Friday, May 7, 2010

Truth derivatives

The Newsday of New York had an interesting cartoon which was reproduced in USA Today (4/23/2010).

It struck a chord with the intent of this blog for several reasons. For one, a strict definition for 'truth engineering' has been hard to pin down. The related discourse would involve many topics, as we have seen. Some of the concepts, and reactions, that might come about seem to be motivated from a cynical framework.

But, that is not necessary, as the topic is legit and of concern for several reasons that we expect to address. For one, we need to deal with underdetermined situational dilemmas in a fashion that can be, at best, quasi-empirical. In a perfect world, we would all learn together. Unfortunately, what we find is that 'trust' has lost its value in our world.

Denial of belief systems notwithstanding, something similar is the operational position in any modern realm, especially those involving complex systems. Politicians, and others, exploit the the belief urge.

So, we ought to, for argument, turn around the little phrase and use 'derivation of truth' and discuss how it is one of the most important issues we face. How do we know this, and what can we do? Upon what first principles do we start? ... Ah, a supposedly endless set of questions might abound.

But, the lessons from Russell apply here. Even Grasso caught this. When computers come to the playground, dynamics change. Our noses cannot smell the crap, as easily, though I'll argue that we can have virtual counterparts of all the senses, including the 6th.

We'll be covering, in more depth, the need of a person-in-the-loop for most complicated schemes. Why? Vertigo of systems is one of the perpetual problems that has been ignored; it is, in a sense, one main source of systemic risk.

Thank you, Mr. Handelsman.

By the way, the finance folks use derivatives to denote that something comes from another. One might say that the 'derivative' deals with some abstract property which may be recursively far removed from anything real.

In short, it's a bastardization of mathematical notions, chiefly those which are at the core of differential topology. It would never have seen the light of day without computation. The 'abstract' nature gave it some credence; that there were functional uses allowed the advent to the point that we saw.

Some used these abstractions to build a house of cards. Even if the underlying entities, those things far removed from the derivative, were rock solid, this type of thing would have been problematic, eventually. Why? The underlying games are unstable.

Actually, it was lucky for us that greed, and other human traits, exacerbated the problem. Otherwise, we may have been further down a perdition-laden path with even worse consequences and much more pain. Wait! Some feel that this is exactly the situation that we currently face due to the lack of backbone to handle moral hazards.

Will we learn from this most recent financial debacle? Well, finance (as in the profs who think that financial engineering is something to pursue), you tell me.


01/22/2013 -- T-issues will migrate to issues of science and religion.

11/04/2011 -- The government, and politicians, lie?

04/03/2011 -- Tis tranche and trash.

05/10/2010 -- Makes one wonder if 'beyond reproach' means anything anymore. Those in charge, for the most part, seem to be after their own glory and welfare. Who is really looking out for all of us? Oh? Just who is all of us? You see, those with the aptitude, many times, can be 'John Galts' and entrap and enslave many without any constraint. But, as we know, aptitude is not enough; there has to be ways and means. Trouble is the government, business, and computation provide such.

Ah. This country started a clock anew about 400 years ago (yes, those early comers had many dreams and, in many cases, were fleeing tyranny) but, for reasons worth looking at, we've essentially reproduced the same thing. Yes. We have 'royalty' and 'peerage' except that 'fiat' thing, called money, is the main consistency of power. Hence, all of this gaming and confusion.

Big Ben could help by remembering that anyone who takes a position involving public trust needs put their own financial affairs into some kind of independent trust such that any link between actions and personal gain is reduced. How can we do that? They have families to take care of. Good question. Big Ben talked that money isn't the main ingredient of 'happiness' this weekend. Yet, the 'funny' money is principally his to manipulate.

Something amiss here? Look, Big Ben, get to the real issue: we have to look at the philosophical (mainly, metaphysical) issues related to money. Are you prepared to address that?

Modified: 01/22/2013