Friday, October 5, 2012

Avoiding oops

Not often, lately, have I posted twice (see Potemkin ...) in one day, but this is just too rich to ignore. While watching a talk given at IJCAI-2011 (Barcelona) in the context of computing (which, we know, is one manifestation of our ability to master the world), the following slide (in the talk, Homo heuristics) is the focus of the discussion.

The question relates to methods, and the power of heuristics. We'll have to discuss this further, but, for now, let's just look at what the slide tells us. In the world populated by those who seem to be advancing the state of the art (for all of us, yet we keep getting ourselves deeper into a hole, it seems), work such as this (Mean-variance model) receive the highest award (hint, yearly, big deal in Sweden).

Yet, when one of the main characters involved with the work invests his own money, he uses the heuristic shown in the slide. The guy's identity is cut out, as he is not the focus. What we ought to be concerned about is a worldview that races after abstract nonsense, that applies supposed knowledge gained from such thinking, and that doesn't restrict losses, or pains, to just those doing the playing.

No, we all are pulled into the quagmire.

The main question is how did this come about. As I've said many times, interloped mathematics and misunderstood computational modeling are the biggest factors related to the messes of today. Of course, that people with excessive greed have their fingers in the pie is a factor, to boot. We don't really want to go into that litany.


In brief, are we all not after a sustainable world that allows the fullest expression of the human element's potential (however you might want to express this)?

Yet, have we not let technology, and its sciences, run amok somewhat giving up control (albeit, a lot of this may have been subconsciously done)?


11/09/2012 -- Engineering memes. Nice.

10/05/2012 -- Note the discussion about 28:33 which show that 500 years of data would be necessary for the prize-winning approach to beat the simple heuristic. As the speaker says, 500 years too early for the bank to use.

Modified: 11/09/2012

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