In Conversation with… Episode 1: Jess Leifer, ideas42

Canadian Undergraduates in Behavioural Science (CUBS), formerly known as Behavioural Economics Student Group (BESG), presents its first speaker series of the year, with Jess Leifer.

Jess Leifer is the Vice-President of Ideas42, a non-profit consulting firm committed to using behavioural science for social good, utilizing an ethical understanding of people’s preferences and focusing on issues that directly relate to collective interests.

According to Leifer, there is growing interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and behavioural science. Models based on AI help ideas42 determine people’s preferences, and ultimately help predict people’s behaviours in certain environments. ideas42 employs these models in order to take a systematic approach to understanding decision-making. The first step of this approach is defining the problem, and then coming up with a diagnosis on why people struggle in committing certain behaviors. This is followed by the final stage, which is implementing change. Leifer claims that neural networks are starting to be used more to make this approach more efficient and accurate, and the implementation of machine learning in these models makes it possible to map all possible contexts of a person’s life to actions in order to predict people’s behaviors.

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We are a bunch of students from the University of Toronto who are interested in Behavioural Economics!

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