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Simulating Societies At the Global Scale

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-hard-could-that-be dept.

Cloud 64

An anonymous reader writes "Teams of European researchers are vying to create a distributed supercomputer of unprecedented scale to analyze the data that streams in from hundreds of devices and feeds (mobile, social data, market data, medical input, etc) and use it to 'run global-scale simulations of social systems.'"

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Oh great... (1)

menegator (539434) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052048)

Anybody guess the sponsors ?

Re:Oh great... (1)

dirtykid (2023768) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052768)

the NWO?

Re:Oh great... (1)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 3 years ago | (#36054764)

This was sponsored by Maxis, in cooperation with Jeniffer Government.

Re:Oh great... (2)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055102)

I'm sure Google has already started their own.

a mere abaacus (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055304)

Mice? Or maybe the dolphins.

Simulacron-3 (1)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052052)

This reminds me this excellent book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacron-3 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Simulacron-3 (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36056194)

Or the interactive fiction game A Mind Forever Voyaging [wikimedia.org]

JGS? (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052062)

A fellow bought a new car, a Nissan, and was quite happy with his purchase. He was something of an animist, however, and felt that the car really ought to have a name. This presented a problem, as he was not sure if the name should be masculine or feminine. After considerable thought, he settled on an naming the car either Belchazar or Beaumadine, but remained in a quandry about the final choice. "Is a Nissan male or female?" he began asking his friends. Most of them looked at him pecularly, mumbled things about urgent appointments, and went on their way rather quickly. He finally broached the question to a lady he knew who held a black belt in judo. She thought for a moment and answered "Feminine." The swiftness of her response puzzled him. "You're sure of that?" he asked. "Certainly," she replied. "They wouldn't sell very well if they were masculine." "Unhhh... Well, why not?" "Because people want a car with a reputation for going when you want it to. And, if Nissan's are female, it's like they say... `Each Nissan, she go!'" [No, we WON'T explain it; go ask someone who practices an oriental martial art. (Tai Chi Chuan probably doesn't count.) Ed.] % Aliquid melius quam pessimum optimum non est. % Der Horizont vieler Menschen ist ein Kreis mit Radius Null -- und das nennen sie ihren Standpunkt. % Ego sum ens omnipotens. % Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit. % Hodie natus est radici frater. % Honi soit la vache qui rit. % Klatu barada nikto. % Mieux vaut tard que jamais! % Qvid me anxivs svm? % Raffiniert ist der Herrgott aber boshaft ist er nicht. -- Albert Einstein % Regnant populi. % semper en excretus % SEMPER UBI SUB UBI!!!! % sillema sillema nika su % Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re. Se non e vero, e ben trovato. % Sum quod eris. % Tout choses sont dites deja, mais comme personne n'ecoute, il faut toujours recommencer. -- A. Gide % Verba volant, scripta manent! %

Re:JGS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052150)

Ich Ne San Chi Go

is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in japanese.

Dumb joke, Figured I'd explain for the 99% of people who aren't in martial arts

Re:JGS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052210)

Larry, you're out of your element.

NWO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052068)

Kind of like the conspiracy theorist have been talking about for the past 10 years? A global system where everybody is monitored?

Well, at least it's better than the FEMA camps, which don't exist...YET! (dun dun dun)

Psychohistory. (2)

headkase (533448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052070)

We just need more data to tease out the statistics in: Psychohistory [wikipedia.org] . Now, is that a good thing?

Re:Psychohistory. (1)

jrronimo (978486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052246)

Maybe we could set up two separate populations for further testing... each at opposite ends of the galaxy...

