13.0546 recursion

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 20:45:11 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 546.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 21:33:36 +0100
             From: "Osher Doctorow" <osher@ix.netcom.com>
             Subject: recursion

    From: Osher Doctorow <mailto:osher@ix.netcom.com>osher@ix.netcom.com APril
    8, 2000 2:03PM

    Dear Colleagues:

    Franchois Lachance as usual has posed some fascinating open problems (Vol.
    13, No. 535). I will only tackle one here: what type of history can be
    derived from observing the effects of machines or their scarcity/abundance
    on reading. We have entered the "causal zone" here, which ties in with
    logic, because of the words "effects of" (I will not try to explain my
    views on this here, but maybe some day). I have recently been presenting
    some of my theorems related to this to MCRIT-L (Multiple criteria decision
    making ...). It turns out that in logic-based probability (LBP), you can
    examine not only what happens when you add more "causing variables"
    (independent variables, although the name is confusing) but also what
    happens when you add more "caus-ed variables" (dependent variables,
    although again the name is unfortunate since statistical
    independence/dependence are quite different concepts). You might be
    familiar with this from the difference between multiple regression and
    multivariate regression (the latter allows you to add more "dependent
    variables"), but be careful because these latter two are (Bayesian)
    conditional probability models and so fix the "independent" variables
    rather than allow them to vary as does LBP. So to summarize a partial
    answer to Francois' question, we probably derive a logic-based probability
    history. In LBP, rarer events have more influence - for example, genius,
    creativity, extremely good fortunate, catastrophes. When either computers
    or reading become very abundant, their influence diminishes
    probabilistically according to LBP. I suppose that an example would be
    that when reading was rare, the few readers included the great creative
    writers and scientists. When computers were rare, we saw the greatest
    relative contributions from computers. It is somewhat similar to the
    recent importance of technology stocks, where according to the
    Guilder-Christensen school (the latter from Harvard Business School),
    extremely rare technological innovations (and, in fact, with low
    probabilities, so in a sense hard to predict) are the crucial
    ingredient. We are seeing the limitations starting in computers now, as we
    approach the silicon limit and need rare innovations in quantum and
    molecular computers.

    I will close by adding a new conjecture based partly on my 35 book reviews
    recently published electronically by Amazon.com: Creative Genius as opposed
    to Follower Genius or Ingenious Followers is characterized by frequent
    inspiration of the public as well as oneself, simplification including
    frequent translation of complex mathematical or other specialized language
    into ordinary English (French, German, etc.), communication in the sense of
    the first point, and openness to new ideas instead of steadfast defense of
    one's own theories in the face of new ideas. I include these here to keep
    the open questions moving "on a roll".


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