Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Technological Tarot

Police Predicting Criminality in London.

Reminds me very much of Clay Shirky pointing out the destruction of free will. The same principle applies to terrorism, but this is just because crime and terror are the forefront of "applicability".

Even if you don't believe in free will, there are problems with this approach. Feature creep is the main one - if society is, by its cultural (rather than absolute) nature, a problem-solving entity (a fixation on science would suggest so), then all problems, big or small, should eventually lead to such predictive technologies being implemented in all areas.

This leads to the other problems. Firstly, how do we decide what is a "problem" - who sets out the norms that the "rest of us" are to adhere too, and how do they get overseen? (This is, of course, a current issue, only there seems to be less trust in the personal decision-making route than in "scientific" processes.) Secondly, to what extent can we trust the science to make accurate predictions, given that reality may (or, indeed, may not) differ wildly from the models used to predict?

To solve problems with 100% efficiency, all one needs to do is to lock everyone (including the guards) up at birth. This is the epitome of technological problem-solving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For those who don't already know this, the tarot deck was originally conceived in northern Italy in the 15th century for the playing of card games and nothing more. The fortune telling practices are an abuse of this artifact based on nothing more than hoaxes concerning its supposed Egyptian origins and spurious Kabbalah connections.

What the new age and metaphysical publishing industries have been telling most of the world regarding the use of tarot cards in connection with fortune telling and the occult is in fact a misrepresentation of the genuine tarot tradition of continental Europe.
There is indeed a more intelligent use for tarot cards than for superstitious excercises. The true tarot tradition is in no way connected to psychics, astrology, "pop psychology" or other such mumbo jumbo.

The genuine tarot is actually a classic European trick taking card game quite often mis-marketed to many parts of the world as some occultic or new age device.
It is in France, where this tarot card game is currently most popular. It has also gained a foothold recently in French speaking parts of Canada. There is also a similar game played in Austria and surrounding regions most often under the name of "Tarock"
The players of tarot card games, nowadays, use a more modern deck with double-ended court cards and conventional playing card suits of hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds and the trump cards sport arbitrary scenes of 19th century Europe.
Not only do these games excercise one's thinking and memory skills, they are quite wholesome and suitable for all family members.

I invite the reader to further investigate the more authentic tarot tradition by doing a Google search on "jeu de tarot" and "tarock"
Although many of the pages encountered may be in the French and German languages, a number of players have recently started to translate their works into English so we may all enjoy a more enlightened century of game playing.