Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Assisted Migration

Eve Mcdonald-Madden from CSIRO and UQueensland in Australia talked about assisted migration, and in particular how long to spend learning before taking action in the face of climate change.

This work demonstrates the potential pedagogical power of simple models - articulating our beliefs about what is happening to carrying capacity in source and destination areas as a key part of the description.

Another key point Eve brought up is that even when she can construct optimal solutions to high dimensional problems, she can't represent them in a way that any human being can understand. In the social literature on decisionmaking this is known as "bounded rationality" - our limited sensing and cognitive capabilities prevent us from using the best possible solution.

Fred Johnson pointed out that this was a nice example of Ken Williams situation 3 - non-stationary dynamics, even from a simple perspective this model is helpful in framing up the question.

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