Sunday, July 5, 2015

Algorithm Links

1. Can Algorithms Hire Better? (nytimes)

The No Argument

“I look for passion and hustle, and there’s no data algorithm that could ever get to the bottom of that,” said Amish Shah, founder and chief executive of Millennium Search, an executive search firm for the tech industry. “It’s an intuition, gut feel, chemistry.” He compared it to first meeting his wife.
The Yes Argument
“Similarity between the interviewer and interviewee — they’re from the same region, went to the same school, wore the same shirt, ordered the same tea — is hugely influential, even though it’s not predictive of how they perform down the road,” said Cade Massey, who studies behavior and judgment at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

2. Can Algorithms Provide Better Financial Advice? (The Economist)
The platforms work by asking customers a few questions about who they are and what they are saving for. Applying textbook techniques for building up a balanced portfolio—more stable bonds for someone about to retire, more volatile equities for a younger investor, and so on—the algorithm suggests a mix of assets to invest in. Nearly all plump for around a dozen index funds which cheaply track major bond or stock indices such as the S&P500. They keep clear of mutual funds, let alone individual company shares.
3. Can Algorithms be Great Investors?

If you've heard of Jim Simons or Ray Dalio, you already know that rule-based investing can produce out-performance over prolonged periods of time.

4. Can Algorithms Replace (Some) Doctors? (techcrunch, EconTalk)
Let’s start with healthcare (or sickcare, as many knowledgeable people call it). Think about what happens when you visit a doctor. You have to physically go to the hospital or some office, where you wait (with no real predictability for how long), and then the nurse probably takes you in and checks your vitals. Only after all this does the doctor show up and, after some friendly banter, asks you to describe your own symptoms. The doctor assesses them and hunts around (probably in your throat or lungs) for clues as to their source, provides the diagnosis, writes a prescription, and sends you off. 
The entire encounter should take no more than 15 minutes and usually takes probably less than that. Sometimes a test or two may be ordered, if you can afford it. And, as we all know, most of the time, it turns out to be some routine diagnosis with a standard treatment . . . something a computer algorithm could do if the treatment involved no harm, or at least do as well as the median doctor.

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