Monday, 16 September 2013

More On Unpredictability And Intelligence

Regarding unpredictability, Ninian Smart, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lancaster, presented an elegant argument for the inherent unpredictability of scientific discoveries.

Anyone who had announced in advance that a man called Einstein was going to formulate a "Theory of Relativity" would have predicted merely the name, not the content, of the new theory. However, to announce instead the content of the theory would have been not to predict the discovery but to make the discovery. Therefore, discoveries cannot be predicted. I cite this here because it is relevant to the unpredictable technological innovations mentioned in the previous post and therefore also to their equally unpredictable effects on the economy.

The other problem with Technate civilization in Poul Anderson's The Long Way Home (St Albans, Herts, 1975) is its Ministers' attitude to their population:

"'It isn't possible to have definition, half the people always have below-average intelligence; and the average is not high.'" (p. 64)

"'Look around you - think these apes are fit to decide public policy?'" (p. 65)

I would say that they are at least as fit as their rulers who are heading towards more genocidal wars. These apes, human beings, built civilization in the first place. Their low intelligence is a self-fulfilling prophecy because their schooling comprises, "...a few years including hypnotic indoctrination...enough to teach the basic rudiments..." (p. 65), but not enough to teach anything about public policy.

Learning is life-long and includes neither hypnosis nor indoctrination. I think that a fully informed world population able both collectively and individually to control its own productive, creative and leisure activities is, with modern technology, a realistic educational goal.

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