Now famous themes… the early days. From a student of Herbert Simon

Pointer from: Machine Dreams by Mirowski
Place digested: Dining Table
Time digested: Oct 25, 2018



What Hath Simon Wrought? By Edward Feigenbaum, Stanford University


BTRC: Behavioral Theory of Rational Choice
RCSE: Rational Choice and the Structure of the Environment

In BTRC, Simon proposes a model of the decision maker characterized by limited information processing an information gathering capabilities, who therefore must be satisfied with decisions less than optimal; who uses strategies and tactics of thought (what later we would call heuristic processes) to achieve behaviors that are "good enough" in spite of the limitations on processing power.

RSCE is Simon’s first statement of the now-famous theme that the observed complexity of behavior arises not from the complexity of the goal seeking and problem solving mechanism but from the response of an essentially simple mechanism to the complexities of the task environment.

Unfortunately, in a young science, the culture is not always passed along systematically, so even today waves of new scientists waste the early parts of their careers designing ever-more-elaborate "reasoning engines" "planners" etc, ignoring complex task environments and the analysis and representation of their complexity.