I got to thinking about bias last night.
And Charles Babbage.
At work yesterday we talking about computers…Access Databases, specifically.
I got to thinking about arrays, which always makes me think of Babbage’s “machine”.
When I was a kid, I enjoyed magic.
Every chance I got, with every spare dime, I’d buy tricks at a magic shop.
I got to be pretty good.
It got it’s start in parlors.
Thus the phrase “parlor trick”.
Did you know that Babbage’s machine started out as a parlor “trick”, or gimmick?
It basically resembled something like one of those games from the Orient – you know the ones where colored stones tumble down a rack of pegs and wind up stacking up in a series of slots at the bottom.
Babbage’s machine was a bit more complex, as it would actually perform certain calculations based on the “gates” through which the tiles, or stones or beads passed (and calculate Bernoulli numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4).
I’m not sure of its exact configuration, but the stones would stack at the bottom with some relevance to whatever was the desired calculation – say, one stone in the first rack and one stone in the second rack with yields (equals) two stones in the “equals” rack.
You get the picture.
At the time, it wasn’t thought of as particularly useful or significant (pretty much the same way I feel about computers today – a glorified combination of calculator, typewriter and library card catalog).
Well, maybe somewhat useful.
But still, it has that nuance of parlor trickery. Much of science, back-in-the-day, was of this ilk – fanciful (like Mr. Wizard).
Just a passing fancy, or a peculiar sort of game.
The funny thing is, we place such significance on it, when it should be maintained in this “curiosity” state.
I suppose it goes with the whole “peacock preening its feathers” concept, although.
It is our creation, and thus a reflection of our intelligence, and therefore, brilliant (like us).
In fact, it’s really no better now than it was in Babbage’s time.
It is a parlor trick.
We, as fallible humans, build our fallibility into the computer.
It is a knock off of us, and therefore, like us, it is biased and a paltry reflection.
Most systems contrived by men (if not all) are likewise biased.
It is our nature, and the one arena where we are nothing like God.
His bias is in no way built into our make-up (what else could explain how some of us reject Him).
It is unfortunate that we are not capable of building a machine, or software, based on God’s model for us…one with free will.
I seriously doubt we ever will.
We can build them that make decisions, and even heal themselves and teach themselves…but I doubt that we will ever build one that can make wise choices.
Look at us.
Hell, most of us (if you believe the computer-generated polls) voted for Obama and believe he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.
So much for an unbiased machine, political or otherwise.
Statistics lie, computers generate statistics, and liars program computers and quote said statistics.
It is a mad and vicious circle…a python consuming itself.
Truthful, real men – their actions speak the volumes and set the example for the perfect machine – created based on the model developed by team-God (and not some moron who get’s sustenance from that tree of knowledge).
A man, capable of making his own choice, and making it based on free, untethered, (and unencumbered by socialist, or group-think, or monomaniacal dictates) and even making so without any interference by the all-knowning, all-seeing creator – a free mind is truly the perfect piece of software, and the only one that will ever have an inkling of a chance at true randomness, or valid and unbiased decision loops.
I am glad that a programmer of God’s caliber is behind the thoughts meandering from the casaba that sits atop my shoulders.
How ’bout you, genius?