Re:Psychohistory. (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36053636)

Oh, so you mean, in the same place? ;)
[Note to mods: if you haven't read Asimov's Foundation series, or at least Foundation and Empire, just skip to the next post.]
All humor aside, I've often wondered about 'psychohistory.' It seems to have a decently solid basis in sci-fi theory, which in the context of "good sci-fi," means that it's at least *plausible.* However, without good models and the necessary empiricism to evaluate them, we don't really know _anything_ for sure---everything is really just speculation, even if plausible.
The first person to provably (by that, I mean beyond reasonable doubt, rather than beyond unrestricted skepticism---if there is a dispute, it will either go up before a committee or multiple people may be considered [I may restrict a "time will tell!" period in that case as a verifier of the model, but not beyond 50 years, and should I die, I will leave the decision to a subcommittee of peers]) develop a working model (it doesn't have to yet be a solid theory) of psychohistory by analyzing this planet's history in detail, and using simulations of periods N-X thru N-1 to predict period N, where X is a large number and the length of a period is something reasonable for human scale (let's say anything in the 10--200 year range, but other periods can be suggested, of course) will win a small monetary prize from me (depending on my income, but I'll guarantee at least $50), and probably (though I can't speak for the Nobel prize committee) a Nobel peace prize and substantial mention in history books for centuries to come.
[Yes, I do realize that though I have skirted around the "pronoun is missing an antecedent" in the previous statement, I would need to re-write the statement to prevent the "generic noun missing specifier antecedent" problem---readers are welcome to do that for me, if they really feel my statement is thusly ambiguous.)

Re:Psychohistory. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36053802)

[Note to mods: if you haven't read Asimov's Foundation series, or at least Foundation and Empire, just skip to the next post.]

Good advice for anyone

What's your native language - Fortran?

Re:Psychohistory. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36056496)

You missed the part in the story about Psychohistory being constantly tweaked from the top BY A MIND READING ROBOT.

It is much easier to take a 'thinking' sample of a population if you can walk into a crowded area, such as those on the most populated planet in the galaxy, AND READ EVERYONES THOUGHTS.

Re:Psychohistory. (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057512)

Can you point me to where in the series that's mentioned? I *sort of* remember something like that, but all that's coming to mind is the mind-reading human that confounded some of the best minds (outside of the monastic psychohistorians) in the Empire.

Re:Psychohistory. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057566)

R. Daneel Olivaw was the robot.

Re:Psychohistory. (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36059928)

Oh, that's right! I forgot,thanks =)

Since you're clearly familiar with the series, I'm curious---what did you think of Forward the Foundation?
To me, it had a different feel (besides the fact that it was a prequel)---maybe a different pace, or a bit different writing style. Not in a bad way, but just something I noticed.

Re:Psychohistory. (3, Interesting)

Tynin (634655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052746)

We just need more data to tease out the statistics in: Psychohistory [wikipedia.org] . Now, is that a good thing?

Asimov on psychohistory

"Well, I can't help but think it would be good, except that in my stories, I always have opposing views. In other words, people argue all possible... all possible... ways of looking at psychohistory and deciding whether it is good or bad. So you can't really tell. I happen to feel sort of on the optimistic side. I think if we can somehow get across some of the problems that face us now, humanity has a glorious future, and that if we could use the tenets of psychohistory to guide ourselves we might avoid a great many troubles. But on the other hand, it might create troubles. It's impossible to tell in advance."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychohistory_(fictional)#Asimov_on_psychohistory [wikipedia.org]

I tend to agree with him. In the end, the information is out there, and someone is going to put it together. To what ends remains to be see.

Legislation Engineering (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052088)

I want a large scale social simulation to be used as a test bed for proposed legislation, to give an idea whether the bill might have the desired effect and to ferret out any unintended consequences. Legislation really ought to go through the whole engineering process, not simply thrown into production without any testing.

Re:Legislation Engineering (1)

MichaelKristopeit406 (2018812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052194)

simulation =/= forecasting

Re:Legislation Engineering (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052562)

Why not just turn off the computer, and systematically try out each new legislation in a different state/province/city/etc. before adopting it for the whole of the Nation -- Multiple trials can be executed simultaneously if needed.

There's really no reason the whole of the nation (or its economic future) should be at stake due to crappy laws... Oh, that's right -- Equal rights means everyone must all have the same rights always everywhere or else --- or else -- or else state/county/township and other local laws could be applied to individuals depending on where they live, and that's not fair, wait, what did I just say?

Re:Legislation Engineering (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055144)

Are you a moron?

