August 4, 2018

Recently, I have been reading a book called “Artificial Intelligence for Games

Now, this book is not for everyone (maybe it’s only for a nerd like me… cough cough)

Why am I reading this book?

Because AI is the future. If you enjoy laptops, iPhones, Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, then you are going to enjoy the future of AI. If a boring accountant who mastered investing like me is learning about AI today.

Then, should you? Totally!

And today, I just want to share one secret I learned from this AI book. It’s called “Pathfinding“.

What is Pathfinding?

Imagine you want to go from A to B, what is the shortest path to get there? That’s pathfinding.

As you can imagine, you can use this technique in a lot of places. For example, Google maps, chess playing, video games, investing (wink wink)…

What if we used it on project management?

In the world of start-up, management team needs to find the shortest path to reach the goal, whether it is 8% growth or opening new stores or going into a new market.

This will allow us to find the shortest path to succeed.

Image life before using Google maps versus trying to find a map physically using a map.

Which one is more efficient? Google maps. Hands down.

While we don’t have team of AI making all the decisions for us, what if we can learn how to think like an AI?

This is where pathfinding comes in.

It will help us find the shortest path to success.

After learning about pathfinding, here’s the surprising truth about pathfinding.

In order to have a successful pathfinding algorithm, how many inputs do you need?

5? 10? 20?

When I learned about it, it surprised me too.

In order to have a successful pathfinding algorithm, you only need THREE inputs.

That’s it.

If I give you 3 inputs, you will be able to find the shortest path from A to B.

What are the 3 inputs?

  1. A list of nodes
  2. A list of connections
  3. Estimate cost for each path

Let me explain each input for you.

A list of notes: This is the list of possible destination or places you can go before you get to the destination. For example, if you want to go from Toronto (Canada) to Florida, you might need to go through New York or other states. This means all the possible The States you go through are nodes. In the pathfinding algorithm, the AI evaluates every single path that connects to the current node (State). This means the pathfinding algorithm evaluates every single state that connects to Toronto before driving.

How does this applies to your life and project management?

This means when you are looking to move towards your destination, whether it is retire earlier, go on vacation, live more comfortably… you want to evaluate all possible options. Most people don’t take the time to make a list of all possible options. They only take the first option that is available to them. So? Now I have a new rule for myself. When I am looking to build my business or do a new project, I always develop at least a couple of alternatives to choose from.

A list of connections: This is how each state is connected. For example, Toronto is connected to New York, Vermont and Michigan. This is how these states are connected. That’s what a connection is. Another example, the bedroom in your house is connected to the living room which may be connected to the toilet or kitchen as well. When the pathfinding AI knows how each node is connected to one another, the AI can evaluate its options and plans its route.

How does this apply to your life and project management?

When you are looking to move towards success, it is a series of steps. This is why you need to know how each step is connected to get you there. Without knowing how the steps come together, you would doing things that are out of sequence.

Estimate cost for each path: This is how the pathfinding AI makes the decision to choose which path to start exploring first. For example, you might want the AI to start exploring the lowest cost path first. Then, the AI will continue to explore each state after that until it reaches its goal. Finally, once a certain number of paths are explored, it will return with the lowest cost path.

How does this apply to your life an project management?

Once you have a list of tasks and you understand how it connects to one another, start with the task with the lowest amount of cost. If you have already done this before, you might apply your judgement and start with the path that has the highest probability of succeeding. Then record, the cost to get there.

Once you reach your goal, calculate the total cost.

If you repeat this process, you are bound to find the shortest path to success.

This is how a lot of the world famous marketing gurus building multi-million dollar businesses.

What do you think of AI?



CPA, Portfolio Manager

July 2018

My next goal: 400% return

My return since inception: 240%

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About the author 

Eric Seto

Investor, CPA (Canada) based in Hong Kong and Vancouver

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