Jan 21, 2023·edited Jan 21, 2023Liked by TJ Radcliffe

Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year.

This is a pretty intense post. I am not sure I follow all of it. I have no background in nuclear physics that matters here, so it was very hard to understand your example. I think you are talking about how level of measurement connects the concepts of accuracy and robustness. Then you went on to talk about the significance of this for economics and socialism. As much as this is correct, I have trouble with your 4 points of a robust system. In systems composed of human beings, the idea of 'information' is not as clear as it is for machines. There are many kinds of information for humans. Some of these are vague and only understood locally. I frequently talk about the idea of legitimacy. While I agree with you in principle, I am less sure stating principles of robustness in these terms is meaningful for social systems composed of humans. Having said that, I was intrigued by one of your statements about the use of "creativity to see how to meet efficiency targets without sacrificing robustness."

This is one of those posts that I really need to print out and think about every word. Either I forget about doing this, or you post something else before I get around to doing it. Or it might also be one of the posts where I end up thinking you don't realize the brilliance of what you have written - at least from my POV.

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I'm gonna go with me not realizing the brilliance of what I've written. :-D

You may be putting more effort into reading these things that I do in to writing them. This was dashed off in a couple of hours the day before it posted, as I've been up to my neck in quantum code for a while and the rest of the world is kind of a vague cloud of drifting fog.

I'll see if I can unpack the features of robustness in later posts. I think it's reasonable to talk about robustness of human societies and large-scale organizations. Late Medieval European society survived 1/3 or 1/2 of the population dying in a few years, and evolved into something more robust rather than collapsing. The modern world, in contrast, would probably not survive one out of every three people dropping dead. That suggests there is a difference between different systems of social or economic organization that make them more or less robust against external shocks.

There may be different ways of putting this into the language of social science, but I'm mostly thinking out loud here, and tend to express stuff in the language of systems theory: information, complexity, etc.

Happy Year of the Rabbit!

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Jan 22, 2023·edited Jan 22, 2023Liked by TJ Radcliffe

In Vietnam, they call this the Year of the Cat as a statement against China. I am going with that.

I once said that if the environmental collapse happened the way that modern extremists say it will, I doubt I would even notice. I billion deaths could occur without me even knowing any of them, or even knowing someone who knows any of them...and I live in Asia and know lots of citizens of even further downstream countries. Your statement about evolving into something more robust makes me think of the pro-Stalin argument that by the end of his control over the USSR, it had evolved into an industrialized, global superpower.

I look forward to hearing more.

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