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The Bureaucratic Singularity: when technology develops faster than governmental control.

Posted by  $  HeroWorship 2 years, 11 months ago to Technology
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Note: The image at the link summarizes this post.
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If government regulation grows arithmetically, while technology grows exponentially, there reaches a point where innovation happens faster than the government can control it. This is the inflection point of The Bureaucratic Singularity.

DarkWeb, Bitcoin/blockchain, Arab Climate Change, Anonymous, AirBnB, Uber, etc. I submit we are at the inflection point - now.

Existence Exists. Reality. Our friend. And, no respecter of persons or weakness.

Specialization creates efficiencies, which drive competition and innovation - exponentially - changing the competitive landscape of society. Wealth, intelligence, and skill begets more wealth, intelligence, and skill.

Predictable Result A. The opportunities/speed to benefit society and (in the process) create wealth also grow exponentially (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.), with producers on the cutting edge gaining lion's shares of larger pies.

Predictable Result B: Consumers gain larger absolute slices but smaller relative slices. Successful Entrepreneurs move from Millionaires to Billionaires, while the average joe moves from plays to Netflix, telegraph to iPhones, libraries to the Internet. 5% on 100 million is 5 million. 50% of 100 thousand is 50 thousand. The size of the relative gap between rich and poor is accelerating even as the poor get richer in absolute terms.

Predictable Result C: Competitors (and their employees) lose their place at the table, unless they can adopt/adapt/innovate in pace with the cutting edge. For them, cutting edge is bleeding edge. This displacement is not trivial, and requires increasing investment by companies and individuals in (self) development, without certainty of where to invest.

Predictable Result D: Populist rhetoric/media becomes increasingly effective at portraying disparity. Envy and anger at disparity grows, leading to increased government attempts/regulation to "correct" this "imbalance." Democrat/Republican alike succumb to this pressure. Lobbying intensifies as the Beltway Parasites feed on the frenzy. Government interference in economy causes increasing systemic failures.

Suggestions:
1. Prepare yourself to surf this wave. Make sure you are on the cutting edge, not the bleeding edge.
2. Teach yourself to focus on and promote absolute wealth, not relative wealth.
3. Promote positive adaptations to the rapid changes, using profit as a slipstream to fund the promotion in an upward spiral.
SOURCE URL: http://rationalspirituality.com/bursing.jpg


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  • Posted by dbhalling 2 years, 11 months ago
    I wish this were true, but technology cannot set us free by itself. The internet was suppose to make us more free, but it allowed the NSA to spy on us more easily. Encryption was supposed to protect us people spying on us, but then we find out companies are putting in back doors for the government. Technology can be used for both good and evil.

    There is no short cut for the hard philosophical work that needs to be done and proper government is necessary for long term technological growth.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
      There are automatic brakes. Patent laws, required testing, medical area is big on that since thalidomide. EPA rules... you name it. Technology may have the answer producing and selling it is an entirely different story. greater than 256 codes ring a bill?
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      • Posted by blackswan 2 years, 11 months ago
        Think globally. Even though this government is intrusive, others aren't or can't be. There are workarounds. At some point, the government will have to decide if they want the cutting edge here or elsewhere. Those with the knowledge are the ones in charge.
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  • Posted by Timbus 2 years, 11 months ago
    Granted that there will always be a need for agencies such as the FDA and FAA, but how do we revise state and federal laws that promote rather than hinder business growth?
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Hopefully, we do that by creating new businesses that they don't know how to control, and in the process of dealing with them, they create more freedom for other businesses.

      I know - It is an optimistic idea, but I am voting for it anyway!
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  • Posted by  $  Flootus5 2 years, 11 months ago
    What if the premises are wrong? Government regulation grows exponentially and technology only less exponentially? As in predictable result D.

    Which we appear to be witnessing.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 11 months ago
    I strongly agree with this almost every word of this.

    I'm confused, though, if gov't grows slower than technology, how in Result D does it cause systemic failures?

    BTW, I agree completely that technology is simultaneously democratizing information and indirectly leading to envy and anger. I'm not clear what the outcome will be. I see this as a crossroads where it could break either for or against liberty.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Great question. Here's the thinking...

