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More information may sometimes lead to worse decisions

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New York, Information overload may not always be a good thing. Researchers have found that in certain circumstances, having more background information may actually lead people to take worse decisions.

The study, published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, may help reframe the idea of how we use the mountain of data extracted from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms and how healthcare professionals and financial advisors present this new information to their patients and clients.

“Being accurate is not enough for information to be useful,” said Samantha Kleinberg, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, US.

“It’s assumed that AI and Machine Learning will uncover great information, we’ll give it to people and they’ll make good decisions. However, the basic point of the paper is that there is a step missing: we need to help people build upon what they already know and understand how they will use the new information,” Kleinberg added.

For example, when doctors communicate information to patients, such as recommending blood pressure medication or explaining risk factors for diabetes, people may be thinking about the cost of medication or alternative ways to reach the same goal.

“So, if you don’t understand all these other beliefs, it’s really hard to treat them in an effective way,” said Kleinberg.

For the study, the researchers asked 4,000 participants a series of questions about topics with which they would have varying degrees of familiarity.

Some participants were asked to make decisions on scenarios they could not possibly be familiar with. Other participants were asked about more familiar topics i.e. choosing how to reduce risk in a retirement portfolio or deciding between specific meals and activities to manage bodyweight.

The team compared whether people did better or worse with new information or were just using what they already knew.

The researchers found that prior knowledge got in the way of choosing the best outcome. Kleinberg found the same to be true when she posed a problem about health and exercise, as it relates to diabetes.

When people without diabetes read the problem, they treated the new information at face value, believed it and used it successfully. People with diabetes, however, started second-guessing what they knew and as in the previous example, did much worse.

“In situations where people do not have background knowledge, they become more confident with the new information and make better decisions,” said Kleinberg.

“So there’s a big difference in how we interpret the information we are given and how it affects our decision making when it relates to things we already know vs. when it’s in a new or unfamiliar setting,” she added.

Kleinberg cautioned that the point of the paper is not that information is bad. She argued only that in order to help people make better decisions, it is important to better understand what people already know and tailor information based on that mental model.

Started in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the oldest technological institutes in the US.

Analysis

45% of Indians do not back up their data, files: Survey

The survey was conducted among 728 Avast and AVG users between February 20-March 25.

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Data Privacy

New Delhi, March 30 : Nearly half of Indians do not back up because they think their data or files are not important enough and most of those who back up their data, do it once a month, a survey said on Monday.

Other reasons cited by the respondents for not backing up their data included not knowing how to do it, not having time and forgetting about it, according to the survey by cybersecurity company Avast.

“It could be that many aren’t aware they are backing up, as it could be happening automatically, in the background, however, others really might not be backing up at all, thinking it is not worth it,” Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast, said in a statement.

“Losing personal documents, photos and videos can be a painful experience and it’s not until this happens that they realize how valuable it actually is,” Corrons added.

Of those who do back up their data, nearly 42 per cent Indians back up to a cloud storage, 36 42 per cent back up their data to an external hard drive, 23 42 per cent back up to a USB or flash disk, 18 42 per cent back up their phone to their PC, and 10 42 per cent back up to a network storage drive, the results showed.

Corrons recommended to back up data to two different locations, like the cloud, and a physical storage, like an external hard drive.

When it comes to iPhone and Android phone owners, the percentage that backs up is nearly the same, 69 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

The percentage of smartphone owners that don’t know how to back up their data does not vary much between iPhone and Android owners, with 13 per cent and 17 per cent claiming not knowing how to, respectively, the study revealed.

Data loss can be caused by users accidentally deleting their data themselves, hardware damage and failure, as well as malware, causing valuable data such as photos, videos, documents, and messages to be lost forever.

Ransomware and other malware, such as wipers, can either encrypt or completely destroy files, and there is no guarantee that files can be decrypted if a ransom is paid.

The survey was conducted among 728 Avast and AVG users between February 20-March 25.

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Business

Global smartphone sales declines 14% in February: Report

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New Delhi, March 30 : Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, market demand is fragile but global smartphone sales in February declined only 14 per cent compared to last year, thus showing some resilience, a new report has said.

From the supply-side, global smartphone shipments (sell-in) fell a slightly more, down 18 per cent compared to last year but again a lower than expected drop, according to Counterpoint Research.

As coronavirus spreads like wildfire around the globe, its impact on the technology industry is unprecedented.

The global smartphone market is largely a replacement market, meaning that smartphones are a discretionary purchase.

“While people may delay purchasing due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the early part of the crisis when the disruption and uncertainty are both high, they will still replace their smartphone at some point. This means that sales will not be entirely lost – just delayed,” Peter Richardson, VP and Research Director, Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.

Sell-in shipments, which represents the supply of smartphones, were relatively weaker, but February is a traditional low period for production, especially if it coincides with the Chinese New Year as was the case this year.

However China, the initial epicenter of the epidemic, did show a huge 38 per cent decline. But it is showing signs of a rebound already.

Overall, global smartphone sales in February showed weakness in many markets as consumers became cautious.

But with the growth of online channels, we saw sales shifting from offline to online. Offline sales in China fell more than 50 per cent during February.

But this fall was partially offset with stronger online sales, so the overall drop at 38 per cent, was not so severe.

“While China and South Korea are gradually recovering, the worst is far from over for many other parts of the world,” said Jene Park, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint.

In terms of the competitive landscape, the demand for Samsung smartphones remained stable due to the minimum exposure to the Chinese supply chain and China market demand, thus, capturing 22 per cent global smartphone market share in terms of sales volumes.

Apple felt some impact from the supply-side during the month both in China in early February and outside of China in the latter half of the month, which affected its sales performance.

However, Huawei which has maximum exposure to China from both supply and demand perspectives, actually performed well above expectations, selling more than 12 million smartphones during February, seeing just a 1 per cent drop in global market share.

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Disaster

Oppo donates Rs 1 crore to PM relief fund

“We have initiated an Online Repair Service that will help you with basic troubleshooting and software related issues,”Athe company added.

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OPPO-smartphone

New Delhi, March 29 : Chinese manufacturer Oppo on Sunday said that it has donated Rs 1 crore to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s Distress Fund to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a small step towards ensuring the well-being of those fighting at the frontline and showing our gratitude for the services they are providing to the citizens,” the company said in a statement.

The smartphone maker has also initiated an online repair service that will help with basic troubleshooting and software related issues.

“We have initiated an Online Repair Service that will help you with basic troubleshooting and software related issues,”Athe company added.

Meanwhile, the company has suspended all on-ground operations due to lockdown announced by the government and has also postponed the launch of OPPO Emco M31.

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