[FoRK] Closing funny bits, was Re: Malthusian machinations

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Thu Jun 17 13:12:01 PDT 2010

--- On Thu, 6/17/10, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:

> The occasionally-problematic emergent behaviors they engage
> in may in fact not be due to any ill-will or bad behavior or
> even intent on the part of their human constituents. 
> They are a social decision / preference aggregation function
> that quite often *subtracts* intelligence, intent, and all
> the rest of it from the decision process, and quite often
> produces results that are quite contrary to the preferences
> of *any* participants in the process.  ...
> But.  Better than gubbiments in almost every respect. ;-)  

Ummm... That sounded a lot like a description of governments, too. 

I once made the acquaintance of a one-time provincial politician. He had been out of politics for a couple of years when I met him. A really nice fellow and very empathetic. In describing his recent complete disillusionment with the political process he related a story of pushing through a piece of legistation that was intended to make things a lot better for a particular class of needy folks. By the time all the machinations, negotiations and compromises took place, the legislation was passed and the typical conversion by the civil service of the legislation into practice and procedure, it actually did significant harm to the very target group it was supposed to help.

Hardly what the participants in the process wanted, I'm sure.

>  ...  corporations are *not*
> people.  Until we dispense with that fiction, then all
> the rest of this absurdity will persist.
>  ... It's like expecting your robotic lawnmower to act
> responsibly;  doesn't make much sense.  You don't
> anthropomorphize the thing;  you merely make sure that
> the environment it can operate in is appropriately
> constrained to prevent catastrophe.


> You do have a robot lawnmower by now, right? ;-)

You may have noted that I'm a bit of a control phreaque. I prefer to have my mitts firmly wrapped around the controls. ... Just the controls that are necessary and keep a firm grip on them.  ;-)


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