      Government intervention is both blunt and cronyist.

      It's attempts to catch up with technology will be industry changing in terms of what is allowed and what is incentivized. These interventions will cause profound shifts in the industries affected (and those that are dependent on them) AWAY from optimal.

      In fast growing industries, this will cause displacement and shortages. Everything that is dependent on these industries will be affected by the shortages. The solutions that private industries come up with to deal with this and to take advantages of the perverse incentives will ripple, interfering with other critical products/services.

      The bigger/faster growing the industry, the more dependencies of that industry, the bigger the problems.

      This will combine with additional intervention and create failures of entire systems.

      Think healthcare. As one piece falls, the next piece gets weak, which causes more out of control spending, which causes prices to go up, which changes consumer behavior, which requires more intervention etc.

      make sense?
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 11 months ago
        This is interesting. I detect both trends: a) technology giving us more than we dreamed possible temping people to accept gov't intervention and b) the thing you said about healthcare, which I view as a child moving coins around on a table trying to find some clever position where he has more money. I never thought about how those two trends interact.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
    I'd argue that the graph is simply wrong. The government has never been ahead of the curve. It is always struggling to catch up and respond to advances, it just has an easier time when the pace of innovation is slow. Governments are reactive - not anticipatory. It's one of the reasons they are so inefficient.

    My suggestions/conclusions:
    The government is only going to fall farther behind every day. The responses to Uber, Google's self-driving cars, and many other inventions only demonstrate this. My fear is that instead of enabling these trends, governments will face this control crisis and instead crack down to slow the pace of innovation to fit their ongoing management. This is going to result in a struggle where either freedom wins out and these tyrants are shoved to the side, or it will result in the extermination of the inventor, Atlas Shrugged-style.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
      Referring to the actual statement made by Bill Gates he gave two parts of the government credit for being ahead of the, game, leading the way and funding the civilian scientists. The two are NSF the National Science Foundation and DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Two examples that benefited the civilian community are teflon and the internet which while it was invented and initially built by civilian scientists was done with the bill footed by the above two Government agencies.

      The government quickly lost or refused control and Gates commented on that as well.

      Some of the government faults were stealing designs and patented materials that had been submitted for purchase considerations and refused then later claimed to have been developed by the government. One was the bolt action of the Springfield Rifle of WWI fame (Mauser received payment some years later by order of the Supreme Court) and a combined load bearing harness and back pack system where every part had at least three uses. the LoCo Pack designed, manufacrtured, and sold around the world including private sales to US military personnel but not to the US Government. The blame there fell on Picatinny Arsenal. Never did find or hear about the outcome...maybe a a deal was struck .....However the Lo and Co came from the son of the owner of Lowe Alpine systems and Tom Cook a former US Special Forces trooper and the factory was in Emoryville, CA.

      One of the hugely funny results was the internet scandal when VP Gore claimed to have invented it. He promptly received a man of he year award from the USA porn industry. Still an uncontrolled and very lucrative part, from all accounts, of that field of business endeavor.

      One particular area was attacked by our own federal law enforcement,, one studio was shut down and everything they produced is still available on the net but now free of charge while the business went to other 'studios.' Zero arrests, zero cooperation but 100 percent. success claimed.

      In summation let's hear a standing Oh Shit for Al Gore..Porn's man of the year and probably by now a life time achievement awardee. He did something right after all - according to some.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 11 months ago
    SAME AS IT EVER WAS.
    HW has just put in writing, something I have said for years. He/she said it better. In Russia, my grandfather did beautiful leather work, mainly sword and dagger scabbards. In America, he worked in a factory as a manual laborer. But he didn't complain because even though he went from craftsman to laborer, he lived better than he could even aspire to in Russia. He even was able to have caviar every now and then. (Not beluga, but the cheaper stuff.)
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      It is an interesting choice, isn't it? I live in a suburban condo complex - everyone's buildings look the same; they are color coordinated, we park our cars in our garages. Not much individual personality, although it is nice enough. AND, it is clean, safe, high quality, and (more) affordable. I even eat steak now and then. :-)
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 2 years, 11 months ago
    My fist question is that I've seen nothing that substantiates that gov't regulation only grows arithmetically.

