“Is it worth going to interview that woman about the Baskerville murders? I suspect she knows very little if anything of relevance,” Watson asked.

“Not sure. I’m still weighing it in my mind,” said Sherlock. “Maybe tomorrow could be better spent revisiting the scene of the crime. But who knows? Perhaps she has the one piece of information that is critical to the investigation.”

“You have said on many occasions that timing is critical. I’m just concerned we would be wasting valuable time we can’t get back,” said Watson. “It just feels wrong.”

“There’s no information that can guide us here,” said Holmes. “We have to take a risk, whatever we choose.”

“Well, is there any way we can mitigate the risk, Holmes?” asked Watson.

“Good point. We could hedge our bets, so to speak. First thing, tomorrow, Watson, you head down to meet with the lady, and I’ll go straight to the scene of the crime. Then you can meet me there when you’re done.”

“I appreciate your trust in me Sherlock. May I ask you in which school did you learn such wisdom?”

“Elementary, my dear Watson.”

When considering risks, we typically first evaluate the downside. What’s the worst that could happen? If that cost is bearable, then how should we proceed? This is the initial fast and frugal thinking analysis, which might then be influenced by sensations, arising from the gut, the subconscious, or anywhere else within our mind-body.

The sensations we feel influence the thoughts we have. How much and in what way they do this are the core issues around which IntualityAI operates. The evaluation of risk can be so circumstantial and individualized but nevertheless there is decent empirical support for the notion that, as a general rule, a 2.5:1 ratio is the tipping point. If the probability of a reward is less than 2.5:1 i.e., for a ten dollar wager you wouldn’t make any more than $25, most people are not interested. As the possible reward exceeds this ratio, the risk seems to be warranted by the possibility of a bigger pay out.

Specifically, we can get a sense of anxiety, as we face any decision. That anxiety could be anything from a mild sense of uneasiness to a full-blown panic attack. That feeling of tension is influenced by many variables, such as time of day, the social environment, and even how much you had to drink the night before. However, hedging allows us to modify the risks and payoffs. In such ways are decisions made about future possibilities.

by Howard Rankin PhD, psychology and cognitive neuroscience