To make any kind of meaningful experiment, you have to prevent interaction with the outside world -- otherwise all you will see is people exploiting the differences. This is also a reason why plenty of laws that would make sense, are not implemented on US States' level -- because then hordes of people will find a way to abuse the difference between that state and its neighbors. What also means that "states' rights" are a ridiculous concept, and Americans would do better by focusing on improving things on Federal level, even if it means taking over the "states' rights" turning States into what they really are -- provinces.

Precisely the reason only minimum gov can work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36072762)

We all know that understanding cause-and-effect in our computer+network+software systems is non-trivial.

Real-world systems are orders-of-magnitude more complex than any existing human-designed system.

Thus, passing a law that actually has a net positive effect has about the same probability as a random change to the Linux kernel has of improving Linux.

like the mortgage security simulations? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052692)

i hate to poop on slashdot's parade, but this whole thing has been tried before. and it is a disaster because it always ends in massive corruption.

for example. the CDO market was heavily built on simulations; simulations created by legions of 'quants' (math PHDs) who sat around studying models all day long for banks and hedge funds and credit ratings agencies.

the problem with these models were wrong. why were they wrong? it was not because of 'honest mistakes'. it was not because someone forgot to carry a 2 or forgot to compile glibc with the right flags.

it was rather massive collusion to game and tweak the models so that a very small number of people would make a very large amount of profit, while the economy collapsed. those people included the ratings agencies themselves, the proprietary CDO trading desks at big banks like Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, CDO managers, certain hedge funds, etc etc etc. They all profited massively from having awful investments rated very highly; those ratings depended directly on those models. The CDOs could not have been created without those models. Those models were what enabled the entire securitization chain, from the mortgage loan, to the mortgage security tranche, to the CDO tranche, to the CDO squared, to the synthetic CDOs built on top of it all, like some gigantic 900 pound circus performer tip toeing on a beach ball.

you can read about this over, and over again .. here is a list of books that cover the topic.

The Big Short, Michael Lewis
Confidence Game, Christine S Richard
All the Devils are Here, Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera
The Greatest Trade Ever, Gregory Zuckerman
The Quants.
etc etc etc

If you go back and read about one of the original 'model based' economies, the Soviet Union, you will find similar problems. Models are invariable controlled by the politics of power, and are inherently corrupted by those politics.

The problem then is not in creating simulations; it is figuring out how you create simulations that will not be abused and perverted by sick people who want to destroy the economy for their own ideological reasons and/or personal financial gain.

Re:like the mortgage security simulations? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 3 years ago | (#36053032)

The problem then is not in creating simulations; it is figuring out how you create simulations that will not be abused and perverted by sick people who want to destroy the economy for their own ideological reasons and/or personal financial gain.

Actually, you WANT to create a simulated world where the players are allowed to do those very things. That's how to find problems with the proposed legislation.

Venus Project (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052102)

This sounds almost akin to the Venus Project [thevenusproject.com] , although a little less 'revolutionary'.

Venus' concept is a massive global supercomputer network that monitors the worlds resources, allocating them only where they are needed and in reasonable quantities, eliminating waste and misuse, but being auditing and controlled by human-elect. A different future society (although it is debatable between dystopian and utopian) could automate everything, doctors, lawyers, manufacturing, almost absolutely everything once the infrastructure is in place, and people could live simple, happier lives and not be wage-slaves. Granted it would probably a century or two of automata innovation to make something like that happen, but it would beat having such excess waste, such as cars/drivers ratio [about.com] . It would be pretty neat to do what you love and love what you do without a lot of the extraneous worries.

And no I am not a communist/socialist, just saying it might be a cool alternate reality.

Re:Venus Project (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052254)

Well, if and when we have automated AI at that level, it would be a true form of Communism in the way Carl Marx would approve of. It would, in the history of mankind be the first successful implementation of it once the human element is removed from the vacuum of power. Assuming that's even possible. But a couple of questions still nag me.

1. How will the AI judge supply and demand when it's in complete control of resource allocation? How will it enough what's too little and too much?

