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New decision-making

Information technologies have been changing rapidly and thus creating opportunities for new decision-making technologies to emerge. The challenging for decision makers is to decide to what extent these IT should be incorporated into the process of decision-makings, and how to effectively use them. This paper addressed the impacts of IT in decision elements and decision environment. In decision elements, the current advances on IT have resulted in clearer and more complete criteria and alternatives, as well as preference structure of decision makers.

And in decision environment, IT may shorten the duration of stages in the decision process. Moreover, IT may even change the stages of decision process. This paper also discussed the influences of IT in three categories of decision problems: routine, fuzzy and challenging problems. Many routine problems can now be easily done by using IT. Using the decomposition principle, we may decompose the complex and fuzzy problems into a number of sub-problems, which are routine and solvable by current IT.

As to challenging problems, to be successful, one must be able to expand the habitual domains involved. No matter what ways of expansion of competence set the decision makers use, the needed competence set for solving the challenging problems may be clarified by IT. Though IT can clarify what the needed competence set are, and may speed up the process of expansion of competence set, IT at the same time may increase the complexity of decision problems.

To be a successful decision maker in this rapidly changing world, we must have two sharp eyes. One eye focuses on the change of the external events or environment, which together form a habitual domain. We must be able to keep up with the change of IT. The other eye focuses on the internal development of the competence set and the habitual domain. We must be able to develop our inner strength as to be able to cope with changes. Being a master of the changes is far better than being its slave.

Computers have considerable potential for enhancing psychological judgments and decisions. Given the exponential growth of computers in their use in assessment and decision making over the past 40 years, along with their near-universal availability to practitioners and their increase in speed and capacity for data processing, forecasts of their growing importance for psychological assessment in the future seem a safe prediction.

Whether or not there is “anything wrong with that” depends on whether methodologies for developing and validating CBTIs and mechanical-prediction models, as well as researchers’ commitment to adopting these methodologies and clinicians’ commitment to implementing their outcomes, grow at a commensurate rate.

Regarding this latter contingency, evidence of trends over the recent past is not uniformly encouraging, as reflected in some of the more negative sentiments expressed in several of the articles comprising this Special Section. For example, methodological limitations of CBTI validation efforts noted and others nearly 15 years ago have gone virtually unheeded, as have entreaties for more consistent efforts to validate the burgeoning number of computer-based assessment products now commercially available.

Similarly, there is little evidence that, relative to clinical practice 40 years ago, clinicians today have greater recognition of limitations in their own subjective judgments, make more extensive use of well-developed mechanical-prediction methods, or possess any greater sophistication in evaluating which computer-based aids (CBTIs or other decision-making algorithms) warrant their consideration.

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