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Old 08-19-2019, 07:27 PM
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Please do my homework for me!


Ok, provocative thread title . Also possibly "Please let me experiment on you"...

The actual situation:

I may have mentioned at some point that right now I'm enrolled as a student in IT, and this year I have a research project to complete. The particular project I'm involved in concerns explanation systems in AI, and there's an emphasis on making sure that the way explanations are generated actually matches the way people themselves generate and expect explanations.

I have a couple of short example situations here https://drive.google.com/file/d/12Oo...ew?usp=sharing (I hope that link works). It would be very helpful to me if I could get a medium cross-section of people to tell me what they think the best answers to the four questions/two situations are (there are no right or wrongs - it's what would satisfy you as an explanation of the situation). Then I would know, in designing my real experiment, whether particular hypotheses are true or at least likely to lead to interesting results.

Thanks in advance for helping me out! It would also help if anyone who answers the questions adds in their rough age range and whether you consider yourself very techy/geeky, not very, or somewhere in between.

I'll come back later and explain what the hypotheses under consideration were

For Science!
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Old 08-19-2019, 08:15 PM
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1.a. Bob is tall and personable.
1.b. Ed does not interview well. His clothes are dissheveled, his hair is unkempt, he talks about himself all the time.
2.a. Ritzy location, renter does not like to garden.
2.b. Unit is poorly maintained.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:29 PM
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1a. ACME needed somebody who knows PCP. Bob was the only applicant who knows that.

1b. ACME does not need somebody who knows Ruby.

2a. It was the only location on Carlton. Or did not want a location on Fitzroy.

2b. It has three bedrooms. That seems strange but it's the only characteristic that separated the rented properties from the unrented ones. If somebody gave me this explanation, I would ask for an explanation why an extra bedroom was not a desired feature.

I'm 57 and I do not consider myself to be tech savvy.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:45 PM
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1a. JavaScript and SQL (and at least two other languages) were desired skills.

1b. see (1a)
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:48 PM
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2a. It's was near trains and in Carlton (which is closer to the cbd)
2b. It was in Fitzroy.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:14 PM
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1a. Bob had experience in the most relevant/needed languages. Java and PHP were more weighted than CSS and Ruby.
1b. Ed didn't have experience in the most relevant languages. Java and PHO were more weighted than CSS and Ruby.

2a. Carlton is a highly desirable location for under 400.
2b. Renters on Fitzroy prefer houses

ETA 40 yo, techy/geeky person

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 08-19-2019 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:33 PM
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1a. It's important to know Javascript and SQL.
1b. Ed doesn't know Javascript.

2a. Carlton's a very desirable location.
2b. Nobody wants more than 2 bedrooms in a unit.

Mid-50's, quite techy/geeky. Do not, however, know SQL.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:56 PM
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1a: ACME evaluated candidates based only on programming language knowledge. It gave the most weight to JavaScript, and some weight to SQL. Bob met both criteria.
1b: ACME evaluated candidates based only on programming language knowledge. It gave the most weight to JavaScript, and some weight to SQL. Ed didn't know JavaScript.

2a: The given criteria are insufficient to explain number 2's successful rental. There were probably other factors involved.
2b: The given criteria are insufficient to explain why number 5 was not rented. There were probably other factors involved.

Age 51, computer programmer with some peripheral / second-hand knowledge of modern AI.

Last edited by Heracles; 08-19-2019 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
1a. ACME needed somebody who knows PCP. Bob was the only applicant who knows that.
(bolding mine) I think you know Bob better than we do!
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:09 PM
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1a: ACME was looking for people competent in Javascript and SQL, which Bob was.

1b: Ed was not hired because he was not competent in SQL.

2a: Location. Someone wanted to rent in Carlton.

2b: There’s not much market for rental units in Fitzroy.
(The rental facts could also be explained by unknown factors, such as decor and neighbors.)

I’m in my 60s and am medium tech-saavy, but don’t have any college-level STEM training.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:33 PM
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I didn't read anyone else's replies. I'm also...apparently....wordy.

1a. Aya and Bob together cover all the requirements needed for a dynamic website. Bob specifically for the PHP and Aya specifically for the Java and CSS. She's the frontend developer and he's the backend developer. Perfect team.
1b. That Ed knows Ruby isn't needed for websites, and his knowledge of SQL and CSS individually aren't very useful for website development as the two skillsets don't intermingle for a front end or a back end developer. It makes him only half-as-good in both areas. He's not a good fit.

