Thursday, 24 November 2011

Simulator's dilemma

The fabric of the universe is robust, yet intricate and quite tenacious. I often wonder why people act the way they do, but I find this is more difficult to decipher than first appears. Events around a person shape a person, who subsequently incluences subsequent events around him. We are all entangled in a causal loop with no definite start or end point (at least thats what the observer inside the system is led to believe). A suboptimal control over situations poses the need for predictability, but the very nature of human behaviour and the unfolding of situations is dependent on each other. And this one is led to conclude that to deterministically figure out the outcome of one situation, one would have to track back to the origin of time and solve equations all along. This leads us (me, at least) to believe that if the 'nurture' argument along with 'determinism' is assumed, one would either find the solution to every situation that could ever unfold, or none. Engineering promises approximate solutions to some situations, but if the butterfly effect is to be believed, approximations would lead us nowhere and every once in a while our approximate model would go horribly wrong and lead us to a regrettable conclusion. However, don't humans also make horrible judgments sometimes? I guess an approximating algorithmic machine can then approximately resemble a human, with encoded notions of regret and reinforcement learning.

So how does one apply insight in a situation and use intuitive or calculative predictive power to get the best out of it - either in terms of maximising reward/profit/pleasure or minimising punishment/loss/pain? Surely, we all have inbuilt mechanisms that try its best to get the best exchnge out of a situation. Arguable, some people's internal algorithms are better than others. And hence we see people with similar education, economic and social stature getting different value out of similar situations. It is certainly of interest to mankind to induce equality among masses by optimising people's decisions to make the 'most' out of a situation, given an individual's notion of best case scenario, coupled with his intellectual, economic and social capacity.

I am of the strong opinion that we would all love to possess sufficient power in a situation to have things our way, which could be as trivial as having a good evening, or as big as ruling the world. And we often act in suboptimal ways, overlooking some important details like an adamant competitor or rain or alcohol as determinants in the actual merit of our choices. The sooner do we a) start getting what we want out of situations (maybe by trying out different things), b) realising that we're doing a good job (conscious awareness), and c) figuring out exactly what constitutes the alteration of behaviour to optimise utility in the external world (i.e. noting What works and Why) can we device a code to optimise our (and maybe people's) decisions to almost always get the best out of situations.

Ojas Mehta

Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.


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