    And secondly, doesn't technology that has significant impact, occur at unpredictable intervals, ie EM uses, transistor, maser/laser?

    While it's true that technology grows on technology, but so does regulation.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Zen, I wrote this piece after an extensive empirical study of regulatory documentation... NOT! :-)

      Although, http://rationalspirituality.com/pages...

      In terms of unpredictable intervals I argue that the democratization of technology and the number of fundamental breakthroughs that exist but have yet to be integrated/applied will lead to creativity unlike we have ever seen. It will be unpredictable in moments, but the trend will be relatively smooth.

      And - They are still working on Net Neutrality (arithmetic) , while the internet has grown exponentially. (he says, hoping this carries water)...
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  • Posted by dnr 2 years, 11 months ago
    Kurzweil and others have long documented the exponential rate of innovation. It seems that we are, in fact, passed the knee of this exponential curve. Governments can attempt to interfere with innovations and the societal changes they bring, but in the long-run will have little or no effect. At this point in time, it seems like most religions are doing a better job of screwing things up than governments. "This too will pass."
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Amen. Government will have to adapt to the new realities - it will be too slow to stop them. End result? Little to no effect. Or rather, the changes wrought by technology will be so profound that the regulations created to attempt to stop them will be annoyances.

      I hope. :-)
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 11 months ago
    I was OK until I read "specialization creates efficiencies." I'm a fan of Heinlein, and remember one of my favorite Lazarus Long quotes about humans: "Specialization is for insects." The ability to adapt to rapid change is critical to getting positive results, especially with the accelerating pace of technology.

    Elon Musk defies the dictum of specialization, making his fortune with PayPal, and striking out in multiple technological directions, with space launchers, solar energy, electric vehicles, and high speed transportation (Hyperloop).

    Right now we appear to be engaging in a battle between results B and D. If B wins, we will see the world's first trillionaire, most likely a space entrepreneur who mines asteroids. If D wins, we may see the end of the American experiment, collapsing in violence.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
      PayPal made him rich but it's not a place I was advise people to go to find customer service nor honesty. In that regard they are equal with Bank America which is somewhere between none and zero..
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Fair enough. Thou art God.

      And, as Smith pointed out - it is not to the benefit of the humanity of the worker that he becomes a cog in a machine - it is the benefit of the society as a whole.

      Specialization also need not be "insectual" (sorry, incest puns are a habit of mine). We each specialize in Ayn Rand - which doesn't suck. :-)

      To challenge you - isn't it precisely because so many people specialize so profoundly that allows Musk to dream and invest - while other people figure out the details? (I won't mention the government cheese involved).

      I vote B. :-)
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 11 months ago
        My view that people need to avoid becoming highly specialized comes from personal experience. Among the variety of things I've done is leading teams of software developers creating classified military systems. Some of the best programmers were individuals with music and philosophy educational backgrounds, and even one serious believer that the Earth is flat! Contact and association with other professions creates a more open mind that enables exploring the untried solutions. I experienced some of the most constrained, limited minds among distinguished scientists considered expert in their fields.

        I have to wonder what you're doing being associated with Ayn Rand followers, when you quote Smith's observation that subordinates individual benefit to the "benefit of society as a whole." Altruism and sacrifice for others is in direct contradiction to Objectivist principles.
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      • Posted by blackswan 2 years, 11 months ago
        If you look at a hunter gatherer society, there are probably only about 10 jobs. In an agrarian society, it's on the order of 100 jobs. In an industrial society (ours), it's on the order of 1000 jobs; thinking logarithmically, we're seeing a 10 fold increase in specialization as we move forward. That specialization has played a significant role in the exponential growth of industrial society relative to the alternatives.
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
        Almost sounds like you are talking Steve Jobs except he figured out the details as well as inventing whole new worlds of need. No zero sum game for that man. His pie expanded in size and in value while the Pelosi's of the world scrambled for crumbs.
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  • Posted by  $  jlc 2 years, 11 months ago
    Excellent article, which highlights points that are often been overlooked in visualizing the future. I believe that there is one factual error in the otherwise excellent list: What I have read indicates that the poor are getting richer faster than the rich are, so the gap is closing, not widening. This is minor, though, in comparison to your main point that high tech is increasing the capabilities of 'everyone' at a marvelous rate and that it is shifting paradigms faster than bureaucracies can compensate.

