Monthly Archives: December 2011

Heuristics in society

The world around us is prohibitively-complex to fully discern. This fact is undebatable: there are examples everywhere. To compensate, human beings have to form generalizations, or heuristics, about decision-making. They are mental shortcuts that we use every day, without which we would not be able to keep up with demanding, fast-paced modern society. Historically, this ability to make quick unconscious judgments had been useful when aggressive reactions and the fight-or-flight response were necessary to outrun predators, to stretch the human’s physical ability to cope in times of stress. But in a protective, dominating, first-world country, heuristics play a different role. When you investigate the cause of dispute and argument, it eventually narrows down to the fact that someone is wrong. Either there is not enough information available to reach an agreement, or cognitive biases overwhelm sense and reason1. When we use… more →

Where technology is leading mankind

Tell me, every time there is new technology, are there not always people who oppose change? They said television would distort reality. They said mass communication would saturate and destroy our minds. They said transportation would make us provincial and narrow-minded. And they keep saying it and fighting it, completely disregarding that centuries of change have on average improved our standard of living. I suppose it makes little sense to the rationalist how some people can continue fear mongering nonsensically when scientific progress is only the continuation of what has been occurring for millenia. On the other hand, technology is used in weapons for warfare. It is abused and used to avoid human contact, to connect the world in a most asocial, secluded, and apathetic display of conceit. These two sides of technology1 obscure its true nature and breed haughty ethical arguments… more →