the general lack of understanding of causal theories and how they deal with uncertainty. Even in physical theories there are always issues of uncertainty that have to be dealt with. Moreover, in our view, there is insufficient appreciation of the sensitivity of the initial conditions that determine future behaviors. When these issues are taken into account, it becomes easier to see the possibility for causal formal theories of human decision making. We use Mathematica to examine these issues: we compare chaotic behaviors in the "driven" pendulum to behaviors in decision process theory. In both cases it is the non-linear character of each that stimulates the chaotic behavior.

*Wolfram Technology

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