In ‘The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy’, a philosopher (Vroomfondel) argues that the quest for the ultimate truth is not suitable for computers and wants policy for it:
We demand Rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty
And although I am fairly certain that Douglas Adams just really loved the play with words: Rigidly defined vs uncertainty, this does not prevent project managers in IT, or stockbrokers to use this quote in wholly inapplicable ways. But who am I to judge them, I will do the same thing.
I talked to a friend yesterday how policy has become polarized (wearing a mask, sending children to school or not). Your position becomes part of your identity or your identity forces you into a position. Are we afraid to of uncertainty? Are we unable to say: “There is not enough information”?
I think there are areas of certainty:
- Earth is a potato like globe, roundish, absolutely not flat.
- Smoking is really really bad for you.
- Climate change is happening, and we are responsible for it.
And maybe we DO need to rigidly define the areas of doubt and uncertainty:
- Most food is not super bad or good for you, no specific food causes or prevents cancer, but the effect of diet is just uncertain.
- We are uncertain about the effects of non-medical masks on sars-covid-2 transmission.
So let’s practice for when someone wants to know something that is uncertain and say it with me:
We (currently) do not know
I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com, post - 24/100
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Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash