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Sweating Bullets

In Cathy O’Neil’s chapter 7 of Weapons of Math Destruction, the discussion turns to workers’ schedules. In many ways I feel the same way about this chapter as I did about chapter 5: O’Neil correctly identifies the large, looming moral problems and implies a reasonable solution (regression, essentially), but loses the argument when getting into specific problems that are evident. I am not sure I could myself think of an argument that would be apt, so I am not sure if this is a problem with O’Neil’s ability to craft good, specific argument of if these looming, moral questions about WMDs follow a Hiesenberg-ian principle of breaking apart and becoming uncertain when observed at their atomic level. My guess is the latter, and as far as I am concerned that is enough. The looming, moral questions can themselves be analyzed and answered, on their own, without analysis of the examples. If we are to take the author’s implication (I think a good one) that capitalism is fine, but becomes a problem when I get out of control, the answer is regulation, or abolishment of the practices. This is a sticky answer, but in what is a conservative viewpoint, actually, it becomes one of regression: “well it worked in the past, so why wouldn’t it work again”. In this way, the question becomes one of late stage capitalism, one that has, again, as far as I am concerned, a pretty clear answer: stability and regression. However, as the world approaches this late stage, in which that looming, moral question ought to be answered, the microscopic ones must still be addressed. The college admission test score one is a good example of this. I really don’t know what a good answer is, if any there is to this, but since the goal is utter optimization, there must come about change, and unfortunately questions like this have reached the optimization of their current paradigm, thus radical (and thus untested) change must come. Of course, there are many such questions that must be addressed in the near to medium term future, and many of these have also reached the optimality of their current paradigm and will also be required to explore untested waters in search of prime optimization…what will happen to the socio-political structures before, during, and after these changes…one can only hope something good.