Technology at the Limits of Comprehension

Book - 2016
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"You don't understand the software running your car or your iPhone. But here's a secret: neither do the geniuses at Apple or the Ph.D.'s at Toyota--not perfectly, anyway. No one, not lawyers, doctors, accountants, or policy makers, fully grasps the rules governing your tax return, your retirement account, or your hospital's medical machinery. The same technological advances that have simplified our lives have made the systems governing our lives incomprehensible, unpredictable, and overcomplicated. In Overcomplicated, complexity scientist Samuel Arbesman offers a fresh, insightful field guide to living with complex technologies that defy human comprehension. As technology grows more complex, Arbesman argues, its behavior mimics the vagaries of the natural world more than it conforms to a mathematical model. If we are to survive and thrive in this new age, we must abandon our need for governing principles and rules and accept the chaos. By embracing and observing the freak accidents and flukes that disrupt our lives, we can gain valuable clues about how our algorithms really work. What's more, we will become better thinkers, scientists, and innovators as a result."--Page [4] of cover.
Published: New York, New York : Current, [2016]
ISBN: 9781591847762
Branch Call Number: 303.483 ARB
Characteristics: x, 244 pages ;,22 cm


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Aug 13, 2016

This is really a poorly presented book, wish I could say differently but . . .
The author quotes a whole bunch of submediocrities: David Brooks (the dude who thinks the hardest workers in America are think tank skanks), neocon econ, Tyler Cowen, Kevin Kelly (the dude who believed in that Magical New Economy - - also called the Dot Com Bubble - - and the same guy who searched for God on NPR), Andrew Blum, Neal Stephenson, and the blurb on his book is from James Rickards (Remember that hedge fund, LTCM, which almost blew up the world in the late 1990s? Remember that dude, James Rickards, and his $1 billion Credit Default Swaps who was with LTCM? Yup, same clown!).
This book is more about mental sloppiness and myriad excuses for such. Since the author repeatedly mentions Microsoft, let's use them as Exhibit One: they discontinued the popular inclusion of extensive documentation with their software - - once the industry standard - - so you would have to purchase their books and docs through Microsoft Publishing [good for at least another $1 billion for Micro$oft], and as a contractor with their Tech Support for Win 95, those of us more experienced were highly chagrined because their in-house operating systems documentation was written to convey what they wanted us to believe, not how their operating sytem ACTUALLY OPERATED!!!!
Book should have been titled:
Loser, Ask Not!
[I agree that software code size has exceeded individual comprehension, which is why they have teams, and are supposed to have properly documented programs!!!]


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