THE DUMBEST IDEA
JANUARY 2nd 2011
and then by contrast good science sense
An international group of scientists are aiming to create a
simulator that can replicate everything happening on Earth - from
global weather patterns and the spread of diseases to international
financial transactions or congestion on Milton Keynes' roads.
Better read the
report first. Overlooking,
apparently, the appropriate function of the human brain, singular,
plural, associated in interest groups and at the same time freed to
interact world-wide, and our means of dialogue and debate, polling,
persuading, correcting and verifying in order to make progress in (a)
understanding the origins and mechanisms of creation and (b) decide
which roads to take out of many possible, some computer specialists
believe it would be better to try to model the entire world in a
program that could handle the data and integrate it.
I could be
wrong, but I think little would come of such a project except
for deciding the future course of the planet is the planet itself and
its systems including its human brains in interaction. We don't have to
build another. We ARE the mechanism,
along with all of the rest of nature. The mistakes we make are part of
the program working through. There is more information than we could
ever properly evaluate so as to enter into an inanimate computer other
than as a conglomerations of text and maths, much of which is disputed,
even if we could get an approximate model to absorbe it.
us use models to help us improve the models in our minds, and to
times and quantities that we can consider in a limited way before the
make certain mathematical predictions worthless; but we already have
enough information at our disposal to realise that it is not what we do
but the way that we do it, who decides and how we choose who decides,
how to discriminate and how not to, how freedoms and obligations are
defined, allocated and guaranteed, that constitutes the heart of the
Every choice is conditional. Any course of collective action that is
not dictatorially imposed has to be supported by a mix of instinct,
reason and emotion. The absurd anomalies that cause most human
suffering at the present time are the result of human actions to
supposedly produce the very reverse. Their removal would require
actions that many of the most confused yet morally outspoken would no
doubt find unacceptable.
Presumably the scientists in question are hoping that options provided
by a computer model of our global situation would be perceived as free
from bias. This is unlikely.
One Pete Warden (who he?)
says in the:BBC report:
"It's not that we don't know enough about a lot of the problems
the world faces, from climate change to extreme poverty, it's that we
don't take any action on the information we do have,"
That makes me wish I had read the news report properly before cracking
on about it, as it seems half of my argument is already obvious to
other half is simply that human brains are not only where all
evaluation and decisions on future courses of actions have to be taken
but they already have more computing power in them than can be
artificilally manipulated in an intelligent way in an attempt to
relieve us of responsibility. We are going to argue about the future
and on occasions, fight no doubt.
One reason we 'don't take action on the information we do have' is that
we disagree, if not about the causes of the problem, then on how to
solve them. A great many people seem to think that the way to reduce
what they call poverty is to help a lot more poor people, living in an
unproductive environment, to survive in larger numbers than ever before
and reduce their child mortality, before tackling either birth control,
water and soil and other vital resources, housing, security and
financial self-support. Poverty in financial terms may be far from the
worst problem they face if these things are tackled in the wrong order.
FEBRUARY 7th 2011
Here, by contrast, is some proper
thinking at last.