2a. Carlton must be a nice area for young professionals without children. This lines up with not caring about a garden, being able to afford the higher rent, not needing the extra bedroom, and the importance of train access.
2b. Something must be wrong with this place, because otherwise on paper it has all the amenities people could want. Since it and the house are both in Fitzroy, but someone rented the house even though it's more expensive for less bedrooms, I can only assume #5 is a shithole of a place.

I'm in the 25-35 range, with web dev knowledge and general computer troubleshooting ability. So, compared to the average person who can't make their own website, very techy I suppose.

Last edited by Macca26; 08-19-2019 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:25 AM
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1a and 1b need to be answered together. Bob and Ed have as many languages; each of them knows one language that Aya (the person with most languages) does not. So why Bob over Ed? Assuming that the response is in the data we've been given (), then it's because the non-Aya language that Bob has and Ed doesn't (PHP) is considered to be more necessary to the company than the one Ed does and Bob doesn't (Ruby).


2a. Location, it's the only one in Carlton.

3b. It appears to be comparable to 4 and 6, neither of which were rented either. The main difference between all three and the place in their location which did get rented is that the rented place is a house with 2 bedrooms, whereas the unrented units are apartments with 3 bedrooms: so, whomever rented 1 preferred a house and did not need 3 bedrooms.



I'm 51; degree in ChemE, have won impromptu "who's the nerdiest person in the team" competitions at work (my MSc in Quantum Chemistry beats up STEM degrees below PhD), work in Business IT. Parts of my job involve: figuring out how the process really works (which is often not how the people doing it think it works), how it should work with the new program we're installing, explaining this to the users, and explaining "this thing the users need to have and we need you to program" to our programmers. To non-techies I'm a techie, to programmers I'm definitely not.

I'm also from Spain, which may seem like a silly data point but there are a lot of things we explain differently, from how we give directions (the fact that Google Maps insists in giving "compass-based directions" is actually considered a minus) to how we write cooking recipes.

Last edited by Nava; 08-20-2019 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:07 AM
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Using my insider knowledge again, Melbourne renters (to the best of my knowledge) don't ever think "gee I'd hate having that extra bedroom, so no I won't take it". Although the data fits that theory, I couldn't, in good conscience, suggest it.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:33 AM
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Hi, my name around here is Nava and I do avoid renting 3Bs and 4Bs if a 2B is available and within my price range (other amenities also to be considered and very often not listed in For Rent ads; for example I prefer electric hobs to gas). My own home has 2Bs; the 3B units in the same building have the same total area and those 3 "bedrooms" give me claustrophobia. The two smaller ones wouldn't be legal bedrooms under current building codes. Note that I didn't say "the renters were not interested in 3B at all", I started with "preferred houses". If they had preferred houses but needed 3Bs, they would have had to shove their preference and take an apartment (there's no 3B houses available).

Last edited by Nava; 08-20-2019 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Hi, my name around here is Nava and I do avoid renting 3Bs and 4Bs if a 2B is available and within my price range (other amenities also to be considered and very often not listed in For Rent ads; for example I prefer electric hobs to gas). My own home has 2Bs; the 3B units in the same building have the same total area and those 3 "bedrooms" give me claustrophobia. The two smaller ones wouldn't be legal bedrooms under current building codes. Note that I didn't say "the renters were not interested in 3B at all", I started with "preferred houses". If they had preferred houses but needed 3Bs, they would have had to shove their preference and take an apartment (there's no 3B houses available).
Yep, You make many valid points and the devil is in the details, which we don't have.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:36 AM
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1 a) Bob is competent in JavaScript and SQL
1 b) Ed is not competent in Javascript

2 a) its in a desirable location
2 b) because it isn't a house

Mid-thirties, techy /geeky
  #17  
Old 08-20-2019, 09:51 AM
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1a & b. Although six languages are listed, the only languages that both hires have is JavaScript and SQL, so these must be the highest priority. Also the two candidates who were hired are the only ones who have both. This is why Bob was hired and Ed was not. And if they are hiring based solely on specific language competency they are making a mistake.

2a. Carlton must be an especially desirable location.

2b. #5 looks bigger than #1, although it's a "unit" (whatever that is) instead of a house. The low rent suggests it must also be commensurately undesirable (poor condition or some other problem), but still not low enough to compensate so it goes unrented.

