Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Computer Models

Earlier i quoted Michael Crichton:

This fascination with computer models is something I understand very well. Richard Feynmann called it a disease. I fear he is right

Clifford Stoll cuts to the heart of why this is so:

Computers hide mistakes in logic while sanctifying information with an aura of truth.

(Sorry, i wrote down the quote but failed to get the proper citation. It's from several years ago, probably from Silicon Snake Oil.)

A model will spit out reams of information and data. It seems so concrete and precise: percentages are calculated to two decimal places.

Yet deep in the unseen guts of the model are a bunch of WAGs and SWAGs put there at 1.30 in the morning by analysts desperately trying to make their deadlines.

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