It struck me the other day when reading some material on developing programmatic analogies for “game theory” when one of these thoughts knocked on my door. As waxed about in this form before, I’ve found the work of Nassim Taleb known for his radical ideas put forward in his tome “The Black Swan” very interesting as it’s here he puts forward that systematic risk management is a false economy as the more you deny something, the larger the impact when it does occur.
So it is here that this mini-epiphany hit as we sit in our computer controlled world driven by microprocessors and controllers which can see, yet what we fail to realize that this actually tends to be more like an iceberg then a mountain as while we can see the physical hardware, what goes unseen below the waterline is the “software”. As while the physical boxes constitute what we see above the water is the equivalent of the “body”, while below the water the “software” becomes the “soul” of the machine. Here we see everything from your car, elevator, ipod, etc are driven by this unseen entity forming a “collective whole” if you will which is where the interesting stuff happens.
As for those who have not written [computer] code, maybe a short primer as all programs have a starting point as well as an ending point, while in the middle there is a host of logic steps and loops, however the important part is that they “all” have an ending point, and its around here where the epiphany starts to form as I know of no program which implements “failure”. So in fact the “end” of the application is truly the “beginning” of the result. As think about this, you fire up your chess game and from the start its playing from a position of its won and therefore all actions are reversed engineered backwards into the “start” of the game. So from herein you are in fact playing backwards in reference to the machine and therefore this is where the “cliff” is created for the occurrence of the Black Swans to gather.
Since I’m writing this post while in Texas, it’s only right to use a cattle analogy to paint a better picture of what is happening here as each program is a cow ranging on its own so its actions are more randomized, therefore our risk of being
stampeded buy one cow is small. However when we start to bring a bunch of cows together even though they are autonomous their independent actions still form a herd and in turn, the herd can stampede hence a “Black Swan” event occurs. So it’s here where we have computers (with software of course) in our toasters, refrigerators, cars, phones, TV’s and the list goes, on and on forming a virtual herd if you will.
So it is here where the “linearization” of our world is taking place as all of these systems believe they have “won” and are working their way “backwards” to achieve the goal. In essence there is a silent movie playing itself out around us where the actor takes one step forward all the while the [software] world takes one step back…