    There is an aspect of this that I think of as 'virtual Australias'. When you engage in interactions that are beyond the sphere of control, you have the freedom of a 'new land'. When we discuss the union's demands for increased minimum wage leading to robotization of fast food, we are talking about this. (The Maker movement is another example.)

    I am very aware that Louis XIV, Kublai Kahn, Alexander the Great...none of them had or could have had HVAC or the Internet. "Is it not passing brave to be a king, and ride in triumph through [a personal virtual Persepolis on the Internet]?"

    Jan
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    • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 years, 11 months ago
      The poor can get rich faster than the rich AND the gap increase at the same time. Imagine two people, one making 10K the other making 50K. The gap is 40K. Triple the wealth of the lower person and double the wealth of the higher and you have 30K and 100K. The gap is 70K so the gap is widening.

      This is why the focus on income disparity. The lifestyle, at least by international standards, of America's 'poor' is pretty impressive. You need a 'cause' to get power.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Virtual New Zealands you mean... right? ;-)

      Louis XIV had an awesome MySpace page for a while...
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      • Posted by  $  jlc 2 years, 11 months ago
        Why New Zealand? I was referring to the history of Britain dumping a bunch of convicts into Australia and then discovering that she had no control over what they did any more!

        Jan
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
          historically that discovery took some time from first settlement to post WWII to be exact. The scenes depicted in Quigley, Rabbit Proof Fence, the movie about the Boer Wars where Australian troops were drafted and used, Lighthorse, in the Crimean War just to name a few... 1788 to 1901 Britain exercised complete control.
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          • Posted by  $  jlc 2 years, 11 months ago
            If we established colonies on other planets, as soon as they became self-sustaining they would realize that they could become independent. It would not take us centuries.

            My point in this thread is that as soon as technology gives us a place that has protected borders (via distance or force fields, as in the Gulch) and is self-sufficient, we have independence. This is why technology can determine culture.

            Jan
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            • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
              Establish colonies with the rule that upon self sustainment they would automatically be independent. That cuts out all the crap and allows focus on establishing them with a decent philosophy and eventually a decent government tradition. The problems would come from those who started with out that head start in the right direction....and had to do the Plato vs Aristotle thing all over again. Eventually though about 200 earth years later they would be where we are today...with their version of holy economic wars.and revolutions needed to re-establish independence and freedoms. Something we won't see accomplished in our lifetimes.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 11 months ago
    I love everything but the terms. . the term singularity
    refers to the "edge" of a black hole, and it's an odd
    choice here. . and inflection refers to the point where
    a curve changes from positive to negative slope, or from
    increasing 1st derivative to decreasing 1st derivatve --
    or vice versa, in both cases. . I can see the black hole
    analogy, kinda, but the word inflection??? -- j
    .
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      John,

      As a professional mathematician, I must disagree on the use of terms argument. "inflection" means "the point on the curve where it starts to look different in an important way."

      Then again, maybe I am making up terms and you are right. Yeah, that's it.

      What do you call the "knee of the curve" point?

      Or, is it even more difficult than that, because the equation "Y= -1/x" always looks the same at each order of magnitude, and the "knee of the curve" "inflection point thingy" is an illusion of distance?
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      • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 11 months ago
        it's the tightest point in the curve? . you picked a tough
        equation, with y going to minus "infinity" at x=0 . . it's plain
        that it wasn't a mathematician who chose the terms for
        the source article.

        it is, of course, the point of intersection -- maybe that's what
        they meant to say. -- j
        .
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
          Thanks for that it makes sense now I'm a late bloomer in math.. So the answer is 'nothing' if one was presented that and asked the value or worth or what would one find at that location.

          Should had you guys around when they screwed up the millennium fiesta
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
    Interesting article. I think that increasing speed of innovation is here to stay. BUT, government has also learned to do new things. Like in Las Vegas- you cannot do ANY business until you convince the powers that be your business fits into one of their "categories" of approved businesses. And they are slow at expanding their list as innovation proceeds. For example AirBnB is illegal in Las vegas. It took an hour for me to get a license to do simple manufacturing of LED loff road lights while they figured out what categoy it fit into.

