Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Select best Action or Plan


We should not select the alternative that at first sight looks best. Often there are undesirable side effects. Often another alternative, even if not as effective immediately, is better in the long run. Naturally, when there is no time, our selection has to be instantaneous, but more often than not, there is time, and we should use it. The best way is to make a selection in writing. Consider the main advantages of each alternative. Write down the same amount of the most important advantages for each alternative (the same amount, so as not to bias one alternative) and give each advantage a value, for instance on a 1 to 10 point scale. Note disadvantages of one alternative as advantages of the other alternatives (In alternative B we do not have the disadvantage of x that exists with high probability in A).

Take into account both short term and long term advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes an alternative, while having important short term advanteges, is not so good in the long run. The outcome of an action is never certain. In important decisions, aside from the most probable outcome, it is a good idea to consider the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome.
Also some decisions are less important that others, beside the money or time involved. Some are reversible. If the result of our response is bad, we can undo, with little effort, what we did. Some are irreversible or only reversible with a mayor effort. With those, our selection of a plan of response has to be very careful.

In a difficult situation it is very important to choose a good response the first time around. If a situation is difficult and we choose a bad response, the situation will get worse. Now it is even more difficult to select a good response. On the other hand, if at first we choose a good response the situation will get better. Now it will be easier to choose the next response.


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Last Edited 15 May 2013 / Walter Fritz
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