Reading the Expert's & AI's Minds (2)


As other researcher and I always explain, the primary purpose of our research on Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) & Macrocognition is to investigate how the expert in any field make a right judgement and decision under the stressful conditions. The words, 'stressful conditions', include the meaning of 'time stress', 'dynamic settings', 'high stakes', 'uncertainty', 'vague goals', 'organizational constrains', etc.

We NDM often researchers observe the expert's performance and conduct cognitive interviews that reveal the mental model and decision-making process. Our other activity is to compare the expert with the novice.

In some cases, I also compare the expert with artificial intelligence (AI). In my first Japanese book, I emphasized the point that, while AI completely depend on analytical thinking, the expert relies on intuitive thinking.

The nature of intuitive thinking is different from that of analytical thinking. Machine Learning and Deep Learning are good examples of analytical thinking. AI divides the decision-making target into several pieces and synthesize the pieces. Contrary to this, we NDM researchers already know that intuitive thinking lies in pattern matching and imagination. This intuitive thinking is special and unique to human expert. Presently, AI cannot simulate human-like intuitive thinking.

However, my recent studies show that the expert's thinking process is much more complicated than intuitive thinking. Again, it's true intuitive thinking is unique to the expert, but the expert employs analytical and logical thinking as well as intuitive thinking when he/she has to make a judgment and decision.

For instance, well-experienced acupuncture doctors of the Hokushinkai treat difficult diseases that even physicians (western medical doctors) cannot deal with. Amazingly, the Hokushinkai acupuncturists usually use only one needle (but in a few cases they use two to three needles). Then, they can alleviate the diseases.

The acupuncturists told me that the essence of the Hokushinkai-style acupuncture is intuition and logic. They intuitively grasp the medical condition of the patients. Simultaneously, they process the information from the patients logically and analytically. Such harmony and intuition and logical-analytical thinking enables them find out the best acupuncture point.

The story of the Hokushinkai acupuncture is just one example. Indeed, the expert's thought process is far more complicated than we think.

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