2. With such a system in place, won't that eliminate incentive based human goals that leads to innovation? Are we sure that we want to hand over that role/power to a machine? That's an awful amount of trust to place in what amounts to a demigod. In effect, we are trusting it to decide our future and shape of civilization. Could be a good thing, could be bad.

Re:Venus Project (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052284)

Well, if and when we have automated AI at that level, it would be a true form of Communism in the way Carl Marx would approve of. It would, in the history of mankind be the first successful implementation of it once the human element is removed from the vacuum of power.

Communism can never be 'successfully implemented' without killing off all the productive people who refuse to be enslaved... and then it collapses because there's no-one to do any useful work. So it's a pointless exercise.

Re:Venus Project (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052384)

Although I think the robo-communism idea is another useless exercise in naive fantasy, you are clearly just another political parrot who spouts off his pre-packaged, trite expositions whenever he hears the relevant key word. In this case, you heard "communism" and proceeded to explain why communism hasn't worked in the most cliched, tired way possible. However, your exposition is not really useful in the case since the GP was discussing a unique scenario in which people would not be in charge of the state, but rather a computer. And he was not saying that people would happily go along with the computer, but that the computer could actually pull off the centralized planning and security needed to make it happen, whether people want it or not.

Re:Venus Project (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052434)

That is another big question. In an almost completely automated world, would there be enough voluntary contributers doing it for the love of science and humanity to prop up the 90% of the population who sit at home glued to 'Ow my balls'? Who knows.

Re:Venus Project (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36053854)

Prop them up how? If the "means of production" are completely automated it shouldn't be necessary for anyone to prop up anyone else. This is actually how Marx envisioned Communism, except he used the example of people being free to hunt and fish. So few people seem to actually read Marx or understand his analysis of history, it's like we already live in an Idiocracy...

Quick lesson: According to Marx there is a kind of trajectory to the history of economics (or, political economy, if you prefer). This trajectory starts in pre-Capitalist traditionalist economic systems, then Capitalism emerges and supplants the pre-Capitalist systems. Over time, Capitalism expands productive capacity until it ultimately undermines itself in a fundamental way, this process is what produces Communism. In other words, the success of Capitalism creates Communism. Or in still other words, Capitalism increases the productive capacity of society to the point where it transcends the necessity of work.

Re:Venus Project (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36054436)

Unfortunately, all too many that have attempted communism attempted to leap-frog the foundation of capitalism. In fact, they would pro-actively attempt to prevent capitalism. In what would be the ultimate twist of irony, the very miss-guided goals of enacting communism lead to fascism and poverty.

Humanity. For the love of all that is holy; never ignore human nature. To do so often leads to disastrous results.

Re:Venus Project (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36054438)

Prop them up in the sense that the 10% that contribute to the well-being of humanity would be outnumbered 9-1 by those who literally sit at home and undertake nothing but pure self-indulgence. If comparing those who contribute to the longevity of the race to those who do nothing by fulfil their own pleasures to the concept of propping up is apropo, I duly apologize.

Re:Venus Project (3, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055174)

The situation now in so-called developed countries is approximately this:

1% contributes in any meaningful way,
90% does what a machine would do better but a human has to because otherwise he will have no money and no means for survival,
9% actively tries to steal from everyone else, 1% (out of the aforementioned 9%) succeeds and controls at least 50% of everything that people need to be productive, 8% (out of the same 9%) fails but still shits everything up.

Letting 90% just sit on their asses and do nothing would be a great improvement.

Re:Venus Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36058102)

This is the most brilliant summary I've read of anything today. Kudos.

Re:Venus Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36066236)

You are ignoring the premise of the scenario: Economic production has been automated. Human activity is no longer necessary to perpetuate the existence of human life. Personally, I think many people engage in mindless self-indulgence to cope with the stress of "wage slavery" and that in a world where work was no longer a necessity there would be more than 10% of the population doing more than sitting at home watching "Ow, my balls!" until they die of obesity. But really, who knows? Human psychology is complicated, and the cultural evolution that would happen in a post-capitalist civilization is probably impossible to predict from within our existing capitalist worldview.

