The Quantum Pontiff

Worldview Manager Hits Prime Time

The Optimizer ideas on Worldview Manager gets written up in Forbes.

The program will work by showing users a list of statements about a topic and then asking them how strongly they agree or disagree with each. At the end, the system will present users with a list of the statements they endorsed that contradict one another. It will also suggest that users reconsider those views and the assumptions behind them.

Similar teaching programs already exist for narrow fields, especially in technical areas of philosophy. Aaronson, though, is extremely ambitious for Worldview Manager and wants it to cover all the hot-button issues: gay marriage, the Middle East and more.

The program won’t take sides. In fact, two people with opposite ideas about, say, animal rights, could both get the equivalent of a passing score from the program, as long as their ideas were internally consistent.

For some reason this last line reminds me of a line from Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Please rank: consistent and wrong, inconsistent and correct, consistent and right, or inconsistent and wrong. Of course you will yell that it is impossible to be inconsistent and correct, but I just watched a PBS special on quantum gravity (the one where the narrator talks really really slow. Does this really help people understand?), so for now I believe otherwise.