Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beholden to Digital Limits

At times of hardship we try to deceive ourselves that all may be well it is just us who worries. And pass up the proper looking at the bottom of it. Now, with the ever increasing problem solving power of computer models it may be no different. In fact, the digital realm itself could be a problem.

In the old days, folks saw drying rivers and crops wilting from searing heat and they KNEW they were in for rough times. Today to believe most anything we are beholden to the might of all-knowing digital models. The extent of the changing climate included. But digital models are the product of the mind well fed from the abundance of food and prosperity. Little wonder it is then that at the time of the hardships we face digital worlds can just as well blindfold us. And when they do, they do it with a false authority of objectivity.

Today, we see what is on our nose but don't necessarily believe it. Not unless digital models can simulate in minute detail the same. There are scientists who now want to simulate Earth weather in fine detail. That is - the weather system of the entire Planet. Never mind that cloud formation alone is an incredibly complex algorithm. And even though we may need advanced modeling very much, science is just not almighty. Human synergy is, because it is so much more powerful. But it needs to act on the same premises - danger, but without panic. And that's not easy. So digital models are good proxi to calm our mind because until those models are conclusive enough, we don't really know HOW to act.

In the old days people gathered reserves to overcome extended drought. A seven years drought was not unknown even though it may have been quite a stretch back then.

Today we are looking down the barrel of a mother of all droughts minimum decades long. At any rate it is already in its 6th year with little sings of relenting. And we just don't know what to do individually. You ask why that might be happening? I don't quite know. But we don't really associate our food with drying, starving soil do we? Sure we know about the stuff, but we don't even know the region of the world where the farmer got the stuff off mother Earth we eat. So what we really associate our food with is the safe and air-conned environment of supermarkets. Food for us comes in nice packages off shelves.

There is nothing we can smell about its origin so why should we care anyway. It may become less, less nutritious and much more expensive, but why worry now. We'll deal with it then. When it will be a real problem for us. Sure there is a problem out there for farmers, produce, cattle and game food, but scientists are on the job. Sure there is a problem for fish, fruit and crops, but our computers are so much more powerful we can even simulate how it happens.

In a few years time where many rivers will run half dry or flood mightily depending on the season, who knows, we might even simulate how our future will look like by then.

But can you imagine any scenario of it looking any better if You don't act? Find out what you can do and do it. If it is just to blog about it. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. It is ok to doubt, but when convinced and compelled so, mobilize others. No panic. Timely and calculated calm. That's what leaders do and you are one if you act and get others act too.

Because when digital models are an excuse NOT to act, they are a much more powerful blindfold than old fashioned self deceit has ever been.

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