Small steps toward a much better world

Via Henry Farrell, the probabilistic alarm clock:

Lifehacker links to
an invention that I’ve thought for years would be a good idea (I’m sure
that plenty of other people have had the same thought).   Many people
have their clocks running a few minutes fast, to encourage them to
leave earlier for appointments to get there on time etc.  The
problem with this is that if you’re half-way rational, you’ll correct
for the error, making it useless.  So the solution is to have a
probabilistic clock, where the clock is fast, but you aren’t sure how
fast it is within a given and relatively short time range.  Thus, you’re
more likely to depart early for your appointments and get there on time
(or a few minutes ahead, most probably, in many situations).  This is
exactly what some bloke has programmed, although it doesn’t appear that it has an alarm feature yet.

Tim Harford covered a similar topic last week.


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