Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Caveat Emptor

Beware, essentially. A recent article in the ACM Communications, inadvertently, lays out the motivation behind Truth Engineering. We'll have to take advantage of that. Why?

It ought to become 'be aware' which is what is essential to life (sensors, feedbacks, etc.).

The article is under controlled access; see Fedaerated's comment and the editorial review.

The article deals with why 'lemons' can be a problem with markets. Now, why are markets important? Essentially, with the newer age's progress (supposed -- to be discussed), the wisdom of crowds, and markets, are how we know the truth?


Is that not silly? To carry it further, the article, by Princeton people, was serious in describing how we cannot know many things. Such as the future. Well, risk handling looks at that. Or, such as, whether your buddy is trustworthy. Here, folks, the military paradigm has the advantage. And, it's related to group dynamics, partly. We ought to run some of the banking, similarly, under a bare bones (truthful) mechanism, thereby removing fat cats, et al.


Now, to the matter, we'll get back to lemons. We all hope that we're not dealing with such, but how do we know? Usually, family is a fall-back thing but not always. The military carries that forward, with the band of brothers. We can talk about all sorts of ways that humans have dealt with hypocrisy and deceit.


But, then come mathematics, which is the realm, usually, of the egg-heads, and its companion, computation. Early reactions, by the public, was that the computer knows all (hence, one of the attractions of Watson), even though there was the adage of garbage-in, garbage-out. You see, GIGO still assumed that 'logic' was right. See? Yet, we know chips fail, etc.

Ever think that the mathematics, itself, can be suspect? Evidently, Hawking does not, from what I can see. But, we'll save that for another time.


The referenced article laid out a rationale for describing how a buyer could be duped even with transparency and rational decisions. How? Complexity, in certain cases, prevents determining sleight of hand on the part of the seller.


Consider, folks, that this could even be unconscious on the part of the seller, though, in most cases, it's just the human trait to try 'to screw' someone.


These are computationally hard problems, but intuition can help. That is, the very thing that was thrown out by the egg-head mathematicians is the essential thing needed for truth assessment. Yes, indeed. Somehow, we've all been led to honor, worship, a particular brand of mathematics, probably due to its success in conquering the world. At the same time, has not the mess (oops on oops) grown to be worse?


Not proposing easy answers, as these are difficult issues. However, a new type of elitism has emerged with the mathematic/computation-ally expressed worlds (first, second, cyber, ...) that can be chilling to observe and downright ominous in its possible consequences. Some have ranted about this.

Unfortunately, the whole mechanism of out-housing (doing in the doers) is based upon this paradigm that exploits and spits out. Yet, as demonstrated by those who have ascended, there are heights to attain; however, and I say again, however, it will, in the end, turn out to be within the egalitarian scope loved so much by some of the boomers, in their youth.

And, crucial to the theme will be those things for which truth engineering was meant to offer a means for knowing, controlling, and ensuring sustainability across the board.


10/19/2013 -- Changes are pending.

09/21/2011 -- On Wealth and the CEO MVP.

05/28/2011 -- We'll see 'avatars' galore.

Modified: 10/19/2013

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Doers II

In reviewing some old posts (2008), I ran across this one (Doers and speculators). Sheesh, we think those types that deal with abstractions as being so smart. Like, how many idolize Warren, as if he is some epitome? Then, Big Ben has his following, too.

Now, reading this post made me recall the motivation. Too, I see that it is right on three years later. For some reason, there has been a little digression but not really.

Let's, first, pull together posts related to this theme from the past few years.
  • Criticism and truth (October 26, 2007) - if one looks at sports, for instance, it's really apparent. How many arm chair quarterbacks are there each monday night throughout the NFL season? In baseball, there are nine on the field for any team at any point in the game. Forgetting the few, coaches and staff and such, that support the team, how many are involved (fans: at the game, watching on tv, etc.)? So, we have only a small collection of doers and a whole lot of watchers. Trouble is, the economy is like that, too. Just as people bet on games, the markets (as currently defined) allow a whole lot of gambling that is really not of much usefulness (crowd sourcing notwithstanding).
  • Justice and truth (November 10, 2007) - as the workers toil, they diminish to naught. As the watchers gain, fat cats grow unbounded. Part of that is the belief that business has to be ruthless (to wit, article about Warren's recent misstep - see Remarks 04/30/2011).
  • Free and fee (August 27, 2008) - something for nothing seems to be the underpinning motivation of greed (or more for less, etc.). That this cannot lead to realistic, and sustainable, economics is what we need to look at.
  • Truth and toil (September 16, 2009) - of course, there is always the 'classism' that is the basis of capitalism (which is one big factor in the emergence of the ca-pital-sino).

What is the point of all this? Well, there are two things. For one, problems with handling abstractions cause more than just the map-territory mishap in which we see the model becoming more real, in the minds of some, than that which is modeled. Pity the poor sucker caught in the jaws of the six-sigma tightening belt.

Secondly, many, who are in the positions of power, never did a lick of 'real' work (as in, dirty hands, of course). Now, we may consider that excelling at some sport may be considered 'work' in this context. A joke that one heard prior to the wedding of last week was that some, within the ranks of the royals, were aghast that Kate had actually worked for a living.

Perhaps, if some of those who are the diapered CEO types had been forced to work their way up (in senses to be discussed), they would not fall so much under the weight of their egos into hubris. The military model works in this case. There are few higher-order officers who have not come up through the ranks (O-series, sufficient, okay?). That is, one does not fall into a position of command via family or appointment (though, some politicos would probably want this).

In terms of exhausting their resources, some top-down thinkers would know more about the reality of what can be accomplished if they had the proper experience. But, no. Management has taken itself to be above differentiation by domain as it operates from universals (or, almost).

The whole out-housing phenomenon is predicated on a never-ending pool of potential exploitees. But, that is a whole another subject to be addressed.


Of course, the whole system is awry in this sense and has been for some time. After all, it was several 100s years ago that the first insurance minds cast lots in betting on the success of the doers (people like those who produced goods and those actually moved them from one place to another - in many cases, facing storms on a raging sea). Then, we have funny money which has no basis in reality, at all.


03/25/2013 -- The Atlantic had an article about King Abdullah II. Now, he is an example of a doer, from several angles. What I liked when I read it was that while being educated in Massachusetts, he bussed tables. What that means for those who don't know is clean up dirty dishes and such. When I, as a young man, was in the US Army, we had still had KP duty which included such types of things. Another task that ought to be tried once by everyone: cleaning the grease pit.

05/25/2011 -- Lemons problem, dark pools, ... Oh, so much to look at!

05/09/2011 -- Milking the system, something from nothing, ... (analogous to perpetual motion).

05/06/2011 -- Good engineers are doers.

05/05/2011 -- New America Foundation: Middle class under siege.

Modified: 03/25/2013