    The government can simply do what it wants now, like forbidding any profits over $xx, or forbidding any income over $xx by making it subject to 100% tax.

    There is directive 10-289 stuff too. All bets are off with government these days. There seems to be nothing off the table now.
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  • Posted by khalling 2 years, 11 months ago
    I love the optimism, but I disagree. In fact, all you have to do is look at the late 90s to prove the graph incorrect. The less the regulation and control the take-off of disruptive creation. I agree that dark web and alternative currencies will be disruptive- there has to be more than this to disrupt across industries, creating jobs virtually overnight. and so I question the author's premise. Not to mention-how many have moved against intellectual property-patents specifically. Like environmentalism, the wave of anti-patent sentiment will kill disruptive invention more than regulatory control. This is factually proven in History.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      I defer to DK on the bs/problems of intellectual patents. And, when I look at airbnb/uber/bitcoin/blockchain, I see so many disruptive changes that the government is going to be increasingly on its heels.

      Will it always find some way to create laws to attempt to regulate (as much a s a mis-nomer as that term is)? Sure. However, the technology will change the game, and they will adapt themselves to it. The faster this happens, the more difficult it will be for them to do so.

      AND, while they shut down napster and piratebay, dozens of other sites took their place. The key, as I understand it, is that more people are learning how to use the technologies. As the next 3 billion people come on line, the game as we have known it is forever changing.

      I admit, it is a bit optimistic. However, I believe warranted.
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
        An interesting book entitled The World Is Flat puts what you said together with fast movement of packages from a small memory chip or birthstone ring or microkini to a huge shipping container, the communications system, the plastic payment handling systems, and outsourcing which in effect flattens the world's business and commercial playing field. Business has an escape from the predator Governments like Washington DC. They move out of the country, still advertise here, and unless you need address to home courier service can get you products from around the world in one or two days. If there are any taxes the end user consumer pays them....the company is safe and elsewhere. Who does that not hurt? Some of the bigger unions for items still made locally and especially shipped locally, installers of comm systems, Walmart and the Dollar stores... the others will be in the welfare lines if they don't join the real world....

        Now if we could only outsource government...
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 2 years, 11 months ago
    Pure science is devoid of ethics. Reality is what it is, there is no good or evil, no right or wrong, only understanding or the lack of it. A nuclear scientist can build a bomb or an engine, the physics is virtually identical. The choice goes beyond the relative simplicity of science and becomes driven by morals and ethics which is astonishingly more complex. I was once asked why I didn't consider a career in law rather than science. My answer was juvenile but accurate, "With science I don't have to memorize so much." This may seem facile on the surface but there is solid reasoning behind it. With science almost everything can be derived from a few fundamental principals because it is nature that makes the rules and the scientist cannot alter them he just needs to find out what they are. Nature is honest. The law, however, consists of a labyrinth of inventions, some interlocking and some independent. Law is based upon what we want reality to be while science is based upon what reality is. The problem is that no one can agree on what reality "should" be so we live in a state of constant conflict of agendas and ideologies. T.E. Lawrence was once asked "Why do you love the desert?" His response was wonderful, "Because it's clean". That describes how I feel about science.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 2 years, 11 months ago
      I disagree. Science absolutely has an ethics and to see what happens when that ethics is ignored you need look no farther than man-made global warming.

      The ethics of science includes, but is not limited to reporting the data accurately (What is evil is reporting the data incorrectly). It also includes the ethics of following the data to its logical conclusions (What is evil is not following the logical conclusions). These are huge moral values and rarely followed by very many people.
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      • Posted by  $  Flootus5 2 years, 11 months ago
        Science has the ethics of reality. Law can have the ethics of rationality or that of politics. The latter is what we are currently experiencing to our eternal regret.
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    • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 11 months ago
      I think morality and ethics enters the picture when progressing from science to engineering. Scientists need not be moral, as it's their job to discover the intricacies of the world, but it's the engineer that uses the scientists' discoveries to construct things that provide value.

