Simon, Herbert Alexander, 1916–2001, American social scientist and economist, b. Milwaukee, grad. Univ. of Chicago (B.A., 1936, Ph.D., 1943). A professor of computer science and psychology at Carnegie-Mellon Univ. from 1949 until his death, Simon was a pioneer of the development of computer artificial intelligence. In economics, he contended that the theory of "economic man," which argues that the individual invariably chooses a course that will maximize personal benefits, failed to account for the inherent uncertainty of human action. His highly original work on decision-making in such books as Administrative Behavior (1947, 4th ed. 1997), in which he argued that business executives often fail to maximize profits because they make decisions without assessing all information and long-term effects, earned him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1978. Simon's other books include Scientific Discovery (1987).
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