Archive for December, 2015

Root causes

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

One of the things I find frustrating about the current crop of politicians is that none of them are addressing root causes.

In particular, I think me and Bernie agree about the end goals. But most of what he’s saying are repeated band aids on symptoms of the problems with our resource allocation system. He’s not talking root causes. Raising the minimum wage is a example of a temporary band aid. The politicians should be talking about how our economic system can not accurately represent reality – by definition, money as we’ve currently conceived of it is a zero sum game. And reality is *NOT* a zero sum game.

Money is supposed to be, as far as I can tell, a medium for making our resource allocation system work – it’s supposed to model value. Now, I’ve already talked about the fact that any time we print more money, everyone is convinced the money is worth less, even though most people would agree that the amount of value available to us increases every year. Also, different resources have different values to people at different times in ways that are in no way related to the flow of money.

I still insist that if we have empty houses and homeless people, if we have people being paid not to grow food and people starving, we have a resource allocation system that is failing and we should be looking at how to improve it. But making laws about the minimum wage won’t do any long-term good – all it will do is slide around the prices of things. As a temporary band-aid, it’s a good step, but we should be talking and thinking about the underlying flow of resources. We’re at a point, technology wise, where we can track every kilowatt hour, every skilled man hour in every category, every gram of metal, every resource. By looking at those numbers, we could make budgets that actually made sense – instead of budgeting in dollars, for example, we could budget in doctor-hours and MRI-hours and lab-hours when talking about whether we can or can not afford to do health care for everyone. We can also look realistically at the costs involved in *not* doing health care for everyone – lost man-hours of work, lost creativity, and things like that. We can also look at the overhead-hours – the hours wasted doing incredibly dumb or even hurtful things. We can look at how much a eviction really costs us, for example, and realize how stupid we’re all being.

Analyzing root causes is important. more on this later.

Neural networks and politics

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

So, as most of you know, I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately researching natural and artificial neural networks. I had a interesting thought the other day.

While I am so far to the left politically that they don’t have a good label to hang on me – I want to redesign the resource allocation system, I think it’s possible to get almost everyone everything they need, and possibly even (with judicious use of technology) everything they want – I recognize that my inner republican is a core part of my neural network that needs to exist.

So, I am assuming (or perhaps guessing) that inside my own neural network, individual concepts / symbols are represented as clusters of neurons – or subnets, as I sometimes call them. All of the concepts that the republicans hold dear I think are key for individual operation – while you may not need the tendency to try and keep things the same, or even move into previous models (conservatism) to be heavily weighted, it is undoubtedly a symbol that you want to be neurologically active.

Very few decisions are truly binary on the iron, and generally I assume that concepts and ideas light up both the ‘new ideas / things that haven’t been tried yet’ section of my neural network (imagination) and the ‘previous experience suggests..’ section of my neural network. Conservative thinking keeps me from hitting ‘upgrade now’ every time my computer offers me the chance, which results in my computers being stable and reliable. It keeps me from buying things every time I feel a urge, which results in me purchasing the things I need and the best things I want, rather than ending up with a hoard of physical possessions taking up space in my life and my mind. It helps me build up the friendships that help me and avoid the ones that would hurt me. There’s no doubt that conservative thinking has a part in a complete operating neural system.

And, it’s very likely that it has a place in government. I don’t think I’d ever want our government to have *no* conservatives in it, because if naught else they provide the devils advocate to demonstrate the truth or falsity of new ideas, and they do also hopefully keep the liberals from changing the things that truly shouldn’t be changed. It’s a mistake to think your political opponents are your enemies. They’re only your enemies if they aren’t willing to yield when your ideas are clearly better than theirs – when they lose the ability to objectively judge concepts, and lose the ability to learn.

One huge problem

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

One huge problem with being human is that human memory does not gain by being serialized.