I am 62 and an exec at an IT contractor with a background as a software developer, so pretty tech savvy.
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Last edited by CookingWithGas; 08-20-2019 at 09:53 AM.
  #18  
Old 08-20-2019, 11:02 AM
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1) a. Bob had PHP when nobody else did.

1) b. Ed's skills were covered by others, and the Ruby language wasn't that important.

2) a. Carlton is a more desirable location than Fitzroy.

2) b. Units on Fitzroy are not desirable for rent.


ETA: I'm between 40-50 years old and am somewhat techy, but not a programmer.

Last edited by Cheesesteak; 08-20-2019 at 11:03 AM.
  #19  
Old 08-20-2019, 11:43 AM
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Bob has both Javascript and SQL
Ed does not have Javascript

Carlton is a more desirable location
Units are less desirable than houses

mid fifties, quite geeky.

Last edited by ticker; 08-20-2019 at 11:44 AM. Reason: forgot to include age and geekiness
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:55 AM
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1, both questions: Might have to do with which languages the employer's actually using, or actually using most often. Might have something to do with factors not explained in the question, of which there are many.

2a: most likely because it's the only one on/in Carlton and the renter wanted to be there; although there's not really enough information to be sure.

2b: 3 other places also weren't rented. #6 has no item not also shared with at least one of the other 3. No way to tell whether the problem with #6 is something it had in common with #'s 3 through 5, or whether there was something wrong with the particular place. Maybe houses are desired more than apartments by at least one of the renters, and Carlton is desired more than Fitzroy by at least one additional one of the renters, and there were only two renters looking for places. Maybe there's something specific wrong with #6; we're not told anything about the condition of the places. Maybe the upstairs neighbor was practicing bass on high volume when the place was shown, and while #2 has a similar problem the noisemaker wasn't there when the renter looked at the place. There really isn't enough information at all.

Upper 60's, not at all techy.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:53 PM
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Thank you so much for your answers - this is all very helpful! Especially the fact that people are choosing different things for different reasons

I'm going to explain some of the reasoning behind the questions, but in a spoiler box so that anyone else who feels moved to answer can do it without seeing the man behind the curtain

SPOILER:

1) One of the factors I'm interested in is local versus global explanations - an explanation that works for your own personal situation versus one that has wide coverage. In Bob's case the simplest 'local' explanation is that he knows PHP and nobody else does - in general it looks like most people aren't finding themselves satisfied with just saying that - they want to bring in factors that are good for both hirees. Many people aren't thinking of PHP as a factor, presumably because it doesn't work for Aya. This is interesting stuff, and goes against some theory in some papers I may be citing

2) The smallest necessary-and-sufficient (characteristic of all the people who are hired, not characteristic of any people not hired) explanation in the programming case is "Doesn't know Ruby". I was expecting people to completely discount this because of prior knowledge of the world - nobody's going to bomb out of an interview because of unneccessary knowledge they do have. So I was interested to see a couple of people tangentially mention it. The next-smallest is "Javascript+SQL" which was - as expected - highly popular

3) I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but the rental table is the same data as the programmers' table, relabelled and with the columns shifted about. There are two big differences between the situations. In the programmer case, we know which is the 'good' value and which the 'bad' - in the rental case it's more on personal preference. And in the programmer case, the decisions for "success" are all being made by one institution, whereas for rentals it's different people with different possible criteria. I must confess I was only thinking about the first of these differences when I made up the table but I think it may be the second which is responsible for the fact that large numbers of people zeroed in on location (the 'local' explanation) as the reason for #2's success (though it could also be that location is higher up on our personal ordering of 'reasons why people choose dwelling places' - it was a lot harder to balance that factor in the second table than the first). The equivalent to the first table's "Javascript+SQL" was "expensive and near trains" - that was a very unpopular explanation. The equivalent of "no Ruby" in the first was "2br" in the second, and people do seem to be more likely to consider this - some in an "it seems real weird but..." kind of way
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:09 PM
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Sorry I'm late (I didn't look at spoilers!)

1 a) They want JavaScript and SQL
b) They want JavaScript and SQL

2 a) It's in Carlton
b) It's a unit in Fitzroy

I'm 66 and extremely geeky.
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:16 PM
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My answers:

1a) They needed people competent in Javascript and SQL.
1b) They needed people competent in Javascript and SQL.