Re:Venus Project (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052410)

Those are definitely the two major arguments I think. In regards to resource allocation, theres what I like to call the 'greed' problem. Commune A puts in a machine order to X units. Commune B decides it needs X+1, a runnoff occurs and at some point the machine has to intervene and make a decision as to who gets what.

As far as innovation goes, I think from a science standpoint, core science would still innovate, those like Curie, Einstein, Newton, Tesla, Feynman, Planck, etc, most innovated not for monetary gain. However, many engineering pursuits are done out of need for financial profit. But then again, NASA wasn't about getting rich (although nationalistic pride would be down the hole), but hopefully by that time we would have transgressed past nationalistic pissing-contest societal and scientific development, and doing things truly for the betterment of humanity. Very interesting questions and definitely much room for speculation.

I guess the largest question is, would humanity's happiness and longevity be increased, excluding the possibility that the two are mutually exclusive?

Re:Venus Project (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055138)

The op has a great point. Given this deus ex machina capable of reading everybody's wants, needs and capabilitys it could solve a lot of problems. If the computer was great enough to correctly calculate the absolute best allocation of resources (humans, machine, mineral, land, water, space) its possible we could all live in a world where you get everything you ever wanted and work in your dream job. However i doubt we have that level of computer power yet, and there is no way to be sure there is an allocation that would make every one happy.

Re:Venus Project (2)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055236)

2. With such a system in place, won't that eliminate incentive based human goals that leads to innovation? Are we sure that we want to hand over that role/power to a machine? That's an awful amount of trust to place in what amounts to a demigod. In effect, we are trusting it to decide our future and shape of civilization. Could be a good thing, could be bad.

I agree the trust issue would be hard to over come and it could defiantly be a bad system completely ignoring the needs of the few. But given a correctly programed demigod, incentive could be replaced with more of an honor type system if you have everything looked after for you (well cooked food, shelter, fast internet, entertainment, recreation, retirement) all you have left for life is your achievements. This doesn't solve all the problems of the less glamorous jobs (which more and more should be done by robots) that still need to be done, but if you give those people an excess of free time you could get some takers (some people just want to go fishing or watch TV). The super computer could be the ultimate accountant/treasurer/advisor.

Re:Venus Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36056216)

You will be who you will be. We are our choices. And we can choose to lead humanity away from this...darkness.

Re:Venus Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36059074)

Mark of the beast? False prophet? Anti-Christ? Cold and soulless? Yup, an electronic form of a demigod would sure fulfill all of those descriptions.

Re:Venus Project (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36059812)

All-righty. Mark of the beast i doubt it, computers operate with 0's and 1's. Anti-Christ i see no proof of that, i see some proof of Jesus being a robot but none of electronics being Satan. As for cold, Computers and machines are actually quite warm consider all the cooling fans on your computer. Soulless is arguable considering no one can define what one is. All that said this would only be another tool at our disposal to make life easier. As for the AC you replied to i can't figure out if we are heading towards the 'darkness' or inside.

Re:Venus Project (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052688)

Venus' concept is a massive global supercomputer network that monitors the worlds resources, allocating them only where they are needed and in reasonable quantities, eliminating waste and misuse, but being auditing and controlled by human-elect.

Putting aside the totalitarian distopia this would imply, the idea is simply unworkable for lack of global information. The same issue applies to all central planning, really. Economically efficient allocation of resources depends not just on historical data you can study and model, but people's current preferences. At best you can study people's past choices and build a society ideally suited to them, but by the time you've done so those preferences have inevitably changed—and the first real indication you have that they have changed is widespread surpluses and shortages, exactly what you were trying to prevent.

The distributed approach—a market economy—solves the problem by accepting that information is never perfectly complete or accurate, but tends to be more complete and accurate at a local level; in short, people look out for their own interests far better than even the most benevolent central planners (or AIs). A high degree of global efficiency is an emergent by-product of distributed local efficiency.

people could live simple, happier lives and not be wage-slaves

True. Instead of being "wage-slaves" (a term which stretches the idea of slavery well beyond its natural limits) they'd simply be slaves, with no control over the allocation of their own labor or its fruits. That's so much simpler.

