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This page contains all of the posts and discussion on MemeStreams referencing the following web page: The Computer as a Road Map to Unknowable Territory. You can find discussions on MemeStreams as you surf the web, even if you aren't a MemeStreams member, using the Threads Bookmarklet.

The Computer as a Road Map to Unknowable Territory
by noteworthy at 7:30 am EST, Feb 18, 2009

Shankar Vedantam:

Last year, as the financial meltdown was getting underway, a scientist named Yaneer Bar-Yam developed a computer model of the economy. Instead of the individuals, companies and brokers that populate the real economy, the model used virtual actors. The computer world allowed Bar-Yam to do what regulators cannot do in real life. It allowed him to change the way actors behaved and then study how those changes rippled through a complex ecosystem.

The virtue of computational models is that when you are confronted by a dizzying array of potential problems, they can tell you where to focus your attention.

Our culture celebrates intuitive leaders who make brilliant calls -- even when we suspect their success was largely luck. Computational models, which speak the language of scientific doubt, are less sexy, but they can tell a president who takes empirical evidence seriously where public health dollars, battlefield troops and financial interventions can have the greatest impact.

Have you seen "Doubt"?

Father Brendan Flynn: You haven't the slightest proof of anything!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty!

Your daily dose of Simpsons:

Smithers: That's quite a nice model, sir.

Burns: Model?

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