Sunday, December 6, 2009

Interpreting incomplete experiments

The graph here is used by the authors of the analysis to somehow predict that when 100% of humans become authors in 2013, we are better off.  If, 100 people read what I type, then I'm an author because of the viral characteristics of information propagation.  This definition allows the qualification of Twitters as authors;  not mere communicators.  Humans and all animals and plants and the whole living world is already 100% communicators; besides, 40% of the human population is in India and China.


Take for example this debate on whether google is making us more intelligent or less. One has to actually read the several links embedded in these articles to get the complete picture.  But, how difficult is it to assume that some who are finding it beneficial to adapt are evolving with respect to our information processing capabilities while others are not, without attempting any generalizations?


The PS2 or PSP or whatever gaming device you use, is designed to test your eye-hand coordination; because you don't have a perfect/ideal coordination, manipulating these devices is a challenge and some incentive is added to the exercise in the result of the game to stimulate euphoria.  If you had perfect eye-hand coordination and other physical capabilities, you would need to be in the field, to get the same amount of satisfaction. So, a device that is designed to exploit your lack of capabilities to make money, is used in an experiment to suggest that we can enhance our capabilities with practice at a faster pace now than ever before.


When we write technical papers, the experimental section has the sole purpose of describing what the limitations of the experiments and therefore the results are.  However, its not written in the negative; it only describes what was done and then a practitioner can figure out what was not done.  This discipline in communication forms the basis of scientific methodology.  This discipline of communication intends to eliminate ambiguity.  


Science is not a profit making business.  But, if you leave the experimental or methodology section of our work out and become 'authors' based only on our results and discussion and conclusions, it seems there's a viable and flourishing business model.  


   

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