[ExI] Forbes posting

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 20:30:44 UTC 2012

On 6 December 2012 01:26, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> Hanging around climate scientists (in a broad sense) is interesting. The
> local Oxford consensus is something along the lines of:
> "Humans are definitely changing the climate in worrying ways, but the
> models can we make are fairly crappy due to foundational reasons that are
> unlikely to ever go away (but we still want bigger computers! Because they
> are cool!) But the *big* hole in our knowledge is the mapping climate ->
> weather -> human impact. We simply do not have any good ways of estimating
> that. And then politicians and activists take our dear research and make it
> *stupid*. Oh, and geoengineering looks like it could work... which is
> *scary*, because it is going to be the mother of all governance and safety
> problems - now you have climate change with some of the stupid people in
> charge."
> Of course, at least in Europe farmers are largely decoupled from actual
> climate: given the current subsidy situation and the apparent impossibility
> of dislodging it, you can do well by not producing anything.
> The problem for engineers is that engineering works when you get to build
> a clean system that optimizes certain things. But if you need to interface
> with messy existing systems that change, behave irrationally or even
> adversarially, then it becomes *much* harder. It often fails as a
> discipline because it produces too brittle solutions in the face of this
> kind of mess. Which doesn't mean that neat solutions to particular problems
> are not transformative and desirable. It is just that, as soon as you scale
> them up to a  big system it will start to interact with the mess.

Cool and clever depiction. Exactly my take on the subject.

Stefano Vaj
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