An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
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16-12-2016, 09:56 AM
An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
A Case for Soft Computing

I propose that “value of information” (VoI) as a concept can be framed formally as an assignment problem where consumers try to find producers best matching their information needs. In the formal model the consumers have a list of weighted criteria which they match against the attributes of the product attempting to find the minimum combined cost satisfying their criteria. For a grocery shopper the attributes might be price, size, brand, rebates or coupons, organic, green, seasonal, dietary restrictions, and need. Is the item on sale? Have I seen a lower price elsewhere? Is it worth the cost to go there? If I buy in bulk for a lower cost per unit will I be able to use all of it before it spoils? Will I even be able to use all of it at all? Do I have a coupon? Will I remember to send in the rebate? Is the rebate worth the cost of the stamp? Do I care if it’s organic? Does it depend on the type of produce? Do I care about its sustainability or environmental impact? Is the produce more desirable in season? Is it more desirable out of season? Can I eat this? Will I eat this? Do I need this? Do I even want this? In practice shoppers are not capable of treating this a multi-criteria optimization problem with crisp attributes and an optimal solution, but rather will weigh some attributes as necessary (show stoppers), some will be dismissed (couldn’t care less) and others will be in between (“meh, I can take it or leave it”) perhaps with some situation-dependent vague sense of preference. If modeling grocery shopping formally seems daunting enough, it seems intractable for any reasonably interesting activity. Given this, I argue that soft computing techniques, while sometimes suffering the scorn of those who have a tendency to overcomplicate matters, are the only reasonable answer to this problem. Some might argue that some information is such that it requires a mathematically rigorous solution by its very nature. While that’s true in STEM environments, it is not the case in normal human affairs and less certain dynamic decision-making environments. If the attribute cannot be assigned properly to begin with, then any claim of an optimal solution seems baseless and attempting to find one an exercise in futility. If the attributes are soft and fuzzy to begin with, it is counterproductive to incur the cost of the pursuit of perfection where there is none to be found. qoud erat deduncetradum

#sigh
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16-12-2016, 03:00 PM
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
a winner .... "meh .... my time is more valuable than a few (more, marginally useful) bucks".

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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16-12-2016, 04:04 PM
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
Laugh out load I see what you did there! Smartass
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16-12-2016, 04:49 PM
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
Why pursue perfection when you can use a crossbow?

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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17-12-2016, 12:47 PM
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
The imperfection of Marilyn Monroe's mole is what made her face perfect. And soft (i.e. "fuzzy") focus is de rigueur for cinematic closeups (except Sergio Leone's, whose closeups were perfect portraits of imperfection). In most endeavors, "close enough" is the only means of getting perfectly finished, perfectly on time. Pursuing perfection for its own sake is a perfect waste of time. I think that's what Girly said, but I may not have gotten it perfectly right.
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17-12-2016, 01:04 PM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2016 01:07 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
(17-12-2016 12:47 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  The imperfection of Marilyn Monroe's mole is what made her face perfect. And soft (i.e. "fuzzy") focus is de rigueur for cinematic closeups (except Sergio Leone's, whose closeups were perfect portraits of imperfection). In most endeavors, "close enough" is the only means of getting perfectly finished, perfectly on time. Pursuing perfection for its own sake is a perfect waste of time. I think that's what Girly said, but I may not have gotten it perfectly right.

Yeah that. I was arguing against system developers and engineers who insist on using rigorous expensive optimization methods when their inputs are fuzzy and uncertain.

#sigh
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17-12-2016, 01:28 PM
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
(17-12-2016 01:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  I was arguing against system developers and engineers who insist on using rigorous expensive optimization methods when their inputs are fuzzy and uncertain.

"Optimum" and "Perfect" are concepts created by the devil specifically to divert us from actually enjoying life - or getting anything done.
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18-12-2016, 12:27 AM
RE: An Argument Against the Pursuit of Perfection
To paraphrase the paragraph ... MoSCoW rules.

Kinda like a recent election ... who needs perfection?

Apart from VoI standing for Value on Investment, I agree ... anthropocentrically.

Yes

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