In many settings people must give numerical scores to entities from a small discrete set. For instance, rating physical attractiveness from 1--5 on dating sites, or papers from 1--10 for conference reviewing. We study the problem of understanding when using a different number of options is optimal. For concreteness we assume the true underlying scores are integers from 1--100. We consider the case when scores are uniform random and Gaussian. We study when using 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 options is optimal in these models. One may expect that using more options would always improve performance in this model, but we show that this is not necessarily the case, and that using fewer choices---even just two---can surprisingly be optimal in certain situations. While in theory for this setting it would be optimal to use all 100 options, in practice this is prohibitive, and it is preferable to utilize a smaller number of options due to humans' limited computational resources. Our results suggest that using a smaller number of options than is typical could be optimal in certain situations. This would have many potential applications, as settings requiring entities to be ranked by humans are ubiquitous.
Wed 24 Jan 2018 14.02 EST Last modified on Wed 24 Jan 2018 14.15 EST The chief executive of Google has declared he is happy for his company to pay more tax, and called for the existing system to be reformed. Sundar Pichai told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the tax system needed to be reformed to address concerns that some companies were not paying their fair share. Speaking before the French president, Emmanuel Macron, challenged tech giants to pay more tax, Pichai said: "As a company we paid, over the last five years, close to 20% in tax. We are happy to pay a higher amount, whatever the world agrees on as the right framework. It's not an issue about the amount of tax we pay, as much as how you divide it among various countries."
THE UK AND FRANCE have teamed up in the name of artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity in a bid to boost future developments in these areas. Ministers from the two county's governments made the decision to join forces on Thursday in hope that the arrangement will foster cross-Channel collaboration between academics, industry and government and thus "help both countries seize the economic and social benefits of fast-developing tech such as AI". The UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary minister, Matt Hancock pioneered the initiative and to get the ball rolling on the deal, met his French counterpart, Françoise Nyssen, at the UK France Summit. It was hosted by the prime minister and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, at Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. Hancock said the two countries will establish "cutting-edge digital conference" as part of the new pact, which will take place later this year and "see our world-leading experts in cybersecurity, digital skills, artificial intelligence, data and digital government share their talent and knowledge". He added: "The UK and France are strengthening ties in technology and innovation. Both countries benefit when our digital economies are strong and the event will deepen our bonds and foster cross-Channel collaboration between those at the forefront of modern technology."
This article was originally published as a TechRepublic cover story. The elegant Hôtel de Ville--the center of politics in Paris for nearly 700 years--has witnessed plenty of fancy receptions. But tonight's event is among the more unusual that the opulent Renaissance city hall has hosted. Above soars a ceiling crammed with gilt decoration and paintings, separated by the words liberté, égalité, fraternité, plus half a dozen blazing chandeliers. The crowd--with as many dressed in hoodies and trainers as there are in suits and ties--are munching on crickets along with more standard canapés. The event is the kickoff for a big tech conference happening in Paris, and the high point of the city's ongoing attempt to attract startups to the French capital. It's the must-have ticket if you're involved in tech in Paris, and it's crammed full. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, tells the crowd that they should think of Paris as a "real, living lab," a place where companies big and small can try out new ideas. As such, the reception is, in microcosm, a vision of what Paris wants to do: take the historic city and remake it, from within, using technology.