Judith Curry-How Many Minds Can Solve Big Problems With Big Soultions

To solve the big problems we all face we'll need big answers. Computer scientists have developed super-computers designed to solve large data crunching problems. The super-computers run control programs to solve problems like the enormous number of calculations necessary to predict worldwide weather patterns accurately moment by moment , for instance by dividing up the workload into packets, assigning each packet to a different processor, then each seperate processor does its share of the overall job and outputs its results back to the overall control program who then compiles those many individual results into a coherent whole.

The big problems we humans are facing are far more complex than those any super-computer invented yet can understand let alone solve. The big problems we face can't be modeled by numbers and manipulated by silicone gates connected by circuits because they each are framed by the emotional content of  each independent viewer as well as being more abstract questions we, the beholders, are emotional about our view of it. Humans, unlike computers, each see incoming data set through our own worldview. Each human then sees the world and its problem at hand uniquely, each then is manipulating different information about the problem. Each then might consult outside specialists or authorities to better inform themselves, but as each sees the problem differently each would be choosing a different source or sources in order to become well informed.

At that point, unlike the output of a computer, the many minds of the beholders will be outputting a huge range of solutions. At first glance it appears that these jumbled outputs would be useless in solving any problems, even the least complex. But it ain't so. Because humans have the capacity to learn, because, instead of welded wiring harnesses, we have brains that can re-wire themselves on the fly, because we each have this re-wireable, general usage processor between our ears we are capable of using the emotive filtering that seems so limiting to advantage in solving-combining a massive set of jumbled outlets into big solutions.

The secret? Communication. We, unlike computers, can communicate our individual emotionally driven outputs through our senses at various stages of developing those outputs and use this interactive recombining of our conclusions with those of other individuals whose outputs are like ours and those whose aren't. Then we can re-start our processing, but in this new iteration we have new information to manipulate. Each individual's solution to even the biggest problems can and does change because we can communicate with each other to change both the incoming-updated data-modified by the solutions of others and we can change the emotive sieve we use to sift and weight our view. Once our many minds have communicated, once we've modified our inputs and outputs by learning, we can solve the big problems with big solutions. Our big answers are as close as the person next to us if we communicate

Don't believe me? Here's proof, check out Judith Curry's website Climate Etc. where everyday hundreds of interested bloggers, laypeople and scientists from all prespectives surrounding the climate change issue are interracting, arguing, disagreeing, learning and communicating. As each day, each iteration, passes people and ideas come closer. Big solutions to big problems begin with communication.

Judith Curry's extended peer community in action.

Plausibility and the blogosphere in the post-normal age.