Mark Bao
New York, NY
Columbia University

I’m interested in how we can use an understanding of human behavior—such as understanding power dynamics and incentive structures—as a lens through which to understand complex systems, to identify the biggest problems within them, and to solve those problems through the application of strategy and technology.

I'm also interested in artificial intelligence, and how strong AI could assist in the scientific process by helping people make scientific discoveries, and by eventually making novel scientific discoveries on its own.

I left college at 19, started a technology company in New York, and then went on a round-the-world trip. Now, I’m back in New York and doing personal research on behavior, habits, and strategy, while attending Columbia University.

At Columbia, I work as a research assistant at the Center for Decision Sciences, working on research tools for experiments on decision-making. I also co-organize Action Design NYC, a meetup about behavior change and psychology.

Feel free to contact me if you have any common interests, wish to reply to an article, or just want to chat.

Current interests

  • The intersection of behavioral science and system dynamics
  • Incentive structures and mismatched incentives
  • Expectation framing: anchoring judgments of outcomes to expectations
  • Knowledge management systems for organizing personal knowledge

Three Inflection Points

One — I got my kicks in computer programming in elementary school, and since then I’ve been developing, designing, and creating products.

Two — My fascination with thinking and cognition turned into a devotion to advancing the understanding of behavior and its expression in complex systems as power and incentive.

Three — Early idealism sustained by a round-the-world trip compelled me to work on important and fundamental problems, using behavioral science and technology.