Re:Venus Project (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052784)

I concur.

Re:Venus Project (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055180)

Translation: "When I will be rich..."

Re:Venus Project (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36056280)

The distributed approach—a market economy—solves the problem by accepting that information is never perfectly complete or accurate, but tends to be more complete and accurate at a local level; in short, people look out for their own interests far better than even the most benevolent central planners (or AIs). A high degree of global efficiency is an emergent by-product of distributed local efficiency.

Couldn't the AI act as the superstructure of that distributed approach? As it is, in the ideal case, the market economy converges on prices through a process of trial and failure (tatonnement); but given more detailed data (say, input-output information), the AI could converge more quickly towards equilibrium. It's still a distributed approach because all the actual innovation happens at the hands of the participants - the people - but the mechanism itself would be much more responsive. The additional information could also be aggregated by the AI for the people to use. For instance, input-output data could show what the limiting resources to production of a given sort are, and people could then try to find better ways of producing those resources if they value the good in question -- and such could happen without having to go through multiple stages of tatonnement.

Re:Venus Project (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 3 years ago | (#36056458)

An AI could definitely help advise the humans actually responsible for making decisions regarding allocation of their own resources. To an extent, we already do that—consider the algorithms in charge of high-speed trading. However, that is hardly the same thing as placing an AI in charge of allocation of all resources throughout society, without regard to their actual ownership.

So what's religion? (1)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052126)

A random number generator?

once the vaccines & weather weapons are done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052216)

we'll only need an abacus to keep track of ourselves. so that takes care of that.

I think something like this has already been done. (2)

mmell (832646) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052224)

It's called BOINC [berkeley.edu] .

Deus Machina (1)

Jakester2K (612607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052328)

Reminds me of that old science fiction joke:

The world spent untold sums of money hooking up all the computers together into a massive global supermachine.

The day came when it was time to power it on. The most revered scientific mind flipped the switch and asked the first question:

"Is there a god?"

A lightning bolt came from a massive power terminal and fused the switch shut.

Supercomputer: "There is now!"

Re:Deus Machina (3, Informative)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052566)

Reminds me of that old science fiction joke:

Not a joke, sheesh. It's the short story Answer, by Fredric Brown. Find it here. [wordpress.com] Know your classics!

We all know the answer... 42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052342)

It's the question that's hard to find

Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36052498)

Deep Thought designed such a device and operated it for 10 million years on behalf of pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings, but five minutes before the simulation was complete, the Vogons pulverized it to make way for an inter-galactic bypass. The device was called, oddly, Earth. It is funny that the device and its components should choose to do the exact same thing. Sounds like bad recursion to me. I came down from the tree just to type this.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

snakeplissken (559127) | more than 3 years ago | (#36055660)

The device was called, oddly, Earth.

Oh, what a dull name!

Intensive Study (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36052966)

After applying massive investigation and resources into studying human trends and consequences of human actions, beliefs etc., it is likely the the best conclusion will be that human activity and its consequences are completely unpredictable, irrational and largely of no value to anyone outside of the human species.

For a supercomputer at the global scale ... (1)

HtR (240250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36053342)

...they should contact Magrathea [wikipedia.org]

I believe they have experience with this, but they're not cheap.

Helllo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36054170)

Simcity!

"social systems" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36054782)

They clearly haven't considered Hayek's The Fatal Conceit, chapter 9: Our Poisoned Language. Prefixing the weasel word "social" to the term "systems" thereby deprives it of any content whatsoever. TFA reads like they really only have the vaguest clue about what it is they think they are simulating.

Just ask.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057296)

..the mice. They have done it before, on a more general scale.

James P. Hogan (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36058458)

I have read about this in various James P. Hogan novels. It always turns out bad . . . for us.

you cant just simply put life into an algorithm (1)

KingBenny (1301797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36060504)

except maybe for the part where it goes : if this doesn't work , try that ; if that works, treat anything trying anything else as strange and dangerous . the implementation of the classic fear of the dark survival mechanism. I wouldn't know what else could describe life in a few lines
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