Blogs

« go back

11 reasons computers can’t understand or solve our problems without human judgement

Many people are not convinced that the Smart Cities movement will result in the use of technology to make places, communities and cities better. Outside their consumer enjoyment of smartphones, social media and online entertainment - to the degree that they have access to them - they don't believe that technology or the companies that sell it will improve their lives.
 
The technology industry itself contributes significantly to this lack of trust. Too often we overstate the benefits of technology, or play down its limitations and the challenges involved in using it well.
 
Most recently, the idea that traditional processes of government should be replaced by "algorithmic regulation" - the assessment of the outcomes of public systems through the measurement of data, and the automatic adjustment of those systems by algorithms in order to achieve better outcomes - has been proposed by Tim O'Reilly and other prominent technologists.
 
But these ideas - even if they represented a desirable way to run our world, which I don't think they do - overlook well-established scientific and philosophical principles that clearly show that we can never have perfect knowledge about the world, and can't use algorithms to perfectly understand or predict it. 
 
I've written an article which describes those limitations; and lays out what I think is a more balanced way of understanding the value that data and technology can play in helping us as humans take better decisions about running the world - or simply living our lives - in the full knowledge that nothing is certain.
 
http://theurbantechnologist.com/2014/09/07/11-reasons-computers-cant-understand-or-solve-our-problems-without-human-judgement/
 
Cheers, 
 
Rick
Comments
No comments yet. Be the first.