Sunday, November 18, 2018

The non-capitalistic Economist

A recent article in the Economist seems to imply that capitalism is responsible for industry concentration and associated loss in societal utility. Treating symptoms never cured diseases but perhaps economists are not aware of this phenomenon. There have not been free markets and free trade in any capitalistic societies - just the opposite. And existing laws are not sufficient to aggressively prosecute monopolies, a necessary condition. More recently, ignorant policy makers have been conducting "trade wars," and protecting their bunkers with "tall and strong," walls. The Economist has to understand that these are not ideas that emerged from capitalism.

It is not capitalism that is responsible for the ills witnessed in society. Ignorant policy makers who do not understand economics and the cunning ones, who have figured out how to take asymmetric risks - as they keep the gains and get bailed out when they lose are the cause. These two cohorts of people, likely less than 0.01% of society have been responsible for the apparent failure of the "free market system." The blame has to go to lack of consistent implementation of laws. Capitalism requires that everybody is treated the same, those who travel by private jets and those in the back of the bus. Capitalism requires incompetence to fail and any policy prescription that simply bails out failed gamblers is fraught with danger.

It is not capitalism that is failing but the semblance of the idea without consistent implementation. As the pendulum swings to the left, aided by an astonishing lack of understanding of the world on the right, it is likely we are in for motion sickness for a long time. It is important that economists develop a bit of right brain, for without it, they will continue to make the wrong conclusions.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Downstairs, upstairs

Recent finding (1) that the owners of the human gut may already have found a residence in the brain further reinforces the potency of the most successful biological entity in the universe. It has been known that the bacteria in the gut use nerve endings to influence human decisions and now they are placed directly in situ. This has implications for the diagnoses and treatment of a plethora of neurological diseases.

Most recently, it has been speculated that humans moving from one location to another get a completely new and custom microbiome in a matter of days. Now that it is possible that they can move across the "impenetrable," blood brain barrier, it portends a world returning to its original state in due course. They appear to have filled every nook and corner of life and they can make their hosts eat, die and disintegrate at will. But their presence in the brain of the most complex entity on Earth indicates that the design is nearing completion.

As we seek extra-terrestrials in nearby rock, ice and gas balls, it is important to remember that they may have arrived early and already conquered the blue planet.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

RIP, Kepler

The space telescope, Kepler, seems to have run out of fuel. Finding the existence of exo-planets has been interesting. On the other hand, statistics would have informed the physicists of the same. The more important question is, so what? Did anybody really think that the rock and water in the most uninteresting corner of the Milky Way is unique?. Granted, most people in the world think so but $700 million may be too high to prove irrationality exists.

Exo-planets have tickled the fantasy of the common woman and set the careers of some physicists on an exponential track. They look for transits and lately that has yielded the discovery of an exo-planet's moon. As academics pump out papers, they have to really come back to the fundamental question of so what?. Did anybody really think there was no moon out there for an exo-planet? I suspect some do but if you don't like religion, it is a very irrational expectation. The big brains at the space agency had drawn a line on the sand a few years ago - they will absolutely find ET by 2020. There are less than 1000 days left. But more importantly, does anybody think there is no biological activity outside the most irrelevant corner of a the most uninteresting galaxy?

A species that shows no redeeming qualities, is spending billions of $ to prove the obvious. Science needs direction - perhaps from philosophy. And, engineers and doctors have to understand that ideas are non-prescriptive.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Schrödinger's Bacterium

Biological entanglement (2) has been showing up in many places (1). Although conceptual without hard proof, it is symptomatic of the fact that there is something wrong with our understanding of the universe. There is ample evidence that the human brain represents a quantum field (3). And if so, using it as a conventional computer with logical processing is not optimum. It is as if humans strive to be rational in a universe without rationality. That behavior is unambiguously irrational.

Is rationality feasible? Observations in physics and financial markets provide tantalizing evidence that it is unlikely. However, humans with hard tactical horizons attempt to be rational as that appears to optimize utility. But does it? An unbiased optimization of a human being would point to early termination as that would minimize aggregate pain. But unsubstantiated future expectations of benefits flow - really speculation - keep them going beyond what could be best. This optimization problem is increasingly difficult to solve. As technology advances, it is possible that humans can arrest pain and replicate themselves with downloaded memory.

 In the context of entanglement, however, these prescriptive ideas do not work. If macro objects can entangle, they could free themselves from the limitation of the speed of light and transmit information across vast swaths of space time. Apparently, there is nothing that prevents it. If so, humans have been focusing on wrong technologies and ideas. The real problem to solve is entanglement with another that allows instant transfer of information. In a limited context, the 8 billion humans that team the planet, could be entangled, allowing better ideas and policies to be transmitted and received instantly.

If humans are entangled, they could fundamentally change the slope of progress. Currently, this is defined by a few, who do not have much understanding of anything. It is a possible future state in which your thoughts are entangled with the rest and in a chamber of progressive reinforcement, you could only go further. This is an apt future state in which humans move from determinism into probabilistic expectations.

Entangle with one another and you could go further.