Friday, April 23, 2010

Cat and mouse

People like to play games. Some would like us to believe that such is the reality behind all things, as the most basic motivation. Cat and mouse, indeed!

So, given the game context, then things of which GS is accused are between the 'big boys' who ought to be able to handle themselves. Oh, yes, the GS guy says; doesn't he know that 'trust' is not something that he, and his kind, raises in this blogger's view? The old Goldman guy is rolling around in his grave, as is Adam Smith.

Yet, in the role that we've allowed these people, many of the big boys step all over the little peoples' lives, since their decisions affect more than their little selves (used advisedly, as the 'big' is mainly a chimera).

So, what are we to do? Turns out that science itself doesn't help; even there, malfeasance can be documented. Usually, though, it's driven by the ego of some maniac (oh, CEOs aren't in that class?) and is not directly related to the grand approach itself.

But, ever heard of underdetermination?

This blog got started looking at a particular program and then branched into that realm of the idiots, called finance. In things belonging to the original focus, you see, the engineers were eventually allowed to take over from the marketing view. For the most part, engineers do know how to solve problems. Why 'for the most part' here? Ah, our engineering brains breed hubris, many more times than not.

But, to err is human. And, we could re-focus the 'risk' game to be more mature.

So, luxury goods as a goal? What if there were a law, as follows: those with the diamond-studded watches must eat their diamonds for nourishment. Silly? Yet, in effect, that a whole generation and one-half ran off after those financial schemes tells us a lot. Have you not looked at Forbes Luxury and wondered who needs some of these items that have a $100 function but a $1M price tag?

And there were young guys/gals directly involved with creating these instruments of destruction. You don't see that? What old guy fat cat could do the computer modeling and operations that were required for these tranche'ing, and other derivative's (yes, folks, what these so-called higher forms do is stink to their essence and make a sane/healthy person want to puke)? Even Made-off had his technical help.

That the essentials have been farmed out (out-housed) or pushed to a seemingly lower realm of humanity or considered of no value (yes, trash the earth, by all means) ought to be of our concern.

So, let's talk about letting finance be run by those who, first, don't salivate when they see a buck (can it be eaten?) and who, then, know the values behind 'on the behalf' of' in their core.

By the way, what we saw with the one program, mentioned earlier, was a bunch of guys realizing that they couldn't make a baby collectively in a couple of months. Metaphor, folks.

Can engineering learn 'ethics' and a more informed type of 'value' soon enough to not run us collectively into the crapper? Oh, wait. political truth needs to (and will) be added to the first principles list. Defenders of GS are touting political motives. That may be, in part, yet the Street (Wall, if you must ask) has not really shined, of late. Oh, did it ever?


01/17/2013 -- Removed reference to Rand's fictional character. For various reasons.

04/27/2010 -- To quote Tourre of GS: Well, what if we created a 'thing', which had no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and nobody knows how to price?

Value? Oh, I reply. I've been arguing all along for a quasi-empirical approach that would respect our prowess yet know that these complications are easily manipulated into a shell-game look-alike. How did we let this happen? Where were the economists?

Modified: 01/17/2013

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The cyber-physical

Silence, as seen recently as measured by a small number of posts, on the topics of this blog has no meaning other than evidence that a respite occurred. The world is changing in many ways such that one has to stop from time to time to observe the landscape.

Below, there are a few words on a new development in thinking about the types of problems of interest to advanced techniques. That some may have thought that a process, like designing and building some complicated system such as an airplane, could be a one-button affair driven by computational prowess will continue to have some attention. Of course, such types of thinking were not being done by the engineers who are responsible for success and safety.

That some may think of modeling, especially of the mathematical type, as being a replacement for natural processes, too, will require a re-look in order to know why 'quasi-empiricism' is not more prominently considered.

But, for now, let's look at developments under the guise of cyber-physical systems: the NSF's introductory statement, one interested party and a related blog.

Now, as an aside, we ought to know that the quasi-empirical stance is at the basis for these types of inquiries. Too, there are tighter couplings for us to note between the cyber and the physical that will be necessarily considered. Some of these issues will be discussed in future posts.


05/28/2011 -- The 'avatar' will be multi-faceted in use, not just play its current role of fancy icon with behavior.

12/17/2010 -- These types of issues are continually there for our resolution.

09/14/2010 -- Must and may. Two important concepts.

03/02/2010 -- Perhaps, misinformed might be used instead of misplaced. That the title uses 'faith' might suggest that what we have with human reactions to software, and computational modeling in general, is a belief-based system. But, then, is not science so, at its core?

Ah, arguable point, one might say. Yet, those who argue the importance of 'quasi-empirical' thinking might bear more attention. That is, if the underlying mathematics can be problematic, why would not that which is super-positioned there upon?

Too boot, the NSF description, in my mind, ignores a whole slew of issues related to problems of logic and problem solving. That is, for one example, 'undecidable' is not just a property of the infinite set. It has operational use.

What we see, in my opinion, is a reliance on various types of ad-hoc closures, some of which are learned since they are really at the essence of human intelligence. These need to be lifted out for inspection and management, perhaps even toward control.

One might suggest that the concepts related to 'truth engineering' are necessary for complicated systems, especially those that are heavily involved with human affairs.

By the way, the auto engineers are not guilty of sins any worse than those committed by the best-and-brightest who spawned toxic financial material on an unsuspecting populace (and their leaders) through their mis-use (interlopers, all) of quantitative techniques in a very un-insightful manner. At least, with the auto, we can be empirical, albeit more quasi than not.

Modified: 05/28/2011