      The engineer's code of ethics is to perform responsibly to meet the needs of the client, delivering a product that achieves the goals requested. The moral side is a dilemma, when the client wants instruments of destruction, and some engineers make the decision not to participate.
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      • Posted by khalling 2 years, 11 months ago
        Dr., I respectfully disagree. There is certainly Ethics in Science. To stay factual in all endeavors. Truthful-it is why the scientific method was developed.

        I do not think it is an engineer's Ethics to responsibly meet the needs of his client. First of all-who determines "responsibly"? Second, why is the client the mission of the engineer first and foremost? If you are working a contract, you have a moral obligation to meet your part, up and until, the client breaks their side of the agreement. For vast numbers of engineers who are inventing, their Ethics remains the same as with science and to themselves first and foremost. They are creating and inventing things that initially have no clients-so no "to serve" concept ever required. No one asked Edison to build the light bulb or Carrier to develop air conditioning. They saw a problem and they designed solutions. Then the client came.
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        • Posted by ProfChuck 2 years, 11 months ago
          Having worked as both an engineer and scientist I have some perspective. In the simplest terms a scientist seeks to find out how things work while an engineer seeks to find out how to make things work. These are two very different objectives. In the first case the goal is understanding and in the second the goal is implementation. While it is not always the case the scientist is characterized by idealism and the engineer is characterized by pragmatism. Each has its own set of ethical values. It is interesting that this dichotomy of views is frequently linked to political orientation. Scientists tend to be liberal while engineers tend toward conservatism. World view and interpretation of what is significant plays an essential role.
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          • Posted by khalling 2 years, 11 months ago
            I agree, except I see this explanation as more epistemology than Ethics. But then you say "each has its own ethical values" ? I guess I think the Ethics and values should not change between the two. Maybe you can further explain
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            • Posted by ProfChuck 2 years, 11 months ago
              "Ethics" is a troubling word because it implies the existence of an underlying moral truth that can be identified and employed. "Truth" is a slippery concept. As Indiana Jones said "Science is about facts, if it is truth you seek go down the hall to the philosophy department".
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          • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 years, 11 months ago
            One of the biggest separators between liberal and conservative is the zero sum game. Liberals tend to look at the world, particularly the economic world, as a zero sum game. There are only so much resources, so much wealth and they are concerned with fairly spreading THE wealth around.

            Conservatives (and for this purpose we fall in that realm) look at the world as having virtually infinite possibilities for wealth creation. Invention and effort can make wealth where none was found before. We are concerned with making sure the system produces the environment where wealth creation is enhanced.

            This explains the scientist/engineer split. Scientists are trying to understand the rules of the universe. There is a real universe and it has real rules. This IS a zero sum game. Engineers, on the other hand, create new things. They view the world as having endless possibilities. That mindset difference predisposes their political views.
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            • Posted by ProfChuck 2 years, 11 months ago
              The concept of zero sum vs plus sum game is an important part of understanding reality. However, it goes beyond the issues of a finite source of raw materials. Even finite resources can be reconfigured and recycled in a nearly infinite number of ways. It takes ingenuity to do this but this fact changes the game from zero sum to plus sum. Our largest natural resources, water and air, have been recycled and reconfigured by natural processes for billions of years. Man has extended this process by recognizing that recycling the refined metals found in discarded objects such as automobiles is less costly in terms of energy than extracting these metals from ores.
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              • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
                Chuck - recognizing that different configurations create new worlds is part of that plus sum game.

                When I get into conversations with people around this, getting the plus sum frame is the central goal I aim for. I want to check/challenge their premises that open up the larger conversation.

                And, I like like Reisman. I am less interested in whether things are recycled than whether they are cost-effective. :-) Recycling is only valuable when it adds value (aluminum) not when it wastes resources (plastic).
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          • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
            Patterns. exceptions prove the rule?
            scientists liberal, engineers conservative.
            before 30, not liberal = no heart. after 30, not conservative = no brain.
            more money earned = conservative ...
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        • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 11 months ago
          An engineer who develops things without any perspective as to the eventual user of such device is a "tinkerer" with a hobby. Edison had a definite view as to who his eventual client would be, with a very definite idea of how best to serve that client's needs. He also viewed the electric light as a device that would create a need for widespread electric power. Self-interest personified, but if how to please the client isn't part of the equation, then the project is likely to fail.