2a) The resident wanted to live in Carlton.
2b) The resident that wanted to live in Fitzroy wanted to live in a house.

In looking at the second table I out-of-hand rejected the idea that anybody would prefer a more expensive place or a smaller place on those 'merits', due to duh, and presumed that location was always going to be of paramount importance, because duh. Making the (unwarranted) presumption that the data in the table was relevant to the problem, that left House/Unit as the only difference between 1 and 5, so house it was.

Context of data matters!

ETA: Oh, and I'm 43 and a computer programmer.

Last edited by begbert2; 08-20-2019 at 05:17 PM.
  #24  
Old 08-20-2019, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
I'm going to explain some of the reasoning behind the questions, but in a spoiler box so that anyone else who feels moved to answer can do it without seeing the man behind the curtain
SPOILER:
I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but the rental table is the same data as the programmers' table, relabelled and with the columns shifted about. There are two big differences between the situations. In the programmer case, we know which is the 'good' value and which the 'bad' - in the rental case it's more on personal preference.


I'm not sure I agree.

SPOILER:
I feel that while you have mapped out the lists in the same places, there two lists are not equivalent. For example, the location of a rental unit (Carlton or Fitzroy) can be a positive or a negative. People might avoid the Fitzroy neighborhood because it's a high crime area. There's no equivalent negative value in knowing computer languages. Somebody might get hired because they know Java and SQL. But they wouldn't get turned down for the job if they know Java, SQL, and Python. Knowing that additional language may not have helped but it wouldn't have hurt.

There's a similar issue with the bedrooms. Any rental unit with three bedrooms is also a rental unit with two bedrooms just as any rental unit with two bedrooms is also a rental unit with one bedroom. Again, this is not the same as programming languages, where knowing one language does not include knowledge of a different language as a subset.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 08-20-2019 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:06 AM
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Maybe I should also use spoilers, but in general expanding on what Little Nemo said:

SPOILER:
Everything in the apartment descriptions, except probably the amount of rent, has the same problem: it's either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the particular renter. "Close to trains" is an advantage to somebody who wants to take the train frequently, but not to anyone who doesn't; it's a disadvantage to somebody who likes quiet. Some people prefer smaller places, which are easier to clean -- or, as Nava said, fewer but larger rooms. It's very likely that some people prefer Fitzroy to Carlton, and others prefer Carlton to Fitzroy -- even if one neighborhood is generally considered "better" than the other, which is information that we aren't given, someone might prefer the "worse" neighborhood because they want to live close to someone else who lives there, or because they work on the same block, or because they feel more comfortable with its particular mix of people, or because it allows easy access to some particular amenity most people don't care about but they do. Some people prefer gardens, others don't, because gardens take time and care. Some people prefer apartments because they require less care, others prefer houses because they're more private.

Even the rent could go both ways, because some people see status value in having more expensive things.

I can't think of any disadvantage of knowing an additional computer language that the employer doesn't use; at least, unless the employer thinks that knowing it will affect the employee's frame of mind in a fashion the employer doesn't want, but if the employee's competent in the languages desired that doesn't seem very likely.
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:46 AM
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Spoiler on the spoilers:

SPOILER:
"We know which is the good values and which is the bad" if we know Ruby as anything other than a shiny crystal thingee one puts on rings and if we know what each of those languages is used for. I wouldn't be able to tell PHP from PAP, so that's knowledge that I can't take into account.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:08 AM
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My understanding of this thread was: What would be a human-acceptable way to justify these decisions, that a well-tuned A.I. could come up with?

SPOILER:

For the employment question, if an A.I. gave an answer such as "Bob was hired because he knows PHP" to an average person, and they could see the raw data, they would say it's incompetent.

For the rental question, any answer claiming to find a clear pattern based on that table would earn the "incompetent" label.

Of course, in reality, for an A.I. to be well-tuned, you need much larger data sets for the training. If we're supposing that the A.I. was trained on a larger data set and then writes a justification for the small subset we're shown in the tables, then an answer would be more acceptable if it included a phrase such as "based on analysis of 300 recent candidates at ACME", etc. That adds credibility, like a white lab coat.

Also, something that's been glossed over so far: in the employment situation, we're explicitly told that ACME bases its decision on knowledge of programming languages. For the rental situation, there's no such hint (and indeed, in real life, there wouldn't be).

Last edited by Heracles; 08-22-2019 at 05:12 AM.
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