          Responsible execution should be obvious: to create systems that provide the solution to a problem/need in a fashion that's affordable, reliable, and safe. To engineer something that doesn't fit those requirements is either pointless or reckless. Dealing with an amoral client is another issue entirely.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 2 years, 11 months ago
        I am amplifying what K said:

        I disagree. Science absolutely has an ethics and to see what happens when that ethics is ignored you need look no farther than man-made global warming.

        The ethics of science includes, but is not limited to reporting the data accurately (What is evil is reporting the data incorrectly). It also includes the ethics of following the data to its logical conclusions (What is evil is not following the logical conclusions). These are huge moral values and rarely followed by very many people.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
        I believe there is ethics/morals behind every decision. A scientist seeks understanding of the universe why? To profit thereby - either physically through invention and marketing or mentally through a better understanding of the universe. The scientist doesn't willingly expend time and energy in pursuit of knowledge solely to enrich others at his own expense.

        Can there by other motives as well? Certainly control enters in as an ideological goal. We've seen governments institute tracking and monitoring programs in the effort to control their populations (NSA). We've seen governments collude with "scientists" to promote policies of control (climate scare tactics). We've seen governments scare their own people into betraying their own friends and family to be executed (Stalin, Mao, etc.).

        I think we delude ourselves if we think to ourselves that there are no morals behind scientific discovery. Every choice we make is based on comparative values: one thing versus another in pursuit of some goal. And it is the goal we select that determines our moral compass.
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        • Posted by ProfChuck 2 years, 11 months ago
          It seems to be an issue of cause and effect. A scientific discovery may invoke a moral conflict and even a newly defined set of ethics. But ethics and morals cannot invoke a scientific discovery. They may determine the search strategies but they cannot dictate the outcome, only how the discovery is used.
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
        In Objectivism the ethics is the third and final phase. But it is present and it demands constant testing and constant proof. Science has two types as was mentioned. The ethics that pure science demands as in A=A the tmperature was 86.4 F or it was not. an distorted values= a Failing grade. the second is once something is proven useful is the use moral or not moral. The first is a choice made by nature as interpreted by the senses and reason. The second is an individual responsibility.
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    • Posted by  $  jlc 2 years, 11 months ago
      I agree. Nature does not give a damn. It is completely, reassuringly, and terrifyingly, impartial.

      My teen-age answer was similar: I would rather try to discover things about an objective world than spend my life arguing about an artificial set of rules constructed by man.

      That being said, concepts such as 'justice' and 'mercy' are constructs of intelligence. It is a worthy goal to try to bring the mish-mash of Law into alignment with such principles - it is just not 'my thing'. I want to deal with physical reality, not a second or third hand filtrate of same.

      Jan
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      • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
        "A second or third hand filtrate." - Boom! I like it.

        Question - for fun. Is "filtrate" somehow different than "justice" or "mercy" in being a construct of intelligence? (IOE).
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Chuck,

      I hope I am right and the future belongs to the desert/scientists.
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      • Posted by  $  Flootus5 2 years, 11 months ago
        I love the desert. That is why I am here. And as a scientist.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
          Which one? I'm on the edge of the Sonora....
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          • Posted by  $  Flootus5 2 years, 11 months ago
            High Desert. NE Nevada. It is snowing. 5700 foot elevation, but typically dry, dry, dry. 11 inches a year average.

            Used to spend a lot of time around Wickenburg.
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            • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 11 months ago
              Most don't realize one of the largest deserts is in Alaska. It has to do as you stated with annual precipitation. however the others are the Great American, Sonoran and Chihuhua. Others less well known cover much of Eastern Oregon and Washington. Mostly thought of as Green and wooded they have much of the state's land supporting a desert. Cactus? I've stepped on cactus and taken a spine through a leather boot in Montana. Best description...The West by Southwest Chapter of William Least Heat Moon's classic 'Blue Highways.page 153. That's west Crockett County
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              • Posted by  $  Flootus5 2 years, 11 months ago
                Indeed. I've seen 107 degrees in the summer in eastern Montana with cactus everywhere, and then the following winter, it is minus 30 with ground blizzards like you wouldn't believe! But total precip is so low it is a desert.
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